Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Bird, Trees, Fudge, and an Old Photo

Mr. and Mrs. House Finch were out and about this morning.
Mrs. hid before I could get the camera out, but Mr. posed nicely.
Linking to Saturday Critters & I'd Rather be Birding

Last weekend, I drove down to Newton, Illinois. Newton is a little larger than most of the villages/towns I have visited recently. It has a population of approximately 3,100. Notable native, Ross Wolf pitched for the Texas Rangers and the Marlins before going to a team in Korea and Author Irene Hunt used the Newton area as the setting in her civil war book titled Across Five Aprils.
There is a very nice park with playground equipment and a swimming pool. Lots of trees. And a quaint downtown area.
 Newton has a town square with hardly any empty buildings. Impressive for this area. I wanted to check out this store called The Country Touch, but it wasn't open.
This sign caught my eye. A Cappuccino in middle-of-nowhere Illinois? I had to have one. I do miss having a Starbucks down the street.

I went inside to browse. It was an Arndt's store. We used to have one of those in Greenup where Mom went to pick up embroidery yarn for her crafty projects. This store had a little bit of everything. Lots of fun things to look at and a Hallmark card section. They also had bulk candy—and fudge!
This is a half pound of praline fudge I brought home to share with Hubs. The texture is creamy smooth, easily the best fudge I've ever tasted. They sell it to other companies and online at Arndt's Fudgery.
And last, but not least, here is an old picture Bro O printed from an ancient negative. Taken at Grandma's house. It is me and daughter about a gazillion years ago. It isn't in very good shape, lots of white specks, but a great find anyway!

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off, so I'm looking forward to a 4 day weekend. Woo Hoo!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Signs of Spring

Yesterday, I saw another sign of spring. Farmers are starting to think about getting the soil ready for planting.
As you can see, we have been getting some much needed rain.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good Fences #2

Radnor Lake State Natural Area Nashville, Tennessee. This was taken last October. That would be my kids and grands walking up ahead. I'm lagging back to take pictures. They eventually turn around to see if I'm still following. Son was preparing to treat me to the hardest walking trail I've ever been on. Long, steep hills. It was a beautiful hike. We saw deer just a few feet off the trail. They merely lifted their heads to watch us as we passed by.
 This was the road from the parking area to entrance to trails.
This is Fergus welcoming me home for lunch. Do you see a touch of green in that grass?  Woo Hoo!

Linking to GOOD FENCES #2 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge

I always find myself apologizing for my less than wonderful critter shots. I don't have the fancy dancy camera and lens I would like, but that doesn't detract from the thrill I get when I see a bird or duck I haven't seen before. So, I take the pictures and cherish them as if they were National Geographic quality. So, here is another one. 

Wood Ducks
The Rez is basically a large pond and park area. I drive by there most mornings on my way to work. Sometimes I get lucky and find ducks or geese. Sadly, they are always on the far side and I don't have time to walk around to get closer. Of course, on the rare occasion when I do have time, they always swim over to the side from whence I came. Non-cooperative creatures!

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday

On to some Hodge Podge

1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can't answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

I don't have to look to far for the someone fooled me answer. It was this morning. The weather girl on our local station said it was going to snow later in the week. Bad weather girl! It wasn't until the end of the forecast that she spit out, "April Fools." With the weather as it has been this winter, it wasn't hard to believe.

2. What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read? Was it any good?

Mrs Kennedy and Me by Clint Hall and I did find it interesting. Since I lived through the Kennedy years and remember Mrs. Kennedy fondly, anything to do with that time period interests me. 

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

Friend. Love garlic! Favorite dish? Not sure, but I absolutely must have garlic bread with pasta.

4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person...The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachussets?

I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina in the mid 90s and actually attended the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, so will pick The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. I always intended to stop there on my way from Raleigh to visit family in Illinois, but was never able to time my trip with the festival. 

5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next'?

