Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I woke up this morning with gray fog covering the outside of my windows. It looked as if someone had painted the world with an airbrush. I tried wiping off the fog and or rubbing my eyes (it was early), but alas only time would change the atmosphere.

From a balmy 60 yesterday with torrential rain and wind, today is cold and leaves fill every cavity of the earth in this part of the country.

Perfect for ghost stories! Last night I took this photo at the Fremont Public Library. I was situated at the fireplace surrounded by pumpkins and orange lights. If the kids were scared, I can tell you I was!!

Tonight is my last Halloween show. I will be sharing the stage with good friend and colleague, Steve Etheridge. The performance will be our annual ghost stories at Pokagon State Park; kids show at 6:30, adults at 8:00. We will be performing in the old pavilion with pumpkins and again another huge roaring fire. Steve and I have shared this stage for, oh say...20 years!

Dress warmly tonight and don't look behind you!!

A happy, happy birthday to my Mom...lucky her with a birthday on Halloween!!

Lou Ann

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swirling Autumn Leaves...

Everything swirls for me in October..spell bowl in the early rehearsals after school and storytelling in most of the time in between.

We had a great book club this month in which I brought the author, Katherine Howe, into our lives through Skype. We all loved the book, The Physick of Deliverance Dane, a perfect book for the Halloween season.

My columns and photos are appearing regularly in the paper, Jonah and Matthew come and tumble in the leaves, Adam and Aaron just returned home from 3 weeks in the Idaho mountains.

Swirling leaves with a canopy of stories fill my days including reading The Raven by Poe to all my classes at school, including Kindergarten. They can't wait every day to hear the story of the great black bird.

My house is decked out for the Halloween season with lights and all kinds of things that glow in the dark. Life is good, sweet and full of chocolate at this point.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Photo at Sunset

I happened to be strolling around my town at sunset with my camera in my bag and caught this shot. It was a lovely quiet night with no one around so I could just stand in the middle of the street and take the shot. A nice way to end a beautiful Autumn day in Northern Indiana.
By the way, never leave home without your camera!

Today at 1:00...Pokagon is featured!

Indiana State Parks: Treasures in Your Own Backyard

Sunday, October 18, 2009 01:00:00PM
Station: PBS39: Fort Wayne Public Television
Feed Common Name: PBS39/39-1, Fort Wayne
Channel Number: 39.1

Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumn in Indiana

Photo by Tonya on Monday

Snow and ghost stories swirl around as swiftly as do the falling leaves. Yes, the snow did fall yesterday and the temperatures will be in the 20's tonight. This cold weather has definitely ended the garden although I have a few items to tend to. There is rosemary to bring in, tulips and daffodils to plant. There is still the furnace and cellar to clean and the garage to prepare for winter.

I am, however, in love with Autumn. Candles burning. Tea kettle humming. Stories brewing.

Here is a verse from one of my favorite poems I always recited to my children:


The summer is over,
The trees are all bare,
There is mist in the garden
And frost in the air.
The meadows are empty
And gathered the sheaves--
But isn't it lovely
Kicking up leaves.

Rose Fyleman

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scary Stories Week-End!

In the pouring rain, I drove down to Indianapolis late Friday afternoon to the History Center on the Canal. The show had been moved inside due to the weather and Lily Hall was festive for the evening. There were a line up of four storytellers: Bob Sander, Celestine Bloomfield, Cynthia Changaris and myself.

The room was full of adults and children and we all had a wonderful time. The stories were not too creepy or scary as they were geared for children.

After the show we went to Bob and Nancy's for vegetarian chili and fresh baked bread. Bob and Nancy brought out their guitars and played after the late night supper. It was a wonderful evening.

It was in the wee hours of the morning when we arrived back at Ellen's and I took to my scullery room up under the eaves.

Tonight's show will be outside as the rain has cleared even though the temperature has dropped!

Come on out, 7:30 on the Canal, but dress warmly!

Lou Ann

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bewitching Garden

My Scarecrow

OK, so a couple of topics here in rain-sodden northern Indiana. My daughter-in-law, Tonya, flew in last night from St. Petersburg. She left 95 degree temperatures and landed in this rainy, almost frozen tundra. Alright, I am exaggerating.

To all of your dismay, I do like this weather. Oh, not for gardening or biking or driving for that matter...but I think artists love the forlornness of cold and rain...sitting by a fire, writing a story, reading a tale or two.

