North Alabama Tornadoes

Hi Everyone,

We have survived the weather fine with no damage to our home, so far. It looks like it’s not going to be as bad tonight as it was last night.

Last night was totally nuts. I’ll have to tell you about it when I get some photos. I’ll try to get some tomorrow, as long as I don’t get in the way of clean-up crews, families going to their damaged homes, or emergency vehicles.

Also, I’ve got a writing deadline to meet. If I have a chance I’ll post about dealing with the tornadoes that tore through the Tennessee Valley.

Talk to you soon!
Stephanie

Helen Keller’s Home

Ivy Green, Helen Keller's Birthplace.

Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s Birthplace.

When I was growing up in rural south Alabama, Helen Keller was one of my heroes.  I read a book about her when I was in elementary school.  When I finshed the last page and had looked at the photos for a long period of time, I would flip back to the start and read it all over again.  I admired her that much and enjoyed the book that much.

Which is why I was delighted to buy Princess Buttercup a similar book when we visited Helen Keller’s birthplace last week.  

American Flag at entrance to Ivy Green.

American Flag at entrance to Ivy Green.

It was a wonderful trip for the kids, who have Alabama history this year.  

I had visited Helen Keller’s home years and years ago when I taught school.

This time was much more fun because I was passing a part of me down to my own daughter.

The name of the Keller estate is Ivy Green.  It is located in the charming northwest Alabama town of Tuscumbia.

The crisp, white clapboard house was built in 1820 on 640 acres of Keller land.  

Side of house and view of cottage where Anne Sullivan took Helen.

Side of house and view of cottage where Anne Sullivan took Helen.

Helen Keller was born without a disability in the late 1800s.  It was 19 months later that she contracted the illness that left her completely deaf and blind.

Her parents, as you can well imagine, were devastated and desperate to find help for their daughter as she grew into a completely wild and unmanageable child.  The help came in the form of Helen’s would-be teacher, the indomitable Anne Sullivan, who became Helen’s conduit to communicating to the world.  

My eyes get misty, just thinking about it.  Essentially, Helen had been trapped in her own mind and body until Ms. Sullivan came along.  

Amazing enough and with the help of Ms. Sullivan, Helen went on to graduate cum laude from Radcliffe College.  Her worldwide fame as a spokeswoman for the blind and deafblind, a lecturer, and humanitarian went on from there.  She became known as America’s First Lady of Courage.

Helen and Anne.

Helen and Anne.

Me, my the famous water pump.  I can't believe that we got to touch it!

Me, my the famous water pump. I can’t believe that we got to touch it!

Huge oak in front yard.   Probably was around when Helen lived here.

Huge oak in front yard.
It may have been around when Helen lived here.

signs

plaque

Organ in parlor.

Organ in parlor.

Side of kitchen/cook's house.

Side of kitchen/cook’s house.

Helen and Mrs. Keller's clothing in wardrobe.  Upstairs bedroom.

Helen and Mrs. Keller’s clothing in wardrobe. Upstairs bedroom.

Sculpture of Helen and her famous water pump.

Sculpture of Helen and famous water pump.

The Hundred-Year-Old Dogwood

pink_dogwood2A few years ago, the city of Huntsville was going to build a road across one of the mountains.

Well, they found this really old Dogwood tree in their way and no one wanted to destroy it to build the road.

So they found a tree mover somewhere near Dallas, TX and got an estimate of how much it would cost to move it to the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

It was a lot, but school kids across the county donated money to get the Dogwood moved.

It was moved to the botanical garden, where it lived and bloomed for several years before it finally died.

Well guess what?

Here's one of the Hundred-Year-Old Dogwood's babies, right in my back yard!

Here’s one of the Hundred-Year-Old Dogwood’s babies, right in my back yard!

At the Huntsville Botanical Garden’s annual spring plant sale, they sold several of the little saplings from the Hundred-Year-Old Dogwood…

And I bought one a couple of years ago for about $30!

It had one little white blossom on it this year, and it’s thriving in our back yard.

Dogwoods are some of my favorite trees, and they bloom all over the state of Alabama.

I took a few shots of the Dogwoods. They are just passed their prime in North Alabama.

White Dogwood in Madison, Alabama.

White Dogwood in Madison, Alabama.

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Pink Dogwood in Madison, Alabama.

Pink Dogwood in Madison, Alabama.

Happy Easter!

Easter_bunny_dressHope you all enjoy the photos that I took that have an Easter theme. Happy Easter, and enjoy the beautiful sunshine!

Note: The children’s clothing and window displays were taken at Snapdragon Kids–113 W. Washington Street, Athens, Alabama.

Princess Buttercup's Easter shoes.

Princess Buttercup’s Easter shoes.

Easter_window_display2

Easter_window_display

Peeps at itsugar.com in Bridge Street Town Center.  Huntsville, Alabama

Peeps at itsugar.com in Bridge Street Town Center. Huntsville, Alabama

Easter_bunnies

bunnies2

Our dining table.

Our dining table.

bunnies

Adorable Easter dress.

Adorable Easter dress.

A local Athens lady makes this to sell.  Isn't it enchanting?

A local Athens lady makes this to sell. Isn’t it enchanting?

Detail of white tulle dress.

Detail of white tulle dress.

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House in Athens, Alabama, all decked out for Easter.

House in Athens, Alabama, all decked out for Easter.