From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kentucky Derby 2006

Life in The Upper South... And What I Think About It...



Twenty horses will race at Churchill Downs in Louisville at the world-famous Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6. It happens just once a year.

Some people around here will have Derby parties on Saturday. Everyone will drink mint juleps (or beer) and watch the race together. Maybe they'll do a little private betting. Some people will even go to Louisville to watch in person and do some betting.

I don't get too excited about the Derby, but I would like to attend it once to observe it all. I am not an enthusiastic gambler or a fast horse fanatic and I don't care for mint juleps but I would enjoy watching the spectators. It's traditional for the ladies to wear fancy hats. Here are some examples of Derby hats from 2000 and 2002.

Hopefully, a trip to the Kentucky Derby would include some sightseeing in Louisville as well. Much history is connected to this Ohio River port. It was founded by George Rogers Clark who was a brother to William Clark, my ancestor. We've been to Louisville a few times, but we've never had time to tour there nearly enough to satisfy me.

All in all, May 6 will be an interesting day. Isaac will be attending his Junior-Senior Prom that night so that will be a big event for him. We will probably hear or see a few scraps of the Derby while we are getting him spiffed up and decked out.

I remember Keely getting dressed for a couple of proms while the horses were getting ready to run just a few years ago. Both the Derby and the local prom are traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday in May.

Technorati tags:

Horse Races

Blogs and Blogging...



James at the Heeler's Diaries has posted an amusing horserace cartoon just in time for the Kentucky Derby.

Housecleaning Hints

Chores and Duties...



Over the years, I've read at least a hundred thousand hints about housecleaning. Most were quickly forgotten, but here are three that I actually remember and use.

1. Carry a laundry basket as you clean. You can quickly gather all the items that are in the wrong room and throw them in the basket. Then make everyone get their stuff out of the basket and put it away. In an emergency, you can quickly gather a lot of clutter in the basket and shove it into a closet to deal with later.

2. When in doubt, throw it out. This is a rule for the refrigerator, but it applies to all sorts of clutter. You could "throw it out" at the Goodwill. It doesn't always have to be thrown into the trash.

3. Start at the outside and work toward the middle. This is a rule for cleaning a spill without spreading it, but it's a good principle for attacking a room also.

If anyone else has any tried and true rules or principles to apply to cleaning house and controlling clutter, I would enjoy reading them.

Technorati tags:

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My neighbor lady's yard

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



My neighbor lady, the one who has the ajuga growing in her yard, has a nice touch with making "yard art" look natural. She enjoys yard art and has more of it than I will ever have, but I see some things in her yard that look nice and that I wouldn't have the imagination to think up on my own.

Basket of sedum surrounded by woodbineFor example, here's what she did with a big wooden basket her husband made from landscaping timbers. She has sedum planted in and around it, so that it all seems to be flowing together. Or maybe the sedum decided by itself to go down to the ground. Anyway, it looks nice.

Woodbine, a native vine identifiable by its "leaves of five", has sprung up around the basket as it does here in wooded areas. She is training it to grow over the basket's handle -- or maybe it has decided to do that on its own. As I said, she is good at making yard art look natural.

Seashell border along brick sidewalkShe likes seashells and she has worked them into her landscaping. You can see some big ones sitting on the rim of the basket of sedum. Her sidewalk is edged with hostas and seashells. It is an interesting pathway to walk. The plant in front is festuca glauca. It's a bit shady there for it, but apparently it gets enough afternoon sun.

Her yard is part of a grove of trees. I enjoy visiting it. The birds are always singing, squirrels are scampering around, and the sound of the wind is overhead. It feels close to nature there.

Technorati tags:

Friday, April 28, 2006

Blue Wildflowers

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



Blue wildflowers

Little blue wildflowers are growing all over the bank at my neighbor's house. (The cardinal is, of course, a ceramic tribute to the real thing.) I have to go back up there this evening, so I plan to take the wildflower book so I can try to identify these.

_____________________

Update:

Bugleweed or ajugaI plucked one of the little flowering stems and brought it home to research. Its photo appears at left. A film cannister is serving as its vase.

I think I have an identification after much looking in the books. I believe it's bugleweed, aka bugle or ajuga or ajuga replens. It's not in my Kentucky wildflowers book at all, but it does appear in the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers. I'm sure it was omitted from the Kentucky book because it's really not a wildflower at all. It is an alien species (imported plant) from Europe.

Here are some very nice closeups that show the odd little flower. Its lower lip seems to stick out, and it has almost no upper lip at all. Its stamens protrude a little from the flower. It has a square stem because it is a member of the mint family. Cultivars are used as ground covers.

My heading for this post, "Blue Wildflowers," is completely wrong, but I won't change it because I've learned that messes up Blogger searches.

Technorati tags:

What We All Need

Not Easily Classified...



It's safe to say that most of us enjoy a few kind words. The Automatic Flatterer left me smiling. I suggest a visit. :)

Technorati tags:

Campaign Signs

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



Campaign Signs for Primary Election, Christian County, KY

Kentucky's primary elections are scheduled for May 16, and even out in the country, many campaign signs can be seen at intersections and in the front yards of rural residents. On the Hoptown Hall Forum, the State and Local board is full of election talk.

In my own neighborhood, two men are running for office. One is running against half a dozen (more or less) other Democratic candidates for District Magistrate, and the other is running against one other Democrat for State Representative. The upcoming primary election will determine if either of their names appears on the general election ballot this fall. Then they will face Republican and write-in candidates.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a neighbor who lives near one of the candidates was displaying a big sign for a different candidate in his front yard. Now the neighbor's sign for the different candidate has disappeared. I don't know whether he changed his mind or the wind blew the sign down.

Candidates are campaigning all across the Commonwealth. The Secretary of State's website states, "The 2006 election cycle in Kentucky will be historic with more than 4,000 races on the ballot, more than at any other time in Kentucky's history."

The increase in races on the ballot has happened because of the growth of the Republican party in Kentucky. Many Republican candidates have filed where formerly no Republican candidate would have even appeared on the ballot. Some are uncontested in the primaries and thus will go automatically to the general election ballot. Some face competition and possible defeat from other Republican candidates.

The growth of the Republican party has made it more challenging for Democratic candidates. In years goneby, most races were actually decided in the primaries. A number of people ran as Democrats, the primary election determined the winner, and the winner was unopposed in the general election. It seems that times are changing, and it is probably for the best. Diversity is good.

