Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘unusual collection’ Category

Head in Hand, Aug. 2014

Each trip I take to the Falls of the Ohio results in lots of other images recorded on site.  Although I may think all of my photographs are interesting in some way, for brevity’s sake…they can’t all make it into a post.  If a storyline develops while I’m at the river, I will try to prioritize that and hope that at some other time in the future some of these other photographs will fit in somewhere?  This post is an attempt to include some of the other pictures that were taken during my last excursion to the river.  Although that visit resulted in my last published post about this tiny artist persona with a penchant for creating micro installations with plastic cup lids and straws…there were a few other sights at the river that caught my eye on this day.

Wild Potato Vine bloom, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

The Wild Potato Vine is a common flowering summer plant at the Falls.  The flowers are large and its leaves are heart-shaped and grow on very long vines.  This plant is named for the large tuber it produces.  I’ve noticed that out here, these large blooms attract large bumble bees.  This is a genuine and indigenous wild flower which contrasts with my next discovery.

Yellow-flowering Mud Nymphea, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

In a pool of stagnant water I came across this other interesting bloom.  Don’t bother looking it up in a field guide to flowers because you won’ find it.  I discovered it and so I take credit for naming it.  I call this the “Yellow-flowering Mud Nymphea” and it “mimics” members of the lotus family.  This plant has a single leaf that floats on the surface of still water or upon particularly juicy mud.  Rising from that leaf is a large blossom (about the size of a child’s hand) that is a dingy yellow color and the petals have a cloth-like texture.  Most fascinating of all…there are fake droplets of water that “bead up” on the individual petals.  Imagine if you took hot glue and applied small drops to the petals…well, it would look a lot like what is happening on this plant.  Knowing how this plant functions out here will require additional study.  The Falls of the Ohio is a highly disturbed place and oddities are springing up all over.  This just happens to be the latest mutant plant to add to a growing list.

Grass growing from small hole in a plastic, toy wheel, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

Another topic I have explored in a past post see “Life in a Bucket” are real plants that grow in less than promising circumstances.  Like many people, I have marveled at how plants can grow in narrow cracks in the sidewalks. The next trio of images are related to that phenomena.  On my last adventure, I found three examples to share with you that demonstrate how opportunistic life can be.  The image above shows a couple of sprigs of grass that are growing out of a small hole in a plastic, toy wheel.  The wheel was probably originally part of a child’s tricycle.  Over time, the detached hollow wheel filled with dirt and silt and retained enough moisture to allow grass seeds to germinate.  Next is another wheel/plant combination that I see more commonly in the park.

Tire garden, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

This is a tire garden.  Because old, ruined automotive tires are frequently thrown in the river (out of sight, out of mind) they frequently wash up here.  Over time, they sink into the sand and mud and are very difficult to move.  Opportunistic seeds colonize the central space where wood, silt, and other nutrients collect and before long you have a mini ecosystem growing out of a circular island in the sand.  My next image is an amazing willow tree that I have posted images of before.  Let’s look at how it is doing this year?

Willow tree growing out of a tire, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

Amazingly, this willow is growing through the metal holes of the wheel.  Previously, I had speculated on whether or not this tree would lift the tire into the air as it grew or be choked to death as the holes became too small?  This year’s seasonal flooding has tipped the wheel up on one edge and exposed the roots of the tree.  So far, it appears to be okay.  I will be keeping tabs on this tree to see how it fares in the future.  How the natural and artificial come together in the wider environment is an area of great interest for me.  Our next example is a good illustration of this.

