Monday, June 30, 2008

Handwoven Baskets by Betty

Notice anything unusual about this basket?

Look into the very center. There is a deer antler woven in.

Betty Bain of Selma is a master at her trade and has some of the most beautiful and unique baskets that I have seen anywhere. She displayed her craft at Artisans' Day recently.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alabama: One Big Front Porch

"Alabama, they say, is like one big front porch where folks gather on summer nights to tell tales and to talk family."

That's how the intro begins to Selma author Kathryn Tucker Windham's book, "Alabama: One Big Front Porch," and boy, does my well-worn copy bring back memories!

I miss my old front porch...the one I grew up on...a wrap-around with gingerbread trim, a swing beneath a cupola and a hammock on the side screen porch. We even had electric lights and fans out there, and it was where we gathered at night to cool off, play dominoes, drink lemonade, eat homemade ice cream and tell tales.

On hot days, I would spend the afternoon in the hammock reading "Nancy Drew" or sitting on the porch shelling butterbeans with my brothers as we told jokes. During summers of the 60s, we could sit on the porch behind the giant azaleas and not be noticed as we watched Civil Rights demonstrations across the street at the courthouse. It's where we sat on election night waiting results of the vote and where we watched hometown parades and state campaign rallies.

Oh, the stories I could write from my front porch education!
Did you grow up on a porch?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pettus Bridge in Pasta

More pasta art from Vernon Spicer!
This depiction of the Edmund Pettus Bridge was on display last weekend at the Children's Rehabilitation Center art fair. It looks like a painting, but it is made entirely of painted pasta.

The bright spots near the top are just a reflection of the ceiling lights.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Four Seasons Skywatch

How 'bout painted skies for Skywatch Friday?

This painting is such a good depiction of the four seasons of the Old South Black Belt...a light dusting of snow in winter, cotton picking in the fall, baptisms in the creek during summer and moss-laden oak trees in spring.

The artist, Don Coley of Marion, grew up on a Perry County farm and later spent some years with carnivals and the circus. He's a self-taught folk artist who now owns Roselane Antiques and Gardens where he sells antiques, art and flowers.

His biography says, "Stop by sometime, and he will tell you the rest of the story."

Coley was among artists from the Marion Art Guild who displayed their works at Artisans' Day in Selma.

Check the other Skywatch photos at Wiggers' World.
(Thanks, Tom!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Prison Chimney?

There aren't many structures left in the ghost town of Cahawba, but this old chimney is among them. The marker shows an engraving of the former Cahaba Federal Prison, which shows a chimney. Since the prison was located here, experts have wondered if the chimney was part of it. However, some believe it was built at a much later date.

The prison was an unfinished warehouse intended for cotton and housed hundreds of Union prisoners during the War Between the States. Among vermin and other unpleasantries, they also endured a flood.

Finally, in March 1865, many were freed through a prisoner exchange, and they boarded steamboats headed north toward home. But on April 27, almost 700 of these former prisoners perished in the Mississippi River near Memphis when a boiler exploded on the steamship
Sultana. That explosion remains the worst domestic maritime disaster in U.S. history.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Beloit Connection

Shall we gather at the Beloit Community Center for a history lesson about the first Christian school for African Americans in Dallas County?

It was here...formerly founded as the Beloit Industrial Institute in 1888. A Presbyterian missionary from Wisconsin established the school and founded Beloit, named for his alma mater, Beloit College, in his home state.

The historic marker in front of this building states that "from 1888 to 1923, the Beloit school functioned as the intellectual, social and religious hub for the thriving Beloit community. The school was the first in Dallas County to combine agribusiness training with strong Christian teachings. In 1923, the Dallas County School Board gained legal possession of the school which they retained until 1963 when desegregation and zoning forced the closing of the school's doors. For a period of ten years, the school building was owned by a private business. In 1974 the building was purchased by the Beloit Community Organization. It now functions as a multi-purpose, community center and exists as a shining example of progress, self-reliance and community service for generations of past, present and future Alabamians. (Erected 1994 by the Beloit Community Organization) Location: Dallas County Beloit Community."

