Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.  It is also the day of my Make Your Photos POP! Workshop.

I only had two students, but that was nice, in that we had time to answer individual questions without bogging a large class down.

After the class, Elizabethe and I went to the Morse’ to celebrate Memorial Day.  They prepared a Dutch Oven Dinner and people brought some dishes to share.  After dinner, we sang some patriotic songs and sat around and talked.

On a Spring Day, Early in 2010

I arrived this morning at the Sacred Grove around 6:30am.  The sun was not yet up, yet it was getting light outside.

The Palmyra Temple Overlooks This Spot in the Sacred Grove

As I entered the grove, I stopped to listen to the birds singing.  There’s a chill in the air, and some frost on the ground, but the sound of the birds tells me spring is here.  Deer scampered as they heard my approach.  Under the leaves, you could hear the rustling of small creatures.

There is a beauty in the grove this time of year that can only be experienced by being there.  The toll of winter is still present, yet small plants are pushing their way through the cover of decaying leaves.  Buds are present on the trees.  And the animal life reminds you that warm weather will soon be here.

Green Leaves Push Through Decaying Leaves

After taking a dozen photos, or so, I stood and pondered the significance of God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to a young man 190 years ago.  My emotions ran deep as I pondered upon the importance and significance of that single event.  I couldn’t help but think what it must have been like for Joseph Smith, Jr.  Did he breakdown in tears after that experience?  He said it was overwhelming.  How long did he kneel in the grove before heading back to the cabin?  Did he sit there pondering and wondering how he would tell his parents, family and friends?

Tree Stumps in the Grove

As I made my way back towards the log home, I stopped at the brook Joseph would have crossed on his way back.  By now, the sun was just starting to light the clouds in the eastern sky. The birds were much louder now as daylight approached. The sound of the water mingled with the sounds of the birds. 

The Brook Outside the Sacred Grove

 I couldn’t help but think of the words of the hymn, “Oh, how lovely was the morning… bees were humming, sweet birds singing, music ringing through the grove.” 

The Smith Log Home (Back Side)

Detractors of the church deride this event, but think about it for a moment.  If God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a young boy in this grove of trees.  Wouldn’t you want to know?  It would be the most important event since the resurrected Lord appeared the Sunday after his crucifixion.  Wouldn’t you want to know what he was told?  It would be the most important news in the last 2000 years.  Wouldn’t you want to understand why?  It would be the most life-changing knowledge you could gain.

The Smith Log Home with the Sacred Grove in the Background

With Easter around the corner, isn’t it wonderful to know that Christ did rise from the grave?  He did appear to many – the apostles in the upper room, two men on the road to Emmaus, Mary in the Garden.  He did appear to a young farm boy who lived in a small log home.  A world that had sat in spiritual winter for centuries now faced the dawn of a spiritual spring as they ushered in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Isn’t it wonderful?  It is to me.


As I arrived back home, the yard was painted with purple flowers and a few white and yellow ones.

Beckwith Mansion, March 31st, 2010

 It all reminds me of how grateful I am to live in such a beautiful place.

Lima Beans and Ham Hocks

I love lima beans and ham hocks, so before leaving for the office, I put two large ham hocks in the crock pot with a chopped onion, some lima beans, some dried carrots, and some celery.  When we got back home, the house smelled of fresh cooked soup.  (By the way, the best ham hocks I’ve ever had were from Sauder’s in Seneca Falls, NY.)

The purple flowers continue to grace the front lawn.  I’m anxious for more flowers to start blooming.

Apartment About Ready

After work today we moved the table and chairs to the apartment across from the E.B. Grandin Building.  We have a missionary couple who will be moving in there in three weeks.  It is really looking nice.  I think they will be happy with it.

Srini and I checked all over to find where the gas meters are.  We could not find them.  I suspect they are in someone else’s basement.  That basement is really cramped.

Things are starting to look like spring around here.  Many of the bulbs are popping up and blooming.  (I also need to do some plumbing in the green house so I don’t have a hose running through my studio.)

So much to do and too little time.

Easter Program

Since next week is General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we had our Easter program today.  The Primary kids sang their song, while my fingers didn’t want to move.  I really hit a bunch of wrong notes.  The choir also sang two songs, and President and Sister Hemingway were the speakers.  It was a nice program.

We had a lot of visitors.  You can tell tourist season has hit Palmyra.  We about double in attendance between now and October.  Of course, Pageant time is the busiest of all.

I managed to get some photos uploaded.  So, check the previous dates (3/25-3/28) for some pictures of my trip to Albany.

Second Day of Conference (and last for me)

Today was another day.  I went to hear a couple of speakers, and then cruised the tradeshow.  I handed out a few of my letters regarding speaking, and then decided to head home.

I don’t stick around for Sunday conferences.  To me, Sunday is a sacred day for attending church (and  no, I don’t believe there are many exceptions, and I do not believe one can be “spiritual” without being “religious” too.  The two hand in hand.)

So I headed out NY-5 for a while, got bored with it and hopped in I-90 and got off and picked up NY-31 westbound.  There is enough for my book idea on 31.  More than enough.  It will be fun putting it together.  I’ve got all sorts of ideas bouncing around and it is time to create a business plan around it.  I owe Matthew Jordan Smith the credit for the book idea, and Ken Sklute the credit for what the book will be about.

