All That Glistens at the Denver Art Museum with Zeb the Duck

Toxic tree sap becomes shiny lacquer of various colors.   Zeb the Duck and mom loved this exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.   All of the pieces on display were created during the 1900s.    Let’s take a look.

The Denver Art Museum has Japanese Lacquer

The Denver Art Museum has Japanese Lacquer

This plaque with a Persian Cat and Bumblebee was created by Itaya Koji during the period 1975-85.

Persian cat with bumblebee

Persian cat with bumblebee

Itaya used lacquer, gold, mother of pearl and wood.  In 1942 Yokoyama Ichimu created this Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables.

Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables

Folding Screen with Vines and Vegetables

Yokoyama used black lacquer, two tones of red lacquer with details in gold and shell inlay.

Indigenous to China, India and Tibet, the lacquer tree (Rhu vernicifera) was introduced to Japan thousands of years ago.   The toxic sap hardens into a remarkably durable, light weight and versatile substance that can be applied to wood both and basketry.   Let’s look at some more.

Next we admired this Tray with Autumn Leaves, created by the Osaka artist, Shimano Sanshu in 1952.

Lacquer tray with Autumn Leaves

Lacquer tray with Autumn Leaves

The autumn leaves are of raised lacquer in silver and bright autumn colors.   In 1935 Watanabe Shinji created this vase.

Vase by Watanabe Shinji

Vase by Watanabe Shinji

After layering orange, red and white lacquer, the carved lacquer technique was used to create an abstract design on its surface.    Next we looked at this Folding Screen with an Autumn Scene.

Folding Screen with Autumn Scene

Folding Screen with Autumn Scene

Yasutani Bisei shows plain kimono fabric drying in the autumn breeze.   Seasonal flowers and grasses in raised lacquer against neutral ground of tan-colored lacquer created this screen in 1941.

Pure lacquer is clear and amber to reddish brown in color   Different pigments can be aded to liquid lacquer to create opaque colors.   Red and black are the most traditional colors.   Once hardened, lacquer may be polished to give it a mirror like finish.   Let’s look at more and see that mirror like finish.

Here we have a pair of Hand Warmers with rabbits and ferns by Suzuki Hyosaku.

Pair of Hand Warmers

Pair of Hand Warmers

Rabbits and ferns are rendered on mirror-black lacquer with raised lacquer and inlaid lead and mother of pearl.   The gilt-copper inserts held charcoal to provide warmth.   This a Brazier.

Brazier by Suzan Sakasho

Brazier by Suzan Sakasho

This Brazier has bamboo and a poem on it.   Suzan Sakasho created this when she was 83 years old.   This reddish-brown lacquer brazier was used in the preparation of steeped tea.   I, Zeb the Duck, just learned about a Brazier.

Artists can carve into or etch multiple layers of lacquer with designs or add previous metals and other substances–such as powdered gold or silver and inlaid mother of pearl and eggshell, to make surface glisten or to add decorative touches.

Tsuihu Yozei XX created this Plaque with Mount Horai and Cranes in the 1920-1940 period.

Plaque by Tsuishu Yozei XX

Plaque by Tsuishu Yozei XX

The carved lacquer technique was used.   First you build a thick substrate of colored lacquer, then carve through the hundreds of layers to create a design in high relif, revealing different colors of lacquer at varying depths.   The artist, Tsuihu Yozei XX combined Mount Horai, the mythical island of the immortals and cranes, symbols of good fortune and longevity.   We hope you will visit the Denver Art Museum to see this exhibit.   Like many exhibits in the Denver Art Museum, we are in awe of the detail work done by the artists.   These shiny lacquer works are in a smaller area with many lights.   This is wonderful to see, but mom had trouble taking photos.   The reflections are everywhere.   This exhibit will be on display through September 7, 2016.   We have seen it twice.    It is beautiful and interesting; we think you would enjoy it also.   This would be a good activity for this rainy/snowy weekend in Denver.   For more information visit http://www.DenverArtMuseum.org   Click on Exhibitions at the top and then current exhibitions.   The Denver Art Museum is great.

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, like tea.   My mom also likes tea.   We love the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado.   We met some human friends there for lunch and want you to see this Teahouse.   Boulder, Colorado is a sister city to Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Boulder received this magnificent gift.   Our teahouse was built completely by hand from 1987-1990, by more than 40 artisans in several cities of Tajikistan.   Let’s visit the Teahouse.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahous

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

The Teahouse is on the Boulder Creek, in the heart of Boulder.   The entrance faces a city park.

Let's go in

Let’s go in

Before we go inside, we want to enjoy the flowers.

Flowers everywhere

Flowers everywhere.   Isn’t this ceramic panel colorful.

