Category Archives: Sculpture

Eye Spy Summer!

Eye spy

The eyeball is by far the most popular sculpture at Laumeier

Eye see you!

The Spy was not too enthused to take a trip to Laumeier Sculpture Park, and he had never even been before!

And I quote:

“I’d rather see animals than sculptures made by hippies.”

Bahahahahah

But of course he enjoyed the visit, even choosing his favorite sculpture:

This one was my favorite of the day

This one is a preview of a deer exhibit coming in August (and see what I did there with the perspective?)

The gallery is very cool

Hair sculpture! (too much of a stretch?)

Spy Garden Sculpture! (I rebuilt the teepee)

Dill and garlic in the foreground; and lots of it

The tomatoes are looking very healthy (foreground)

Scapes already!

And it wouldn’t be memorial day weekend without water, right?!

Wooo summer!

Baby earned her swim band by swimming 25 METERS all by herself!!! Now she can go on the waterslides!!! yeah!

He is loving his new team and has had A LOT of games!!

This is where we hiked a few weeks ago, now it is so flooded!

Walking (and running) along the levee

Life moves fast and if you don’t take time to enjoy the flora and fauna you might Egret it!

The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

In the summer of 1941, Missouri was in the midst of a rather severe drought. A drought so intense, it not only dropped the rivers and streams above ground, but the water table itself also depleted. At that time, the main level of Meramec Caverns seemed to ‘dead end’ at a wall with a small pool of water spilling out below. With the drop of the water table, the pool of water below the wall receded nearly six inches and allowed a cool, breeze to push into the cave between the wall’s bottom and top of the water. Les Dill was alerted of this change by his cave guides, and, being the adventurous man he was, Dill elected to go under the wall, through the water, and see what was on the other side. Once past the wall, Les was opened to yet another large area of branching networks…even more cave. It was here, too, Les found the artifacts traceable to the infamous Jesse James and the cave was dubbed ‘Jesse James Hideout’. (from Meramec Caverns website)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

Disco ball in the ballroom

Disco ball in the ballroom

The 1890’s brought a new era of human interaction to the cave. During that time, locals from Stanton, MO would hold ‘cave parties’ during summer months to avoid the extreme heat. Meramec Caverns was especially popular for these types of events, as a very large room lie just 300 feet inside the cave entrance. The room was large enough to accommodate big crowds, as well as a 50 foot by 50 foot dance floor in the center. This earned the room the nickname of the ‘Ballroom’. Meramec Caverns, then known as Saltpeter Cave, was purchased in 1898 by Charles Ruepple, and he headed a dance committee along with other local men from Stanton. Dancing continued through the 1890’s and spilled over into 1900, but it would be another 33 years before the most significant event in the cave’s history. (from Meramec Caverns website)

“Onyx Mountain” one of the largest stalagmites in the world (the other 2 largest are in China and New Zealand) You can see people’s heads in the bottom of the photo to get an idea of scale.

The

The “living side” of Onyx Mountain touching the “ceiling”; the other side is cut off from a water supply so is no longer “growing”

Not the greatest picture but this part of

Not the greatest picture but this part of “Onyx Mountain” has one large section that is all calcium deposits and was very white.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

Very hard to take pictures in a cave! As we progressed on the tour the lights behind us were shut off so we had to keep up with the “good lighting” to get pictures!. Its hard to even tell what color some of the rocks actually were because of the warmth of the light.

In the

In the “wine room”

The

The “wine room” (because these formations look like grapes)

Lots of grape-like clusters

Lots of grape-like clusters

Tall ceiling

Tall ceiling

Columns, posts and pillars

Columns, posts and pillars

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Lester Benton Dill, born in 1898, spent the majority of his youth exploring caves in the Meramec River Valley. Les began his cave promotion days with a small cave in Meramec State Park, known as Fisher’s Cave. Though Fisher’s Cave was exciting to work with, Les wanted more and in 1933 he approached Charles Ruepple about the prospect of purchasing his cave. Mr. Dill’s sole interest in the cave was to develop it into a show cave and allow it to be entertainment for the public. Charles was reluctant at first, but soon agreed to sell the cave to Les. Les changed the name from Saltpeter Cave to Meramec Caverns and quickly began promoting and offering cave tours to the public. (from Meramec Caverns website)

Meramec Caverns is still owned by descendants of the Dill family and it definitely has a unique “throw-back” feel to it.

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

Panning for gold! (not really)

Panning for gold! (not really)

They also had a few shops and a zip line activity, but we were most interested in the cave…

This weird formation (

This weird formation (“the biggest of it’s type in the world” (don’t you just love an obscure claim to fame?!) it looked like an animal.

Mysterious crevices

Mysterious crevices

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

Spiky

Spiky (and slimy!)

After the discovery of 1941 and the addition of an opened lower level room in 1947, uncovering miles of new passages and spectacular views, Meramec Caverns was complete. Meramec Caverns soon became known far and wide through signs plastered along the roads to attract tourist to the Caverns. Advertisements for the Caverns were also painted on barns in 14 states. Dill also pioneered the use of bumper stickers, then called bumper signs because the vinyl and adhesive used to attach stickers to cars had not yet been developed. While visitors toured the cave, Dill would have “bumper sign boys” tie the Meramec Caverns bumper signs on their cars giving him free advertising and visitors a free souvenir.  (from Meramec Caverns website)

Like frozen waterfalls

Like frozen waterfalls

Another reflective pool

Another reflective pool

Walking down towards the theater room.

Walking down towards the theater room.

Drumroll…

Wowza! The

Wowza! The “theater room”; this huge wall of white formations (called “the curtain”) stands nearly 70 feet high!

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the St. Louis area!