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!

Monday, October 23, 2017

More Than Just Blood

I saw this mural while driving through the Milwaukee area last week.

The artist is Nova Czarnecki and I believe the work is titled "The Loss is More Than Just Blood".  Any interpretations appreciated, though my guess is it's a comment on how by killing our environment we are harming ourselves? Regardless, it is a very striking piece that took my breath away for a moment when I rounded the corner.

Happy Mural Monday, more posts to come this week as I will have some time to play catch-up!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Walworth County Fair - It's Kind of a Big Deal

I'm so far behind that here are some photos from a visit Wayne and I made to the Walworth County Fair back in August.

The first County Fair held in Elkhorn was in 1851 and it has been held at the same location since 1855.  It's kind of a big deal around these parts, as a young 4-H'er's T-shirt proclaimed that day.  Not just agricultural exhibits can be found, if you had showed up in 2015 you could have seen Charlie Daniels perform one day and Cheap Trick perform the next at the Grandstand.  It was a country act this year, don't ask me who as I have no knowledge of any current acts in that music genre!

Everything is big at the Fair, including the pumpkins.  And that one isn't even the biggest one we saw!

We also saw young 4-H members preparing their cow.  They were operating some sort of dryer, kind of like a beauty salon for bovine.

The goat barn was probably the most fun, with curious goats gawking at us as frankly as we gawked at them.

But the exotic chickens were my favorite, how could you not love a face like this one?  Though perhaps a visit to the salon over in the cow barn might have been in order.

The chicken below might have already been to the salon, maybe even used a little gel to make those feather stand out so straight!

And if cute and cuddly is more your style don't despair, the bunnies will be there to make your day.

Most folks go for the food.  I don't get it myself, I've yet to have anything at the Fair that I felt was more than a necessary evil due to it being lunchtime.  But for some reason that is all anyone ever talks about when you mention visiting the Fair.

Paul Ryan was spotted... or was he?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Few Philly Murals

Philadelphia had some wonderfully detailed murals, I wish I had the time to enjoy them more when I was there.

This first one was titled Tree of Knowledge and the artist is Michael Webb. There was an inscription next to the mural which was a quote by Dwight D Eisenhower : "Only justice, fairness and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace."

I didn't find any information about the one above, though I loved the interplay of women from the past and the present.

And I almost missed this smaller one of the Liberty Bell, after being in the area awhile the shape suddenly becomes very recognizable even when you don't expect to see it!

If you want to search out more murals in Philadelphia, I found this great link which would be very helpful!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pennsylvania State Park Sampler

Of course I made time to stop at a few state parks when we were in Pennsylvania.

Linn Run State Park
Linn Run State Park had ample picnic areas, along with cabins for rent and a few trails.  I walked over to Adams Falls from the picnic area where I saw the mushrooms, but alas the streambeds and waterfall were dry!

Spruce Flats Bog

Nearby Laurel Summit State Park is home to Spruce Flats Bog, not something I was expecting! From the parking area you can take a trail off into the woods for a hike or take the short gravel path to the bog.

As much as I love a hike, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take some pictures at the bog which contains large cranberry, pitcher plant, sundew, cotton grass, and other plants that remind me of times spent in Newfoundland.

Keep your eyes open in the early fall when you pass through the woods no matter which state you are in to see those fungi communities spring to life!

When I was passing through Quakertown I stopped at Nockamixon State Park for a half hour walk on the Sterner Mill Trail.

The trail was slippery from a recent rain, but the droplets on the Jewel Weed made a lovely sight.

Again, my eye was drawn to the fungi, here a lovely orange jelly variety.

I almost stepped on the tortoise on the trail, his shell looked like a rock!  I picked him up and moved him to a safer spot, hoping he was healthy enough to keep going.

Cook Forest State Park was probably the park with the best trail system, though I didn't get as much time to explore as I would have liked.

The North Country Trail passes through the lovely forest of old growth white pine and hemlock, where ferns look tiny compared to the large trees.

I was delighted to spot a small patch of Toothed Jelly Fungus (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum), I haven't seen one of those since a hike along the Alum Cave Trail in the Smokies in 2014!

I got a good stretch for my legs here, climbing up and down the banks to get a good shot of the trees down across the water.

While clambering around I found more fungi...

And even a spider patiently waiting for dinner to be delivered!

