Make Way for Ducklings!

A mother duck leads her ducklings through Deanna Rose Children's  Farmstead to a pond.

A mother duck leads her ducklings through Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead to a pond.

I love to visit the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, even without children in tow. I try to go a couple of times a summer, but this year I didn’t go until mid-July and at almost noon. It was hot and sunny. I was soon drooping until I spotted a mother duck with her ducklings following close behind her. I knew she was heading to the swan pond so I followed her, snapping photos as quickly as I could. She was fast! I wish I would have captured at least one of the ducklings jumping into the pond, but they were too fast for me to focus.

If you click on the photo collage, you’ll get a larger view.

About the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

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Hans Christian Andersen’s Motto was “Enjoy Life”

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides.  Andersen's statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone.  In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship.

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides. Andersen’s statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone. In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship. This statue sits on H.C. Andersen street, named after the author.

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”

~ Hans Christian Andersen ~

Some of my favorite childhood stories were written by Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish writer, who was born in 1805. ” The Ugly Duckling,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Little Mermaid” are some of the most famous.   I also loved “The Princess and the Pea” and “Thumbelina.”  On a recent plane ride home from Copenhagen, my husband and I thought of “The Princess and the Pea” when we heard a passenger endlessly complaining to a flight attendant. And think of the many pompous and narcissistic politicians and other leaders who have been described as being like the emperor whose imaginary new clothes are fawned over by courtiers, even though the emperor was naked.

Andersen is celebrated throughout the world and is especially beloved in Copenhagen. Statues and plaques dedicated to Andersen can be found throughout Copenhagen, including the gardens of Rosenborg Castle.  April 2, Andersen’s birthday, is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day. A statue of “The Little Mermaid,” based on Andersen’s story, sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor.

Here are some of the colorful houses in Copenhagen’s beautiful Nyhavn, which means New Harbor. Hans Christian Andersen used to live in No. 20 in Nyhavn, where he wrote the fairy-tales “the Tinderbox,” “Little Claus and Big Claus,” and “the Princess and the Pea.” He also lived 20 years in No. 67 and two years in No. 18.
Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. No. 9 Nyhavn is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681 and looks very similar to its earliest days. The area is still colorful and bustling and is a shopping, dining and tourist destination. Many of the houses in Nyhavn were once the homes of prominent artists and writers.

Andersen was much loved and appreciated, but his personal relationships didn’t always go so well.  For example, he forged a friendship with the celebrated British writer Charles Dickens, although his second visit to the Dickens home didn’t end well.  Hans Christian Andersen Wasn’t the Best Houseguest.

About Hans Christian Andersen.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Nyhavn.

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson.  Here are "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Tinderbox."

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Here are “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Tinderbox.”

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen's City Hall.

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen’s City Hall.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark Postcard
“The Little Mermaid” Statue in Copenhagen.

 

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Bark at the Park

Bark at the Park Registration at Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

Bark at the Park Registration at Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals game against the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

Balls and dogs definitely go together.

At Bark at the Park, scores of dogs and their people had a great time at Kaufman Stadium on July 22, 2014 at the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners baseball game.

Bark at the Park at Kauffman Stadium during the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners game on June 22, 2014.

Bark at the Park at Kauffman Stadium during the Kansas City Royals-Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2014.

At the event in Kansas City, Missouri,  dogs and their people had a special section, pre-game parade, games, wading pools, tickets to seats at the game, vendors and special activities.  Part of the ticket price benefited Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter where I volunteer as a photographer of available cats for the website. (I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any Purr at the Park events.)

What a treat to see so many dogs!  Click on any thumbnail to see a full-size photo and to start the slideshow.

 

There are Bark at the Park events at many Major League baseball stadiums.

Bark at the Park Dog Events at Major League baseball stadiums.

Kansas City Royals Bark at the Park.

Wayside Waifs Website.

 

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Dragon Boat Races in Kansas City

Thess dragon boat crew members paddle hard as they reach the finish in the International Dragon Boat Festival on June 14, 2014, on Brush Creek in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

This dragon boat crew paddle hard as they reach the finish in the International Dragon Boat Festival on June 14, 2014, on Brush Creek in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dragon boats full of hard-working crews raced on Brush Creek at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri,  today (June 14, 2014).  I enjoyed the race loafing on the banks.  It looked like hard work, especially turning the boat to return to the starting point, which was also the finish line, but I’m sure it was a lot of fun, too.  Two boats raced each other in each race.  Whichever boat got around the pink buoy at the turn first was hard to beat.

