St. Patrick’s Day

The nation turns green today – food, drinks, clothing, rivers – and we feast on Irish Soda Bread, corned beef & cabbage, and perhaps have a drink or two, and wish each other Irish blessing. While we do this, it is important to remember that the Irish were among the waves of immigrants to New York who toiled for low wages, lived in sordid conditions, and struggled on a daily basis to make end’s meet and to make the lives of their children and grandchildren better than their own. Let’s be grateful to everyone who fought so hard, and respect those who continue to fight hard for better lives ahead. Are you Irish? Where from? With a name like O’Shea, I can’t hide the Irish (not that I would!)

Previous St. Patrick’s Day posts on PiP: Irish Soda Bread & A brief history of St. Patrick’s Day & an Irish blessing.

 

 

Preservation is…

Preservation is Sexy. Yes, you read it here. Actually, Bernice Radle of Buffalo’s Young Preservationists proclaimed it first during her TED talk. You go girl!

Photo courtesy of Bernice Radle.

Photo courtesy of Bernice Radle.

What does it mean? It’s exciting. It’s enticing. It’s smart. It’s forward-thinking. It’s loving. It’s caring. It’s sensitive. It’s beautiful. Preservation is the best. It’s everything, and cares about everyone and the built environment. Share your love of preservation. What would you say?

Preservation Photos #213

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A vineyard with a historic farmstead in the background in South Hero, VT. The sun sets over the horizon, and the future looks bright.

The end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 swiftly approaches. A new year brings a fresh start, a clean slate, and good reasons for taking on new challenges. We savor the good, reflect on the less-than-good, and do our best to bring our best selves into the new year. I love a new year.

What are your thoughts on 2013, or your resolutions for 2014? Wishing you the happiest, brightest, and healthiest new year.

Merry Christmas Eve

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Flamingos live in my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have time to relax, unplug, enjoy good company, and spend time around a beautiful Christmas tree. If you’re looking for some holiday entertainment, check out a few Christmas links.

The original 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (watch the entire film for free).

The most recent dialect quiz from The New York Times. (Good family fun, avoiding politics and religion.)

 A photo of the first (1931) Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. (Have you been to Rockefeller Center?)

An O’Shea family Christmas tree (with my sister Sarah for scale, before we decorate).

Speaking of trees, did you catch the post on Christmas Tree sale typology?

A delicious cookie recipe: candy cane twists. (Always a favorite.)

Eggnog news story and recipe. (Yum!)

Past Preservation in Pink posts about Christmas.(Shopping to trees, carols, decorations, and more.)

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Enjoy the holiday. 

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Christmas on Ice

Five winters in, and this is my first Vermont ice storm. So far, most people seem to be spared. Almost one inch of ice blankets northern Vermont today, resulting from an ice storm that moved across the region over the weekend. Some are without power. Some are covered in ice. Lucky ones have snow. And some just have rain. The weather is crazy. On Saturday afternoon, the temperatures in Burlington and Montpelier (only 38 miles apart via I-89) was incredibly different – see below.

Saturday's varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it's also extreme.

Saturday’s varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it’s also extreme.

Freezing rain continued to fall off and on Saturday and Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Burlington and the rest of northern Vermont was one sheet of ice, especially my street, driveway, and front steps. Here are some photos from the ice weekend.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

The front steps became a slide of ice!

The front steps became a slide of ice!

I had to chisel out my car...that is no exaggeration.

I had to chisel out my car…that is no exaggeration.

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Christmas in Burlington.

Christmas in Burlington.

This week’s round of posting will be Christmas-y. Hope you and yours have fun days planned, safe travels, a warm house and no ice!

Christmas Tree Commerce Space Typology

Preservationists discuss and observe how space is used in communities, from parks to historic buildings to infill development or more recently, pop up spaces such as parklets and the food truck phenomenon.  Use of available space varies by season. Following Thanksgiving, space in and out stores displays and sells Christmas décor, including trees. (Okay, corporate America begins peddling Christmas paraphernalia in September.) Christmas tree sales are common sights this time of year, but are not noticeable for the rest of the year.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are searching for the perfect Christmas tree with my parents and sisters. Inevitably, it took hours.  It was cold. And we always chose a tree that was too big for the minivan and too tall for our 12’ high ceiling in the living room. And, of course, the tree always had some strange shape to it. But with enough ornaments and lights, the tree looked perfect in the end. Most years we cut down a tree at a tree farm, except for off years when trees were sparse and too expensive. Then we’d head to the local garden center and wander around the lot of trees there, standing them up to get opinions and compare and contrast our options.

Where do you buy your tree? Do you enjoy trekking through the woods or do you prefer choosing a tree that is already cut? There are many options if you’re looking for a live Christmas tree. Christmas trees are sold everywhere. Find them at the corner gas station, in the town green, outside churches and schools, outside retail stores, on front lawns, at farmers’ markets, on a farm, in a store, and more.

Christmas sales are operations of seasonal business. Trees are sold in seasonal conversion of flexible space. These spaces come in varying styles and subsets. These are seasonal conversions of flexible space. I offer this typology for your consideration as you are out and about this holiday season.