Personally, I'll be glad when the elections are over and the signs are stored away. I'm tired of them cluttering up the landscape.

Technorati tags:

Don Surber: The Rules Of The Blog

This post on Don Surber's blog contains some thoughts about ethical blogging. The post and its comments are well worth reading, and the links he gives are worth a look as well. I originally found the link to Surber's article on Sarabeth's blog.

Copyright incident

Blogs and Blogging... And What I Think About It...




Computer work "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest," Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:10. I've always considered that good advice and tried to follow it.

The photos and writing that I post here were created by my "doing with all my might." I rarely throw something onto the blog in 5 minutes. I work on the things I post for a good amount of time (usually too much time). I edit and polish my writing and photos to the best of my ability because I want the things that I post to the blog to be the best that I can do for that day.

Because I get pretty intense about trying to do a good job, I tend to be protective and possessive of the things I create. They represent a real investment of myself and so they are valuable to me.

I followed a link a couple of days ago and found a photo of mine that a woman had copied and posted to her blog. She had posted a link to my blog that made it clear where she got the photo, but I was irritated anyway.

I don't like to just stumble across something of mine on someone else's website. I want to know who is using my stuff and where and how it's being used.

That's why I have included a copyright notice on this blog for several months now. It states, "All Rights Reserved." It has been in clear view in two different places on the page, but apparently this woman overlooked it, didn't look for it, or ignored it.

Copyright issuesAs a result of my irritation about all this, I've made my copyright notices on the blog a little more prominent. I also wrote a blog entry about copyright and linked to it in my copyright notice.

I realize that anyone who really wants to plagarize will do so. Similarly, anyone who really wants to use a photo won't be easily prevented from doing so.

On the other hand, there are plenty of sources on the internet for photos that are in the public domain. Many people do share their photos under Creative Commons licensing with "Some Rights Reserved." Digital cameras can be bought for as little as $30. With so many alternatives, who needs to snitch?

I look for copyright notices and respect them. I expect to be treated with the same courtesy. When I stumble across my stuff on the site of someone who disregarded my copyright notice, I am certainly going to complain to them about it and I am certainly going to do all I can to make them take it down.

Rather than writing a cheerful ramble tonight, I have discussed this little incident to death and probably bored my readers and made them all wonder again just how nutty I really am. Piracy really does affect us all, you see. Well, onward and upward, my friends. Tomorrow's another day.

SleepyUpdate:
4/30/06 Feeling slightly less rabid, so I edited this to tone it down a little.

Technorati tags:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Caring for Our Own

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life in The Nebraska Sandhills...



As I've mentioned many a time on this blog, I grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills on a cattle ranch.

Cattle eat grass. In the summer, they eat live grass and in the winter, they eat dried grass, also known as hay. Thus on the ranch, we worked hard every summer to make enough hay to feed the cattle for the next winter.

We usually had some extra hired help during the summer to help with haying. Most summers, we had a couple of hired men who lived with us as members of our family. They ate three meals a day with us and slept in one of the upstairs rooms.

One of our hired men who came back year after year was my Grandma Nora's cousin, Andrew "Pete" Fisher. Pete was probably in his 60's during the years I remember him best. He drove an old blackish pickup truck with running boards that looked a lot like the 1939 Chevy pickup truck on this RECCC page.

Pete's clothing was as old fashioned as his vehicle was. He always wore bib overalls (which we called "farmer overalls" back then) and a long-sleeved chambray workshirt. He also wore a type of underwear known as a union suit and he changed once a week. We knew this intimate detail about him because my mother did his laundry.

After supper every night as daylight dwindled to twilight, Pete would sit in his pickup and smoke. If my sister and I would go and talk to him, he'd give us a piece of hoarhound candy. He had a group of cardboard girls swinging on strings from the rear-view mirror and the passenger visor. They were very curvaceous but they were wearing all their clothing.

One reason Pete worked for my dad every summer was that Pete was pretty good at raking hay. He knew how to run a dump rake and make long, straight windrows of hay. When we little girls came to the hayfield to visit, he'd drive by waving both hands at us as a joke.

I didn't realize then that Pete was somewhat mentally retarded and my parents made a place for him in our home every summer partly to help him out. Years later, I found out that my dad kept Pete's tractor just for him to rake with because other tractors confused him.

Pete drove to town every other Saturday night during the summer. I think he probably went to town on paydays. I don't know where he went or what he did, but he always got dressed up in his newest overalls before he left and he always came back before dark on Sunday night.

My Grandma Nora and my Great-Aunt Goldie watched over Pete a lot and they always had him helping them with something when he wasn't working for my dad. I think he worked sometimes for some of Goldie's sons also.

Looking back at all this now, I think that my family just accepted Pete for who he was. He could barely read or write, but he did some other things well enough. He worked hard doing real jobs and he lived a useful, meaningful life.

I don't think that the group homes and sheltered workshops of modern times would have given Pete any better life than his family did half a century ago. But I'm also sure that there were people with mental handicaps in that time who were not as fortunate in having a helpful family.

Technorati tags:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Betta Boy

All In The Family... More About Birds and Animals...



Betta Boy, my fishWe have had fish of various sorts over the years, but I have never been as well acquainted with any fish as I am with the betta we have now.

I rescued him from his terrible captivity in a tiny plastic bag at WalMart and gave him a safe home with regular food and even an affectionate nickname -- "Betta Boy."

Betta Boy resides in a fishbowl on the bathroom vanity where he's part of a fish motif that has spontaneously occurred. I enjoy having his bowl there because I can observe him any time I use the sink.

He gets very excited when someone enters his view. He puts his nose to the glass and flits his body back and forth rapidly. He doesn't swell into full fight mode, but he's ready for whatever comes. I think he's asserting his claim to the territory.

Even while on high alert, he recognizes the movements that mean food will soon appear. When I reach for his pack of betta food, he drops his defensive posture and zooms to the surface. As soon as a pellet hits the water, he strikes it with great force. Often I even hear his little jaws clack. Sometimes he gets two pellets in a single strike. Sometimes he strikes and misses.

I don't tease him by showing him his reflection in the mirror, but Isaac exercises him a little sometimes. At times, I have laid down a mirror beside his bowl, and even though it's at an odd angle, he notices the fish in it and flares his fins to their formidable maximum.

