Giraffes, fairy’s and gardens

A garden is what you make it. Fairy dusted flower patches, a cocktail garden, a Simon & Garfunkel garden and even a Blue Moon garden? All these themed gardens and more were discovered tucked into a yard full of whimsy on a recent Tower Art Taste adventure.

There is a certain delight in creating a space in your yard for a secret garden. It’s easy to transform an everyday flower patch into something more magical and enchanted by the lore of garden-dwelling fairies; carefree spirits who take great delight in nature’s splendor.

“I didn’t even know what a fairy garden was, but then I started thinking about it, I realized that I have lots of plants with fairy names, so why not put them all together in a garden?” shared our homeowner, Rosalind. ‘Fairy’ geraniums, ‘Elfin’ thyme,’ Apricot Fairy Queen’ foxglove, ‘Elfin’ impatiens, ‘Fairy’ snapdragons, and ‘Fairy Earrings’ fuchsia are just a few of the plants that pay homage to fairy folklore in her garden. Since fairies are small, their garden should be, too.

Rosalind creates tiny fairy-size garden beds with small boxwood, a little river rock bed…because fairies love shiny things, and fuchsias, since fairies and hummingbirds like the bright blossoms. Tuck in few re-purposed children’s toys or some old kitsch and you have the beginnings of a new theme!

Sadly vandals struck and destroyed these whimsical garden vignettes. Taking a few months to recover from the shock of such dastardly acts of lazy sport, the homeowner has once again reclaimed their personal space and the gardens of whimsy are back batter than ever! Pixie-Hollow-Fairy-Garden5

Old Shoe mini garden

Want to check it out? well, join us on the next Tower Art Taste adventure on Saturday morning @ 11am. The Fairy garden is one stop on our little adventure of art, architecture and food tastes all woven together with historic stories of the neighborhood, too. Reserve online at today.

Liquid Poetry

Looking at retirement, Daniel Renteria decided to venture into the world of wine; wine bars, tasting rooms, vineyards, and wineries. “I met some interesting people whose eyes lit up when they discussed picking grapes, making wines, and of course drinking wine. I could hear the passion in their voice. I also felt a sense of fulfillment as they described their own experience with wine”, shared Daniel.

Stories told a thousand times were expressed as though it was their first moment of discovery.

There is something about wine that is hard to explain. Yes, Mother Nature does her share of the work. It is also knowing that the wine maker develops an instinct of knowing when to harvest the grapes and then adding their personal touch making the wine their own. Daniel learned that “the wine maker is a weatherman, a chemist, a poet, and one who understands the journey of wine from the vineyard to the bottle.” This is the magic of wine that only the wine maker knows.

After learning and experiencing this passion, Daniel wanted to bring the same passion and poetry of wine to the Tower District, and greater Fresno. Pinot Wine Bar and Bistro features excellent wines as well as creative and delicious bistro bites. “Our focus was on preparing exceptional food and handmade desserts. And, knowing that not everyone is a wine lover, we offer craft beers”.

Pinot also features melodic local artisans many a night and during the summer they even have movie nights on the patio, weekly. Between Chef Martin’s delicious plates and Pinot’s excellent wine line up (not to mention affordable prices), Pinot Wine Bar and Bistro is a favorite stop on our Tower Art Taste walking adventure the 4th Saturday of the month. Come along and taste some poetry as we step out on 9/22
Advance tickets are a must…. So go to today!

Birds of a Feather

First featured on the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album in 1973, FreeBird is the most-requested song in the history of rock music, according to
The lyrics were written early in the group’s history inspired by Collins then girlfriend, Kathy-who asked him, “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?”, which eventually became the opening line.

In Fresno, steps back in time…when harmony with nature, artistic and musical experimentation were a societal staple. Doug & Linda welcome us like an old friend where we enjoy Tie dye & Bohemian Apparel, Rasta/Reggae Wear, Hand-crafted Jewelry, Posters, Art & Collectibles, Novelties and a large variety of hats. Everything is Hand-crafted from around the Central Valley.
It’s hip; it’s totally old school!
We top on by this coming weekend on the next Taste the Tower walking adventure. Get advance tickets at a steal on Brown paper otherwise its $49pp cash.

A Man and his Plough

A young Scottish blacksmith with a knack for business and an invention made history and his fortune in late-1800s, Fresno.

The blacksmith and wheelwright, James Porteous settled in Fresno about 1877, first working for the blacksmith shop of J.W. Williams at Mariposa and J streets. Porteous soon bought out the shop and his business thrived becoming known as Fresno Agricultural Works eventually taking an entire city block.

Also an inventor, he saw the needs of his farming customers for water. Water was, and is, the life-giving essence of agriculture in our dry Valley. Moving it required a system of irrigation canals that took back-breaking labor to build. Along with others, Porteous began to work on an idea for a dirt scraper. Friends had designed an early version patented in 1885 and Porteous bought the rights to it, improved the design naming it the famous Fresno Scraper.

Scrapers made lighter work of ditch digging, dam building and road or railway construction becoming modern bulldozers we know today. The Army took Fresnos, as they became known, to the front in World War I. The scraper even took part in the world’s most ambitious construction project of the 20th century: the Panama Canal.

Recognized as one of the most vital civil engineering and agricultural tools ever made, the Fresno Scraper is listed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as an International Historic Engineering Landmark.

Meanwhile, Fresno Agricultural Works grew under Porteous’ direction and lives on as Fresno Ag Hardware, recognized as the oldest continuous business in Fresno. And Porteous? he didn’t stop with the Fresno scraper…. if you want to know the rest of the story you’ll have to join us on our next tour of the Tower District Friday night or Saturday morning!
Advance tickets:

A Voice from the Past

Thomas Edison came up with a way to play back recorded sound in 1878. But 20 years before the inventor patented the phonograph, French scientist Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville was fiddling around in his laboratory trying to come up with a way to record sound. The science of acoustics was in its infancy. His achievements were long-forgotten until a group of historians, audio engineers and scientists searched for his work.

“His machine would capture the vibrations out of the air and write them on to a moving piece of paper,” said David Giovannoni, one of the founders of First Sounds. “When you look at the writing that this machine made, it looks exactly like a sound wave would look on audio editing software today.”

Analyzing Martinville’s work with audio software, they unlocked the sound held in the waveforms. The result is like listening to a ghostly time machine, the voice of a man from 150 years ago singing French song “Au Clair de la lune.” The earliest known sound recordings can be heard at
Nearly 20 years after Scott de Martinville experimented with recording his voice in Paris, Edison perfected a way to record and play back audio at his laboratory in New Jersey. His invention would spark a new industry, the recording business.

A new window onto history was recently opened up at Edison’s laboratory in NJ. As the place was undergoing renovations, someone discovered a long-forgotten box containing cylinder recordings. Now the group is researching the earliest recordings ever made!
As we like to say: You never know what/when history reveals itself.

On our next adventure through the hippest neighborhood in town, the Taste the Tower adventure will include a stop at Spinners where you can put your hands on many of rocks oldies. Better hurry because our half-off special is fading fast. Purchase your tickets on!