St Joseph Center in North Little Rock

We stayed here for free as part of Harvest Hosts. A treat to have not only a sustainable farm but an historic site too.

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Original 1910 orphanage

We found a wonderful and historic location in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The St. Joseph Center is a non-profit organization based on a historic building that was once a children’s orphanage run by the Catholic Church.  The impressive structure was built in 1910 and currently there are several Artist’s Studios inside the spacious old building that houses other functions.

Currently the St. Joseph Center is an educational and working farm. The grounds are really beautiful. The first thing Sher and I did was to take a stroll around the main building, enjoying the old statuary and flower beds. We also got our first look at the garden plots. Turns out that there is a large citizen garden space  where locals can come and, for a modest fee, have their own personal garden plot.

Bull, right and cow

Recently sheared sheep

The Farm Stand, in other words the…

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We named her Wilma

The Pileated Woodpeckers are some of the most exciting birds to observe. We’ve been blessed with some great sightings!

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Sher and I were thrilled a couple of days ago when we saw for just a second a stunning Pileated Woodpecker who came in and landed on our tree. Almost immediately it took off.  Yesterday, however, another (maybe the same?) Pileated female came in and ended up feeding from one of the suet cages.

Notice the little Nuthatch that photobombed the video? The size of Wilma seems to have spooked it from the suet cage.

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Could have been embarrassing

Here’s a live action shot of a not so coordinated squirrel. We thought it was worth a replay.

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Sher and I see it everyday: squirrels hopping from tree to overhead lines and back again. This morning we saw a juvenile squirrel almost miss.

This fellow was going from the tree branch to the immediate left over to the wire. Usually a small stretch is all that’s required. He missed getting his back legs on the wire, and he ended up in the position you see.  A little struggle and he was successfully on his way down the wire.

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Austin’s Lady Bird Lake at night

We really enjoyed this family outing on Lady Bird Lake. Read on to see and learn about the “different” buildings in downtown Austin.

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The Colorado River runs through Austin’s vibrant downtown. Flanked by parks, bike and hiking trails and entertainment venues, the river also widens and slows, prompting the name Lady Bird Lake after LBJ’s First Lady.

Striking view at dusk

Groupon led us to Lone Star Riverboat cruises, offering a chance to enjoy a sunset cruise and beautiful views of the remarkable and interesting architecture of Austin’s skyline. Lone Star has both a double deck “paddle wheeler” style boat. Sher and I and our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter chose to ride the open air pontoon boat for our sunset cruise.

Center building is either an owl or a nose hair clipper: locals laugh about it

Curved building is the new Google Headquarters, far right is one that looks like a thumb drive

We thoroughly enjoyed our slow paced tour up and down the waters. Our Captain of the craft gave a…

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Wild strawberry or COVID virus??

This discovery in our yard was quite a shock, actually.

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Took a picture of a couple of mushrooms yesterday.  Within the image was a little red wild strawberry. Once the photo was enlarged and the red berry zeroed in, the details of the berry came into focus.

That looks eerily close to COVID

Immediately the  shape of the berry looked very familiar. Yes, that shape has been displayed just about everywhere since, oh, sometime around March 2020. It does look way to much like the renderings you see of that damned COVID-19 virus.

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James Whitcomb Riley, The Hoosier Poet

Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley is an Indiana treasure, visit his home in Greenfield.

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“When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.” We know you’ve heard that saying before. Did you know that is a quote from James Whitcomb Riley, know as The Hoosier Poet? Riley was born in 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana.  His home is preserved and is open for tours.

Riley’s birthplace in Greenfield

Front door signage

Riley was noted for his down home use of dialect that epitomized rural Indiana. He first wrote under a pen name (farmer Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone) for newspapers in Anderson and Indianapolis. As a boy Riley worked as an assistant to traveling patent-medicine hucksters.

Historic Marker outside the home

Riley is famous for his remarkable volume of poems. He wrote and published over 1000 verses. His most popular are “Little Orphant Annie”, “The Raggedy Man,” “Our…

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The haunted Willard Library

No matter if you believe in ghosts or not, this is a very interesting library. Our last visit was in the fall of 2016.

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Willard Library reading room Willard Library reading room

Evansville, Indiana is home to one of the most documented haunted structures in the country. The library,  a private enterprise, opened in 1881. The beautiful building is filled with period furnishings and some magnificent interior wood work. Hereis the main library website. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The Willard library started its journey as a haunted site in the 1930’s. A custodian was greeted one evening by the vision of an apparition that is now known as “The Gray Lady”. This translucent form has made many more appearances throughout the decades and has been seen by many. No one knows for sure who this ghost is nor the reason for her continued presence in the library.

One thing for certain is the fact that strange and unexplained happenings have and continue to occur in the building. Water…

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Bascilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a National Shrine in Texas

This was one of the memorable places we enjoyed while wintering in the Rio Grande Valley a few years back.

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The Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a remarkable place in the Rio Grande Valley. The Basilica has a fascinating history that traces back to the 1600’s in Mexico with a reported miracle. The current location has been the sight for pilgrimages for decades.

The bell tower

The Sanctuary

Sher and I decided to go to the Basilica on a Sunday for mass. The Sunday schedule has masses all day, with Spanish, English and bi-lingual. There is a mariachi band providing the music on Saturday and Sunday masses. We opted for the 3 o’clock English mass. The mass was very inspiring.

Free Holy Water fountain

First Station of the Cross

The sculpture on the back sanctuary wall

When we arrived, the 1 o’clock mass had not yet let out, and the parking lots were very full. I was able to find a handicapped spot. The complex has…

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New home for an old bridge

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By 1870 Shelby County Indiana had 154 miles of new gravel roads. It was time for the county to start building bridges at principle crossings of rivers. By 1880 there were 10 “substantial and elegant” iron bridges  with additional bridges planned each year thereafter.

The bridge’s new home, seeing bicycles and pedestrian traffic only

The Clover Ford Bridge over Buck Creek was constructed in 1889 by the King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The cost of the bridge, Shelby County Bridge No. 13, was $3,384.50. The bridge served many years but was closed due to structural issues in 2011.

Beautiful and sound reconstruction

History board

Deemed historically important, it was refurbished in 2018 and moved to the Blue River Memorial Park in 2019. It is now part of the Blue River Trail that traverses Shelbyville. USI Consultants was the company that oversaw the relocation of the restored…

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