All that's left of our time in Pennsylvania last month is some murals I believe, yes, I did find some of those too!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Harrisburg Row Houses

Back at the beginning of our Pennsylvania trip in Harrisburg there was more than the Capitol to delight the eye.  Here's a short peek at what I thought was an interesting neighborhood just a few blocks away.

In the Shipoke district the historical townhomes are a painter's (and photographer's!) dream.  If the colors alone doesn't do it for you, check out the ornamental work up top!

Just around the corner the 100 block of Conoy Street is known as Pancake Row, after the Pancake family that owned a lumber mill in the area. The lots were acquired by Alfred Pancake in 1870 and used as rental units for employees of the mill. The whole neighborhood is lovingly restored and every front step has a little design story to tell.

Nothing like these in Wisconsin, if they once existed they are long gone.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Also Seen in Philly

Our time spent exploring Philly was just a teaser, of course.  We didn't even get into the Museum of Art because it was closed when we got there.  We had to settle for a fountain and some sculptures on the grounds instead.

If you recognize the image below it's because this is the setting for the famous steps scene in the movie "Rocky".  Unlike most folks who just get their picture taken flexing their muscles outside we really did want to go in.  If  I ever get back I will plan better so I don't miss it!

A stop that I'm really glad we made was to Reading Terminal Market.  When the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad's terminal opened in 1893 the market was already up and running underneath the railroad station with 250 specialized dealers and 100 farmers occupying the stalls.

There aren't that many there now, but everything looked an smelled delicious!  Cory and his friend declared their lunch delicious, but I wasn't wowed by the baked goods.  Maybe that is a good thing, or I would have had trouble walking back to the car?

Train service to the Reading Terminal ended in 1984, so no rumbling or rushing, just downtown workers grabbing lunch and tourists eyeing up oddities like these unique chocolate offerings.

Kitchen items and cookbooks are also for sale, I purchased the Reading Terminal Market Cookbook but haven't had a chance to try any recipes yet.

Last in this collection of treasures is the Congregation Rodeph Shalom's detailed architecture.  Founded in 1795, it is the oldest Ashkenazic synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and the current 1927 building is an exotic Moorish Revival delight.

Photographs on the internet indicate the inside is even more exotic than the exterior, a reminder to always try to walk through the door but time wasn't on my side that day.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bucks County Scenic Drive

Tiring of commuting to Philadelphia I decided to take a scenic drive our last day instead.

Doylestown was a great little town, though parking was impossible to find and I went the wrong way down a one way street.  Kind of hard to see the one way signs with all the cars and trees blocking signage! But I enjoyed the buildings and walked into a few shops once I found a space to park.

Doylestown is also home to the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.  This National Historic Landmark is maintained as a "working history" museum and handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Mercer was a major proponent of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America and directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.

Tours are available and tiles can be purchased, but I just settled for a look as I drove by.

Next to the Pottery Works is his home, Fonthill.  Mercer seems like an interesting man - he studied law at Harvard but never became a lawyer, choosing instead to go into the field of archaeology.  he conducted site excavations in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, and in the Ohio, Delaware, and Tennessee River valleys.

While searching out old Pennsylvania German pottery for his collection, Mercer developed an interest in pottery and by 1899 he was producing architectural tiles that became world famous.

More proof that you never know where your interests will take you!  Mine took me further down the road, where I spied the New Britain Baptist Church.

Their website says the current sanctuary was built in 1815.  Additions were made over the years, and renovations to the stucco and the stonework were undertaken in 1975.

The adjoining Cemetery is the resting place for soldiers of the Colonial Wars, the Revolutionary Way, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World Wars I and II. Legend has it that there are Indian graves scattered throughout the cemetery.

The oldest readable marker in the cemetery is dated August 14, 1748 according to their website though I concentrated more on the juxtaposition of the gravestones with the building elements than the words written on them.

There were no shortage of great steeples in the area, just not enough spots to pull over and admire them all!

Bucks County is also home to 12 covered bridges and there is a link to a driving tour that I used to hunt some down.  After the fourth one I called it enough, they all looked remarkably alike, though this one below was in an especially scenic location.

I'm woefully behind on the blog, but I did actually "vacation" on our trip to Pennsylvania so I've been busy working hard since we returned.  I'll try to catch up, look for a flurry of posts over the coming days!