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!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Corbin Depot Mural, Kentucky

It was almost two months ago already that Cory and I were heading home from our trip south and one of our last stops was in Corbin, Kentucky.  There is a mural on the building adjacent to their historic depot that depicts their rail history.  For more murals don't forget to go to Monday Mural.

The mural was painted in 2010 and the depot itself was freshened up and is being turned into a rail museum.  They are planning a grand opening on National Train Day in May and are seeking local train artifacts to help complete their displays.  I wish I could go for the opening (any excuse to head south!) but most likely I will be working too much to get that far away from home.  My boss is likely having her baby this week so until mid-May Jessica and I will be helping cover her hours at our other location.

While searching the internet for information about the mural I found a link to a story from 2011 about vandalism perpetrated with a can of spray paint.  Apparently the town spends about $3,000 a year cleaning up graffiti and goes after those responsible for financial restitution when they can.  Makes me wonder how much money our little town spends.  I hope it's nothing, but can't imagine even a town as small as ours is exempt from mischief with spray paint on occasion.

Even though I'll be too busy for the next 6 weeks to go away, the weather is making a turn towards real spring today and I may even go camping and hiking on Tuesday and Wednesday up at Kettle Moraine.  I may not be able to go far, but it will feel good just to get outside again!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Four Seasons and Controversy in West Bend

While driving through West Bend in search of the Museum of Wisconsin Artists I caught sight of a mural across the Milwaukee River. (The west bend of the Milwaukee River is there somewhere, hence the town's name.)

The mural depicts folks enjoying the outdoors in the four seasons. Here in southeastern Wisconsin this morning winter returned and a few inches of snow are currently falling after a week of scouring the bare ground for signs of spring.  I won't be enjoying the outdoors today, it'll be the gym for me this week again.

A web search seems to indicate that the mural might have been sponsored by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County.  Upon a closer look at the people it seems likely.

Wikipedia provided me with an interesting nugget about West Bend.

In 2009, a controversy arose after a local couple complained to the West Bend Community Memorial Library about the presence of "sexually explicit books" and "books for youth on homosexuality" in the young adult section of the library. A petition called on the library to label the identified books as explicit; to move them to the adult section of the library; to install Internet content filters on the library's computers; and to "adopt a policy to attain balance in the viewpoints of selections (both affirming and opposing) that the libraries carry in issues sufficiently controversial within the West Bend community (i.e., homosexuality). Specifically, we request faith-based and/or ex-gay books affirming traditional heterosexual perspectives be added to the library."

The West Bend Common Council refused to reappoint four library trustees whose terms were ending.  One councilman complained that the library board was stonewalling the complaint, while another asserted that the library trustees were not serving the interests of the community “with their ideology.” The council's actions were widely criticized, and local citizens unsuccessfully sought to have the vote rescinded.  After a public hearing on the petition in June 2009, the library board voted to reject any restrictions on young adults' access to books in the library.

Here's a big cheer for those who stand up against discrimination and refuse to bow to the angry voices of a specific restrictive mindset.  The public library is for the PUBLIC and for KNOWLEDGE.  If there is a book whose point of view you don't agree with, don't read it.  Open your own library with your own funds if you want one that only reflects certain "values".  Personally I live under the value that people should be free to think and believe in whatever they want as long as they are abiding by the law.  I don't believe in psychics but I don't care if you do or if one sets up their business in my town.  Freedom is for all.

I hope those Big Brothers and Big Sisters take those kids to the library and encourage them to read books that show them the world and all the different voices of its people.  Being an only child I spent a lot of time reading and at libraries growing up and I suspect my voracious reading has a lot to do with my open attitude.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Monday, March 16, 2015

West Bend Horses

The website that I used to consult for finding WPA New Deal murals is now no more.  I found two other sites, one website is called the Living New Deal.  That website lists not just public art projects, but also projects such as buildings (Milwaukee Public Library was a big project I've visited!) campgrounds (we've stayed at Perrot State Park) and parks that were constructed.  Seeing the stained glass windows listed from Milwaukee's City Hall brought a smile to my face and reminded me of that fun but chilly visit Wayne and I made to the city.  We've certainly enjoyed what the New Deal provided for future generations in our travels!

When my mom and I visited West Bend during our Sheboygan stay I ducked into the post office because we had another letter to mail and they were on my list of mural locations.  The painting is titled "The Rural Mail Carrier" and was painted in 1937 by Peter Rotier. It was very dark looking so it might be in need of some restoration I'm thinking, but still a beautiful work that depicts rural Wisconsin nicely, though the mail is no longer delivered by horse and buggy out here, I swear!

