Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Leaving Georgia

We had snow in Atlanta on Christmas Day, that had not happened in that city on Christmas day for over about 100 years! I took a picture of a row of townhouses (Alison's home is at the very end) to show the winter wonderland we enjoyed. Ellie was able to make a small snow man and have a snow ball fight before it melted. On the twenty-sixth, a Sunday, it was difficult to find a church which had services because of icy roads (we did find one, however).  In the picture below is Ellie, still in her Sunday dress, preparing lunch for herself and her mother. She enjoys being helpful and mothering  her mother!
Being with Ellie, her mother, aunt and grandmother for a week did make it a good Christmas for us, despite the weather. Our motor home is not well insulated, in actuality is not made for cold weather at all. But we survived the big chill by visiting Ellie, and also hanging out in shopping malls as well as movie theaters. It seemed strange to be in a big city once again. Atlanta and its environs have all the trappings of a big city with its many hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. Icy roads were not a problem for us at all. We had some concern for our elderly cat, however. He always gets up me in the mornings, but has not been doing that lately. He also has not been begging for treats from the table when we eat. It did seem to us that, because of the cold, he had gone into hibernation. We did not want to think about the other possibilities. We drove south out of Atlanta today and now we are located about 100 miles north of Mobile Alabama. I told John that he was not to stop driving until we reached warm weather. At least it is above freezing here, and KC came out of his deep sleep to beg for treats tonight. In a couple of days we will head in the direction of New Orleans.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Atlanta, Georgia

On our first day in Atlanta we visited the Coke Museum. Almost everyone I know who have traveled to this city say that they have been there, so I decided that it was about time I checked it out. A pharmacist, John Pemberton, invented the soda in 1886. There is a lot more to the story of Coke than that, and it can all be discovered at the museum. In the museum is an area where the bottling process can be viewed, as well as a Coke pop art museum. Also on display are all the memorabilia connected with Coke. I had no idea this museum was as big as it is, we spent several hours there. A fair amount of time was spent in the beverage sampling room, where we tasted Coke products from around the world. This does seem to be a popular spot for tourists, the day we were there we encountered large crowds of people. Pictured below is the famous Coke bear.
Yesterday, Christmas Eve day, we climbed Kennesaw Mountain. This mountain, located in the Atlanta area, at the time of its formation was part of a massive mountain chain whose surface has since worn away. The erosion left tiny monadnocks. That word is a Native American word meaning "Lonely Mountain".  Keenesaw Mountain's geology played a major role during the Civil War in the advancement of Major General William Sherman's Union troops toward Atlanta. Cannons have been placed on the mountain as a reminder of that battlefield where Northerners lost 3,000 men and the Confederates lost 800.
 It was probably going to be our last sunny day here in Atlanta, so that played a part in our decision to climb the mountain. I am proud to say that I kept up with the speed of a six year-old in climbing that mountain! Ellie and I left my sister and John far behind. Unfortunately in walking so fast we did miss the deer which they were able to see. And coming down the mountain was another adventure with little Ellie. She insisted on hopping over rocks and either skipping or jogging on our way down. And all that activity was accompanied by a lot of laughing and giggling on her part. It is true that children help you stay young at heart!  Ellie was the best part of my day on the mountain. I am writing this now on Christmas Day so I want to extend Christmas greetings to all of our readers. We hope this day finds you warm and cozy, surrounded by the ones you love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reindeer Farm

We arrived in Marietta Georgia yesterday, which is northwest of Atlanta. Our day today started out fairly balmy and warm so we headed out with my sister Linda, her daughter Alison and granddaughter Ellie to a reindeer farm. I know, we had seen plenty of reindeer in Alaska, but it is Christmas and what better thing is there to do at this time of the year with a young child but drive out to see Santa and his reindeer?  It took at least one hour drive there,  but was worth it because we eventually found ourselves in  the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  When we arrived at the farm we climbed into a big wagon and were driven to area where we could feed the reindeer and visit with Santa. John was the first one of our group brave enough to offer the reindeer corn from his hands.
By this time there was a cold wind blowing so we were happy to enter a warm shack, and sip some cocoa.  Ellie was able to talk to Santa. Also roaming the shed with us was a 20 mouth old reindeer.
 After we had warmed up we headed out to explore the other animals of the farm. We found out by the staff that the baby lama pictured below had just been born that morning.
From the reindeer farm we drove to Amicalola Falls State Park. In Native American language Amicalola means tumbling waters. The falls in this park are the highest falls east of the Mississippi River. From a height of 729 feet they fall down a mountain in seven cascades. They were quite beautiful to look down on from the very top, and then to follow the water's tumbling silvery course into the valley below. As leaves are now off the trees, it was easy to follow with the eye that flow of water for quite some distance. It would have been fun to do some hiking around the falls but it was getting late in the afternoon and we were getting cold as well as hungry. For John and I it was fantastic to again see mountain vistas. We had been on flat land far too long!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hawthorne, Florida

We are now parked close to the Georgia border. Before I write about Hawthorne I first want to mention an animal cross-over which we saw on I-75 today. It was a bit strange to see a  forest of small palms and tall grasses on a bridge over the highway. However, we did see something similar to that in Canada. I am glad that the concept is catching on here in the states, otherwise our land development will leave very little space for animals to roam. Later in the day we took a brief jaunt off I-75 and drove toward the town of Hawthorne. Near that town is the small hamlet of Cross Keys. Marjorie Rawlings, Pulitzer Prize winning author, bought land in this area in 1928. The land lies between two lakes, and a forest hammock, also located there, borders her grove of citrus trees. Rawlings' plan was that the grove would support her while she wrote books, most famous of which was The Yearling. The picture below is of the front of the house. It was on that porch that she wrote The Yearling. Her table and typewriter are still on the porch. The house is a typical Florida Cracker home, with its wooden frame, metal roof,  central hallway and long porch.
Marjorie Rawlings enjoyed cooking and entertaining. Some of the famous guests who stayed with her were such people as Margaret Mitchell, Robert Frost and Gregory Peck, to name a few. Her writings featured rural themes and settings, primarily the life of the poor back country farmer. On her property is a tenant farmer house. While standing in front of that cabin I had a feeling of stepping right into the setting in which The Yearling had been written. The yard is sandy and has a small amount of scrub brush growing around it.
In the carport next to the author's home still sits her 1940 Oldsmobile, looking quite rusty and time-worn.
Marjorie Rawlings said the following regarding her home: " Cross Creek belongs to the wind, and the rain, the sun and seasons, to the secrecy of seed and beyond all, to time".

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Days in Florida

There will probably only be one more posting from Florida. We are headed north today to spend Christmas in Atlanta with family. Maybe it is just as well that we had a cool cloudy day yesterday, as it does not now seem too horrible to leave the warmth of Florida. We have been told by locals, however, that a cooler climate makes for sweeter tasting oranges.  Yesterday we visited a small town located on the outskirts of Tampa, Ybor City. The town at the turn of the twentieth century was a magnet for many immigrants from Cuba, Spain, Italy and Germany because of  the presence of the Ybor cigar factory. At that time it was the largest cigar company in the world, employing 4,000 workers. In the late 1800s Ybor City became a support system for the Cuban Revolution. In fact, messages for the revolutionaries in Cuba were wrapped in cigars and sent to Cuba! We toured the older section of  Ybor via a trolley.
  Sunday we had a wonderful worship experience at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. The choirs of the church sang many Advent and Christmas Songs. We also were treated to a very different liturgy written by the pastor of the church, Rev.Dr. Waldemar Meyer. The words were sung to the tune of familiar Christmas carols. Pastor Meyer's message was also meaningful.  He sermon was on "the gift and the wrapping". He spoke on the imagery of the infant Christ as a gift whose wrappings were torn apart by our sins. But God's gift to us was not destroyed because of his resurrection, giving us the certainty of eternal life. What a beautiful message for Christmas! After church we walked around one of Florida's largest flea markets, the Big Top. That is a great place for last minute Christmas shopping, everything imaginable is sold there, from boa constrictors to computers. On the way home we stopped and hiked around Hillsborough River State Park. John had read that there were rapids in the river there. The water was amazingly quite clear and had an area of rapids, I guess for Florida they are impressive. Canoeing can be done on this river, but some portaging is necessary. Fort Foster historic site is also in this park.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

