It’s clear that someone removed a week in either July or August because, suddenly, there is now only one week remaining in the summer season.  Shame!  Something else to blame on Sandy?

This past weekend was wonderful;  in the sixties at night, and bright, clear skies and northerly winds in the daytime.  But they’re a sign that someone’s bringing the check soon and I’m overdue for posting some summer snapshots.

Pearl and I still have this kind of a scene during early morning coffee on Grampa’s deck.  Near, in the copse on Mordecai Island is the Great Blue Heron which seeks out that spot for the early morning sun.  Awakening, four and a half miles away, is Tuckerton Beach.

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We continued the post-Sandy cleanup.  My son-in-law, Bob, has worked hammer and tong to replace the wallboard in the flooded first floor, and he has done so with a half-height surface of beach-ey beadboard.  Looks nice.  Outside, Sigrid worked to clean the planting beds and prune the Crepe Myrtles.  We were delighted to see them come into bloom.  I had to protect the rambler roses, however, as the sense was that they should be torn out.  They must have heard that because they yielded beautiful blooms.

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Paddle boarding has become popular both off of the beach and, more so, in the bay waters.  I see these groups and singles going by frequently.  Once there was a solo with his dog on the bow of the board.  Here it looks as though the babysitter didn’t show this morning, or is that the babysitter?  Daughter Sigrid has been out a couple times, making the 1.5 mile circumnavigation of Mordecai Island.

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Storms come in summer, some impressive with scary wind and lightning.

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There were rainy days.  The Black Pearl pirate ship sails daily from Beach Haven into the waters of Little Egg Harbor bay.  This was a sad trip, however, as the heavens opened.  Most of the passengers crowded the poop deck for shelter (please, that’s from the French for stern, la poupe) but some seemed to enjoy being at one with the elements.

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This is the once proud Sultan, fisher of all manner of seafood, sailed by two generations of the Cotov family.   Friends of ours here remember going down to the boatyard on Friday nights and buying fresh lobster right from the boat.  Several years ago, the last to sail her, the late Nick Sr., was hard at work caulking and painting her on the scaffold.  I asked him if he planned to launch her.  He answered’ “Yep.  As soon as the ocean comes cross the island she’ll go in. ”  Well, Sandy came and went and I’m really surprised that Sultan didn’t go with her as there was certainly enough water under her.  Here she continues to age amidst her eclectic setting, including many of her lobster traps.

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On the side of the shop at the landing is this salute to Kate, wife of the first Sultan owner, Sam Cotov.   Kate lived for more than a century, passing away only a few years before Nick, Sr.  Young Nicky who makes his living in part from slip rentals and wholesale bait keeps the window box tended.

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Finally, yes, we do have some great sunsets over Mordecai and distant Tuckerton.  I was sitting in my living room recently when I noticed the warm glow of another production sunset coming through a nearby window.   The stained glass panel is one I described in a May post, and can be seen further under the Stained Glass Work tab at the top of the page.  Anyway, it was a serendipitous happening of warm sunset, structured clouds, reflection from the water, and the panel.

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It’s been a good summer for me.  The kids, their three dogs and their cat left last week to restart the off-island life.   That’s always a melancholy event but….some of them are coming back.  Granddaughter Maddy moved back to her second year at Cornell but granddaughter Gretchen doesn’t leave for UCLA until late in September.  So, the family will be back with me in the coming weeks to share the beauty of fall’s arrival.



In describing my move a year ago I mentioned that I had dragged along my stained glass workbench and my inventory of glass and related supplies.  In December I added a page to this journal (see tab at top) talking about some of my work over the years.  Well, the well has been dry for a long time with life getting in the way but I finally cranked out a new piece:

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The bevels have been on the bench for several years but it was now time.   The finished panel measures 13″ by 24″.  This may be my last bevel piece as they are more difficult than they look.  The difficulty lies in (1) getting the bevelled pieces to fit together in the lead came channels that provide rigidity, and (2) cutting the four curves in each of the four corner pieces and fitting them to the bevel came so that there are no light leaks.  Bad stuff happens and I had to recut one corner piece.

I’m glad I did the piece as the bevels gather the sunlight beautifully.



Barbara and I recently took a drive up to the shops of Peddler’s Village in Bucks County.  One of them specializes in unique crafts pieces which they import from all over the world.  A set of lamp shades and lamp globes caught my eye, each made of tiny pieces of glass handlaid into a matrix material.  Couldn’t walk past it.  Another candidate for my placemat series.

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One of the things I enjoy here at the Old Folks Farm is the occasional appearance of deer.  Since my townhouse is up against some woods and a trail they seem to be comfortable passing by.  I’m sure there are gardeners here who are unhappy about the damage to shrubs and trees, and I would be too.  But it’s OK with me if they just pass by.—————————–—-

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A Sunday afternoon with no commitments brings me to the back roads of Salem and Cumberland counties.  It was beautiful to be out in the country, passing farm fields lightly dusted with snow under a stunning blue sky and not a McDonald’s in sight.  At one point I found myself driving into Alloway, still a country village, one where my maternal grandfather, William Rudolph was born.  I set out to revisit the family plot which I had discovered a few years ago.  Nevertheless, I still wondered through the wrong (Methodist) cemetery, gave up and headed to the Baptist Cemetery where I found it. 