Willow roots and strands of frayed barge cable, Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

willow roots and barge cable merge, Falls of the Ohio, 2014

I walked passed this willow tree and noticed that a frayed, root-like, barge cable was intertwined with the living tree’s root system.  Perhaps it’s the cable’s bright colors contrasting against the natural tones of the willow roots and earth that give it an aggressive appearance to me?  The actions of the river help unravel these large nylon ropes used to moor and secure very large barges.  Interestingly, I have seen various bird species hasten this process by picking apart the fibers for use as nesting material.  The Baltimore Oriole is especially good at this and uses the colorful fibers in the construction of their hanging basket nests.  The Ohio River, per tonnage moved, is one of the busiest waterways in the world for commercial navigation.  I find the remnants of old barge cables frequently washed up upon the shore and buried in the sand and on occasion have integrated them into different projects.

Soft drink can in the water, Aug. 2014

Sometimes it’s just the incongruity or coincidence that I feel just finding the trash in this context.  The photo above finds a partially crushed “Sunkist” brand soft drink resting upon a piece of rusty-colored concrete in the water on a sun-kissed day.  I later noticed at home, the small damselfly that is also resting on the concrete.  Do you see it?  Or, how about the next one?

squished plastic "Real" lemon juice container, Aug. 2014

Washed ashore upon the fossil rocks was this smashed plastic lemon.  It once contained “real” lemon juice.  Over the years, I have found many of these lemon-shaped bottles.  What I find interesting here is the presented combination of image and substance…a plastic lemon that once held genuine lemon juice.  It doesn’t take much to pique my interest!  I never know what I will find on any given day at the Falls of the Ohio.  The river washes in “fresh” material on a regular basis.  The river is like our subconscious and who knows what lies below its depths or floats upon the surface to be discovered by someone walking its shoreline?

people fishing at the Falls of the Ohio, Aug. 2014

Read Full Post »

The Falls of the Ohio beneath the railroad bridge, March 5, 2014

The Ohio River water level has been bouncing up and down these last few weeks.  On this excursion, I caught up with it while the river was receding.  The shoreline that I am accustomed to seeing is still underwater, however, if you walk carefully between the wet and the dry, there are areas you can explore.  I brought a fairly empty canvas collecting bag along in anticipation of river treasure.  After a couple of hours, I took a break and dumped the bag out and here is what caught my eye.

Collecting bag contents, early March 2014

Literally, a mixed bag of junk including many familiar items that I have long-standing collections formed.  The Styrofoam is for a small sculpture I have in mind.  The flip-flop sandals, well…I have been collecting them for a while and I have a vague notion of an artwork that I want to make with them.  I have ideas, but I’m waiting for the river muse to send me more signals.  The same holds true for the small, plastic wheels.  I have about two hundred of them stacked in a pile on my basement floor.  I thought I could finish the wheel piece for the exhibition at the Carnegie, but it remains unresolved.  I have also gathered several found combs and the variety of forms a simple object can take always interests me.  Recently, I gave my comb collection to my friend Jeff for his birthday.  He is probably one of the few people I know who would like receiving such a gift.  Jeff was once a middle school art teacher and he keeps a cigar box filled with the smallest pencils in the world.  Each pencil had been sharpened to within an inch of its existence by his former students.  Here’s an example of an interesting comb followed by other images of objects found on this day.

comb from a vacuum cleaner, March 2014

Later, it was determined that this combination comb and brush is from some kind of vacuum cleaner.  Now whenever I go out the river, my friend asks me if I have any other combs for his collection.

plastic corn on the cob, March 2014

My Fake Food Collection keeps expanding.  I found several new pieces on this excursion with this one being the most memorable.  Plastic corn on the cob with a little pat of butter melting into the kernels.  In the background, you can see how much junk is intermixed with the wood debris.

hand-formed duct tape ball, March 2014

Here’s the latest addition to my hand-formed ball collection.  This one is made from duct tape.

pink plastic octopus sand mold, March 2014

I’m starting to develop a large collection of sand toys of all kinds.  Here’s a pink plastic octopus sand mold.  I think I will photograph this collection soon.