John Ringling's Museum of Art and Ca d' Zan

Friday we toured not only Ringling's circus museum, but also his art museum and home. He died cash poor in 1936,  but was still quite wealthy with his assets of art collections as well as his home, Ca d' Zan (in Venetian dialect translates into "The House of John").  He and four other of his brothers made the Ringling Brothers Circus the greatest show on earth by shrewd management and mergers with other circuses. John also had personal investments in real estate and petroleum. It was the Gilded Age and he had money to burn.  He traveled to Europe and over four years bought 500 paintings, becoming a very knowledgeable and cultured collector of art.  He and his wife also fell in love with Venetian Gothic palaces and built one as their winter home in Sarasota, Florida. The Great Depression made him penniless, but he refused to sell either his art collection or his home. He willed them to the state of Florida upon his death. Below is a picture of the art museum, it is an impressive place to tour. Ringling's collection of Old Masters paintings is the finest in the country.
 The art museum has an inner garden courtyard dotted with reproductions of many famous sculptures, including a bronze cast of Michelangelo's "David".
The palatial home of John and Mabel is also very impressive. The 32-room terra-cotta mansion has marble pillars and steps, seventeenth-century Flemish tapestries, and gilded furniture.  My favorite room was the  ballroom with its very ornate ceiling depicting pictures of dancing couples from around the world in their native costumes. Below is a picture of the entrance to the house with its very decorative tower. The back of the house overlooks the Sarasota Bay.
The first major landscape project for the house was the installation of an enormous rose garden. Hard to believe that these roses are blooming so well in the middle of December, especially after the recent cold snap.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ringling Circus Museum

The figure on a bicycle above is riding back and forth on a high wire. What a delightful introduction to John Ringling's circus museum! This museum, established in 1948, was the first museum of its kind to document the rich history of the circus. During the final years of their circus the Ringling family had all their shows performed only in Florida. With so many people living in the immediate area, the collection for the museum grew quickly. The museum now has an interesting collection of circus memorabilia as rare handbills, posters, wardrobe and performing props, as well as all types of circus equipment, including beautifully carved parade wagons.
Located in the Circus Museum's Tibbals Learning Center is a miniature circus model which is replica of  The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus from 1919-1938. It is complete with eight main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train. Master model builder Howard Tibbals created this exhibition over 50 years, and still is working on it. While viewing the circus model the museum visitor can also enjoy all the sounds of the big top; the pounding of the stakes as the tents go up, the elephants trumpeting, lions roaring, the crowd cheering, the whistle of the circus train, and so forth. The circus occupies 3,800 square feet. I found it hard to believe that in its hey day the circus was all that big and did employ over a thousand people. It took four hours each day to get the tents up and the shows ready to go. The circus model also shows the "hotel' where all the workers were fed three meals a day.
The Golden Age of the American Circus lasted from 1870-1938. The Ringling Brothers worked hard to insure that it was the greatest show on earth. They sent agents around the world to find new acts and unique attractions. Until the circus came to town many people had never seen a bear, lion or zebra. It was a time that saw the likes of such clowns as Emmett Kelly and Lou Jacobs. The latter was not only a clown but a great contortionist. He could get his six foot frame into the car pictured below, which was all of 23 inches high.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Historic Bok Sanctuary