Today, there is still a relationship between the northern Beloit and the southern Beloit.
Ten years ago, The Beloit Daily News reported that "A delegation of Beloiters will take a 13-hour drive to a Beloit sister city, Beloit, Alabama; Wayne Showers will lead the excursion; he's invited the Alabama city twice and has been to some other cities named Beloit."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Prime Property

Joe Lightsey has prime property for sale for the birds!

The Marion Junction resident says if he builds the houses, the birds will come wherever you dig a hole for the pole.

There's the Big Red Barn for the country-minded, a steeple-topped church for the faithful and a primitive log cabin for old timers.

Some of the tin he uses for roofs is from an old wheelwright shop near Orrville, and some of the wood is from an old catchpen that was located at the Black Belt Agricultural Experiment Station at Marion Junction.

This creative carpenter also boards horses at Lightsey Stables and is in the horse- and tack- trading business. His wood creations include some really cute music boxes, one of which I own.

These birdhouses were for sale at Artisans' Day last weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Critter Print Birdhouses

What's in a fingerprint?
Flowers and trees,
Birds and bees.
Peeping chicks
and doggie tricks.
Big-eyed frogs,
Alligator "logs."
Friendly fish
and cats that swish!

These colorful birdhouses were fingerprint-painted by children enrolled in the Special Preschool Education Center (SPEC) at the Easter Seals' rehabilitation center in Selma. They were for sale at the Artisans' Day fundraiser.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lessons from the Best

You're never too young, too modern or too high-tech to learn an old technique!
The famous Quilters of Gees Bend graciously shared their quilting knowledge with this young Selmian at Artisans' Day on Saturday. The event was sponsored by Easter Seals West Central Alabama Rehabilitation Center, and proceeds helped fund SPEC (Special Education Preschool Center). Numerous arts and crafts were for show and sale, and along with the quilters, other demonstrations included pasta art, basket weaving, percussion techniques, wire art and pottery. There was a silent auction and plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs enjoyed beneath the shade trees.

(These are the same quilters who recently were visited by presidential candidate John McCain during his Time for Action Tour. You can view that video HERE.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tin Man Art at the Bookstore

The folk art sculptures of TheTin Man (Charlie Lucas) can be found all over Selma. Guest photographer Lucy Battle, formerly of Selma, found these at Everyman Bookstore on Martin Luther King Street. I'm trying to figure out what the different scrap materials are. Of course, the hair is made of barbed wire, but do I see pieces of vinyl siding? Since I haven't checked out this bookstore yet, it is now on my list!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Late Afternoon (Skywatch Friday)

The late afternoon sun shines brightly against the red bricks of Church Street United Methodist Church. Built in 1901 after an 1899 wind storm toppled the steeple into the sanctuary, this structure has undergone several renovations. It is located at Dallas Avenue and Church Street on an acre of land set aside for churches by the Selma Land Company in 1817. The first wooden structure was built here in 1835.

Visit more Longest-Day-of-the-Year Skywatch photos at Wigger's World.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Sleeping Prophet "Slept" Here

Upstairs, in a downtown Selma building, there once was a photographer, who...when he wasn't making portraits... slept. While he slept, his mind was able to contact all time and space and Akashic Records, or so he claimed, and he became known as The Sleeping Prophet. During these trance-like states, he is said to have conducted "life readings" of people both present and distant, diagnosed and prescribed cures for their ailments, and prophesied the future, such as the U.S. Stock Market Crash of 1929 and World War II. His "abilities" presumably included communicating with the dead and learning the entire contents of a book simply by sleeping on the book.

