A private tour of Heifer International, Little Rock, Arkansas

Heifer International

Every year I get a gift catalog from Heifer International and every year I say I am going to donate to buy an animal to help a family in need somewhere in the world. Than I don’t.

There are several organizations I donate to on a regular basis as I want to do some good while I am alive. And they are all in my will.

Heifer International

After visiting the world headquarters for Heifer I am now determined to donate at least a chicken this coming Christmas. I am so fortunate to live where I live and have the life I have.

Heifer International

heifer-international-2017-2-c-500px

Heifer International
My mother and I had a lot of problems but one thing I am grateful for is giving me a sense of obligation to people less fortunate than I am.

Heifer International

From the website: Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough.
And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?
That “teach a man to fish” philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires our work to end world hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all.

Heifer International

The hotel I stayed at was central to everything I wanted to do in Little Rock. It was easy to walk everywhere.

Heifer International

I was privileged to have one-on-one private tours with three representatives of Heifer International. Laura, Patrick and Jinkie.

Laura gave me an overview of the educational exhibits in the main visitor area.

Heifer International

Heifer International

This would be a great learning experience for school kids. But I learned a lot too.

Heifer International

Heifer International

I loved this poster about vegetables. I buy most of my veggies and fruit at the local Culver City farmers’ market every Tuesday afternoon. I plan my schedule around it. Makes me feel good to support the farmers and I know what I am eating is “green” in every way. With a few exceptions I can’t eat produce from the supermarket anymore…. it is tasteless compared to what I buy on Tuesdays.

Heifer International

I was told the docent, Patrick, was ready to give me a tour of the office building.

From the website: Based in Little Rock, AR, Heifer’s headquarters use 52 percent less energy than a conventional office building of similar size and use.

Heifer uses gray water, rainwater captured in a collection tower, to supply non-consumable water. The glass exterior is more than a beautiful design. The windows allow staff to work in natural light. Sensors adjust the lighting based on the amount of darkness outside.

People come to Heifer Village to shop, play and learn.

Heifer International

Heifer International
A Message from Pierre Ferrari, Heifer President and CEO:
To completely end the global scourges of hunger and poverty – and we are getting closer – there cannot be room for hatred, violence, racism, misogyny, anti-semitism, homophobia or religious intolerance.

Heifer International

Heifer International

Heifer’s campus is built on the site of a long-abandoned railroad yard. All of the materials used in the building were sourced within 500 miles of Little Rock. Except for the bamboo. Heifer chose bamboo because it is fast growing and sustainable.

Heifer International

 In 2007, Heifer’s headquarters achieved the highest “Green Building” rating possible. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification.
Heifer International
Heifer International
Next to the Heifer campus is the Clinton Presidential Library in the distance.
Heifer International
Heifer International
Heifer International
During eco-workshops that defined the project, Heifer stated that, of all the countries they worked in, the United States treated water with the least respect. As a result, the team responded to this challenge and created a project where no water leaves the site except blackwater, a true example of how to conserve water.
After Patrick’s wonderful and informative tour, Jinkie took over to show me the farm.
Heifer International
The animals given to people in need around the world to allow them to be self-sustaining are local to the area in which they live. They generally don’t ship animals from the US.
Heifer International
I believe the farm at Heifer International is a relatively new project.
Heifer International
Heifer International
No farm is complete without the farm cat.
Heifer International
Heifer International
This apple tree has several different kinds of apples grafted on to it. Now that’s an apple tree I can appreciate!
Heifer International
I was duly impressed with the architecture.
Heifer International
This brick pathway leading to the entrance of the visitor center is inscribed with the names of donors.
Heifer International
I came away with the sense of an organization that is 100% committed to its ideals with no compromises.
I was certainly happy that I was able to get such an in-depth look into its workings.
And now I’m looking forward to receiving that catalog at Christmas so I can pick out a gift for a family in need.
All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum

I am a fan of P. Allen Smith whose shows Garden Home and Garden to Table air on my local independent public TV station. On one program he showcased the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  I was enthralled and knew immediately that somehow or other by hook or by crook, I was going to visit it!

Crystal Bridges Museum

I didn’t have a clue how this was going to happen, I just knew it would.

Crystal Bridges Museum

As fate will have it, ITMI (International Tour Management Institute) planned to have their annual Symposium in Little Rock and guess what, one of the FAM tours was a day long trip out to the museum. Although I am on tour guide hiatus, I enjoy these conferences as they are so well put together. There are tours, luncheons, cocktail parties, seminars and opportunities to network. So what did I have to lose?

