Another “One year later” post

Taken June 20, 2020

Taken June 30, 2021









Here is another look at our backyard flower and herb garden. These two photos show the same herb plant 12 months apart. We planted this sage in early June, 2020. We did harvest and dry some of the sage last fall. The other shot was taken this afternoon. This sage has really grown a lot.

In the upper left corner of today’s photo you can get a glimpse of the chives plant. In the lower right corner you can see leaves of one of the Asiatic lilies highlighted in another post here.

A dragon approaches

OK, it’s a storm cloud, but to me it looks like a dragon’s head

We have been needing some rain, and this system did bring a nice shower. While we are not getting the extreme heat like in the Pacific Northwest, our temps have been in the low 90’s with stifling humidity. The weather forecasters say the “Muggy Meter” is pegged today.

Our grandson’s toad

We got this picture of a big toad outside our son’s house recently. Our grandson (Kindergarten age) immediately proclaimed that he had already seen this toad. Not just any toad, but this one. Kids know critters, so who are we to doubt him?

Oldenburg 1871 Sorrowful Mother Shrine

Oldenburg Indiana is known for its rich religious history. Founded in 1837 by German settlers, it is known as the “Village of Spires” due to the multiple church steeples that make up the town’s skyline.

Located about a mile outside the town limits visitors will find the beautiful Sorrowful Mother Shrine, erected in 1871 by Siegfried Koehler, who had arrived in Oldenburg from Alsace, France in the late 1830’s.

The Altar

Prayer bench






The statue on the altar is actually a plaster cast of the original that Koehler brought with him on the ship from France. The original was found to be hand carved from black walnut, and now is in the Holy Family Catholic Church in Oldenburg to protect it from vandalism.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

Seven Sorrows pictured






The shrine is found on a country road, and is in a beautiful setting. Trees, lawns and a stone bench ad to the ambience. While it can be locked, the shrine was open the day we visited. This is a Holy and Sacred place, and you can feel peace and serenity at the shrine.

“Stop feeding birds and take down your feeders” says Indiana Department of Natural Resources

In late May of this year songbirds were turning up sick and dying in Monroe County, Indiana, home of Indiana University. Birds were found with swollen and crusty eyes and neurological issues. Affected birds have also been found is several other counties, though not in ours. Species mostly affected are the blue jay, American robin, common grackle, starling, northern cardinal and brown-headed cowbird. We have seen all of these birds regularly at our backyard feeders.

On Friday May 25, 2021 the Indiana DNR issued the following for residents in all Indiana counties: So far testing has only confirmed that the dead birds have not succumbed to avian influenza and West Nile virus. Stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded. Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution. Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.

Further updates may be found at this DNR website.

Our feeders are now empty. Tomorrow we’ll take them down and sanitize them. At least the past year has taught us how to sanitize! Sad that now our birds are in a way on their own lockdown.


A fun Saturday discovery

Wine bar to serve you

Sher and I wanted to have a new experience Saturday. We had been looking for nearby attractions, and found that there was a winery near Batesville, Indiana, about half way between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.  Ertel Cellars Winery is a well established winery and bistro, offering both excellent varieties of wines and varied and delicious menu selections in the restaurant.

Loving that wine!

Studying the wine list







That’s a burger

We decided to have our meal on the outside covered patio. The seating was in very comfortable wood rocking chairs, and overlooked a beautiful green valley through classic rough stone masonry. We each received a complimentary flight of three wine samples. Of the samples we both preferred the Pink Catawba, one of the Estate wines, meaning grown, fermented and bottled on site at Ertel Cellars.

The meals we ordered were from the lunch menu. I ordered the Smoked Gouda cheese burger, and Sheryl had the Spinach salad with all the trimmings. Both of our meals were superb and very filling. We had a bottle of the Pink Catawba with our meals and took the specially packed unfinished bottle  home with us. Sarah was perfect as our wait staff and made our visit most memorable.

Gorgeous view from our table

Some of Ertel’s vineyards







The dining patio is an absolutely delightful place to enjoy a quiet and calm Saturday afternoon. With the best company (no question there), great food and excellent wine we had an adventure that turned into a romantic Saturday date. Ertel Cellars should be on any traveler’s agenda. We’ll be returning.