Friday, January 26, 2007


After writing last night's post, I thought it might be a good idea to take the girls to Big Bone Lick State Park. (Anyone else snicker at that name?)
Oh, I had lofty goals. Show the girls some nature, do some birding. I enticed the girls into getting excited about the trip (140 miles total) by telling them that there were buffalo there.

three deer
The first thing we saw coming into the park was a trio of deer.
big bone sign
The sign at the visitor's center: This site, full of bones and teeth from mastadons, etc, is heralded as the "beginning of vertabrate paleontology in North America". There's a quote from Benjamin Franklin on this sign. He called it "The great licking place".
Basically, the saline/sulfur springs attracted large mammals of the time and the boggy soil trapped them and they sunk to their deaths. Hence the multitude of bones. I was lucky that I have such a nasty cold and can't smell a thing...I remember quite a stench from past visits.
bison sign
There is also a bison breeding program. These big guys were once common in this area, but settlement and hunting destroyed them.
bison fuzz
After a long walk in the mud, we found them.

bison 1

young ones playing
These two young ones were play-fighting, which sent the girls into hysterics (after I explained what the bison were doing).
girls and herd

eye of the beholder
You can see the reflection of the girls' coats in this big, beautiful eye. I couldn't resist scratching their surprisingly soft noses.
The girls fell into a rather large puddle of mud coming back to the parking lot. This did not go well with Lorelei. (Isabelle isn't too picky about such things). I had to use my jacket to clean Lorelei's hands off. (She went down on all fours, and her hands sunk up to her wrists)
not a happy camper
She was not a happy camper. She had fallen asleep just as we were pulling into the park, and you DO NOT wake her from a nap, if you value your sanity. Add a runny nose from the cold, and you end up with a very messy kid.
stolen moments
Before coming back home, we wandered the Kentucky countryside. Did you know that there is a town there called Rabbit Hash???? And a place called...wait for it....
Beaver Lick
. I kid you not.
mary ingles ingalls sign
A sign about Mary Ingalls (or Ingles...I have seen it spelled both ways). What an awesome lady. She lived to be 83!
leaning house
Is it me, or is this house a bit lopsided?
fishing gas
Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what "fishing gas" is?
mary statue
On the Interstate home, we passed an exit that Mom had pointed out to me when I was younger. I had never been up this particular hill, but today, I decided to see it for myself.
When my Mom was 9 (1951), her father died. My grandmother was forced to work full time, and with 4 children still at home (the 2 oldest were out of the house by then), she had no choice but to send her youngest kids to an orphanage. They stayed there during the week, and if my memory serves me, they could come home some weekends. My youngest aunt, who I didn't even know existed until about 10 years ago, was adopted by the secretary of my grandfather. I have never met members have tried to bring her into the family, but she refused. God knows what she was told about all of this.
The other kids were eventually allowed to come home, but the damage was already done to an extent. There was always a strain between my Mom and grandmother. But my grandmother is not the villain here. The woman started out as a cleaning lady, and by the time she retired, was head of payroll in Covington, KY. She worked hard, temporarily gave away her children so they could be taken care of.
orphanage 1
I had never seen this orphanage except for speeding by it on the highway, until today. It's a clean, orderly-looking place, but it's sad. Very, very sad. Isabelle and Lorelei asked me what this place was, and I said it was an orphanage. They know what that means from the movie "The Rescuers". And they were properly awed and saddened by it.


Shannon said...

FYI - A year or so ago Rabbit Hash had an election for Mayor. A Black Lab and a Pig ran. I believe that the Dog won, as the Pig has already served 1 term.

Susan Gets Native said...

You're right...I had forgotten to add that.
Kentucky is WEIRD.

Mary said...

Too much licking going on in this post. Tee hee!

Your girls are getting a good "home schooled" education. They're lucky. Sorry about the puddle incident that put Lorelei over the edge :)

Very good post, Susan. Your stories are great.

NatureWoman said...

What the heck were they thinking when they named it Big Bone Lick State Park? OMG. Phew. Okay, I'll behave now.
Okay, I can't behave "the great licking place." OMG again.
Cool, a bog - I love bogs - I'm planning on visiting a bog this summer for all of the cool plants.
Coooool buffalo - they're so interesting. There used to be a buffalo farm near where I grew up.
Oh, now it gets worse again. Beaver lick? What the heck kind of place did you visit girlfriend?
Cool sign about Mary Ingles!
Does anyone live in that there house on stilts?
Fishing gas - so that's what those bubbles are that come to the water surface. Fish farts.
Oh, I'm so sorry about your aunt. I have had relatives I didn't know either. It sucks. I can't believe your grandmother went through something similar to my grandmother. I'll have to blog about it sometime. Orphanages are so sad. I definitely want to take all of those children home with me, if only I could.

