Friday, February 24, 2017

A Ghost Town and Mother Neff State Park

Dan is gone for the weekend. He is at a vintage car race, working with the tech crew. He really enjoys these race weekends, and I don't mind them at all. I usually try to do something a little different with my time while he's gone. So this morning, with the thermometer reading a pleasant 70 degrees, I headed about 20 minutes west to the old ghost town of "The Grove." I think someone actually gives tours on weekends, but today I was alone with the ghosts.

From what I read, The Grove started as a town in the early 1870s, and was sustained by farming and ranching. It seems to have prospered until the 1940s, when it had a little more than 100 residents. Highway 36, which bypassed the town, was partly responsible for the little town's demise.

In the center of town still stands a 28-foot-deep well, reportedly hand-dug by resident Jim Whitmore in 1872. I've read that there is still water in the well.

Jim Whitmore's well, which served the entire downtown of The Grove.
A few years ago the entire downtown was sold for $200,000 to Fran Moyer, the granddaughter of W.J.Dube, who owned the W.J. Dude General Merchandise store and was one of the town fathers.

The center shop in the red brick building was W.J.Dube's general merchandise store

The barber shop

Different cattle brands are carved all over the front of the blacksmith's shop

The saloon. I'm sure it was a booming business in The Grove.

I strolled down this sidewalk, arm in arm with a couple of ghosts

These are the doors to the US Post Office at The Grove. Notice the stained glass panels.

Since I was only about ten minutes away from Mother Neff State Park, I decided to go take a few pictures there, as well. I hiked the relatively easy trail - probably about a mile each way - through the woods to the rock water tower that was built by the CCC in the 1930s. Climbing the stairs puts you above the tree tops. The hike was really pleasant. It was mostly flat ground, and it was comfortable T-shirt weather. The birds were singing and the butterflies were flitting everywhere.

Looking down on the stairs from the top of the tower. The shadows made an interesting abstract pattern.

On the road between home and Mother Neff I stopped and took a few more pictures.

Across the road from the Lutheran Church at The Grove were these crosses and a sheep pasture.

The sheep were really curious when I neared the fence. They kept coming closer and closer, and one of the rams was trying to poke his nose through the fence.

And closer to Mother Neff I stopped to take this big guy's picture. He was quite happy to pose for me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Task Completed . . . I Hope!

Last summer, when I went to Nebraska to meet the committee of ladies who were writing a book on the history of Minatare, Nebraska, the little village where my great-great-grandfather and other ancestors homesteaded, I realized that the ladies were going to have to pay someone an awful lot of money to make their self-published book print-ready. After returning home and thinking about that some more, I offered to take on that task for them. I honestly didn't expect it to be the monumental project that it turned out to be, but I don't regret having offered to help them out.

For seven months I've been receiving chapters, one after the other, in the mail and turning them into a unified manuscript that could be taken to a printer for publication. It turned out to be 15 chapters and 350 pages. Nearly every page had at least one photo, which had to be scanned, edited and inserted into the text. My software didn't handle photos well at all. I had trouble anchoring them in place. And once the chapters were finished there was the front matter and the index to be created. Indexing a book that size is a huge job in itself, but it appears to be complete and accurate now.

Yesterday I mailed off a flash drive with the entire book on it - a little tiny flash drive held seven months of work! I sent it off with a sense of apprehension and with my fingers crossed that the print shop will be happy with the formatting. For so long, every spare moment has been spent at the computer working with the book, and now . . . it's done! It feels a little like the empty nest syndrome. My most recent "chick" has flown the nest! (And I'm praying it doesn't come back.)

The ladies are hoping for a completion date in March. I wish them all the best as they move forward with the printing.