Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Then sings my soul ..."

On the way in to The Holy Land this evening, I could not help but notice the wonderful quality of the evening.

I had to stop and take some pictures.

Almost every evening is worth some pictures, but for some reason it was quite special this evening. Michelangelo would have loved this light:

Looking north from County Road CC. If you were to travel on a line directly north, you would come across no human habitation other than the odd farm or ranch house, until you hit the Canadian border, and maybe not even then or past then.

The southern reaches of the Wet Mountains, which run from approximately US Highway 50 down to Walsenburg. The distant peaks are about 80 miles away as the crow flies.

You would be able to see Pikes' Peak in this shot, were it not for the distant storm.

Looking south from Road CC.

This is from a couple of hundred yards east of the intersection of Road CC and Road 21, near the Hirakata place on CC. Looking to the southeast.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leece's "Summer in the Arkansas Valley" card set

Here are the images Leece is using in her note card set, "Summer in the Arkansas Valley:"

Summer in the Arkansas Valley

Leece's Bent's Old Fort card set

Leece has a note card set for Bent's Old Fort. You can see the images she is using for those cards here:

Leece's Bent's Old Fort card set

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Down East Churches card sets

While Down East, Leece and I noticed that the church buildings are quite impressive. Some of them are actually quite old and could probably tell some stories if their walls could talk about what happened inside those buildings.

We liked the buildings so much that we have been taking pictures of them on our last two visits and while we were visiting this last time Kim, the owner of Davis Shore Provisions, where "A Day Down East" card sets first sold, suggested that she thought cards with local church buildings on them would sell.

We thought the same and spent a day taking pictures of church buildings Down East, which Leece has developed into a set of ten note cards with envelopes which come in a folder made from a recycled file folder.

We really like these. The colored pencil feature in Photoshop made them look especially nice.

Here is a picture of the folder. The cover is one of the steeples Photoshopped in the Fresco filter.

And here are the images in the card set:

Down East Churches set 1

The card set includes pictures of

Williston United Methodist
Smyrna United Methodist
Davis First Baptist
Hunting Quarter Primitive Baptist
Cedar Island Pilgrim's Rest Free Will Baptist
Davis Free Will Baptist Church
Davis Original Free Will Baptist Church
Harkers Island Pentecostal Holiness Church
Sea Level Missionary Baptist Church
Stacy Freewill Baptist

and set number 2:

Down East Churches set 2

which includes

Atlantic Methodist
Atlantic Missionary Baptist
Cedar Island United Methodist
Harkers Island Free Grace
Sea Level Free Union Free Will Baptist
Harkers Island Grace Holiness
Harkers Island Huggins Memorial
Sea Level United Methodist
Smyrna First Missionary Baptist
Straits United Methodist

These card sets can be purchased through Etsy, but we can certainly sell single cards of one church in bulk if a pastor, outreach coordinator or layman is interested in using them. Contact Leece through or her Etsy store for more information.

We will also have some other sets with New Bern and Beaufort churches as well.

A Day Down East note card set

We haven't been sitting on the pizer much at our house. Leece is busy putting together card sets that she is selling on Etsy and at Davis Shore Provisions in North Carolina. We love vacationing in North Carolina. It's fun to lay on the beach, visit the islands, national seashores, and state parks, pick up shells,  and eat fresh seafood, so we thought we'd share our love for Down East with everyone.

Here is what she is doing:

This is a note card set featuring our photography of places "Down East."

Here is the folder the cards come in. It's made from a recycled file folder. Leece painted the background blue because it reminds her of the Carolina blue skies. The brown corrugated paper reminds her of the sand dunes that grace the beaches.

And here are the cards in the set:

A Day Down East

The set is available for $20.00 plus shipping and handling. You can order through Etsy, or for multiple sets, contact Leece through the Etsy site or through

More cards are on the way. We've got another church set in the making and we are also developing cards sets with a Colorado theme.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Down East churches

"Down East" is a part of eastern North Carolina. Depending on your point of view, it extends from either Harkers Island or the North River bridge at Bettie, out to Cedar Island. There are roughly fourteen little towns and villages that make up "Down East." I say 'roughly,' because in some definitions of "Down East," you may or may not have Harkers Island included, and in some definitions you'll see Diamond City - an old whaling town which ceased to exist back around 1900, give or take a few years - and Ocracoke and Portsmouth Village, and even some of the towns on Bogue Banks. Portsmouth Village has also ceased to exist, though not with the drama of Diamond City's demise. It is on the National Historical Registry, and can be reached by small boat ferry for a visit.

Here is a website that has some background on these villages:

Down East Tour

There is a great deal of history "Down East," much of it linking as far back as the early English explorers and settlers, and the occasional Spaniard. Down Easters, the people who are native to the area, speak with a distinct accent that carries overtones of the language of those early English pioneers and settlers. A properly tuned ear can even distinguish from which village a speaker comes, just by the dialect. There is even one school of thought that supports that the Lost Colony was really on Cedar Island, not up in the Roanoke area.

They are all fishing villages. As commercial agriculture is a mainstay part of the economy here in southeastern Colorado, commercial fishing is a mainstay Down East. You'll notice I say 'a' mainstay in both cases, rather than 'the' mainstay. Times change, and just as agriculture has faded here, so commercial fishing has faded in importance Down East, and for many of the same reasons. Much of our produce is 'hechoed' in Mexico, while restaurants are getting their seafood from Malaysia, Thailand, and other foreign sources. And like the produce, the imported seafood is not nearly as good as 'the real thing.' This economic 'transition' is one more turd in the economic punchbowl, for there never was, nor will be, a Malaysian farm shrimp that can come anywhere near a wild Core Sound shrimp for color, flavor, texture, and all-round 'eatibility.'

