Contemplation I repost

Climb down the cliff stair, 223 of them, to this quiet place.

Click Me for this 2019 autumn wonder post.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Worker Homes

The token system

Ten on the map is listed as “casas obreros”, translated to English as “workers homes.”

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Abandoned since at least the 1960s, the homes are completely empty of furnishings and show the wear of sixty years.

We walked the dusty streets, grateful for the calm atmospheric conditions, imagining what life was like for the workers of Humberstone.

They had each other amidst the vast emptiness of the desert.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Little Red Maple

First to flower, first to turn

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) is tolerant of diverse conditions, making it a perfect choice for this  spot on the short of Beebe Lake.

Maple Syrup

Even though it is not a “Sugar Maple, early spring, the sap can be boiled down to syrup.

Turning Tree

The first to flower in spring and the first to turn in autumn.

From the Top Down

This maple turns from the top down and is already bare for most top branches.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Perfect Afternoon On Beebee Lake repost

Anticipating Our Tenth Wedding Anniversary

After work on a 2008 Friday afternoon in October we sped over to Beebee Lake on the Cornell University Campus to catch the late afternoon glow……

Click Me for the complete post with photographs.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Look into Humberstone

The token system

A spanish language map offers some insights into Officio Santiago Humberstone, what it was like to live there.

Number 14, “Pulperia” is translated by Google Translate into the English language as “Grocer’s Shop,” a term that does not catch the flavor of such establishments that are a combination convenience store and barroom.

In the world of the remote saltpeter mining of the Atacama desert, these were company stores and communal dining facilities serving the population of isolated settlements.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Currency was not accepted by the pulperia, only tokens. Generally of wood, issued by the company as sole payment to workers, the token system. Each oficinas salitreras (Saltpeter Village) had it own token. More than 2,000 tokens from these systems are known and collected today.

The token system intended to provide goods and services to workers at a rate to avoid inflation as well as to tie laborers to a site. During the 1907 shutdown and massacre of workers and family tokens were one of the demands: *While the tokens are being abolished and pay is starting to be given in legal tender, each oficina, its Manager representing it and pledging compliance, shall agree to accept tokens from every other oficina on a par with its own, paying a fine of 50,000 pesos for every refusal to do so.”

We will visit the communal kitchen, the swimming pool (piscina) and other offerings of Humberstone village in later postings.

Here are shots of some of the ore processing and refining equipment.

This mysterious device has a personality all its own.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Wikipedia “Pulperia,” “Santa MarĂ­a School massacre.”

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Caliche mining: https://www.sqm.com/sqmeninfografias/eng/caliche.html

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Humberstone Human Earthscrapers

White Gold Collection

Fog over the Atacama desert was mentioned in a previous post, a connection with water in this the driest desert on earth, were no rain falls year to year, is difficult to fathom. Three million years have passed this land in these conditions. Warm air from the land interacts with the cold Humbolt flowing north off the Chilean coast to condense atmospheric water into micro droplets too light to fall as precipitation, these waft over the desert. Over eons, the ocean minerals dissolved in the micro droplets accumulate

Caliche ore is the result. Different that the hard sedimentary rock in that it is light enough in color to be called “white gold”, the appearance is the same was the following photograph from our visit that same day to ancient geoglphs at Pintados. Look closely to see the geoglphs on the hills (you will have most posts about these later).

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Ore collection step of the mining operation was to gather the caliche ores off the desert surface, sometimes literally bending down to pick up chunks such as in the photograph. Other times breaking the surface apart with a pick and shovel or a jack hammer, or explosions. In the following photograph is a 1.5 ton ore cart. The cart rim is a little below my shoulder.

The workers, who were from Bolivia (average height 5’3″), Chile (average height 5’7″), and Peru (average height 5’4″), would lift each chunk to chest height then up and over the cart rim……

….to fill the cart. Three mules pull the full carts up a ramp where the gate, at rear of cart is opened, and the ore tumbles down to a railroad wagon (photograph, below). The full wagons are pushed to another ramp where a large rail car is filled and/or the processing site.

We did not visit the processing equipment over at Santa Laura. I recall the guide telling up the enormous machine that ground the caliche ran day and night with a tremendous noise and dust (there are photographs on the World Heritage pages).

Here is a wonderful painting of the entire process from mining to shipping from Iquique.

Saltpeter Production from Mining, Processing to Shipping

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Wikipedia “Humbolt Current”

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Caliche mining: https://www.sqm.com/sqmeninfografias/eng/caliche.html

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Historical Humberstone

History through primitive art.