I did hike out to the garden to find the witches hat which blew off in the night. I really should tack it up, but for now I just hunt for the hat every morning. Maybe it is in search of what else I might find in my bewitching garden.

Enough prattle, I am off to Indianapolis to tell ghost stories on the canal. I believe we shall be inside tonight, but tomorrow night I am sure we will bundle up for the adult stories.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Beginning of Autumn

A display in Jonesborough, Tennessee

Ellen and I made the mecca to Jonesborough for the annual Storytelling Festival in the mountains. It was a wonderful five day adventure for us and I wrote it all up on her blog this time. To log on and read about the journey, go to: j

I have moved my writing desk indoors as the cold has been driven down from the north country and there has definitely been frost on the pumpkins.

James Whitcomb Riley was born on this day in 1849. He was born and raised in Greenfield, Indiana and is known as our Hoosier poet.

Jame Whitcomb Riley is best known for poems such as Little Orphant Annie, When the Frost is on the Pumpkins, and The Raggedy Man. It was my Dad who introduced those poems to me when I was little and I have never forgotten them. I was hoping to have a celebration for JWR, but as it is, I will just drink a nice hot cider and go off to bed!!

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Angola Fall Fest and the Civil War

Abe Lincoln awaiting early morning speech.

Union Soldiers listening to the President.

Gun Salute

President Lincoln leaving for the battlefield.

Every year the last week end of September, Angola rolls out the carpet for crafters and musicians, civil war re-enactors, and yes writers and photographers.

It is one of our chances to connect with our community, visit with folks, and eat German almonds along side pork sandwiches and cotton candy.

This year had a new twist as Abe Lincoln came to town early on Saturday morning. To be exact, the carriage rolled in at 8:30. It was a foggy, misty morning as the streets were all blocked and waited for the President. The Union troops were gathered around the Civil War monument for Steuben County as they were preparing for battle.

I took Matthew and Jonah with me and spent a great deal of time telling them stories and helping them understand that the real Lincoln was killed and this man was a storyteller Lincoln.
They were also a bit worried about the guns. However, they didn't move as the event began. The fog pulled the noise level down to a hush as we listened to the speeches, the gun salute and taps. It was a very moving experience for all, and I believe not a dry eye on the town square.

Following this event, the Lift off for Literacy sent off thousands of balloons in the air in our fight for literacy in our county.

The stages were full all days of local performers. I had a one hour show on the children's stage along with the pie eating contest, which I did not win. I didn't even come close!

The evening ended with a square dance out at the park. It was the perfect night with just a sliver of the moon peaking through clouds...warm enough to dance without gloves or hats, cool enough to add sweaters. There was a group of us dancing until the last waltz. Later that evening I visited the camps. Today was another full day. I left my house on my bike early and really just barely walked in the door. I could not pull away. Tomorrow's blog will feature more photographs. Until then...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Johnny Appelseed Festival

The Fall Festivals are all underway...signs, posters everywhere. It is a great time of year in the Midwest to celebrate the harvest, the beauty of Autumn and families just spending time together. Here are just a few snapshots from storytelling at the festival last week end. Jonah did ham it up a bit!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

Wednesday evening was cool as Autumn is in the air here in Northern Indiana. Colleen picked me up and we meandered out into the country to pick up Luanne for our 'third Wednesday night of every month book club.' I had to get out of the car to take a tour of her gardens. They were spectacular with mums as large as bushel baskets and the scent of graying herbs.

We continued our drive to Auburn where Susan hosted book club. Susan is my shining star. She purchased her house on her own and has become independent and strong. I am immediately drawn to her landscaping in her backyard which was once just rocks and brown dirt It has been transformed into a small park area with trees and flowers. I am so impressed by her artistic skills.

I go back in to our round table discussion Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. I actually read the book during my first two weeks of recovery after my broken arm. I could not put it down! The book is amazing, well Greg Mortenson is amazing. I was humbled by his goodness, his dedication in building schools in Pakistan after a failed attempt to climb K2. His focus is educating women, because as we all know, that will educate a village.

The talk turned to Hamilton High School graduate, Justin Ralston, who is starting on the same small scale in building libraries in Uganda. He has taken it upon himself to collect books and send them to small villages where there are no books. His story is also that of unselfishness and dedication. I am proud to know him and am anxious to donate books and money as well.

The dinner was that of stuffed chicken, roasted potatoes, herbal vegetables and chocolate cake to top off the evening.