Betta Boy sleeps at the bottom of the tank behind his pink fake anemone. When I come into the bathroom in the night and flip on the light, he awakens and staggers out in a bit of a daze to see what's going on. He accepts my apology, given in the form of a pellet of food, before I turn the lights out again.

Sometimes I feel sad that Betta Boy has a lonely life in his fishbowl with only humans for company. He builds big bubble nests hoping that a female might come to lay her eggs. If she ever did come by, he would fertilize each egg she laid and then carefully carry it to the bubble nest. Then he would guard the nest fiercely until the eggs hatched. I doubt if he'll ever get to be a daddy, but he has the nest ready in case the opportunity presents itself.

Related links:
Many more betta stories
Siamese fighting fish
Betta fish care

Technorati tags:

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gas Prices

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life in The Nebraska Sandhills...



Today we were talking about the current high price of gasoline, and it brought to mind a memory of a long time ago.

When I was quite young, maybe six or seven years old in the late 1950's, we were driving to Gordon, Nebraska, to visit my mom's family. In one of the little Sandhill towns along Highway 20 west of Valentine, two gas stations on opposite sides of an intersection were having a price war. Each station had its price per gallon advertised on a big sign out front. The prices were in the low double digits. I think it was about 30¢ per gallon.

We stopped and my dad filled up the car. When he came back from paying, he had a handful of Bit-o-Honey candy bars. They must have been left over from World War II! They were so hard that we couldn't even bite them. We laid them in the back window of the car in the hot sun until they got soft enough to eat.

Can you imagine? Propane at that time was just 10¢ per gallon. My dad commented once that even in the money of those days, propane was cheap. A tank of propane to heat the house was not a budget-breaking expenditure.

Isaac said this was interesting and I should write it down -- so here it is. He said this would make a much better blog entry than that obscure "junk" I write about trees and flowers.

Gas priceSanta Fe, New Mexico. 1938. Dorothea Lange, photographer
Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection

Technorati tags:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

SCA Weekend

All In The Family... Life in The Upper South... My Various Hobbies...



Keely's medieval re-enactment group had their second annual event over the past weekend. The event was called "Shadow of the Wolf II" and it was held at the Cumberland Centre near Columbia, TN.

Keely's group is named the "Shire of Redewolf's Den", and it is part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Redewolf is from Murray, KY, and many of its members are students at Murray State University. Its name honors the native American red wolf, once common to this area and recently reintroduced to the Land Between the Lakes, a few miles east of Murray.

The whole idea of an SCA event is to dress in medieval garb, get together with a lot of other people in medieval garb, and learn about medieval life by recreating it. A typical SCA event might include
∙ classes in various Middle Ages arts and crafts
∙ sword, rapier, and other types of combat
∙ dance classes or exhibitions
∙ a "market" where medieval garb and gear are sold
∙ court, if the King and Queen are present
∙ medieval food, including a multi-course evening feast

This weekend, I tried my hand as a merchant, selling various medieval-like items and cloth that I have gathered over the last year. Amazingly enough, I took in about $110 which wasn't bad considering that my selling prices on most items were very cheap.

As a business venture, we did not break even because there were the costs of the merchandise, buying a table and a sun shelter, the trip down and back, and the event's admission fee. On the positive side, we have an extra $110, we still have the table and sunshelter and some leftover merchandise, and we were going to have the expenses of the travel and admission fee whether we were merchants or not.

So, I consider it a positive experience. We visited with many different people who wandered by, and during the slow times, I finished the handwork on a couple of pieces of garb for Keely that I've been working on for a while. I have caught myself several times saying, "Next time..." as I talk about the weekend. I guess I'll try it again.

One nice thing that happened at this event was that the King and Queen gave Keely and four other members of her shire awards for their hard work and leadership in building their shire and getting these annual events started. Keely is now Lady Catherine the Wierd, and she has a circlet to wear on her head.

In the photo below, Isaac and I are sitting in our little market booth. I have some sewing on my lap. We are both wearing garb that I've sewed (as were several other people!) Our tent is in the background. If we were hard-core re-enactors, we'd have medieval camping gear as well as medieval clothing to wear.



Related:
In May of 2006, we attended the Tennessee Renaissance Festival This blog entry about the festival contains many photos of the different garb and costumes that people were wearing.


Technorati tags:

Friday, April 21, 2006

Adventure of the Castle Ruins

Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Life In Germany...



MountainWhen we lived in Kleinwallstadt, Germany, we had a wonderful local map that showed all the bicycle trails, walking paths, Roman ruins, castles (either ruined or still occupied), and interesting sites of all sorts.

One January day, I convinced Dennis that we should visit the ruins of Wildenburg, a castle on top of a small mountain (or an extremely large hill).

RuinsWe left the car in the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain and put Keely in the stroller. (She was about two years old.) There were several marked trails up the mountainside, but Trail "A" was supposed to be an easy route, so we took it and started the climb to the top.

The trail wasn't very well marked and we finally lost it but we continued hiking up and when we emerged on the broad hilltop, we wandered through the woods and across a small meadow and found the castle ruins.

When we were done exploring, we started down the mountain on Trail "A" again, which we had rediscovered (or so we thought.) The forest was dense, and it was a long time before we could finally see the valley through the trees. Then we were sure of what we had been sensing and fearing. The path was leading down a different side of the mountain and we were miles away from our car.

RuinsJanuary's days are very short in Germany. We were afraid to go back to search for the path down the right side of the mountain because it was already getting dark.

All we could do was hurry down the wrong side. We finally reached level ground again and hiked across a farmer's field, climbed over the barnyard fence and walked through the sheep and chickens as the farmer observed us curiously from the barn door. Then, a short trip down the lane and we were out to the highway at last.

RuinsIt was fully twilight by then, almost dark. We decided that I would wait beside the road with Keely, while Dennis hiked down the busy road to our car, at least five miles away. He set off and I settled in for a long cold wait in the dark. I zipped Keely into my coat to keep her warm and sat down on a big rock in the ditch.

We didn't have to wait long. To my happy surprise, Dennis came back in about 15 minutes. Someone offered him a ride and he took it.

All's well that ends well, but we didn't make that mistake again. Before we went on another adventure with that map, we bought a good compass. You might do silly things when it's just two adults but when you have a baby with you, you have to be a little more careful.