Eight colorful ceramic panels, created by Victor Zabolotnikov, grace the building’s exterior and display patterns of a “Tree of Life”.   The beautifully landscaped outdoor dining area create an oasis within the city.

Relaxing outdoor dining

Relaxing outdoor dining

I, Zeb the Duck, met some friends.   My friend, Channel the Bear was there and a little duck friend, the Caped Crusader.

Zeb, Channel and Caped Crusader

Zeb, Channel and Caped Crusader

Our moms let us have our own table, until it got busy at lunch time.   Here is the Boulder Creek.

Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek

It is nice to hear the water as we eat.   So peaceful.   We ate outside, but let’s enter the Teahouse now.   Inside the Teahouse are eight large, intricately carved white plaster panels, designed and executed by Kodir Rakhimov.   You can purchase green tea here.

Green tea. Beautiful hand carved column

Green tea.   Beautiful hand carved column

As we look around, we see more tea supplies.

Gorgeous teapots and tea supplies

Gorgeous teapots and tea supplies

We love this place.   The central pool features seven hammered copper sculptures by Ivan Milashevich, based on a 12th century poem, “The Seven Beauties”, in which a princess from each of seven different nations narrates a fable that expresses important cultural values.

Indoor pool with Seven Beauties

Indoor pool with Seven Beauties

We love any restaurant or teahouse that has a pool inside.   Don’t forget to look up.   The ceiling of the Teahouse was carved and paint with intricate patterns traditional of Persian Art.   The teahouse ceiling was originally built, carved and painted in Tajikistan.

Ceiling. Made by hand, no power tools.

Ceiling.   Made by hand, no power tools.

Absolutely no power tools were used in the original construction.   The work was crafted by hand exactly as it was centuries ago.  Of the twelve cedar columns, no two columns are like.   This Teahouse was completely built by hand in Tajikistan and then taken apart.   Carefully packed in large crates, the pieces were shipped to Boulder, Colorado.   Master woodcarvers, Manon Khaidarov and Mirpulat Mirakhmatov helped reassemble the Teahouse in Boulder and carved their names in the ceiling.   Several craftsmen from Tajikistan were in Boulder to reassemble and ensure that our Teahouse was as intended.   As we left the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, we needed to have one more photo of this beautiful place.

So sad to leave. We come back often

So sad to leave. We come back often

We hope you visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse soon, at 1770 13th Street, Boulder, Colorado.   Visit http://www.boulderteahouse.com for more information and additional photos.   There is so much more.   They have a farm to ensure fresh ingredients.   They also serve afternoon tea.   This place is wonderful.

Western Kansas with Zeb, Soapy Smith and JB Duck

Ducks, let’s get in the car.   Those are some of our favorite words.  Driving east on I-70 from Denver, we passed Limon and Burlington and entered Kansas.

We are entering Kansas

We are entering Kansas

Naturally the first stop was the Kansas Welcome Center for travel information.

Let's find out what to see

Let’s find out what to see

The wind was strong here.   Our next stop was Goodland, Kansas to see the Van Gogh.   A huge, 80 foot tall, reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase”, on an easel stands tall in Goodland.

Replica of Van Gogh's Three Sunflowers in a Vase

Replica of Van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers in a Vase

The reproduction was painted by a Canadian artist, Cameron Cross.   If you are on I-70 in western Kansas, you should stop in Goodland to see this.   Continuing east we took Exit 70 to Oakley, Kansas.   As you may guess, this was the home of Annie Oakley, originally Annie Moses.    We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

The big attraction here is the statue on a hill.

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo

Buffalo Bill and a buffalo.   Inside, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, sat on the head of a buffalo.

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo's head

Colorado Traveling Ducks sitting on a buffalo’s head

We believe this was our first buffalo sitting.   Buffalos are big.   So far, Kansas was all farmland.

Kansas farm

Kansas farm

We headed south on Hwy 83 toward Oklahoma, and soon we saw pumping oil wells.

Pumping oil wells

Pumping oil wells

Turning off the highway onto dirt roads, we were heading for Monument Rocks.   We liked this view of the road.   There are not many trees, but these two near a river bed formed an arch over the road.

We like the trees over the road

We like the trees over the road

Suddenly we spotted the Monument Rocks, also known as the Chalk Pyramids of Kansas.

Monument Rocks

Monument Rocks

The 70 foot tall sedimentary formations of the Niobrara Chalk were created 80 million years ago when Kansas was a vast inland sea.   We parked and walked around some of the chalk pyramids.   They are really big and we are really small.   Mom had to be careful where we sat.   The wind blew us away a few times.

We are in this photo

We are in this photo

We love arches.   We three ducks are on the ground on the right side of the arch.