Too soon we chose next month's book and bid farewell. I am always impressed by the scope of our book club...loving each other's gardens and cooking as we dig deeper into the world for knowledge and opportunities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thirteen, exactly...

Last night was my monthly "First Monday Night Pot Luck" for women only. So it happened that this September Monday was late in coming and the first Monday was Labor Day so the pot luck fell last night which coincides this month with my book club which meets the third Wednesday night of the month. Hmmm...both in the same week...where do the stars line up for this one?

As usual the food (almost all vegetarian) was fabulous and it seemed as if wine in blue bottles was the other mainstay for the evening. Could it be that my friends are all wanting to contribute to my Blue Bottle Garden? More on that story later in another blog.

We had so much catching up to babies, jobs, events. Of course, the broken arm story has turned into an hilarious performance piece now and captures all ears when I tell it. (I am so glad that it is just a story now and that I am done living it!!)

I shared the stories of the Women's Opry on Ocracoke Island. I love producing that Opry and look forward to it every year. I shared Kathleen Fogerty's story and the song which we all sang in a round. It was so lovely and then at the precise moment, Gary Mitchell put the lights out and we all howled at the moon.

Well, we tried it in my backyard. Of course, I do not have the lovely voice of Kathleen and we are not the Women's Opry, but we gave it a great shot! The howling caused all of my neighbors to either come outside or go in...whichever.

We ate and laughed and everyone stayed late to catch up with our friendships.

Melinda pointed out to me that there were exactly 13 women there.

"Really?" I said. I had no idea or even that she counted. She went on to say that she counts every month and that we are almost always a group of thirteen even when there are a few different women here and there. I never noticed.

Could make an interesting story, or is it one already?

My good friend Kathleen married a farmer from Indiana and is a musician and a farmer's wife in Virginia Beach. She wants to come to Indiana to visit in the winter months. She must bring her guitar and come for girls pot luck. We are very good howlers!

Lou Ann

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Purple Cast

Well, it finally happened! On Friday the cast came off. I picked Jonah up at pre-school so he could go with me! I had plans to keep it, but it was unkeepable (if that even is such a word!)

It is tender, sore and maybe a little swollen at the wrist, but doesn't look as pathetic as I had thought. It will take time to get into the swing of things again with two hands and learning to type and such all over again. My left hand is a bit jealous as she has worked so hard and the right has had all the glory.

Thanks left hand for giving me a hand (OK, I thought it was funny!)

Maybe I can keep up with the writing a little better now.

Lou Ann

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival

Dear Folks,

What a perfect Labor Day week end here in the Midwest! We have had ten days of 65 degree days and nights in the 40's. The gardens are spectacular and the night air is full of crickets and the sound of cicadas. Pokagon is full this week end.

I will be traveling by train to Chicago to tell stories at the Fox Valley festival. It promises to be such a fun week end. All the storytellers are staying together so who knows what will happen there? I am taking Kathy with me. She has become such a great friend of mine and I know she will have a ball, although this storytelling adventure is new for here!

I am taking lots of stories from my childhood and my could be in of them!

Have a wonderful week end! I'll share stories when I return on Tuesday!

Lou Ann

P.S. The purple cast gets to go with me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Health Care

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the next 24 hours.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Angola Farmer's Market

It was a beautiful morning last Saturday when Karen and I took the boys to the Farmer's Market. It is just a couple of streets away so it made for a great morning stroll. Karen and I took our cloth bags as usual and filled them with the week's supply of sweet corn, peppers. tomatoes, homemade soap and jellies.
It has become the social hubub for our small town as we meet there on Saturday to share the week's news and gossip!
Within four years, our market has grown and prospered thanks to all the local folks!
Lou Ann

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thinking over the bumper sticker??

Folks who know me, or at least watch me drive all over town, know my Jeep well. It is the one covered in bumper stickers that really do tell who I am. They range from politics to the arts and every spectrum in between.

One of my favorites is Malwart, the place for cheap plastic crap. I do not go to Walmart, not in any way, at least not until yesterday.

My daughter in law. Karen, works for Flagstar Bank which is located in Walmart in Angola. She needed just one more account to open to meet her quota. I said that I was wanting a business account anyway, so Jonah and I went to Walmart. (I parked in the very back of the parking lot.)

The folks at Flagstar were courteous, friendly and gave Jonah a pocketful of dumdums.

Account opened. Time to leave, but I needed a few things. So, I could just get one or two things, I mean I was already there anyway.