Dragon Boat races are a 2,000-year-old tradition in China that arrived in Kansas City ten years ago.

The two dragon boats make the turn in their race in the International Dragon Boat Festival on June 14, 2014, on Brush Creek in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Whoever is able to make the turn first has a great advantage.

The two dragon boats make the turn in their race in the International Dragon Boat Festival on June 14, 2014, on Brush Creek in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Whoever is able to make the turn first has a great advantage.

The annual International Chinese Dragon Boat Festival in Kansas City was founded by Mr. Robert S. Chien with the Society for Friendship with China.  The crews debuted the four new fiberglass boats that were made for the event in China, part of a fleet commemorating of the death of Qu Yuan in 278 B.C.  The dragon boat tradition began, according to Chinese legend, because friends and admirers of the statesman and poet used boats, noise and food to scare away hungry fish after Qu Yuan drowned after throwing himself into a river.  Qu Wanshen, a 71st generation descendant of Qu Yuan, was on the schedule to attend. That’s some genealogy chart!

During the festival, sticky rice rice dumplings are eaten in honor of the rice dumplings thrown in the way two millennia ago. The rice dumplings, called Zongzi in Chinese, are sticky rice wrapped in bamboo/lotus/banana leaves. I, unfortunately, didn’t stumble across the food tent so I missed out on those.  Next year, that will be my first stop!

Chinese lanterns blow in the breeze on a footbridge over Brush Creek in Kansas City, Missouri.

Chinese lanterns blow in the breeze on a footbridge over Brush Creek in Kansas City, Missouri.

Qu Yuan was the earliest great patriotic poet as well as a great statesman, ideologist, diplomat and reformer in ancient China.  He lived in the latter part of the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC). According to the Society for Friendship with China,  Qu Yuan was a minister to the Zhou emperor during the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BC). He was a wise man who was strongly opposed to the corruption of the imperial court.

Because of Qu Yuan’s success, he aroused jealousy in his fellow ministers. They plotted against him and convinced the emperor that Qu Yuan was a traitor. Qu Yuan was banished, and returned to his home town. During his years of banishment, Qu Yuan collected legends and folk tales, and wrote poetry. He never lost his patriotic love for his emperor, and was greatly concerned about the future of the Zhou dynasty.

Eventually the Qin warriors overthrew the Zhou rulers and proceeded to plunder the country. On the 5th day of May, 278 BC, Qu Yuan learned about the fall of his capital city, and in a fit of despair, committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River. The townspeople, hearing of Qu Yuan’s fate, rushed to their boats to try to save him. Since he was much loved, they tried to prevent the fish from eating his body by throwing rice dumplings into the water. They beat drums to keep evil spirits away.

To this day, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month is celebrated by eating rice dumplings (zong zi) and racing dragon boats. It is also a day for wearing talismans to keep away evil spirits. Adults drink Xiong Huang wine, and children wear fragrant silk pouches to guard against evil.

In Chinese culture, Dragon boat festival has been an important holiday for centuries, but in recent years dragon boat racing has become an international sport.

Four dragon boats are tied up at the dock, awaiting their races.  These boats were built in China for the Kansas City race.

Four dragon boats are tied up at the dock, awaiting their races. These boats were built in China for the Kansas City race.

 

Spectators have fun while waiting for the next dragon boat race to begin on Brush Creek in Kansas City.

Spectators have fun while waiting for the next dragon boat race to begin on Brush Creek in Kansas City.

Click on a thumbnail to see a full-size photo and a caption.

About the Society for Friendship with China.

 

 

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Post Rock Fences in Kansas

I saw these limestone fence posts, called post rocks, on a recent drive to western Kansas.

I saw these limestone fence posts, called post rocks, on a recent drive to western Kansas.

I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life, but I hadn’t seen more than a few limestone fence posts until this past weekend when I saw miles of them as I drove west in a section of the state I’d never visited before.  It has been estimated that at the peak of their use, there were about 40,000 miles of these stone post fences in central Kansas.  In the last  quarter of the 19th century, ranchers and farmers needed fences to keep the cattle from wandering onto cropland, but wood was scarce. Providentially, there is a bed of limestone buried only a few inches beneath the top soil, which is about about 18 inches in thickness, the perfect dimension for fence posts. It was easy to shape the soft stone, which hardened, enabling the posts to resist weathering in the elements.

