31 July 2010

Sounds of Summer Birding

The count for the week, as of right now, is 39. That's 39 different species of birds that we've seen this week alone. Pretty remarkable since our "record" living in town was around 30 I think. So I thought I would share some pictures (no, I didn't take these-except for the flycatcher) of the more interesting ones we've seen, or heard. These include the screech owl, yellow throated warbler, great crested flycatcher, and pileated woodpecker.

Heard. For well over a month now we've had a breeding pair of barn owls camped out here on the Hill. One night we actually got to witness the two sitting side by side in an old tree at the end of our lane. That was pretty cool. What's not cool is that they don't have a soothing "hoo hoo" sound, no, the sound is more like a yelling squawk....that goes on for hours in intervals of about 20 seconds between the two. That gets a little tiring while sleeping with the windows open.

30 July 2010

You might be a redneck if.....

You take time to animate the deceased in the cucumber graveyard.

Your kids and their friends entertain themselves by smashing the aforementioned cucumbers.

and finally....you might be a redneck if your PORCH SWING is up on blocks!

29 July 2010

Another round of good byes...

watch out Minnesota!

Last summer I wrote about a number of friends who were moving away to various places, but several to Florida. This summer appears to be no different with a growing number of friends leaving the area for better economics elsewhere. This time Florida and Minnesota are claiming a few and Ft. Wayne, still within Hoosierdom, another.

my archi buddy, Will

I'm going to miss these guys. One was the only guy I've kept in contact with from my college days who actually stayed in the Midwest. I mentioned to a friend last week that river city is an old man's town.....for so many reasons. The least of those is that the brain drain is so pronounced that I, being nearly 42, am considered young! Last time I checked, that was middle age.

23 July 2010

Too big for his britches at 3

Hoosier Happenings celebrated its third birthday this week. The first post ran on July 20, 2007. While the blog dribblings have slowed over the last several months...I'm still committed. Or, maybe I'll be committed. Not sure.

My wife had her blog up and running well before me. I think I sorta' rolled my eyes when she told me that she had started her own personal blog. Sometime in May of 2007 while having coffee with a friend of mine.....discussing the rapids of my life at that time......he said to me "hey, you should start a blog". That got me thinking.

Politics. Hmmm....I can offer a unique perspective on that. A staunchly, rigidly established republican who went through hell with his own party and began to, I hope anyway, see the world as Christ does......not through elephant vision.

Faith. Well.....in many ways the same as above, unfortunately. Faith isn't about beating the sinner into submission or taking the country back for God. Faith isn't a formula and it certainly doesn't make us better than anyone else. Faith isn't holiness. Faith is a journey in modeling Christ.

Culture? Yeah, we've got it here in the Hoosier state. And we need to talk about it, celebrate it, and embrace it. The key is to not let current culture erase or hold underfoot the heritage left to us. Which seems to be part of being a Hoosier....how odd is that?

Here's to hoping for (or maybe enduring?) another three years of Happenings in the Hoosier state!

20 July 2010

The Garden, aka: the Jungle

In town I dreamed of having a huge garden. A truckpatch is what we called it growing up. But, being sandwiched into a town lot with the need to have a backyard for the kids (my wife nixed the idea of tilling up the entire backyard), all we ever had was a 6' x 15' mostly shady spot.

Then we moved to Sycamore Hill. With more lawn than I could possibly enjoy mowing, I set out to create a giant garden. The original plan was to have it 50' x 80'. People thought I was crazy, so I downsized to half that and plowed under a patch of grass 50' x 40'. And then we brought in a disk. And then I tilled and tilled and tilled.

Then we planted our seed and I tilled and tilled again. And then we weeded, and weeded. And the rains came and the garden burst forth with great bounty.

Today the garden is more jungle than garden. I've never seen 5 ears of corn develop on a single stalk. I've never seen watermelons literally take over a garden, nor have I ever witnessed gourd vines grow 20' from their source. We have been blessed with abundance here on the Hill and have been secretly stashing zucchini and cucumbers away in visitors' autos before they leave the farm.

This was taken about a month ago-you should see it now!

Believe it or not I have great plans for expanding the garden a few feet in each direction. With the bounty we've experienced thus far, we're thinking pumpkins next year. And not just a few. The beginnings of an orchard goes in this fall.

19 July 2010

playing with panorama

Our camera started to go on the fritz a few weeks ago and since it assists in a major way with my livelihood I went out and replaced it with one that offered more features, had double the mega-pixels, and was almost a third the cost from when we bought the first one four years ago. Technology, right?

