New Kindle Versions of our Most Popular Steamboat Book…and a Little Something Extra!

If your favorite River Buff has become a Kindle fan, we now have the following NEW Kindle Editions available for Pre-order for Christmas gifting this year!

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“Treasure Hunting” has been one of our most requested river topics through the years. Pirates, military trails, payroll caches, old maps and steamboat wrecks have all left tales of sudden death and unrecovered treasures. In the first of our Kindle “INSIGHT Series” we  have collected a number of our previously published favorite treasure hunting stories, how-tos, and resources available to the Treasure Prospector here on the upper Mississippi River.

One Man’s Treasure” is now available for pre-order in the Kindle Store. PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE, now, just $2.99!

bright Come Hell Cover VOL 1 Kindle
Our ever-popular steamboat anthology, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER by Michael Gillespie is newly available as a quality 2-Volume KINDLE edition. Filled with historic photos, witty commentary, footnotes, bibliography, Glossary and fascinating river facts and stories. Each Volume is purchased separately. 

Volume 1 PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE.   $9.95

 Volume 2 PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE.  $9.95

 

 

La Crosse Area Plans for Christmas Bird Count 2018

child with chickadee winterThe La Crosse Audubon group will be again sponsor The La Crosse Area Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 15th. Birders who want to participate, can contact Dan Jackson <DanJackson@lbwhite.com>

The La Crosse Area CBC is centered on the La Crosse County Courthouse and extends north to County OT, south to the southern tip of Goose Island, west to Hokah, MN, and east past Barre Mills. (See a map at: http://www.couleeaudubon.org/CBC_LaCrosse.pdf). If anyone lives within the count circle and isn’t available to help with a section, we can also use your help by having you count birds at your own feeder.

The annual Christmas bird count reminds me of the little research I did a few years past into why so many old post cards featured a dead bird. Interesting story which I will relate shortly!!!image image

A scientific dig for artifacts

sifting at Goose Island 4th Graders at Southern Bluffs had a unique opportunity to work with educators, parents, and archaeologists during a recent archaeological survey at Goose Island.

The survey was required because of planned recreational development of the site. The processed involved digging several test holes to a depth of 45 inches. The dirt from the test holes was sifted and any artifacts were identified and labeled. Interestingly enough, one test hole showed a few chert shards, charcoal, and a bit of pottery. Nice!! Another yielded mostly brown/green glass and rusted bottle caps, while another did not yield anything.test hole

Students then began skimming dirt from an approximately 4×4 square, and recording anything found in layers of approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters). Both sifting and skimming were pretty hard work!

Artifacts shown here include Chert shards, a bit of shattered rock, charcoal and a reddish bit of clay pottery. What a great opportunity for the kids to do a supervised treasure
hunting!! artifacts

Maps, mugs, totes, and more!

How cool is this? We just discovered that Our favorite hand painted Mississippi River maps can now be purchased online as tote bags, wood signs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, yoga mats and more! Click image below to purchase our coffee mug for yourself or as a gift!

Driftless Mapon your coffee mug!

Driftless Region Map on your coffee mug!  $14 at FineartAmerica.com Click image to choose your favorite mug!

Click this link to search ALL LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS, each with your favorite hand painted Mississippi River map!  Choose your map, your product or gift options, sizes, colors, orientation and more. Choose from stretched canvas to throw pillows to T-shirts

3247E883-8CB0-439B-980A-B2CDA812802FDon’t see your favorite map in our product catalog?? Call 888.255.7726 and we will help you find it, or get it posted for you! Looking to license an image for your commercial product? YES, we do that!

We Explore a Pearl Button Factory sealed in 1956. Come Visit!

Kari Anderson (karipearls.com) recently shared this story of her visit to a fascinating Pearl Button factory which once operated in Muscatine, Iowa! Thank you, Kari!!

Muscatine once had the title of  “Pearl Button Capital of the World!” and this pearl button factory is actually a time capsule of that long-past era. In 1956 the owners said the last good byes to their employees and locked the door!

With flashlights in hand, Kari climbed the dark stairways. At least 2 floors of the Schmarje building were dedicated to the Ronda Button Company and the Schmarje family had the foresight to leave this factory basically untouched for over 60 years – what a blessing! for those of us interested in this local history.

At least 2 floors of the Schmarje building were dedicated to the Ronda Button Company. The Schmarje family had the foresight to leave this factory basically untouched for over 60 years – what a blessing! for those of us interested in this local history.

