When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Riley statue at the courthouse

You have no doubt heard the saying “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.” That quote is from James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier Poet. He is from Greenfield, Indiana, a small town east of Indianapolis.

Riley was noted for his down home use of dialect that epitomized rural Indiana. He 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 Hired Girl,” “A Barefoot Boy,” “The Bumblebee,” “Granny,” and “When the Frost Is on the Punkin.”

Mural with verses from his “Wet Weather Talk” poem

Highway 40 Yard Sale starts May 31, 2023

U.S. Highway 40, also known as the National Road, begins in Baltimore and runs west for 824 miles and ends in St. Louis. Since 2003 a remarkable event takes place along the entire route. The week following Memorial Day thousands of people set up flea market type displays on the sides of the road, selling everything you can think of.

This year the sale starts on Wednesday, May 31 and runs through Sunday, June 4th. You’ll start to see people setting up as early as Sunday May 28th. Many different places turn into both large and small markets. Parking lots, large and small fields, front yards, churches, empty building lots all transform into individual antique, flea market and craft booths. Lots of folks who live on Highway 40 take advantage of the event and have their own yard sale.

Sellers stay all week with their goods

Buyers include serious antique collectors, hobby collectors, and people looking for unique bargains and treasures. Some folks travel hundreds of miles over several days while others just cruise 40 in their own county. The sale really has a festival feel, and it is exciting when you find that special item! For more information on being a seller or a buyer see their Facebook page.

Antique cars and gourmet burgers

Ford’s Garage in Noblesville, Indiana is not a place to have your car repaired or serviced. No, it is one of a nationwide chain of restaurants that features vintage Ford cars and an overall historic automotive theme giving the feel of a 1920’s service station.

Touted as a gourmet burger and craft beer establishment, our table was in the open air portion of the seating areas. We had already looked at the menu online, and had a good idea what specialty drinks we were interested in trying. Sher ordered the Lincoln Punch and Maj had the Model Tea. (Note the Ford auto name connections!)

” Lincoln Punch” made with Mount Gay Rum, Blackberry Puree, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, and Lemon Juice

“Model Tea” made with Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Lemon Juice, and Sweet Tea










Looking at the menu for the large number of gourmet burgers available was kind of a wow, what to order moment. All of the burgers are made with a 1/2 pound of Black Angus beef. A bison burger is also on the menu. When Maj mentioned to our server that he was looking at the burgers, she immediately recommended “The Estate Burger”.  That was a good choice as it turned out.

Smoked Gouda Cheese, Sweet Red Onion Marmalade, Arugula, Tomato, Fried Onion Straws, and White Truffle Bacon Aioli on a Brioche Bun

Sher and our son shared a couple of appetizers. As is true with most menu items, the Ford auto theme is utilized again. The “Giant Funnel Tower of Jumbo Piston Onion Rings” and “Edsel’s Hot Pretzels” were complimented with “Ford’s Fries”. As the photo shows, the onion rings were served on a tall funnel!

Salted Soft Pretzels, Served with Ford’s Beer Cheese and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces

Jumbo Piston Rings Served with Homemade Chipotle Ketchup and Hidden Valley Ranch®









We had a most enjoyable time at Ford’s Garage in Noblesville. The service was good and the food was delicious and filling, too. The ambiance of the place is very unique and provides a fun dining event for you and your family or group. There is such a wide variety of good stuff on the menu, both the food and drink. Ford’s Garage should be on your dining agenda. Be on the lookout for other Ford’s Garage franchises around the country.

Historic Seagram’s Distillery in Lawrenceburg

Driving along US 50 through Lawrenceburg, Indiana, it is hard to miss the large complex of tall red brick buildings and multiple silver tanks that are part of the former Seagrams Distillery plant that straddles the Lawrenceburg and Greendale city boundaries. The current owner/operator of the facility is now MGP Ingredients, based out of Kansas.

This building has multiple floors of aging racks for 550 pound barrels of whisky

The Cincinnati Magazine published a fascinating and detailed story about the history of the Seagram’s Distillery, its current owners, and the ins and outs of the distillery business around the country. Read that article here. 

This paragraph is from the Cincinnati Magazine article.  “According to (Master Distiller Greg) Metze, it all starts with the water. MGP Ingredients sits on an aquifer, just a short walk from the Ohio River (most of the facility is actually in Greendale). That 56-degree water—low in sulfur and iron, high in calcium, and limestone-filtered—lets MGP make a lot of whiskey, and also have a continuous source for cooling the equipment. That’s why there were so many distilleries in Lawrenceburg in the 1800s. MGP’s began life as the Rossville Union Distillery in 1847; after Prohibition, in 1933, it was purchased by the legendary Canadian company Seagram. Right next door was Squibb, which opened in 1846 (though another distillery, Dunn and Ludlow, was on that patch of land in 1807) and became part of the Delaware company Schenley in 1933.”

More aging racks, and the tower houses multi-story continuous column stills

We were on a day trip to southern Indiana, the Ohio River and Lawrenceburg. The Seagram’s facility is huge, and we decided to drive over to the site, having never done that before.   Unfortunately we discovered that the new owners do not offer public tours of this historic distillery. At one time the Seagram’s plant employed over 2800 at the distillery and bottling plant. It is truly an iconic business with a rich and colorful history.