Crystal Bridges Museum

I also have wanted to visit the William J(efferson) Clinton Presidential Library and Museum which will be another post. And, to top it all off, I worked in Arkansas in the 1980s, loved every minute of it, always wanted to return, and never had the opportunity to visit Little Rock. So without thinking twice I signed up for the Symposium.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I arrived in Little Rock late Saturday night via Dallas/Fort Worth. I was starving so I ran down to the hotel dining room and ordered fried catfish and hush puppies, the staple diet in Arkansas (well, that’s what I remember). Two very nice tour guides invited me to sit with them, which I did.

Crystal Bridges Museum

The next day I was up early to be on the bus… er, motor coach… tour guides are not allowed to say “bus.” Surprisingly the motor coach was not full. There were other tours going out and I guess art museums can be a hard sell. Not to mention the more than 220 mile (354km), 3 1/2 hour drive (plus pit stop). Had I known it was that far… well, I still would have gone as what other opportunity would I have?

Crystal Bridges Museum

Fortunately, we had the BEST step-on tour guide you could possibly imagine who kept us entertained and informed for the entire trip. Darrel W. Brown. The title on his business card reads Administrative Specialist II, Group Travel Section. But it should read: Arkansas Encyclopedia. There was no fact, anecdote, statistic, rumor, joke or trivia about Arkansas he did not know. He couldn’t be tripped up. And his enthusiasm for his home state was palpable. If all we did was sit on that motor coach all day, his knowledge would have been worth it!

Crystal Bridges MuseumAlice L. Walton, is Chairwoman of the Board. She led the Walton Family Foundation’s founding of the museum. Walton is the daughter of Helen Walton and Walmart founder Sam Walton. As you may know, Walmart got its start in Arkansas. And on the way back to Little Rock, our motor coach passed by the original Walmart store in Bentonville. No, I wasn’t able to get a photo.

Crystal Bridges Museum

According to the website: Internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie is committed to architecture that supports and enhances a project’s program; that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that responds to human needs and aspirations.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I second that! I am totally in awe of his design. Above you can see his doodle of the project. I bought the refrigerator magnet of this sketch. If only he could be hired for the redesign of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) instead of the ghastly black blob we are going to be stuck with… we can do better… as usual nobody asked me.
crystal-bridges-museum-2017-014-c-500px

Crystal Bridges Museum

Truthfully I enjoyed the architecture more than the art collection. But that’s just me. But if the art was the excuse for this magnificent building I’m not complaining!

Crystal Bridges Museum

Crystal Bridges Museum

It’s no secret I enjoy reflections and shadows… and I was having a ball here.

Crystal Bridges Museum

To repeat an expression I hate, but here it seems very appropriate: the architecture is the epitome of thinking outside the box. Literally.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I found out there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the grounds so I made an appointment to tour it. Photography inside the house is prohibited. And unfortunately the photo I know I took of the entrance didn’t make it on to my memory card.

Crystal Bridges Museum

From the website: [The Bachman-Wilson House]… was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988 and meticulously restored. When the house was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location, the Tarantinos determined that, in order to preserve it, they should sell the house to an institution willing to relocate it. After the Tarantinos conducted a multi-year search for a suitable institution, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013. The entire structure was then taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and moved to the Museum, where it was reconstructed in 2015.

Crystal Bridges Museum

The landscaping of the museum campus is as beautiful as the architecture.

Crystal Bridges Museum

From the website: The trails and grounds of Crystal Bridges are a must-see part of the Museum experience. More than 3.5 miles of trails wind through the
Museum’s 120-acre site, providing guests with access to the beautiful Ozark landscape. Designed to spark the imagination, the trails help guests form connections to the land and its history, as well as enjoy outdoor artworks.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I only wish I had more time to hike all the trails. I could imagine hiding out in the museum overnight, waking up, having breakfast in the lovely restaurant then spending the day wandering the pathways.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I could be one of these sculptures sitting in this peaceful environment. For five minutes. Then I would have to be up, walking around with my camera.

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Crystal Bridges Museum

The weather was so perfect. Cool and sunny. My favorite.

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Crystal Bridges Museum

Skyspace, James Turrell’s Way of Color featuring a domed ceiling with an oculus opening directly to the sky.

Crystal Bridges Museum

I hated to leave but we had a long slog back to Little Rock. And I knew I could relive the whole experience with all the photos I took once I got back home to LA.

Crystal Bridges Museum

Please enjoy the rest of the photos. Click an image for slideshow.

Addition: Can’t believe I left off the photo of this guy who greets visitors as soon as they get off the elevator from the parking lot.

crystal bridges

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Views from the Craig Thomas Visitor Center, Grand Tetons

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

The best part about the Craig Thomas Visitor Center is that it is located in Moose, Wyoming! I happen to love everything MOOSE. On my second trip to Alaska I saw plenty of them and came home with all kinds of MOOSE crap, er, I mean lovely MOOSE souvenirs.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

To my dismay, on this trip to Big Sky Country I saw no MOOSE (meese?). Plenty of bison and elk but none of my favorites. So the name of this town had to suffice…

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

But, how can I complain when the views from here were so gorgeous?

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

As you can see from the photo at top, the architecture of the building rivaled the surrounding landscape, and that’s saying a lot.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

I couldn’t decide if the colors of the trees, the textures of the grasses or the majestic views of the Tetons were the most beautiful. This whole trip was an embarrassment of riches.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

As you can imagine it took me quite a while to walk over to the visitor center… I didn’t want to be indoors when faced with this luscious outdoors.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

I would walk a few inches and another view worthy of photographing would present itself.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Inside the center was an interesting display of Native American Indian artifacts from the Vernon Collection.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

Oh, wait, I was mistaken… I DID see a MOOSE… isn’t he elegant? Do you think my HOA would mind if I put him in front of the building?

Craig Thomas Visitor Center

This last photo was actually the first photo I took at the visitor center. 99% of my photos are “as shot” with sometimes some cropping and always post-processed in Lightroom and/or Photoshop. But I’m not a photojournalist and once in a while I go above and beyond. This is one such case. When I shot this I knew I would have to do a little Photoshop magic to get the image I saw in my mind. In the foreground was a parking lot. So I had to move the bench a couple of feet and make the parking spaces disappear to make it work.

Craig Thomas Visitors Center

This is the photo as my camera saw it. I shoot all my photos in RAW (and hi-res JPEG as a backup) and I have learned with digital photography it’s better to over-expose so I can bring out the details or dramatic effect in Lightroom.

However, no amount of Lightrooming or Photoshopping will compensate for a bad photograph in the camera… make no mistake about that! Photography is much art as skill as far as I am concerned. Ansel Adams always made his photos look like his own personal vision of the scene.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Fort Stevens State Park – Battery Russell – Oregon

Battery Russell

From the Oregon State Parks website: Battery Russell was a later addition to a large military installation built in the 19th century to defend the mouth of the Columbia River.

Fort Stevens, which dates back to the Civil War, protected the Oregon side of the river, while Fort Columbia and Fort Canby stood guard on the Washington side. Together, these three forts comprised the Harbor Defenses of the Columbia. Battery Russell was constructed between 1903 and 1904 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps.

It was one of nine concrete gun batteries (emplacements for cannon or heavy artillery) built at Fort Stevens to conceal and protect mounted guns from enemy ships. Battery Russell was named for Brigadier General David A. Russell, who served with the U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment in the Oregon Territory and commanded Fort Yamhill before he was killed in action during the Civil War.

Battery Russell

Oregon isn’t just a pretty face.

This facility was armed with two 10-inch “disappearing guns” whose barrels could retract from view into the gun pits to provide cover Brigadier General David A. Russell for soldiers while they reloaded. Each gun was manned by a team of 35 men. A well-trained gun crew could fire a 600-pound shell once every minute with an effective range of eight miles.

Battery Russell

There were a lot of stairs to climb but after sitting in the van for several hours it was good exercise!

Battery Russell

I really enjoyed all the weathered and graffitied concrete.

Battery Russell

I see “art” everywhere I go and I could envision this as a piece in a modern art gallery!

Battery Russell

Who was/is Jaden? I want to know!

Battery Russell

I love these stairs enhanced with the straw… without the dry grass this would not be as interesting, what do you think?

Battery Russell

The color scheme here is perfect. The punch of the purple makes the picture.

Battery Russell

And my favorite photo from Battery Russell. Look at the play of light and the textures. I am thinking about Johannes Vermeer. Art is everywhere if you know where to look!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Portland – part four – walkabout

These photos were taken the first day of the workshop and then afterwards when I was wandering aimlessly around the city. If you’ve never been to Portland, hopefully they give you a feel for the city as you see it through my eyes. If you are familiar with the city, maybe they will bring back some memories.

Don’t forget to check out Parts 1 thru 3 at the links below:

Part one: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/portland-part-one-a-gothic-cathedral-in-the-park/

Part two: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/portland-part-two-a-glorious-afternoon-at-crystal-springs-rhododendron-garden/

Part three: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/portland-part-three-walking-tour-of-downtown-on-a-drizzly-morning/

The first day of the workshop another attendee (Jennifer) and I went out shooting in the light of the evening before dinner. She introduced me to Jake’s Famous Crawfish. I would fly back up there for dinner if I could! The night photos were shot after out tummies were full.