Button Cutter

These machines zipped through tons of shells, cutting blanks for buttons. Muscatine also has a local pearl button museum which has a movie visitors can watch showing workers quickly slipping shells into shell cutters so blanks can be cut out from them. (It looked dangerous…)

The new type of button cutting machine, featuring a carbide-toothed saw operating on a vertical shaft enabled workers at the Ronda Button plant to produce top grade blanks at a faster rate than was possible by older methods.

The local pearl button museum has a movie visitors can watch showing workers quickly slipping shells into these cutters so blanks can be cut out from them. (It looked dangerous…)

I saw how shells would arrive at the plant by the tons in burlap sacks.


Button Blanks
Shells would come not only from the Mississippi River, across the street, but from lots of sources including the Minnesota, Arkansas, White and Tennessee Rivers.


Machines Lined the Walls
There were old burlap sacks bursting their seams with buttons blanks that never made it to the finishing factories…but lay here as a reminder to all of us of the immense work and effort that went into making buttons for our shirts and skirts.


Finished “Pearl” Buttons made in Muscatine
I hope you enjoyed the little mini tour of our local time capsule.

Here I am sharing for Pechkucha Night at our local museum about my pearling adventures.


Me speaking at Muscatine Button Museum “Around the World in 80 Carats!”
An interesting bit of trivia: guess who at one time stayed here in Muscatine, IA?

The current president of China, Xi Jinping! As a young man he was an exchange student here. His presence here in Muscatine, has developed a unique relationship between Iowa and China. Our former governor, Branstad, is now the ambassador to China.

God bless,

Kari

 

Sunday Birding Observations

Greeted Sunday by getting up early to enjoy the valley!

Watched a “V” of geese go by… learned from birders yesterday that about this time Canada geese begin to flock up and continue to migrate northward. These are the geese that have not fledged any young this spring. Birders call it the “molt migration” as the geese will now begin to molt their breeding feathers. Preceded by weeks of loud honking as they begin to gather up. Usually occurs about June 1.  The geese with hatchlings are now quite silent in order to protect the young.

We were stunned to see a pair of TRUMPETER swans fly along our hillside at almost eye level off the deck this a.m.  Did they spend the night on the neighbors pond? Are they there now? That is a FIRST for the valley, I think.
Listened to wood thrush singing almost constantly through the morning, with their melodic “eolay”.  Two, at least, calling back and forth between the two sides of our hill.  We did hear them last year a few times, but they seem to have staked out our farm as territory this year.
Summer has settled in this weekend! Enjoy an outdoorsy holiday, friends!

Ibis and Other Birding Oddities This Spring

Dan Jackson, who probably hears and sees every bird to pass through the Coulee Region has a reported several oddities of interest. Most recently (about May 16) he reported seeing this “white-faced ibis!!”  His comments follow:

“The White-faced Ibis that was first seen about a week ago is still hanging out in the Halfway Creek Marsh.  This marsh is on the north side of county ZN about ½ mile west of Midway and between Midway and the Visitor’s Center of the La Crosse District of the Upper Mississippi River NWR.  This is west of Hwy 35 and County ZN can be reached by exiting on OT from that road.  In Midway, take ZN to the west and watch for the small parking area on the right (north) side of the road after you go around a major corner.  This is east of the RR tracks.”

Image result   WHITE-FACED IBIS

Another interesting report was of the WHITE ROBIN Dan photographed this spring, which I cropped to show here!     Dan has been posting his sightings at https://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn

White Robin

White Robin

Lake Pepin Map Print Now Available!

010 A new map of Lake Pepin 2014 By Lisa MiddletonA New Map of Lake Pepin by Lisa Middleton … Order Today!
This fine art print of A New Map of Lake Pepin features named islands and sloughs and is both geographical and historical in nature. Landmarks visible to those cruising on both road and river are marked from Wabasha to Red Wing. Approx. 36″ long, and beautiful when framed. You may study a large high-resolution image by visiting our ART GALLERY HERE.

Or Call 888-255-7726

 

The historic Steamboat Ports of Chesapeake Bay!

Steamboat ports from around the USA…new custom Map design  from Great River Arts

Design your own map!

There were various types of steamboats on the Chesapeake Bay, all serving a specific function. The packet steamboats were the most common; they were medium-sized and fast, and transported passengers, freight and domestic mail. The rural areas and the city were made accessible with a large fleet of smaller vessels-steam ferries, while excursion steamers were more elaborate, colorful and beautifully decorated, and made drop-offs at popular resorts on the Bay, including Tolchester and Betterton in Kent County. Read on here….

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