Speaking of depicting rural Wisconsin and horses, our route from Sheboygan to Plymouth to West Bend that day included a lot of back roads through glacial terrain and we saw a lot of barns with stone foundations that were interesting to look at.  I kept my eye out for one that seemed like it would photograph well and got a bonus when some horses were framed nicely in the doorway.  There were a lot of heavy work horses in the area, this ain't Kentucky after all.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pam and Wayne Go Outside!

Spring is trying to come to the Midwest and it's been a swell week with temperatures above 45 and sometimes even closing in on 60F!  Wayne needed to go to Home Depot so I talked him in to going for a walk at Volo Bog which is just a few minutes farther down the road.

The snow has melted and it's a bit of a muddy mess, but the worst spots were easy to avoid.  I've been wondering why other iPhone pictures I've seen seem to be better than mine and I think I figured out why.  I downloaded the "Camera +" app and it was worth $2.99!  I have much more control over exposure and focus and it eliminated a lot of the glare issue I was having.  All the pictures in this post were taken with the iPhone and it was nice not to have to drag a backpack around though I would certainly carry all the equipment I think I would need if the location had the promise for great photographs.

There are some benefits to a muddy nature trail, like the opportunity to examine tracks.  It doesn't seem that the muskrats are out yet though, no sign or track of them at the bog.


We walked the Tamarack View Trail which is just under 3 miles and a nice little workout with some gentle hills that circle the bog and wind through recently burned meadows.  I'll have to come back in a month or two and see what wildflowers pop up. It'll look like this at the bog in another month or so.

It wasn't crowded but we did pass other couples and some folks with dogs.  The last time we went for a walk together was back in the Smokies in October, which is one of the reasons I'd love to leave Wisconsin behind.  The only time we've spent together in almost five months has been in front of a television or pushing a shopping cart.

Now that the thaw has arrived I will drag him out with me at least once a week and we have a weekend camping outing to Kettle Moraine's Ottawa Lake scheduled for mid-April.  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and got out to enjoy the warm-up like we did!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Ashland Murals - The Community of Life

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Last but not least is the mural at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center located 2.5 miles west of Ashland on Hwy 2.  The Community of Life mural weaves together the history of the people of the area and their interaction with the land and the wildlife.

The first floor of the visitor center has a permanent exhibit about the same topic, and the second floor has changing exhibits and a viewing platform with a great view of the trail system.

Back on the ground I searched the pond edge for hidden secrets and found some frogs.

That's it for the Ashland murals I photographed.  There are at least 7 more, I didn't want to give them all away!  Northern Wisconsin is a beautiful area to visit, I'm sure we'll get back up there again this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

More Ashland Murals - Dhooge's Store

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Specializing in produce grown within 100 miles of Ashland is the Chequamegon Food Co-Op on Chapple Avenue, and it's also home to another mural. It depicts Dhooge's Grocery around 1910, back when going to town for supplies often was a two day event for area settlers.

I don't know what they sold at Dhooge's, but I bought some locally made lip balm to keep in the truck because I kept leaving it behind when we left to go hiking.

The weather in Wisconsin this week finally made a turn towards spring!  The downside to that is I got my first pollen alert email and I wasn't surprised because I was coughing a lot during my walk outside yesterday.  Time to double up on the Zyctec and Sudafed and enjoy the outdoors again!

Monday, March 9, 2015

More Ashland Murals - The Lighthouses

The following post is part of a series of murals Wayne and I viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

One of my favorite murals in Ashland was the Lighthouse Mural, mainly because it was so pretty with the flower garden out in front of it.  It is located at the corner of Chapple Avenue and Main Street.

It depicts 3 lighthouses located within the Apostle Islands in Chequamegon Bay and their keepers. Can you imagine the weather they had to contend with while on their watch?

While we won't see flowers like the ones pictured above for awhile yet we are finally getting temps above freezing here this week.  Maybe the snow will even be melted by Wednesday, I hope so because I'd love to get some hiking done on the Ice Age Trail, even if it is in the mud.

Taking part in Monday Mural.

Ashland Murals - Honoring Aviation

The following post is part of a series of murals we viewed in August of 2014 in Ashland, Wisconsin.

On the back side of the 300 block of West Main is the Aviation Mural.  Don't the stones look real?

I couldn't find any information about the history of aviation in the area online, but they do still have a small airport a few miles south of town.  Just as cool as the plane are the cars, though I could do without the dumpster!

So when I went to the Verizon store last week and they upgraded me to 3 GB per month I gave it a test run while in Sheboygan.  I probably spent about an hour on the laptop prepping my blog post and checking my email and used about 1 GB of data.  Yikes!  That would be 30 GB for a month at that rate.  So, while I might use the hot-spot occasionally I ended up sitting in the McDonald's parking lot on our last night there for an hour to use theirs for free.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wisconsin Artists - Eye of the Beholder

Art is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.  What is pleasing to your eye? Is it the quirky roadside mailboxes we found as we drove to West Bend yesterday?

