New Old Playground Pavilion

Old Playground Pavilion

We walked in Tower Grove Park this morning. Our launch was a little bit later than normal, not getting off until ten. I was worried that we hadn’t gotten out early enough to beat the heat, but the weather was fine, at least as long as we were in the shade. That’s the beauty of Tower Grove though, with all of its trees, it is probably the shadiest walk we have, easily beating out Forest Park. We were able to circle Tower Grove, with only brief bouts of full sun. These are halcyon days that we are living, with Anne now retired too. These morning walks with Anne are the highpoint of the day.

Tower Grove Park has been working to revitalize two of its dozen or so historic pavilions, with a million-dollar preservation effort that will add new lighting, improve accessibility and restore the structures. The Turkish Pavilion and Old Playground Pavilion are signature landmarks from the Victorian era and are almost 150 years old. Pictured is the Old Playground Pavilion, where work is expected to be completed this month. The larger and more ornate Turkish Pavilion is not expected to be done until the fall. New lighting is intended to showcase the architecture and allow visitors to host gatherings more safely. Brick pavers and stone thresholds were upgraded to concrete, and tables anchored. Preservation included lead paint abatement, restoring intricate ironwork and wood embellishments, and painting the ornate roofs.

The park’s master plan has similar improvements slated for all of the park’s other pavilions too. In addition to the pavilion work, there are also several other projects underway in the park. It appears that the street lighting in the park is getting an upgrade. Last week when we last walked in Tower Grove there were two men with a mini-backhoe, who were working on the lights. The man who was operating the backhoe had stopped working and was berating the other man for not paying attention. I think that the backhoe guy had cut a line or something. In addition to the lighting operation or maybe part of it, I don’t know, but one of the kickball fields has been festooned with dayglow orange fencing, for tree protection. We’ll have to wait and see what this is all about. Finally, in our ramblings we came upon a field where survey stakes had been planted throughout it. Each stake had cryptic writing on it. I think that they are markers for new tree plantings, but Anne thought that they were too close to each other and existing trees to work well. Time will tell. Your neighborhood volunteer sidewalk superintendents are on the job, at least this week.

Albrecht Nature Playscape

Sequoia Pinecone

Today, we visited the Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape. Located in Forest Park, this 17-acre natural playground feature nine different environments, allowing visitors to connect with nature, through multiple facets. Located on the backside of Government Hill, near the World’s Fair Pavilion, its two years of development culminated in the Playscape’s grand opening just before we returned to town. This free destination includes sand play areas, willow tunnels, stump steppers, boulders, rocks and much more. Today is a hot one, so water features were a big hit with the kids. Water must be hand pumped by the children. One particular watering hole had not only water, but also mud. Thoughtful moms had the foresight to bring a change of clothes. The Playscape cascades down one side of Government Hill, with paths connecting the different areas. Its opening was delayed due to Covid, but this only gave many of the plantings more time to establish themselves. Although, the Playscape opened to the public last week, work on it is still ongoing. A flatbed truck full of young trees was being unloaded as we toured the grounds. The Playscape is a joint venture between the City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever, a charity dedicated to the improvement of the park and of which Anne is a member. Unrelated to the Playscape, the photo with this post shows Anne holding a Sequoia pinecone. Mighty trees come from a small beginning.

Almost, But Not Quite

Tommy Edman

The Cardinals had sort of a fussy game on Sunday. It rained in the first inning, but that didn’t stop play. The Reds managed to score during this period of wetness and went on to score in the second and third innings. After three the Redbirds were down seven to nothing. Thing’s kind of quieted down until the Cardinals came roaring back and scored seven runs in one inning to tie up the game, but Saint Louis couldn’t close the deal and allowed one more Cincinnati run that gave them the lead again and eventually the game. This loss made for five in a row, leaving the Cardinals in a terrible slump. People were kind of fried after sitting in the hot sun all afternoon. Forty days in the desert meant that I didn’t get sunburned. I didn’t have to cook dinner, because we ordered pizza instead. Joanie joined us then. This morning, we went to the zoo. Bathing elephants were probably the highlight of our visit. For lunch we hit Blueberry Hill and then CRAB departed town.

Bath Time

CRAB

Deer Way, Sheldon B Harvey, 2016

CRAB arrived Friday evening. I fixed my salmon and asparagus dish, which was a success. Saturday, we walked to a nearby park in Clayton. The sign there said that the playground was for ages 2-12, but we tried it anyway. In the end it must have been a little intimidating. Later, we went to the Science Center, mainly because it was air conditioned. A little Dupo display was a big hit, so when we got home again, I dug out some our old Lego too. Chicken Panko, roasted Brussel Sprouts and Tater-Tots for dinner. Today, brunch, ballgame and birthday.

Sea Otter Mom and Pup

Elkhorn Slough Sea Otter Mom and Pup

Dave and Maren landed in San Jose on time and aux luggage. We arrived early enough to figure out the airport parking and met them at baggage claim. We got lost leaving the airport and ended up having to go through Santa Cruz, which entailed lots of traffic. Do you know your way from San Jose? Anyway we made it back to the house, where Dad and Chris were there to greet them and then whisk us all off to the Rio Grill in Carmel for a sumptuous dinner. Dad’s birthday cake and an evening of hearts substituted for the usual British TV murder fare. The next morning, David, Maren, Anne and I launched south on the Pacific Coast Highway. First stop, Point Lobos, always a favorite. We spent a couple of hours there hiking and hunting sea beasties. Then we drove to Nepenthe in Big Sur, which as always was fantastic. On the was back, we stopped at Andrew Molina State Park, a first for me. We did a one mile hike to the beach. Coming and going we had to ford a creek, where all save Anne went barefoot. Saturday, we went to Moss Landing, in the center of the bay. We lunched at Phil’s and even met Phil there. Our main agenda item was the Elkhorn Slough boat tour, which was a huge success and a baby otter bonanza.