Friday, May 30, 2014

Our First Week Back

It was really great when we reached this point. We are HERE. 

Day one was our staff meeting.  Afterwards, Bill spent the rest of the morning visiting with us. Bill is the refuge manager, and we have worked under his supervision since we started coming here...our 7th year back.

After lunch, I washed the hummingbird feeders and made up a batch of sugar water, while Wallace went with the guys to clean off Ice House Road...preparing it for a tour during the birding festival.

We assisted Bill with a "Birds Have Tools" program for the school kids which was held at Cobscook Learning Center.

This child was dressed in a hawk costume while Bill talked about their tools: talons, beak, how they use their tails and wings.

After that, we took them out on trails where we had hung 16 bird pictures for them to find. We again gave them more information about each bird. A little exercise for the body and mind. We did this activity last year and the kids seem to really have a good time.

I cleaned the little visitor cabin and it is now ready for visitors.

This is the new headquarters building which has not been moved into yet. They are waiting for the final inspection, and phones still need to be put in. We will be helping them with that eventually. It is really nice.

They had snow here just the week before we arrived. We picked up limb debris, then I hopped on the John Deere. Like Judy says, it's great to see the way it looks afterwards. Wallace gets to do the weed eating.

The temps have been in the 50's with frost one night, and the black flies are a real nuisance.

Bill has asked us to monitor wildlife at the Edmunds Division which is another part of the refuge about 40 minutes from here. We will do that one day each week during our work week. The most exciting thing was getting a Gray Jay.

This photo is not as good as Sharon's. He was quite a ways off and terrible light.

Hopefully we will see something more exciting eventually.

When I stepped out the other day, I noticed an Ermine scampering about. It was moving too fast for a photo, so this will have to do.

Until next time...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Moosehorn or Bust

And we really thought we would BUST!!!

We had some enjoyable stays at COE parks with the last one near Carthage, Tn.  It was hard leaving there (we stayed 6 nights) as we knew the next 3 days would be a grueling journey...all one night stands.

Our first night, after 346 miles, we stayed at Flying J in Wytheville, Va.  The second night, after 536 terrible miles, we stayed at Wal-Mart in Milford, Pa.  The road conditions were absolutely horrific. Pothole, Pennsylvania!!!  I'm sure glad we changed out those Towmax tires for Goodyear's on the rv before we left Attwater. Our 3rd night was spent in Cabela's (Maine) parking lot right off the interstate, 331 miles.  Traveling through Connecticut was a real nightmare traffic wise.

But, we are now here (Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge) with the final push being 240 miles.  This trip is about 2000 miles in total.

After setting up, I noticed this woodchuck whose burrow is nearby. I think we brought it out of hibernation as you can see...the full stretch.

I hope it stays around as this area can be a little busy at times.

We checked in at headquarters for keys, hugs, and handshakes. It's so good to be settled! The black flies are out in force with temps in the 50's.

Since April, we have not had our dish tv...WOW, I thought we could live without it...wrong! We had a problem while we were at Attwater NWR. We don't know what happened, it just stopped working. Probably the antiquated equipment. Anyway, we contacted someone who would come out to fix everything and now we are back in business. Whoopie!!

This is our 7th year back...please refer back to past blogs to read about all the things we have done as I don't want to repeat the same things. I'm sure we will find new things to do while we are here.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We Have Arrived

We made it although the last three days were very hectic...putting up with potholes in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, I'm surprised we didn't have problems with flat tires, etc.  The traffic is so bad in Connecticut, I'm already dreading the drive back!!!

We can't use our jetpack here on the border of Canada, so our blogging will be limited.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

From T to Shining T

Oh, I know that is not the way the song goes!!!

From Texas to Tennessee.

Wallace woke with a flare...not crowing like a rooster, but pretty darn close.  He was ready to start the day...another state house.

Being so close to Nashville, we thought it only fitting to visit here. This is one of the things we never did when visiting in the past. We thank our good friend David for getting us started on this quest.

The Tennessee State Capitol was completed in 1859, and was the design of William Strickland...Greek Revival architecture. Tennessee was the 16th state to join the Union, June 1, 1796.

Now this is unique. When Strickland died, it was his desire to be buried here...right on top of the cornerstone.

He considered this building to be his crowning achievement.

We entered by way of this tunnel (the crypt).

There are three levels: the crypt (ground floor), the basement (the executive floor) and the first floor (the legislative floor).

The elevator took us to the first floor staircase. The frescoes on the ceiling are pretty, but the gasolier caught my eye.

The staircase which took us up to the 2nd floor, has a bullet-nicked handrail that we located. A bullet was fired from above over a bitter fight over the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1866.

The House of Representatives where there are Roman spears just above the flags, symbolizing strength in unity.

The columns (not pictured) are 21 feet tall and are Nashville limestone.

