Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Once “Pouncemore” adopted us, yet another charge found her way to our menagerie of rescued animals – “Hangtime”.  Now it is Pouncemore and Hangtime.  I am not one for cats – Labrador Retrievers are more my style.  This cat, however, has changed my mind.  She is affectionate, loves to be held, follows me about the farm, and is just about the prettiest cat I ever saw.  With her face, she looks like a little owl.  Here she is after witnessing us bobbing for apples during our annual Halloween party…

October 31, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Eric Sloane wrote of spending time with the Amish of Lancaster on his forays across the United States.  Sloane seemed deeply impressed by their way of life, which has not changed much since the first quarter of the 20th century when Sloane was passing through.  I wonder of Eric Sloane ever saw an “Amish pick up truck”?

October 31, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

      It seems as if a new charge has appeared at Weather Hill, a barn kitten Edith has named “Pouncemore” – the trouble with Pouncemore is that she believes that she is a sheep, not a cat.

October 27, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

I was reminded this afternoon of how Eric Sloane would describe the manner in which wooden shingles would appear to be full of gaps and recesses where water might find entry, yet the first drops of precipitation would swell the wood of each shingle, closing every gap once visible in drier atmospheric conditions.  Sloane’s descriptions are accurate – the wood shingle roof on our log shed acts similarly.

October 27, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Mending fences the other day about Weather Hill Farm.  A twin prop airplane of some vintage droned in the distance and, as I often do, I took it a sign to stop my labors and reflect on Eric Sloane.  At the last board meeting of The Friends of the Eric Sloane Museum, which we held on one of the large picinic tables in front of the museum, a gentleman stopped to introduce himself to us.  After some conversation, one of the board members asked the gentleman how he came to know Eric Sloane.  It turned out that the gentleman was a pilot and very early in his career flew commercial aircraft.  He told us of his first weeks on the job, where a sort of “training” took place, for at the time flying the route he was to assume – the South Pacific – was considered somewhat of adventure.  When his training addressed the subject of weather, flying, and storms in that part of the world, his instructor handed him several early Eric Sloane books on meteorology and told him to study the books carefully, for the airline had nothing better to give him than Eric Sloane books!

It set me to thinking about a painting I recently acquired.  Affixed to the frame on the verso was a charming note from mother to son, reminding the son (and recipient), that Eric Sloane was the man whom “Dada” had studied as he learned to fly for the Army Air Corps in World War II.  How much of Eric’s works filtered into the hands of these early pilots?  How many lives might Eric’s works have saved?  Impossible to know, of course, but no doubt our country, and aviation in general, owes a debt of gratitude to a man who took the study – and ignorance of – meteorology very seriously, yet was so able to translate his knowledge into illustrations that could be readily understood by the young and inexperienced.

October 27, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Our late-nesting resident Bluebird has been quite fun to spy upon, but she has developed a rather annoying habit of late (actually, of early).  Seems that before the sun is up, she takes great joy in alighting to the bedroom window, flapping and pecking at the window pane.  Again.  Again.  And again…. Early mornings at Weather Hill for the next few weeks no doubt…

October 25, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Early in his career, Eric Sloane illustrated a number of maps, often in a very fanciful style.  These maps have become quite rare due the facts that not many were produced, they were often pinned or tacked upon walls where they were damaged and/or thrown out when they became obsolete, and they were often printed on inexpensive materials.

An interesting and perhaps more rare sub-set of early Eric Sloane maps are known as “foil maps”.  These maps appear to be drawn on a type of aluminum foil, but they are really impressed into a paper backed thin metal sheet using a process that must be similar to printing with a press.  This Eric Sloane “foil map” subset is further divided by subject – possibly the more numerous being of airports, while the less frequently found are of towns and villages.

Recently, I was fortunate to be able to purchase this Eric Sloane map of Radburn, New Jersey, pictured above.  It is one of three known to exist.  Like other Eric Sloane maps of the period, the Radburn map is drawn in an almost comical manner.  Similar to atlas maps drawn and marketed to local business leaders in mid-19th century America, Eric Sloane was sure to include prominent locations, meeting places, popular restaraunts (and not a few bars!), and the names of popular people and businesses.  This would ensure that Sloane would have a minimum number of sales, probably before these maps even left the presses.

The lower right corner reads “Socked into metal by hand by Eric Sloane, Allendale, NJ”.  To my knowledge, Allendale is the only New Jersey town in which Eric Sloane established a more or less permanent residency.  I believe Sloane lived in Allendale shortly after WWII – the only other refernce I have seen to Allendale is on the back of a WW II-era Eric Sloane aviation illustration, upon which Sloane wrote “Sky Top Studio Eric Sloane Allendale, NJ”.

I have also seen an Eric Sloane map of Forrest Hill, Long Island, where he spent some of his youth.  No doubt there exists other Eric Sloane maps of other towns and villages, but I have yet to see one.  I have seen a number of different foil maps Eric Sloane created of airports around the country.  My speculation is that the idea to create maps of airports was born from Sloane’s work with the Army Air Corps during WWII.  No doubt there was great interest in mapping every American airport for defense reasons, and it is easy to imagine that Sloane likely would have played a direct or inderect role in the illustrative discussions for creating some these maps.  Eric Sloane may have recognized a commercial value in these maps post WW II – and illustrating these maps would have been a complimentary sideline to illustrating aircraft for pilots.

An early Eric Sloane map of Roosevelt Field, also in metal

October 25, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

Last night the first cold night of autumn descended upon Weather Hill.  Edith and I decided to build our first fire prior to making dinner.  By 6:00 the old Glenwood was blazing and we settled in for the evening.  A cold morning greeted us as we paced ourselves through our morning chores.  A good morning to spend some time in the barn cleaning Emmy’s wool from her spring shearing.  We hope to be able to spin it into usable wool yarn for a pair of mittens for Edith.

 

October 24, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

     Mid-autumn at Weather Hill still shows signs of summer.  A pair of bluebirds have chosen this bluebird house to nest (last week!)….

…we were able to take our last canoe ride…

…and pick up the rest of the fallen walnuts.  This winter we will crush the walnuts, use them atop vanilla ice cream, and drizzle liberally with local maple syrup tapped by our Amish friend.

October 24, 2013 |  by  |  No Comments

The last vestiges of summer are slipping by and Edith and I are trying to catch everyone that we can – a psychiatrist might tell me that this is a larger analogy for trying to catch of few moments of Edith’s fleeting childhood.  Deep blue and purple Irises bloomed earlier this month, a beautiful gift for the end of summer days…