About Post Rocks in Kansas.

More about Post Rock Fences and Where to Find Them.

 

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Let Us Remember

Catherine Sherman:

I’m repeating this post from 2012 about Memorial Day.

Originally posted on Catherine Sherman:

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his family spent summers in a cottage near the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C. Although the cottage and grounds were a refuge from the heat of downtown three miles south, the nearby cemetery was a constant reminder of the daily carnage of the war. The cemetery, next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, is one of only two national cemeteries administered by the Department of the Army, the other being Arlington National Cemetery. The national cemetery is adjacent to the historic Rock Creek Cemetery and to the Soldiers’ Home.

On this Memorial Day weekend in the United States, as we enjoy three days usually spent in some pleasant activity with family and friends, I wanted to spend a few moments thinking about the reason for the holiday.  Holiday seems too festive of a term for a day…

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Montez Gallery in Truchas, New Mexico

Rey Montez is a handsome man, but you'll have to visit his gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, to see for yourself. He doesn't like to be photographed!  His Montez Gallery showcases a variety of art, including Spanish colonial art, religious art and contemporary art.

Rey Montez is a handsome man, but you’ll have to visit his gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, to see for yourself. He doesn’t like to be photographed! His Montez Gallery showcases a variety of art, including Spanish colonial art, religious art and contemporary art.

On our recent photography tour, Lynn S. and I were heading to Taos, New Mexico, on the High Road on Easter Sunday, not thinking any galleries or shops would be open, but still hopeful.  If all doors were shut, there would always be the gorgeous mountain scenery to photograph and maybe the exterior of a church. Apple trees were in bloom.  An occasional lilac bush was a burst of purple along the road side.

The Montez Gallery occupies an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

The Montez Gallery occupies an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

We entered the little mountain town of Truchas, (Lynn at the wheel at the wheel of her car; I feel bad for not doing any driving…) on the lookout.  We saw a little adobe church with a tin roof and tin bell tower.   A sign said: The Montez Gallery.  The church was now a gallery. Cars were in the parking lot.  Could it be open?

The Montez Gallery celebrated its 25th year in 2014.  The gallery is in an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

The Montez Gallery celebrated its 25th year in 2014. The gallery is in an old church in Truchas, New Mexico.

Not only was the Montez Gallery open, but there was a reception for the gallery’s 25th year. Cake, coffee, cookies!  The owner, Rey Montez, told guests about  the art featured in his gallery and the history of the people in the area.  His family has been in northern New Mexico for centuries. You can read more about him, the gallery and collectors in the links below.  Many notable people have made the same stop at the Montez Gallery.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church was built in 1764 in Truchas, New Mexico. It is open in June, July and August. We visited the town in April, so we weren't able to go inside to see the two large altar-screens (reredos) by the renowned santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis.

Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church was built in 1764 in Truchas, New Mexico. It is open in June, July and August.

We also found an old mission church in Truchas,  Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Holy Rosary) Mission Church, which was built in 1764. It’s open in June, July and August. We visited the town in April, so we weren’t able to go inside to see the two large altar-screens (reredos) by the renowned santero Pedro Antonio Fresquis.

Cake, coffee and cookies for 25th anniversary of The Montez Gallery.

Cake, coffee and cookies for 25th anniversary of The Montez Gallery.

Truchas was established by a Spanish Royal Land grant in 1754. The full name of the town is Río de las Truchas, which means “river of trout.”  The first settlers built irrigation ditches from the trout-filled river to bring water to the town, which is at an elevation of 8,000 feet.  Truchas is mentioned in Willa Cather’s 1927 novel “Death Comes for the Archbishop”; Book Two Chapter 2. Robert Redford’s “The Milagro Beanfield War” (1988) was filmed on location in Truchas.   Several Truchas residents had roles in the movie.

Here is a view of Truchas, New Mexico, just off of the road through the town, showing Truchas Peak.

Here is a view of Truchas, New Mexico, just off of the road through the town, showing Truchas Peak.

On a hillside, stones spell out the name of the city of Truchas.

On a hillside, stones spell out the name of the city of Truchas.

Church Bell Tower in Truchas, New Mexico Post Card
The Montez Gallery is in an old church. Here’s the church bell tower.

 

MóntezGallery Website.

About Móntez Gallery, Part One.

About Móntez Gallery, Part Two.

About High Road Artisans in Truchas.

 

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