Friday, May 29, 2009

A Monument to a Southern Gentleman

Today I'd like to share some photos I took recently during a trip to Crystal Springs, Mississippi. As I passed an old cemetery in Utica, Mississippi, this monument caught my eye ...

This man's name was Frost Kelley, and he died at the young age of 39 (1870-1909). Unfortunately, that's all I know about him. He looked so handsome standing there ... like a southern gentleman dressed in his finest, including his pocket watch and hat. And judging by the epitaph, he was a southern gentleman. It reads: "He was an honor to the earth on which he lived, and worthy of the heaven to which he has gone."

I was amazed at the extraordinary details the sculptor captured forever in stone. He was truly an artist and this is one of the most lifelike monuments I've ever seen, right down to the hint of a double chin (if you click on the pictures to enlarge them, you can appreciate the details) ...

If you enjoy visiting old cemeteries and are ever in the Utica, Mississippi area, stop by and pay your respects to Mr. Kelley and tour the rest of the cemetery. There are some very old markers, ruins, and monuments there.

If you'd like to read about another trip I made to Utica, you can click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Birdhouse Village

I love birdhouses ... in all shapes, sizes, and styles. They don't even have to be functional. I have several on our back fence which I can see from my office window.

I'm always on the lookout for unusual houses that will complement my collection, with the idea of eventually having a little "birdhouse village," similar to the "snow villages" some people display at Christmastime.

With that in mind, I "googled" pictures of birdhouses, and would like to share some of my favorites, ranging from primitive and rustic to purely decorative and elegant (aka expensive). I'll start with this rustic handmade Amish house ...

And here's another little primitive birdhouse I'd love to add to my collection ...

Red seems to be a popular color, and I love this pretty red house and unique barn ...

Isn't this a pretty folk art house!

No village would be complete without a diner and a train station, right?

I live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which is perched high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River and steeped in Civil War history. So you can imagine my delight when I came across the next two birdhouses ...

Don't you just love Google!

I mentioned "elegant" and "expensive" earlier -- you can buy this elegant birdhouse from Frontgate for $549.00!

I don't think my little cardinals and wrens will ever live in a house like the next ones, unless they win the lottery ...

But I can picture them perched on this pretty church house singing their little hearts out on a Sunday morning ...

It would be difficult to choose just one of these birdhouses, but I think I would pick the little red rustic house. Did you notice that it is mounted on what appears to be a shovel handle? How neat is that!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Small Town House and Garden Tour

I'd like to thank our gracious hostess Susan at A Southern Daydreamer, for taking the time to host our "Outdoor Wednesdays."

Yesterday I drove to a little town called Crystal Springs, Mississippi, which is about an hour's drive southeast of Vicksburg. It was my first visit to Crystal Springs, and I really didn't know what to expect, which always makes my exploring more fun.

The thing that impressed me most were the beautiful old houses lining the streets leading to the downtown business district. They reminded me of houses you see on post cards or calendars ... not really what you think of as elaborate or grand ... but oh, so pretty and "homey" looking. There were picket fences and flower gardens, swings and benches, arbors and trellises, and gazing balls and bottle trees. Everywhere I looked there was something beckoning me to "come sit a spell."

Like this pretty yellow house with its side-yard garden (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like) ...

And backyard flower gardens reminiscent of our grandmothers' gardens ...

This house was built in 1859 ...

I love these colorful bottle trees ...

This beautiful transparent gazing ball was in a rose garden on a side street ...

Isn't it beautiful!
It looks like a giant bubble resting on the roses ...

I love this old-fashioned looking arbor welcoming guests up the steps, and the two colorful Japanese Maples ...

Isn't that a pretty door on this little house,
and I love the old bench on the porch ...

My camera couldn't capture the peaceful, nostalgic aura surrounding these old houses and yards, but I felt it. And you can, too ... in small towns all across America. All you have to do is look for it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: 2nd Time Around Tuesday

Welcome to "2nd Time Around Tuesday!"

I hope you will visit our gracious hostess Diane at A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words, and see the beautiful floral arrangement and urn she found at a garage sale ... plus everyone else's treasures for today.

I'd like to share a little blue mixing bowl that belonged to my grandmother.

I use it often, and it never fails to bring back memories of the happy times I spent with my grandmother in her kitchen ... standing on a chair stirring and mixing and kneading and washing dishes (I think all little girls love to wash dishes).

I treasure this little bowl and hope to pass it down to my daughter one day.

I appreciate Diane taking the time to host our "2nd Time Around Tuesdays," and look forward to seeing what everyone is sharing today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Echoing Taps" -- A Memorial Day Tribute

I think "Taps" is one of the most beautiful, albeit heartrending, songs ever written, and I couldn't think of a more fitting song to use for this slideshow commemorating our veterans today.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow:

I wish I could personally thank each and every one of them for the sacrifices they and their families made for our country. May God bless and keep them and let them know how much their service is appreciated.

I would also like to remember with gratitude our servicemen and women who risk their lives every day to keep America out of harm's way. May God protect them as they protect us, and bless them and their families for the sacrifices they make for us.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow. Be sure to turn your sound up so you can hear the hauntingly beautiful strains of Taps echoing in the background, performed by the United States Army Ceremonial Band.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, scouts must go to their beds,
Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

Taps was composed by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, an American Civil War general. Butterfield wrote the tune at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, in July 1862.

To read an eloquent, heartfelt Memorial Day tribute, please visit my friend Rachel at Lawn Tea. Rachel has such a beautiful way with words, and I know you will love all her stories.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

18,000 Flags

On Friday, May 22nd, in anticipation of several Memorial Day ceremonies scheduled for the weekend, hundreds of volunteers placed flags on 18,000 graves in the Vicksburg National Cemetery in the Military Park.

I drove through the park before 7:00 A.M. Saturday morning, and it was truly a beautiful and moving sight to behold.

I'm going to let my pictures speak for themselves, as we honor our veterans, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country ... their lives.

I would also like to remember with gratitude our servicemen and women who risk their lives every day to keep America out of harm's way. May God protect them as they protect us, and bless them and their families for the sacrifices they make for us.

Here are a few of the photos I captured of the flags in the park (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like) ...

Best wishes to you and your family for a
safe and memorable Memorial Day celebration.