I have several 'never miss' blogs that I read every day. I'm not sure how I chose them. I think I found them through participating in memes. A fantastic critter shot will make me stop every time, such as in Brian King Images. I don't know of anything in particular that would make me move on unless it's a topic I'm not interested in.

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math? 

Math? What is math? 

7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1...choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm writing a short story about my maternal grandmother. This is the beginning...Her Indian heritage manifested itself in the form of dark skin, brown eyes, and coal black hair. She was a tall woman in spite of her short stature. A no-nonsense woman whose gruff demeanor concealed a soft heart. She didn’t show love and affection with words. Her actions spoke volumes.  

Linking to Wednesday Hodge Podge 

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Barn for Tuesday

I don't remember if Barn Charm was on Monday or Tuesday, but I think I posted on Tuesday. Even though the meme is no more, I'm posting a barn.

I found this one on the way to the first tiny town I visited last Saturday. There once was a house on this property, but it is gone now.
All that remains is a dilapidated barn, a silo without a roof, and a slowly deteriorating shed—a mere suggestion of what once was a flourishing farm.
Something draws me toward these dead and dying barns and old houses. I want to know their story, but they cannot speak.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Burl Ives

Keeping my vow to visit some of the tiny towns around here, yesterday I took a drive down to Hunt City, Illinois, which is about 25 miles southest.  According to the 2010 census, its population was then 282. A very small town.  As far as I can tell, it's only claim to fame is Burl Ives.

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives was born on June 14, 1909 near Hunt City, Illinois. He was an actor, writer, and folk singer. 

He began his singing career in the garden with his mother. His uncle heard them singing and invited his nephew to sing at an old soldier's reunion in Hunt City. He impressed the audience by singing the folk ballad, Barbara Allen

From 1927 to 1929, Ives attended Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College, which is now known as Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where he played football. My neighbor and 7th and 8th grade math teacher, was his classmate. During his junior year, he was sitting in English class, when he suddenly decided he was wasting his time. As he walked out the door, the professor made a snide remark and Ives slammed the door behind him. Sixty years later, the school named a building after its most famous dropout. (Well, most famous alumni until Tony Romo attended Eastern)

During the early 1930s, Ives traveled the U.S. as an itinerant singer, doing odd jobs and playing his banjo to earn his way. He was jailed in Mona, Utah for vagrancy and for singing a song the authorities decided was a bawdy song titled, Foggy, Foggy Dew

1931 found Ives performing on a WBOW radio station in Terre Haute, Indiana, which is approximately 50 miles from his hometown of Hunt City, Illinois. He also attended classes at Indiana State Teachers College, which is now Indiana State University. During the latter part of the 1930s, he attended The Julliard School in New York. I guess he decided school wasn't a waste of time after all.

In 1940, Ives began his own radio show called The Wayfaring Stranger. Over the next few years, he popularized several folk songs of which my favorite is Big Rock Candy Mountain. 

In the 50s and 60s, he appeared in several movies: East of Eden, Desire Under the Elms, Wind Across the Everglades, The Big County (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), a sequal to Mister Roberts, Our Man in Havanah, and my favorite Burl Ives role, Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

(Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons) 
I may have enjoyed the movie more because I was madly in love with Paul Newman at the time. Wasn't he a handsome man?

Burl Ives was well known as being a pipe smoker, but he also smoked cigars. In 1994, he was diagnosed with oral cancer. After several surgeries, he decided against further treatment. On April 14, 1995 he died of complications at the age of 85, at his home in Anacortes, Washington. He was burried in Mound Cemetery near his hometown.
(Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons)

On Route 130, just north of Newton Illinois, the bridge across the Embarras (pronouned am-braw) River has been named the Burl Ives Bridge.
This is a view of Hunt City, Illinois, immediately after passing the Hunt City sign. There are a few houses off to the left, but don't blink or you will miss it.

Happy Sunday!