Scenes from a tool shed…

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Every farm in Iowa has a tool shed, I suppose. It’s rather mandatory because of the frequent repairs needed by farm equipment. We had one on our farm. They tend to be dimly lit, often only illuminated by a hanging light bulb and an open door…and the cracks between the side boards. They tend to be rather dusty places with dirt floors more often than not. In some ways they are rather colorless, but when  you do find color, it stands out. Not all tools in the tool shed are for labor, though, as you can see from my picture. 

I didn’t take this photo in the tool shed on our farm as it no longer stands, but I took it in the tool shed of one of my cousin’s farms in Iowa in 2013. I found the juxtaposition of the various items attached, hanging or stacked against the walls interesting, as well as the water-stained wood on the interior of the shed. I have several shots from inside this shed that I’ll probably share interspersed with other pictures over the next few days. 

The tool sheds I’ve been in back as a kid all had a very familiar smell: grease. Not kitchen grease, but grease for tractors, machinery and the like. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell at all, but it is a memorable one that I’ll carry with me all my life.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1951, Paris, the capital city of France, celebrated turning 2,000 years old. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.

The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii, who sometime around 250 B.C. settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, which eventually became Christianized and known as Lutetia, Latin for “mid-water dwelling.” The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the Seine and the name Lutetia was replaced with “Paris.” In 987 A.D., Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.

During the French Renaissance period, from the late 15th century to the early 17th century, Paris became a center of art, architecture and science. In the mid-1800s, Napoleon III hired civic planner Georges-Eugene Hausmann to modernize Paris. Hausmann’s designs gave the city wide, tree-lined boulevards, large public parks, a new sewer system and other public works projects. The city continued to develop as an important hub for the arts and culture. In the 1860s, an artistic movement known as French Impression emerged, featuring the work of a group of Paris-based artists that included Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Today, Paris is home to some 2 million residents, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city retains its reputation as a center for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, renowned for such sights as the Eiffel Tower (built in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution), the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral (built in 1163), Luxembourg Gardens and the Louvre Museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: At the most conservative estimate, there are at least 10 billion trillion stars in the universe.

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