Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Out My Window

Once again it is Monday and time for art out my window. This is a view from the window at Sutton's Deli in downtown Angola.

The Deli is my favorite place for lunch, especially on Friday. If I am not working or traveling, I always find a companion to share lunch with on Friday.

This week my son, Aaron, invited me for lunch on Friday. We took a table by the window. It was a beautiful day here in town with lots of folks lunching as we were.

What I love is that I know most of the folks coming in as well. It is nice to chat. You never know what is going to happen on Friday lunches. This week I signed up for harp lessons and was invited to speak at a Mother/Daughter banquet. Not bad for a Friday lunch.

The photo was taken out the window looking out over the square and the downtown circle.

Arbor Day Celebration in my Hometown

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Here are a few photos from the tree planting in my yard. Thanks again to all the young ladies in Shawn Snyder's sixth grade science class at the Angola Middle School!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blackberry Winter

Dear Friends,

In my part of the world and in my small town, slight hail and a few snowflakes have graced this Saturday. We also have a warning of a heavy freeze tonight.

My garden plants (including the turtle garden) are easily covered, and my raspberries have not bloomed yet!

I do think about my friend, Gary Stroh, who has the best strawberry, apple, pear, and peach orchards in our area. Gary stays open until mid-March with his apples of all varieties and opens back up as soon as the strawberries are ripe.

He also has pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter. Gary is one of those old-fashioned self sufficient farmers that we all support in my small town.

Today's cold weather and tonight's heavy frost is often known as Blackberry Winter. It usually appears the first week in May (and we are very close to that!)

Traditionally is comes when blackberries are blooming and the snow drops onto the white flowers.

I don't know when this names first started, but I do know that folks like myself often use the term.

Once Blackberry Winter is over, there are no more cold nights! So, onto the planting which we will discuss a bit later!

So tonight cover those plants, build a fire if you are so inclined, get out that good book and snuggle in for Blackberry Winter. After tonight you will be too busy gardening to do much reading!

Lou Ann

Friday, April 27, 2012

Carolina Chocolate Drops

I thought a little toe tapping music would be great for your Friday! I first heard of the Carolina Chocolate Drops on NPR a few months ago. I love their music, it makes me want to dance or call a square dance! They are also on Pandora, so you can enjoy their music all day long! This piece is "Cornbread and Butterbeans."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday," Judith Viorst

Today's garage sale find!

I love the book, "Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday," written by Judith Viorst. I have used it for my children, school children, and folks who just come perusing my library shelves.

The book is about Alexander who was given a dollar by his grandparents and by the end of the day he had spent the money. He ended up with a one-eyed bear, burned out candle stub, a bus name a few.

Today I went to the garage sale of friend, neighbor and artist, Heidi Finley. Heidi and her family are moving to the Upper Peninsula as her husband has taken a new job. We will miss them so much in our community!

Today was the first day of Heidi's garage sale. I didn't get there until noon, but found treasures waiting for me. Here is what I purchased with my $25.00.

one ballet dress (not my size)
two sailor hats with the tags still on
two bars of English soap (still wrapped)
one garden hand trimmer
three strands of twinkle lights
one white cotton dress up skirt (now that does fit me)
small artistic glass pieces for my garden
wrapping paper
homemade paper from India
one jar homemade glitter
one picture frame
10 antique wooden leaves for old tables (to be used for shelving!)
one peacock feather

I had a wonderful time visiting with Heidi and wishing her well. I do not have $25.00 any longer, but I now own a peacock feather!

We will miss you, Heidi. Thank you for the treasures.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poetry Passage

Arriving home from Arizona last night, it was only natural for me to plug in the lights of the Studio, check the mail, and reflect on the week.

Spending a week in Arizona I thought so often of those who came before...their hardships, the heat, and the mountains. I have not had the pleasure of exploring the mountain ranges around Queen Creek, that will come another time, but I was able to watch the sun rise and set each morning and night over those mountains.

Upon tidying up the Studio, I perused the book shelf and pulled down my book, "Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey" written and compiled by Lillian Schlissel. The book is fascinating and without watching the time, I spent most of my first morning home reading the book, again.

So, my poetry passage comes from one of the diaries. Whereas this is not our typical poetry day, I find her words to be of great poetic thoughts.

This is from the diary of Catherine Haun who crossed the Plains in 1849. Her diary was dictated to her daughter later in her life, so it is a bit of a memoir, thus showing her romance of the journey.

Do not all Journeys leave a romantic mist which surrounds our stories?

