Genesis 1:31
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (New International Version-NIV)

Truly Gods vast creation, landscape, wildlife and man is beautiful beyond description.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Home again, May 20, 2013

I had a great trip, some good weather and some bad;  had some good visits to historic site and some not so great. Out of my travel the last 2 years I have only see 2 locations that I was major disappointed with and one was on this trip and I will probably detail it in the future. I cut my trip short by a couple of days because of the weather and because of the crowded conditional at the tourist sites . Concerning the weather kept getting wet going from place to place and I seem to be just keeping ahead of the severe weather that was happening in Oklahoma. The first big storm that hit Oklahoma left Oklahoma and followed the jet stream in a big curve north west then turning east. I was south of it as it went toward Minnesota and Chicago. The next storm that devastated More, Oklahoma followed almost  the exact same curve path but was just a little more south than the first storm. Again I was just south of this path. In both of these instances there were tornadoes all along this path but you were not hearing about it because of the much more devastating nature of the storms in Oklahoma. My brother in northwest Arkansas was attending his grandson's ( Landon ) graduation ceremony from Kinder garden when the warning sirens went off and they had to head to the safe area in the school area. They said that will be one graduation ceremony they will not forget. As I watched the weather patterns on the weather channel they were showing tornado action heading into northwest Arkansas and eventually into Kentucky and another storm heading toward Joplin and Springfield, Missouri. I decided I was tired of trying to stay ahead of this thing and headed home this morning.

One of the wonderful things about coming home this time of year from a long trip is to see how things have grown and bloomed. I will show you a few items.
Don't Know The Name But Most Beautiful 
Blooms Ever
Red Knock Out Rose Going Wild Growth Wise
White Iris
Blue & White Iris
Dark Purple Iris
Yellow Rose Opening Up
White Knock Out Rose
Rose Knock Out Rose
Blue Clematis

If the rest of my knock out roses grow like the one in front of the house then there will be some beautiful bushes of roses. I hope this weekend to rent a truck and buy my flowers for planting outside. I plan to plant rose or red wax leaf begonia out front, some new Boston ferns, a variety of blooming hanging baskets and 3 or 4 of other flowering bushes.

Will close now. Remember God loves you and I love you also./

Grandpa Bill

Travel Status, May 21, 2013

Hello everyone. I am back in West Chester arriving at 10:45. Unloading the car. Picked up my mail and have to go buy some food.

Love you all. Grandpa Bill

Monday, May 20, 2013

Travel Status, Danville, Illinois, May 20, 2013

Hello everyone. Just to let you know I am fine and am checked in to a Best Western Motel in Danville, Illinois. I am about 100 miles from Indianapolis, Indiana. I have skipped a couple of planned stops due to weather and now that school is out every place is overrun with busses of school kids. I have 3 more stops planned but right now I am thinking about heading home after breakfast in the morning. So, you will probably hear from me next from home.

Remember God love you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shawnee Mission, Kansas May 17, 2013

After leaving the Truman Birth place in Lamar, Missouri I headed north toward Kansas City, Missouri to find the Shawnee Mission, Kansas North West High School where Patricia and Jamie attended and graduated. I find it interesting and frustrating at the same time when traveling through areas where I have lived because all the new road by pass places I knew and nothing looks the same. As I approached south of Kansas City however, the road was basically the same as I knew it and things looked familiar. When I got into Kansas and headed toward Shawnee Mission I started recognizing street names but I could not recall exactly where they led to. The old GPS unit took me right to the school and boy has it changed. Bigger and Bigger as the following photographs show.
Shawnee Mission North West High School
Cougars Was The Name Of The Sports Teams
Building Is So Big I Could Not Get It All In The Frame
New Modern Track. Old One Was Cinder
After leaving the high school I headed for Kansas City and Independence, Missouri.