The Senate meets here. We found the gasolier to be the most interesting thing in this room.

We got a birds eye view of both chambers from the gallery which gave us the closest look at the gasolier.

The gasolier is original, done in 1855. There are 30 globes decorated with Indian corn, elk heads, cotton blossoms and tobacco leaves. Of course we had to locate all of them, the hardest one to find were the elk heads. Can you see them? The next picture will help.

Aha, finally!!! You can also see, they need a little dusting as there are spider webs.

These kind of things are the things we find interesting...each gasolier was different, and beautiful.

We stopped in at the State Library, another interesting room with the spiral staircase and balcony rail with portrait medallions of writers and famous political figures of the time. These were made from cast iron.

No dome to look up into...theirs is a cupola. 

Of course there is the Capitol Grounds to explore and you just have to find the cornerstone where the architect is buried, and the elk heads, and the bullet-nicked banister.

We explored it thoroughly and enjoyed yet another state house.

And yes Sharon, we found the bell!!!

For those who are not aware...there was a replica of the Liberty Bell sent to each state to promote the Korean War bond drive.

We shopped at Camping World for a few supplies, walked through a few motorhomes as this is in our future plans, finished off the trip with a steak lunch at nearby Logan's Steakhouse, which made a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


COE  stands for Corps of Engineers. These parks are great, and as a holder of a Senior Pass, we get to stay half price.

This is our site at Maumelle, near Little Rock, Arkansas.

We stayed here nine days.

We toured the State Capitol, but other than that we have just been taking it easy.

We have done some birding...a total of about 35 species...not really serious birding by any means.

We have both been struggling with pollen issues, me more than Wallace. 

The trip from Texarkana to Little Rock was one of our shortest ones ever...about 140 miles.

We left Maumelle and crossed the Arkansas River on our way to Nashville, Tennessee.

Traffic was light as we left around 8:30am. Our journey today will be a long one...442 miles, but it was all on the interstate.

A look at the Memphis skyline as we crossed the Mississippi River.

The view out our window at Defeated Creek, another COE park east of Nashville.

We are parked up on a hill with a view of the lake.

It is a convenient pull through, at the end of a long drive, it is always nice just to pull through!!!

This park makes three COE parks, and will be the last good stop on our way to Maine for the summer.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Through These Doors

Can you guess where we are?

Where these doors might lead to?

The six 10 foot bronze doors were purchased from Tiffany's in 1910 for $10,000.

Quite impressive.

Here we are at the Arkansas State Capitol. 

I liked how the planting area curved around leading us up to the entrance, much like the flow of the river.

The Capitol contains 287,000 square feet.

Now let's go inside. The first thing is always the Rotunda where this chandelier hangs from a 73 foot chain and weighs more than 4000 pounds. It is made up of thousands of brass, copper, zinc, iron and glass parts.

The ceiling was not so elaborate as other State Capitols we have visited.

Ah, the grand staircase, how opulent...this shows just how much marble was used in the building. The marble coming from Vermont with columns coming from Colorado, and the grand staircases from Alabama.

We walked up the stairs to visit the House Chamber which is on the third floor with the Senate Chamber on the opposite end.

We thought we could not get inside as the door was locked, but with a little ingenuity, we walked around until we found a way...aha!!!

The dome in the Senate Chamber has stained glass windows to cut down on the glare, with draped curtains to help with acoustics. 

The columns here are faux marble and topped with gold leaf.

The view of the Senate Chamber from the gallery. The Great Seal of the state of Arkansas is placed in carpet at the front of the room.

The banner from the eagle's beak has the words: Regnat Populas, meaning "The People Rule."

Above the doorway as they leave the room are the words, In God We Trust. We hope they see these words each time they leave and take them to heart.  The same is over the doorway of the House Chamber as well.

The Governor's Reception Room had very comfortable chairs. Fireplaces are on both sides of the room.

The walnut table was made from a tree that governor Donaghey's father planted on their family farm. He presented the table to the Capitol on the state's 100th birthday.

The chandelier above the table is original to the room. It was not mentioned, but it looks like pure silver to me...beautiful.

Governor Donaghey was the first governor to serve in the State Capitol.

We also visited the Old Supreme Court Chamber and took this photo of the ceiling of symbols illustrating the principles of justice.

The diamond shapes are representing the diamond state, where you can actually dig for the gem. The box of 36 circles represent the number when Arkansas became a state.

Now for a walk on The Hill.

The dome is topped with a lantern copula, capped with a ball finial which is a hollow copper sphere. It is gilded in 23 karat gold leaf.

Okay, Sharon, this one is especially for you...THE BELL!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit...walked and walked and walked all through the Capitol, all around the grounds where there are a lot more I could show...a lot of memorials that are beautiful and significant...

Until next time...