Or maybe a theatre sign that brings back images of a time past?

If you're into labeling art in a more strict way then you can visit the Museum of Wisconsin Artists in West Bend...though we found it to be small, very expensive at $12 each and nowhere near as engaging as the JMKAC in Sheboygan.

gallery featuring works by Carl Van Marr, native of Milwaukee

one of the few exhibits that wasn't a painting...
but the artists were from Iowa and Minnesota!

Tom Uttech, born in small town of Merrill

Always the odd one, my favorite piece was the model of the "Zephyr Land Yacht" from 1936 by Milwaukee native Brooks Stevens.

Artist Ted Milano Conde is not a Wisconsin native but his home studio was in West Bend and he was a Park Artist for Milwaukee County.  Just before his death he painted this mural in their new County Courthouse.  The materials were generously donated as well as the artists' time and it cost the taxpayers nothing.

West Bend in the 1950's featuring the Old Courthouse...more on that next week maybe

Or perhaps you favor a little street art?  Keep your eyes open and who knows what you will find!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Brain Freeze?

Well, when we came as far north as Sheboygan that meant we were halfway to Door County, right?  So yesterday we got in the car and made the 2 hour drive to get some jam.  Ten jars of jam and 2 bottles of Door County Distillery vodka, to be exact.  And with the temperature at an unbelievable 14F and the wind rolicking at 15 to 25 mph why not throw in a visit to Cave Point County Park as well?

It was quite a different feeling than my last visit when Katrina and I stopped and heard the waves booming and splashing, that's for sure.  Even with my snow pants on I was freezing and we had to keep moving or be in danger of becoming one with the frozen landscape.

bundled up
a different kind of ice sculpture

Mom kept yelling at me to get back away from the edge, she was sure I was going to shoot right off every time I knelt down in my snowpants but I assured her they only looked slippery.

Mom enjoyed the views

 We followed the curve of the shore and of course I admired the lichens which all extremely prolific in this area.

Mom thought we walked around forever but I'd say it was maybe a little over a half mile, it only feels like a lot when you're hoping the fact that you can't feel your toes isn't a thing to worry about too much.

On the bright side I figured out my wifi situation when I stopped in to the local Verizon.  Turns out they changed the plans and I was eligible for another GB per month at my current rate, and if I'm on the road and want to add more data for the month I can do it at anytime, and only add it for that month if that's all I want to do.  Pretty sweet!  But not as sweet as the 2 jelly donuts and a cupcake I had tonight when we got home.  I'm blaming that transgression on brain freeze.....

Warmer days in the forecast, I'm hoping this was the last really cold one of the season!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

These Are A Few of my Favorite Things (In Sheboygan)

So my mom and I started out the day snuggled down in our pjs due to the icky weather yesterday.

Wind and snow on Lake Michigan, snug and warm inside!

But the worst of the storm passed to the south of Sheboygan (I have the best luck with this on trips!) and by noon we were ready to get out of the house.  I suggested a short tour of some of my favorite spots in Sheboygan, which included showing her the chimney sweep statue and the chocolate shop on 8th Street, along with the boy and his slingshot mural and the Sheboygan Theatre sign too.  If you want to see those things, click the links to my previous posts about them, but here's the theatre sign.

And since we had a few letters to mail we stopped at the post office and I got a picture of the other mural in the lobby that was missing from my post on Monday.

I actually forgot about the bathrooms at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and I started giggling when we walked in the building and I remembered.  Mom couldn't believe it when I opened the door to the ladies' room!

And then it was on to the mens' room too, of course.

It's a little art museum, but they change the exhibits often and I'm always amazed at what I see there.  Admission is technically free, but donations are encouraged if you visit!  What we saw was just opened and will be on view until October.

The display of work by Ebony G. Patterson took our breath away.  The floor tapestries were made from images of murders and then transformed into complex works of art representing the under-reported violent crime in the lower socioeconomic class in Jamaica.  They were adorned with everything from toys to shoes, coins, and jewelry and lots of glitter and knitted roses.  Very intense.

The paradoxical relationship between dancehall culture and the traditional Jamaican image of manhood

I teased my mom saying, "and you wanted to just go to Walmart!"  There was more on display, including some interesting pieces made from a combination of traditional pastels with embroidery.

And the JMKAC does a lot of work with children including classes.

Loved the Creepy Carrots, that kid shows promise!

Even the windows are transformed by the children, all you need is a roll of black masking tape!

Turned out Sheboygan is just as fun in the winter as it is in the summer!