two found plastic dinosaur toys, March 2014

I found two plastic dinosaur toys on this trip.  I believe these are intended to be the same species…Dimetrodon which was an early reptile with mammal-like characteristics.  Dimetrodon hails from North America and the early Permian period.  When the Falls of the Ohio was an active marine ecosystem (about 370 million years a go)…Dimetrodon would still be about another 200 million years into the future.  The vast stretches of time and the ebb and flow of life forms is mind-boggling.  I am in the here and now and what I have noticed on this trip to the river is how few other life forms I’ve seen.  The spring migration of neotropical birds is not too far off and I always have my eyes open for early arrivals.  Today…I get lucky.

detail, head of the River Roller, March 15, 2014

The River Roller, March 2014

I was poking around the shifting shoreline when I spotted this heavy bodied bird in a willow tree.  With its blue head, yellow ocher body, and light green tail…I knew I was looking at my first River Roller.  Rollers are a family of old world birds and this is the only representative on this continent.  This species has a rather large and heavy bill that serves it well when it feeds on the nuts of hardwood trees.  At the Falls of the Ohio, you can always find walnuts, hickory nuts, and acorns.  I believe that this was what this bird was doing…looking for food.

River Roller at the Falls of the Ohio, March 2014

I think this is a female roller because the colors are not as bright as the pictures I’ve seen of the males.  In size, this bird is comparable to the American Robin.  I observed this bird checking out the holes and hollows in the willow trees which is pre-nesting behavior.  The females are the ones that choose which sites are suitable to raise their chicks.  This bird will eventually move on to the northern portions of the Ohio River Valley.  The River Roller has never been documented nesting in this park.

River Roller among the willow rootlets, March 2014

River Roller investigating willow roots, March 2014

The River Roller hung around for about five minutes before flying off for parts unknown.  During the time I watched it, the roller demonstrated a strong curiosity for the environment at the river’s edge.  It seemed especially interested in the willow trees themselves.

The River Roller at the Falls of the Ohio, March 2014

I wish this bird well and hope it reaches its intended destination.  I feel this way about every bird that migrates through this area.  After seeing this once in a life-time rarity I felt that my day like my collecting bag was full and it was time to go home.  That wraps it up for another river adventure.  See you next time.

View at the Falls of the Ohio, March 2014

 

Read Full Post »

plastic pine growing out of a stump, Sept. 2013I consider this a great honor that fellow blogger Isaac Yuen focused one of his posts around my art projects from the past year and the tales I’ve created around them. For several years now, I have enjoyed Isaac’s award winning blog Ecostories. He has made me a believer in the power of the spoken and written word to convey universal truths particularly when they speak about our evolving relationship with nature. Stories are important and everyone has a story to tell. Isaac has a great way of taking on complex narratives and making them understandable. I encourage you to check out his thoughtful, positive, and beautifully written blog.

Ekostories

I t wasn’t my intention to continue with the art theme. But as the rule of three calls and  I learn more about writing and blogging, I found myself more inclined to follow intuition than push through to produce work that doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it was just easier to showcase other people’s incredible work instead of doing research for a long piece. Given the choice between being attuned and growing lazy, I’m sticking with the former interpretation.

I’ve been a fan of Albertus Gorman’s work over at The Artist at Exit 0 Riverblog ever since I began blogging in 2012. For the better part of the last decade, Gorman has used materials washed up at Ohio State Park to create sculptures and craft stories that explore the impacts we have on the places we inhabit. Some of his work from Ohio Falls is now featured in The Potential in…

View original post 759 more words

Read Full Post »

high water Falls of the Ohio landscape, just downriver from the railroad bridge, Dec. 2013

Today is officially the first day of winter.  At the Falls of the Ohio, the Ohio River is up due to the heavy rain producing thunderstorms that went through our region a couple of days a go.  The high water has me walking the edge of the river with anticipation for signs of anything new.  Today I find a story to share with you.  While the winter solstice has passed, it also that Christmas/Holiday Season time  again that seems to be getting longer and weirder with each passing year.  As proof, I offer this variation of the beloved Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, classic Christmas television special that so many of us have enjoyed since childhood.  This tale from a slightly different reality is set at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana and photographed on site using objects found within the park.  Our tale begins at the water’s edge.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Zombie, Dec. 2013