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The monument is for my great grandfather, Adam S. Rudolph, a civil war veteran, born in the early years of the 19th century while Andrew Jackson was president.  He and his wife, Rebecca McPherson, brought my grandfather, William, into this world in 1875.  This was a “How about that?” for me as I now understood where my mother’s name, Rebecca McPherson Rudolph came from.  It is even more interesting to me in that my late wife and I named one of our daughters Sigrid Rebecca, and she, in turn, has a daughter Madeline Rebecca, and my late brother’s son, Chris, has a daughter named Rebecca as well.  Nice.



The Christmas decorations are up.  The process always brings back memories from lots of past Christmases.  The picture below is of houses and toys from the Christmas Garden or train platform I grew up with beginning in earliest memory.  They were on the platform for my brother before me so, presuming he got them by age five, they’re around 87 years old now.  The items are a little chipped here and there, one of the cars has lost a wheel, and one of the houses is leaning a little.  I’m kind of in the same shape.

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I have more of the items including the Lionel freight train set from the 20’s but they’re stored away in the basement.


Here is a city comprised of models based on buildings found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, particularly with the emphasis on half-timbered construction.  I’ve built these models over the past thirteen years from kits made by Faller, a German company.   The prototype for the six buildings together on the right is in Frankfurt and I’ve visited there.  Known as the Römer, the square was heavily damaged by Allied bombing but since rebuilt.  The model city being arranged on my coffee table, I think of it as Stadt Kaffeetisch.

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Here is a closeup of the building fronts showing the great detail in these kits.

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Below is a more contemporary, classic small town winter/Christmas scene.  Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell are in there somewhere.  It includes two of the ceramic houses from the Snow Village line of Department 56.  These are a pretty good scale size next to O-gauge trains so I began to buy these in ’87. 

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I soon had some 44 buildings plus accessories on my old 200+ square feet, O-gauge, three rail, three mainlines layout seen here.  My daughter, Sigrid, used to say that she’d like to live in the village.  It seems like a world where there is peace, no stress, no poverty, no disease, and everyone’s nice all the time.   As a part of my move, however, the residents were evicted by right of eminent domain: the layout was disassembled and the houses packed away but I pulled out eight of them for the living room this year.

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In the years before I plunged back into photography I did a lot of stained glass work.  Here’s an original design that has just been hung again for the holidays.  The creche set next below was from a 70’s pattern book and I still see them from time to time.  I made a number of them over the years but lavished special care on the last three sets, one each for my daughters and one for me.   I visited Sigrid this week and was pleased to see her set out amongst the greens.  (For more of my stained glass work you can click on that title at the top of the screen.)

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Finally, I still struggle with a real tree.  (N.B.  It’s not a holiday tree; it’s a Christmas tree.)  It’s a chore getting it home and into the house and into its holder and stringing the old fashioned lights with the foil reflectors I found on ebay.  Then my friend, Barbara, helped me hang the ornaments.   A few carry tags as from my grandparents’ or my parents’ trees;  others were accumulated by us over the years, typically from the Wanamaker Christmas Shop after seeing Santa.  Of course there’s the late Vince Guaraldi’s “Charley Brown Christmas” or Julie Andrews’ “Christmas Treasure” albums playing while we do the trimming.  The tree is then dressed with glass icicles and tinsel from my dwindling supply that I hide from the EPA.  (I think I still have a lifetime supply.)

What a joy it is to see it done, glowing softly and filling the house with its fragrance.

I understand the ecumenism and inclusivity that has led to “Happy Holidays” and I certainly wish them to all.

But, I also have to say (borrowing from Clement Moore) … Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Down in southern New Jersey, they make glass.  By day and by night, the fires burn on in Millville and bid the sand let in the light

                                                                             ……Carl Sandberg

I recently revisited Wheaton Village at Millville, NJ.  This  non-profit museum and artisan workplace which preserves the heritage of traditional glassmaking was created by Frank H. Wheaton, Jr. in 1968.  He was the grandson of Thomas Wheaton, MD, who started in the glass business in the mid 1880s, a business that became the T.C. Wheaton Company in 1890 and which, although owned by a Swiss firm, survives as Wheaton Industries. 

The village has struggled to survive but it continues.  There’s a broad main avenue with Victorian era buildings on either side, shops and an outstanding glass museum.  The shops contain a wide array of beautiful, striking art and functional glass pieces, many made by village artisans.   They have on occasion held an international show which draws artists and buyers from all over the world.  A $50,000 price tag on a glass sculpture is not unusual.

Behind the museum there’s a glass blowing building where someone’s usually at work as above.  This man was converting beer bottles into tumblers while retaining the labels.  Although this product is prosaic I’ve also seen some “wow” pieces created here, particularly during the international show.   One that I recall was a silvered hand.

Below is a shot of him working one of the heated bottles.

They’re famous for their paper weights, one of which is below, left, called a Millville Rose.  One can make their own paper weight by appointment which I did a few years ago.  You actually work in front of one of the above kilns but they have an expert right at your elbow.  On the right is a window in their magnificent glass museum which includes great displays on the history of glass, and all kinds of glasswork.


I’ve been a glass enthusiast for many years and I’ve done a lot of stained glass tschotkes.  I’ve also done some larger panels, samples of which are below.  The first was done from a pattern and  measures 17″ x 21″.  The feather detail was tedious but the effort was worth it.

Below is my everlasting Bonsai plant which is an original  16′ x 20″ pattern.  I made two; the original was for my friend, LeRoy, who cultivated real Bonsai, and then one for me because I liked its simplicity (a Bonsai attribute, after all).

Finally, I was struck by a friend’s Christmas card one year so I created this pattern from the card.  This piece is about 24″ x 30″.  Were I a true 14th century glass artisan (or even  a modern professional) I’d have given her facial features.  Oh, well.