little USA trips

ODE TO MONTANA

An ode is a lyric poem marked by exaltation of feeling and style, It varies in length of line, and complexity of stanza form and it expresses a strong feeling of love or respect for someone or something.

The Ode to Montana brings to life the beauty and lifestyle of Big Sky Country.  The artwork that accompanies the poem is by Kathy Phillips Smith, Montana artist portraying western life and landscape.  Kathy lives in Montana and her paintings, like the poem, portray her love for her home state and brings to life its beauty and lifestyle.

WELCOME TO MONTANA

 

ODE TO MONTANA

BY JUNGLEJUICE

With your great blue skies and rocky mountains
You are my home away from home
Where I spend my winter vacations and summer days
Making memories most memorable
Skiing on your slopes with my best of friends
Fishing in your rivers with my brother


Swimming in your ponds, splashing and laughing
Sitting by the campfire with boys
Throwing snowballs like its World War II
Spending time with the people I love most
If it weren’t for you old great Montana

I wouldn’t have
Climbed cliffs like a spider monkey

SQUARE BUTTE

SQUARE BUTTE

Had my first kiss
Played bumper cars with golf carts
Chatted with Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
Raced with an Olympic skier
Had the time of my life every year with the most magnificent people I know
Who also are crazier than the cast of Jacka**
But they sure have shown me a good time and a lot of love
The one thing I am thankful for most
Is how you have shown me how to live freely
And figure out who I am and who I want to be
In your arms I have grown to make better decisions
Sometimes things didn’t go how I wanted
But that was how it was and I had to leave and come home
That is how I learned to heal and accept the way of life
Oh how did you know, old great Montana, what was best for me?
Some times you rain sometimes you shine
Either way you are breathtaking
With warm breezes to flow through my hair
And soft sun to kiss my cheeks
At night I gaze up at your million stars
To thank you for another day
That I have spent running wild
Whether it’s winter
Where I have skied too fast laughing and smiling
Taking hot cocoa breaks when my toes get cold

SNOWSTORM
Going in for lunch and getting the biggest table in the lodge
Watching movies down in the theater
Going out for dinner with all my buds
Or if it is summer
Then I have swam and jumped
Laughed and tanned
Played paintball in the rain
Flirted in the sun
Gone to the parties at the camp till the early morning
And thought of what adventure I shall go on next
You old great Montana
Are there when I’m in love
When I’m laughing up a storm
And even when I cry
Just like an old great grandpa
Thank you for giving me some life
My dearest
Home away from home

IT'S ALL HERE FOR YOU! COME SEE US!

IT’S ALL HERE FOR YOU! COME SEE US IN MONTANA!

(To see more of Kathy’s work or inquire about purchasing a painting click here…..  Kathy 


MINNESOTA BLUE – SHOULD IT BE THE STATE POEM?

Cordell Keith Haugen, one of the most prolific songwriters in Hawaii over the past decades is a native Minnesotan. Haugen was born in Greenbush, in far northwestern Minnesota. After serving in the Army he lived in Japan, returned to Idaho for college and wound up in Hawaii working for the government in public relations. And he wrote music!

It’s not uncommon for natives of Minnesota to eventually find their thoughts and their hearts back in Minnesota remembering the wonders of their childhood. In 1985 Haugen wrote Minnesota Blue. A beautiful poem expressing a man’s pride in his homeland. “Minnesota was a great place to grow up, and remains a wonderful place to raise a family,” he says today. “I feel a sense of pride when I read about surveys which rank the state of my childhood high in the things that really count — like education, quality of living and concern for the environment.”

A bill was introduced by State Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo) to honor his words as the state poem.  The following is cited from the Assoc Press “Unfortunately Minnesota has a poet laureate thanks to a law pursued years ago by Minneapolis Rep. Phyllis Kahn. But Kahn, a Democrat, had a dour reaction to the proposed “Minnesota Blue” tribute.