At this moment, Rudolph has no idea what has happened to him.  He has no recollection of his near escape from the Abominable Snowman.  He was lucky to find a piece of wood big enough to support his weight as he launched himself into the river.  It is widely known that the Abominable Snowman is deathly afraid of water.  While Rudolph was now safe from the snowman he had a river to negotiate and had no basic idea where he was going?  Sometime in the middle of the night it stormed very badly and Rudolf was tossed helplessly into the water.  Many weeks later and with the color washed out of his eyes…Rudolph was coming back to life.

Rudolph heading home, Dec. 2013

Little Rudolph stood up again and propelled by instinct and memory headed down the driftwood line in search of a way home.  Although he couldn’t explain it, there was some hard-wired, deep need to get back to where he originated like a salmon finding just the right stream.  Along the way, a little bit more of what had happened to him crept into his consciousness.  Images of cold white snow and a bearded man in a red suit began to drift across Rudolph’s mind with regularity.  Rudolph still had no idea where he was and every once in a while he would come across something he could identify as being a toy in similar circumstances and he and would investigate it.

muddy toy truck from the Falls of the Ohio

Rudolph with plastic figure, Dec. 2013

Most of the toys Rudolph encountered where too far gone to converse with and he left them behind.  Every once in a while, however, Rudolph would come across other toys like himself who had a very strong need to exist.  They used creative strategies to reinvent themselves.  The first of these hybrid toys that Rudolph encountered were named Pigskin Pete and his pal Handy.

Pigskin Pete and Handy playing catch, Falls of the Ohio, Dec. 2013

Rudolph talks with Pigskin Pete and Handy, Dec. 2013

They were throwing a football back and forth on the sand.  Rudolph approached them and the trio struck up a conversation.  That is how Rudolph found out that they were in the Park of Misfit Toys.  A fabled land purported to be a paradise for toys.  Pigskin Pete and Handy both had fuzzy memories of distant lives that made them wonder if they in fact belonged here now?  That’s when Rudolph made them the offer that if he could get out of this park…he would come back to get them.  The little deer with the zombie eyes continued walking east along the river’s edge.  After a journey of many hours, Rudolf met the Primate Twins for the first time.

Rudolph meets the Primate Twins, Falls of the Ohio, Dec. 2013

Rudolph with Primate Twins, Dec. 2013

The Primate Twins were a sight to behold!  The will to exist among shampoo bottles is strong and through millions of gallons of waters these twin caps found their nearest relatives to form this plastic simian union.  Rudolph told them of others that he has met along the journey and offered the twins the same offer he was offering everybody that if they could help him get out of the park that he would return to rescue them in return.  The twins seemed intrigued and what were the chances of this happening anyway in the first place?  Rudolph sallied forth to the limit of the park and met one last new friend.

RoboBoy and Rudolph, Dec. 2013

Rudolph and RoboBoy at the Falls, Dec. 2013

RoboBoy lived at the land’s margin and knew the river’s ways too.  He offered Rudolph a wooden plank to attempt the dangerous and potentially foolhardy journey back to the North Pole.  If the river didn’t get him there was still the specter of the Abominable Snowman lurking out in the frozen wastes.  Without hesitation and for the second time…Rudolph hurled himself into the cold river and took his chances.  This time…luck would be kinder.

