Ice Cream Anyone?

Little ice cream shop in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

I hear there are a few of these buildings left in the country, but this is the only one I've ever seen.

Lincoln's Birthplace Memorial Building


Inside this memorial stands a log cabin claimed to be the cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born. There are doubts that the cabin is the actual one, but it did travel across the country in the late 1800 or early 1900s as the original.

What is original is the Sinking Spring Farm where the log cabin stands today. Named after the fresh water source on the property, this farm was owned by Lincoln's father and little Abraham walked around these grounds and drank water from the sinking spring (which still exists today).

I Could Use This Now!


With the temperatures dropping at night to the 40's, it's sinking in that Fall is here. I hate Fall. It's a pretty time of year (at least the first few weeks are until the leaves fall off), and it brings Halloween, but it leads to winter and I hate cold weather.

It's kind of like me shooting the messenger!

Sponges for Sale

One of my favorite stops in Florida is Tarpon Springs. This town still has the old world Greek charm along the sponge docks of the Anclote River. The sponge harvesting operation thrived until the 1970's then the Sponge Exchange (the place where sponges were sold at auction) closed and became a shopping plaza.

Small shops, like those shown below, still line Dodecanese and some other intersecting streets. These shops haven't changed since the 1970's except for air conditioning and credit card machines. The shop owners come out every so often and dip the sponges into a bucket of water to keep them soft.

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Curio Shops
Tarpon Springs, Florida
June 2006

Baby Bird

Found a little baby bird in front of the house last week. Seems a little late in the year for a fledgling, but maybe it's normal. This bird was only able to fly about two feet at a time before it stopped to rest.

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Hope he's able to fly south with mom and dad in a few weeks.


With all of the rain we've had around here, mushrooms and other fungus have begun to show up all over the forest.

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Mushroom on Tree
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
September 14, 2006

This mushroom found an interesting spot to grow- out of a 1/8 inch woodpecker hole in a dead tree (a similar hold can be seen at the top left of the photo). At first I thought this was bracket fungus, but as I looked closer, I noticed a stem and the stem was coming out of a small hole in the tree.

Just think, a tiny spore blew up from the ground and landed right inside that tiny hole.

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Orange bracket fungus
Bachelor's Grove Settlement
September 9, 2006

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Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
September 3, 2006


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Teepee structure found in forest preserve near the old Bachelor's Grove Settlement.

Not sure who built it, but as I walked up the dark, narrow trail to view the remains of the old settlement, I came upon this teepee. The teepee is built in an area of the forest that had absolutely no ground plants, just dark soil and leaf litter-far different from every other area of the forest. Many trees in this area are spaced exactly apart and in perfect rows. They do not seem to be older than 20 years, and could have lined the old Midlothian Turnpike.

It's odd to come upon this area of the forest, nothing adds up. Today, I visited again but after two days of heavy rain, the entire area near the teepee was flooded in about a foot of water. This may explain the absence of ground plants and the darker soil, but it doesn't explain the odd feeling that I get whenever I visit this area - as if I'm being watched.

I never get that kind of feeling in Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, and it's supposed to be the most haunted cemetery in the US.

Stone-Lined Wells

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One of four stone-lined wells found near the stone foundations of the Bachelor's Grove Settlement.

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This round stone was found inside one of the wells. It's not buried, so I don't think it was in the well for 100 years, but I wonder what it is or what it was? It could have been found somewhere in the settlement ruins and thrown into the well recently.

Does anyone have a clue?


Some old gravestones from Bachelor's Grove Cemetery September 03, 2006 (before the clean-up)
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Possibly the oldest tombstone in the cemetery

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Bachelor's Grove Cleanup 2

Here are a few photos of what I saw at the Cemetery on September 3. The condition of the grounds prompted me to seek out a way to help restore the cemetery. Coincidentally, on the next Saturday there was an organized clean up effort. I think we made a lot of progress! I hope we can do this more than once a year to keep it looking good.
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Fallen Tree on a Gravestone
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

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Gravestones hidden in the weeds
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery Cleanup

After years of neglect and vandalism, a group of people got together and obtained a permit to clean up Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. This cemetery is the oldest in Cook County, and holds the remains of the first settlers to the area. It's locally known as a very haunted place, so lots of people come to have an experience, but many others in the past have come to desecrate and vandalize. The group of volunteers (including myself for the first time) hauled out the rakes, week-wackers and other cutting tools to make the cemetery presentable once again.

All of the garbage, and most of the weeds and thorned bushes were removed today in just 7 hours with around 10 volunteers! The place looks pretty good for only a days work. Imagine what could be done in a few days or weeks.

Here's a photo of the cemetery before the weeds were cut:
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Here's a photo after many of the weeds were cut:

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Let's hope we can get a permit to do this more than once a year.

Pond in Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

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Still pond Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery has long been the source of ghost stories, mob stories and urban legends. Bachelor's Grove Cemetery holds the remains of some of Chicagoland's early pioneers, but since the 1960's and 1970's, the graveyard has been desecrated. It was said that the only things you have to fear at this graveyard are the people who visit it at night.

Many legends say the Chicago mob used this pond to dump their murdered foes; others say most of the broken and vandalized gravestones lie at the bottom. Either way, it's a very serene place.

There are some private efforts to clean up Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, so there's hope that the desecration will end.

Hidden Stream

Stream running next to Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Oak Forest, Illinois

Country Fence

Hand-split rail stacked fence
Lincoln's Birthplace State Park
Hodgenville, Kentucky