A Treasure Box in Kansas…

Well, maybe not. In another time, though, you can imagine what a wonderful place this must have been. At first, I drove past, but I knew I had to turn around. There was a story here, and I wanted to find it.

Pulling onto the property, just beyond the “No Trespassing” sign, I stepped out to have a look around. As you can see from the photos, it’s been a long time since anyone has done much in the way of maintenance. A couple of windows are broken, and the wooden porch sags. Oddly, the colorful paint has withstood the years well.

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On private property, before I do any photography, I always ask permission. In this case, I had to follow a pair of tire tracks up a small slope. From the top, I saw a pretty little house, and some out-buildings. The Bermuda grass is kept short, and a few manicured trees dot the property.

From behind a line of bushes came a long-haired little dog, yapping at me, followed by a galloping full sized English sheep dog. A deep bark welcomed me, as it’s paws landed on the fronts of my shoulders. “Hello, New Friend!”, is how I interpreted this greeting, “Petmepleasepetmepleasepetmepleasepleasepleasepetme!” So, I did. Although it’s difficult to walk in such a situation, I continued my trek toward the house.

The owner appeared from behind the same bushes; a senior woman, probably a little older than I am. Her silent gaze seemed amicable, if cautious, so I smiled and said,”I dont even get a welcome like this at home!” She remained stoic.

“I saw that marvelous building from the road, and had to stop,” I said. “I’d like to do a few photos, if you dont mind.”

“There’s a ‘No Trespassing sign”, she said, pointing back the way I’d come.

“Yes, I know. That’s why I left the car behind and walked up”, I replied.

“People dont respect your property, anymore,” she said, “They’ve broken windows, kicked in the door and torn up the inside.” Her finger pointed toward a place on the other side of the hill, “I had a statue of an eagle on the pedestal, down there. Somebody just pulled right up and stole it.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that”, I said, “but that’s why I came up to ask permission. If you dont want me to shoot, I’ll leave.”

“No”, she said, still stoic, “I dont mind if you take pictures. Just dont go on the porch, or inside. It’s not safe.”

This made me feel a little more at ease, so I ventured a question, “So, what’s the story with this building? It’s lovely, and must have really been something, at one time.”

Shifting her weight, she began, “We bought the place and set up a farm market. It was the only one around here, and we did alright. We had planned to expand to the upper floor and sell antiques, too. Then we got divorced, and the finances were just never there, and I finally had to close it up.”

What a sad, but all too common way for things to go. I didnt ask what caused the divorce, or how long she’d managed to make a go of it. “I’m sorry”, was all I could muster.

Turning back the way I’d come, I thanked her, and assured her that I’d stay off the porch and outside the building. The dogs also seemed to know we were done, as they just watched me walk past.

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Apparently, there are some who feel comfortable living there.

On the broad lawn, I found these huge mushrooms.

 

This bush was growing through the frame of an old wagon. Couldnt resist a few frames.

Once again, you never know what you’ll find, if you get off the interstate and travel state highways.

That’s if for me. I’ll share again soon. In the meanwhile…

~Enjoy the Life You’re Living.

As Summer is Winding Down…

…I’m reminded of how little of Life is in my control. Travel plans continue to be interrupted by more urgent, and arguably more important things. By order of importance, my father’s health has upstaged everything else. As I write this, he is in hospice.

The last weekend of July, my daughter and I went to visit him. Putting my arms around his frail, shrunken body was one of the most heartrending, and yet comforting events I’ve ever experienced. This man, who has been around for every one of my fifty-nine birthdays, may not get to see the sixtieth, just a month away. How does one prepare for this?

This coming weekend, I’ll make the ten hour drive, again. I’ll spend a couple of hours visiting with him, boondock in a parking lot somewhere, then see him again on Sunday morning, before heading back up here.

The theft of the original Stew Wagon set me back, in many ways. It hit my itinerary, my bank account, and my spirit. Now, though, a replacement vehicle is with my mechanic for evaluation (also hitting my itinerary and bank account). If it’s going to be my home, I’d like to begin with something reliable. Any major issues will be dealt with now, and others can be planned, for later.

I’m getting used to the new(ish) cameras. Some of my shots are pretty good. Nothing that I’d like to share, yet. Give me another week for that.

For now, though…

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

August!

For most people in this hemisphere, it’s the Dog Days of Summer. The same is true up here in the White River National Forest, but at 9,000 feet above sea level, the temperatures a somewhat more tolerable. “Partly cloudy, with a chance of afternoon showers” is the usual forecast. Already, though, days grow shorter. Skies are darker when I wake up, and cool early morning temperatures have me reaching for an extra blanket.

Spent my first night in the new vehicle, and a few “to-do”s presented themselves. For example, I need to build a half-height closet that can be relocated when needed. Also, a layer of polyiso insulation is compulsory. Reflectix works well for now, but very soon it wont be enough. Not sure about the ceiling, yet. Perhaps I’ll hang some kind of textile treatment over the insulation.

If you get the feeling that I’m stalling on photos, it’s because I am. The new ride has some features that make it ultra-versatile, with regard to seating and sleeping arrangements. Also, there are a couple of things that need to be fixed before I show it off to you all.

What I will show you is my new Little Jumbo travel guitar, from Alvarez.

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It’s very light, but well made, with a solid spruce top.

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While it doesnt hve the deep bass you get in a dread, it’s much more suited to playing in the close quarters of a vehicle.

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Despite it’s small size, it does deliver a nice range, with unexpectedly warm tones that ring for a while. The action is high, which I sometimes think is an intentional way to get a set up fee for the dealer. Still, I’m digging it.

There are other things to share, but I’ll save them for later posts. Look for some videos soon. I’ll post links, when they’re up. In the meantime-

~Enjoy the Life You’re Living.