Approaching Kansas City In A Traffic Jam. K. C.
Skyline Is In The Fore Ground
Next posting will be about the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. As always remember God love you and so do I.
Grandpa Bill


Truman Birth Place, Lamar, Missouri, May 17, 2013

The morning of May 17, 2013 James Louis And Roylene took me to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and I left there headed to 1009 Truman Avenue, Lamar, Missouri the birthplace of Harry S. Truman the 33rd President of the United States. This location is a State Historical Site
and has volunteers who provide guided tours through the house.
Truman Birth Place
Truman Smoke House
Truman Smoke House And Water Well
Outdoor Privy. Guide Standing On The Left
Guide Explains A Shrine Dedicated to President Truman
Memorial To Harry S. Truman
Visitor Center Sign, Lady Blue, Other Truman Property
Not Open For Tourists
On May 8 1884, Mrs. Martha Ellen Truman gave birth to a healthy boy
in the downstairs bedroom of a 1 1/2 story farm house in Lamar, Missouri.
The baby was christened just plain " Harry ". Truman added the " S " later in life as he felt it appeared more dignified, He claimed it did not stand for any one name but was a compromise between names of his grandfathers that began with than " S " Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.  Truman, perhaps joking, once told newspaper reporters that there should not be a period after the S. There is still controversy over using the period even though many surviving documents show that he himself used a period on occasion.
John and Martha Truman purchased the tiny house and lot for $685.00 in 1883. It had four rooms downstairs and two upstairs, a smoke house and a well. The family lived in the house in Lamar only a short period of time then relocated to Independence, Missouri. President Truman was present at the dedication of the home as a State Historical Site. In remarks he made he related that they don't do this for a former President until he's been dead for 50 years. I feel like I've been buried and dug up while I'm alive and I'm glad they've done it for me today. The way the house was laid out for tours  it was not good for photographs.
That is about all for the Truman birth place. Will leave here and head for Shawnee, Mission Kansas to locate the high school where Patricia and Jamie attended and graduated. Remember God loves you and so do I.


Travel Update, May 19, 2013

Tonight I am staying in a Drury Inn in Springfield, Illinois. Today has been a wonderful and unusual day. Had a good hot breakfast where I spent the night and it started raining as I left to tour the home site of President Ulysses S Grant which was about a half mile from the motel. By the time I got to the Grant house it was pouring and I got soaked getting into the house. Very interesting place which I will discuss when I post on that visit. When I got back out side the rain had stopped and it started getting warm and the wind blowing. By the time I got to Eureka, Illinois it was 3 in the after noon and the Regan Museum was closed. Normally it is open on Sunday when school is in session but school just finished last week. So back into the car and headed for Petersburg, Illinois for Abraham Lincoln State Historical site and by the time I got there it was closed. So I came on to Springfield, Illinois to find a Best Western Motel to spend the night. Just in front of me were 40 or so motorcycles and you guessed it they pulled into the Best Western and I did not want any of that so I found the Drury Inn where I am spending the night. They serve a free evening meal and hot breakfast. Plans for tomorrow are to go back to see the Regan Museum then back to see a lot of Lincoln places in and around Springfield.
Will close and go get something to eat. I am hungry

Love you. Dad.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Updating Prior Postings, May 18, 2013

In the posting for the Neosho National Fish Hatchery I failed to comment on the handsome creature shown below. He is a Hellbender Salamander that they are working with. Isn't he a fine looking guy?
While I was in Tulsa Daughter Jamie was helping me search land records on the Internet for North West Arkansas. I have always wanted to know how my Dad got the farm I was raised on. We found literally dozens of land transaction for my grandfather Diven ( My Dad's Father ). We found one where granddad Diven sold 40 acres to my Dad but what about the larger acreage? Later I was reading these records more closely and found that Granddad did sell the entire farm of 166 acres to my Dad. I always thought we owned 125 acres. It is written as a sale but in reality I think it was a gift for $1.00. So, Jamie it just goes to show you we needed to read those documents more closely.
While at my brother in Arkansas Lady Blue needed servicing so after I got her taken care of I drove back by the old farm and saw people working in the yard so I stopped. They were in the process of taking the old barn down for the lumber. The old barn had almost completely collapsed. The man who now owns a few acres where the house stands bought it from the man who Dad sold the whole farm to in 1948. It turned out that he knew Mom and she used to come and buy blue berries from him. James Louis and I recalled an old building ( house ) being down by the railroad so we went to see if we could at least find the foundation. Instead we found that the areas where the building would have stood are now under several feet of dirt where they have expanded a nearby golf course so I guess we never will solve that mystery.
One question was solved though and that was the well on the farm which had a almost limitless supply of good water. When Dad had the well drilled they got down to a point and lost the drill bit. I know Dad let a rope with a weight tied to the end of it down into the well and could never hit bottom. the man I was talking to said he had a University of Arkansas professor of geogly come out with some of his students and study the well. They concluded there is a combination lake and underground river in the limestone formations under the farm and that is what is providing such a great source of water. He said in growing several acres of blue berries he pumps between 1200 - 1600 gallon of water per hour, 24 hours a day and the water level never drops more than 6 inches. This was confirmed by the U of A people.
Another interesting point is that his blueberries are larger and sweater than most and it was determined that the water filtering through  the limestone has unusually high quantities of beneficial minerals that help the berries.
So students that is your lesson tonight on mystery solving, sources of water and cultivation of blueberries. So I have taught about all my contract calls for tonight. I am tired and sleepy so---- remember God loves you and so do I.
Perhaps tomorrow we will discuss a little about President Truman's birthplace.
Grandpa Bill

Travel Checkin, Galena, Illinois, May 18,2013

Hello everyone,

I have had a wonderful day. Beautiful weather. I drove from Acorn, ( Cameron ) Mo. to Hannibal, Mo. and toured all the Mark Twain places. Then drove to Galena, IL. where I will see a lot of stuff about President Grant. I am in a Best Western Queen Suite with a big hot tub sitting right next to the bed. They only had two room left. Met a retired couple who has a 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid light blue just like mine. This is the only hybrid I have seen since I got mine. They love theirs. My computer is having problems so if you don't hear from me it means I cant get it to start.
Love you Dad

Friday, May 17, 2013

National Fish Hatchery, Neosho, Mssouri, May 14, 2013

Good Evening from Acorn, Missouri. Have had a hard day of driving and touring. I need to provide one final comment about Sara's graduation. An event occurred that for a time put a damper on the festive spirit of the upcoming graduation. I think it was the day before graduation and Sara had finish all her school duties, studies, etc and was driving near her apartment when an individual in a large SUV suddenly stopped in the road for no apparent reason. Sara jammed on the braked and turned as best as she could to to try to avoid the rear of the SUV but to no avail. The left front of her little car got some pretty bad damage but no apparent damage to the SUV. Sara's little car went under the back of the SUV because the SUV was so high. I say no apparent damage because the SUV took on off down the street and did not stop.  Sara was not hurt in the least. It was reported to the insurance and police and they did not want to take a report since the other car did not stop and no one had reported an accident. Needless to say Sara was devastated but recovered nicely overnight and fully enjoyed her graduation. Sara's Dad using black duck tape and securely taped the hood and headlight so they would not bounce around and enable the car to be driven back to Tulsa which was done without incident.

Sara's Pride And Joy With An Ouch

Now on to National Fish Hatchery, 520 East Park Street, Neosho, Missouri.

Neosho, Missouri National Fish Hatchery

This part of the trip started off as a bummer. I had rearranged my schedule to be able to take Landon ( James Louis grandson ) and James Louis with me to see the fish hatchery. Well it turned out that Landon's class was having its last day of school picnic the day we were to go to the fish hatchery so Landon did not get to go with us to the fish hatchery. No one ever wants to miss the last day of school picnic. I know this was always a highlight of the entire year for me. James Louis and I drove the 80 or 90 miles and when we got there I checked in at the visitor center to get my National Park Passport book stamped and to see what tours they had scheduled. The Ranger on duty advised they had a tour of 6 and 7 year old school kids starting a tour and we were welcome to join them and for me to tell the Ranger conducting the tour she said it was OK for us to tag along. We caught up with the group just before the Ranger started his talk and I advised him that he would have two very large school kids tagging along with the group and that we promised to be quiet and to keep our hands out of the water. He laughed said we were welcome and started his presentation. In addition to the students there were about 6 or 8 parents and 3 teachers with the children. I was really impressed with the Ranger's presentation. He had roughly 5 or so points he wanted the kids to learn and come away from the tour with a grasp of those points. As the tour progressed he would quiz the kids on what he had told them and get them to respond then he would go over the points again. I learned a lot.
Ranger Approaching To Start Tour
Children Looking Into Large Tanks To See
Large Rainbow Trout
How To Hatch A Rainbow Trout
These Small Creatures Are Fry As Described In The
Photo Above This One