Jonah hopped into a cart and scratched his already skinned up knee along the way. It wasn't really bleeding or anything, just looked a little red, you know.

We made it back to the yogurt section, where I was delighted they carried the Greek yogurt. when a young male employee asked if we wanted a free sample of another kind of yogurt.
Jonah and I were happy to taste when he noticed Jonah's skinned knee. He immediately went to the back (somewhere?) and brought back a band aid with ointment on it for Jonah. He even put it on his knee. I really was amazed. He walked back to checkout with us saying how lucky I was because he and his wife could not have children. We talked a bit longer, I thanked him again, paid for my yogurt and walked to the back parking lot.

Ok, I really can't be a Walmart shopper, but the folks there are just plain nice.

Lou Ann

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome to our world

Last night I went to sleep with my phone tucked under my pillow. I drifted off to sleep knowing that it would ring to announce the birth of my newest grandchild. I was in such a deep sleep that I could barely find it for answering, but did indeed get the message that the newest little Homan was born in Portland, Oregon.

What a wonderful day this has been knowing how happy Abe and Kristin are with their new baby and that there are four little grandchildren on our family. How does life move on so?

They finally named her deep in the afternoon as the sun was setting here in the Midwest. Brianna it is. So I welcome to our world of love and beauty little Brianna Homan. Thank you for joining us.

Lou Ann

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three weeks and back to blogging!

Dear Friends,

How could three weeks go by without even writing a word! Where have I been and what in the world have I been doing??

I traveled back with Philip since that seemed to make the most sense with the broken arm. We first went to Indy so that I could do my workshop and then back home to get ready for school.

It was a great homecoming with Adam and Tonya here visiting. Tonya stayed an extra week to give me a hand in the classroom...she is so artistic!

She is also the fairy godmother to Mathew and Jonah!

It was a busy week with family and friends and my border, Jim Beam, still here. We spent most of the evenings watching for shooting stars, celebrating Adam and Aaron's birthday, and lots of dinners.

Everyone left at once leaving me alone in my rambling old house! It felt very strange at first, but I guess we get used to everything.

I have decided to put my articles on line under Sunday Passage so they will be available to read on my website as well.

The weather is clear and amazingly fall like. Tonight we welcome back Mengting and another friend from China for a cookout...marshmallows as well!

So, back to Indiana, back to blogging. and life does go on even when it switches directions!

Lou Ann

Monday, August 03, 2009

"It is time to go now...haul away the anchors..."

My good friends Sundae and Rob sing this incredibly beautiful song about leaving. I weep every time I hear it. Now it is my turn to leave again. I feel as if I am always leaving someone, somewhere....maybe that is how I have defined my life.

Most things are packed. Lots of interesting accumulations...seashells, summer dresses, salt spray. One of my last chores was to put away my beautiful birthday bike, a gift from Philip.

Yesterday was his 65th birthday, I am glad I was here to celebrate with him.Lots of events to go to, as always, with folks dropping by.

It is difficult to leave this life that I love so much, but Philip is driving me home and that will make a great difference.

So, I bid farewell until my feet are planted on Hoosier soil once again.

Lou Ann

Sunday, August 02, 2009

August Island Birthdays!

Happy Birthday
Lachlan, Philip, Kati, and James
Last night there was a great pot luck at Kati and John's house for the August birthdays.
There is a great story behind the whole event, just ask if you are curious!
A great time was had by all, thanks for hosting, Kati!
Lou Ann
P.S. It was a used cake, but good anyway!
P.S.S. For the full/partial story and photos of my last turtle patrol, go to Philip's blog!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Women's Opry!

Seventeen marvelously talented women took to the stage on Saturday night to perform in the third annual Women's Opry.

Dressed in blues and greens...the colors of the sea, these Ocracoke women sang and told stories such as the Deep Water Theatre has ever seen. One song flowed into the other just as the ebb and tide of the sea that surrounds us.

The show was sold out to seats with programs, chocolate kisses and a soft, curvy arrangement of chairs.

All too soon we sing our encore, The Women of Ocracoke; the house lights come on and another Opry is over.

We celebrated at Howard's Pub and finally bid farewell, and traveled over darkened lanes to go home.

Lou Ann

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharing wine and turtle stories

Last night I attended a mini rehearsal for the women,s Opry which is tomorrow night! We are all excited about this yearly event!