She said it might be offensive to people here to give the honor to a piece written by someone who has lived most of his life elsewhere. And she had doubts about the ability of any poem to stand the test of time that comes with being an official state symbol.

“Having a poet laureate is good enough for me,” she said.” Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

MINNESOTA BLUE

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I’ve been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, your lakes and rivers too
How I miss your Minnesota Blue

Do your golden fields of wheat and corn
Still shimmer in the early morn
Waving to the clouds as they drift by
Do moose and bear still rule the earth
In the Red River Valley of my birth
Do the Northern Lights still dance across your sky
Does the North Star still guide you
Do your farmers still provide you
With the way of life that we all learned to share
Do they still follow the Golden Rule
And dress up each week for Sunday School
Do your families still give thanks for living there

Are your skies still free of smoke and haze
Do your old folks still remember days
When your skyline was a grove of Norway pines
Does the North Wind whistle through your trees
Can you still smell wildflowers on the breeze
Do bass and pike still play with fishing lines
Do your children still walk the rails
Or discover hidden Indian trails
Do canoes glide through Minnesota streams
Can you hear the cry of the lonely loon
Do wolves still howl at your full moon
Is Viking Land still Mother Nature’s dream

Do you still have dairies and rolling hills
And mines and quarries and flour mills
Do you still brew the best of America’s beers
Do bobcats still cry at night
Does snow still fall so soft and white
Do icicles hang like crystal chandeliers
So many of yours have left to roam
But they still call Minnesota home
Like geese that fly above your lakes and wilds
And for every one of your million stars
There’s a prairie son who’s traveled far
Oh, please remember this Minnesota child.

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I’ve been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, 10,000 lakes and you

How I miss my Minnesota Blue
Oh, how I miss my Minnesota Blue
Copyright 1985, Keith Haugen

POETRY ACROSS THE LAND……100 YEARS OF NATIONAL PARKS

Spread across the United States are 58 National Parks and on August 25, 2016 the National Park System turns 100 years old.

The beauty found in America’s parks have inspired people of all ages to portray them through poetry.

 

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

4th Graders, Ruder Elementary School, Columbia Falls, MT, Spring 2007

Wolf
Mysterious, free
Gliding, pacing, leaping
Hunting for survival
Warriors
Author: Mary

Glacier
Frozen, cold
Moving, melting, changing
Slipping down the slope
Ice
Author: Cody A.

poetry by Ruder Elementary 4th Graders.


 ST MARY LAKE

7th Graders, Helena Flats School, Kalispell, MT, Winter/Spring 2007

Glacier Park Winters
Pale powdered mountains in the distant view,
Snow quietly tumbles down the jagged slopes.
The eagle slowly flys over head cutting through icy winds with every
beat of his powerful wings.
Not a sound to be heard, but the moans and
twisting screams of dead
branches.
Frosted over evergreens viciously shake off the newly fallen snow.
Footprints in the snow, so many, no one around to fill them.
Hypnotizing, icy streams whirling around and around waiting to
grasp your ankle to pull you into its world of wonders.
Tiny snowflakes under my feet making faint cries as they are being
stepped upon.
The wind whispers its soft melody in my ears as it whistles on by.
This is nothing more, but nature during winter in Glacier Park.
Author: Marnic

poetry by Helena Flats 7th Graders.

VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK

ONE OF 1500 PLUS ISLANDS

ONE OF 1500 PLUS ISLANDS, VOYAGEUR NATIONAL PARK

Kabetogama

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Bright blue is the sky
Soft white are the clouds
Red intense, is the sunset
Passions sleep in Kabetogama’s heart

Water, Air, Fire, and Land
I come back to life
In the majesty of Kabetogama’s paradise
That makes me feel close to the sky

