Friday, June 24, 2016

Flashback Friday

"I inadvertently erased today's Flashback Friday yesterday, so I had to scramble to find a replacement post.  I headed back four years ago for this entry.  I chose it mostly because I had my anniversary in early June and I won't tell you if I remembered it or not - some things are best left unsaid.  So, without further adieu, a repost from April 2011 commemorating an event over thirty years ago."  MB  

Last month we had the pleasure and privilege to attend our daughter's marriage to Drew. Besides being part of a 'last milestone', it was especially exciting and delightful to see our friends. Many of these friends had attended an earlier wedding of a few years ago. Quite a few. Here, for your amusement are pictures of an earlier time and another remarkable wedding. Next week's Flashback will feature some of the reception pictures.

Dad and I.

Best man, the eminent Dr. Dan Kolbow.

The fateful sealing of the deal.

Nancy's sister, Patti, Dan and the newlyweds.

Brother Phil, herb, Me, Dan and brother Mark.

"Yikes, what have I done", she whispered?

Yikes, what have I done, he thought?

Parents of the couple.

Who are all these people?

What a doof. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Head Out On the Highway, Looking For Adventure - Part 3

Head Out On the Highway, Looking For Adventure

Turn right onto the Bald Bluff road a mile north of Little York and you begin heading West.  Go far enough and you'll begin to see the pines of Big River Conservation area, a 2900 acre forest between Keithsburg and Oquawka.  Slow down now and start looking for this sign on your left.  Its your personal invitation to a little-known local adventure.    

Of particular interest in this area is the Lincoln Trail.  The broken unmaintained sign reads: 

"Lincoln Trail History
On May 7, 1832 Capt. Abraham Lincoln led by Col Samuel
Thompson and Maj Nathan Bucmaster,
Rode with 2000 militiamen on this trail to
the mouth of the Rock River in the 
Blackhawk War." 

The stately pines provide plenty of cover and mystery. 

Hidden on the trail on a small bluff is this small pioneer cemetery.  Burials appear to be in the 1850's and 60's.  Overgrown and weedy it seems appropriate out here in the dark forested middle-of-nowhere.  

A mile east of Oquawka we discovered this ancient timber cabin slowly being consumed by nature.  

The trip culminated in a stop at Papa Joe's, a fish market with a big sign out front that reads The Meat with No Feet.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Nina and Pinta

An early morning text and these pics from Neighbor Tim said the replica Nina and Pinta were in Burlington.  He knows the blog is always hungry and that I love tall ships.  After I replied that I might go over to see them he then suggested lunch.  And although the Santa Maria is no where to be seen, two outta three ain't bad.  (that is my ode to Meat Loaf who collapsed on stage last week, but is recovering.)   

Neighbor Tim is a Sherwin-Williams paint tech and had some business over there so we were able to meet at Big Muddy's along the river front.  That's where the two ships were berthed for three days for educational tours, before heading off to somewhere else along the Mississippi. 

An observation about the ships:  if they are built to scale then they are really small ocean going ships.  Imagine your husband coming home and asking, or perhaps in those days, telling you to gather the kids, say goodbye to family and friends and then walk with him to the dock and board these ships for a trip around the world to a place you know nothing about.  I'm probably not up to speed on the history of the people who sailed from England on these ships to the New World, but even with all the faith of your religion and in your husband, you surely had to be petrified at your odds of making it. 

I didn't fork over the $6 for an opportunity to step aboard and check them out, even though I qualified for the senior discount.  Just seeing them, rather regal with their flags and ensigns flying was good enough this trip.  

Thanks for the heads up, Neighbor Tim and my other friend, who alerted me to their Burlington stop.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Tidbits

As I drive or ride past the cornfields of Northlandia my thoughts sometimes go back to my days as a hired man on Uncle Ed's small farm.  I am told that many of the things we did are now no longer done.  The first task after I returned from school was the slow month of cultivating.  This was the process of hitching to the tractor a devise with four prongs that would take out weeds in between the rows.  Farmer Mark told me they now simply spray.  This was confirmed also by Harvey P., the last remaining member of the group of farmers we shelled corn or baled hay for.  And I just mentioned the other things no longer done.  Farmers no longer place their corn in corn cribs.  We spent a good chunk of summer going around shelling neighbor farmers' corn since Ed was the only one with a sheller.  And finally, farmers now bale those big round things you see in the fields, not the small square ones.  You don't need barns or mows for the big ones.  And so, my work, much like myself is obsolete.  I think I'm a bit sad about that.


Coming back from G-Burg one morning a coyote ran out in front of me and went into the adjoining field.  I had just enough time to get this picture of him checking me out.  Can't tell what he has for lunch in his mouth.


I mentioned last week my neighbors two doors down in Seaton growing up were the Hall's.  Their son, Darren, wrote a book (available at Amazon and on Kindle) called Vanishing Rockwell.  If the book is as good as the title, then it ought to be pretty entertaining.

I requested from Lyle, Darren's dad, a signed copy and I got it a couple days ago.   Good luck, Darren.


Spotted on 4th Street in Rock Island.  An interesting alley/grotto.  Wonder what this was a hundred years ago. 


Spotted in Edgington. Caption contest.

