CFFC: Katy in Katy

(Arrrgh! I missed “J”!) 

In June of 2013, Dale and I took a road trip down to Texas. We spent a week in Austin visiting friends before heading to San Antonio and then to Houston. On the way to Houston, we came upon Katy, a town named for a railroad line. Of course, we HAD to stop there, just to see my name in big letters, even spelled the way I do!


Old train station and museum

Katy (me) in Katy – the railroad depot

A historical marker tells about this historic railroad.




Keep Katy Beautiful! But I already am, darling!!

I’m ALWAYS beautiful – haha!



My name was everywhere in this town, even on magazine covers!

The Katy Railroad station has a little museum in it. Here I am standing next to a magazine rack, my name printed on the cover of all of the magazines!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: The Letter K




FOTD: Gaillardia

I love these bright little flowers, captured by my camera on Oct. 25! Gaillardia can be red, bronze or yellow, often with the edges of the petals in a contrasting color. Their centers are roundish, almost strawberry-like. They love the heat of the summer and do best in full sun with moderate water. I’d like to plant some in my garden! Perhaps next year…


Cee’s Flower of the Day, 10/31/17

HOHO Halifax, Part 3 – The Citadel

October 2, 2017 (continued)

Our next stop was the Halifax Citadel, a fort on a hill with many things to see.

We went up to the ramparts and looked at cannons. A kilted guide spoke for a long time to a tour group. We descended a ramp where another guide in a kilt demonstrated how we primed and prepared his musket.

SONY DSCThe Citadel sits on a large hill overlooking the easily-defended harbor, which was what led the British military to found the town of Halifax there in 1749. One of the first buildings constructed was a wooden guardhouse on Citadel Hill, and Halifax’s first settlers built their homes at the base of the hill, close to the shore. As the fort grew, so did the town, which catered to the businesses of supplying the soldiers with essentials as well as off-duty entertainment.


The Citadel one can visit today was completed in 1856 and its official name is Fort George, named after Britain’s King George II. This is actually the fourth fort built on Citadel Hill. It is built in the shape of a star which was typical of many 19th century forts.  This shape provided a wider range to shoot from in case of attack.  In fact, the Citadel was never attacked. SONY DSC

The Citadel National Historic Site contains several things to see: the ramparts with their cannons, the Army Museum, the changing of the sentry guard (every hour that the site is open), reenactment by interpreters in full 78th Highlander uniforms, and one can become a “soldier for the day”, including: getting dressed in a full 78th Highlanders’ uniform –  a cotton shirt, wool kilt, sporran, red wool Highland “doublet,” wool socks, boots, spats, and a Glengarry bonnet bearing the brass badge of the 78th Highlanders. During the three hour program, one can learn to drill, fire a rifle (or, for those under 16, play the British Army’s field drum) and learn the ins and outs of a soldier’s life in Her Majesty’s army! (Pre-booking required; program fee and details available online.) (See Halifax Citadel National Historic Site within website for more information about the Citadel.)


You can dress like a bona fide Highlander in the program Soldier for a Day.


In the gift shop, I found only one style of hooded sweatshirt – not my favorite design, but I was desperate. I bought it along with a few other Scotland-related souvenirs. Dale told me the changing of the guard was about to happen, but by the time I finished the transaction and went outside, it was over! I went to the restroom where I put on the sweatshirt under my fleece jacket. After that, I was comfortable, but could still feel the cold.


Gift shop Mackenzie tartans!

We did not participate in the Soldier for a Day program and only had a quick look at the Army Museum. By far the most interesting thing, to me, was the trench warfare installation. I knew this was a grueling and commonly used type of warfare during WWI but really didn’t have a clear picture of how it looked and worked. We entered as small room where anther kilted guide explained the layout of the trenches in one area of France. There was a diorama of trenches zigzagging across the landscape, which I had never conceptualized before. When the guide moved over to a wall covered with battle maps, I went to have a closer look at the diorama.