Rudolph the Hex-bolt Nosed Reindeer on the snow, Dec. 2013

The trip across the waters was uneventful and gave Rudolph time to reflect.  By now, he understood that his visions of a bearded man were of Santa Claus himself and Rudolph knew were to find him.   Rudolph’s families were a part of the reindeer elite that pulled Santa’s sleigh.  Those jobs flying across the sky had long been inherited positions and Rudolph…if he wanted it…was next in the long line of Prancers and Dancers.

found plastic Santa Claus on snow, Dec. 2013

Santa didn’t seem surprised to see Rudolph with his red plastic nose again.  In fact, he said that he had been expecting him because the pull of Christmas is a mysterious force in the universe.  Santa agreed to talk to Rudolph and around a small pine tree they huddled together to talk about what constituted the holiday spirit and other philosophical matters.  While they spoke, a heavy snowfall fell upon the land.

Heavy snow covers Rudolph and Santa, Dec. 2013

By morning the snow had finished and Santa agreed to stop by the Park of Misfit toys and offer its inhabitants the chance of being gifted to different owners.  Santa also told Rudolph to be prepared that toys often change their minds and that he might not get quite the answers as he did before.

the meeting of Santa and the MisFit Toys, Dec. 2013

Snow had fallen at the Park of Misfit Toys since Rudolph’s previous visit.  A shadowy snowman figure agreed to escort Santa to the assembled Misfit Toys.

Santa talks to Rudolph about the Park of Misfit Toys, Dec. 2013

On the shores of the Park of Misfit toys Santa declared in full disclosure that he was glad to take anyone away from the park if that were their wish.  He had made Rudolph a promise to help him keep his promise if possible and Santa Claus was going to honor that.  But he also asked if anyone had considered how they had personally arrived at the Park of Misfit Toys?  The prevailing myth is that all you toys were miss manufactured and dropped off here to lead your lives in semi-useful exile ever wanting the love of the other.  The truth Santa declared…is that you were all discarded as trash…not even given the dignity of recycling…you somehow found your way into the river and then here.  You are mass produced and marketed consumer goods that have served your useful lives and more than likely there will be no new owners waiting to embrace you on the other side of this park.  He was speaking from personal experience which made his words all the more convincing.

The Misfit Toys talk over Santa's offer, Dec. 2013

Santa’s words had struck a chord with the Misfit Toys.  They hadn’t even considered that they might not be wanted by somebody across the river.    It was the Primate Twins who piped up that life wasn’t so bad here.  At least they had their own culture as a community of survivors and free thinkers.  Those that still had the desire to exist carried on until the sun finally broke the bonds of their plastic polymers and set them free.  In the end, all the Misfit Toys decided to stay at the park and lead out their existences here and leave their layer in the record of the land.

RoboBoy and Pigskin Pete in snow at the Park of Misfit Toys, Dec. 2013

Rudolph decided to return with Santa and the shadowy snowman to the North Pole.  In the years to come, Santa and Rudolph the Zombie, Red, Plastic, Hex-bolt Nosed Reindeer were involved many Christmas season adventures.  In fact, they went down in history.  Happy Holidays from the Falls of the Ohio!

rudolph, santa, and snowman in the snow, 2013_1_1

Read Full Post »

Fake Food Collection, Nov. 2013

I have so much to be thankful for that I don’t need one particular day set aside to remind me of this.  Nevertheless, I happily will take the next two days off from my day job, hang out with my family, eat, and of course… fiddle with my art projects!  I have an exhibition coming up soon (late January 2014 at the Carnegie Museum of Art and History in New Albany, Indiana) and I have been going through my Falls of the Ohio river junk and thinking about what this show might feature of my work?  It’s going to be a two-person show and so there will be a great space to fill.

I recently went through my various river collections including my Fake Food Collection which is ongoing and I have added many new pieces over the past year.  The Ohio River has been bountiful in fact over a ten-year period, it has been a regular liquid cornucopia.  Although I haven’t counted each item, I’ll wager my Fake Food Collection has about a couple hundred pieces now… all of it collected one piece at a time, off of the riverbank.  It’s interesting to think of this stuff as being a part of the fake food tradition.  I’ve seen examples of fake Japanese sushi that look amazingly like the real thing…but not at the Falls.