Following the rehearsal, Philip and I watched a beautiful sunrise at Frank and Jude's house. They live cozied up in the woods in a perfect cottage, no air conditioning for them! They also are right on a small stream or canal which feeds out into the sound. Jude brought out her bucket of cat food and tossed several handfuls over the deck railing.The water was immediately swarming with turtles! It is a ritual that she has done every night for 15 years. I was amazed.

We settled back onto the screened in porch with candles, wine and a peach cobbler by Frank. It was a wonderful evening.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

HappyBirthday to all my island friends!
I am honored to share my birthday with so many wonderful folks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Windy afternoon at the beach..

What started out to be a very stormy looking day, turned into a beautiful day of sunshine and much wind. We decided to take a walk on the beach and enjoyed the roar of the sea as opposed to conversation as we could not be heard.
I passed a gentleman holding up the umbrella keeping the blowing sand off of him. There were a few other colorful umbrellas, but the beach was pretty void of folks. Saturdays and Sundays are usually cottage changes, thus the low activity.
Today it raining, however, and a good day to do business!!
Lou Ann

Friday, July 10, 2009


The quiet morning photographs on the Fourth of July.

Slowly the island is healing itself from last Saturday.
Conversations continue.
Memorial donations are gathered.
The sun rises.
I was on my way to photograph the lovely flags of the day, here are a few taken just
moments before the explosion on Ocracoke Island.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Day After the Explosion on Ocracoke

The village continues to mourn the loss of the four that were killed when their fireworks truck exploded yesterday. One by one the death count rose as the night and morning wore on.

Confusion, grief, sadness, and quietness has settled onto this tiny little island of Ocracoke.

Tragedy is always so difficult to deal with in a community, but being isolated by geography makes this event so unusual.

The community is so close that the stories flow like water. Everywhere, everyone, every minute.

I started the morning waiting for the Virginia Pilot to be delivered at the Community Store. They were sold out in 15 minutes. The porch was full of folks with stories to tell, some more gruesome than is humanly possible.

A memorial parade was held at 3 this afternoon to honor our volunteers. They are the real heroes in this epic. The men and women are dedicated to saving and preserving lives, but nothing in their training could have prepared them for this. In reality they are good island folks who volunteer to help their community. They rose so far up over the challenge that they are heroes in our lives....keeping the fires from spreading, caring for the severely injured even though they must have known that death would soon follow.

This evening another wonderful event was held at the Methodist Church. It was a wonderful group of men and women singing and sharing their love of instruments through song and story. I believe there wasn't a dry eye in the place when Martin Garrish sang Iris Dement's song, Our Town.

The week end is past. It is supposed to storm tonight and will good to begin washing away the scent of the disaster and begin healing...tomorrow.

Lou Ann

Saturday, July 04, 2009

First Photos of Ocracoke Explosion and Full Story

It started out as a beautiful July 4th morning. Woke up early, had homemade toasted bread with cherry jam and hot coffee. There were still last minute details to finish on the float, but I could not let the morning pass me by.

I picked up my camera and went off to take photos of flags. There are all over Ocracoke Island, draped over bushes, in flower gardens, hung off old homes. I had biked down to the harbor to photograph a few photos of the boats in the water when the explosion began. The sky was filled with fireworks and I was in such a daze I didn't realize what had happened. I know I stood there stunned for at least a minutes, then it was as if the entire sky was falling with all the fireworks exploding at once. As the sky filled with smoke, the sound of the ambulance was in my ears.

I was able to recover quickly and take the first shots of the explosion. Crowds began to gather with fear in their eyes.

Four flight helicopters came, but took 45 minutes to an hour to reach the Island. They did not land on the landing pad, but rather in the parking lot side by side. The ferries were all shut down and those ready to pull into the harbor for the day's celebrations were sent back for another two and a half hour ride back to the mainland.

We do not know what was the cause of the explosion, but we do know one was killed and four are critically injured. Two local firefighters were taken off Ocracoke Island due to heat and exhaustion.

Of course everything was canceled for the day. A subdued hush has fallen on this small piece of ribbon to the sea. Quietly we all took our photos and our memories home to our cottages.

My day was only beginning as I sent my photos to WINT in North Carolina. Within minutes my phone was ringing to give permission and interviews for CNN and NBC.

It is amazing that the day is still beautiful with just a faint touch of smoke in the air. Firework debris is spread all across the harbor. I leaned down to pick up the end of one.

A moment can change our life forever.

Lou Ann Homan
Ocracoke Island

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gypsy Kids and a Farewell Party

On Ocracoke Island this summer there are three college kids living behind Philip's cottage. They have the use of the old red gypsy wagon as well as hammocks.