American west states have sites former towns, now deserted, that popped up and abandoned when conditions changed. Called “Ghosttowns”, Humberstone, named in honor of the 1872 founder, James Thomas Humberstone, is the Chilean version. It is easy to feel old when you were, as I was, five years old when this place became a ghost in 1958.

Forty seven (47) years later, July 17, 2005, the name Humberstone was inscribed in the book of World Heritage sites, the site degraded by years of scavenging by humans and attack by the elements.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

We experienced the work of years that day,February 2016. Here is an overview of saltpeter mining and refining processes, in a detailed painting…..

….the physical layout…

…..and historical timeline.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Humberstone Entrance

Into the Pampa

Humberstone is one of two locations, 1 kilometre apart, of this World Heritage Site.

Santa Laura conserves industrial installations used for saltpeter processing such as a saltpeter grinder that remain intact today,

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Humberstone demonstrates the settlements, such as the living quarters, public spaces and the regular grid pattern of the Camp, with a main square around which communal buildings are clustered. There was such a dense congregation of people it formed an urban environment.

We traveled the 34 miles from the Port of Iquique to explore Humberstone then continue on 32 miles on the Pan American highway, the world’s longest “motorable road”, to view ancient geoglphs at Pintados within Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve. Tamarugal is the least populated Chilean province with 2 people per square kilometer, the bulk of the population in scattered settlements and the capital city, Pozo Altamonte, 15,711 souls compared to 22,531 for the province.

A human touch, handwritten signs are part of Humberstone’s charm.

“Of. Salitrera S. Humberstone” means Santiago Humberstone Saltpeter Village

“Of. Salitrera S. Humberstone” means Santiago Humberstone Saltpeter Village named for James Thomas Humberstone, the founder of the mine. Santiago means Saint James int the Spanish language. “Iago” is Spanish for James “Sant” is saint..

Wait a second, $2000 for seniors (“Tercera Edad”)?? It caught our eye and as is obvious from the opening photographs, everyone in the party was in this category.

Oh, They omitted a decimal. What’s with three decimal places? This and the hand drawn border are wonderful. “To err is human, to forgive divine.” –Alexander Pope.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lib Slope Hickory

the largest and brightest yellow canopy on Libe Slope.

Libe Slope

Cornell University is on a west-facing hill above Cayuga lake.  Libe Slope is between the West Campus and Quadrangle / Libraries.

Besides the exercise of walking the 18 degree incline several times each day,  Cornell students and alumni remember The Slope for autumn color.

Built in 1868, McGraw Hall has the honor of having the first of Cornell’s towers. The building is built of Ithaca stone and is home to the American Studies Program, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, and Archaeology Intercollege Program. The first floor of McGraw Hall houses the McGraw Hall Museum, a collection of roughly 20,000 objects from around the globe used for teaching by the Anthropology Department.

Hickory

This is a Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra),  the largest tree  according to a 2009 Campus Tree Inventory (see link, below).

Seen from the north on a cloudy October day, this Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) is the largest tree on the Cornell Campus, at 79 inches in diameter.

This hickory grows south of the Johnson Museum and among the autumn glories, it is the largest and brightest yellow canopy on Libe Slope.

Contrast

I remember this hickory for the contrast between the canopy and trunk, the way the clumps of yellow hang from dark boughs.  An overcast day is the best to capture this spectacle.  October 20, 2012 provided both bright sun and dark, rolling autumn clouds.  I waited on the north side, sheltered from the glare of the sky, for these perfect moments.

Leaves and Nuts

The pignut hickory is native to these Eastern United States.  It is known to favor moist slopes and this specimen has thrived on The Slope.  The ground beneath it is thick with nuts.

One week later as Hurricane Sandy approached the east coast

Just one week later, late afternoon on a sunny Friday as hurricane Sandy approached the east coast the hickory has fewer, tawny golden leaves.

Later in October the bright yellow leaves of the Libe Slope Hickory darken to a tawny gold. The Johnson Museum is in the right background.

Wonderful Flow of Limbs among Gold

Seen from the north on a cloudy October day, this Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) is the largest tree on the Cornell Campus, at 79 inches in diameter.

References

A Photo Tour of Key Buildings at Cornell University by Allen Grove

Websites

Cornell Tree Inventory

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Into the Atacama Desert

where the Mars Rover was tested

NASA uses the rugged terrain of the Atacama as an analog for Mars. There the Mars Rover was tested.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

These photographs, taken from our tour bus….

….enroute to Humberstone World Heritage Site….

Northeast corner of Manuel Bulnes and Oscar Bonilla

Speak for themselves.

Marble memorial to traffic accident victim.

Click me for the next post of this series.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Website: mars.nasa.gov/resources/8351/atacama-landscape/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved