San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


These are just a few of the dozens of themed, painted butterfly sculptures adorning street corners in Selma's downtown.  Selma, known as the butterfly capital of Alabama, devised this project hoping to revitalize its historic district. Nicola Vinciguerra, an Italian emmigrant and woodworking craftsman, designed and manufactured the "blanks."   Each butterfly has a "sponsor," and were painted solely by local church and school groups and individual artists.

How many of you remember Kress Five & Dimes?  Oh-Oh!  I remember them too, but what I didn't know was that they were famous for more than just their department store wares.  The stores were also known for their lovely, detailed architectural style. Many Kress buildings around the country have been saved from the wrecking ball to be preserved as landmarks or restored and modernized for other endeavors, like this one in downtown Selma, AL.  

This little darling  just popped out between the brick and mortar in the steps of Selma's beautiful Temple Mishkan Israel.
Early Jewish settlers arrived in Selma prior to the Civil War.  Congregants met in private homes and the Episcopal Church until ground was broken for this Temple; it was eventually completed and occupied in late 1899.  City businesses were dominated by these Jewish settlers until the end of WWII, but, as with so many smaller communities, the younger generation started migrating to bright lights and big cities, leaving elders to continue their traditions and history.
There's not much of a story here except that traveling these roads was an eye opener for this spoiled West Coaster.  The roads are well maintained, but, except for entrances to farms, there are no shoulders or pull outs.  And I had usually sped right past those farm driveways before realizing they existed! Fortunately, except for the occasional logging truck (Weyerhaeuser has a big stake in the lumber industry down here), I simply stopped in a spot with a clear vision each way, put on my blinkers, took pictures and let traffic swerve around me -- and survived to tell about it!!!
This little church and its picket fence were part of a grouping of restored buildings plunked down right at the edge of the highway with no "historical markers" to explain the whys and wherefores of their existence.  A roadside mystery, surely to be continued!
This abandoned building across the road, is a restoration project that still has a way to go!

This flower brought sweet memories of home -- Purple Vetch is a common Spring wildflower in the Santa Cruz Mtns. too.
I'm not sure what it is, but it's not mustard!  


Mile after mile of deep Southern clover carpeted roadsides in Mississippi and Alabama --heavenly wine-colored miles of it.

Yes, Southern folks do sit on their porches and rock and talk and drink lemonade, especially on weekends and after supper.
This scruffy, abandoned roadside graveyard just broke my heart.  Obviously a burial ground for poor folks, it was littered with trash and had been vandalized.  Only one gravesite, this one, could claim real flowers.  You can spot them if you look closely at an enlargement.

On a happier note, this yard was surrounded by another variety of clover...and the bees were loving it.