It Happened One Night…

Oh, my, it’s been well over a month since I last posted. And that was the one about selling our house in Florida and buying a new home in north Georgia. What a whirlwind life has been since that time. The first half of December was taken up with clearing out and packing up our Florida home. There is no way we could have come close to our deadline to be out on the morning of the 16th if my dear sweet sister-in-law had not helped us pack. I really miss her! We lived in that house for 20 years and I’m the first to say, it was hard to give it up. But all good things come to an end. Well, maybe good things don’t always come to an end but they very often change to the unexpected. So before I get into what it’s like living here in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, I thought I’d share our last day in Florida and the [nightmare] trip to Georgia!

We had to be out by 1:00 p.m. on the 16th of December so the buyer’s realtor could do the final walk through before the closing. Of course, our plan had been to be on the road by about 8:00 a.m.  One of my dearest friends (and one who was extremely hard to leave behind) was a tremendous help in assisting us in getting rid of so much stuff. Of course, half of it we now know is stuff we’re replacing because we didn’t think we’d need it. HA! But that’s okay. My friend runs a charity and helps a lot of people so that’s a good thing.

Well, let’s see if I can put the thrill, the fear, the excitement, the surprise, etc. into actual words…

Anyway, about 1:00 p.m. we had hubby’s pickup filled to the hilt in the back. I had five crated cats (among other stuff) and he had two crated cats and the dog inside his truck. The back of his pickup was full and piled up. We lined the truck bed and covered everything with a very heavy plastic tarp to protect the stuff from the elements. It was time. Oh, dear, was I really ready for this? My biggest fear at the moment was trying to figure out how to get to north Georgia without going through Atlanta again. But I get ahead…

We had a good plan. Yes, we were driving our two vehicles but we would not be alone. We hooked up our iPhones to the chargers in each vehicle and kept the phone line open with the speakers on. Yep, we were alone in the cars together. So, off we go on our new adventure. Or so we thought. A few miles down the road, heading to I75, I noticed that the plastic tarp was already coming loose on the truck (Tom was the lead driver). So we pulled into the Super Target along the way so he could get some real heavy duty tape to fasten it down even more. We parked a ways from the store out in the parking lot. It was hot (naturally), somewhere in the 80s. I was parked right behind him. I stayed with the vehicles while Tom went in the store. We left our cars running for the air conditioners would keep the animals cool. He was gone only a short time. I was sitting in my car watching him go from side to side of his truck. Then he tells me that his truck is locked and the keys are in the ignition. HOW CAN THAT BE? What do we do now. Of course we have spare keys to the vehicles. Do you think we’re nuts? Well, maybe just a bit. Because WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE KEYS ARE. They’re packed somewhere. I thought I knew and thought we could get to them. So we ripped open a couple of things. Nope. Out of options. We ended up placing an emergency call for a locksmith. Yep, nice beginning, huh? After waiting a bit, the locksmith appears. He’s not surprised when he looks at the truck. He said he knows exactly how it got locked.


Looks real innocent, right? Turns out (and it never occurred to us) that Pippin got excited about being left alone in the truck and stood up on the door and pushed the lock down. And, yes, he was harnessed and seatbelted but he could still move around a bit. Oh, if we could only teach them to undo certain things. Well, it took the locksmith about one minute to get the door open and $65.00 later we’re back on the road — over two hours later. It’s now about 4:00 p.m. That’s about when we had anticipated being through Atlanta. Yep, our plans had been to be on the road by 8:00 a.m. or thereabouts.

Let me back up a bit. I had been worried about where on earth we were going to stay when we got to north Georgia since we have seven cats and one dog. The closing on our new house wasn’t scheduled until the 17th. I couldn’t let the cats out of the crates along the way. I’d be terrified someone would scoot. I was so stressed because the owners of the Georgia home said we couldn’t stay in the empty house before the closing. That meant we had no place to go. No hotel (or person for that matter) would welcome in two people with eight animals. At this point, let me sing the praises of both our realtors — the listing agent of our Florida home, Geoff Coggin, and our agent in Blairsville, Jimmy Camp, who split the cost of a cabin for us in Blairsville so we would have a place to go. Jimmy Camp rented a cabin for us for two nights so I could stop stressing (at least about that!). But all in good time. Let me get back on the road…

All was going well. Okay, we were already tired but at least we were on the road. Only about eight or nine hours to go. As we headed north, lo and behold, it began raining.  Then it poured. And just to jump ahead in the story, it never stopped storming all the way up. Lovely. But we kept each other company via our phones. They were a God-send. We just didn’t feel so alone on this trip. Because we were so tired, we decided to take a few minute stretch at each rest stop. We walked Pippin but my poor kitties (who, by the way, were angels who had no accidents the entire trip — but I would have completely understood if they had) were kept in their new crates.