They are nestled into the trees sleeping at night like birds or out on the town as wandering owls. I have grown to adore these kids. They make their own yoghurt, they hang out their laundry, and they are known to us at the Three Gypsies.

Last night they cooked dinner for us in the cottage as it was Ben's last night as he left for Raleigh this morning on the early morning ferry. He leaves for India in a few days.

We have spent countless hours with these kids, watching the sunset, drinking a bottle or two of wine, cooking together, sharing pot lucks and it is as if they will fly the nest one at a time.

Farewell to Ben, have a great yoga experience. As for Paige and Kyle, well, we will be honored by their presence for a short time yet!

Lou Ann

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pokagon State Park and other Politics by Governor Daniels

I love my blog site. I started it over five years ago and do my best to keep it up-to-do, full of pictures, trendy, upbeat and colorful.

Today I break all of my rules. Since I am on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina for the summer, my Internet is a bit fuzzy. I have to pack up my laptop and other office paraphernalia to walk through the sandy lanes to the small library. I love this library, always people to talk to and a cozy room that I share in the back as an office space. I usually share it with my friend James who is working on his PhD.

I check the local news every couple of days to keep up with my Angola, Indiana home town, my friends, community etc. I was not prepared for today's headline, however.

The gist of the headline was that the State Parks in Indiana would close on Monday if the state legislature could not come to a financial agreement. It was comforting to know (I say this with tongue in check) that the prisons would stay open, however.

Governor Daniels, we need to talk. It is all backwards, you know. If we spend the money for our state parks as we should and usually do with qualified staff for children and families to participate in and encourage them to learn about our environment, etc., the need for prisons might be smaller, could even be eliminated. Who knows?

The children in Indiana are currently under the umbrella of obesity, yet we close the state parks where they can run and play?

The children in Indiana spend much of their free time watching television and working on the computer which also leads to the above subject, and less interaction with the environment. How can we possibly save an environment that isn't used and/or appreciated by children and adults alike? Is that the old adage, out of site out of mind?

And Governor Daniels, in this economic downfall, and do not tell me that we are in a recovery, my neighbors are unemployed and doing whatever they can to keep hearth and home (which means digging up their yards for gardens, etc.), the state park is still an inexpensive outing for a family. Where I live in Angola, Pokagon State Park offers swimming, kayaking, hiking, the Nature Center, and the lovely Inn. It also offers families time to talk, walk, and be together as a family.

So, Mr. Daniels, what will you do? I have had little confidence in you and now I have even less.

Sincerely submitted,
Lou Ann Homan for my State Park

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Keeping the Lights Lit on Ocracoke Island

Inside the Ocracoke Lighthouse
Today was my training day to open the doors of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. I am enjoying volunteering in different areas all over the island...the museum, turtle patrol, and now the lighthouse. There were four of us in training and we met with Jessica, who is totally in charge of us, at the lighthouse around noon today. We had to fill out federal forms, inform them of next of kin in case what, I wonder?
We also had to get fitted for those shirts, you know the ones I mean, the ones without pink or purple!! I get a hat, a badge, a name tag...well, just about everything.
We were taught how to unlock the old door, put the signs out...all the practical things.
Then Jessica told us we needed to climb to the top of the lighthouse. The Ocracoke light house is open only at the base, not to climb up due to the steepness of the steps, the rustiness of the steps, the tall steel ladder that goes through the hole in the top where the lanterns were lit. I was thrilled and scared all at the same time!! Only two of us went up, my friend James who is working on his PhD this summer. We are always at the same programs and events! The other two claimed knee problems or something.
I took a deep breath and up I went. By the time I was at the steel ladder, my hands were soaking wet from being nervous and the heat. But to the top I climbed. It was the most gorgeous site of seeing the village from this viewpoint. I could not help but think of the lighthouse keepers who carried whale oil and kerosene nightly up those steps and cleaned windows and kept the ships safe in the night. What powerful and wonderful men those were.
James had his camera and took photos which I will post at a later date!
We finally climbed down and had more training. I have been reading about the light house ever since I started coming here to spend summers with Philip. I can't wait to get my badge and start telling stories of this beautiful light house!!
Lou Ann

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunset on Ocracoke

Sunset over the Pamlico Sound

A random shot of kayakers scurrying home.

The shrimp boat pulling into the harbor.