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

Colorado Traveling Ducks on right side of arch

If you look closely, you can see us.   These Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids were the first to be designated as a National Natural Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.   These Chalk Pyramids are on private rangeland but the owner opened the land to the public.   The Chalk Pyramids are fragile, and humans are asked not to climb on them.   The Monument Rocks, or Chalk Pyramids are on both sides of this dirt road.

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas

Monuments Rocks or Chalk Pyramids of Kansas    Mom is experimenting with the panorama feature on the camera.

We think these formations, about 27 miles south of I-70 are worth the time to leave the interstate and see some of what Kansas has to offer.   When you are in Kansas, be prepared for lots of wind.

Keystone Lodge in Colorado with Zeb the Duck

You probably know that we have had a lot of spring snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.   I, Zeb the Duck, knew it, but I wanted to see it.   We drove west on I-70, through the Eisenhower Tunnel and then went to Keystone Resort.   Parking in the lot across the road from the resort, we saw this building marking the entrance to the pedestrian tunnel.

Let's take the pedestrian tunnel

Let’s take the pedestrian tunnel

We walked inside and these are the stairs to descend into the tunnel.

Stairs down to the tunnel

Stairs down to the tunnel

And, inside the tunnel, it looked like a sunny mountain day.

Inside the pedestrian tunnel

Inside the pedestrian tunnel

I like this tunnel.   It is cheery and bright.   Up the stairs at the end of the tunnel, we entered Keystone Lodge.

Keystone Lodge

Keystone Lodge

Lodges are nice, but it was sunny and fairly warm, so let’s stay outside.   Down some more stairs and we were at the lake.

Lake at Keystone Village

Lake at Keystone Village

This 5 acre lake was not frozen deep enough, but when it is, this is Keystone Village Ice Rink and it is 9,321 feet above sea level.   We were not hungry, but there are restaurants here and this is our favorite table by the lake.

Our favorite lunch table

Our favorite lunch table

Maybe next time for lunch.   They do have really good food here.   This store was closed…for “mud season”.

Mud season??

Mud season??

What is mud season?   Oh, now I get it.

Oh. Mud Season

Oh. Mud Season

Mud season.   The spring sun is so intense things melt during the day, and at over 9,000 feet elevation, everything freezes at night.     We went to this ski lift.

Too tall for a small duck

Too tall for a small duck

I, Zeb the Duck, decided not to ski.   This is too high and too steep for a small duck.   These humans are riding on a chair lift, going to the top of the mountain.

Going up on the chair lift

Going up on the chair lift

And, if they go up, they must come down.

You must come down the mountain

You must come down the mountain

Sometimes skiing under the chair lift.   Here they are at the end of the run.

End of the ski run

End of the ski run

You can see that it is not very crowded today.   We come to the mountains during the week to avoid crowds.   This is one of the best sights to see on the highways.

Run away truck ramp

Run away truck ramp

This is a run away truck ramp.   The trucks come down steep grades and can burn out their brakes.   If that happens, they enter a run away truck ramp, going up hill with a foot or two of loose sand to slow them down.   We like this one because we can see from the snow that it has not been used.   That is good that nobody had a problem.   I, Zeb the Duck, liked the spring snow in the mountains.   It was really warm when the sun was shining but rather cool when clouds came.   We really like Colorado.

Sandhill Cranes and Colorado Traveling Ducks Visit Kearney, Nebraska

600,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate through Kearney, Nebraska every year.   600,000?!?   We had to see this.

We are in Nebraska

We are in Nebraska

So, we drove to Nebraska Saturday and this is what we learned.   The majority of the Sandhill Cranes are there the third weekend of March, so many had already left when we arrived.   And the man at Fort Kearney said almost all the cranes will be gone by this weekend.   If we go again, it will be in mid March.       The cranes migrate to Kearney to eat.   They normally weigh 8-12 pounds.   The Sandhill cranes try to gain at least 1 1/2 pounds in Kearney.    So we saw groups of cranes in last years corn fields.

Groups of Sandhill Cranes eating in corn fields

Groups of Sandhill Cranes eating in corn fields

The cranes stay along the Platte River between Kearney and Grand Island and feast in the corn fields a few miles north and south of the river.   They are afraid, or at least wary of humans, so they stay in the middle of the fields, making photos difficult.   This is a small group, showing the pink on the heads.

Sandhill cranes watching us

Sandhill cranes watching us

The man at Fort Kearney said the cranes are hunted in parts of south Texas and northern Mexico.   There is a hunting season to control the population.   If they over populate, they will starve either here or in the arctic where they spend the summer.   While a  group is eating in the corn fields, there are a few looking for any threat.

Some cranes eat and some cranes watch for threats

Some cranes eat and some cranes watch for threats

Our stopped car could be considered a threat to them.   We were told to take photos from the car, not to get out of the car as that scares them.    These cranes are about 3 feet tall, but look smaller due to the distance.   We just thought they were so cute, with the pink on their heads.