Susan Gets Native said...

You're bad. Unschoolers can bite me.
Every place name there seemed to have the word LICK in it.

I know...what a place...a dirty mind's paradise.
I don't think anyone lived in the crooked house. It's like someone just PARKED it there.
My aunt: My Mom says that she saw her once on a city bus, and it was like looking in a mirror. I would like to meet this aunt...maybe her kids look like my cousins, brother, and me?

The Swami said...

Swamette has forbidden Swami from making any comments that relate to the place names.

I am allowed to say that it is any interesting post even without considering the location names.

And even a muddy face cannot obscure cuteness.

Ruth said...

My grandmother had to be placed in an orphanage too by her mother because of similar circumstances. There was no welfare or social network to help widowed mothers.
At the risk of offending your vegetarian readers...we buy bison meat at the market. It is very lean and delicious.
I think there must be two Mary Ingles (alls). Mary Ingalls was the blind sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie books. Mary died at age 63 and her sister Laura lived until 90.

katdoc said...

Susan: Yes, "Big Bone Lick" always makes me giggle, but I never heard of "Beaver Lick," which makes me blush!

Shannon: I, too thought of the dog who was voted mayor of Rabbit Hash when I read this post. I didn't know about him running against the pig, though.

Ruth: Mary Ingles (Follow the River) is not the same as Mary Ingalls (Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister.) The woman who escaped the Shawnee lived much earlier in history than the one that lived in the little house on the prairie (or in the woods.) It is confusing, though, isn't it?

Great stories!


Susan Gets Native said...

Most of you probably missed my comment on the post below:
Laura Ingalls was a direct descendent of Mary Ingalls Draper, the woman I have been writing about.

vicki said...

Oo-ooh! (Hand up in air, waving frantically!) I know what fishing gas is! All the bubbas out at our former little cottage in Michigan had it.

This post is delightful- so newsy. You know Susan, you need to print these posts out and bind them because it's a history for the girls. They are going tohave very fond memories of a mother who took them to see birds and bison instead of junk at the mall.

I felt bad for Lorelei with the mud. Sad little dirty face. I bet she was a much happier camper after a warm bath.

I'm off to Laura's for Planets- all the best folks are usually there on Saturday mornings.

Beth the cousin said...

Interesting post, Susan. I'm glad you took a picture of the orphanage.

NatureWoman said...

Aha, I figured there was a connection between Mary and Laura. How weird for your Mom to see her sister, huh? So many family stories, aren't there?

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin to comment-
Big Bone Lick...giggle
The great licking place...snicker
Beaver Lick...tears squirt out of my eyes laughing!
Stolen Moments...OK- Give 'em BACK!!
Bison scare me. Too big, too powerful.
Poor Lorelei looks so sad.
Don't lean on the house.
Fishing gas=fish farts! Oh sure. Pam beat me to that one!
The 2 youngest of my Dad's siblings were raised by relatives. Times were hard, money and jobs scarce during the depression and he said it was not uncommon for families to be split up. Your Grandmother did what she had to do to keep her kids fed and sheltered. Horrible circumstances, painful decision. I wonder if that aunt will ever be able to forgive her. So sad.

beckperson said...

Susan, our mutual grandmotheer was one tough cookie, eh? Just as a sidenote my mother once told me that the only time she ever saw Grammy cry was one Thanksgiving when Uncle Charlie wasn't allowed to leave the orphanage to visit the family for the holiday because he had been naughty. Leave it to the nuns to make a person weep, eh?

From what I understand about Grammy's life, there were plenty of times she should have simply given up, but she seemed to always simply tough it out and I hope some of that determination has been passed down to all of us. (I think it's amazing that you went to the orphanage...I had no idea such places still existed - I figured kids were put in foster homes these days.)

Isn't the Mary Alice story the spookiest? I can't remember when we heard about it, but it has always been a family mystery that will always remain unresolved.


Ruth said...

Thanks for straightening out the Lauras and Marys for me!