Ruins

Technorati tags:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Old Oak

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



Old oak east of Hopkinsville, KentuckyThis old oak is surely in its third century or more.

An old oak stands alone on a calcareous ridge east of Hopkinsville, near the intersection of Highways 68/80 and 1716. (Actually, most ridges in Christian County are calcareous; that is, mostly limestone with a layer of soil over the surface.)

Every winter when the old tree has dropped its leaves, I see how its top is slowly dying and wonder if it will summon the energy to come back out of dormancy in the spring. Again this year, I am happy to observe that the aging monarch has survived the winter and is putting forth leaves.

When Highway 68/80 was widened into a 4-lane several years ago, I feared for this tree because it grows in the right-of-way of the old highway. It was spared because in this area they made a completely new highway a few hundred yards to the north instead of widening the old highway.

I have never gone close enough to this tree to positively identify it. I am 100% confident that it is an oak, but I don't know what type for sure. I have always thought that is a white oak, but that's just a guess based on its branching pattern.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Field of Newborn Corn

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... The Rural Life...



Field of Newborn Corn

The corn is coming up already. The miracle of life has happened again, not once, but a million times in just this one field.

Meanwhile, North and South Dakota are getting a bad April blizzard. I heard on the news that 90 miles of interstate west of Rapid City, SD are closed because of the snowfall. Power outages were occurring.

Rapid City, SD, sits at 44.8° latitude and Hopkinsville sits at 36.8°. In eight degrees of latitude, there is an amazing amount of change in the climate. Of course, Rapid City's climate is also affected by its altitude. Hopkinsville is only 560 feet above sea level, but Rapid City is about 3200 feet above sea level. Furthermore, Rapid City sits directly in the path of the weather that flows off the mountains of Wyoming and Montana.

Two Red Barns on Edwards Mill Road

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... The Rural Life...



Two red barns in evening lightIn evening light


Two red barns in morning lightIn morning light


Two old barns stand alongside a gentle curve on Edwards Mill Road, east of Hopkinsville. I am sure that Edwards Mill Road was there long before the barns were built. Nowadays, the road is paved, but when the barns were built, it was undoubtedly a dirt road that was very muddy every spring.

The road in front of these barns once led to Edwards' Mill which was located on the Little River. The official name of the mill was "Little River Mills", but people called it "Edwards' Mill" because it was owned and operated by the Edwards family.

Edwards' Mill was built in 1837 and it operated until 1922 when the mill burned. Before Edwards' Mill, a grist mill operated in the same location. It was built in 1800. So I am sure there has been a road through this field for a couple of centuries now.

Source of the above historic information: Gateway from the Past, Volume II: A Pictorial History of Hopkinsville and Christian County, KY Since 1865, compiled by William Turner. (The publishing date, etc. is not clearly cited.)

------------
UPDATE

I went back this evening and took this photo again with the barns facing the sun. I like the evening photo better, but I'll leave them both in place for the sake of comparison.

Related post:
Buildings Are Not Forever

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Buzzards Resting in the Trees

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Birds and Animals...



Buzzards roosting in a tree

I have lived here in Kentucky, the Land of Buzzards, for about 15 years. In that time, I have rarely seen buzzards resting in a tree, and never at 8:30 a.m. Usually, I see them in the air, riding the winds, or on the ground, gorging on roadkill. These two must have already had plenty to eat or they'd surely have been doing their usual aerial reconnaissance.

Clematis

More About Trees and Plants... My Various Hobbies



Clematis vine This morning I tried to find out what country clematis is a native of. I expected to learn that it had been imported from South America or possibly Africa or South Asia. To my surprise, I read that most clematis are natives of the Northern Hemisphere. There are over 250 varieties of clematis, and from these, many cultivars have been developed for growing in the garden.

Six varieties of clematis grow in Australia. The following is quoted from The Australian National Botanic Gardens site. "C. aristata" means "Clematis aristata", one of their native varieties.

For best results C. aristata should be grown in a position with some overhead shade and in deep cool soil. Liberal mulching with leaf litter would be beneficial. It may be easily trained to cover an artificial support such as a fence, trellis or pergola but in nature uses a tree or bush for support. It may also be used as a ground cover in the absence of vertical elements.

Quoted from an Australian National Botanic Gardens Native Plants page

I was interested that the Australian experts echoed the grand theme of clematis care: the vine likes to have its roots cool, so provide a heavy mulch. The mulch can be organic such as bark or leaves, or it can even be a pile of large rocks around the vine's stem. Other flowers can be planted around the vine to add shade as well.

I have two clematis vines. One has dark blue flowers, but it hasn't done well for a couple of years now. I probably need to baby it with a little more water in the summer and maybe some fertilizer -- and check its rock mulch. The clematis in the photo is doing fine. It blooms heavily for about a month, and then it might have a few sporadic blossoms through the rest of the summer.

Related sites:
Brother Stefan's Clematis
Growing Clematis
Garden Clippin's Online: Clematis

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lily of the Valley

More About Trees and Plants... My Various Hobbies





My mother-in-law gave me a start of lily of the valley about ten years ago. I planted it in a bed that is in shade for part of the day. In late summer when the rains stop, the bed gets very dry. A large old maple tree grows nearby, and it sucks the ground dry with a million thirsty rootlets.

The lily of the valley is a tough plant. It stays green even when the weather is hot and dry. It has managed to endure, and even to multiply. It would love to creep out into the lawn, even closer to the maple tree, but I've been keeping it in its bed.

I heard a lady on a radio garden show this weekend. She was sick and tired of her lily of the valley getting out of bounds, and she wanted to know how she could keep it where it belonged. The gardening expert explained that all she had to do was put a barrier around it, because lily of the valley spreads by sending up new shoots from its roots.

She interrupted. "Can't I just use Roundup?" I was offended by that suggestion and I think the host was, also. "Well!" he said. "I guess you can, but you'll get a dieback into the bed for 6 inches or so." "Really?" she said. "Good!"

I don't resent the wandering ways of my lily of the valley. I have it held back by a pathway of concrete rectangles. It tries to escape through the cracks between the rectangles, but I just pull the shoots up as they occur. If it gets too persistant, I dig out the roots that are trying to spread.

