July 2007               


            More Rain!  We had made some plans for the Independence Day weekend, but the rain changed them.  There is a big fireworks display in Springfield every year at the airport that we were considering the weekend, however the rain came down so hard that we crossed that off our list.

            We had issued invitations to our co-workers for a cookout for the 4th, as it was the day off for the Urtons and  the Blooms, but that was postponed as they were both required to work that day.  We will have them all down later in the month for a get together. 

            After all the rain more of our sites are underwater.  We feel sorry for the folks who had sites reserved and are being called and told they are no longer available. 

            We have really been enjoying the birds and wildlife here.  Nearly every day we are visited by several rabbits, who enjoy eating our grass.  They are really fairly tame and most times donít run away when we go outside.  One has even come up and nudged Millieís toe when she was sitting outside.  On the down side, they have also enjoyed Millieís geranium and pruned it down radically until we realized what was eating it. 

            One evening as Millie looked out the door a tiny rabbit hopped out from under our trailer unto our rug.  He hopped over to the leg of the picnic table, snuggled up and went off to sleep.   He was there for quite some time; however we had several wild dogs hanging around and had to chase one off while the bunny was there.  Dick got a pair of gloves and picked up the little guy and took him down in the woods where he would have somewhere to hide.  He was not afraid, didnít even offer to jump off of Dickís hand, Dick had to nudge him off.

            We were invited to a covered dish lunch one day that was hosted by the Park Hosts at Ruark Bluff West and East.  It was held at the Group Camp area at the West Campground and nearly all the Park Attendants, Custodians and Volunteers were there.  We had a great time enjoying the good food and visiting.

            George Washington Carver National Monument is located in Diamond, MO.  We picked a nice day to drive down.  We parked and went into the Visitorís Center.  We checked with the ranger on duty with the desk and learned that the guided tour was later in the afternoon.  We browsed the museum and then decided to go into town and have lunch before the tour. 

            George Washington Carver was born a slave and did not know his actual birth date.  When he was a baby, he, his mother Mary, and his sister were kidnapped and taken from the farm of Moses and Susan Carver.   George was returned to the Carvers who raised him and his brother near Neosho, MO. 

            When he was 9 years old, his thirst for knowledge led him to leave his home and go to Neosho where he could attend a black school.  He never returned to the farm. 

            He was refused admittance to Highland College in Kansas due to his race.  He drifted to Iowa, where he attended Simpson College to attend art school.  The following year he transferred to Iowa State Agricultural College to study agriculture.  He received his Bachelorís and Masterís Degrees and in 1896 he was offered a position as the head of the new Agriculture Department at Tuskegee Institute, AL. 

            He spent the entire remainder of his life at Tuskegee, teaching and doing research.  He is mainly known for his research into the use for peanuts, which was done to help farmers who were depleting their land growing cotton.  He was admired and respected by many, including Henry Ford and Thomas Edison who sought out his expertise in the industrial use of plants. 

            During his time at Tuskegee Institute, Carver lived in the same room and never accepted a raise in his salary.  He never patented any of his discoveries believing in the dream ďto be the greatest good to the greatest number of my peopleĒ.  This brilliant and humble man died in 1943 at the approximate age of 78. 

            Our tour with the ranger was very interesting.  We visited the approximate site of the cabin where Carver was born, the spring where he gathered water for the family, the later home of his adoptive parents and the Carver cemetery where Moses and Susan Carver and other Carver family members are buried.  The last stop on the tour was at a bust of Carver where we listened to a recording of a graduation talk made by Carver. 

            Following our tour, we visited the museum in the Visitorís Center.  Examples of his work are exhibited there.  Of interest to Millie was the fact that Carver was a needleworker.  He could knit and crochet and made many of his mittens, etc.  He used many cast off materials in his needlework, some examples of which are on display in the museum.

            We finally had our cookout with our co-workers on a Tuesday.  We had hamburgers cooked on the grill and side dishes that Millie prepared.  It was a good opportunity for all of us to be together socially and have a good visit.  Unfortunately, Tracey and his family were unable to attend. 

            We made the journey to Fort Scott, Kansas on day for a visit to the Fort Scott National Historic Site.  We arrived at the town of Fort Scott and had a quick lunch before going to the National Historic Park. 

            Talk about contradictions Ė on the street going to the park was a sign designating that street as a truck route.  20 feet further up the street was a sign saying No Trucks!  Millie didnít get a photo but we wish she did.  Do you suppose trucks could only go 20 feet on that street? 

            Construction was begun on Fort Scott in 1842, using locally available materials.  The area was abundant in walnut, ash and oak trees.  It was used as a dragoon post with a large stable for the horses and barracks for the soldiers.  From 1842-1853 the fort helped keep peace in the Indian Territory.  1854 to 1861 the town was caught in the struggle between free and slave soils.  It became an important supply center for the western Union troops.

            The army was called back to Fort Scott during the 1870ís to protect workers building a railroad across disputed land. The fort was later sold to various individuals and the buildings were used for different purposes. 

            One of the officers quarters buildings was first used as a private residence and then in 1892 was used for a childrenís home.  The house has exhibits inside showing the stages of remodeling it has gone through over the years.  This was a very interesting building. 

            Most of the buildings of Fort Scott survive and the afternoon we spent touring them was interesting and informative. 

            The end of July we attended the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield.  The fair is large and we enjoyed spending the day looking at the exhibits and watching some of the free shows.  Millie especially enjoyed the Family Living exhibits.  There were many beautiful examples of quilts and needlework on display.  We were impressed with the artful way that the vegetables and other foods were displayed.  This was the nicest visual display we have seen at a fair. 

            One fun display was of shoes.  Not just any shoes, they had all been decorated.  We have never seen so many different shoes and so many different ways to decorate them! 

            Next month Ė August in Missouri. 


            Take care and we will see you again next month. 


(Lots of new photos in the gallery, take a look.  We couldn't link to all of them.)