The green trees
The senses of life
Spontaneous feelings
Flying over the sky

Fresh breeze
Quiet and alone
Sitting over the rock
Softly the waters float

Red sunset
Vivid color
In the sky
Peaceful moments in my eyes

The sound of the lake
Swinging at night
Makes me sigh
And feel alive

Fresh morning
Hot afternoon
Cold night
And the constellations in the sky

The moon, the lake and the stars
How wonderful is life!
Free as the eagle
I hope one day to fly

Hiking through the path
Serenity and peace surround
I found faith and light
To my spirit lost in the dark

Silent green forest
In persistent calm, the lake sings
Picturesque moment
That Kabetogama land created in my heart

Written by Frankie Alvarez

2012 National Park Teen Ambassador

I AM BACK! AND LIFE IS GOOD!

I hope you all had a relatively healthy winter.  I wasn’t so lucky but happy to finally feel relatively human.

April is my favorite month for one reason — It is National Poetry Month.

Poetry is feelings, emotions, dreams, fantasies and it is a vulnerable piece of literature as we put ourselves out there for debate, speculation and criticism. Poetry is an emotional collaboration between ones heart and mind.

In honor of National Poetry Month and the poems dedicated to this beautiful country, we will dedicate this month’s posts to the USA and all of its beauty.

HAVE YOU SPENT TIME WITH VERMONT’S AMAZING FRED WEBSTER? SHARE YOUR STORY HERE!

A year ago I had the honor and privilege to meet Fred Webster and I blogged about his spirit and his dedication to preserving the history of agriculture.  Since that time people have been sharing stories about their connection with Fred.  I think it would be a wonderful tribute to this amazing man if we would compile these stories into a book for Fred and his family.  Please share your stories in “comments” on this blog.   Thank you!

FRED WEBSTER – A MAN WITH A VISION

 

FRED FEEDING THE COAL STOVE

FRED FEEDING THE COAL STOVE

 

A DAY AT PARLEY LAKE WINERY — IT’S MORE THAN WINE!

There’s more to the Parley Lake Winery than wine… It’s a farm, it’s an apple orchard, there’s a great gift shop, entertainment for all ages, great food from a truck food, and an art gallery (sort of).

Situated on 125 acres of rolling woodlands near Waconia Minnesota, Parley Lake Winery has 7 acres of vineyards and 20 acres of apple orchards where you can pick your own apples.  Enter the big barn and you can spend at least a couple hours checking out the gifts, deciding which apples to buy from the many varieties and tasting the wines.

Outside you are down on the farm and the kids love it!

It is evident that art is very important to the owners of Parley Lake Winery.  The day we were out there there was an artist drawing portraits of visitors.  You will love the beautiful sculptures that are on the grounds.

They also promote the Arts by providing a stage for musicians.  We were entertained by two amazing young Country Singers, Erin and Madison.  Erin and Madison are high school students at Lakeville and Farmington and perform throughout Minnesota.  Be sure and like them on their FB page ERIN AND MADISON.  Here is one of their songs on YouTube.  ERIN AND MADISON… “STAY”

Erin is a very talented singer and Madison is absolutely terrific on the guitar.  I have no doubt that they will become famous one day and we will say  “We knew them when……”

ERIN AND MADISON

ERIN AND MADISON

They provide artists with a great opportunity through an annual contest for artists designing a lable for their Artisans Wine Series.  The submission deadline for the 2015 series is January 2, 2016.  Details can be found at

CALL TO ARTISTS

ARTISAN SERIES

ARTISAN SERIES

THE PARLEY LAKE WINERY FALL HOURS ARE FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM NOON TO 5 PM

TAKE A LITTLE TRIP OUT THERE AND

ENJOY THESE LAST GREAT DAYS OF FALL!!!

 

 

ALEXANDER RAMSEY PARK AKA “LITTLE YELLOWSTONE OF MINNESOTA”

Who Knew??? A 219 acre municipal park in the City of Redwood Falls is not only the largest city park in the State of Minnesota, but it is nicknamed “Little Yellowstone”.