Needless to say, Edgar Cayce was quite a controversial character!
Though he died in 1945, his "readings" still create acute disagreement.
While he was active in Selma's First Christian Church, many Christians both now and then said his psychic practices could not have been of God. The Bible's test for divine inspiration is 100 percent accuracy, and Cayce's predictions did not measure up.
Neither did his "communication" techniques. They cite Leviticus 19:31: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God."
Yet, Cayce still has followers, and they maintain his records at the Association for Research and Enlightenment.
Many other websites review Cayce's works either positively or negatively, including:
Cayce Flim-Flam
Edgar Cayce: Sleeping Prophet

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tea Time

Since Selma is known for History and Hospitality, and since I usually just post its history, today I am being hospitable and offering tea and cake! I am no Paula Deen (Bless her heart!), but I made a cake with tinted, seven-minute frosting and put colorful sprinkles on top. It is delicious with some sweet iced tea and is best when shared with friends and bloggers from around the world...Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Visitor Center at the Library

The Selma-Dallas County Public Library has converted its book sale room into the new Visitor Center at the Library. The center is open Monday through Saturday during library hours, and visitors can come in and get information, including brochures for various events, tours and specialty shopping. A video about Selma's history plays on an overhead television. The center is a project of the Chamber of Commerce, library and City of Selma. Soon, signs will go up, and the center hopes to have volunteers staff the outdoor gazebo on Sunday afternoons.
The library is located at the corner of Broad Street and Selma Avenue, next door to City Hall and across the street from the Downtowner Restaurant.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Little Baby Bluebird

Here is the reason that Papa Bluebird was on his lookout post in Sunday's photo.

He was trying to protect his little baby bluebird who was "frozen" in place. This is one of two babies that were nestled in the grass next to our house. Their parents kept urging them to get up or fly or something, although someone said they look too young to fly. They sure got out of their nest somehow though!
We noticed them when our cats kept pitching a "fit" to go out. No such thing! They weren't feasting on these sweet babes! So, we closed the curtains, left them alone, and a few hours later, the birds, including the babies, were gone. However, we noticed one of the babies sitting on the ground near one of our bluebird houses later that day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I photographed this bluebird right outside my window, perched on a cage that hopefully will soon be covered with vines of green beans. The bird is so close to me and won't even budge because he/she is on a lookout. What could he/she be looking out for?
(I'll post a picture of the answer on Monday.)

Join more Camera Critters HERE.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June Walking Tours

The Alabama Tourism Department began Saturday walking tours a few years ago, and Selma and Old Cahawba Archaeological Park are participating this year. Join the group at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library or the park visitor center at 10 a.m. You will be led on a free, one-hour entertaining tour of the past!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Blues (Skywatch Friday)

Skies above the library courtyard were blue, blue, blue on Wednesday. The crepe myrtles are just beginning to bloom, and while I sat on a bench for all of five minutes, birds took turns splashing in the fountain (that photo will be another day).
Visit more Skywatch photos over at Wigger's World.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rattlesnake Beans

Our rattlesnake beans are beginning to bloom and mature. Soon, there'll be beans for supper every day! Rattlesnake beans are a type of green snapbean that become mottled with purple as they grow. Real rattlesnakes have nothing to do with their production.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Moonpies 'n Sunflowers

Tables for the 90th birthday party of Selmian Kathryn Tucker Windham were arranged with sunflowers and baskets of Moonpies. I think these colorful tablecloths really add to the summertime celebration!

Mrs. Windham's birthday was celebrated with a "Comb Concert" June 1, followed by a New Orleans' style parade to the Performing Arts Center.

I finally got my homemade video of the event edited.
You can view the party set to the tunes of Mike Mahan and his Dixieland Band from Shelby County, Ala., in the Kathryn Tucker Windham Day Video Part 1 and KTW Day Video Part 2.

Oh, Mahan happens to be a dentist in a cabin in Brierfield who also plays in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. That's an interesting combination!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Gardenia is my favorite southern flower. Its perfumed fragrance just says Summer and Southern and Sweet! Our large gardenia bush needs pruning, but I hate to cut it back!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer at the Library

In case you are BORED with summer already, don't fret! There are plenty of things to do at the library this week. Most have age and space limits, so pick up your free tickets at the library.