 Type One: Retail Stores

Retail stores selling trees are easy to find. Convenience stores, local hardware stores, garden centers, and big box stores are most likely to sell trees. The format will vary, depending on the subtype.

  • Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. Trees will be lined up against the building, with a sign advertising the trees for sale. Choose your tree and pay inside. This would be good if you’re in a hurry.
Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Tree Shopping. This type is affiliated with retail stores, from your local garden center to the big box store. With this type, the trees are usually sold within an enclosed area and there are more trees available than Subtype A. You enter through the store and pay inside. You can choose a tree quickly or browse amongst the aisles of trees.

Type Two: Tree Lots

Tree lots are converted spaces, more specifically spaces that do not serve any retail purpose during the remainder of the year. These spaces are simply constructed.

  • Subtype A: Tree farmstand. This type can be thought of as a Christmas tree farmstand. A farmer could have trees leaning on wood supports with a sign advertising trees for sale. These trees are locally grown and harvested.
Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a  farmer's front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a farmer’s front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. Type B is space converted in an open lot or open space on a lot, other than a residential property. The lot might be the gas station down the road or the church parking lot. Trees are supported by 2x4s nailed together to form bents, and are arranged in aisles. Work lights or Christmas light strands strung together light these lots, offering a festive glow to Christmas tree selection. Signs advertise trees for sale.
Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Three: Tree Farms

Tree farms, where you can cut-your-own tree or choose a precut tree, come in all shapes and sizes. Some farms spread for acres and acres, baling trees, serving hot chocolate, selling wreaths. Others are small operations without any frills.

  • Subtype A: The no frills tree farm. This type offers tree hunters the opportunity to cut down their own trees, probably providing saws and assistance for tree loading, but nothing else. Signs will direct you to the tree farm. Drivers park on the grass and head into the tree farm. Trees are not previously cut.
Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities. This one is located in Charlotte, VT.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

  • Subtype B: The Christmas extravagance farm. – This type of tree farm brings out all the bells and whistles: sleds, wagon rides, Santa Claus, Christmas gifts, a tree baler, hot chocolate & cider for sale. It’s a Christmas outing for the whole family.
Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You're looking at a 14' Christmas tree, a classic O'Shea choice.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You’re looking at a 14′ Christmas tree, a classic O’Shea choice.

Don’t be fooled, however. The size of the operation does not necessarily correspond to the price of the tree. Cost is reflected in geographic location and the availability of trees. What do you think? Do you have additional types or subtypes to add? Perhaps your area of the country is different for Christmas trees. I’d love to hear. Happy tree choosing!

Vermont’s Christmas Tree

Each year the Governor of Vermont hosts the lighting of the Christmas tree, which sits on the cascading granite steps of the Vermont State House. Everyone is invited to hear Christmas carols by schoolchildren, listen to a few words by the Governor and then enjoy the decorated interior of the State House with cookies and cider.

Montpelier was graced with a balmy 45 degree afternoon on December 5, 2013 and many Vermonters joined Governor Peter Shumlin. The carolers were children from Westminster, VT.

The Vermont State House prior to the start of the tree lighting ceremony.

The Vermont State House prior to the start of the tree lighting ceremony.

And the tree is lit!

And the tree is lit! This year’s tree is 40′ tall from Waitsfield, VT.

The tree inside the State House was decorated by volunteers.

The tree inside the State House was decorated by volunteers.

The chandelier acted as a tree star.

The chandelier acted as a tree star.

A beautiful tree!

A beautiful tree!

Handmade ornaments include historic photographs of the State House.

Handmade ornaments include historic photographs of the State House.

A few more historic photographs. Clarification: reproductions, not actual historic photos.

A few more historic photographs. Clarification: reproductions, not actual historic photos.

The State House demonstrates beautiful Greek Revival architecture. The ceiling is spectacular. Here everyone is enjoying cookies and cider in the main foyer.

The State House demonstrates beautiful Greek Revival architecture. The ceiling is spectacular. Here everyone is enjoying cookies and cider in the main foyer. Abraham Lincoln observes.

Merry Christmas Vermont!

Merry Christmas Vermont!

Thank you to Governor Shumlin for hosting the Christmas Tree Lighting. And to the staff (fellow preservationists) who decorated (David, Tracy, Thad and volunteers) – the State House looks even more beautiful this time of year. What a lovely way to begin the holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving and Home

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and in the O’Shea household we’re busy watching the parade, drinking coffee, baking, talking, and hanging out, enjoying one of the few times per year when all of us are together. Morning sunshine in this small 1957 suburban ranch house – my childhood home – is always a loving place to be, no matter how old I am. No matter where you are – your own home or the home of friends and family, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Take time today to give thanks and count your blessings.

Last week we began talking about home (here and here), and many readers left comments discussing how they think about home. Everyone’s thoughts were interesting to read, and collectively they show the importance of home and similarities between us all. Check tomorrow for more.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you, all, for being a part of the Preservation in Pink world and a part of my life. I’m grateful to live in such a wonderful time and to know, whether in “real life” or social media life, all of you.

Previous Thanksgiving Day posts:

Thank You to Our Veterans

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To those who served the United States of America and our citizens, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We in America live the good lives we do because of your sacrifice and your patriotism.

If you see a Veteran today, thank him or her.