"It was the fourth of July. After dinner it was proposed that we celebrate the day and we all heartily join(ed) in. America West was the Goddess of Liberty, Charles Wheeler was orator and Ralph Cushing acted as Master of ceremonies. We sang patriotic songs, repeated what little we could of the Declaration of Independence, fired off a gun or two, and gave three cheers for the United States. We sang 'Home Sweet Home,' 'My Old Kentucky Home,' and 'The Girl I Left Behind.'  The strains of these ballads went straight to America West's heart."

The following photos are of flowers blooming in Abe's garden. He is definitely learning how to garden the Southwest way! Enjoy.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

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This week has been such an important week for me to share my love of so many things with Holly and Brianna.

I so appreciate your readership. Thank you for understanding the lack of photos and blogging while 'real life' was happening inside the pages of books, out under stars.

Photos will follow this week as well as back on blogging track.

Happy Earth Day, enjoy this splendid planet that we live on.

Many green and happy thoughts sent to you from Arizona,

Lou Ann

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Everybody Needs A Rock

I have travled to the Southwest to take care of Holly and Brianna while their parents are working in Houston.

Flying into the Mesa Airport, I am once again amazed at the colors of the dessert. This week browns and sand tones are dominant with splashes of turquoise and ochre.

I can't help but be reminded of the book, "Everybody Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor. It was a childhood staple for my children and I hope for yours as well.

Luckily there is a new soft cover in print so it is once again available.

With so many technical advances in our world, isn't it nice to know that maybe all we really need is a rock in our pocket?

Check out the book for Earth Day, find your own perfect rock, and keep it in your pocket.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Art Out my Window...

At a railroad crossing in Wabash.

It was just a few years ago that I received a Lily Grant. The purpose of the grant was to study the life and works of Carl Sandburg. I flew to Oregon and traveled by train down the coast of California and then back up to Chicago. I spent ten days on the road...on the train, off the train.

However, the premise of the trip was extended as I traveled. I began to weave together the lives of Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald as well as Sandburg.

I have often wondered how did their pathways cross or did they?
I also did not solve the question of whether or not Sandburg was a hobo who traveled and became a writer because of his adventures, or was he a writer in search of the hobo life for the stories he would later write?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Leaving behind a memory of song and story....

The Theatre comes to town, sets up stages, pulls out costumes and takes us all on an adventure! And as quickly as it happens, the stakes are pulled out, the truck is loaded and we bid farewell.

It was a week of rehearsals, of watching children grow and change and watching a community come together for the show.

I loved spending time at the theatre, long dinners with Anne and Alison, and sharing my small town with them. I loved taking them to Trine for International Night, to the Deli for lunch, Coachlight for coffee and late night martinis at The Hatchery.

I sent them on their way this morning. They were heading to Wisconsin to "do it all over again!"

As always, thanks for reading stories and enjoying the photos from this blog, Stories from a small town.."

Jonah loving his rabbit costume!

Cast photo of The Tortoise and The Hare.

A colorful scene from the play.

The rabbits all hopped off stage after each song. Jonah is in mid-air on this photo by Karen.

The show is over as well as International Night. We are just enjoying a drink at The Hatchery.
From right to left: Mengting, Kathy, myself, Alison, Anne.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hear ye, hear ye, the Missoula Children's Theatre is still in town!

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This week's column features the theatre week with Anne and Allison from Missoula Children's Theatre. It has been a great week with a wonderful show last night! Still one show today at noon at the Angola High School.

Pictures to follow tomorrow, as for today? On with the show...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Missoula Children's Theater

Forgive my lack of posting this week, however the theater has come to town!
On Sunday night two directors of he Missoula Children's Theater, Anne and Allison, moved in with me.

Hendry Park, the school I always talk about in my small town, has fund raisers and books fairs just to bring this traveling theater troupe to town.

The process is amazing. Monday are the auditions, rehearsals every night (meaning just Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) are from 3-8 with a break for a packed lunch.

There are over 40 kids in the show and it has been fascinating to watch this show come to life in such a short time.

Tonight the kids meet again at 3:00 for dress rehearsal and then the show tonight and tomorrow....7:30 and 12:00!

Be sure to come out!

Oh, and Jonah is in the show! Pictures to follow.

Now, on with the show!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poetry Passage

Last week I mentioned a new book, Step Gently Out, by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder. I was fortunate to go to the book signing and talk at the Museum of Art in Fort Wayne last Friday night. The book is absolutely gentle to touch as well as beautiful.