After all these years, I’m still blown away…perplexed…morbidly fascinated and repulsed…insert other adjectives here…that so much of this stuff exits and that most of it is made from plastic.  I’m just one person living near a river in the interior of a big country and this is what I’ve found at this single location.  Do other American rivers flow with plastic produce and is it all floating towards the oceans?  It’s so curious that we use a natural resource like petroleum to produce artificial food even if it is intended to be playthings.  It personally strikes me as an affront to nature especially once it materially starts breaking down and merging with the substrates we depend on.  Perhaps some of you wordsmiths out there will put your finger on exactly why this stuff is so provoking?

Okay…enough of that, now where’s the beef?  Where’s the plastic meat the title of this post promised?  I was curious about that myself and so I went through my collection and this is what shook out.  Bon appetite!

Plastic poultry from the Falls of the Ohio, Nov. 2013

Since Thanksgiving here traditionally means roast fowl of some sort…I thought I would start with a couple of roasted birds and drumsticks.  Of course these items are miniature and I realize that a coin for scale would help.  Okay, I’ve found my ruler and if you must know…the biggest object in the above photo is 3.5 inches or 9 centimeters long.  The middle drumstick on the bottom row has a dark patina acquired from spending much time in the river.

plastic turkey or chicken, Nov. 2013

chewed up, plastic roast fowl, Nov. 2013

This last image of roast fowl looks like something (probably the family dog) tried to eat!  Notice the teeth marks on the carcass.  Now that we are done with the appetizer… let’s move on to the fake hamburgers and cheeseburgers.  I know the old salivary glands are probably kicking in now!

plastic hamburgers and cheeseburgers with one plastic crinkle cut french fry, Nov. 2013

plastic hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Nov. 2013

Here’s a couple of shots of the items in question.  In ten years time, the river has washed up and I have found seven cheeseburgers and hamburgers, three loose bun tops, and yes…two crinkle cut french fries (only one is shown) all are made of various plastic recipes.  Several of the burger toys I’m pretty sure were intended as dog toys.  Some of the them still have the little squeaker in the bottom bun.  The others probably came from children’s play sets.  As you can see…they are variously dressed with condiments and the buns go from plain to featuring sesame seeds in white, brown, and black colors.  I have some individual burger portraits too.  Here’s several examples of how you can have it your way.  The larger burgers are roughly life-size to slightly smaller than the real deals.

hamburger with black poppy seeds_1_1

Ahhh…a black poppy-seed bun heavy on the lettuce and tomatoes.

hamburger, plain bun, tomato and lettuce_1_1

Here’s a plain bun, segregate the tomato on one side and the lettuce on the other option.  The meat here is more of a textural suggestion.

plastic hamburger two tomatoes_1_1

This is a gaudy burger with hints of mustard and two layers of tomatoes!

plastic hamburger with seeds, lettuce and tomato_1_1

Not sure if that’s melted yellow cheese or more mustard squeezing over the edge?  Looks de-lish nevertheless!  If you are wondering what artificial food looks like in a natural environment…here are a two images of plastic meat as I found them in place.

Gross cheeseburger with white poppy seeds and river patina

This one has white poppy seeds on the bun, frilly lettuce, and a nice grimy river patina.  Let’s leave the burgers and head into new territory.  First an image of our next plastic meat subset.

conjoined plastic hot dogs from the Falls of the Ohio

I can remember the joyful moment of finding this rare double score.  Two conjoined, Siamese twin plastic hot dogs resting on a bed of Styrofoam and river sticks.  Of course, I had to take a picture!  Now, for a snapshot of my hot dog collection.