Today: Balloon Magic at 10 a.m. Take home a balloon animal!
Tuesday: Petting Zoo at 10 a.m. on the library lawn. Free popsicles!
Wednesday: Open House Arts and Crafts from 10 a.m. til noon
Thursday: Archie Wade the Magician at 10 a.m.
Friday: Word Bingo at 10: a.m. for everybody

Next week, the McWane Science Center visits June 16. Daisy the Cow comes to town June 18, and there are ceramics classes for kids June 19. Get your summer calendars at the checkout desks.

Adults, don't worry! There's a tie-quilting class Tuesday, June 10, jewelry making June 17 and scrapbooking on June 24. If you like to read and discuss books, join the Summertime Book Bunch that meets every Wednesday at noon in the Kathryn T. Windham Room.

Teenagers can have fun decorating cookies with Bernice Gill June 10, and don't forget the pasta art classes coming up July 15 with Vernon Spicer.

There's so much more, and don't forget to sign up for the "Read with your Family!" Summer Reading Club. This summer, the library staff is asking families to read at least 50 books together, about one a day. Get a reading folder, coloring book and get ready to read! Be sure to enter the Best Family Reading Picture Contest.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Back to the Butterfly Garden at the School of Discovery...the common, yet exquisite daylily.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another Quiet Place

It's summer, and Selma's courtyards draw me like a magnet. This one is at the Performing Arts Center, and I briefly enjoyed its calm and quiet last Sunday during the big birthday party for Kathryn Tucker Windham. I don't think many people who came from outside Selma were even aware of this neat little retreat. Naturally, I took pictures!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bouganvilla (Skywatch Friday)

The calendar may not say SUMMER, but the bouganvilla and the clouds do!
See my bouganvilla against the night sky's Full Flower Moon HERE.

More Skywatch photos can be found at Wigger's World. Check them out!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rest for the Weary

The courtyard at St. Paul's Episcopal Church downtown invites reflection on the beauty of God's Creation and a place of rest for the weary, especially on a hot summer day!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From the Butterfly Garden

Black-eyed Susans reach for the sky at the Mallieve Breeding Butterfly Garden at the School of Discovery. These easy-to-grow Gloriosa daisies like full sun and most any kind of soil. I hope they like heat as well, because temperatures this week are in the mid-90s Fahrenheit.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All That Jazz!

Selma sounded like New Orleans Sunday afternoon as this Dixieland jazz band strolled through the street playing "When the Saints Go Marching In." It was part of the grand intro to Kathryn Tucker Windham's birthday party which I posted about on Monday. I think the banjo player's and the drummer's faces really capture the mood of the of joyful celebration! Kathryn is a Selma icon and is known far and wide. Read more about her HERE.
More info is on the Alabama Tale Tellin' site.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kathryn Tucker Windham Day

I'm making an exception and posting two photos today in honor of the 90th birthday of a very exceptional lady, Kathryn Tucker Windham.

On Sunday, Selma celebrated our National Treasure: our "Ghost Lady," nationally renowned author, storyteller, photographer and one-woman drama performer.

Her party was one for the record books, the cameras, the TV stations and the newspapers...held on the library lawn, complete with a Dixieland jazz band and New Orleans-style street parade, a comb concert and family, fans and friends who came from all over Alabama and some from around the USA.

Above, Kathryn enjoys the street parade from the library balcony, and at right, she proudly wears a birthday hat for her cake and moonpie reception at the Performing Arts Centre.

To view the slideshow, click HERE.
To read news articles about her, click HERE
and HERE.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Corner Local Shop (June Theme Day)

It's Theme Day again, and here is The Store, my corner local shop. It's where you stop to buy drinks, hamburger buns, lunch, and snacks. When the weather's nice, just take that slice of pizza and sit out at the picnic table. It's also Camera Critters Sunday, so I got both in one shot! The dog is one of two or three that greet customers on the front porch, but this one was taking a nap! Notice that this picture was taken on the day before Mother's Day, and notice the lunch specials posted on the other side of the door. The Store serves the Summerfield community and is really located on a corner.
Take a look at the all 174 City Daily Photo Blog Theme Day participants below, and go check out the Camera Critters meme too!