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?

They spend the day eating in corn fields and as the sun gets lower, they head to the Platte River where they spend the night in 2-4 inches of water.   These cranes were flying either to another field or to the river.   They make a much softer noise than geese and are a delight to hear as they fly over.

Cranes flying to river

Cranes flying to river

The Sandhill cranes come through here in March every year.   This is one of the few places with so many of them at one time.   This is their general migration path for the trip north.

Sandhill Crane migration path

Sandhill Crane migration path

They mate and spend the summer in Alaska and Siberia.   Since we were in the farm land of Nebraska, we saw much farm equipment, but this tall vehicle driving on the road fascinated us.

Tall piece of farm equipment

Tall piece of farm equipment

In the spring many young animals are born, so here are cows with small calves.

Small calves with mom in field

Small calves with moms in a field

In Lexington, Nebraska, we stopped at Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles.   Unfortunately it was closed.

Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington, Nebraska

Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington, Nebraska

Over the fence we saw this tank.

Military tank

Military tank

This vehicle also caught our attention.

Military vehicle

Military vehicle

At the westbound rest area at mile 270, we were intrigued by this sculpture.

Sculpture at westbound rest area mile post 270

Sculpture at westbound rest area mile post 270

Our last stop was North Platte.   There were several things we wanted to see, but the booklet said everything we wanted either closed at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, or was still closed for the winter.   However the Veteran Memorial was always open.   So we went, and guess what?   It was closed for required repairs.

Veterans Memorial in North Platte, Nebraska

Veterans Memorial in North Platte, Nebraska

But, we could still see some sculptures.   We like driving across Nebraska.   They have many attractions and most are clearly marked.   Even if they are closed, as most were today, you can still see some of the things.   We drive through Nebraska frequently, so we will stop again.   If you drive across Nebraska, stop often to see things.   There are so many things relating to the pioneer days, you never need to be bored or wonder what you should see.   We always find something interesting driving through Nebraska and we think you will too.

Colorado’s Geographic Center: Hartsel with Zeb the Duck

The Heart of Colorado has mountains, pastures, wildlife and buffalo ranches.   Hartsel, Colorado is near the geographic center of our state.   Hartsel, founded in 1880 sits at the intersection of Hwy 24 and Hwy 9 on the banks of the South Platte River.    Approaching Hartsel we watched the buffalo on this ranch.

Buffalo Ranch

Buffalo Ranch

A number of ranchers are raising buffalo in the area.   I, Zeb the Duck, am now in Hartsel, Colorado.

Welcome to Hartsel

Welcome to Hartsel

This antique shop, or barn, certainly has a lot of stuff.

Barn is antique store

Barn is antique store

We loved this weather vane on the barn.

Love the weather vane

Love the weather vane

When you are in Hartsel be sure to stop at Bayou Salado Trading Post.

Bayou Salado Trading Post

Bayou Salado Trading Post

You will find a great selection of rocks and jewelry.   The source of their Aquamarine crystals is Mount Antero, visible from town.   Local Blue Agate is also used in the handcrafted jewelry.    This shop also offers coffee, ice cream and grass fed beef.    A good place for browsing, but a better place for shopping.   This library

Hartsel library

Hartsel library

is conveniently located near the school.

Hartsel school

Hartsel school

We think it is great that the school and library are so close together.   While Hartsel has a modern fire station and fire trucks, we loved this old fire tanker sitting by the side of the fire station.

Old fire tank by fire station

Old fire tank by fire station

Nearby, you can enjoy all outdoor activities.   Rafting, skiing, hunting, game viewing, and fishing are all here.   Enjoy the outdoors, and then return to Hartsel for a meal.

Highline Cafe and Saloon

Highline Cafe and Saloon

Everything was good at Highline Cafe and Saloon, but mom really liked the hamburgers.    Hartsel, being at or near the geographic center of Colorado, is often referred to as  “the heart of Colorado”.   Stop in and experience Colorado’s heart.

My 40 Foot Tall Brazilian Cousin

There is really big rubber duck in Brazil.   Must be one of my distant cousins.   Many of the rich and  upper middle class citizens of Brazil are protesting against the President, Dilma Rousseff.    They are protesting against raising taxes and fiscal irresponsibility.   In Brazilian Portuguese, “to pay the duck” means to unfairly pay for someone else’s mistakes.    The symbol of the protest is a 40 foot rubber duck.

Brazil's 40 foot rubber duck

Brazil’s 40 foot rubber duck and ducklings

When my friend, Deborah, informed us of this duck, it was in Sao Paulo.   The duck and ducklings were previously in the capital, Brasilia.   The duck and ducklings were also seen on the sand of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.    We like to know about other traveling ducks, so thanks for telling us, Deborah.