In truth, I'm very fond of lily of the valley. I like its name. I like its vigor and reliability. I love its little bell blossoms, and I love their fragrance. When I was taking some photos of it today and enjoying its wonderful scent, I thought that if I were a cat, I'd just lie down in the lily of the valley bed.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Productivity of American Farms

Some Interesting News...



American households (either families or individuals) currently spend about 10% of their disposable personal income for food.

In about five weeks, a typical household earns enough income to buy their food for the year. However, it takes about 3-1/2 months to earn enough to pay their taxes for the year.

The percentage of personal income being spent on food has decreased considerably in the last 3 decades. Thirty years ago, people worked a month and 3 weeks to earn enough income to buy a year's food.

(Facts from the April 2006, issue of All Around Kentucky, which is the official publication of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation)

Easter Dinner Preparations

All In The Family...



I've been in the kitchen for several hours and I'm taking a break. I've been baking for tomorrow's Easter dinner. Keely and her boyfriend will be here, and I want to have a nice meal. Here's the menu:

Easter DinnerRelish tray
Fresh Fruit salad
Pork Tenderloin
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Macaroni & cheese
Green peas
Baby Carrots
Baking powder biscuits
Cheesecake with blueberry topping
Rice Krispy Bars


The macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and gravy are treats for us. I don't usually fix them because they are just too fattening! I don't make biscuits often either. But tomorrow, we'll splurge a little on carbs. I thought about making yeast rolls, but I have decided I am just not that energetic tonight.

I just got the cheesecakes (a big one and a little one) out of the oven. I am excited because for the first time ever, I actually have springform pans to bake them in. I bought some the other day. WalMart sells a pack of three heavy, nice, Wilton® springform pans that nest together for about $10. I don't know why I didn't buy them years ago.

I hope the cheesecakes are going to be all right. I used fat-free sour cream, mostly Splenda instead of sugar, and mostly fat-free cream cheese. The only "real" ingredients in the cheesecakes are the eggs, and the graham cracker crumbs and margarine in the crust.

In a few minutes, I'm going to put the tenderloin in a baking dish, ready to put in the oven tomorrow morning before we leave for church. I have already made the cheese sauce and cooked the macaroni for the macaroni & cheese.

I don't expect to get home from church until around 1 p.m. and we'll eat at about 2 p.m. I will reheat the cheese sauce right after we get home, pour it over the macaroni, and put it in the oven to cook while the rest of the dinner is coming together.

Now if I just had the house vacuumed and if I knew for sure what I was going to wear tomorrow, I'd be prepared. Well, to be honest, the house needs more than just vacuuming, so I suppose I'd better get busy.

Dare, kiss or promise? How Elizabeth II chose the last

Some Interesting News...



The Daily Telegraph (UK), by Charles Moore
April 15, 2006

Have you noticed that modern Britain is the most matriarchal society in the history of the world? The four most famous figures in the public service since the war have been women - the Queen Mother, the Queen, Diana, Princess of Wales and Margaret Thatcher. Since the death of Winston Churchill more than 40 years ago, no British man has come near any of these four in the attention he can command.

Read more here: Dare, kiss or promise? How Elizabeth II chose the last

Elizabeth made a promise to the people of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth that she would spend her life in service to them, and she has kept her word.

Blogger sparks off 'Fib' poems craze across the internet

Some Interesting News...



Independent Online (UK), by David Usborne in New York
Published: 15 April 2006

Mathematics and poetry may be unlikely companions but a growing army of would-be wordsmiths is taking up a challenge to craft six-line verses that obey the disciplines of the so-called Fibonacci sequence.

It may be premature to call it a craze but it is somewhere close, according to the man who started it. He is Gregory Pincus, a screenwriter in Los Angeles who, two weeks ago, invited readers of his blog, Gottabook.blogspot.com, to try their hand at writing what he calls six-line "Fibs". Links to that invitation have since popped up on other blogs and websites.

Source: Blogger sparks off 'Fib' poems craze across the internet

Just so we can all join in the fun of fibbing, I have posted this article.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Christian and Lutheran Life...



We will be going to a Good Friday service this evening. It will be a solemn and somber Tenebrae service. The scripture readings and hymns will retell the story of Jesus' crucifixion. The church will be darkened little by little, and at the end, everyone will leave in silence. When we meet again, it will be Easter morning and the celebration of the resurrection.

It's a dramatic service that is intended to stir the emotions. I think of it as an opportunity to hear again what Jesus did for me and to say, "Thank you."

Last year on Good Friday, we were in Kansas City and we went to a Lutheran service there. It was not a Tenebrae service, but it was sobering in its own way. At the end of it, the crucifixion scenes from the movie, "The Robe," were shown.

I have not seen the movie, "The Passion of The Christ." I am afraid that it is so bloody that it would sicken me terribly. I can hardly bear to think of crucifixion.

The verse below has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been pondering the phrase, "became obedient to death."

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:8 (NIV)


Good Friday Morning

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



A shed at a Mennonite church, Christian County, KentuckyCarriages in a Mennonite churchyard



Carriages at a Mennonite church, Christian County, KentuckyCarriages in a Mennonite churchyard


Our Mennonite neighbors have been to Good Friday services this morning. I believe they reserve this day for worship and meditation and don't do any work except for the care that is essential for their animals.

Grass, Water, and Trees

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



Springtime in the woods of eastern Christian County, KentuckyThis photo was taken on the Jeff Adams Road in eastern Christian County. This area hasn't been touched much by the hand of man, lately. I think the farmer uses this land as pasture for his cows. He will probably log it sooner or later. The land on the other side of the road has been recently logged.

Not far from here, I saw a wild turkey in the woods. I stopped and backed up to get a better look at her (I think it was a hen.) She hunkered down in the fallen leaves for a moment and then she decided to make a run for it. She sped off through the trees and over the hilltop. I guess she was afraid she wasn't well enough hidden.

Along the same road, on the outskirts of the little hamlet of Honey Grove, iris are blooming in front of an old homesite.
Iris blooming at an old homesite in Christian County, Kentucky

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Dad

All In The Family...



This is my dad in about 1988. He is always on my mind at Easter because that is the time of year that he passed away. His funeral was held on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. He passed away on April 3, 1996. To be sure of that date, I looked it up. I think of Easter weekend, not April 3, as the anniversary of his death.