These Are Fingerling Rainbow Trout
These Large Tanks Hold Thousands Of Rainbow Trout About
Eight Inches Long. The Large Boxes Hanging Over The Water
Are Automatic Feeders. These Trout Will Soon Be Large Enough
To Move to Large Ponds Or To A Lake. These Tanks Are Completely Enclosed With Wire And Have A Roof To Keep Predators Out. The Movements Of The Water Is Caused By So Many Trout In The Tanks. There Are So Many The Water Looks Black.
Of Course You Have To Have The Class Poise For A photograph.
You Know They Would Not Let James And I Join In this Photo.
Neosho National Fish Hatchery Diagram
These Pallid Sturgeon Are Hugh Fish
Large Dinosaur Fish ( Sturgeon )
Large Sturgeon Swimming In A Tank
Sturgeon And More Sturgeon. Aren't They Beautiful?
About Sturgeon
The endanger Sturgeon are raised to a length of about 8 inches before being tagged and released into the lower Missouri River at three different locations where small populations of these fish still exist.


Over the years more than 130 different species of fish have been raised at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery but today Rainbow trout and the Pallid Sturgeon are raised. Many aspects of the Rainbow trout production are the same as 100 years ago; however, the hatchery staff now injects oxygen into the water to increase production. Oxygen and water flow alarms now guard against losses, and the fish are transported with specialized trucks, instead of rail cars. This enables the hatchery to raise 230,000 fish in the 9.5 - 10 inch range for stocking Lake Taneycomo, Missouri annually.
The hatchery also protects the habitat of the endangered Ozark Cave fish, which inhabits one of the springs supplying the hatchery with water.
Ozark Cave Fish ( The Well Keeper )
When early settlers drew water from their wells, it was common to find Ozark cave fish swimming in their buckets. Believing this was a good luck charm as well as a sign the water was safe to drink they called the fish " spring keeper " or " well keeper ". Even today the presence of the Ozark cave fish indicates clean water. However, its declining numbers are a signal that some water in underground pools is being altered by pollutants. Pesticides; chemical spills; street runoff; eroded soil; garbage;and runoff from livestock and poultry farms flow into underground water and travel miles underground before entering recharge areas where cave fish reside.
The world of darkness is the home of the Ozark cave fish. They live is caves, sinkholes and underground springs that are untouched by light. They have no eyes and they rely on sense organs located on their head, body and tail to find food. These organs can sense the smallest movement in the water that might indicate  the presence of a food source, even a microscopic one. They have no skin pigment which makes them appear translucent. Because it is so pale, its blood vessels are visible, giving it a pinkish white color It grows to a length of about two and one forth inch long. I was amazed to learn that there are about fifteen other creatures that live in these surrounding many of which are endangered species. Many of them colorless and blind.

The Neosho National Fish Hatchery is the oldest operating federal fish hatchery in the United States. Established in 1888, the hatchery is one of 69 hatcheries operated by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Neosho was selected as the place to operate a hatchery because of the presence of good gravity flow of spring water and a railroad spur for transporting the fish as far west as the Rockie Mountains. Currently the hatchery utilizes about 1200 to 1600 gallon per minute of gravity flow spring water at an annual temperature of 54 - 62 degrees Fahrenheit to raise Rainbow Trout.
There is another program of research being carried out at this hatchery and that is with the Missouri Fatmucket Mussel. Although this mussel is not endangered its numbers are declining. They have shown good progress in promoting growth in size of the mussels but still much work needs to be done according to hatchery personnel. These mussels are described as a significant economic factor in Missouri as they are used for Making many types of jewelery and craft items.

Facts About The Mussels
One Of The Displays About Mussels
I know from personal experience the value of mussels in helping to keep water clear and undesirable waste products out of the water because I always kept several mussells in my Koi ponds. It was interesting to see them bury themselves about half deep in the lily pots and other containers and if you watched closely you could see the water being drawn in and out of the mussel as they did their work.
Well folks it has been a long day and it is now 11:00 P. M. Central time so I will wind this up. I still have several things about the hatchery I would like to discuss like the development from the start and the use of rail cars to transport fish. Perhaps I can get to that later. In the mean time I am going to put this old body to bed so remember God loves you and so do I.
Grandpa Bill.