A doorway led out to a realistic reconstruction of a trench, which snaked around until it led to an exit onto a grassy area. The floor of the trench was covered with wooden slats, which surprised me. I had envisioned muddy dirt. A female guide dressed in a woolen army uniform explained that the slats were added to trenches after too many soldiers got “trench foot” from constantly standing in muddy trench bottoms. The wooden slats greatly alleviated the problem.

The walls of the trenches were also covered with wood, and I was surprised at how high they were. How were the men able to shoot their guns from them? She explained that there were ladders and benches on which men stood or used to get in and out of the trenches. In some sections, there were rectangular holes where guns could be fired from.SONY DSC

There were also lots of sandbags. Here and there were small rooms, one for an officer’s post, one with medical equipment used for basic first aid (they had even smeared patches of red paint to the floor to look like blood!).


Serious wounds called for transport out of the trench – a hazard itself – to a medical tent or field hospital located some distance away from the battlefield.

When we exited, we returned to the main part of the fort along the outside of the trench, where recruitment and propaganda posters were plastered on the outer wooden walls.SONY DSC



Again we were lucky to arrive at the stop just when a HOHO bus was arriving. As on all of these tourist buses, there was a guide on board pointing out places of interest and narrating as we went along.SONY DSC

FOTD: Red Mandevilla (Sun Parasol)

As the weather turns cold, I am finishing out the month with more flowers I have seen in full bloom this October. I saw this beautiful red flower the other day while walking in a nearby area. It’s called red mandevilla, also Sun Parasol. Although not native to Midwestern USA, they are hardy: once established, they require minimum care,  they are weather tolerant and have long bloom cycles.




Side view

Cee’s Flower of the Day, 10/28/17


HOHO Halifax, Part 2 – the Public Gardens

October 2, 2017 (continued)

Emerging from the Maritime Museum, we took the first available Hop On Hop Off bus. The next place we went were the public gardens, a bona fide Victorian garden.



The requirements to be an “official” Victorian garden include being enclosed by a fence or wall and having a bandstand on the premises. It also has to be free to the public.


The gardens contained many still-blooming rose beds,

as well as a display of dahlias, identified by type.


Although many were starting to wilt, many other still looked beautiful and fresh. I took many close-up photos, happy for the chance to try out how well my new camera worked doing this (it did very well!).

There were designs of flowers arranged symmetrically around historic fountains. One of the fountains dated from 1869. One floral design consisted of flowers that resemble flames (celosia) of red and yellow in S shapes with silver round lights at one end of each, that resembled eyes, so they looked like snakes! (Whimsical snakes, not scary ones – I wonder if that was done on purpose?)

The Weekly Photo Challenge is about rounded this week, which these gardens demonstrated very well!




The gardens were delightful but I was glad it was lunchtime, giving us an excuse to go inside a café near the entrance where the HOHO buses stopped, since I was very cold! We both had coffee and chicken melt sandwiches. From the table we sat at, we could see the bus stop form the window, and when we were ready to go, a HOHO bus happened to pull up, so we ran out and waved so it would wait for us. It wasn’t full, so we got right on.



Horticulture Hall, post-1945



FOTD: Anthurium

I’ve always called these “phallic flowers!” However, I’ve since found out this flower is called anthurium (family araceae), although it is sometimes called “Boy Flower!” 😉

Anthuriums are native to tropical America, from Mexico to Uruguay; there are about 800 species. According to the web site The Flower Expert, the red flower is actually a waxy leaf, called the spathe, which can be various colors, the most common being white,  red, and shades of red. The actual, tiny flowers are found on the fleshy spike, the spadix.

If you have pets or small children, it is unwise to keep an anthurium plant in a pot in your home, because all parts of the plant are poisonous, causing mild stomach upset if ingested. The plant’s sap can cause skin irritation.20170623_162025

This particular specimen was in a greenhouse at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and is my contribution to Cee’s Flower of the Day today.