Sunday, November 15, 2009


It was bound to happen sooner or later. You can't live this close to the desert and not have close encounters with desert creatures, though some, I certainly prefer not to! Definitely not with the ones that can hurt you.

But....there he was.... on my bathroom floor.....a scorpion! I didn't realize that's what it was right away as I've never seen one that small. I just noticed a speck on the floor that my eye kept going back to because something didn't seem right about it. At first I thought it was just a tiny dust bunny but finally I put on my reading glasses, bent down and sure enough, a teeny, tiny scorpion.

I do mean tiny! He was no bigger than the tip of my little finger.

His size sent me into a tizzy, 'assuming' he was a hatchling and there could be more. I grabbed the first thing I could get and smashed it soundly with the back of my hairbrush. I immediately went inspecting the walls all over the house and madly vacumming the carpets. A call to my pest control company has them scheduled for spraying this week. Can't be soon enough and shame on me for not getting it done before I returned two weeks ago.

Conversations with my neighbors tell me that my fears about it being newly hatched, or however they are born, is probably unfounded as the tiny ones are just a different variety. Apparently the 'sting' of those smalls ones is much more virulent than the larger cousins. That is something I don't want to learn first hand!

My resolve not to go barefoot is revived however much I enjoy it. However, even that is not always a solution as one of my neighbors was stung while taking a shower!

I've heard it said that there is nothing in this desert that won't sting, bite or prick you. Even so, it is still beautiful here, and to enjoy it to the fullest, you just have to be careful!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


It's been a week now that I've been back to spend the winter in sunny Arizona. I've managed to unpack, mostly put things where they go, do yardwork, grocery shop and laundry. Heck, this morning I even participated in the community's annual fall Patio Sale. So it seems, this cycle of life for the next six months goes on as usual.

The weather has been wonderful, temperatures reaching into the mid-90's. Even better, there have been no rattlesnake or scorpion sightings for now! The coyotes have been much more vocal this year than last, heard them howling up a storm in the middle of the night last night. I must say, being so close to the desert here in Gold Canyon, I do really enjoy seeing the wildlife (well not the snakes and scorpions)! Today I watched some sort of very large hawk circling over head and screeching out his warning as if to say, look out little insects, rodents, etc, I'm watching you. Yesterday I scared up a bunny hiding in the neighbors brush. I am hoping that this will be the
year I actually get to see a Javelina but maybe not since they don't usually come out around here until late at night and I'm not usually outside then. Last season there were Bobcat sightings and the year before, a Mountain Lion.

Not to be forgotten, the sunsets have been beautiful and the ever alluring and mysterious Superstion Mountains are never tiresome to gaze at.

Life is good!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cornstalks in Indiana!

According to Historian Bridgie Brelsford, author of Indians of Montgomery County, Indiana, "there were three major candidates for the Peter Cornstalk who roamed the Parkersburg area". Although Brelsford fails to elaborate on the candidates, he does indicate that "contact with white settlers took place between 1822 & 1830". He adds to the story by recounting tales of Chief Peter Cornstalk teaching settlers to cure snake bites and believed that Cornstalk "warned a white family in Terre Haute that other Indians were planning to kidnap their red-haired child".

'Cornstalk' apparently was a moniker adopted by white settlers. History does in fact record another Chief Peter Cornstalk who was a Shawnee Chief from the Ohio/Kentucky area. One can even do a Google search and find the Shawnee Cornstalk on various Genweb/Ancestory sites. Historical information surrounding Chief Peter Cornstalk from Montgomery County, mentioned on the historical highway marker in Parkersburg, however, is slim.

Research indicates that the proper name of Chief Peter Cornstalk from the Montgomery County/Parkersburg area, was thought to be, 'Ah Son-song', translating to, 'Sunshine'. An 1828 treaty spelling out a land sale between the town of Thorntown and the Miami Nation of Indians shows the signature of, 'Awsawonzawgow' (which likely translates to Ah son-song) Chief of the Eel River Miami's, and is probably the same person.

In the year 1814, the Federal Government determined to classify all members of the Miami, Eel River and Wea tribes as the Miami Nation of Indians. Chief Peter Cornstalk's people, albeit tiny in number, never aspired to become labeled 'Miami Indians' and in 1847 were granted seperate status from the Miami Nation. This seperation of tribe status allowed the Eel River tribe, sometimes called, Snakefish tribe, to remain in the backwoods of Indiana while the Miami Nation was forced westward to Kansas and Oklahoma in 1846-1847. Records indicate that in 1851 there were 16 members of the Eel River Tribe living in Indiana.

Historians believe that members of Chief Peter Cornstalk's little band were migratory but chose to make their principle residence 3 miles East of Parkersburg on the banks of what is now Cornstalk Creek. Indian artifacts were found in Section 22, Scott Township, Montgomery County, on a bluff overlooking Cornstalk creek leading current day historians to believe this was most likely the location of their village. It is thought that the tribe came here in the winter for hunting and sugaring.