I got the camera just a few days before this year's kayaking excursion on Sugar Creek. I took this kid that I mentor since he likes camping, hiking and kayaking....yeah, like I need an excuse? We hit some trails at Turkey Run before camping at Shades then started our day long excursion down Sugar Creek from Crawfordsville to Clements Canoes the next day. I hadn't been on the "upper rapids" part of the trip before and it didn't disappoint. And we didn't pass a soul for four hours except for one guy fishing.

I thought this was clever...there are two of him!

This little trip gave me a great chance to check out the camera's abilities, but what I most enjoyed was its panoramic setting that created the picture by telling you where to turn, then automatically closed the shutter. How cool is that? So I practiced some, and messed up a fair amount, but some of the pictures turned out great.

The only thing I couldn't figure out is how to snap a picture with the timer...so holding the camera at arm's length would have to do. And the trip will be memorable since the muffler went out just outside of Logansport....that was a long, noisy trip and I'm sure the campers appreciated us rolling in late. Man, I do love it down there!

12 July 2010

a bride stained with red, white & blue

We often hear sermons about how Christ will return for His bride, a bride with a stainless gown. After a recent conversation with a friend, I have to wonder if the church in America, as part of the bride of Christ, doesn't have red, white and blue stains as she waits for the bridegroom.

This blog has never minced words when it comes to thoughts concerning the fight for the church against the American culture. Nor have I side-stepped my disgust for a church that wraps itself in the flag as if to wage a holy war in the name of a particular political party or issue. My concern for the growing abdication of the church to "be the church" in America versus being the church "of America" was brought again to my consciousness recently by an old friend.

Joe and I grew up together, similar families, backgrounds, the same church, and zealots for Republican political power. We maintained our friendship after college, but soon after I was married he moved away and our discourses on politics ended. Until last week, after almost 12 years, our families sat down around the breakfast table. Come to find out, Joe has had a similar revelation as I had. Thank God, I thought to myself. There are times when I thought I might be going crazy and now finally, someone who can relate to this. Can no one else see what is going on with the church, the very body of Christ, and American politics?

Joe worked in Republican campaigns and quickly learned the duplicity of the message which caused for him some disillusionment with the party. Boy, did this sound familiar. I listened as he recounted the politization of our old home church, forming an army of party people, that frankly made me a little sick. He said he wrestled with being a cynic, because certainly that wasn't the answer. Yes, I agreed, but what to do?

And so I've been thinking about this since last week. What to do. And I've wondered, could the spirit of the anti-Christ be lurking in our churches who have given themselves over to a quest for political power? Could politics be satan's weapon to weaken the church; to make it so focused on legislation rather than Christ's message of love that changes hearts?

I so firmly believe that if we (the church) could activate ourselves to love others the political fights we wage would be unnecessary. But, for now, they distract us from fulfilling Christ's message. And this great potential is muzzled, and in many ways duped, by one party.

So, what to do? I wonder if it isn't just this, to be a voice; there may be others and together we may see change if we only call for God's people to "humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways" so that He can heal our land.

I recognize the risk in speaking up and believe I've already suffered consequences in many ways. I love my country, but more than that-or maybe BECAUSE of that-I want to see the church return to the role we have been called to.

03 July 2010

American Reflections #5

Sycamore Hill, Indiana....in the good 'ol USA


Oregon's Coast

Grand Canyon

Glacier National Park, Montana

Amarillo, Texas

02 July 2010

American Reflections #4

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Badlands, South Dakota

Wall Drug, South Dakota

Old Faithful

Mammoth Springs, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Mount Rushmore

the prairie, Minnesota

American Reflections #3

Indianapolis Speedway

Monument Circle

Covered Bridge-Parke County

4th of July Parade

St. Augustine, Florida


Battle of Tippecanoe Memorial


Flight 93 Memorial, Pennsylvania

01 July 2010

American Reflections #2

Oklahoma Federal Building Memorial
Chief Menominee Rededication
Summit Cemetery

Acadia National Park-Maine
World War I Memorial-River City
Indiana Dunes-Lake Michigan-Chicago in Horizon

Independence Hall

Back country road in Michigan

Shenandoah National Park-Appalachian Trail-Virginia

Route 66 National Museum-Oklahoma

Meteor Crater National Monument-Arizona