We drove into the west central part of Florida today, to the town of Lake Wales. While traveling toward this area we drove past many orange groves as well as strawberry fields. Our major stop of the day was at the Bok Sanctuary.  Edward Bok was a Dutch immigrant at the turn of the twentieth century who lived by the credo of his grandmother: "make you the world a bit better place or more beautiful because you have lived in it".  He was a Pulitzer-prize winning author and editor of  Ladies Home Journal", as well as a humanitarian. It was during his winter visits to Florida that he witnessed the dramatic sunsets and beauty of Iron Mountain, peninsular  Florida's highest point. He wanted to share that peaceful place with the American public, so he commissioned world-renowned masters to create a landscaped garden, 250 foot carillon tower, and a wildlife refuge. The sanctuary was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929.
There are only a few days out of every week that recitals are played from the 60 bell carillon. While we there, however,  it was recorded Christmas music which we heard coming from the tower.The tower is made of coquina and marble, and the colorful grilles at the top are ceramic tiles. There is also a brass door at the bottom which features scenes from the creation story. The tower was built at the highest point of the mountain. From here we could look down on groves of citrus fields. So much of Florida is flatland that it felt a bit strange looking down at the Florida countryside.
 The home on the grounds of the sanctuary was built in 1930 by Charles Austin Buck, an American industrialist (vice-president of Bethlehem Steel). The home, which is called Pinewood Estate, is of Mediterranean Revival architecture. It features tall, striking, decorative doors and formal fireplaces elaborately designed. The house was beautifully decorated for Christmas when we toured it. The entrance hall's dramatic staircase features a different tile on each riser, and is quite stunning, even more so dressed in its Christmas finery.
The last picture I have here is of the side courtyard.  The poinsettias certainly give it a touch of Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

St.Petersburg, Florida

We have now moved further north into Florida, the Tampa Bay- St.Petersburg area. We have had several days with temperatures in the mid 50s range so have not been out doing too much touring. I know, for some of you that would be balmy weather. The weather has forced me to stay inside and work on Christmas cookies as well as Christmas cards, which is not all that bad either. Traveling as we do, and now being in a warmer climate, makes it difficult to appreciate the sights and sounds of Christmas. Yesterday we drove into St.Petersburg with the main goal of seeing the Salvador Dali Museum. Some of the downtown skyline of the city can be seen below.
Dali was born in 1904 in Figueras, Spain. Many of his paintings have in their backgrounds scenes of  the small fishing village of Cadaques, which is located near his birthplace. Considering that Dali did most of his painting in Spain, America is most fortunate to be the home for most of Dali's collection.  Mr. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Americans, became close friends of the painter and over the years acquired most of his works.  Dating from 1914-80 the museum has a comprehensive collection of his paintings ranging from impressionistic works to gigantic surrealistic montages. The Spanish artist has been described by Morse as  the "true master of abstract". John and I were fortunate to get in on a guided tour of the museum. As we looked at his paintings the docent frequently encouraged us to "squint our eyes" and, in doing so, we were able to see abstract figures in the paintings, as a figure of a dog or the head of a troubadour. My favorite of Dali's paintings is one which depicts the hand of God reaching out to the crucified Christ. I sure came to a whole new appreciation of the works of Dali yesterday!  In January of 2011 his museum will have a new home in St.Petersburg. In the present museum there is not enough room to displays all of his collection and sculptures. We stopped to look at the new museum after we had toured the old one.
The new museum does seem to reflect Dali's spirit of abstractness!  Another popular tourist stop in St.Petersburg is The Pier. It extends 2,400 feet into Tampa Bay. The complex is a five-story inverted pyramidal structure which houses restaurants, specialty shops and an aquarium..

