Thursday, March 31, 2011

Land between the Lakes

If you are looking for someplace new to visit, let me suggest the Land between the Lakes area.  

Ky. Dam backs up the Tennessee River and creates the largest manmade lake in the eastern US.  Construction of the Dam began in 1938 and took 6 years to complete.  Many area residents were asked to relocate and sell their land to the Tennessee Valley Authority in order to make way for the Lake project.  Cleo Griffin of Model, Tn., was the only person who refused to leave his home.  He remained there until 1990.  You can read about his strong spirit and determination here:

The house is still standing and we visited it last year.  It was in pretty bad shape but I love to poke around inside old buildings and think about the people who used to occupy them.

Kentucky Lake alone has over 2300 miles of shoreline.   Kentucky Lake is part of the Land between the Lakes (LBL) recreational area that covers 170,000 acres stretching over Kentucky and Tennessee.   It was created by President Kennedy. 

There is so much to see and do in this area:
·         Swimming
·         Boating
·         Fishing ( Bass, Crappie, Blue Gill, Catfish, Perch)
·         Water skiing
·         Tubing
·         Jet skis

If your personal tastes run more to the on-shore activities, check this out:
·         Hiking (over 200 miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous)
·         Biking (easy to advanced, as well as 2 mountain bike trails)
·         Camping (16 different camping locations to choose from)
·         OTV Trails (over 100 miles of off-highway trails)
·         Hunting (deer, duck & turkey)
·         Golf
You can also camp, rent a cabin or a cottage, stay at a B&B, or a resort.  Visit The Homeplace to see a working farm from the 1850’s.  Drive through the Elk and Bison prairie and see herds of bison wallowing in the water holes.  Pull off to the side of the road and watch the elk feed.  Visit the Nature Center and see owls, turkey, wolves, possums and many other animals indigenous to the area.  Visit the Planetarium and look at stars through the telescopes they have there.  Be sure to stop and check out the Great Iron Furnaces.  Read about their history by visiting this site:

Or just kick back and watch the sun set....

There is a world of options that appeal to just about anyone.  So if you are looking for someplace new to explore this summer, consider the Land between the Lakes area and discover it for yourself!  Here is a link if you want to investigate the area further.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do You Phoon?

Well, do you?  I do!  I had NO idea what it meant to PHOON until today.  It's fun, different and I believe we will phoon a lot more from now on. 

From The Urban Dictionary
(1) n. One who phoons. (2) v. To stand motionless on one foot, tilted forward at the waist, with one bent arm held in front and the other bent arm held behind.

We had an unexpected morning off, so we went and picked up my parents and ran out to do a little geocaching.  One of the geocaches required that we take a picture of us PHOONING.
This is me with my mom and dad.
And here's my husband, Lou.  He was a reluctant phooner and wouldn't do it at first, but we talked him into it.  I think he secretly enjoyed it, altho he won't admit it.

Visit this website to see other photo's of Phooners from around the globe:

After we phooned, we did a couple more geocaches.  Here's my dad and Lou looking under this bridge.

Dad finally figured out where it was hidden.

We found 12 caches today and the last one was located in the parking lot of a bakery, so we HAD to go inside and pick up a little something to take home.  This will be dessert tonight:

This is called a Queen Victoria cake and it's filled with fresh strawberries and bananas.  Plus LOTS of whipped cream.  Doesn't that look yummy?
Next time you are out and you've got your camera, don't forget to take a shot of yourself PHOONING.  You might be the first in your neighborhood to do so!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cemeteries are filled with history

One of the things that I like the most about geocaching is the interesting places it takes us.  Two of my favorite places to go are old cemeteries and Memorials.  Cemeteries are filled with history and I have found out some really cool things.  Before I go any further, let me explain that some cemeteries do not allow geocaches in them, so a cache may be hidden near a cemetery in order to get you close to something interesting to see.  IF a cache is hidden in the cemetery itself, then it must be respectfully placed in an area so that it doesn't disturb a grave or a marker.  Cachers are specifically asked to be respectful when in a cemetery and everyone I knows adheres to that request.  So, if you are curious to see some of the neat things I've found, please continue reading....

Ann Brainerd was a charming 9 year old girl who purchased a plot of land on Captiva Island in Florida for the price of a gold piece.  Unfortunately, she passed away shortly after her purchase and was buried on the property.  Read this interesting, true story here.

The gravestone of Charles Jones is one of my favorite finds.  I think the inscription is fascinating.

This section in Woodlawn Cemetery in Illinois was originally established as a final resting place for show people.  Shortly after its creation, a horrible tragedy occurred.  A circus train with over 400 performers and animals was on its way to Hammond, Indiana when it was hit by another train.  Three cars were destroyed and a fire broke out.  An estimated 86 performers were killed, but miraculously, no animals died.  The deceased were gathered and buried in this plot called Showman’s Rest.  Since nobody knew the names of some of the dead, they were buried with headstones marked “Unknown Male” and a number.  Go here to check it out.

