The “owned by” includes Dwight Eisenhower (bottom of left-hand column). In a quick search, I didn’t find any background on this plaque in Chesterton, Indiana, which itself is more than one inch square — and worse for the wear.
I’ve been to Dog Days Ice Cream Parlor in Chesterton, Indiana, many times, but I hadn’t noticed this until a couple of weeks ago. My first thought was mailbox — where would they get mail? — but I was thrown off by the lack of markings. That is, the Cutler mailing system has many markings, including “U.S. Mail,” so I thought it must be a requirement for a mailbox. The medieval subject with the lions threw me off too. I can’t tell what the design means or what the near stick figures next to the lions signify.
I did a reverse photo lookup via Google and found out not only is it a mailbox, it’s more expensive than I would have expected, even on eBay. And somehow it’s “rustic” — guessing that refers to the finish since I have a “rustic” candle holder of similar finish. However it’s described, this seems to be a common mailbox. Now I wonder if I will notice it everywhere.
Miller Woods is part of Indiana Dunes National Park. The Wolverine, Amtrak’s train from Chicago to Pontiac (and back), passes it and offers an opportunity to see ridge and swale topography.
May 16, 2021
When J and I first visited Deep River County Park a few years ago, this sign intrigued us. We’d meant to return for a game, then along came COVID-19.
At last, however, with Pfizer shots 1 and 2 in arm and appropriate passage of time, we headed over to Indiana to see the Deep River Grinders take on the Chicago Salmon in a VBBA match.
We arrived just as the game was starting, and the good-sized parking lot was beyond full. Just as we were about to give up and park at one of the other lots a good walk away, a miracle happened — someone backed out of one of the prime spots close to the field. It was meant to be.
I plopped my chair on the near side of the field — the Grinders’ side. No matter — this is supposed to be a gentlemanly sport where everyone cheers everyone, everyone’s a good sport, and breaking the rules (including spitting) earns you a fine of 25¢, paid to the game’s judge.
While J went to a nearby table with food warmers that looked like it might belong to the hot dog vendor, a woman in period costume passed out cookies. Some, not all, were giving her donations, so I did too. I have no idea what they were for.
Meanwhile, it turned out the people with the food warmers were holding a birthday party, but they told J he could have any leftovers, which we did later in the game. Eventually we spotted the hot dog truck, so we ended up with two sets of hot dogs. And a cookie. And the popcorn I’d brought.
Early on the Salmon took the lead, although the Grinders started to come back. Then the Salmon had a blowout inning from which the Grinders couldn’t recover. As the game progressed, the judge (not umpire), sporting the town dress of a man of business, kept an eye on things (no doubt hoping to earn a 25¢ fine or two). He was drinking from what I thought was a beer bottle, which seemed out of place, but it turns out you can wash your hot dog down with sarsaparilla. I figured that out too late to get one.
For the seventh inning stretch, the teams performed a musical number from which we found out tidbits of trivia about many of the players.
Several times during the game, an alert sound popped up on someone’s phone. I was puzzled as the weather looked stable. I overheard that they weren’t weather alerts, but, sadly, Amber Alerts. At some point she turned the volume down, they stopped, or she left.
The game had started at 2 p.m. and ended before 4 p.m. There’s not much time wasted between pitches, batters, or innings.
After the game, some players stayed behind to practice with any interested children. One girl who looked to be about three or four years old hit the ball (with some help) and toddled around the bases (with some help). I wonder if she’ll remember that in 20 years. No doubt there’s video if she doesn’t.
While returning from Indiana Dunes today, I looked for the Interstate Inn off the I-90 on ramp. A quick glimpse left me with the impression it was gone. I was not wrong. It was demolished in June.
There’s some background about the inn at Lost Indiana.
Added July 12, 2020: The sign remains, much worse for the wear of the past two years.
Last year’s Maple Sugar Time at Chellberg Farm was not productive. The daytime temperatures were too cold for maple sap to run. I remember someone saying they used water in the sugar shack — there wasn’t enough (or any?) sap for the demonstration. It was still fun and informative, even without the star attraction — maple sap.
This year’s a different story. Maple sap is pouring out of the sugar maples — literally. This extractor was filling every five to six minutes. At 2 p.m., the tub was about one-third full. By 4 p.m., it was nearly two-thirds full.
The warm air, sunshine, and freely flowing sap gave the day and everyone involved energy. We had our traditional Lions Club breakfast at 2, then checked out all the stations on the trail to the farmhouse.
After picking up some goodies (maple syrup, maple cream, maple water, and an Indiana Dunes National Park mug), we also visited Chellberg Farm’s current animal helpers, starting with Belgian team Bill and Jack.
After a stop at the Schoolhouse Shop and Tiger Lily’s for dinner, time to go home and rest my own sap.
January 5, 2020, at Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center
Remember the little bird who used to tell you things before anyone else did? One must have told J. that January 5, 2020, was National Bird Day, with a 10 a.m. activity at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center.
Together with several families, we helped to fill the many feeders, logs, and hollow stumps behind the Nature Center with safflower, sunflower, and thistle seeds; peanuts; and other goodies. I was sure the presence of many people clomping around would deter the birds until we went back in, but several hung around in the trees overlooking the feeder area, and the bolder chickadees came in to see what was going on (or to make sure we were doing our jobs).
After breakfast at Third Coast Spice Cafe, a shopping interlude at Molly Bea’s, and a stop at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, we returned to take photos and for part 2 of National Bird Day — bird bingo. It didn’t take long to spot a cardinal, a titmouse, and a nuthatch eating upside down. The elusive square was held by the Cooper’s hawk. The staff told us they see one perhaps once a week. That no doubt puts a damper on the feeder activity.
After taking more photos, we settled into the very good little library at the nature center, which has books for kids and books on animals, nature, local history, and art. It’s a gem of a resource which I don’t often see in use.
After I spent more than I should (as usual) at the Schoolhouse Shop, we ended National Bird Day with half-price veggie pizza at Villa Nova in Chesterton. Mmmm. No chicken.
December 8, 2019, at Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center
I’m a little slow but one day years ago when I saw a woodpecker at Promontory Point I realized there are two in the field guides that look very similar — the downy and the hairy. One is smaller but I could never remember which.
Smaller isn’t a good field sign if you haven’t seen both and you’re not sure of the relative proportions.
On a July 2018 visit to Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center, two woodpeckers happened to land on opposite sides of the same feeder, facing each other. In that moment, I couldn’t miss the most obvious differences between the two, despite the similarity (mostly) of their plumage.
The downy is quite diminutive when seen across from his larger cousin, the hairy. More than that, the downy sports a delicate stub of a bill compared to the hairy’s railroad spike — the bill is almost the length of the hairy’s head.
Finally I got it. I will not have trouble identifying either again. There are other differences, but that bill is the most obvious. Now I have in mind: “downy=diminutive” — body size and bill.
As a side note, the downy is the one you’re more likely to see at your typical suburban bird feeder. I can’t be sure at this late date, but the downy is likely the one my dad fed with free suet from the local butcher.
According to Audubon, the hairy requires larger trees and is less likely to show up at suburban feeders or city parks. I’ve seen enough of them at the nature center to know that area (and their feeders) suit the hairy just fine.
I loved many things about where I grew up, like the bird feeders hanging from the wild cherry trees out my parents’ back window. My mother was exceptionally fond of black-capped chickadees, the clowns among snowbirds. Blue jays annoyed my mother because they drove off the chickadees and smaller birds.
The folks at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center seem to have solved this. The smaller finches and snowbirds gather at a tube feeder, while the blue jays and cardinals share tray feeders with gray squirrels (the red squirrels tend to stay on the ground or on the log trough feeders). That’s not to say chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice don’t use the tray feeders, just not at the same time as jays or squirrels.
As corvids, related to crows, jays leave little doubt as to when they’re in the area. The Nature Center is equipped with outdoor microphones to bring the soothing sounds of running water, leaves rustling, and bird chatter indoors. You can be sitting there in a trance, enjoying the peace and small sounds of nature when:
JAY! JAY! JAY!
You’re jarred to consciousness by screeching that’s already loud and further amplified until it sounds like there’s a blue jay in your ear canal. I’ve been known to fly out of my seat almost as quickly as the smaller birds fly off the feeders.
Except the birds on the tube feeders—they can munch on unbothered. If my parents had only known.