About 9:00 p.m. or so we stopped somewhere in south Georgia to grab something to eat. I think it might have been around Tifton or thereabouts. We got a couple of yucky burgers from a Burger King and ate standing by the cars (the rain had let up temporarily). I wasn’t about to leave my babies alone. Then we headed on again.

Finally, sometime between 11:00 and midnight, we decided to stop at a rest stop. It might have been the last one before Atlanta. Yep, we’re still not there yet. We were exhausted so we decided to try to take a cat-nap (pun intended) for about 30-45 minutes. I was able to rest my eyes a bit but I just really can’t sleep like that. I’m not a sound sleeper anyway. I had set the alarm for 45 minutes and woke Tom up. Poor guy. He suggested we stop somewhere for the night but I told him that nobody would rent us a room. Besides we were now (supposedly) not more than two or three hours away from our destination. We’ve come this far, let’s keep plodding along. So, once again, back on the freeway.

Well, we picked up the rain again outside of Atlanta. Of course, we did. And, so, on we drove for another hour or more. And guess what two extremely exhausted people did. In Atlanta, the freeway splits between I75 and I85. Well, we missed the I75 exit we were supposed to be on so we stayed on I85. Well, why not? They both would get us where we’re going. And maybe we could avoid all that Atlanta traffic. Wait! What Atlanta traffic? To the best of my recollection, it’s now about 2:00-3:00 a.m. There’s hardly any traffic. It would have been a piece of cake. And Blairsville is only about two hours from Atlanta — if you stay on I75 through it. Well, well, well.  We pulled off and looked at the GPS. Hmmm, seems we could still get there by taking the I85 route. It might be just a little bit longer. But we certainly didn’t want to try and backtrack.  Not at this time of the morning. All we could think of was that little cabin waiting for our arrival…

And the rain was coming down again. Keep plugging, we’ll get there. I now know why most people don’t take that route to get to Blairsville. You leave the freeway. It becomes two lanes (not bad traffic at all at 4:00 in the morning). BUT, and that is definitely a big BUT, those two lanes are tiny, winding and straight up the mountain. Oh, heaven help us. And the rains weren’t the least bit helpful. We could see drop-offs going around the curves (with no barriers, mind you). We were only able to progress at about 35-40 miles per hour and sometimes that felt like we were speeding. I believe I almost lost Tom at one point. I knew he was tired but there was a curve coming up and he wasn’t turning. I screamed into the phone. Luckily, he heard my scream and came back to life. Scared us both. In all honesty, the drive up was an absolute nightmare. I don’t see either one of us driving back down to Florida ever again if it means we have to drive back up through Atlanta again. I’ve lived in some pretty big cities — Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando — and I’ve driven through Los Angeles before but I’m not sure anything would be as bad as the Atlanta traffic.

Well, we finally made it to the cabin at 7:00 a.m. (To this day, we’re still trying to figure out why it took us so long.) It had been left open for us and a light left on. It was fabulous. I would highly recommend the Alpine Cabins in Blairsville! We got all the animals inside and, needless to say, they were a bit freaked. I’m sure they were feeling our stress and it wasn’t helping them cope in the least.  You would think I would have slept like a log. Couldn’t do it. Too wound up I guess.  So, I tried relaxing a bit and tried to calm down the cats. No sleep would come for me while Tom was peacefully snoring away! Anyway, that afternoon we finally attended our closing. The house was ours and we were finally mortgage free. What an amazing feeling. Or it would be when I started feeling anything again. By the time we left the closing, I had been up for 38 hours without sleep. I couldn’t tell. I must have gotten my second wind but I could tell my brain wasn’t running on all cylinders. Instead of trying to move into the house that night with no furniture, we went back to that little cabin. I felt like I could finally relax — except for stressing about the cats and the potential havoc they could wreak if they wanted to. But they were so good. Probably as traumatized as me. The best part of the cabin?


They had a big spa tub in the bedroom that I immediately put to use. FABULOUS! I want one. I was finally so relaxed. Got out of there, got my book, and sat in a most comfortable chair by the fire. I finally got some sleep that night, albeit broken up by episodes of cats.

