Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Final Roundup of Weston Pics

Speaking of 'roundup', the first store I wanted to go to was The Celtic Ranch. Specifically I was looking for a new Connie Dover CD. I thought this was the place I bought my first cassette of her's many years ago. I did not find a CD, but I did love looking at all the Irish clothes, jewelry, gifts, etc. I love this display of Celtic iron work against the timeworn brick.

I did find something I really wanted, a Newsboy cap by Mucros Weavers of Ireland. It is rare to find a hat or cap that actually fits me and this one did. So tempting, but $50? I had to pass on it. Of course I'm now wishing I hadn't.

The flowers as we strolled along the streets -

- and peaked down the alleys, were gorgeous.

Even unrestrained ones on a side street, spilling across a cracked sidewalk, were winsome.

It was down that side street where we finally located the American Bowman Restaurant/Weston Brewing Co./O'Malley's Pub. I liked the colors of the Irish Cream Ale sign with the leaves and bark of the tree behind it.

We elected to dine on the patio - taking advantage of the gorgeous weather - and the yellow jackets elected to take advantage of our food and drinks. (L to R, Carter, Kari, Shin and me.)

The object visible above Carter's head in the previous picture was this huge, 3,000+ pound ball of string, which once held the world record. It was created by one man, Westonite Finley Stephens. Amazing!

This reproduction of an early Weston shows how the town was once right on the Missouri River where steamboats docked. After the river changed course, it is about two miles away from the town.

I had to take a picture of Weston Brewing Company's pristine VW bus. There's even a book about the story of its purchase and the trip to get it, The Tale of the O'Malley's Bus by Corey Weinfurt. I'll bet that's an interesting story.

We were back on Main Street, exiting one of the shops, just in time for Bud and Shin to help the purchasers load this old Apex washing machine. The patina on its copper tub was lovely.

The century-old device was said to have come from the laundry room in the St. George Hotel - "Lodging for River Captains and Wagon Masters".

If we hadn't decided to walk down to the little Weston City Park for photo ops, I would have missed finding my Weston souvenir....

....because the Mad Potter Studio wasn't visible until we were by the fountain. I have always liked pottery and I love this souvenir of our trip to Weston.

It was a lovely little Fall get away, made more perfect by being with family and friends. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

On The Way To And From Weston

On the way to meant getting there the fastest - heading to the four lane south of Maryville.

Just south of Hopkins, on a hillside a half mile or more from any other structures or roads, stands this barn. It has always fascinated me. Why was it built there? Was there once a house nearby?
I think I preferred the way it looked in the past, all weathered gray and forgotten. Though I'm glad to see that it is being preserved - so perhaps some future young dreamer will see it standing out there and wonder.

Getting off the interstate on to the hilly, twisting, two lane into Weston was a treat for the senses. Slowed down, with time to appreciate the fall colors, the white fences...

.....the pumpkins, flowers and corn shocks arranged around the barn, looking like a setting for Country Living Magazine.

Leaving from Weston, there was this old tobacco barn inside Weston Bend State Park, with the weathered, forgotten, air of bygone times against the blue October sky.

Bud, at the overlook with the Missouri River far below. Is he wondering what the Lewis and Clark Expedition thought of the area? Or thinking about his Great-great grandfather, Konrad, who made his way up the Missouri and thereon to Adams County Iowa?

Or maybe he was thinking about how lucky he was to find me? The overlook was a popular place for couples photos. We were just one of many while there.

We stayed off the interstate coming home, enjoying the weather, watching for photo ops. Bud spotted these two, looking back at us as we looked at them.

And a stop at a small, overgrown, cemetery turned up a surprising stone. But look what's even more surprising in the background.

Not the livestock you expect to see in the Midwest. These five were just part of the herd. They can be found just south of Grant City on the west side of 169.

Crossing the Platte. Almost home.

To our own little slice of heavenly fall color.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mother and Daughter Reunion

My west coast daughter, Kari, was planning a trip to see her friends and their new home in Overland Park, KS.

And since she and I usually only see one another every two years or so, plans were made to meet up in the charming little town of Weston, MO.

It was a perfect autumn day for a drive (about two and a half hours for us), some lunch on the patio at O'Malley's, a little shopping....

....and then taking in the view and fall colors at Weston Bend State Park.

Thanks to the internet and phone calls, I don't miss her as much as I would otherwise, but it is always so good to be with my daughter in person.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Twilight Time

Heavenly shades of night are falling, it's twilight time
Out of the mist your voice is calling, it's twilight time
When purple colored curtains mark the end of day
I'll hear you, my dear, at twilight time

Deepening shadows gather splendor as day is done
Fingers of night will soon surrender the setting sun
I count the moments darling till you're here with me
Together at last at twilight time

Here, in the afterglow of day, we keep our rendezvous beneath the blue
Here in the same and sweet old way, I fall in love again as I did then

Deep in the dark your kiss will thrill me like days of old
Lighting the spark of love that fills me with dreams untold
Each day I pray for evening just to be with you
Together at last at twilight time

Twilight time was a popular song by The Platters when I was a high school freshman. It was originally written as a poem by Buck Ram. The music was composed by Morty Nevins, Al Nevins and Artie Dunn. The photo is one I took in the afterglow of sunset Monday evening.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Side-Tracked By A Horse Sale

or My Fascination With Bodhráns 

When I planned my trip to Ireland 23 years ago, much of what I wanted to see and do was based on the things I had learned from reading Ireland of the Welcomes magazines. My list of musts was lengthy. I knew I would have to keep on the go.