"Hey Mom, I really like the car you got me for graduation, but last night I felt something rubbing on my way home."

"Hey Mom, I think my car needs an alignment."


The Rifleman is one of the shows I get on free-TV here at the Cabin.  I never watch it but even so, I was wondering whose idea it was to have Chuck Conners glower up at the camera after he unloads his shotgun on main street.  It was a squirrely idea, whoever came up with it. 


Kenzie sent me this picture of us back in the day on Father's Day.  One of my favorites.


The Gang back in Floriduh.  Hope you are both starting to pack.


The "sleeps" count has begun for Norah!

And me!

This is a still from my event app.  The countdown till my return to Floriduh has begun up here, too.
Two hearts, beating as one.


In the two weeks I have left I hope to do some night photography - sadly, I have not done any of that at all yet.  Nor have I done any storm pics but those are on the way in the next couple of days, I hear from the local weather people.  I also have a couple of more road trip adventures planned and hopefully a fishing day at the river.  I have also started a new painting.  This Cabin in the Woods idea is working out and of course the opportunity to see old friends and Mr. and Mrs. Wombie is icing on the cake. 


Three days ago it was 87 in Clearwater and 90 in Aledo.


Heard just this morning Congress failed to pass legislation keeping guns out of terrorists.  See, I said last week that if America wasn't concerned with little kids being mowed down by assault weapons we certainly wouldn't do it over Orlando.told you this country.  It is a sad commentary on the so-called greatest nation. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Black and White

  "Colour is everything, black and white is more."  Dominic Rouse

"The world is in color, you have to work at black and white."
Andrew Maclean

"To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul."  Andri Cauldwell 

"I've been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black."  Henri Mattise  

As a general rule no one takes pictures then turn them into black and white.  There isn't much need to.  We take vacation pictures, family reunions, and pets.  We want the color.  The splashier the better.  

There are a couple websites I go to regularly that feature only black and white photography. I became curious as to whether or not a lay photographer could tackle the subject.  Newer cameras and online picture editors can easily turn pictures into monochromatics. Making them masterpieces is another matter. 

The above picture was taken a couple weeks ago not too far from my Cabin in the Woods during a morning walk.  I challenged myself to do some more B & W and some of those will be featured in a few days entitled, pretensiously enough, America's Colors and Mercer County in Black and White.  I also challenge you to go out and give it a try. It's fun.   


Friday, June 17, 2016

Flashback Friday


Fatherhood isn't easy.  It's like attempting to scale a steep cliff with one hand grasping a rope while the other swatting those pesky   Midwest gnats. It's doable, but one wrong move and its pretty calamitous.  Likewise the offspring - libraries are filled with Macbethian tales of discord, failed emulation, boots that can't be filled, and other stories of woe.  The father son-daughter relationships are like other things in nature, I suppose, beautiful in many ways yet with hidden dangers.  Nature is like that.    

If your Dad has passed perhaps the best thing we can do is remember them having tried their best to be great Fathers.  Most succeed marvelously.  Maybe we need to look at ourselves to see their true accomplishment - the grown adults they helped mold.  We are, ultimately our fathers.  Imperfect, perhaps quietly terrified, usually gallantly noble in the face of adversity and heroic, too.  It takes a real man/father to help bring life into the world, to whisper to that life, "I will protect you.  Trust me."  To work every day to insure a level of comfort; to sacrifice their youth and dreams in order to provide security and the essential needs of life to their family.  

Sure, the sons and daughters grow up to learn the flaws of their fathers, but that makes them no less heroic. In fact it should enhance - it makes the sacrifice even nobler - it makes the daily struggle more daunting.  And so, on this weekend, give more than just a thought to the Dad's in our lives and make peace with the memory or be sad with the loss, and if you are lucky enough to still have them, tell them you love them.  Before its too late.

The above pictures are of my Dad at the Seaton home.      


Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Iron That Helped Build America - Part 1

About a mile north of Emerald City on Route 67 is a boneyard of old heavy iron machinery.  It is at the location of a junkyard that at one time when we were kids probably occupied maybe a couple hundred acres of old cars.  It was haunting back then - thousands of junk Packards, Dodges and Chevy's and, who knows, maybe even some Lincolns, Caddies and few trucks sprinkled in for good measure.  At some point they stopped allowing folks to go in and look for parts - the looming shadow of litigation, no doubt.  

Then the EPA got involved and shut down hundreds of old cool junkyards across the country.  I used to subscribe to Cars & Parts magazine that featured a different boneyard each month.  Here, all the cars are gone but for some reason they kept some old road graders, bulldozers and other equipment, and turned it into a drive-thru museum of sorts.  Some of it is over a hundred years old and on some they have signs giving information.  There are one-of-a-kind items here and why they are rotting in the elements instead of being restored is a question.  

This one of my lazy posts.  I wasn't motivated to get any particular information on these old relics - didn't really care what brand or company since I wasn't really into whatever these things did.  Actually for me the true beauty of these things is how they look now: the patina of age.  The evolution of machine. 

Time has been good to these heavy laboring tools.  They may no longer grade roads, move hills or plow fields, but they are still here while most of their contemporaries have long since vanished.  And here to see new sunsets everyday.  More than likely they will be here after I have seen my last.