ALEXANDER RAMSEY PARK SIGN

ALEXANDER RAMSEY PARK SIGN

Alexander Ramsey Park is carved out of the natural woodlands of the Minnesota River Valley and is a favorite spot for community events. I don’t know how many people outside of the local area are even aware that this amazing place exists.  It has campgrounds, hiking paths, scenic overlooks, large shelters for gatherings, and a zoo. One of its more unique features is the number of structures, bridges, walls and stairs that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s.

The park has five picnic areas and a campground with 31sites with electrical hookups. They are situated near a modern restroom with showers. As a bonus there is also a limited supply of firewood that is free.

There are five picnic areas and if you are planning a large event such as a family reunion there are three shelter houses that can be reserved. The Lower Shelter shown above, the Ramsey Falls Shelter….

Ramsey-Falls-Shelter

And the Zeb Gray Shelter features a scenic overlook of the Redwood River.

Zeb Gray Shelter

Zeb Gray Shelter

Throughout the park there are hiking trails and four miles of paved trails that take you to scenic overlooks .

The suspension bridge is amazing!  I couldn’t locate information as to its length or incline, but it is long and it has a pretty good incline for those of us who are not real active, but if I did it with relative ease it’s doable.  When you reach the plateau at the top of the bridge you will find another set of steps built into the hill.

For the little ones — they are going to love the little zoo.  There are bison, elk, deer, prairie dogs and much more. The surprise was the Albino Deer.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall…. Alexander Ramsey Park is serenity in a fast-past world .

CELEBRATING AUTUMN

Tens of Thousands of people take to the road every autumn after the flowers of summer have faded and the trees lush green leaves of summer change their colors to bright red, orange  and yellow.  Albert Camus said it best:  “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Unlike Spring, Fall is fleeting and almost as quickly as the leaves don their colorful wardrobe they feel winter’s breath and spread a warm blanket on the ground.

W M BLANKET OF LEAVES 2

Most day or weekend leaf trippers head to the northern third of the States that border Canada. It’s not likely in Minnesota that you would head for the corn fields to check out brilliant Fall colors, but if you should you will be pleasantly surprised.

HENDERSON MINNESOTA CELEBRATES AUTUMN

Henderson, Minnesota is a small town with a population of 1,000 and it located 60 miles SW of Minneapolis on the Minnesota River.  Every year when the snow melts and the river rises Henderson is threatened with flooding.  A 1.5 mile levee was constructed.  The walking trail on top of the levee gives you a wonderful view of the Minnesota River floodplain.  It is not uncommon for the MN-19 Bridge in Henderson to be closed in the Spring when the snow and ice melt and the river rises.  The ice jams at the bridge in the spring are also interesting.

OWATONNA MINNESOTA CELEBRATES AUTUMN

Owatonna is a city of 25,000 plus situated at the crossroads of HWY 218 and Interstate 35 about 60 miles south of Minneapolis.  The Straight River runs through the heart of Owatonna north to the Cannon River.   The City maintains over 700 acres of parkland and walkways including 28 parks.  It’s a beautiful City with a country feel!

 CELEBRATING AUTUMN ON THE MISSISSIPPI

CELEBRATING AUTUMN AT SPLIT ROCK LIGHT HOUSE

CELEBRATING AUTUMN AT BANNING STATE PARK

CELEBRATING AUTUMN IN VERMONT

CELEBRATING AUTUMN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

CELEBRATING AUTUMN IN WISCONSIN

WISCONSIN – A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY

There is nothing so relaxing and nothing so beautiful as a ride in the country, and sometimes that’s all we need to put things back into proper perspective.

These are selected pictures taken from the road on a little trip from Hudson, WI to Park Falls, WI and back again.  I’ll be posting about interesting places to stop on the route  later, but for now just enjoy the ride.