- Adelaide, Australia by Gordon
- Afyonkarahisar, Turkey by afyonblog
- Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen
- American Fork (UT), USA by Annie
- Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie
- Ararat, Australia by Digger
- Arradon, France by Alice
- Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine
- Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB
- Athens, Greece by Debbie
- Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar
- Austin (TX), USA by LB
- Avignon, France by Nathalie
- Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon
- Barton (VT), USA by Andree
- Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi
- Belgrade, Serbia by BgdPic
- Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA
- Bicheno, Australia by Greg
- Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah
- Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre
- Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham
- Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis
- Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt
- Budapest, Hungary by agrajag
- Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine
- Canterbury, UK by Rose
- Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne
- Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que
- Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff
- Château-Gontier, France by Laurent
- Chateaubriant, France by Bergson
- Cheltenham, UK by Marley
- Chennai, India by Shantaram
- Chennai, India by Ram N
- Chicago (IL), USA by U R us
- Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish
- Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic
- Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady
- Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow
- Edinburgh, UK by Dido
- Evry, France by Olivier
- Folkestone, UK by Clare Unsworth
- Forks (WA), USA by Corinne
- Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi
- Gainesville (FL), USA by Leah
- Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly
- Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie
- Greenville (SC), USA by Denton
- Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady
- Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi
- Hangzhou, China by Chanin
- Haninge, Sweden by Steffe
- Helsinki, Finland by Kaa
- Hobart, Australia by Greg
- Hyde, UK by Old Hyde
- Hyde, UK by Gerald
- Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon
- Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005
- Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait
- Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1
- Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin
- Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine
- Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale
- Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo
- Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944
- Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João
- Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl
- Lodz, Poland by ritalounge
- London, UK by Ham
- London, UK by Mo
- Los Angeles (CA), USA by Martha Perez
- Mainz, Germany by JB
- Manila, Philippines by Heyokity
- Melbourne, Australia by John
- Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart
- Menton, France by Jilly
- Mexico City, Mexico by Poly
- Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol
- Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg
- Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch
- Misawa, Japan by misawa mama
- Monroe (GA), USA by Tanya
- Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly
- Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann
- Monterrey, Mexico by rafa
- Moscow, Russia by Irina
- Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu
- Mumbai, India by Magiceye
- Nancy, France by yoshi
- Nashville (TN), USA by Chris
- Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben
- New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary
- New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser
- New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless
- New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •
- Norwich, UK by Goddess888
- Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie
- Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla
- Oslo, Norway by Lothiane
- Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer
- Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen
- Paris, France by Eric
- Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben
- Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea
- Perth, Australia by Elevation7
- Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay
- Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie
- Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise
- Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar
- Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam
- Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf
- Portland (ME), USA by Corey
- Posadas, Argentina by Lega
- Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03
- Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules
- Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka
- Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll
- Riga, Latvia by Fotos. Riga Photos
- Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke
- Rouen, France by Bbsato
- Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter
- Saigon, Vietnam by Simon
- Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes
- Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate
- Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric
- San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer
- San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs
- San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson
- San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache
- Seattle (WA), USA by Kim
- Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck
- Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound
- Seoul, South Korea by Phil
- Sequim (WA), USA by Norma
- Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia
- Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa
- Singapore, Singapore by Keropok
- Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia
- Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey
- Stavanger, Norway by Tanty
- Stayton (OR), USA by Celine
- Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo
- Stouffville, Canada by Ken
- Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC
- Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge
- Sydney, Australia by Ann
- Sydney, Australia by Julie
- Sydney, Australia by Sally
- Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo
- Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv
- Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga
- Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K
- Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas
- The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard
- Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine
- Torino, Italy by Fabrizio
- Torun, Poland by Torun Observer
- Torun, Poland by Glenn
- Toulouse, France by Julia
- Turin, Italy by Livio
- Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger
- Urayasu, Japan by Zono
- Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison
- Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2
- Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin
- Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich
- Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb
- West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria
- West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara
- Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto
- Willits (CA), USA by Elaine
- Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn