Blair Balloonist Jaworski inducted into Hall of Fame

Jaworski Hot Air Balloon

Over hill and dale. Rich Jaworski pilots his passengers above the hills north of Blair in March, 2016.

We all look up to Blair balloonist Rich Jaworski when we see his brilliant red and white striped balloon float through the skies over Washington County on a calm morning or evening. Following his induction into the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame Enterprise on-line editor and reporter  Leeana Elis interviewed Jaworski, and I searched through my archive for photos I have taken over the years to accompany the article.

I have watched Jaworski and his crew prepare for take off many times, but the most memorable for me was standing in the parking lot of St.Francis Borgia  in the wee hours of a frigid morning in 2007 as the balloonist prepared for a long distance flight.

Congratulations to Rich, and thanks for the joy you provide as we view your balloon floating over the countryside. – Joe Burns

Saturday  Heritge Days

Rich Jaworski greets guests as they climb aboard for a bird’s eye view of Fort Atkinson during Heritage Days in Fort Calhoun.

Quilts in the Country show and garden walk

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This gallery contains 13 photos.

Despite a forecast of rain, the sun shone brightly Saturday morning, July 16, for the 5th Annual Quilts in the Country  show and garden walk in rural Bennington.  The show hosted by Doug and Teri Wolfe featured more than 350 … Continue reading

Winter in Washington County

Gallery

This gallery contains 8 photos.

For nearly a week,  TV stations and forecasters told us that a blizzard was on the way. The storm finally arrived early Tuesday bringing heavy snow and treacherous road conditions.   Most commuters stayed put on Monday, and schools were … Continue reading

Rocky Mountain Romance

Grasses and shrubs show fall colors along trail to near Mills Lake.

Grasses and shrubs in fall color along the trail to  Mills Lake.

Last week I cleared five days on my calendar and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park with my son.  I have visited the park in the past, and I eagerly anticipated the mountain vistas of evergreens, yellow aspen trees and red tinged shrubs and grasses.  The cool night time weather and low 70’s daytime temps were ideal for hiking.  As I expected, the scenery was magnificent.
What I did not anticipate was the the spectacle of rutting season. In late September and early October, the elk that spend the summer at higher elevations in the park come down to the meadows to mate.  The show is nature’s version of “The Bachelor.”
According to a presentation by RMNP Park rangers, during the “rut,” mature bull elk do not eat or sleep.   They spend day and night bugling and posturing to attract females, rounding up harems and then defending the harems from from other bulls.  During rutting season the bulls can lose up to 35 percent of their body weight.
In the evenings during mating season, tourists and locals with cameras and binoculars line the roads surrounding the meadows to view the show.   And just like the reality show, many of the spectators come evening after evening to watch the drama unfold as bulls compete for the attention of fickle females.
We camped at Moraine Park which is prime elk rutting territory. Throughout the night, even in my sleep I could hear bugle calls of bull elk sometimes far away and sometimes near while coyotes yelped in the distance. Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular any time of the year, but in September/October, it is an extraordinary experience.
Bull elk keeps track of his harem in Moraine Park near our campsite.

A bull elk keeps track of his harem in Moraine Park near our campsite.

Bull elk stops traffic to confront competitor.

A bull elk stops traffic as he crosse the road to  challenge a  competitor.

Bull elk in Moraine park.

A bull elk in Moraine park surveys the territory.

Admiring the deep yellow Aspen trees along the trail to Bear Lake,

Admiring the deep yellow Aspen trees along the trail to Bear Lake,

Kevin Burns rests along along Timberlake trail west of the the Continental Divide.

Kevin Burns rests along along Timberlake trail west of the the Continental Divide.

Late afternoon looking west on Emerald Lake with Hallett Peakn in background.

Late afternoon looking west on Emerald Lake with Hallett Peakn in background.

Joe (me) above the timber line on Timber Lake trail.

Joe (me) above the timber line on Timber Lake trail.

‘Quilts in the Country” quilt and garden walk

 

Around 160 quilts were on display throughout the lawns gardens  and farmyard at the home of Doug and Teri Wolfe. This is was the fourth annual "Quilts in the Country."

Around 160 quilts were on display throughout the lawns gardens and farmyard at the home of Doug and Teri Wolfe. This is was the fourth annual “Quilts in the Country.”

A thunder storm that could have been a curse for the fourth annual Quilts in the Country quilt show and garden walk turned out to be a blessing.

The brief shower cleared the air and settled the dust by 6 A. M. Shortly after, a small army of family members and volunteers began setting up the display of 160 hand made quilts. The quilts in the show are draped on railings, fences, and old bed frames, and hung on the sides of the house, barn and outbuildings. Throughout the day, but mostly in the morning, more than 350 visitors strolled through the gardens and viewed the work by 40 different quilters.

The Wolfes have seen the number of visitors and the number of quilts increase each year. Quilters and collectors who visit the show are invited to sign up to bring and show their own quilts the next year. Anyone may show a quilt. There is no competition

Doug said that as far he knows, there is no outside quilt show and garden walk like this anywhere in this part of the country. The Wolfe’s got the idea for the show a number of years ago when they visited a similar show in Montana.

Doug said his family puts on the show as a community service. He said it is an opportunity for visitors to get together with friends and neighbors and acquaintances who they may not have seen for awhile.

The home and gardens of  Dough and Teri Wolfe's home were layered with quilts during the Quilts in the Country quilt show and Garden tour on Saturday, July 18.

The home and gardens of Dough and Teri Wolfe’s home were layered with quilts during the Quilts in the Country quilt show and Garden tour on Saturday, July 18.

Marilyn Dunkle has her eye on a sewing machine converted to a toy tractor at Quilts in the Country.

Marilyn Dunkle has her eye on a sewing machine converted to a toy tractor at Quilts in the Country.

Country Quilts crossing sign

Quilt crossing sign

Long time Washington County quilter Darlene Harper was the feature quilter at this year's Quilts in the Country quilt show and Garden Tour.

Long time Washington County quilter Darlene Harper was the feature quilter at this year’s Quilts in the Country quilt show and Garden Tour.

Visitors stroll through lawns and gardensviewing quilts.

Visitors stroll through lawns and gardens while viewing quilts.

Judy Andersen,and Karen and Ken Sorensen find some shade and a breeze on the porch of Teri and Doug's home during the Quilts in the Country quilt show and garden tour.

Judy Andersen,and Karen and Ken Sorensen find some shade and a breeze on the porch of Teri and Doug’s home during the Quilts in the Country quilt show and garden tour.

Hosta garden

Hosta garden