Sunday, July 14, 2024

Carrick Creek Trail

I have been wanting to go hiking for several weeks but something always got in the way. We had things to do, the weather was too hot or it was raining. Sometimes the mind was willing but the body wasn’t.

Well, yesterday was the day that everything worked out and we got up early to eat breakfast at Waffle House. Then we headed to Table Rock State Park to do a short hike.

It felt wonderful to be outdoors and experience nature. We looked for flowers and listened for animals. It was nice to see God’s world and appreciate all that he has created! We saw the flowers of a cranefly orchid which was great because normally we only find the red leaves. We also saw some white bergamot. I heard birds and we found a snail.

Gnicky the gnome hitched a ride with us and rode on the back of my pack. He got a picture with the water cascading behind him. At one trail crossing, he pointed the direction that we needed to go.

By the time we left, it was starting to get hot and more crowded. We found out that the parking lots were being monitored and when they filled up, the gates were closed for an hour or two so I’m glad we went early.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Summer Time Heat

It’s summer time and I just can’t seem to be motivated to do much in this heat. 

On July 1, I started teaching my university course which luckily keeps me indoors most of the morning. 

Of course, this means that we have to go to breakfast early and I can’t get out in the yard to work in the yard before it gets too hot. On the weekend,, it was cloudy so I got outside and worked in the yard. I spend most of the day in my sunroom with the shades down to keep out the heat and I feel like I’m in a cave! 

Our blueberry crop is finally at the end of its run but we got lots of blueberries this year. Not only did we get some but so did two of our neighbors. I loved being able to share with them. We have a few figs on the tree but I'm not sure I will be able to get to them before the squirrels do.

Staying indoors has helped me get some knitting done. I started a summer sweater (the Salty Air Tee), finished a pair of socks, and knitted many charity dishcloths. 

So far, July has been a productive month! 

Thursday, July 4, 2024

O Beautiful Forever Stamps: Celebrating America's Beauty

Have you ever looked at a stamp and wondered about the picture on it? The O Beautiful Forever Stamps (U.S. #5298, 2018 50¢ O Beautiful) are special stamps that show some of the most beautiful places in America. How did these stamps come to be and why they are important?

The idea for the O Beautiful Forever Stamps came from a famous song called "America the Beautiful." This song, written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, and the lyrics talk about the amazing natural beauty of the United States. The United States Postal Service wanted to make stamps that celebrated these beautiful places mentioned in the song.

Making these stamps was a big project. The USPS worked with photographers and artists to find the best pictures of American landscapes. They wanted to show different types of scenery from all over the country. Here are the ten places they chose for the stamps:
  1. Baldwin Peninsula in Kotzebue, Alaska
  2. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Utah
  3. Yosemite National Park in California
  4. Wheat fields in Palouse, Washington
  5. Fire Island National Seashore in New York
  6. Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii
  7. Grand Tetons in Wyoming
  8. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
  9. Mount Rainier in Washington
  10. The Grand Canyon in Arizona
Each of these places is very special and shows the beauty of America in a different way.

The O Beautiful Forever Stamps were introduced to the public on July 4, 2018, on America's Independence Day. The ceremony to show the stamps was held in Colorado Springs, a place with its own beautiful scenery that inspired the song "America the Beautiful."

Katharine Lee Bates was a 33-year-old English professor from Wellesley College. In 1893, she was inspired by the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the wheat fields of the Great Plains, and, most of all, Pikes Peak and decided to write a poem about the unrivaled beauty of her country. The poem was published two years later and eventually, it was set to music.

People loved the stamps! They thought the pictures were beautiful and enjoyed seeing America's landscapes in this special way. The stamps became very popular with people who collect stamps and those who love nature.

The O Beautiful Forever Stamps do more than just help send letters. They show the world how beautiful America is. Every time someone uses one of these stamps, it shares a little piece of America’s beauty. These stamps also remind us to take care of these natural places. They help us appreciate and protect our environment so that future generations can enjoy it too. Also, the stamps inspire people to learn more about these beautiful places. Someone may see a stamp with Yosemite National Park and decide they want to visit it one day. The stamps help us feel proud of our country and its natural wonders.

The O Beautiful Forever Stamps are not just pieces of paper. They are little works of art that celebrate the incredible beauty of America. From mountains to beaches, and from parks to canyons, these stamps show us the wonderful places that make our country special. Next time you see one of these stamps, remember the amazing landscapes they represent and the pride they bring to our nation.


Monday, July 1, 2024

EDEX 962 and EDEX 963

Today begins another day of teaching. I’m teaching a combined class of EDEX 962 and EDEX963 which has four students. I have been teaching this class for the past 17 years. It is a practicum class so I created a school for these teachers to show me that they can apply all that they learned in their other Master’s level classes. It is my favorite class to teach because I love seeing how my students grow in just four weeks. It is like watching baby birds learn to fly.

For their first blog reflection, this is their assignment:

“I want you to come up with 3 goals for yourself. I want to know how you are feeling about the course, the children, and your expectations.

I also have 3 goals:
  • I want to make sure that everything is set up for my teachers so they have a great learning experience.
  • I want to give feedback to my teachers so they will have useful information to help their own teaching.
  • I want to be available as a resource so my teachers can gain confidence in teaching students with special needs.
I’ve been teaching for 44 years and I’m still excited about beginning this class. Like any class with any age students, every class and every student is different. You never know what challenges you may face but I like facing them together with my students. I feel that if you aren’t excited on the first day of any class you are teaching, then maybe it is time to get out of teaching. I love teaching and sharing my experiences with my students (who are teachers). I hope that they will learn from my experiences so that they can be effective in their classrooms.

Let the fun begin!

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Hikers Luncheon

Several times a year, our group of “old hikers” get together for lunch. Many times we are traveling and can’t join the group but this past week we were able to join everyone. I love seeing everyone and sometimes we reminisce about friends who are no longer with us and the fun times we had.

Original photos by Pat Hensley