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Tag Archive: Daniel Boone

Nov 17

Quilts on beds and barns

“We Americans have adopted quilts as a symbol of what we value about
ourselves and our national history.” –From “Speaking of Quilts” by Laurel Horton

The brightly colored leaves of fall are mostly gone now on deciduous trees in Missouri, but some color remains in surprising places—on barns.

For me, it is always a pleasant surprise to drive down a rural Missouri road and unexpectedly spot a ‘barn quilt’.

If one follows an historic central Missouri trail once blazed by Daniel Boone’s sons, the Boonslick Trail, one can find an array of colorful quilt art on barns, each with spectacular patterns of color and design.

In case you have not heard of barn quilts, they are colorful, large wooden blocks that are designed, painted and hung on the sides of barns, an art trend started in Ohio and Tennessee.

I wish I had a barn because I would indeed adorn it with a barn quilt. Perhaps, a shed would do instead? At any rate, I am a new fan of barn quilts.

When I spot a barn quilt, it instantly evokes memories of my youth when we youngsters snuggled under a quilt or comforter and memories of how those quilts were made.

Quilts, as I am sure you well know, are quite time-consuming and labor intensive. They are composed of three layers of fiber that include a woven cloth top, which is a combination of colorful pieces sewn together, and a layer of cotton batting with a woven fabric backing that is often one solid color or a pattern.

These days if you don’t have time to quilt, it is nice to know that barn quilts do not require much effort. They only require that busy passersby simply pause, admire and revel in their bright colors and intricate designs.

And dear readers, there is no time like the present to take a drive in search of local barn quilts, our Missouri roadside masterpieces. You will find several in an area known as the Boonslick Trail that runs through Howard, Cooper and Saline Counties. It takes you on a scenic byway that was once a major corridor for pioneers traveling west.

Look for these barn quilts to get you started on your expedition:

–The first barn quilt on the Boonslick Trail is called the “Missouri Star.” Find this quilt at Exit 111 off Interstate 70 at the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine grounds southeast corner, in Cooper County.

–Located on Highway 240 about 5 miles south of Fayette, Missouri in Howard County, is the barn quilt pattern called “Electric Fan.”

–Called the “Bear Paw,” this barn quilt can be seen, on the east side, about a mile south of Fayette, Missouri, at 1090 Highway 240 in Howard County.

–The pattern called “Country Farm” is located west of Arrow Rock on Highway 41 toward Marshall. At Hardemann turn right (north) on Highway D. See the barn quilt after two miles on the right at 22264 Highway D-Hardemann.

–Called the “Farmer’s Daughter” because, for the last 3 generations the farm has been inherited by daughters in the family, this popular barn art can be seen at 29117 Hwy. 290, three miles east of Marshall.

I am sorry to tell you that there is one problem with barn quilt art that needs mention. Unfortunately, barns themselves are gradually disappearing from our rural landscape.
The Columbia Missourian explains that barns are nostalgic remnants of another time but are sadly dying out: “These buildings are valuable and wonderful and precious. We can’t let them die,” said Margot McMillen, a Westminster College English instructor. “An awful number of barns have disappeared, or are just falling apart.” An effort to preserve barns by adding barn art remains a work in progress in Missouri.

Barn art organizers, according to The Missourian, hope to some day match the ambitions of Tennessee, home to an 81-quilt driving tour in the Appalachian region; or Ohio, Iowa and Kentucky, which each boast more than 250 barn quilts.

Before winter sets in, I hope you take a barn quilt tour of central Missouri and enjoy the colorful autumnal glory as Nathaniel Hawthorn, novelist of the 1800s, once reminded us to do. He wrote, “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

Me either. Take your camera, it’s a great photo op.

May 14

When things go wrong, blame Mercury Retrograde

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks,”—Daniel Boone.

About a week ago, I noticed a confusing problem.

Things were going wrong all around me, and I was as perplexed as a lost Daniel Boone.

Usually, when things go wrong I blame it on pilot error, and the self-deprecating humor gets a laugh. Then, I am off the hook, and no one gets too mad at my foibles.

However, I am considering the possibility that this time the fault could lie somewhere other than in my own cockpit.

A neighboring post office I rarely use had a baffling snafu and lost a graduation gift card I mailed from there. Our bank, not me, made a mistake on a deposit. Business appointments were scheduled incorrectly on their end, not mine. Someone else’s computer snarled up my travel reservations.

In all these situations, no one could effectively explain what went wrong, which is precisely what sent me sleuthing for answers.

Here is what I found out.

According to numerous astrology sites online, we can blame Mercury Retrograde.

This is an astrological event, that occurs typically three times a year, when the planet Mercury appears to move backwards in the sky. Things go abysmally wrong seemingly for days in a row, according to those who follow the stars.

It is happening now.

Andy Newman of the New York Times once penned a story titled “Yes, Mercury is in Retrograde. So What?” He explained the phenomenon this way.

“Perhaps you’ve noticed that things have gone a bit screwy the past couple of weeks. Traffic jams materialize out of nowhere. Your luggage makes an unscheduled stop in Sumatra. The computer eats your dissertation. If you have friends who follow the stars, they may have had a ready explanation for you: the planet Mercury is in retrograde.”

Astrologers also note since Mercury is the planet associated with communication, when it goes retrograde, communication will move backwards, stand still, or become hopelessly confused.

Probably what happened to Daniel Boone.

Modern science may disagree saying instead that Mercury Retrograde is an illusion created by the earth’s orbital rotation in relation to other planets. Science holds that Mercury really isn’t moving backward and has no effect whatsoever on the inhabitants of Earth.

Newman agrees in his article and quotes Bruce Schaller, former research director of the New York City Transit. Schaller examined statistical findings about Mercury Retrograde on train schedules and pronounced the influence of Mercury to be conclusively insignificant. Just hogwash.

Still, I am not so sure, and yes, I have noticed things going a bit screwy lately.

The current Mercury Retrograde period began May 7 and will not end until May 31.

So if you are waiting for Mercury Retrograde to pass as I am, astrologers tell us to spend our energy doing activities that begin with the letter “r”.

Relax, review, research, rewrite, revisit, redo, repeat, repair, retire, retool, retrace, retract, retouch, retrace, and rest.

I tried this advice and have rewritten this column five times, but I am not sure it helped.

As C.S. Lewis once said, “When things go wrong, you’ll find they usually go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better.”

Is it better yet? Enough rewriting already. I think I will try another “r word and rest this thing. The end!