Week 39 – #2 Outside the Box

As I stated in my previous post, the themes are requiring more thought for how to meet the theme.  I am going to stretch this theme just a bit.  The box is one that I remember growing up – the box of Borax used to wash clothes.  I remember waiting until the box would be empty so we would get another box – and another plastic model piece to the 20 mule team.  I remember because that model sat on our tv for years and I had to dust it.  I digress.  Do you remember the 20 mule team borax or Borateem or Boraxo hand soap?

The most profitable and longest sustained mining activity in Death Valley was for talc and borate.  Borax deposits discovered in 1873, were first successfully promoted by W.T. Coleman.  He built the Harmony Borax Works and developed the famous 20 mule team wagons that hauled the processed mineral 165 miles across the desert to the railroad at Mojave.  The Harmony plant went out of operation in 1888 when Coleman’s financial empire collapsed, but the borax was still processed by the Pacific Coast Borax Company.    The 20-mule team symbol was first used in 1891.Twenty-mule teams were teams of eighteen mules and two horses attached to large wagons that ferried the borax from 1883 to 1889.

The twenty-mule-team wagons were designed to carry 9 metric tons of borax ore at a time. The rear wheels measured seven feet high, with wheels made of one-inch-thick iron. The wagon beds measured 16 feet long and were 6 feet deep; constructed of solid oak, they weighed 7,800 pounds empty; when loaded with borate, the total weight of the mule train was 73,200 pounds.

The first wagon was the trailer, the second was “the tender” or the “back action”, and the tank wagon of water for the mules, brought up the rear. With the mules, the caravan stretched over 180 feet.  No wagon ever broke down in transit on the desert due to their construction.  The 20 mule team made a number of special appearances with the last one in 1999 in the Rose Parade.

On my trip to Death Valley, there it was – a wagon from one of the borax mule teams.  So here it is – in real life – outside the box.

Borax Wagon


Week 38 – #10 Workers Present

Taking photographs of people is something I did years ago, and now I spend most of my time photographing nature.  The themes are getting down to the ones that are getting tougher to meet.  Workers Present is one of these.  Fortunately, my cruise on the Island Windjammers’ ship  Sagitta has answered this one.  I have a volume of photographs of the crew doing their jobs.  With so many to choose, from dropping the anchor to handling the sails, I decided to go with one, that would mean more to you the viewers.  Here are two members of this fine crew looking back towards the wheel house as the sunset lite up the horizon.  Everyone including “the workers” enjoy a view like this. Now where is my Rum Punch!Sagitta workers present

Week 37 – #50 Its Bent or Twisted

I have  been driving by a tree every day that  is all twisted up, but of course, I do not have my camera with me.  This prompted me when I was in the Caribbean to remember this particular theme.  On Sint Maarten (Dutch side) there is a beach – sunrise beach.  It is so named because it is the beach to catch sunrise.  There is a lovely cove and the parasailing and wind surfers are out in full force just beyond the waves off the right just outside my frame.  I was not there to photograph them, and I did not have a long enough lens (400 plus 1.4 converter was still not enough other than to show them as a colorful blip).  It was this wind shaped tree.  The leaves are only on one side, which would not provide much for shade for the one slat rope swing.  Try I may, everytime I was driven to this beach, there was always a car parked under it, until we were leaving for our cruise.  Unfortunately it wasn’t sunrise, but it was still a lovely view and you can imagine what this poor tree has lived through to have all its branches twisted to one side.

Bent or Twisted

Week 36 – # 15 decay

I thought about what to show for decay.  Everyone seems to be picking old cars, buildings, etc.   When I came across this remnant of a tumbleweed in Death Valley, it just stood out to me.  This plant that was broken down in the heat and land conditions of abundance of minerals in the ground, left the bottom branches in this pattern on the ground, breaking down into fibers.  Earth absorbing the last remains.  decay

Week 35 – #27 Open Wide

At the Sarasota Wine and Balloon Festival this morning for the balloon launch.  Unfortunately, the wind was a bit too high so no launching.  They did inflate 3 balloons for us but as quick as they went up, they also deflated.

Here is the top of one of those balloons – opening wide – with the two men putting the top on it.

open wide Here is a couple more shots of the ones that inflated this morning for us.

a remax balloons at srq a three balloons at srq a pumpkin balloons at srq


Adding to this post – from the Balloon glow held Sat evening.

a balloon glow2 a balloon glow