Who hasn't heard of Al Capone, the famous Chicago gangster.  He was buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in  Hillside, Illinois.  For more information, go here.

Daniel Burnham was a famous American architect, who lived in Chicago.  Not only was he responsible for designing numerous famous American buildings, but he was also the Director of Works for The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  See more information here:

If you want to read a fascinating true story about The Columbian Exposition, I suggest you check out “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.  It’s about the link between  Daniel Burnham, a serial killer and the creation of the World’s Fair.  

This was a Civil War Veterans grave and those are usually my favorite ones to visit.

This one was in Delavan, Wisc. and is one of the older ones I've found so far.

This was a powerful Memorial to see.  It's located in Skokie, IL.

The following pictures are just interesting crypts and statues that I've seen:

This was just a small group of some really neat things that I have seen by visiting cemeteries and Memorials.  Through them, I learned a lot about history, war, the circus, organized crime and Chicago.  Visiting these places gave me a unique perspective that I would never have gotten otherwise.  I also have a better
appreciation for cemeteries and what the past can teach us if we stop to look and investigate what it is trying to tell us.  The next time you are near a cemetery, stop by and see what interesting things you can learn. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

What the heck happened to spring?

What the heck happened to spring?

Wednesday it was 76 degrees out.  It was so nice Wednesday night that when we went to bed we left the windows open so we could enjoy the gentle breeze.  By 6 am, I was slamming all the windows shut and turning the heat back on.  I really hate this transition time of year where we have the heat on in the morning and the A/C blasting by 2 pm. 

Chablis and I got dressed and decided to take the golf cart out for a spin.  We wanted to drive around the neighborhood and see which houses around the lake have gone up for sale since last autumn.  We also like to drive around and see what remodeling projects everyone has started.  Let’s just say we didn’t last out there very long.  It… was…. Cold!!!!!

When we got back, I went downstairs to paint the last overhead duct pipe with that lovely Frango mint paint.  After I was done, I stretched out on the bed to look around the room and admire my painting skills.  Loosely translated, that means I think I do a fairly good job of slathering paint onto any and every surface.  I like to paint, I really do.  It’s relaxing to me.  It was then that I noticed how terribly awful the ceiling looked.  Apparently we had never painted it since buying this house.  It was white and water marked.  Well, that was just not going to do at all. 

I ran to town, got a gallon of silk cypress, which is a lovely pale yellow, got back to the lake house and rolled up my sleeves.  First I re-painted one wall that I decided would look better with silk cypress than mint.  That’s why I love paint so much – it’s easy to make changes.  Then I started on the ceiling.  I got about ½ of it done yesterday.  I am trying to figure out if my husband or I is the bigger nut-job.  Him, because he was freezing his butt off out on the lake, trying to bass fish or me, because I just had to start another painting project.  Hmmm.  It’s a toss-up.  Looks like more of the same is scheduled for today, so we’ll see which one of us quits first.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Turn on, Tune in, Drop out!

Turn on, Tune in, Drop out!....Timothy Leary

If you recognize those words, you know what I'm talking about, right?  You're shaking your head with a knowing smile and maybe a few, fond memories.....

Yesterday we visited a really interesting Memorial.  For those of us old enough to remember the “Peace and Love of the 60’s, Flower Power and Hippies,” it was groovy and far out!  It’s billed as the one and only Memorial of its kind in the United States.

The Hippie Memorial is located in Arcola, IL. which is just south of Champaign, off Highway 57.  For those of you with a GPS, the co-ordinates are: 
N 39  41.124   W  088  18.494

The hippie subculture was a youth movement that started in the United States.  In general, the Hippies explored sexual liberation, protested the Vietnam War, embraced LSD and Marijuana, and criticized the middle class values.  Famous musicians of the era were The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Mama’s and The Papa’s, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Joan Baez.  The Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock were huge concert experiences.

Long hair and mustaches were popular for men, as were headbands, fringed vests, tie-dyed tee shirts, and ragged bell-bottomed jeans. Women preferred floor length skirts and peasant blouses, granny glasses and (gasp) going braless!  Everyone liked to go barefoot.

·         Make love, not war!
·         Give a hoot, don’t pollute.
·         Right on, man!
·         If you really love something, set it free.  If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever.  And if it doesn’t, it never was….

Those are the quotes I specifically remember.  I'm going to go trip down memory lane - Let me go put on my granny glasses, kick my bare feet up on a chair and spin some “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin on the turntable.

Peace and love!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Shoes...No Problem!

72 degrees, a light breeze and bright sunny skies equals FISHING!

No shoes…

No jacket……

No problem!

We caught a couple of nice bass, which we do not keep.  Bass are considered a sport fish, so we catch and release all bass.  They sure are fun to catch though.

These 2 geese were so cute.  They actually walked down these steps to the water and stood there giving themselves a bath.

I like to sit on the back of the boat and fish, with my feet dangling in the water.  Today the birds were chirping, the woodpeckers were tap, tap, tapping and I could hear the banging hammers of some construction workers across the bay.  The smoky aroma of burning leaves danced in the wind.  We also got to see a hawk circling overhead.