I'm fortunate that I had a great father. I have so many happy memories of him. He was a smart, creative, innovative man who loved being a rancher and working in his shop. He wasn't perfect, but he loved his family deeply.

I am glad that my dad was a devout Christian. I know that he is in heaven. He's absent from the body, but present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8).

My dad saw potentials in me that my mother probably didn't recognize. When we bought our house, he started giving me little tools for Christmas. He assured me that I could learn to do home repairs, and he gave me my first lesson in using an electric drill. He'd wouldn't be too surprised to find out that I've now developed a fondness for power tools and plywood.

A great lesson I learned from my father is to continue to express love to your children even when they are grown-up. I particularly remember that one time in his later years, Daddy gave me a hug and told me, "Don't ever forget how much I love you!" Those words mean even more to me today than they did when he said them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring Wildflowers

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



Virginia Bluebells - a Kentucky wildflower


Virginia Bluebells are blooming profusely along the banks of Little River and the little streams that are its tributaries. The moist soil and dappled shade of the river banks are perfect for them. The blooms in the photo above are on plants that are 18 to 24 inches tall. They are beautifully, strikingly blue.


Another flower along the riverside -- maybe Wild Pinks (?)

I'm fairly sure of the identification of this flower. It looks very similar in leaf and flower to the Wild Pink (Silene caroliniana var. wherryi) in my Guide to the Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky. The problem with that identification (according to my guide) is that Wild Pinks aren't supposed to grow in this part of Kentucky and they're not supposed to bloom until May. Also, these are purple, not pink. The USDA PLANTS website agrees that they don't grow in Christian County.

These might not have been wildflowers originally. They might have been planted as garden flowers and now they have gone wild because they like where they are living. They are growing on the riverbank behind a woven wire fence.


Just above the river

The little white flowers below are Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica,) I think, judging from their leaves, their flowers, and their habitat. If I am correct in my identification, it's a member of the purslane family and a relative of the moss rose.


Spring Beauties, on the riverbank

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Tributary of Little River

Warrens Fork, just before it joins Little River



Little River
Just south of the bridge on the
Vaughn Grove-Little River Road
in eastern Christian County, KY
.

Modern Dance Class

Another Trip Down Memory Lane...



dancerThere are humiliations, and there are ongoing humiliations. My modern dance class in college was an ongoing humiliation, and I still remember it with some anguish.

I am not a dancer, and there are good reasons for it. My father and mother and every member of our little country church believed that dancing led to trouble. They didn't have to look far to find evidence to support their belief. The occasional Saturday night dances at the local community hall got pretty wild. Much alcohol was consumed and neighbors got in fights with each other about their wives. Or so it was said.

We didn't have a television until I was out of high school, so I didn't store away any mental images of teenagers dancing on American Bandstand or even Lawrence Welk waltzing with his gray-haired lady fans.

I didn't go to any high school dances because I attended a strict parochial boarding school. Dancing was strictly against the rules. Any student who danced would have been counseled and disciplined. If the student had several dancing misdemeanors, I have no doubt that he or she would have been permanently expelled.

Even my contacts with dance as an art were very limited. I saw photographs in Life Magazine and the National Geographic of ballet dancers, but I had no idea of what a performance of ballet was like. I think I did see a neighbor boy who took tap dance lessons perform once at a 4-H talent contest.

So, I came into adulthood as a non-dancer, and because I felt very awkward when required to dance, I avoided dancing situations whenever possible.

Did I enroll in a Modern Dance class so I could improve my dance skills? No. I needed one more Physical Education class in order to graduate from college at last. Modern Dance was the only class that worked into my schedule, so I enrolled.

The one mercy was that it was a class of females taught by a woman. I was glad for that because I'm not comfortable in form-fitting leotards, even around a group of women. But then, my classmates weren't really women. They were giggly teenaged girls. I was 27 years old, nearly a decade their elder.

In our first class, the teacher introduced some stretches and ballet positions. I couldn't walk down stairs or any other incline the next day without great pain in my leg muscles. I felt hopeful, though. I thought that if the class didn't get any "dancier" than that, I'd make it through.

The class progressed and soon we started dancing earnestly and my hope turned to despair. Oh, the humiliation. I wasn't good at watching the teacher's movements and replicating them with my own body parts. On the weeks that we studied the Schottische, the waltz, the polka, the rhumba, the tango, etc., it seemed to me that no one wanted to be my partner. That was probably because I struggled to master the concepts, and in that struggle, I stepped on my partner's feet and sometimes made them lose their balance.

The worst torture of the entire class came during the last week. As a final exam, each girl was required to choreograph an original interpretive dance and perform it for the class. The dance had to be at least three minutes long.

On the day of the final, we all sat on the floor in a big circle. The teacher asked us to step forward and do our dances one after the other in the center of the circle so that it would be like a performance. I could and should have gone first, but I waited and waited.

One by one, the girls performed. Every one of them had invented a three minute dance to sophisticated music. Their graceful movements certainly looked interpretive to me. Looking back now, I realize that probably many of them had taken the class because they liked to dance and knew it would be an easy grade.

At last I was the only one left, and the teacher looked at me and smiled. I had no choice but to rise and dance. I had chosen a bouncy children's song that seemed like something I could do some simple movements to. I had planned some "sequences" to do, but in the panic of the moment, I forgot them.

dancerSo I did some skipping, a little hopping and some random twirling, and I jazzed that up with slow arm-waving and occasional bending. I knew if I could just keep it up until the end of the song, my three minutes would be over, and so would the class! Finally, the music stopped. I was very grateful.

The teacher gave me a "B" in the class, which was surely based on my faithful attendance, not on my ability or improvement. She was probably as glad to see me go as I was to escape!

Doing Things the Hard Way

Chores and Duties... The Rural Life...



Apple blossom in our yard


I have been on the computer enough today, but I haven't taken time to post anything on the blog. I apologize to my loyal readers. All five of you!

I've been working on my church's website. I wrote it about 7 or 8 years ago, and it hasn't had a major overhaul since then. I keep noticing when I look at it (especially with Firefox) that some things just aren't working right anymore.

So I started updating it today. It is a bit of a chore, but it needs to be done because it's not representing the church well. I will spend a few days tweaking it, and it will look much better, I hope.

Now that I have a template figured out, I just have to put the information and links for each page into it. It's tedious enough, but not really difficult.