The next morning we loaded up the animals and headed over to our new home to meet the movers.  More to follow!


Fort Christmas Homes

This will be my final installment on our visit to Fort Christmas park. Below is a sampling of some of the homes and interiors. Enjoy!

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There is a 1930s pavilion, a 1920s ball field, cane mill and syrup kettle (used at the annual Cracker Christmas event in December), a church exhibit, a research library, a turpentine exhibit, textile equipment exhibit, sugar cane patch, post office exhibit, chicken coop, cow camps, vegetable garden, hunting, fishing and trapping exhibit, and a ranching exhibit.  WHEW!

If you wish to check out my first two posts, please click on the names:

First:  Christmas in June

Second:  Fort Christmas and Museum


Fort Christmas and Museum

Continuing on from my previous post, Christmas in June, here are some more photos and information on Fort Christmas. The Fort itself is a replica completed in 1977, exactly 140 years later.

Here are some pictures of the Fort:

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The Museum is inside the Fort. Below are pictures of some of the displays.

American Flag.  The American Flag of 1837 had 26 stars.  The 27th star was added when Florida was granted statehood in 1845.

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U.S.S. United States, model

In 1794 the United States Congress authorized construction of six frigates.  The U.S.S. United States was launched in Philadelphia, May 10, 1797.  These frigates were still in service during the Seminole Indian Wars.  They carried troops and supplies to Florida from the north.

In 1835 the U.S. Navy was a small defensive organization consisting of 785 officers and 3,627 sailors, augmented by a Marine Corps of 58 officers and 1,177 men.  By the 1837-38 winter campaign the army command realized that small shallow-draft vessels were needed.  The Seminoles were hiding in the southerly swamps and the soldiers could not follow.  The formation of the Mosquito Fleet, seven ships manned by 622 officers and men, and the development of riverine warfare were instrumental in penetrating the swamps of Florida.  By 1842 around 300 Seminoles remained in hiding in the swamps.  The war ended not with victory or truce.  The government simply no longer felt it expedient to send military forces into the Florida Everglades to harass and track down the remaining Seminoles.

Site of Fort Christmas, 1837

The Third Regiment of Artillery, four companies of the 3rd and 4th Dragoons of the United States Army and four companies of Alabama Volunteers reached this site, December 25, 1837.  A fort was completed on December 27th and they called it Fort Christmas having started it on Christmas day.  “The length and breadth of the picket is 100 feet.”  Blockhouses, 20 feet square, were built at two of the angles.  On January 3rd, 1838 the forces moved further south, leaving behind a garrison of the 3rd Artillery under Major Lomax.  The fort was abandoned in March of 1838 as it was no longer needed to obtain supplies from Fort Mellon.  Supplies were arriving by ship at the fort in Jupiter Inlet.

An Indian village, Powell Town, of some 30 or 40 lodges was located on the opposite side of a small stream from the fort.  “Most of the lodges were nothing more than 4 upright poles supporting a roof made of palmetto leaves on pine bark open at the sides with a platform of poles rais’d 3 or 4 feet from the ground for the purpose of sleeping on.  In the vicinity of each village was a cattle pen.”

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This is just a sampling of pictures that I took of the Fort and the museum.  It’s kind of hard to pick when you’ve taken well over 100 pictures of a small place!  I’ll have one more post showing some of the houses and their interior.

You can click here if you would like to see the first post in this series — Christmas in June

Christmas in June

A couple of weekends ago, hubby and I headed out in the car to get out of the house for a while before the daily thunderstorms hit. We really didn’t have any particular route in mind. We just started heading for the coast and figured if it didn’t cloud over, we might get to the beach. But, along the way, we passed a sign for the little town of Christmas. On a whim, we turned off and decided to check it out. We really didn’t check out the town but we did go visit Fort Christmas Historical Park. You can find the following at the entrance to the turn-off.  I took so many pictures at this place, I’ll post them in two or three separate posts.

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From the brochure:  In 1976 as a bicentennial project Orange County Parks and Recreation Department, with support of the Army Corps of Engineers, began construction of a full-size replica of Fort Christmas.  The new replica was completed in December of 1977, one mile south of the original location, exactly 140 years later.

In May of 1990 the Fort Christmas Historical Society was formed. Through their efforts a Master Plan was developed to create a living history settlement. The society has become instrumental in the preservation of rural heritage of East Orange County.

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After stopping in the reception building, the first place we visited was the 1932 School Lunchroom.  The lunchroom served home cooked meals and local women were hired as cooks. There were never any leftovers! Later it became a classroom.