Beardsley Castle along NY-31
VW Bug atop Smoke Stack
Old Barn on NY-31
George Washington Statue in Clyde, NY, NY-31
Down by the Old Mill Stream


Brigham Young’s New York Home

I got home around 7:30pm.  I’m exhausted.  Right now, I’m copying my CF and SD cards to my Drobo.  It might take a while before some photos are posted.

Here’s a picture of the mansion as it looked as I pulled in…

Beckwith Mansion, March 27th, 2010

First Day of Conference

Today’s conference was great.  Ken Sklute was the closing speaker, and always a delight to listen to him speak and see his images.  Ken’s a great influence.

Before Ken’s presentation we talked and I invited him to consider coming to Palmyra and doing a workshop.  He grew up on Long Island, and now lives in Arizona.

Matthew Jordan Smith talked earlier in the day.  I have seen much of his work, but didn’t put his work with his name.  He is an awesome photographer and he has inspired me to do a book on Route 31.  In fact, I’m going to drive Route 31 on the way home just to see if I can find enough for the book.

The Road to Albany

I left for Albany this morning.  The East Coast PPSNYS Convention starts tomorrow in Albany.

The trip to Albany was quite interesting.  There is a lot of history in this part of the country.  If I had stopped at every historical marker, it might take a week to go the 212 miles.

I left my laptop charger at home (Duh!), so I’ll post the photos when I get home.

Well, this is a post-update.  I’m back home, copying my images to my Drobo, and once done, I’ll post some images.  (Most likely, after church tomorrow.)

Pink Tractor

I started the day off driving east on Route NY-96.  This brought me by Sessler’s pink tractor.  It’s an old Ford tractor equiped with payloader and back-hoe and painted Peptol Bismol pink.  A favorite of my daughter Natalie.

Talkies Birthplace
Talkies Birthplace

Talking movies had their birth in Auburn, New York.  Auburn’s one of the largest cities on in the Finger Lake Region.  It had some old-town charm.  Here are a few pictures from Auburn…

Train Car Diner, Auburn, NY


Restaurant in Auburn, NY


Beer Ad, Auburn, NY


Wall Mural, Auburn, NY

From Auburn, I took U.S. 20 east.  U.S. 20 was once called “the turnpike” and has somewhat of a Route 66-like reputation.  They even have a Teepee place…

Teepee along U.S. Route 20


Abandoned Train Cars


It was a nice drive, but a little long.  I will return for a nice slow drive to capture more pictures of this part of New York.

March Showers?

I’ve heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”, but what about March showers?

We had a good two days of showers, but it is looking like it is clearing up this morning.  We have flowers all over the front lawn (too dark outside to take pictures right now).  So, comes May, this place should really look colorful with all the flowers in bloom.

I do not wish to embarrass anyone so I won’t say who, but yesterday’s bill-signing might be closing down a close friend’s business.  Truth be known, even with the 50% tax credit to small businesses, this health care bill may force them out of business because they simply cannot afford to buy insurance for their employees.  The owner, has already has been refusing to take a salary because of the economy.  Now, a dozen or more people might find themselves jobless.

We do not need to wait 10 or 20 years to see the disastrous effects of what happened yesterday.  We’ll see it roll around quickly as soon as companies are forced to purchase insurance for their employees. 

It stinks.  It really stinks.

Someone brought it to my attention that this bill will have its greatest impact on the fast-food industry where people work less than 20 hours a week.  They were saying this as though it was a good thing that these fast-food employees will now get heath insurance at the expenses of their employer.

Don’t fool yourself.  I bet dollar-menus will rapidly become a thing of the past.  WHEN YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR TAXES AND INSURANCE ON AN EMPLOYEE THAN YOU PAY THEM IN SALARY, THE MONEY HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE!  It will.  It will come from your pocket.

I’m probably preaching to the choir as most of my blog readers will agree with me.  But, those who do not, pull your head out of the sand.  Samuelson in his book, “Economics,” over, and over, and over says that when the government interferes with free-enterprise, the economy suffers.  (Samuelson is considered the father of modern economics, and his book is used as the text-book for most graduate school economics classes.)

I applaud those 14 attorney generals who filed suits yesterday to block this bill as it is unconstitutional.  I’m sure this will most likely go to the Supreme Court.  Albeit one of the White House advisors keeps saying, “Federal law trumps states laws.”  To that end, he is wrong.  The Constitution outlines the flow of control of laws:

1)  The Constitution
2)  State Constitutions & Laws
4)  Federal Law
3)  Items not specifically mentioned in the Constitution or state laws are rights belonging to the individual

And, Federal Laws and State Laws are subject to the powers granted government in the Constitution.  It is my personal belief that there is no clause in the U.S. Constitution that allows government to mandate, or even get involved, with health insurance.

May God save our Constitution.

How to Stop Paying Taxes

Today I’d like to address how we can all stop paying taxes.  First, I do not have the answer right now, but after watching Senator Harry Reid’s interview with Jan Helfeld (posted on YouTube), I decided to ask the senator directly.  Here’s the letter I sent to him…

Honorable Senator Reid,

I just watched an interview between you and Jan Helfeld regarding the voluntary status of taxation in the United States.  Can you please provide me with the loopholes you spoke of so that I can stop paying taxes?

Denis Walton

I’ll post his answer once I receive it.  Watch the video.