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fort Myers, Florida

Sunday we worshiped at Lamb of God Church (an Episcopal Lutheran Congregation ), part of it is pictured above. The church above is called the Arbor, and another church used by the congregation near it is called the Vineyard.  Two traditional services are held in the Arbor and one contemporary service is held in the Vineyard each Sunday. They have a rather large complex which includes a building for a preschool. The church also has a thrift store in another part of the community, and provides meals for the homeless. It seems to have an active socially caring ministry. Near the church is a produce stand and garden operated by another church in the community. I was surprised to discover that  this stand was selling all the vegetables which we missed this past summer in Alaska!  Strawberries, tomatoes and corn had just been picked that morning. And Saturday we found a Florida citrus produce stand where we were able to purchase oranges and grapefruits.
Sunday afternoon we drove over to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford winter estates, which are located next to each other in Fort Myers. Both places are now museums opened to the public. The largest banyan tree in the continental United States is located on the grounds of the Edison home. It was given to him in 1925 by Harvey Firestone. It was then only four feet tall, now it is about a hundred feet tall and an acre in diameter. Edison was concerned about domestic production of rubber and his home in Florida was the location of his research for this product. The banyan tree produces a white milky sap which can be used to create rubber. Below is only a small part of the tree. The banyan drops down roots which then produce another tree. That is how this tree has grown over the past 85 years. John and I first saw this tree when we were in Hawaii.
The Thomas Edison house has been all decorated for Christmas, which you can see in the picture below. The Edison family lived here for several winter months each year from 1886-1947.
Mrs. Edison loved orchids, and had them brought in from all over the world to be planted in the rows of mango trees which are located in front of both the Edison and Ford homes. This became known as "Orchid Lane". Not many of the orchids are blooming at this time of the year, but I did find a few of them.
As perhaps you may notice looking at the pictures, our day started sunny and warm. A cold front came through in the afternoon with a couple of rain showers. Amazingly we were still able to tour the two estates, the grounds as well as the homes. We also saw a building on Edison's estate which once housed his botanic research laboratory that supported the endeavor of producing a  quick growing domestic source of natural rubber. Eventually Edison discovered that the goldenrod plant proved to be the best natural source for producing rubber.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sanibel Island

There has been a white bird which we have seen often along the roadsides. I figured out that it is a cattle egret, and while I have seen so many of them, they have never been cattle!  Today on our way to Sanibel Island I saw two of those birds next to a big bull!  That was very exciting and confirmed that they are who they are supposed to be. Apparently it is the insects that hang around cattle which attract the cattle egret. Cattle provide a dining pleasure for those birds. The unique features of plants and animals are quite intriguing. On the Keys I saw a fishtail palm, a fascinating tree with very rugged-looking leaves. Even more interesting, is that each leaf has different cuts than the leaf next to it.
We drove through the national wildlife preserve on Sanibel Island before walking the seashore. We saw many of the same shore birds which we have been seeing in the past week or so, with the addition of the yellow-crowned night heron. He was roosting contentedly all hunched up on a branch so I didn't get a good picture of him. The heron is another bird which has puzzled me. I thought the main way to identify him was by the plumage on his head. Investigating that further I learned that, especially for the great blue heron, there is no plumage until he is a breeding adult. Speaking of the blue heron, we watched one in the refuge who had speared a rather large fish, and did not seem to be able to figure out how to eat it. We watched him for awhile. He kept picking the fish  up and then putting it down. We had to get going, and never did find out how he resolved that problem. We  then saw an ibis who had also caught a fish , apparently he had no problem with his dinner. We do not see the ibis all that often, and when we do see him there is no problem identifying him because of his downwardly curving slender beak. The breeding adult's legs and bill turn scarlet.
 There was one other interesting thing which happened while we were in the sanctuary. I had gotten out of the car to take some pictures when I noticed an osprey sitting high up on a nest. She was calling to her mate who was apparently some distance away, and he was answering back. They make what sounds like loud whistling kyew notes. It is not often that I can put a bird together with his particular  mode of communication so I found that fascinating. We did eventually make it to one of the public beaches on the island. I had been told that the shells on Sanibel are plentiful, and the minute I walked onto the beach I found that to be very true.There were so many that our shoes made a crunching sound as we walked!
  And it was not only shells which dot the beach, but also horseshoe crab, jelly fish, sponge, to name but a few of the creatures from the sea.  I felt like I could walk forever on this beach but the sun was sinking fast.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Big Cypress National Park