On my last day after the docent-led tour (part three) I wandered around on my own:

The last two photos on the right are of the Benson Hotel where I stayed and the workshop was held.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Portland – part three – walking tour of downtown on a drizzly morning

portland, oregon
We met the tour guide inside this building in the middle of downtown.

I was fortunate enough to have a few lovely sunny days in Portland but just as I was starting to admire the April weather in that part of the world, the skies turned grey and the wet stuff came down. The Portland weather reminded me of England. When the sun is shining it is beautiful. But when it is gloomy it is G-L-O-O-M-Y. Totally depressing.

So that is what I was faced with on my one extra day. The conference ended on the Wednesday so Thursday I was free to wander around the city.

I decided to sign up for a docent-led walking tour so I wouldn’t miss anything important. The rain was coming down pretty heavily as I entered the building to meet the tour guide. When he arrived I was happy when he announced the rain had stopped just in time.

But when we emerged from the building it was still raining. What was up with that? He explained that in Portland if the rain wasn’t coming down in buckets it was considered to be not raining at all. Hmmm… not sure about that!

Not only was it still raining but it was also still freezing. And once again I had not brought my gloves. When will I learn?

I was trying to keep my camera dry by hiding it inside my rain jacket, just taking it out briefly to shoot a picture. I was shivering with the cold so much I could barely hold the camera still. Then, picture taken, I had to run to catch up with the group. But at least I have some snapshots for memories. Enjoy the tour!

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Just before the end of the tour, our guide showed us the world’s smallest park, said to be inhabited by wee leprechauns. Yes, this is it below. At two square feet I don’t think it has much competition for that honor!

portland, oregon

After grabbing some lunch I ventured forth on my own to see some other parts of town. Coming up in Part Four.

Links to my other posts on Portland:

https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/portland-part-one-a-gothic-cathedral-in-the-park/

https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/portland-part-two-a-glorious-afternoon-at-crystal-springs-rhododendron-garden/

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Santa Fe, New Mexico – part one – some favorite random shots

santa fe, new mexico
New Mexico flag flying above apple blossoms at the state capitol.

I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a photography workshop. As a “born again” photographer I am taking every opportunity to take part in workshops, attend classes, enroll in seminars and search out information online in order to play catch up for my lost years of using a point and shoot camera.

santa fe, new mexico

 

I am paying for my sins both monetarily and with a high frustration level as I am nowhere near as good a photographer as I was back in the day.

santa fe, new mexico

I gave up “serious” photography decades ago in order to work at boring jobs to support myself when I could have spent my days under the radar as a  dilettante photography student! But there is no point in second guessing.

santa fe, new mexico

Back then I carried around a suitcase full of camera equipment and had my own darkroom. But due to circumstances at the time it all became too complicated.

santa fe, new mexico

Oh well. Today is today and I start from here… All those years slogging away at mostly unrewarding jobs has paid off in some measure with a passable Social Security check and a pension that covers the cost of cat food. So, now is my time!

santa fe, new mexico

I may not ever be the greatest photographer whoever lived but as any of my friends will tell you, I love to learn and I live to discover new things… so I am enjoying the journey. And photography satisfies the cravings of both my left and right brain. Technology meets art… what more could I possibly ask for? And it dovetails with my new life as a tour guide.

santa fe, new mexico

Santa Fe was a big commitment but I am glad I did it as it gave me the motivation to move ahead. If I made such a big effort to spend the money and take the time then I must make it worthwhile. So I feel good about it.

santa fe, new mexico

I attended the same workshop in Miami last year. At that time I had recently bought my first DSLR camera and just about knew where the on switch was. I was not about to tempt fate by turning the dial out of auto mode.

santa fe, new mexico

Fortunately, as an artist and graphic designer I have a reasonably good sense of composition. So my photos were pretty good, considering.

santa fe, new mexico

A year later I was shooting in aperture and shutter speed preferred and able to change the ISO when necessary. Some progress. I was also shooting in RAW and processing the images in Lightroom.

santa fe, new mexico

 

As a Photoshop junkie I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around its little cousin. But the lightbulb eventually went on and now I see Lightroom is really an indispensable program for a photographer. I still use Photoshop for some tweaking, but not as much.

santa fe, new mexico

Well, this post certainly did not take the route I was planning for it. I was going to write about some of the tourist sites I visited. So instead of a travelog, I have uploaded some random shots of the Santa Fe area.

santa fe, new mexico

As the title promises, I’ll be back with more stuff at some point.

See Santa Fe New Mexico my last afternoon visit to cross of the martyrs.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Travels, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!