MODE OF TRANSPORTATION

Yes, it’s really a motorcycle!  Polaris’ Slingshot!  Fondly referred to as the Bat Mobile by my some while others call it  “Not a Motorcycle”.  Bill’s goal is to ride all of the Rustic Roads in the Northwest Region of Wisconsin.

AN EARLY START!

There’s something about getting on the road early in the morning.  It’s like when the sun comes up the world wakes up!

MORNING ACTIVITY

A COVERED BRIDGE

BARNS AND FARMS

PRETTY LEAVES AND TREES

LAKES AND STREAMS AND PICNIC PLACES

MILKWEED WAITING FOR MONARCHS

DAYS END

INTERNATIONAL PEACE GARDEN – GROWING PEACE

Situated in the Turtle Mountains on the international border between Canada and the United States, in the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba is The International Peace Garden. It was established on July 14, 1932 and it is a tribute and a promise to peace and friendship between the people of both nations.

A cairn was the only boundary marker when the Garden was dedicated in July of 1932. The cairn was built of stones gathered by children from North Dakota and Manitoba and its inscription is a “promise”.

The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the Interpretive Center is a new acquisition. The six-foot-tall, polished stainless steel sculpture depicts a set of hands releasing a dove. Art Norby, a New London artist in his 70s, was commissioned to sculpt this piece.  It is amazing and it is so fitting for it to be in this place. Norby also sculpted the Korean War Memorial in St. Paul.

SCULPTOR: ART NORBY OF NEW LONDON MN

SCULPTOR: ART NORBY OF NEW LONDON MN

The year-round Interpretive Center houses a restaurant, gift shop and a small horticulture library.  The big surprise within the center is a 3,000 square foot conservatory that has over 6,000 specimens of succulents and cacti. The 40 year old collection was donated by Don Vitko of Minot ND and it is spectacular.

The high point of the park is the Peace Tower. It straddles the international border with two towers in Canada and two towers in the United States. The Tower can be seen from every vantage point in the park. Standing 120 feet high the Peace Tower symbolizes “the soaring ambitions of the early immigrants arriving from the four corners of the world to Canada and the United States in the 1800s and 1900s.”

Unfortunately the Peace Tower is deteriorating and is slated to  come down very soon and replaced with another monument.  It appears they have not decided what they type of sculpture will replace it.

The Cairn, the Peace Tower and the hand releasing the dove sculpture tug at your heart strings when you think about the symbolism.  You hope that one day we will have peace among all nations.  But it is the Peace Chapel that gives you pause and makes you wonder what you can do to promote world peace.  The Peace Chapel is the only building in the garden that sits on both sides of the border.  It is very simple with benches where you can sit and rest, say a prayer and reflect on the your life and world we live in.

The unique feature of this chapel and what makes it so meaningful are the 100+ “Peace” quotes that are etched into the fossil embellished limestone walls.

You won’t want to miss seeing the Carillon Bell Tower and the 9/11 monument.  Every fifteen minutes and on the hour, 14 bells ring out from the Carillon Bell Tower. The bells ere a gift from the Central United Church of Brandon, Manitoba and the tower was given by the North Dakota Veterans.  The 9/11 Monument was designed with twisted steel from the World Trade Center.

The North American Game Warden Museum in the Garden was temporarily located in the International Peace Garden in the 1990s and in 2005 it was decided that would be its permanent placement. Sponsored by the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers it not only is a monument paying tribute to conservationists and Game Wardens in Canada and the United States, but it is a wonderful education center.

Approximately 2500 flowers make up this 13 foot working clock!  It’s pretty amazing and certainly very beautiful.

CLOCK 1

The International Peace Garden is so much more than beautiful flowers.  It is a peaceful garden and it is about friendship, it is about peace and it is about a promise between two nations.  How wonderful it would be if the friendship that exists between the United States and Canada, the second and fourth largest countries in the world, could exist between all countries.

A walk through the International Peace Garden!

TRAVEL SAFE AND MAY PEACE BE WITH YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

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