Happy Earth Day


Happy Earth Day!  Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginiana, a woodland wildflower that is a herbaceous perennial.  The flower buds are pink with the flowers being blue, but white and pink are possible.  While living in Arizona my yard was full of Desert Bluebells aka California Bluebells.  Now that I am in Iowa, Virginia Bluebells will be in my yard.  These particular Virginia Bluebells were transplanted from the timber where my grandfather farmed to my aunt and uncle’s farm and just last week I transplanted several clumps to my backyard.

Snake Alley In Spring


Snake Alley in spring with St. John’s Catholic Church in the distance.

Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa, was once recognized as the crookedest street in America by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  However, Lombard Street in San Francisco has more curves, but Snake Alley’s curves are sharper.  The street was built in 1894 and intended to connect downtown and the neighborhood shopping area.  The idea was conceived by three German immigrants and the road was completed in 1898.  It is made of mostly blueclay bricks and limestone and consists of five half curves and two quarter curves that cover a distance of 275 feet and rises 58.3 feet with a 21% grade.  Along the west side of the alley are several stairs to climb either up or down.  Vehicles are still allowed to drive down the alley and some people still have homes that driveways are only accessible from Snake Alley.

A few years ago while visiting Iowa, I had photographed Snake Alley during the autumn.  I had seen photos of Snake Alley in full bloom in spring, and wanting to see it and photograph it was on my list since moving back to Iowa.  The trees weren’t at peak bloom, but the beautiful white puffy clouds made up for it.  It was quite windy on this day and difficult to capture the blooms without movement.  Snake Alley in spring with the trees blooming is certainly a sight to see!