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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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TTerrace Terraces: 1979

TTerrace Terraces: 1979

Actually, my father's terraces, and there he is at the upper right, at age 77 still taking care of this whole place. Pretty much everything you see here exclusive of the house is his doing. The basic grading had been done by the time my folks bought the place in 1941, but over the years he put in all the pathways, stairs, trees, bushes and other plantings, here as well as the other half of the property. This just most of the back yard, site of the orchard and vegetable gardens. He's preparing one of the three tiers of the latter for planting. I think those are strawberries already sprouting. Later there'd be beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and squash. The fruit trees include apples, peaches, plums, prunes, apricots, figs and cherries. The one in the center casting a shadow on the bank of pink-blossoming oxalis is an avocado that grew for decades before finally producing some finger-sized fruit. A row of blackberries follows the stairway, which is lined by amaryllis. When, at the age of 11, I incorporated the yard as the City of Penton, I named those pathways, left to right: Plum Blvd., Compost Rd. (because the compost heaps used to be there) and Garage Ave. (because that's where the stairs went). The square thing above the avocado tree is the platform of my observatory. This Kodachrome slide was at the end of the roll, hence the phantom image of a batch tag or something at the right edge. View full size.

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As glorious as these stepped gardens are, the emotionally upsetting part is wondering, 'What happens to my life's work once I'm not there to do it?' One can only hope there is a Sancho Panza in the wings to give worth to our endeavours.

Oxalis again

My mother used to hate Oxalis because when the leaves/stems were tugged from the soil, invariably the bulk of the little bulbs were left behind to sprout again. Poor Mum would get very frustrated if we kids tried to help by pulling out the plants!

Wherefore Oxalis?

bhk: My father used to cultivate the slopes of the orchard area by turning over the soil - by hand, with a shovel - each spring in order to control the weeds. A lot of work, especially as one's age advanced. Hell, I griped plenty as a teen when he talked me into helping out. So planting oxalis, and in another area dichondra, accomplished the same thing but without the back-breaking labor. And it looked pretty. Al-Thib: I appointed myself City Manager and Fire Chief, but Mayor and Police Chief were elective offices; Father usually Mayor and Mother Police Chief. There; that ought to reveal something about our family. We also voted in weekly taxes for a while, 10 cents/head, which we later applied to the purchase of a barbecue - er, grill - as seen in an earlier submission of mine.

Why the oxalis?

What was the reason behind the cultivation of oxalis?
(We classify that as a weed Down Under.)
Was it just that your dad hadn't cleared those garden beds for crops?

Tterrace, you rock!

tterrace, my only childhood regret is not having a kid like you with such an active imagination living next door. Or down the road, in my case [I grew up in the country with the nearest neighbor about 1/4 mile away].

I like the idea of making the backyard an incorporated city, and naming the "streets". Were you the mayor of Penton, or was that your dad's job?

Anyway, keep those hits coming. Always a treat waiting to see what you'll come up with next.

A gardening dad

Tterrace, I love your photos! This reminds me of my dad, who was 74 in 1979. He and my mom both grew up on Norway's Atlantic coast, and my dad was always torn between being a fisherman and being a gardener. So he did both. Our garden was just a little garden behind a little house in a little town in Montana, but I remember sitting out there on summer evenings eating baby carrots, pulled from the ground and washed off under the hose; the Norwegian gooseberries when they were ripe; the beets and turnips and rutabagas and parsnips and all of those things nobody eats anymore. And right next to the garden was his smoker for trout and perch and salmon. Wow. I didn't realize how much I missed it all.

Teensy church

The area with the church is down the hill beyond the left edge of the picture. It'd be obscured by trees and bushes and probably be too small to make out anyway, being only 18 inches tall at most. Oh, and in my recital of vegetables in the garden, I forgot asparagus. Yuck.

Your beautiful little church

I looked for it but didn't see it in this picture. Was it in another part of the yard, or am I not looking in the right spot? What nice place to grow up.

A Natural Talent

Your father was gifted as a born landscape architect, although I'm pretty sure he didn't consider himself as such. There is so much to see here, so many facets of gardening are represented and so much hard work that must have taken many years to develop, not to mention the physical effort and time he put in to beautify and create this bountiful backyard. My parents and grandparents did similar cultivation of the earth's rewards, nothing as elaborate as yours, but I did not inherit their penchant for growing things. I wonder if youngsters today even realize that most of their food comes from seeds that require loving care, rain and sunshine to grow into delicious nourishment and/or beautiful flowers (food for the soul). Your father had to be extremely proud of his creation, it is quite magnificent.

Olde School

Your dad was very traditional: you have land, you till it and raise food on it. No square meter was wasted. Classic. It's a great insight into your father and what life must have been like growing up. You were very lucky, Sir.

What a wonderful place!

This would have been an awesome playground for an imaginative kid.

When I was a kid in the '60s we had a playhouse in our back yard and we made little trails to ride our bikes to and from the "house." It was nowhere near as big as this, though. It was also pretty much barren since we lived in the Mojave Desert.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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