Hot dog collection from the Falls with Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile

As you can see…these tube steaks and buns vary in size.  The largest example at the very top has all of its paint gone, but you can see where a fake mustard squiggle would be.  Perhaps some of them are actually intended to be Vienna sausages, but who knows?  One particularly prized find is the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile whistle in the bottom right hand corner.  I’ve propped it up on a plastic french fry to get a better side view.  There are plastic meats that I know are out there (like fake steaks or even slices of plastic pizza with f aux pepperoni), but I have yet to find examples by the river.  I do have a code I go by…unless I find it at the Falls of the Ohio…I won’t compromise my collection with non-Falls items.  It’s a part of the quest and fun of what scrumptious simulacra will turn up next.  Is Rack of Lamb or Pot Roast on the menu…only time will tell?  For now, I will content myself with this Double Decker Dog…Happy Thanksgiving from the Falls of the Ohio.

World famous Double Decker Dog, Nov. 2013

Postscript:  Less than a month after publishing this post…I found plastic hamburger combination #8 in the late December driftwood.  Here’s a couple of images made in the field.

found plastic hamburger, #8, Falls of the Ohio, Dec. 2013

Plastic hamburger #8 as found, Dec. 2013

Read Full Post »

Landscape at the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

This post is the last of this year’s summer posts and documents a walk I made at the Falls of the Ohio State Park one week before autumn officially began.  As you can see by the pictures…it was a very beautiful day filled with all kinds of discoveries.  There was a profusion of yellow-flowering plants of various species including goldenrod and sunflowers.  Here is a detail, I think from the Woodland Sunflower?  I wish I was as confident about plants as I am in identifying animals.  When I break out my flower books, I realize it would aid identification greatly to have an example on hand.  Collecting plants is not allowed within the park limits…so I try to take photos that might be of use in discerning the various closely related species.  Besides, I don’t think pressing these plants flat would even work?  I ask myself, what leaf shape does it have?  Are the leaves serrated, smooth, or hairy and how many rays do the flower heads have and other such questions of concern to the botanist.

Sunflowers at the Falls, Sept. 2013

I suppose I’m more of an imaginative botanist at heart who also appreciates the beauty and variety the many flowers add to the temporal landscape.  I do, however, stumble upon plants that I wonder if anyone else is noticing?  I’ve posted about these anomalies before and as the seasons change, the parade of these “unnatural plants” and “faux flowers” continues.  Consider these fresh blooms.

The Surprising Poinsettia, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

I call this one the “Surprising Poinsettia” because it comes shockingly red and completely unexpected.  Its sepals are rather fabric-like and its stem is grafted upon this sunflower by some unknown means.  The next plant is more subtle.

Orangey-tickseed, Sept. 2013

This is “Orangey-tickseed” and at first blush, one might be tempted to pass over it.  I had to do a double-take on this one, however, my instincts told me something was not quite right here.  Indeed the orange-colored flowers are not at all like the yellow plant it is cohabiting with.  Again, the texture is very much like plastic.  One final plant before moving on to other interesting discoveries.

Pink Sand Lily, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

I found this beautiful flower growing near the river in the sand and I have designated it the “Pink Sand Lily” because I’m not sure what else to call it?  It is for the most part, a low growing plant and the “flower” appears at the terminal end of a wiry green stalk about four inches tall or so.  The flower petals are composed of a string-like fiber while the stamens are hard and have pseudo-pollen on them.  These unusual plants were not my only discoveries on this fine day.  I nearly always find some doll or doll part that the river has washed into here and today was no exception.  I spotted a form in the wood chips and bark bits and went in for a closer look.  Dusting off the form revealed this doll body.

"rubberized" foam doll body, Sept. 2013

This was quite unlike any other doll “body” I’ve found before at the river.  The material was obviously made from a foam-like material, but it had the flexibility of rubber.  Nearby, I also discovered  an unusual serpent.

red, plush toy snake, Sept. 2013

Approximately a foot long, this red plush snake had large black eyes and had just a bit of its tongue sticking out.  This is the first of one of these objects that I have come across .  The river was flowing nearby and I walked over to the edge of the riverbank.  The water level has finally leveled off to more of its seasonal pool and the fossil banks on the Kentucky side were exposed for the first time this year.  Looking along the water’s edge, I came across this Freshwater Drum that an angler caught and released.  Unfortunately, for the fish…it did not survive being captured.  Here is its final portrait.