River ford now closed

Before the ford was closed

The 10 acres for Kennedy Park in Shelbyville, Indiana were bought and donated to the city in 1929 by Fred Kennedy. Among the features of the park included a concrete ford that crossed the Little Blue River to East Franklin Street. For years it was a place to drive across the river by car or bike. It was also a place to wash your car, which of course you couldn’t do today.

The video pans from East to West and shows the last complete concrete section of the old ford. You can also get a glimpse of the recently completed steel pedestrian footbridge over the river.

Crow showed up and we talked

Last fall Sher and I were visiting our daughter, her husband and our 8 year old grandson who live in the Seattle area. One day I was in our daughter’s backyard  taking photos of some of the leather medicine bags that I have been making.

My personal medicine bag trimmed with the colors of the 4 directions, a silver feather and a gift from the sea.

While I was arranging another leather medicine bag for photos, I heard a loud “caw-caw” from somewhere up the street. Almost immediately a large black crow landed in a small tree about 15 yards away. Crow then began to “talk” to me with varying tones and volume. I responded to him, and thanked him for sharing his space with me.

Crow and I shared space and spirit together for several minutes. Sharing time with animals is so inspiring to me, and I consider them exceptional opportunities to relish the chance to be at one with animals, Nature and Earth.  I asked him if I could take an image of him. Crow did not want his image taken, and he flew off as we said our farewells.

I cut some pieces from an apple for me, and then I took the rest of the apple and put it in the tree where Crow had been perched while we conversed. It is always a nice gesture to leave a gift whenever you have contact with Nature. When I have been gifted by Nature with stones, feathers, shells or even a leaf or flower I always leave a gift in thanks for the find.

Black Onyx from Peru

A few day later we all went to a wonderful gem and mineral store in the fun town of Snohomish. I needed to get some sage for cleansing and smudging ceremonies. In this store I was immediately drawn to a display of beautiful carved crows made of black onyx that had been imported from Peru. I was strongly drawn to one and he went home with me. My past interaction with Crow reinforced that the black onyx Peruvian crow was supposed to be. Yes, I believe Crow joining me for a bit was indeed a good sign.


Unique RV paint job

Back in the fall of 2015 we were busy setting up  at festivals and flea markets. At a tractor show and swap meet in western Ohio we were surprised to see a wildly painted RV pull up and set  up across from us. We met the owner, who was from Canada and said he travels all over. Yes, he was the artist, he said.

The whole rig is covered in paintings. The more you look, the more you see!

We saw him at several shows during the rest of the fall festival season, and occasionally over the next few years as well. We saw his RV as late as January 2019 at a flea market in McAllen, Texas. The fellow from Canada was nowhere to be seen.

Hard Truth Distilling Co. cinnamon vodka

Here I am tasting the Cinnamon Vodka

Nashville is in Brown County, one of Indiana’s most popular tourist destinations. Last year we found the Hard Truth Distilling Co. on the outskirts of this quaint little town.

Hard Truth began in Nashville above a pizza parlor, and has developed into a full tasting facility and a separate restaurant, all set on beautifully landscaped grounds just outside of town. We went to the tasting room, where we each had samples of many of the distillery’s products.

We liked many of the offerings, however our absolute favorite was the Cinnamon Vodka. This spirit is made with their original, wheat-based vodka and premium, natural ingredients to produce an awesome true cinnamon flavor drinking experience. This has 30% alcohol by volume, in other words 60 Proof.

Photo courtesy Hard Truth Distillery

We enjoy it mixed with lime soda, as a chilled straight shot and even in coffee and tea. There are several recipes utilizing this great spirit on the Hard Truth website. Well worth your time to visit the site.

Wright Brothers first flight in North Carolina

The National Park Service operates the National Memorial to the Wright Brothers located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, specifically the Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills area.

Hands-on life size sculpture of the plane

Almost everyone has heard of the first manned flight in a powered airplane. Any trip to the area of the Outer Banks should include a visit to this dramatic Memorial. We arrived late in the day, and thus did not have time to visit the Visitors Center. We did, however, enjoy the massive monument and the life sized reproduction of the original Wright flier and associated sculpture field.

Monument on the hill where the first flight occurred

The massive monument is on top of the large sand dune hill where the flights occurred. In the 1920’s the dune was seeded with grass to stabilize the hill in preparation for the construction of the monument.

Wilbur to the right: original photo

Statue of Wilbur running alongside the plane piloted by Orville






Originally from Ohio, the Wright brothers found that the sand dunes of the outer banks would be a perfect place for them to design the gliders and finally the engine powered airplane. Sand dunes provided a relatively safe place to test fly: sand is soft, protects the pilots and lessens potential damage to the aircraft.

The monument

Personnel from the local US Lifesaving Service offered help and on December 17, 1903 several were at the site of the flight.  At the memorial there is a marvelous sculpture field including a life sized reproduction of the plane as well as bronze sculptures of the men who were there at the time. This is a most impressive view that immediately takes you back to that famous December day in 1903.

Plan on visiting this marvelous piece of U.S. history. Here is the NPS website with details and some great information. Note: our National Parks Service Senior Pass saved us the entrance fees to the site. (Seniors 62 and older can get this pass here: NPS lifetime Senior Pass website)