Last evening Philip and I biked down to the harbor to watch the sunset. It was a great way to end the day as we had spent the morning watching the sun rise on the Atlantic.

Ocracoke is situated between the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, a very rare place where the sunrise and sunset are both over water.

As we were watching the sunset (as well as people watching, of course) thunder clouds began to roll in and rumble over the water. A couple in a kayak must have decided they needed to get in to the harbor before the storm. They were the unexpected camera shot as my Uncle Dean would always say.

We then followed the beautiful shrimp boat in to the harbor to the fish house to unload the catch of the day.

We stopped to chat with friends and then an extremely close bolt of lightning sent us all scurrying away to our cottages!

Enjoy the photos!

Lou Ann

Monday, June 22, 2009

Solstice Celebration on Ocracoke Island

Miss Katy as the Solstice Queen!

On Saturday evening (the eve of the Solstice) Philip and I hosted a Solstice pot luck! The guest list continued growing and if you were left out, please accept our apologies.

Philip's daughter, Amy, baked a traditional Island Fig cake in which I hid a small seashell. He or she who found the shell in the cake would become the Queen or King for the evening. There were several men who chose to eat other desserts until the Queen was crowned!

It was a delightful evening with new twinkle lights on the big screened in back porch and food spilling over two tables. Folks were still telling stories at the Midnight hour as we were all just too happy being friends, being together as the Earth begins its descent back toward winter.

Happy Solstice to all,

Lou Ann

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Volunteer Position

Today was my first day (well actual day) as a volunteer at the OPS museum. During the summer months volunteers are critically needed in two hour shifts. It is a great opportunity to meet visitors and chat with locals as it seems every one hangs out there at least once a day.

The museum is filled with local music, books, and crafts from all over the Island. It is such a pleasure to share stories with folks and point out interesting facts and places to go. The best part is that the harbor is in view and it is the first stop some folks make when they arrive!

I almost feel like a native!

Lou Ann

An Island Girl

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iggie from Ocracoke Island

Iggie is one of my favorite characters on Ocracoke Island. Every afternoon around 4:00 I bike or walk down to the Community Store to sit on the bench and hang out with Iggie. He is a born and raised island boy.

We gossip about the locals, make comments about the tourists, and drink coke. He smokes his cigarettes and asks me every day if the smoke bothers me. "Not at all," I say, "Not at all."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Rainbow

Last night we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm. It began brewing in the Sound late in the afternoon and by dusk the sky was rolling with dark clouds. The thunder was strong and shook this small island as we watched from the front porch. When it was over, we were treated to a fabulous double rainbow. This is a view from my sandy lane in front of Philip's house.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting Started on Ocracoke

So, after many travels to Oregon, Florida, ending my school year, and so on, I have made my journey back to the Island to spend the summer with Philip. I arrived late on Friday night and jumped right into this life as if I had never left.

Internet is always a little iffy for me here, but I found a great place. It is early morning and I am sitting on the library steps. Birds sing. Winds blow. Folks walk and bike by for their early morning excersize.

The week has already been eventful with performing at the Opry, ghost walk, unpacking, settling in, company, hanging my towel in the outside shower. Last night a PBS crew who is here with Donald Davis filming went with me on my ghost walk. It was very interesting. Who knows what will happen with that???

I will try to keep daily notes for you, and, of course, my column continues!!

Lou Ann

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Line Dancing in the Street

Every Tuesday night is line dancing in my small town. There are four of us girls who never, ever miss this dance class. We start the evening at the little Pizza Forum in Angola, our local mama-papa pizzeria, and chat and gossip and laugh away an hour.

We quickly pay our bill and move on to line dancing at the VFW in town. Our instructor, Sally, is a line dancing guru. She knows them all, encourages us and has even moved us to the intermediate class!

Unfortunately the VFW is being remodeled this spring, so alas, no class!

That does not stop us, now that we are intermediates! We have the music, our notes and CD player. So, last night we danced in the street, OK it was the driveway, but it was great fun. Neighbors walked by and put heads out windows to give a bit of a cheer or just watched out of curiosity!

We danced until dark, and all went their separate ways!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Bouquet

Just as I was finishing my Sunday Passage there was a knock at the door. When I went to the back door there was Aaron in his turkey hunting clothes carrying a fresh bouquet of lilacs from the farm and a card he had bought and signed himself! It was a wonderful day to start Mother's Day.
I planted the lilac trees the first year we lived on the farm. They burnt down at the fire, but came rebounding back even stronger!
Happy Mother's Day!
Lou Ann

Friday, May 08, 2009

Opening Night and the Flu

I do not get sick very often, but oh, when I do. I came home from rehearsal on Wednesday unable to swallow or even hold my eyes open with a fever. I bundled up in my woolen blankets and went to bed.