W. L. Anderson, Historian, reported the Eel River Tribe villages in Scott and Clark Township were deserted by 1928 however, Brelsford believed that Cornstalk and his tribe, being the migratory band that they were, still resided in the Montgomery County area for as long as 1830. Unfortunately, there is no confirmed data as to the whereabouts of Chief Peter Cornstalk and his band, after 1830.

Further research located a Cornstalk Post Office and a Peter Cornstalk creek in Howard County named for "an old Miami of the Thorntown band who lived in the vicinity". Located in the community of Burlington, Indiana, is Pete's Run Cemetery which is named for a creek running to the east side of the plot. It is thought that an Indian Burial Ground nearby the creek is the final resting place of a Chief Peter Cornstalk who died in 1938, hence the naming of the creek and subsequent cemetery.

Could this be the Chief Peter Cornstalk from Montgomery County who's migratory tribe disappeared from the area around 1830? Who knows! It's very hard to connect the historical dots between fact and fiction when you weren't there to experience it yourself!

Note - The Eel River Tribe is alive and well in Indiana today. For more information please visit their website at:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Lesson in Indiana History-Part 2

If you've never driven through a covered bridge, you really should try it sometime.

Stopping in the middle and viewing the rough hewn beams and timbers can evoke images of a time long past. As we drove our Jeep through the bridge to the other side, I found myself wondering how many horse drawn buggies of yesteryear had clip-clopped over this sturdy old monument to history. I could imagine barefoot kids with picnic baskets and cane poles headed to Cornstalk creek to fish or play in the water on a hot summer day. Maybe Chief Peter Cornstalk and his people had even caught fish in this very creek? It was supposedly named for him. I was even beginning to think that maybe there really had been a Chief Peter Cornstalk after all!

Continuing on our journey, the country gravel road followed the creek twisting and turning for a while. To our left, fields of corn and beans were starting to turn golden for the upcoming fall harvest. We soon found ourselves at the proverbial fork in the road and had to decide which way to go. Should we veer slightly to the left and stay on what we learned was Cornstalk road or do we go right, which looked every bit as inviting. It didn't seem a hard decision as we both felt drawn to the left and with that, decided our muse was telling us to 'stay the course' and so we did.

Within no time we came upon a small wooded and somewhat overgrown meadow. Had the roadside frontage not been cared for and mowed, we might have missed another opportunity to visit history. There, not but a few feet from the road stood a small marker identifying the Cornstalk Cemetery, established, 1829.The temptation to explore the old gravestones was too great. The thought of tromping through weeds, poison ivy, burrs and stickers could not deter me from getting a closer look. I must admit though, the idea of slithery, crawly things hiding in those weeds did make me pause,
but not for long! I wanted to explore what was there.

Headstones of five Civil War Veterans from the Indiana and Virginia infantries


Look closely in the weeds toward the back of the picture and you will see headstones standing tall next to the trees and in the streaming sunlight

Grave stone of infant Mary Graybill, 4 months, 13 days
Died 1841


The largest and most ornate headstone in the plot. Dates on most markers were from the early to mid 1800's

As we wandered through the weeds and grave markers in the eerily quiet solitude of the place, one could only wonder about the people buried in this somewhat forgotten glen.
Who were they, what had their lives been like?

Although the stones we found in the Cornstalk Cemetery most certainly were those of settlers from the area, it made me more curious than ever to get home and Google Chief Peter Cornstalk. Who was he?

I'm guessing that my next Blog post will have something to do with that very subject!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Lesson in Indiana History-Part 1

Sunday, Sept. 20th, was not a particularly unusual day, except maybe to me since it was the 2nd anniversary of my 28th birthday! To everyone else, it was just a gloomy pre-fall day with the threat of rain in the air.

With no particular plans for the day, I decided I wanted to hop in the Jeep and just drive. You know, head out for no where special in mind and see what the day brings. We like to call it, "following our muse". Maybe we would find a unique antiques store or some out of the way dive to eat lunch, who knows! It's something we like to do and unknown adventures are always around the next corner. Little did we know this adventure would turn into a history lesson!

Leaving the house and heading west on State Rd. 47 we breezed through Thorntown. Living only 10 or so minutes away, we weren't too interested in stopping as next weekend is the annual Festival of the Turning Leaves and we will likely end up there anyway. For information on this quaint little festival, visit the website at: You will also find some interesting facts about the town's birth. The Festival is a great event for families and only a short drive north and west of Indianapolis.

Following State Road 47 out of Thorntown led us through some beautiful rolling farm land. Lovely grand old homes, horses a'plenty and we were even surprised to see a couple of longhorn cattle. A few miles out of town, we spied a sign announcing a community called Darlington. Never having been there, and since it's not even on the map, we couldn't resist and veered off to the right. At first we weren't certain we'd made a good decision as the first thing we came to was a stately old cemetery, with five of the largest crows I've ever seen standing guard over several tombstones. It was a Kodak moment for sure and wouldn't you know, I hadn't brought my camera.

