Sunday, September 4, 2016

Kites ... Over 2,000 Years Old

It's Labor Day Weekend ... the last big hurrah before school starts, even though I think school HAS started for most people.  That means everyone came in at once last Friday and early yesterday morning.  It's crowded to say the least, and for the first time, I think every rig has at least two dogs.  That doesn't bode well for Miss Jessie who hates dogs.  She really wishes even Cooper would drop dead, as evidenced by four fights on the couch last night.  At twelve, I doubt she will change her tune.

Just for some alone time, I stopped in at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach Washington.  It doesn't look like much, but what an interesting place to spend a couple of hours.
Kites were apparently the invention of 5th century BC philosophers in China and by 549 AD were used to send messages.  Originally made of silk and painted with mythological figures, they usually carried bells or whistles to make noise when flown.

This was the 36th year of the Washington State International Kite festival.  Every year an artist is chosen to make something that is photographed for the banner.  Those of you who have been to the Astoria Market will recognize this lady's artwork.  She quilts a board, paints the background, then sews pieces on with thread to make a textured surface.
Kites in the early years were rectangles and flat with no tails.  They eventually ended up in Europe, brought by Marco Polo more as curiosities.  Things took off between 1860 and 1910, which became the golden age of kiting.  The Wright brothers even used kites in the development of their first airplane.
At the museum, you will find many varieties of kites, most hand painted with beautiful designs.  You can even make your own small kite for free.  The grandkids would love this!!  
This is one of the larger kites here.  There is a festival in Japan called Shironi which is over 250 years old. It is said the Chibata Castle's head villager flew a kite into the neighboring villages canal.  The neighbors were pretty upset about the damage done, so the Lord talked them into fighting it out with kites over an even larger canal.  There is a must-see video at the museum of this crazy kite flying.  

This kite is at least 12 feet tall and 9 feet wide.  Imagine the number of people it takes to get this baby in the air.  All of the beautiful artwork is destroyed as soon as the kites hit the water in the middle.  In the end, the team with the longest portion of rope left over, wins the competition, just proving it's not the kite, but the string that's important!!
They have the tiniest kite in the world here, as well as one of the longest, over 100 feet.  Here's an interesting piece of information for those of you who have grandkids and can't get your kite in the air.  You need a tail!  The tail hanging off the back of the kite is what keeps the kite at the right angle to the wind so it will achieve loft.  Who knew??
As a kid, I was never good at kite flying.  We would make them from newspaper, but I could never run fast enough to get it up in the air.  No one told me I needed a tail ... and of course wind!!!

There are some beauties here with every shape and design you can imagine, from hummingbirds and dragons to turtles and flying monkeys.
There are also examples of Military kites, like this Barrage kite.  These were flown to protect unarmed merchant vessels sailing across the Atlantic.  They were suspended 2000 feet in the air with strong piano wire, which could cut off the wings of any airplane trying to strafe the vessel.  In later years, the British attached bombs to the kites, increasing their effectiveness.
Known as the Gibson Girl, this kite was flown in case of emergencies, to get the antenna for the radio at sufficient height to send and receive messages.  It worked by turning the handle on the mini generator sitting on the floor.  Many people were rescued using this device.
The military even used kites for target practice and enemy airplane recognition.  I had no idea they were so versatile.  
Then comes the fun part.  Peter Lynn engineered and built the world's first kite buggy.  This is it!!  He then attached a kite foil and he was in the sport kite business.  There are several other kite vehicles here, along with the kites that made up the new land sport!  
Since the weather has cleared up, I got to fly MY kites yesterday.  With all the bad weather, the beach is full of sticks and stickers, but that didn't keep me away.  Being this far north, there is even plenty of room between the trucks camped out with fires blazing!!

I'm happy to announce my tire kept all it's air inside yesterday.  Now I'm not sure if it's the device that needs to be replaced, or some munchkin loosened it.  Which of course makes me run around and check them all constantly!!  

I'm headed in to Astoria today, probably NOT for Sunday Market.  With this many people on the coast, it's going to be packed.  I do want to see the Flavel House ... home of a millionaire Bar Harbor Pilot that was eventually donated to the Historical Society.  Maybe I can get some decorating ideas.


  1. A small follow up from part of your post yesterday

    The green flash is an optical phenomenon that you can see shortly after sunset or before sunrise. It happens when the sun is almost entirely below the horizon, with the barest edge of the sun – the upper edge – still visible. For a second or two, that upper rim of the sun will appear green in color. It’s a brief flash of the color green – the legendary green flash. It’s really quite exciting to see, especially if you’ve been looking for one.
    It’s said that once you’ve seen a green flash, you’ll never again go wrong in matters of the heart.

    1. Well bring on the green flash!!! I could use a little help!!! Interesting information .... thank you!