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There were lots of kitchen exhibits.

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The next building we visited was the 1906 School.  Union School became Christmas Elementary in 1959 and closed due to overcrowding in 1969.  The two room school grew with the addition of a stage in front and a small classroom in back.  Later the front room became the kitchen, lunchroom, and auditorium.

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Next time I’ll post the photos from the Fort and Museum.


Ocala Painted Horses

On our recent trip to Silver Springs, we were right there at Ocala. I talked everyone into stopping in Ocala so I could try to find some of the painted horses that are on display around town.  It was getting late and the sun would be going down soon so I didn’t have a whole lot of time.  I headed to City Square since there would be several horses there that I could photograph.  There are apparently dozens of these horses around town but I wasn’t able to take the time to track them all down.  I will say that if you ever get to Ocala, FL it’s worth checking out!  I’ll get back up that way again one of these days and will locate more horses then.

Having grown up in Lexington, KY, I was curious how a town in Florida could be compared to my Bluegrass State.  I’m guessing that the primary reason these two places are linked are the horse farms and the famous thorobred race horses that have been bred in both places.

Can you imagine how frustrating it is for a kid growing up in Lexington, surrounded by famous horse farms, to not be allowed to ride horses or take riding lessons?  I have always harbored an innate love for horses.  I see them as one of the most majestic creatures God placed here.  But, alas, for some reason (never revealed to me) my mother was afraid of horses.  She kept saying that she was afraid to let me ride because she just “knew” I’d get bucked off and kicked in the head and die.  Pleasant, right?  I never learned what she experienced that made her so afraid but I never lost my love for horses.  Unbeknownst to her, there were numerous times I would sneak off and ride at any and every opportunity that presented itself!  Granted, there weren’t many times but I took what I could get!  But I digress!!

Ocala created The Horse Fever public art project in 2001.  My understanding is that various local artists are selected to demonstrate their talent with fantastic concepts realized through a variety of media on life-sized fiberglass forms, including acrylic paint, vinyl, and embellishment.  Horses were then auctioned off for charity and they are displayed in convenient permanent locations to accommodate walking tours, groups, and motorists. (

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Jay Rosen

Artist’s Statement (Iris)

According to Greek mythology, Iris was the soul of the rainbow, traveling with the speed of the wind.When painting Iris, my goal was to depict a lively racehorse with a strong sense fiery rhythm, inspired by the charged potential energy surging throughout the horse. The vibrant colors echo the fierce tempo of its fluctuating existence, as a racehorse, constantly in action. About 70 layers of individual colors were used to paint the horse, simulating Neo-Impressionistic techniques. With no definitive form to the abstract patterns, the observer optically mixes the colors within their mind, constructing newer colors and paths for the eye to travel.

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Artist Carlynne Hershberger

Plaque (Aggie)

This horse is definitely a “piece of the rock” — the Florida state stone, that is.  “Aggie” is named for the agatized coral dug from the Florida bedrock that he is painted to represent.  Notice the cutaway sections revealing minerals and crystals like a geode found in nature.  Acrylic paint with protective clear coat on fiberglass frame.

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Artist Yani Mikedis

Plaque (Travels)

Taking a surreal journey — this is how artist Yani Mikedis describes the creation of Travels.  3-D masked images within shapes and space in colors of greens, yellows and reds on a blue sky that take the imagination through an unforgettable voyage.  Acrylic paint with clear protective clear coat on fiberglass frame.

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Sharon Crute


Sharon Crute

Artist’s Statement (World Champ)

After discussing the design with my sponsor, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, we decided together to illustrate the importance of the thoroughbred industry here in Florida. One side depicts the breeding aspect represented by the beautiful farms throughout Marion County. The other represents the amazing accomplishments of last year’s three Eclipse Award winners: Awesome Feather, Big Drama and Dubai Majesty – all bred in Florida. The flags represent racing in the U.S., Florida and our two sister cities located in Ireland and Italy. The South Korean flag represents the important business relationship involving sales of Florida-breeds to the S. Korean racing program.

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Linda Ballantine Brown

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Linda Ballantine Brown

Plaque (Sky Dancing)

A race horse dreams of winning in this equine skyscape.  Over 100 horse heads can be seen racing in the clouds all around the horse.  One side features a single horse in a red hood, the other side shows two horses neck and neck as they race together in the clouds.  Acrylic with protective clear coat on fiberglass form.