It was a heavenly day on the water.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Fever

Do you ever start something thinking it’s going to take like, 10 minutes of your time and before you know it, you have a whole “project” going?  It has been raining for the last 2 days here at the lake.  I usually hate that, because then I’m not outside doing something fun.  I happened to walk downstairs to our lower level yesterday morning.  We fixed up the basement as a guest bedroom, with a bathroom and a small sitting area.  When I went downstairs, I noticed that one wall was looking a little smudged and chipped and definitely needed a little paint touch up. 

However, when I opened the old paint can, the 1” of old paint in the bottom of it had completely dried up.  So I tossed the can into the car and headed to town when I had them mix me up a new gallon of paint, grabbed a paint brush and headed home.  The color I have is a luscious mint green.  It’s the same color as a Frango mint, if you happen to know what a Frango mint looks like.  I started dabbing paint onto the chipped areas, and then started spreading it a little further along the wall.  Then I painted the baseboard.  And then the entire wall and before I knew it, I had started on the next wall.  When I was done with that, I painted the overhead duct work, because the new coat of paint on the walls looked so nice.  After that, I decided to paint the laundry room door and the threshold.  Then I spied the bathroom door and attacked that.  See what I mean about 10 minutes of work turning into a whole project?

I have to say, the entire room looks pretty good and it just feels, well, cleaner.  When my husband got home, he just rolled his eyes.  He usually steers clear of me when I start my projects because at some point he usually gets sucking into helping.   But I do like to paint and I tend to get carried away sometimes.  Tomorrow I have to do a second coat on the bathroom door and then I will be done.  And just in time too –tomorrow is supposed to be warm and sunny, so I think fishing is going to be on the agenda!

I didn’t take any before pictures, but maybe tomorrow I will post some after pictures once the paint is dry.  I will leave you with this picture of my Amaryllis. 

I got the bulb as a Christmas gift and I have been nurturing it along all winter.  It looked like it was just about ready to bloom before we left for the lake.  Sure enough, it bloomed this morning, so my daughter thoughtfully snapped a photo and sent it over to me so I could see it.  Isn’t it a beauty?  It really makes me want to smile.

Have a happy day!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Yesterday turned out to be a pretty nice day – warm, close to 60 degrees and a light breeze.  I decided to get Sparky out of the garage and take her for a ride.  Sparky is my kayak. 

My husband bought me this kayak a couple of years ago and I love it.  I practically grew up in a canoe.  When I was about 10 years old, my Uncle Bob, who was an avid canoeist, decided my sisters and I needed to know how to canoe.  Every year, Des Plaines, IL has a big canoe race and he would always enter it.   The Des Plaines Race has been going on for over 50 years.  It’s an 18 mile long race along a beautiful and scenic waterway and involves both portaging and running over several dams.  For information about the race, look at this:

Uncle Bob came in 2nd place several times and kept getting beaten by a full blooded Indian every year.  Anyway, he started taking us to Skokie Lagoon and taught us how to use the canoe.  Skokie Lagoon is located along the North branch of the Chicago River.  When the Civilian Conservation Corps started the lagoon project in the 1930’s, it was the largest CCC project in the nation.  The entire lagoon was dug out almost entirely by hand and moved with wheelbarrows. We spent so much time at the Lagoons that we practically knew it like the back of our hands.  You can read about this great area here: 

Eventually, my dad bought us a canoe and every summer we would tie it on to the top of our car and drive down to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for a couple of weeks.  My sisters and I would paddle out into the lake and purposely tip the canoe over and then swim underneath it.  A huge air pocket would form underneath the seats and we’d swim around under there and giggle. 

Anyway, I thought a kayak looked like fun, so my husband bought me one.  The first time I went to get into it was in early March and the water was still really cold.  I pushed the kayak off the dock and jumped in.  I just assumed it was like a canoe, but the center of gravity is a little different.  My feet landed in the bottom of the kayak and it immediately tipped over, throwing me headfirst into the icy water.  I don’t think I ever leaped out of the lake as quickly as I did that time.  Talk about cold!  Lesson learned. 

Actually, the kayak is really easy to handle, especially for me since I am rather small, and I enjoy it a lot more than the canoe.  To begin with, it’s easier for me to maneuver around by myself.  It’s much shorter than our old canoe, so I can paddle it quicker.  I can also haul it in and out of the lake by myself.  It’s really good exercise.  I like to paddle out to the mouth of our bay and then float back, just enjoying the sun.  After a while, my daughter started spending so much time in MY kayak that we had to go buy her one too.  Now we spend hours paddling around the lake together. 

Yesterday was the first of many hours that will be spent this year in Sparky.  I have been working out with hand weights all winter and it must have really helped, because I wasn’t sore at all.  Here is a glimpse of the lake.

Right now it is raining like crazy so there will be no lounging around in Sparky today.  I’ll leave you with a picture of my wagon wheel....
and my daffodils.  Aren't they pretty?  Have a great day!

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