I don't know if it was my interest in Irish music or if it was because drumming was popular at the time or maybe it was because of an article or ad about them, but a visit to the town of Roundstone in County Galway was on my list - I had it in mind to buy a bodhrán directly from the maker at Roundstone Musical Instruments. Or, if I couldn't afford one of their's at least touring their workshop.

Alas, a chance meeting over the breakfast part of my bed and breakfast interested me in my table mate's plans for the day - a horse sale at Maam Cross. After a stop at the cottage built for The Quiet Man movie, I went on to Maam Cross.

And became fascinated by the horses offered for sale. Besides, it was a rainy morning and the horses were under cover.

I had read about Connemara ponies while still an impressionable teen, actually seeing some of them was a dream come true. I wandered around until I had 'chosen' my Connemara mare and then stayed to see what she and the colt at her side sold for. (£650)

By the time I was back on the road I decided to forego Roundstone and get on to Clifden for the night. There was still so much of Ireland to see. The bodhrán purchase would have to wait for another day.

I finally found my bodrhán at a Renaissance Faire. Did I ever learn how to play it? No. Did one of my grandchildren use the beater as a teether? Yes. Did my son-in-law use it to demonstrate how a bodrhán is played for my niece who had never heard of one? Yes. Do I remember the significance of the symbol on my bodhrán? No.

Did I have any idea in 1994 that I would one day have a son-in-law who is one of the best bodhrán players ever? No.

Not only has he played with various bands throughout his career....

....he has his own cottage industry as a tipper maker. (Sold online through Etsy - ModhransTippers.) I could be wrong, but I think he is the one who came up with that ergonomic gripper - the thumb dip.
He also recently began making nylon brush and hardwood rod tippers. You can see his comparison video of the three types here.

Horses may have side-tracked my original quest for a bodhrán and I'll probably never learn to play the one I do have, but with my son-in-law's music CDs available whenever I want, I can listen to the best bodhrán playing anywhere.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Something You Don't See Everyday

Monday morning trip to the grocery and library - where another patron asked, after a greeting of 'Good Morning', "Did you see that sunrise this morning? It was spectacular."

No. But I was out looking as the purple of night shaded into the lavender of morning. And I saw the waning moon in its final days before the new moon again appears. I also, in that minute of verbal exchange, experienced a touch of envy - for those who still live in the country and are privileged to see both the sunrises and the sunsets.

Mother Nature is and has always been my greatest teacher, comfort, interest, soother. Where I live now, the pond is my daily retreat, but I'm always on the lookout when I'm around the nearby lake.

This morning there were the usual Canadian Geese, but it was two dark headed, long-beaked birds that caught my eye. They kept diving under the water and coming back up with pretty much only their long necks showing.

The name that came to mind was Cormorant. But I wasn't familiar enough with their behavior to know for certain that's what they were. They would go completely under the water and come up with something small that they were swallowing.

Like the Pelicans we saw on the lake last year, I hadn't seen these birds there before. I came home to look up 'Cormorants in Iowa' and found in Audubon's, Guide to North American Birds, that the Double-crested Cormorant is "found in almost any aquatic habitat" but according to their migration map are mostly seen in Iowa during migration.

They do forage by diving and swimming under water for fish and other aquatic life and plant material. After comparing the Audubon pictures to my photos, I'm sure the birds I watched are Cormorants.

I'm equally as certain that my first experience with them came via their mention in novels while actually seeing them was most likely on Cape Cod or Nantucket - a trip memorable enough that their name and appearance stayed in my subconscious.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Possibly How I Got My Name?

"Bee to the blossom; moth to the flame; each to his passion; what's in a name?"
(Helen Hunt Jackson)

"It's the birthday of Helen Hunt Jackson, born in Amherst, Massachusetts (1830), where she went to school with Emily Dickinson. She had a steady career as a ladies' author, but when she heard Chief Standing Bear of the Poncas give a speech about the destruction of his people, she became an activist overnight. She wrote a novel called Ramona (1884) about a mixed-race Spanish woman and her Native American lover, based on stories told to her by Mission Indians she had interviewed. It was a great success, but not in the way Jackson had intended. People who read the book didn't care much about the Indian characters; they were attracted to the rich Spaniards, and they eagerly attached Ramona's name to the boulevards and opera houses in their new communities. California is still full of things named "Ramona."

The above is from today's The Writer's Almanac; a reminder for me about where my name possibly came from.

Was I named Ramona because of her book?
(Cover of book published in 1884 - just one of the many book covers over the years.)

Not according to my mother, who chose my name. She said I was named "after one of Dad's old girlfriends".
(Though couldn't that woman have been so named due to the popularity of the book?)

True or not, I didn't like my name when I was young. But as I got older, I was glad I had such a romantic name - and very glad that Mom would not let it be shortened to Mona.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

From Blossoms To Food

I got a lot of enjoyment out of the volunteer sunflowers, smelling them, taking photos, just seeing their sunny heads made me happy. I looked forward to the birds discovering and enjoying the ripened seeds.

But guess who got there before the birds. When I first saw Ms. Red Squirrel, she was half hidden behind the flower pot. I could tell she had something, but what? The long stem sticking out almost looked like a tail. Then she moved back and I saw that she had a sunflower head, stem and all. She sat there until she had eaten the whole thing. No sharing for her! This was Tuesday evening.

Last night another squirrel, or maybe the same one? was on the neighbor's deck with another seed head. It looks to be the largest one.

Um-hmm. I just looked out and it is gone. I wish I could have watched how she got it off.
At this rate, the birds aren't going to get any sunflower seeds. At least something is benefiting from the volunteers. Chances are it was a squirrel who planted them in the first place.

Addendum: And again this evening:

Could those little cheeks get any fuller?
Maybe yes? Maybe no? But for sure gonna try!