We have had only intermittent opportunity to connect to the Internet this week, and have not bothered to watch the idiot box, so we have some blessed relief from the dismal news, though we have some intimations of stock market crashes, still crazy Republicans, and revolution in Britain. Since my knowledge of the latest events does not rise to the low level I normally require before I commit punditry, I decline to comment on any of this, except to say that there have been no surprises. Well, one sort of surprise. I understand the Sox are still ahead in the East.
So, just in order to keep my hand in, some pictures taken here in the fair state of Vermont, and in the not so fair state of New Hampshire.
Recently, we went to the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont. The area around Springfield was once host to a large number of machine shops. This was back in the day when Americans actually made things.
It’s a small museum, but well worth seeing, if for nothing else than the incredible miniatures created by a guy named John Aschauer. Below is a picture of a portion of a model he made of the machine shop in Germany in which he worked as a boy of 14. He also made the model when he was 14, so you figure he was probably working 10 hour days and had the energy and initiative to make this incredibly detailed model. Sort of awe inspiring.
Between the wars he emigrated to the U.S., where he continued in his profession and continued to make incredibly detailed working models of the machines with which he worked. This is a portion of one; you can see the silhouettes that give an idea of the scale.
Later in the day we went to the Augustus Saint-Gaudens house in Cornish, New Hampshire, which we have visited before, but the folks who were staying with us had not yet seen. The National Park Service runs the place, so make it a point to see it before the budget cutting ax puts it in mothballs. When I was a kid I collected coins, so I was very early aware of Saint-Gaudens, who designed the most beautiful coins ever minted. Not that I had any, as they were all gold pieces, but I coveted them. Below is a courtyard off of one of the studios. The grounds are jam packed with his sculptures. I don’t know if you can call them copies or originals, as I’m guessing they were cast from the same molds as the originals.
This is a sculpture he did for Henry Adams, the original of which casts a spell over the grave of Adams’ wife, who committed suicide in a rather ghastly way. An incredible evocation of grief and the mystery of death.
He also did a great standing Lincoln, but I didn’t happen to run into it. This next sculpture would be familiar to anyone who has been to the Boston Common, the relief of Colonel Shaw (I think he was a colonel) leading his black troops to death and glory in the Civil War.
Here’s the view from the house. That’s Mount Ascutney in the background. Not too shabby, and you can see why he and his wife fell in love with the location.
So, back to Vermont. Here we have Moonlight in Vermont from the deck of the house we’re renting.
I think in my last post, I mentioned that I bicycled up here. I am somewhat pleased to report that I did make it to Vermont, though not all the way here to Ludlow. My wife picked me up in Bellows Falls. I attribute my failure to the low tax religion of New Hampshire and the consequent poor state of the roads. If you do any bicycling you know that the road surface makes a huge difference. My route took me up Route 63 in New Hampshire, where their idea of road repairs apparently consists of throwing some sort of cheap patching material on the roads and letting cars run over it to pack it down. The road was covered with the stuff. The result is an unbelievably rough surface, which makes level ground into a hill; hills into torture, and downhills into bouncy adventures. Suffice to say, the 60 miles I did do was the moral equivalent of the 90 I intended to do, so I decided to declare victory once I entered Vermont.
Given the infrequency with which I have had access to wireless, this may very well be my last post until I return. Enjoy the respite.