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Museum Day in the Garden

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Travel | 1 comment

Last Saturday was Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day. The weather was too good to be inside, but they count the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) as a museum, so we took advantage of the free admission and spent the afternoon walking garden paths.

I guess a botanical garden is kind of like an outdoor museum with living plants and animals.

We saw a hummingbird and bees buzzing around the Garden’s flowers and a big lizard was just hanging out on a rock next to the bench where I was sitting.

Since the DBG no longer allows picnicking, we ate our lunch at a nearby picnic area in Papago Park and were entertained by ground squirrels scurrying around and birds attempting to carry off pieces of a pizza someone had left behind.

Maybe they’re the reason DBG banned picnicking. You really don’t want grackles flying through your museum and dropping half-eaten pizza slices.




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March 2017 Photo: Geraniums

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Craft | 8 comments

It’s been a really colorful spring with lots of wildflowers and a few new additions to our patio garden.

So, for March, I chose this photo of a couple geraniums Phillip rescued from some plant department clearance bin. We also have blooms on our nasturtiums and our dwarf pomegranate tree. The hummingbirds are loving it all, and so am I.

Geraniums

 

Runners up:

I considered posting a photo either from Southwest Maker Fest or coffee painting at CraftHack, like these two mini masterpieces by Niecy.

Coffee painting

Also, we spotted this bus the other day that said “Let’s be better humans.” I don’t know what the story is behind it, but it’s a good message!
Bus

 




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Coffee Sleeve Flower Press

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 10 comments

I didn’t expect to be pressing flowers during this winter’s trip to Virginia, so I didn’t pack anything for that. But I ended up with a few rose petals from my cousin’s wedding I wanted to preserve.

Coffee sleeve flower press

I’d been wondering if a cardboard coffee sleeve could work as an on-the-go flower press, so I grabbed one from the hotel. Since the inside had ridges, I tore it at the seam and basically turned it inside out, sandwiching the petals between flat sides. It may not have been necessary, but I slipped another sleeve over the top just to help everything stay put. Then I clipped it all together with a hair clip.

Coffee sleeve flower press

It actually worked pretty well! I imagine you could also use binder clips or wedge the sleeve under something heavy in your suitcase to keep it flat. Another way to repurpose coffee sleeves for crafting!

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Mounds State Park

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Travel | 0 comments

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Sharing some green with you today from Indiana last summer, specifically from Mounds State Park in Anderson.

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The Mounds

Mounds State Park is named for mounds of earth built around 160 BCE by a culture known as the Adena-Hopewell, famous for pottery and mad mound-building skills.

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Actually, they could’ve been two separate cultures, the Adena building the Mounds and the Hopewell leaving their more advanced stuff around later. Or the Adena could’ve just gotten Hopewell-levels of advanced over time.

If there’s a new car outside your friend’s house, is someone visiting or did your friend just get a new car? Way harder to clear that up when your friend is 2000 years in the past. So I guess hyphenating the two names is a way to hedge archaeological bets.

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Why were they built? Maybe the Adena built them for ceremonies and then they were used for burials by the Hopewell (who may or may not just be the Adena 200 years later). The truth is we’re not sure what all people back then were into.

What we do know is that someone (ok, a lot of someones) purposefully dug out and built up earth a couple millennia ago into mounds you can still see today.

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There are 10 of these earthworks in Mounds State Park, and they tend to be crater-like, with the mounded outsides surrounding a depression with a platform in the center.

The largest one has dents in it that align with the equinox, solstices, and rising of certain stars. Known as “the Great Mound,” it is 9 feet tall and has a quarter-mile circumference. So, yeah, whatever the Adena-Hopewell were up to, they were not messing around.

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The Park

The visitors’ center has displays about the park’s ecosystem and a floor map of how the Mounds align with various astronomical phenomena.

Mounds state park visitors center

Its observation room has chairs facing oversized windows, giving you a front row view of a pond, birdhouse, and a thick stand of trees, so you can watch for birds or frogs or maybe even deer.

Mounds park observation room

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Outside is a cute little children’s garden.

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Also at the park is the historic brick Bronnenberg House, which dates from 1840. Compared to the Mounds, though, that seems like new construction.

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The White River cuts through the park, and you can fish, as well as camp, hike or picnic. There are trails of varying difficulty levels winding around the Mounds.

Mounds State Park

Our Visit

Since we were in town for a family reunion, Phillip and I got to visit the park with my uncle, who’s been going there since he was a kid, and my cousin Allison, who made sure to photobomb the butterfly video I was shooting in the pollinator garden.

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We started down trail #1 towards the Great Mound and met a harrowed-looking hiker coming from that direction, who asked if we had insect repellent – not to borrow it for himself but to make sure we were protected.

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As we approached the boardwalk, we found out why. The mosquitoes were out in force that day. Despite our deet, they didn’t seem to be deterred. I could barely stop long enough to snap a photo without those tiny vampires swarming towards my neck and head.

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I wrapped my scarf over my head and tucked my arms inside. Allison laughed at me, but I’m pretty sure it was just that she was jealous of my scarf/mosquito net and not that I looked ridiculous.

Mounds State Park

We cut our hike short after seeing the Great Mound.

Mounds State Park

We drove to a spot near the river, where the guys wanted to explore some more. Allison and I decided to take in the scenery from the safety of the car.

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I wonder how the Adena kept the mosquitoes away.

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