Rick shared the photos and videos of insects and birds that he has captivated on film. It was spectactular.

I used the book as our Easter prayer at dinner on Sunday.

The book is published by Candlewick and is available in Fort Wayne at the museum.

Click here for the book's trailer, it is beautiful!

Art Out My Window

This photo was taken last week on my journey to Shipshewanna. The weather was so beautiful that I had the windows rolled down. I took this photo in the town of Topeka, Indiana.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Fixing comment links...

Hi Folks,
Be it known that I do get your comments, I just can't get them on the blog. I am working on this. Thank you so much for your notes. I read them all and enjoy them. I hope I can fix this soon. You would all enjoy the other comments as well!!

Art Out My Window will be published soon!!
Lou Ann

Saturday, April 07, 2012

This week's column...A Trip to Shipshewanna and unexpected surprises!

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It was a perfect week to take a trip to Shipshewanna to view the barn quilts. Of course, like always, there are surprises along the way!! As always, thanks for reading! The following photos are just a few from my journey! Enjoy.

Friday, April 06, 2012

White Picket Gardens

Last night there was a frost at White Picket Gardens. I covered the turtle garden, but left the rest to nature. Fortunately berries were not in bloom yet, just the lovely trees of Spring. Here is my haiku for the day.

shivering flowers
wearing winter's coat of lace
frozen diadems

Here are a few photos from White Picket Gardens that I took late yesterday afternoon. Also, taking a cue from Anne of Green Gables, I have decided I will be Lou Ann of White Picket Gardens. As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Poetry Passage

This week's poet is Aldo Leopold. Leopold was an essayist from Madison, Wisconsin. I first became aware of his writings and philosophies through Fred Wooley, our naturalist at Pokagon State Park. Fred refers to Leopold's writings often in his own talks.

This past winter, storyteller and friend, Jim Fitzer has developed a one man show on the life of Aldo Leopold. The show opens this month at the Chattanooga Theater Center in The Circle Theater in Chattanooga. The show dates are April 18, 19, 25, and 26. The show begins at 7:00 and the tickets are on sale for $10.00. If I lived closer to Jim, I would be first in line for a ticket! For more information on Jim and his work, please check him out at

I chose to share with you a part of an essay Leopold wrote for the beginning of April, the piece is entitled, "Bur Oak".

Following the essay is a photograph I took at Pokagon State Park yesterday. It is what was the origin of today's blog.

"Have you ever wondered why a thick crust of corky bark covers the whole tree, even to the smallest twigs? This cork is armor. Bur oaks were the shock troops sent by the invading forest to storm the prairie; fire is what they had to fight. Each April, before the new grasses had covered the prairie with unburnable greenery, fires ran at will over the land, sparing only such old oaks as had grown bark too thick to scorch. Most of these groves of scattered veterans, known to the pioneers as 'oak openings,' consisted of bur oaks."

Aldo Leopold from his book "A Sand County Almanac".

Monday, April 02, 2012

Art Out My Window

This photo was taken from inside the evaporating room at Maple Wood Park in LaGrange, Indiana on March 18th.

Every year I visit Maple Wood Park to celebrate the beginning of spring at the sugar tapping festival. It is a wonderful weekend where folks can go out into the sugar groves on the wagons pulled by Draft horses. This year there was a wonderful marionette show by Scott Beam featuring his own puppets.

The Lions Club of LaGrange cooks pancakes and sausage for all who enter (for a few dollars). This is an all you can eat pancake breakfast with fresh maple syrup from the sugar camp.

For me, this is the ritual into spring. It is a wonderful way to begin the thawing of the earth and the blessings of the rising sun.

This festival is held the third weekend of the month of March every year. Mark your calendars now!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Click here for this week's column on the trip to Notre Dame with Mengting. Enjoy!

Mengting and I just spent the weekend at The University of Notre Dame. She is considering it for her PhD. I hope you enjoy the story! As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Here are a few photos I took on the Notre Dame Campus.

One of the first Saints, sorry I don't know his name!

Mengting dancing her away across the campus.

In front of the undergraduate building. This golden dome can be seen while flying over South Bend.
We went through it in the early evening whispering. It was built in 1892.

This is a statue of Jesus inviting all to come to him.

The redbud trees were magnificent.

A huge statue of Moses outside of the library. I believe he is saying, "Let my people go!"

This art is the symbol for peace in the world. It is stunning from all sides and very moving to the soul.