Freshwater Drum, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) is a widespread fish and common in the Ohio River.  It has several molar-like teeth in its mouth that it uses to crush and eat snails and small clams.  The drum is not considered a desirable food species around here.  Here’s another fish I found on this walk that is also inedible.

red plastic fish bottle, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

The second “fish” I came across was this plastic bottle.  I’m guessing that the bottle may have contained shampoo for children?  Regardless, I was struck by the level of abstraction occurring here.  The tail is minimally represented and the gills are indicated by two lines near the eyes, but there is enough here to suggest a fish.  My next find is mid way between the drum and the plastic bottle being closer to the latter than the former.  Here are two views of it.

The Silvergill, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Silvergill, Sept. 2013, Falls of the Ohio

This is a Silvergill which is closely related to the Iron Gill (which I have posted about previously).  Differences between the two species include size (this fish is smaller) and some of the fins are not the same shape or in the same position.  The Silvergill is much more rarely encountered than its larger cousin.  It is found in water of average to poor quality and often associated with coal and coal dust. It is omnivorous and eats aquatic insect larvae and algae which it grazes off of rocks.  I’m assuming that it washed up here a victim (like the Freshwater Drum) of an angler looking to catch something more worthwhile.  I took a few photos and then moved on.  The fossil beds were beckoning and I could see the resident flock of Black Vultures congregating on the rocks.  No doubt they had discovered a fish or two on their own.  Until next time from the Falls of the Ohio.

Fossil beds and Black Vultures at the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Read Full Post »

Soap Bubble Wand Collection, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Consolidating some of my river finds revealed this fun collection of soap-bubble wands all found within the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  This is many years worth of walking the riverbank and sampling choice bits of plastic and other displaced objects.  All the bubble wands I’ve found thus far are made of plastic.  Most of these wands were sold inside plastic bottles filled with prepared soap-bubble solution.

Detail, Soap Bubble Wand Collection, Sept. 2013

Simply dip the wand into the soap bottle. Remove the wand allowing a film to form over the loop.  Then gently blow air through the soap film and bubbles should result. With this found wand lot however, the bubbles probably wouldn’t be very big or long-lasting.  The soap-bubble wands you can fashion at home with common materials (along with creating your own bubble mix) can produce spectacular results.  These wands were more than likely lost by kids playing near the river.  I’m frequently amazed by the variety of design solutions intended for such a throw away item.  I mean who holds on to these wands to reuse once the bottle is empty?  I did find some novelty items in the mix.  Check these examples out.

Mini Wedding Novelty Soap Bubble wands , Sept. 2013

Here are two mini soap-bubble nuptial wands.  These are usually in tiny plastic bottles left on the guests’ tables.  Blowing bubbles on the newlyweds frequently substitutes for the traditional rice throwing send off.

soap bubble plastic pipes, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

I also found these two soap-bubble pipes.  Personally, I’ve never had much luck making bubbles with pipes.

Plastic Ice Cream Cone bubble wand and bottle, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Plastic Ice Cream Cone Soap Bubble wand and bottle, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

This novelty didn’t look good in the frame, but it is one of the nicer soap bottle with wand items I’ve found.  This fake ice cream cone also has that black river patina suggesting it was out floating around for years before I came across it on these fable Falls shores.

Detail, Star Wand, Sept. 2013

I have a couple of wands that aren’t soap-bubble wands, but since they are wands nevertheless…I keep them in the collection.  The Star Wand is more than likely from a princess costume or magician’s outfit.  The other wand is perhaps more of a plastic scepter.  Originally, the handle lit up with a colored light.  Again, more disposable plastic items.  I’ll keep walking the riverbank a little while longer and I’ll bet I find a few more of these objects to add to the river collection.

found pink plastic bubble wand, Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2013

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: