NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Smidge of Smokies

Look, it's been so long since I have made regular posts on my blog that when I opened it up yesterday I couldn't remember how to do it!

Smokies during the early spring rains

But, as of April 16th I am DONE WORKING! And Wayne was done working last week!  We still have a lot going on in the next few weeks, but I finally have time to post photos I took down in the Smokies 2 months ago.

Knowing that trips to the Smokies might become a thing of the past I wanted one last short trip to say good-bye.  It ended up being almost all driving, and most of that in the rain...but I was glad I went.

I stopped for a look around Bud Ogle's Place, liking the moodiness of the misty rain.

Who lived here in days gone by?

And any Wisconsin resident would stop in awe to see Daffodils blooming in February.  Ours just opened up a week ago, and then spent a day snowbound when the weather gods dropped half a foot of snow just for the heck of it.  Never mind I'd been wearing shorts for a few days.

fascinating fungi

The weather will be less finicky than that in Newfoundland.  I get asked about the weather there a lot, especially what the winters are like.  I'll soon know for sure, but what I tell people is that winter is a little longer with temperatures still only in the 40's and 50's by mid-April, but it doesn't drop down as low at night and you don't get the deep cold that the Midwest has to live with.  Winter temperatures tend to hover right around the freezing mark which is November or late February weather in Wisconsin.  So, no more deep cold and less snow! I won't get a break in the wind department, but you can't have everything.

Left behind to age gracefully

Summers are mostly in the 60's and 70's especially once you get into July, August and September.  Now that's my sweet spot for weather! Might be staying put every summer!  But as I have done in years past I plan on traveling in January and March to break up the winter blues.

Spring rain makes for roaring creeks

Another trail I hiked was Chestnut Branch which is located in the Deep Creek section of the park just over the North Carolina border.  I like this part of the park because it's less visited.  It's about 2 miles up and 2 miles back down with a little over a 1200 foot elevation gain, which was more than enough for someone who spent her winter behind the wheel of a car and getting no exercise at all.

When I make those trips back I probably won't be going to the Smokies anymore, so this was my farewell in my heart.  There are a lot of places left to explore, and now I have 2 countries to call home and it's time to branch out and find new trails to love!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Bonds, Bail Bonds

Been super busy lately, as you might have noticed by my complete disappearance act from blogging.

Our house is on the market, and I've been nailing down what direction I want to take in our new home when we move in a few short months.

We have been downsizing our possessions because everything we are taking has to fit in a 16 foot trailer which has to be towed 3000 miles and then loaded onto the ferry to Newfoundland.

The good news there is we won't be having to utilize a storage unit like the one pictured here that is covered in murals which I happened upon in Indiana a few months ago.  And since we have our little home on wheels that will also be coming with us we won't have to rush our remodel on the home we most likely are purchasing in the next few weeks.  Don't give up on me, once work is done and we have hit the road in 6 weeks I'll be back to blogging more regularly!

Linking up to Monday Mural

Monday, February 11, 2019


Last post from our recent trip to Kentucky...I think.

There were a few cool murals in Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville which is named for the butchers and stockyards originally located in the area. When a creek was rerouted it became a good place for the animal remains to be dumped in the creek and such businesses were banned in the downtown area for sanitation reasons. Um, yeah.

Bubble lights on the chandelier - genius!

Now the area is filled with chic shops and the only livestock I spotted was the painting of a giraffe... and maybe a few painted cows and chickens.  But Katrina and I have a thing for giraffes so it gets to be the star.

On a recommendation from the sales clerk we ate at Butchertown Pizza Hall where All cultures, races, genders, religions and people are welcome.  But not giraffes.  Only cows and chickens inside were cooked and served on a plate.

My plate came with a slice of cheese and arugula pizza.  It was so good that I've had this at home twice since then!

Across the street another mural telling the story of Butchertown's history from past to present.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Before the Europeans Came to Newfoundland

When Wayne and I visited The Rooms Museum in St. John's last year we saw a few exhibits with information about the Beothuk tribe of native people.

Beothuk pendants, bone and red ochre

With the widespread use of DNA testing a lot of questions are being answered these days that the archaeological record alone was unable to address, making for a more complete picture of Newfoundland before the Europeans arrived.

It now appears that multiple tribes may have arrived in Newfoundland besides the Beothuk and the Mi'kmaq over the centuries.  I recently told Wayne that the next time Ancestry is having a sale I'm buying a kit for each of us so we can contribute to the data being collected.

Newfoundland historians are sure to be excited these days as news of the remains of a pair of the Beothuk tribe are about to be returned to Canada from a Scottish museum.  They will journey to the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa first before finally coming home to Newfoundland and there will likely be DNA testing performed to see if it can be determined if any Beothuk DNA traces can be found in the current Newfoundland population.

One of these persons is Demasduit, who was kidnapped by a European fur trapper in March 1819 to retaliate for an alleged theft by her tribe. Nonosabasut was killed that same year as he tried to rescue his wife, who was given the name Mary March by her English captors.

Demasduit died of tuberculosis in January 1820, and was returned to Beothuk land to be buried at Red Indian Lake. A few years later a Scottish explorer retrieved the two skulls and some grave goods, which eventually made their way to Edinburgh.  What possessed people to do such a thing?

Here's a link to a nice little story from one of my distant cousins about the Mi'kmaq, which is a separate native tribe perhaps thought to originally have come over from Nova Scotia.  Unlike the fate of the Beothuk, there is still plenty of their DNA going around!  It's an interesting topic that I'm sure I'll learn more about when we move back home.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tired of Winter Already

The weather has been frightful here in Wisconsin for the past month.

Team spirit across from Lambeau Field in Green Bay

Poking your head outside is always a risk, especially during the recent Polar Vortex event.  Temps were down around -50F with the wind chill for two days in a row.  I cancelled all my appointments for work and stayed home, I was not risking my car not starting miles from home.

Giraffe sculptures in Racine

Even the U.S. Post Office shut down those days, but snow has been an issue the past month as well.  Seems like at least half a foot falls once or twice a week.

And the blowing snow can be as bad as the falling snow, leaving roads with a thin glaze of unexpected slickness to worry about.

It makes for some pretty trees while I'm driving around, but I am quite tired of snow plow sightings.

Kettle Moraine views

I'm not the only one who has spent a lot of time indoors lately, Wayne and the cats have taken a hibernating approach to life as well.

More body heat, please

I'm at a hotel in Appleton this morning because another winter storm hit the state, and I didn't make it home from my route up to the Upper Peninsula in time.  Snow would have been one thing but it was ice I was worried about - they were calling for up to half an inch of ice overnight south of Fond du Lac.  I wonder what the neighborhood will look like when I get home?

Twin Lakes after our most recent snowfall

Monday, February 4, 2019

Where the Buffalo Roam

Buffalo sculpture with mural on its sides found outside Lafayette, Indiana.

No time for chatting, just a quick link to Monday Mural today!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Tippecanoe County Courthouse Tour

A quick tour of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in Lafayette back in December revealed many treasures worth stopping for.  As with most courthouses I have visited this is actually the third one built for the county and was finished in 1882. Each courthouse gets more elaborate as they rebuild, with the architectural influence of Baroque, Gothic, Georgian, Victorian, Beaux Arts, Neo-Classical, and Second Empire styles. That's a lot of influence, but it seems to work.

The original specifications for the Courthouse described the 14 foot statue on top of the building as the Goddess of Liberty, holding a shield and sword. The statue is now holding scales that were found in the clock tower during restoration in the 1990's.

The shape of the building is a large 150 foot Greek Cross. From the ground to the top of the statue, the Indiana limestone and brick building measures 226 feet.

After going through security I stopped to have a look at two paintings on the first floor.  Unfortunately no description of the paintings was posted, but I eventually discovered that the painting below is the "Signing of the Treaty of Green Ville". It was painted by Howard Chandler Christy, who also painted those World War I posters showing the women proclaiming that they wish they were men so they could join the Navy.

Howard Chandler Christy's "Signing of the Treaty of Green Ville" was created in 1945

In addition to stairs and a standard elevator the original 1906 elevator is still in operation.  I took the stairs going up, but did ride the elevator coming back down.

First floor view, 1906 elevator cage on the right

During the restoration a new hydraulic system was added. This elevator serves floors 1-4, public access to floor 5 is not available.  Trust me, I asked!  The fifth floor used to be the attic, but during renovations was converted to space for the prosecutor's offices and has a skylight view of the dome.

My request might not have gotten me access to the 5th floor, but it did get me a private tour where I learned a few details I would not have gotten on my own.  Like the fact that if you look closely at the moulding in one of the courtrooms you can see buckshot damage to the woodwork.

Another story that was relayed to me involved the attempted bombing of the courthouse on August 2, 1998.  An unknown perpetrator crashed a pickup truck full of gasoline and explosives through the eastern entrance of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. Local firefighters were able to put out the blazing truck, which was when they discovered it was full of flammable materials. On August 11, county authorities placed concrete barriers around the courthouse to help prevent a similar attack in the future. The case remains one of few unsolved suspected instances of domestic terrorism in the United States.

"The Battle of Tippecanoe" was painted by Robert W. Grafton.  It occupied the lobby of the Fowler Hotel until 1966 but now calls the courthouse its home.  It is 48 feet long so kind of hard to get a full image!  It needs a cleaning, I hope they are planning for that and raising the funds to bring it back to life.  I watched a video on C-SPAN about the Battle of Tippecanoe for some background information, click the link to see the video.  It was a bit dry, and I sure would have liked more information on the viewpoint of the history of the area from the Native American point of view.

Back outside I saw a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette that was added to the square in 1887 by sculptor Lorado Taft. The Courthouse also has one hundred columns, nine pieces of statuary and a cast iron dome containing four large clock-faces and a bell.

That's it for the tour, I'll fill you in on how we're faring here in Wisconsin this winter next time.