Down Easters are no strangers to hardship. No one is, who wrests a living from the land or from the sea.

The churches of these little villages have for generations served as a foundation for village life. They have suffered their own storms, as we see in Davis, where we have three Baptist churches - there is the First Baptist church, and then there is the Free Will Baptist church, and then there is the Original Free Will Baptist church. - all the result of various theological dustups and melodramas over the years. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? But all that aside, these churches remain a port for souls in the storms of life, and they go far in holding their communities together.

Some of them go back almost beyond memory. The Hunting Quarters Primitive Baptist church, for example, could trace its rolls back to the 1600's. But like most of the primitive churches in this area,  that one has closed up and is no longer active. Still, it represents a wonderful bit of history of a wonderful part of these United States.

We have a gallery of many - but not all - of the Down East churches up here:

Mike and Leece's image galleries under the Eastern North Carolina June 2011 heading.

And more from our 2009 visit, here:

North Carolina 2009

We'll post more on the histories of these churches as we find out more about them.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From "The Fleshpot"

Steverino did up the burgers for Sunday dinner.

He used a recipe from one of the Taste of Home magazines, somewhat modified by mom, who served in an advisory capacity.

These are a mix of 80/20 ground beef, ground turkey, Vidalia onions, chopped jalapeno, chopped mushroom, garlic, coarse black pepper, grilled over a slow fire. The topping is no-fat cream cheese with Great Value fiesta mix cheese and chopped baby 'bellos, melted over the patties just before removing from the grill. They are served with the usual accoutrements and condiments, on toasted-on-the-grill Kaiser rolls.

And we had a very nice salad of Romas, sugar peas, corn, Vidalias, baby 'bellos,  fresh yellow squash from the garden out back, with an Italian dressing, fresh basil, and coarse black pepper.

Who says there's no God?

Blood of the Lamb Laundry Detergent

So there we were, sitting in church today, and they started that Power in the Blood hymn. You know, the one that goes ...

... There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb ...


... Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood ...

so I leaned over to Leece and whispered, "That would make a good laundry detergent."

"Blood of the Lamb" laundry detergent; gits yer wash and yer soul whiter than snow with its wonder-werkin' pow'r, pow'r, pow'r ...".

Leece giggled. And giggled some more.

I moved closer to her. God's targeting instrumentation is pretty high grade stuff, and though he's usually - I think - careful about collateral damage, nonetheless if there were to be any instantaneous smiting, I wanted a human shield.

It was probably unnecessary; after all, you can argue that it was God that taught Kafka a thing or two about humor.

Then they started the refrain from How Great Thou Art, this version:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Yeah baby. I love that one. I think most hymns are generally a bit on the simpleton side, but that one really works for me. You can ride down a country road here in The Holy Land and belt that refrain out like you really mean it. And then the parts about the stars, the rolling thunder, birds and lofty mountain grandeur ... yeah baby.

These are some of the ones that move my soul:

How Great Thou Art
Amazing Grace
Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Mansions of the Lord

And Mighty to Save ain't too shabby, either. Of course, Hillsong could put one of Paula Deen's recipes to music and make it sound good.

This is a nice one from the communion service today:

My Hope

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bent's Old Fort

We visited Bent's Old Fort for their Fourth of July festivities.

We were able to observe the fort's surgeon amputate the toe of a kitchen wench, who had suffered injury to the digit when a couple of drunks caused her to drop a coal scuttle or some other heavy pail-like utensil on her foot. It was difficult to determine, what with all the shrieking, wailing, and screaming, with pauses for a few slugs of 'anesthetic', exactly what had happened. There was not much sympathy on the part of the rest of the kitchen staff, who seemed to feel that the patient needed to get her act together so as to be able to pull her load.

The surgeon amputated the toe and pitched it o'er the ramparts we watched. A couple of mangy curs fought over it before devouring it.

The surgeon also seemed unfamiliar with the terms 'Medicare,' 'Obamacare,' or 'health insurance,' but did seem to think that a sheep or goat would be fair exchange for his services. This idea, like drying your clothes on a clotheline rather than in a dryer, seems to be making a comeback in some places.

We got some shots of the blacksmith working in the forge, as well as some scenes around the fort.

The Koshares eventually showed up and did some of their dances. These were well-received by the audience.

We then retired to Dairy Queen in Las Animas, for Blizzards (most of us) and corn dogs (Froggy).

A patriotic time was had by all.

Gallery's up over on

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Events."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Manitou Springs

So Friday we went up to Divide to pick up The Jonster from Golden Bell, where he had spent the week at the Naz Camp doing biblical things like white-water rafting and otherwise finding himself. He says he had a great time. I expect he did. Golden Bell's a well-run outfit.

Then we stopped in Manitou Springs while Leece visited The Silver Sparrow bead and jewelry shop, for some supplies. Leece had a good chat with Michele, the owner, about jewelry making. It's a pleasant shop, and quite crowded at the time we were there.

We also went to The Poppy Seed for some hemp twine. The Seed was interesting, with discreet whiffs of incense oozing out the door,and Bob Marley t-shirts. I like Bob Marley's music. Marakkesh Express flitted through what passes for my mind as well.

On the way home we stopped at Rudy's for some brisket and turkey. The meats are pretty good, though not nearly as good as mine. The cole slaw leaves much to be desired, but the creamed corn was quite tasty, and Steverino reports that the nanner puddin' was very good.

We took a few shots of downtown Manitou Springs. There's a lot more to do and see there, but we weren't there for sight-seeing, not this time, so we didn't do the place justice in the photographic sense.

It was also a madhouse. Tourists were swarming about, spending money like water, and bolstering the local economy.

Gallery is up on:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Road Trips"