I don't use a page editor. I don't like the bizarre HTML that most page editors seem to produce. I insist on doing it the proper and difficult way. (Ugh. I really am insane! ) I write the HTML and the CSS myself, using an excellent text editor called Editpad.

I've also been mowing the lawn the hard way today. That is, I've been push-mowing! The riding mower has a very flat tire. I think I might have run over a nail when I was mowing around our recently-built shed.

While I'm waiting for some help with the tire, the grass is growing rapidly. This time of the year, mowing must be done frequently to hold the wilderness at bay. So today, I got out both push mowers and changed the oil in them and got them started. When Isaac got home from school, I made him push one of them and I pushed the other for about an hour.

About a third of the lawn is still waiting for the first mowing of the year. We mow close to 1-1/2 acres, with the lawn and the roadsides. As you can imagine, I am hoping to get the riding mower going again before long.

Push mowing isn't painfully strenuous, but still, you can work up a sweat and you use both your upper and lower body. It's pretty good exercise, and that's about the best thing I can say for it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Disgusting Refrigerator Stories

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane... Chores and Duties...



I found myself in the mood to clean the refrigerator this afternoon. I took out the shelves and drawers and washed them in the sink. I threw out a few virtually empty salad dressings and pickle jars. I didn't find anything too nasty except for one lemon that was starting to go moldy. It didn't take too long and I'm glad it's done.

When I had my first school-teaching job, I shared a little basement apartment with my sister who was in high school. There wasn't any bus service in our county and we lived 32 miles out in the country, so it saved a lot of driving for Charlotte to live with me.

We cooked for ourselves, but we didn't usually have much in the refrigerator. Maybe that's why we didn't see a need to clean it out very often. One time, a little bowl of pork-and-beans sat in the back corner of a shelf for months.

One day I came home and Charlotte told me that she had defrosted and cleaned out the refrigerator. "You know that bowl of pork and beans?" she asked. "Those were peas."

Since then, I've tried to clean out the fridge more regularly.

When the kids were little, I went through a phase of using Hidden Vallen Ranch Dressing mixes. I would stir up the dressing and keep it in a jar in the refrigerator. The dressing was white with dark flecks in it and even though the jar was never labeled, we all knew what it was.

One evening as we were eating supper, Keely wanted some ranch dressing to dip her carrot sticks in, so she got out the jar and spooned some onto her plate. I didn't pay much attention to what she was doing until she made loud spitting and gagging noises.

"That dressing's spoiled, Mom!" she sputtered indignantly. Then I realized what she had got from the refrigerator -- not a jar of ranch dressing, but a jar of cold, congealed sausage gravy, left over from the biscuits and gravy I'd fixed as a treat for Dennis that morning.

After that shocking experience, Keely wouldn't taste sausage gravy for many, many years. The morning after Christmas this year, I fixed biscuits and gravy, and I noticed that she had some. I'm glad she has finally recovered.

The Wild Tomcat

All In The Family... More About Birds and Animals... The Rural Life





This wild tomcat lives at our house part of the time. He's not as wild as he used to be, but he won't allow anyone to touch him. I am not fond of him, but I can't stand for him to be hungry so I feed him. I hate to think of him being cold in the winter, so I built a little house for him.

Since he's become a concern (I won't call him a pet), I suppose I should have him neutered. Catching him would be a challenge. I would have to try to lure him into the cat carrier with food and then slam the door.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Aging

I came across this in some old files today. When I copied and saved it eight years ago, my mirror wasn't malfunctioning nearly as badly as it is now.

I look in the mirror, and what do I see?
A strange looking person who cannot be me;
For I am much younger, not nearly so fat,
As the face in the mirror that I'm looking at.
Oh, where are the mirrors that I used to know,
Like the ones of thirty years or so ago?
All things have changed, and I'm sure you'll agree
Mirrors are not as good as they used to be!

Author Unknown

Three Anecdotes about Life's Humbling Experiences

And What I Think About It...



We knew a nice middle-aged man when we lived in West Berlin. He was a retired Army officer who was married to a German lady, and he worked for the Burger King in the PX so he could have a certain type of ID card that made it easy to travel to East Berlin. (He and his wife loved going over there to shop because the merchandise was cheap with American dollars.) He made a comment about being a fast food employee that I still remember: "The work is humbling, but not humiliating."

-----

I knew a fellow who worked for a while on the garbage truck that comes out our way. He was a personable, intelligent man who formerly had a job doing some kind of sales that required a lot of travel. He took the garbage truck job because it paid the bills and allowed him to be home every night with his family. He decided to value his family over his job prestige.

-----

I once knew a young woman who couldn't have a conversation without mentioning her college degrees. She wouldn't even entertain people in her home if she suspected they hadn't graduated from college! I eventually learned that she had come from a very poor family. Since then, she and her husband have had four children, and two of the children have health problems that have required surgeries and long hospital stays. When I last saw her a few years ago, she didn't even mention her degrees. She was much more likable than she used to be, but I would never have wished her the troubles she's had.

-----

I subtitled this "And What I Think About It," so I'll offer an observation. The character and intellect of a person can't be reliably judged by the type of work he or she does or by the number of years of school he or she completed. That's so obvious that it's trite, but it doesn't hurt to say it again, I guess.

Friday, April 07, 2006

More Stormy Weather

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...





The lilies-of-the-valley seemed grateful for the hard rain this afternoon. Thunder and lightning doesn't frighten them, and they are so close to the ground that wind doesn't bother them much either. The worst thing they have to fear is hail, but they don't waste time worrying about things like that. Their energies are devoted to blooming, making seed, and sending up new shoots from their roots. Many of them have their buds made already. It's nearly time to bloom, and today's rain was refreshing and envigorating.

The tornado watch that has been in effect all day ended at 8 p.m., and a new one that doesn't expire until 4 a.m. took its place. Some bad clouds passed over at about 7 p.m. We could see that it was getting ready to storm and the weather watch mentioned hail, so we put both cars on the carport and parked the truck where no trees should fall on it. Nothing bad has happened, but we are prepared as best we can.

As the worst of that squall line was hitting, I heard the announcer on WHOP (Hopkinsville) radio say that the tornado sirens had been turned on in Hopkinsville, but there was no tornado. Apparently a trained weather spotter saw a dangling funnel cloud which was then sucked back up into the cloud. Yes, we are all a little spooky here!