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Chris Cruz

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Chris Cruz

Plaque (Scenic Wonder)

Manatees play on one side. A Florida panther rests quietly on a log among palmettos on the other. Using natural colors found in local sunsets, rivers and forests, the artist paints incredible detail into this scene of north central Florida, where land and water combine to form a unique habitat for wildlife, including ducks, great blue heron, the balkd eagle and alligators. Airbrush with protective clear coat on fiberglass form.

Silver Springs State Park, Florida


It had been probably been about 35 years or so since I had visited Silver Springs. I had some really pleasant memories about the place. The scenery, the animals, the glass bottom boats and everything that went with it. So, when we decided to go there a couple of weekends ago, I was really excited and looking forward to it. You know that old adage about how you can never go home again (because things always change and it’s never the way you remember)?  Well, it’s true. I’m afraid I was really disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. The scenery is still pretty. But the animals are gone. Apparently, the company that used to operate the park, sold it to the State of Florida. Unbeknownst to us, the State took over the operation of the park on October 1, 2013. Based on our visit, it’s my guess that the park must have gotten really run down and the State hasn’t had an opportunity to renew it. But I did take lots of photos and decided to share. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from going. I probably would have liked it more if I didn’t have my memory reference from years ago.

We went on a Thursday to avoid the crowds. Well, it certainly worked. The place was practically deserted. I think I saw more park employees than I did attendees. We got there right around lunch time and decided to go ahead and eat in the park. The only shop that was open was one restaurant so we opted for that. We went and bought our tickets for the boat ride. I asked them if they had any brochures and was told they were in the process of being printed. So I asked him if they had any old leftovers and he said they did not keep them. Bummer. So, after buying our tickets we then went back to the restaurant and had lunch. The food was good. And there certainly wasn’t a wait. We were the only four people in the place. I didn’t have to worry about angling my camera around to avoid people because there weren’t any! After lunch, we took a short stroll along one of the paths.


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We then took a ride on one of the glass bottom boats. They were so old and the glass and acrylic was scratched and made it difficult for photos.  Below are some of the pictures I took of critters along the shoreline as the boat passed. There were a few birds, a gator and lots of turtles.

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The boat ride was a lot shorter than I remembered. My sister-in-law remembered seeing monkeys in the trees and our guide said they used to also have what they called a jungle cruise. I didn’t remember that but I did remember the animals they no longer had. Our boat was piloted by Captain Roosevelt. Turns out he had been working at Silver Springs for 57 years! Can you imagine that?Capt. Roosevelt

I took a few photos through the glass bottom. One of the things I was looking for was where they had the statues and stuff that was used in the filming of some episodes of Sea Hunt and I Spy. A lot of you probably wouldn’t even remember those old TV shows from the 60’s. When I saw the statues in the 70’s, I’m sure I remembered seeing more of them and you could actually tell what they were and they still had color on them. Oh, well. I’ll let you see if you can pick out the picture with the statues. The picture with the log is cypress. I learned that as long as that cypress log was underwater it would never rot. Wonder if I’ll ever be able to use that knowledge for anything!

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I took a few more pictures of various things in the park. A cabbage palm, a bronze statue of Chief Osceola, and some signs for your reading pleasure!

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In spite of my personal disappointment with the park, all in all it was a good day with family. And that’s really all that matters!


Yep, you read that right. It’s not a typo. It was an Octoberfest held at the Bok Tower in Lake Wales.  Last weekend we decided to check it out.  I had been wanting to go see Bok Tower for the longest time.  Now that family is visiting Florida, it seemed like the perfect time.  Driving onto the grounds, I was excited to see the Tower in the distance.   Of course, the first thing we saw from the parking lot was all of the tents and vendors for the Fest.  It seemed that most of the vendors were selling plants.  Even so, I do wish I had taken more photos of the plants I saw that I really liked as possibilities at my house.  Oh, well, I probably wouldn’t have bought any anyway since my brother was driving and it was his car!  Anyone interested in learning more about Bok Tower and the gardens can click here.

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There is a Visitor Center that has loads of information and displays.  The picture below is from the Exhibit Hall.  There are historical displays about Edward Bok’s life, as well as the history behind the Singing Tower and Gardens.

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I was pretty disappointed at how the pictures I took of the Tower came out.  But these were all taken with my iPhone 5 so I can’t expect professional quality!  Naturally, with the Fest going on, the grounds were pretty well occupied.

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The marble, stone and tiles that were used in building the Tower are beautiful. It’s hard to try and describe with words.

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The various sculptural details represent themes of nature, humanity, the Bible and philosophy.  The picture below depicts a man sowing a garden.

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The sundial on the south side of the Tower was set in place on October 26, 1928. The gnomon, which indicates time by casting a shadow on the dial face, is made with a bronze rod supported by a bronze snake – the ancient symbol of time. The hours are marked by the 12 signs of the zodiac. A correction table for different periods of the year is located at the base of the sundial.  The carved writing reads:

This singing tower
with its adjacent sanctuary
was dedicated
and presented for visitation
to the American people
by Calvin Coolidge
President of the United States
February the First
Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Nine

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The Great Brass Door on the north side of the Tower depicts the Book of Genesis, starting with the creation of light and ending with Adam and Eve being ousted from the Garden of Eden.

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The plaque below reads:

Edward Bok born October 9, 1863, at Den Belder, The Netherlands, died within sight of this Tower January 9, 1930.  At his request, his family placed his grave in the lawn in front of the Great Brass Door.  Coming to the United States as a poor immigrant boy of six, he achieved success as a writer and editor.   Late in life he created the sanctuary as a place of repose for the human spirit, built the Tower with the great carillon as its central accent, and presented them to the American people for visitation as the thanks for the success they had given him.

As a side note, I did not realize that he had been the Editor of The Ladies Home Journal for 30 years!

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The picture below is of the original carillon keyboard.  The Tower has 60 carillon bells.

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I have never in my life seen such huge lily pads — nor did I even realize anything like these existed!  I made the remark that they didn’t look real and was quickly informed that they definitely are real!

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There is so much more.  We ran out of time and energy and didn’t see all there was to see.  I plan on going back and walking some of the nature trails and maybe even picking up a plant or two.

My last two photos are of a HUGE spider that had spun a web between two trees and was not far away from the Tower.  Even with my zoom I couldn’t get as close a shot as I wanted.  In the photo on the left, if you look hard enough, you can just make out the shadow of his web.  Let me just state again — this spider was BIG!!

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A Word A Week Challenge: Distant

Coming in a bit late this week with this but I thought it might be fun. I’ve been spending my week training for my new home-based job and trying to do some genealogy research and writing for a new entry.

Sue’s challenge this week is Distant. Please check out her blog A Word in Your Ear to learn more.

These are from a trip we made to Temple Square of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2009. The pictures were taken with my old iPhone 3Gs and are unedited other than size. The photos were taken from the 26th floor of the Church Office Building.





Sunday Afternoon at Lake Apopka

Well, while waiting on some genealogy documents to come in for an ancestor post I’m working on, I decided I’d go ahead and post some photos I took last weekend when we walked down to Lake Apopka. I will say that it was sooo hot! I guess the afternoon is not the time to go walking in Central Florida! It was a beautiful day but, as usual at this time of year, the weather was having a tough time deciding when to rain. It didn’t start up until later in the afternoon. I was hoping this trip to catch some gators — well, not really “catch” any, but get some better photos. I did. I still think these are very young ones because they’re not real big. Of course, they’re much bigger than I’d ever want to come face to face with!

So, here you go. I hope you enjoy!

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Heading out the pier to take some photos. Halfway to the end we saw the following…

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And they saw us. Oh, they were really playing it cool.


The only bird that landed on the pier while we were at the end. I have no idea what kind it is.

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Just sitting on one of the benches at the end of the pier enjoying the view!

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Okay, it’s too hot for man and beast. We’re outta here!

Finale – Yellowstone National Park 1931-32

If you’re just joining us here, please feel free to visit the previous posts leading up to this finale. For the beginning of the story, click here to open Riding the Rails During the Great Depression, click here  to open Dad’s Tour of the West Coast During the Great Depression, click here to open Yellowstone National Park 1931-32, and click here to open Yellowstone National Park 1931-32 Continued. Each link will open in a new tab.

The cards were made by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., 341 Selby Ave., St. Paul, Minn. and Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.

Click on each Today for additional information. Please enjoy the cards!

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Bears of Yellowstone Park depend largely upon the hotels and lodges for sustenance during the summer season. Although bears boldly invade civilized areas to procure their food, they are far from tame. They should not be fed “by hand”, nor should they be molested.

Today: Bears may be seen in Yellowstone March through November. Yellowstone is one of the only areas south of Canada that still has large grizzly bear populations. In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Greater Yellowstone Area grizzly bear population segment had recovered sufficient numbers and distribution to be removed from the threatened-species list. In 2009, the delisting ruling was overturned and the population was returned to the threatened-species list; management continues under the 2006 revision of the recovery plan. Grizzly bears are usually seen in the open areas. Look for black bears along the edges of trees in the Lamar and Hayden valleys, or among the trees near Mammoth and Tower.