So, somehow I got through school and the rehearsals yesterday and back home in bed late in the evening.

Day 3: Still have it and today will be our shows. Two this morning and a sold out dessert crowd for tonight. The kids have worked so hard, it is a wonderful show. There was something about this show that I thought we just couldn't put it together, but we did! It is a revitalized show from 2000 when I ran the Emily Dickinson Players, such memories it brings back to me.

So, with a bag full of medication, I am off to direct, encourage, and share these young actors and actresses with the rural town of Hamilton. Break a leg (just don't get the flu!)

Lou Ann

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May Day and Spring at White Picket Gardens!

May Day arrived in great splendor in Northern Indiana, and oh, we have been waiting a long time for it! Jonah and I spent all afternoon making May Day baskets for all of the neighbors.
We filled the entire dining room with art supplies including glue and paste and scissors and pipe cleaners and everything necessary to make this old fashioned baskets. Once finished we filled them with candy! When Matthew came home from school we tiptoed up to the neighbors porches, rang the bell and ran. Actually we tried hiding in the bushes to watch their faces when they received the lovely gift. Several neighbors called with a thank you and told me stories of how they did this when they were little. Isn't it nice to keep tradition alive!
The trees in my yard and in full bloom...Bradford pear, crab apple, lilacs and it is spectacular this year, probably due to all the rain we have had.
So, I am off to working in the garden taking time out for my last Mother/Daughter banquet of the season tonight.
Lou Ann

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First Grade to the Planetarium

The warm spring has turned into a misted land of soft moss green. It was the perfect day for taking children on a field trip.

Now this just wasn't any field trip...but a well-planned and thought out field trip. My first graders (I introduce the humanities to all ages at school) spent the winter writing in their moon journals. We made them at school, decorated them with stars and stickers and I sent them home with a note about this being a family project. Each night before bed, they were to go outside with a parent and draw, sketch, paint or write about the moon. We studied the phases of the moon, the planets and constellations.

Meanwhile we did a family history study using recipes. We collected these from grandparents, even great-grandparents and turned them into books to sell to earn money for the planetarium. Thus this field trip was born.

We went to Prairie Heights for our field trip, sat in the beautiful planetarium and let the stories of mythology and moon cycles carry us away for an hour. The kids were delighted, and it was evident in their occasional sigh or 'wow.'

We stopped for ice cream on the way home, and that was just as exciting for them.

It is always good when a plan comes together.

Lou Ann

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Week Ends and the Beginning of Earth Week

Dear Friends,
So the week comes to an has been a busy one with school (photography, murder mysteries, play practice!), shows on the road including a great gypsy tea party at the Fremont Library. (Pictures will soon be on the web site!)

I also participated in the annual Earth Day celebration at Wing Haven. It is one of many nature conservancies in Indiana. Wing Haven is just a stones throw away from my house at White Picket Gardens and I attend every year.

It is fun in a small town where you know everyone and spend way too much time talking and visiting, but we love it anyway. I came home with two Pawpaw trees. (They advised two!) I hope to be planting them today even with the rain. Here are some lovely photos from the day.

Also last evening was the production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Those photos and story are on my other blog,
Hope you week end has been as fun as mine!

Lou Ann

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too fabulous to miss!!

Let me know what you think!! I just wept when it was over.

Lou Ann

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning Sunrise

It is such a lovely day in Northern Indiana. Spring is slow in coming, but I like seeing it spread inch by inch. It was the perfect morning to go to Pokagon State Park for an early morning Easter walk. It was still chilly enough for a scarf and warm jacket, but I left the gloves at home! With Fred Wooley's binoculars (he led the hike) and my camera, I was more than ready for the early hike. We saw over 30 species of birds and most were singing away in the morning shadows.

For an hour and a half we enjoyed the holiness of nature on this Holiday. If you haven't been to Pokagon for a while, you need to get a pass and spend some great quality time there.

Lou Ann

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor is a teacher, a writer, a storyteller and an actress. She lives in Angola, Indiana where she can be found meandering around looking for a great story or just writing late into the night by the light of her red frayed lamp. She also is the co-author of the new blog, voiceofangola.blogspot.