We are more vulnerable in many ways than the little flowers are.

More About the Tornado of April 2, 2006

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



A surprising number of people from everywhere are coming to my blog in search of information about the tornadoes, and I hope that some of the info I've posted will be helpful to them.

Here are a few facts that were in the newspaper last night. Matt Snorten, the emergency services manager for Christian County, says a conservative estimate of the tornado damage in Christian County from the April 2, 2006, twin tornadoes is $26 million. The figure is expected to rise as cleanup progresses.

245 homes in Christian County were damaged, and 88 of them were a total loss, according to damage assessments by county officials. 28 houses in Todd County were damaged as well. 29 people were injured during the tornadoes in Christian County.

The source of the above facts is an article ("Tandem Trouble" by Jennifer P. Brown) in the Kentucky New Era on Thursday, April 6, 2006.

Some photos of the storm damage have been posted on the Fort Campbell Courier website. The Fort Campbell Courier is a publication of the Kentucky New Era. No registration is required to view the Fort Campbell Courier, unlike most of the Kentucky New Era which is now "members only".

I think (?) some stories in the New Era can be read without registration by going to the Hopkinsville.net site that the New Era is affiliated with.

I haven't gone to look at any of the damage personally because sightseeing is discouraged, and besides, it's just rude to drive around gawking at the misfortune of others. I did send a contribution to the local Salvation Army, because they're running a couple of canteens where storm victims and workers can go to eat. The American Red Cross is providing assistance as well.

We in Christian County are very thankful that we had no fatalities, despite 180 mph winds and a long wide storm path. Other communities were not so fortunate on that bad night, most notably the Dyersburg, TN area that suffered 12 fatalities.

Here again is a list of some information sources about the April 2, 2006 tornadoes in Christian County:

Tornado Reports I've Posted in This Blog:
Final Report on Christian County, KY Tornado
Official Report on Tornado in Christian County
Tornado in Christian County, Kentucky
Stormy Weather Tonight


Some Photographs of the Tornado Damage
• National Weather Service photos of the tornado damage.

Here and here are images of the tornado damage in the Sinking Fork area that were posted by the administrator of the Hoptown Hall Forum.

WKDZ Radio has posted over 80 photos of the tornado damage.

Fort Campbell Courier photos of the storm damage


Additional Information
• Google search for news of the Hopkinsville - Christian County tornado.

• The Kentucky New Era

Superman's Hometown: Metropolis, Illinois

Life in The Upper South... History and Old Stuff...



Superman outside the Massac County CourthouseSuperman guards the Massac County Courthouse.

We were in Paducah, Kentucky, today and we drove the short distance across the river and up to Metropolis, Illinois, so Isaac could go to the Superman Store. He has been grieving for about a year now that he lost his Superman winter hat that he bought there last time.

Metropolis, Illinois, just north of the Ohio River on Interstate 24, was officially granted the title of "Superman's Hometown" by DC Comics in 1972. They could hardly deny the honor to Metropolis because it is the only city in the US with that name and in the Superman comic books, Clark Kent lived in the city of Metropolis.


The Superman Store at Metropolis, ILThe Superman Store in Metropolis, Illinois.

Inside the Superman StoreInside the Superman Store

When you walk into the Superman Store, you notice immediately that it's very blue inside -- Superman blue, that is. The store is full of Superman memorabilia of all sorts: comic books, posters, costumes, t-shirts, hats, key chains, lunch boxes, dolls, and much, much more. Isaac bought a visor that has a Superman emblem on it.

A Superman Museum adjoins the Superman Store, but it was closed. I have never been in it, but Isaac has, and he says it is chock full of all sorts of Superman memorabilia. The clerk told us that the owner has the largest Superman Collection in the USA and that only a portion of it is on display in the Superman Museum.

Isaac and Clark KentIsaac and mild-mannered Clark Kent

Across the street, a huge Superman stands on the town square, guarding the Masac County Courthouse. The motto on the statue's base, "Truth - Justice - The American Way," is appropriate for a center of local law and justice. Isaac agreed to pose with the big guy. He also posed with Clark Kent but he refused to stand behind the headless cutout of Superman or beside Betty Boop. He was finished with photographic nonsense.

On the opposite side of the courthouse, two of the largest maple trees I've ever seen grow on the lawn. I tried to stretch my arms around the smaller one to estimate its girth, and I am sure it is more than 12 feet around. A small white haired lady who was smoking on the courthouse steps observed my tree-hug without emotion. I'm sure the folks in Metropolis are used to the strange things tourists do.


Entrance to Harrah's Riverboat CasinoRiverboat casino entrance at Metropolis

Harrah's Riverboat Casino is probably a bigger attraction in Metropolis than Superman, sad to say. It has a large facility and extensive parking lots along the Ohio River's banks, a half dozen blocks from the courthouse.

It would be interesting to know how much clear profit from the casino has actually been realized by the city of Metropolis. I suppose it has brought some jobs to the town, but there has surely been a considerable expense in infrastructure and law enforcement as well as a loss of peace and quiet.

Harrahs even has buses that go to various towns (including Hopkinsville) to transport people to the casino. I suspect there's a two-fold motive. It does provide safe transportation to people who have drunk too much, and it also provides a way for people to get to the boat and gamble even if they don't have a vehicle they can drive there.

Bed and Breakfast, Metropolis, ILThe Isle-of-View Bed and Breakfast

Metropolis seems to have an awakening interest in preservation and restoration. As in many towns in this area, some of the biggest old buildings in Metropolis were built between 1885 and 1900. I saw signs in some of their windows that said something about a downtown preservation group. An attractive old home near the river has been made into the Isle-of-View bed-and-breakfast.


Fort Massac State ParkFort Massac State Park

Just a short distance up the river on the outskirts of Metropolis, Fort Massac State Park offers nice picnic and camping facilities. (Bring squirrel proof containers -- the park is full of those little critters.) The reconstructed fort is the jewel of the park and it represents far more history than I can go into here.

If you ever pass through southern Illinois on I-24, I recommend Metropolis as an interesting place to spend a few hours of tourist time. And of course, Paducah, Kentucky is right across the river and it's also an interesting place to visit, so you might want to get a room and spend the night.

------------
UPDATE
------------

I have posted a few more photos from Metropolis.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.