Despite the seemingly good sized cemetery, the community of Darlington is charming, albeit small. Unable to locate a diner or cafe or actually, anything that was open, we moved on. As we left the quiet little burg we were surprised to find a beautiful covered bridge on the outskirts of town. Built in 1866 and 166 feet long, the bridge did not appear accessible by car. We chose not to get out and walk down to visit the bridge, our muse seemed to be pushing us on.

If you are thinking about visiting the Thorntown Festival,
a quick side trip to visit this historical bridge in Darlington would make for a great family outing

Leaving Darlington and passing through Crawfordsville, we continued our trek down St. Rd 47 and somewhere between there and the unincorporated community of Parkersburg, the sun came out. A historical marker on the side of the road caught our attention so we stopped to check it out. Nearby this marker there is also a sign pointing out a natural spring that was established in 1822.

The historical marker was quite interesting! Chief Peter Cornstalk??? Never heard of him! I remember learning about the Miami tribe of Indians when I was in school, but not this particular Chief. Was it a joke, a name someone made up??? Surely not as this information was prominently displayed on a Montgomery County Historical Marker.

It was disappointing that the sign mentioned the Indian villiage had been only 3 miles from the spot but gave no further direction as to East, West, North or South. As we continued on our journey, I determined to Google the Chief when I got home and was certain I would never find information to support the marker.

Just after driving through Parkersburg (and not blinking) a road sign appeared telling us that Racoon, Indiana was just off the beaten path to our left. Suddenly our muse kicked into high gear and we were off like a shot. At the time we had NO idea why we felt compelled to check out this supposed town named after a furry Indiana native but we did. We are not sure if we ever really drove though Racoon, Indiana. If we did, all that was there were a few houses, some occupied, some abandoned.

The paved road we were on came to a abrupt end and we found ourselves sailing down a gravel path that looked, for all the world, more like a private drive than a public road. Normally a gravel road would not have been our choice no matter what our muse was saying but that's because we typically have the top off the Jeep on our adventures. Not this day though and we forged ahead. We wound our way past farms, trees and hills when all of a sudden around the next bend we came face to face with a covered bridge. Not a bridge we had to get out and walk to in order to visit, but a real covered bridge we could drive over! I yelled "stop" to my pilot as by now I realized I had my camera phone with me and nothing was going to keep me from capturing a shot.

To my amazement another marker declared the bridge and the creek passing under it, named for Chief Peter Cornstalk. This sign having been placed there by the Putnam County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The creek, Cornstalk Creek, had a small measure of water flowing down it's banks with a few floating fall colored dappled leaves dotting the top of the water here and there.

I'm going to stop my adventure here for now and will post Part 2 shortly. Don't want to bore anyone with such a long tale and besides, it's late and am having trouble keeping my eyes open! I hope you will stay tuned for Part 2 as the adventure became even more interesting after we passed through the Cornstalk Bridge! You won't want to miss it.

About Me!

I set up this blog back in June I think and that's as far as it went. I am such a perfectionist that I couldn't make myself sit down and write about anything because I wasn't sure I'd get it right or what should I write about that someone would want to read AND somebody might read it so it has to be right....right?

Well today I decided enough is enough and I'm just going to get started. I'm not perfect (of course I 'think' I should be!) so my blog shouldn't have to be either! So we shall see what comes out. To get going, I'm going to jump in and tell you a little about me.

I was raised in the country in the middle of Indiana. Farm country. My dad worked a full-time job, a couple of part-time jobs and he also farmed on the side. Mom worked at home raising all 4 kids. We kids grew up running around the acres, getting dirty so mom had plenty of work to do and probably wreaking more havoc than either of our parents thought necessary! We played and worked from dawn til dusk. My 3 brothers helped dad with the farming. I didn't, I was just 'a girl' and women's lib hadn't hit the newstands and tv's yet. A bone of contention with me that I didn't realize until later in life, but that's a whole other story!

My 'farm' job was to feed the sheep, my ponies and later, my horse. Of course, being the girl, housework was always included. One of my favorite memory's was getting to ride in the big red grain truck to the elevator on Saturdays whenever there was a load to sell. I loved it! I remember the dusty smell, the noisy sparrows rushing in to get their share of the goods! The best part was getting a coke out of the machine. Back then, cokes were sold out of those machines for a dime I think and were bottled in glass, not cans like we have today! If we were lucky OR good (not sure what the criteria was) we'd get to bring home bakery goods that sat on the table all morning to be enjoyed by us and anyone stopping by.

I have lots of stories I could tell about growing up on the farm but then I'd be here all day so I think I will fast forward to today and save some of those early memory's for another time. Suffice it to say that I believe you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl. And that's me. I grew up, got married, moved to town, had kids, moved back to the country and here I am. I've lived the majority of my life, except for maybe 8 or 9 years, in the country. Consequently, I'm pretty sure that many of the stories that I hope to write on this blog will have something to do with my rural roots!

Thanks for stopping by!
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