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Elk Stalled in Snow, Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Park. The latest official estimate of the number of elk, (Wapiti), in the park is given at nearly 20,000. Elk are seen throughout the park at all seasons.

Today: National attention has been focused on Yellowstone’s northern elk winter range since the early 1930s. Scientists and managers then believed that grazing and drought in the early part of the century had reduced the range’s carrying capacity, and that twice as many elk were on the range in 1932 as existed in 1914. From 1935 to 1968, elk, pronghorn, and bison numbers were artificially controlled by shooting or trapping and removal by park rangers. Then in the 1960s, based on new studies that suggested ungulate populations could possibly be self-regulating, elk reductions were discontinued in the park. The belief that elk grazing was damaging to northern range vegetation and that grazing accelerates erosion, although not supported by research data and analysis, has continued to the present. Studies of the northern elk winter range began in the 1960s and revealed no clear evidence of range overuse (Houston 1982). More recent studies conclude that sagebrush grasslands of Yellowstone’s northern winter range are not overgrazed (Singer and Bishop 1990). In fact, plant production was enhanced by ungulate grazing in all but drought years. Protein content of grasses, yearly growth of big sagebrush, and seedling establishment of sagebrush were all enhanced by ungulate grazing. Neither reduction in root biomass nor an increase in dead bunchgrass clumps was observed. However, many questions remain concerning the condition of riparian zones and associated shrubby vegetation; the park hopes to conduct additional studies on aspen and willows and their relationship to ungulates on the northern range.

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Obsidian Cliff, Yellowstone Park, is on the Mammoth-Norris road, 12.3 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs. This volcanic glass brought Indians to the region in the early days for arrowhead material as the pipestone country of Minnesota attracted Indians to its quarries.

TodayObsidian Cliff, 11 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs, is at the northern end of Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park. The cliff forms the eastern wall of a narrow cut in plateau country. At an elevation of nearly 7,400 feet above sea level, the cliff extends for a half mile, rising from 150 to 200 feet above Obsidian Creek and falling gradually away to the north. The upper half is a vertical face of rock; the lower half is composed of loose and broken rocks forming a talus slope. The cliff is the remainder of a flow of lava that erupted onto the earth’s surface and then poured down the plateau.

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Mount Sheridan, elevation 10,250 feet, overlooks Yellowstone Lake which is the largest lake at its elevation, 7,730 feet, on the North American continent. It has a shoreline one hundred miles long.

Today: With a surface area of 132 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake at high elevation (i.e., more than 7,000 ft.) in North America. It is a natural lake, situated at 7,733 ft. above sea level. It is roughly 20 miles long and 14 miles wide with 141 miles of shoreline. It is frozen nearly half the year. It freezes in late December or early January and thaws in late May or early June.

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Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Park, as depicted in this picture is one of the typical mid-day eruptions when there is sufficient breeze to waft away from the 150-ft. water column its envelope of steam. These displays occur summer and winter at intervals varying from 65 to 80 minutes.

Today: Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geysers, although it is not the largest or most regular geyser in the park. Its average interval between eruptions varies from 60 – 110 minutes. An eruption lasts 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, expels 3,700 – 8,400 gallons (14,000 – 32,000 liters) of boiling water, and reaches heights of 106 – 184 feet (30 – 55m). It was named for its consistent performance by members of the Washburn Expedition in 1870. Although its average interval has lengthened through the years (due to earthquakes and vandalism), Old Faithful is still as spectacular and predictable as it was a century ago.

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(Another view) Old Faithful Geyser, 150 Ft., Yellowstone Park, is not the highest geyser, but it is by far the favorite one. Its eruptions occurring every hour last about four minutes.

TodaySoon, a towering column of water will surge out of the earth as Old Faithful continues its unbroken series of eruptions. Eruptions occur an average of 17 times per day, every day. Because of changes in circulation that resulted from the 1959 Hebgen Lake and 1983 Borah Peak earthquakes, as well as other local and smaller earthquakes, the average interval between eruptions has been lengthening during the last several decades. In the past, Old Faithful displayed two eruptive modes: short duration eruptions followed by a short interval, and a long duration eruption followed by a long interval. However, after a local earthquake in 1998, Old Faithful’s eruptions are more often of the long duration, long interval type.

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Kepler Cascade, Firehole River, Yellowstone Park, is seen shortly after leaving Old Faithful. It is 1.7 miles from Old Faithful, where platforms have been constructed to the edge of the canyon.

Today: This three-tiered cascade drops over 50 feet as the Firehole River flows North. The Kepler Cascades were actually named in 1881 for the 12 year old son of Wyoming’s territorial governor, Kepler Hoyt, who toured the park with his father, Governor John Hoyt.

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Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park, is most remarkable. Some of its waters deposit brightly colored arsenic minerals — orpiment and realgar, others yellow sulphur and black sulphur globules. Its steam vents are the hottest in the entire region.

Today: Norris Geyser Basin is one of the hottest and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal areas. Many hot springs and fumaroles have temperatures above the boiling point (200°F) here. Water fluctuations and seismic activity often change features.
It’s hard to imagine a setting more volatile than Norris. It is part of one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. And it sits on the intersection of three major faults. One runs from the north; another runs from the west. These two faults intersect with a ring fracture from the Yellowstone Caldera eruption 640,000 years ago. These conditions helped to create this dynamic geyser basin.

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Excelsior Geyser, Yellowstone Park, was at one time the largest geyser known. Its eruptions were 300 feet high, and the width of the water column was equally great. The eruptions were so tremendous that the crater was blown out at one side and it ceased to play in 1890.

TodayExcelsior Geyser, located in Yellowstone’s Midway Geyser Basin, is considered the largest geyser in the world, though now effectively dormant. During its last major eruptions in the 1880s, Excelsior frequently reached a height of 300 feet, creating the dramatic display shown in this early Haynes divided-back postcard. It is believed that the violent eruptions of that period may have caused damage to the sinter lining, allowing gas leakage, and resulting in reduced thermal energy. The only observed eruption since that early time was in 1985 when Excelsior erupted for two days, reaching a height of between 20 and 80 feet. As a hot spring, it discharges more than 4050 gallons of water per minute. Its large deep crater and brilliant blue appearance allow it to remain one of Yellowstone’s popular thermal attractions.  (Source: Carl Schreier, A Field Guide to Yellowstone’s Geysers, Hot Springs and Fumaroles)

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Giant Geyser, Yellowstone Park, is the greatest geyser in the world today in point of height and duration of eruption. It plays 250 feet high for a few moments in the earlier part of each display,and continues for an hour and a half at lesser heights. Its intervals of quiet between eruptions vary from six to fourteen days.

Today: Giant Geyser truly lives up to its name. It is currently the second tallest geyser in the world, only Steamboat Geyser located in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin is taller. An eruption of Giant can reach 250 feet, last over an hour and put out an estimated one million gallons of water. For comparison, a large Old Faithful eruption reaches about 150 feet, lasts less than 5 minutes (the biggest part lasts less than one minute) and puts out around 10,000 gallons of water. 

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Giant Geyser Cone, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park, is the orifice of the highest geyser in the park. It plays 250 feet high at varying intervals — 100 feet higher than Old Faithful Geyser. Its cone with one side gone is today just the same as when it was first discovered.

Today: Giant Geyser was dormant for many years after the energy shift in 1955. Since then, it has slowly become active again. During 1997, its eruptions occurred every 3 – 10 days. This spectacular geyser’s eruptions last about an hour and can reach heights of 180 – 250 feet (55 – 76m). During eruptions small geysers nearby may also erupt.

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Beehive Geyser, 200 Feet, Yellowstone Park, although seldom in eruption is one of the most striking geysers in the park. It plays out of its nozzle-like opening like a giant fire hose with a great roar. Eruptions last 15 minutes.

Today: Beehive Geyser is magnificent. Eruptions usually occur twice each day with displays lasting 4 – 5 minutes. During an eruption, the narrow cone acts like a nozzle, projecting the water column to heights of 130 – 190 ft (40 – 55m). 

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Castle Geyser, 75 Ft., Upper Basin, Yellowstone Park, has one of the most prominent geyser cones in the park, indicative of great antiquity as the geyserite, a silicious deposit, forms extremely slow.

Today: Castle Geyser has the largest cone and may be the oldest of all geysers in the basin. Its eruption pattern has changed considerably throughout its recorded history. Castle is currently erupting about every 10 – 12 hours. A water eruption frequently reaches 90 feet (27m) and lasts about 20 minutes. The water phase is followed by a noisy steam phase lasting 30 – 40 minutes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this nostalgic Yellowstone tour!