Travel Check In, Acorn, Missouri, May 17, 2013

Hello everyone. This is a new type posting just to let you know where I am and that I am just fine. This morning I left Arkansas and drove to Lamar Missouri and toured President Truman's birthplace. Then drove to Shawnee Mission, Kansas to get a picture of the high school two of the girls attended. Then to Independence, Missouri to tour the Truman Library and Museum. decided to change plans and go to Hannibal, Missouri and by pass St. Louis until the last part of the trip. Spending the night at a Best Western Motel in Acorn, Missouri. Just finished a Sub Way sandwich so will close now and start working on my travel posting.

Remember God loves you and so do I.

Grandpa Bill

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Important time in Oklahoma, 5/11/2013

University Of Central Oklahoma Graduation


The Two Colleges Which Graduated Students Today
In the lives of grandparents, parents, and children there are mile stone
dates that are etched into our collective memories that we all cherish.
They represent a lot of hard work, dedication to the task and sacrifice for    all concerned. They also represent a time of expansion, adventure and new exciting experiences again for all concerned. The event I am talking about is graduation. In this particular instance it is the graduation of grand daughter
Sara Watkins from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Public Relations. The Spring 2013 Commencement Ceremonies for the College of Liberal Arts and The College of Mathematics and Science were held in the Hamilton Field House on campus. Following are some of the photos taken during the graduation ceremony and around the beautiful campus.
Left To Right ( Grand Mother Doris Watkins ). Father Steve Watkins.
Mother Jamie Watkins. Brother William Richard Watkins.
Dr. Don Betz, President Of The University Of Central Oklahoma
Dr. William J. Radke, Provost And Vice President, Academic Affairs, University Of Central Oklahoma.  He Made The Call To Order And Introductions And Was The Main Speaker.
Sara As She Was Approaching The Stage To Receive Her Diploma
Sara In Line For Her Diploma
Sara Just Received Her Diploma From Dr. Betz
Dr. Betz, Sara And Will. Will Works Part Time in Dr. Betz's Office
Sara In Front of Podium
Some Of The Crowd At The Graduation
On Every Campus There Are Major Landmarks That Are Must Places For Graduation Day Photographs. The Following Are Some Photographs At Some Locations Sara Choose.
Mother Jamie And Sara By Water Feature On Campus
Jamie And Sara At Water Feature
Sara In Front Of Old North Building
Sara Under Arch In Front Of Old North Building.
The University Of Central Oklahoma Was Originally Known As
The Territorial Normal School.
Old North Clock Tower
Steve, Jamie, Sara And Will
 Sara And Will
Grand Mother Watkins And Sara
Grandpa Bill And Sara
( Father Steve ) And Sara
( Mother ) Jamie And Sara
Sara By The Bell ( Story Of The Bell Below )
 History Of The Bell
Sara By The Bell
Plaque About Cowboy Barnett

Centennial Plaque
True to form none of my blogs would be complete with out some history and this university has a rich history starting with its buildings and bell.

Old North
The University of Central Oklahoma was first known as the Territorial Normal School. It was created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in December 1890 to educate teachers for the one room school houses being built across the growing territory. For more than 130 years, developing leaders for Oklahoma and the nation has been Central's bed rock mission.
From a territorial school of 23 students to more than 17,000 now and has more than 110,000 graduates. This university is the 3rd largest in the state of Oklahoma with six colleges including the Jackson College of Graduate Studies. The first students met in Edmond's First Methodist Church. In 1892 construction started on the school's first building where Old North now stands. The university has many outstanding achievements. It has a wonderful Criminal Justice Program and one of the best Forensic Crime laboratory in the nation that is used by police agencies nation wide. It also has a College of Education and Professional Studies, a College of Fine arts and Design and College of Business. It is a Division II NCAA school and has many awards and national championships for both men's and women's sports programs. Many more than shown below.

 I was really impressed with the campus and the entire atmosphere in and around the university. The commencement ceremony was one of the best organized and conducted I have ever attended. The planning for and handling of handicapped attendees and their families was outstanding. The music was excellent especially the quartet presentation of " I Believe In You ". Anyone looking for an excellent university would do well to consider this one.
Next I move on to Arkansas to spend some time with my brother so there
will not be a posting for a few day as he does not have Internet. Until the next time remember God loves you and so do I.
Grandpa Bill