Today we left the Miami area and drove north on US 41, which took us through more of the Everglades. We saw about as many of the shore birds on that drive as we had seen when we visited National Everglades park last week. We stopped for lunch in the parking lot of the smallest post office in the United States. In 1953 there was a fire in the local general store and post office, so an old irrigation shed belonging to a tomato farm was pressed into service, and has remained the post office ever since.
After we finished lunch John walked across the highway to look at the marshy swamp of the Everglades. He immediately saw an otter on the shore,  and he called me over to see it. The otter was back in the water by the time I got there, but I did see a red shouldered hawk up in the palm tree near me.
 There was a large catfish caught in a rocky depression of the swamp, we figured that perhaps he was the reason the hawk was hanging out in the palm tree. We then drove on further down the road and stopped  at a location where it is possible to take airboat rides of the Everglades. It was something John had always wanted to experience, so we bought the tickets and took a 30 minute ride over the swamp. John describes it as a "unique sensation which everyone should try".  We flew low at 35mph over mud flats, mangrove strands, and saw grass prairies. Our guide informed us that the water was, at the most, about 9 inches deep. After a storm it can be as deep as 3 feet. The white mangrove trees which live in this swamp can only exist in salt water, which flows into this area from the Gulf of Mexico. The swamp we had seen earlier in the day had freshwater, as evidenced by the cypress trees seen in the water there. Below is a picture of the mangrove trees which we saw from the airboat. Native Americans call them a walking tree, because of the nature of the root system.
I had no idea what to expect with an airboat ride, certainly not to be whipping rapidly around those trees and clumps of grass! That surprised me, was well as the loud noise from the motor of the boat ( we were told it was best to wear head phones,which the guide provided). And as our trip continued I could feel a fine mist hitting my face as well as some splatters of mud. I did feel sorry for the many ducks and egrets who arose quickly out the water to get out of our way!  What a disruption to the serenity of the swamp.
 Thank goodness there is only one tour boat company that is allowed to travel over the Everglades in the Big Cypress National Park! Our guide told us that they are the only company allowed to give tours in the swamp because they owned some of  the land before it became a national park. For myself,  I would say I am glad I experienced an airboat ride, but probably would not do it again. We did stop a couple of times and sit quietly during our ride to look for wildlife, but saw only alligators and a wide variety of birds. Panthers have been spotted in this area, but only early in the morning or at sunset. Contrary to the picture below, John did not drive the airboat. We were told that it is difficult to steer and requires lots of practice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Harry S. Truman Little White House

Part of the fun in touring Key West was in just walking the streets. Key West is a subtropical town which is lush with vegetation of palms, hibiscus,and bougainvillea. They adorn the homes of the rich and poor alike. Some of the older homes are quite beautiful with Bahamian architecture and others have not seen a coat of paint in years. And we will always remember Key West as the town that has chickens everywhere.
We parked our car early in the day and walked over to the older part of town. After touring the Hemingway home, we walked to what is now called the Naval Annex. On those grounds is located the Truman Little White House. The house was built in 1890 on the waterfront for a naval commandant. It was visited once by President Taft in 1911. Truman used this house 175 days during is administration of 1945-1953. He spent 11 working vacations here, during which time he made many momentous presidential decisions (one of which was the firing of General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War). The house currently is furnished in a 1948 style. President John Kennedy met here with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1961, for a summit meeting 23 days before the Bay of Pigs crisis. Three other presidents have visited here. The house has seen a of of history!  Descendants of past presidents have come back to stay in the house, President Carer had a family reunion here. An invitation has extended to President Obama, but he has not been there yet.
This picture above is of the Little White House. The six flags in the picture were placed in 2001 when Secretary of State Colin Powell held peace talks at the house between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Under international protocol, the flags of the combatant nations are placed on the ends with the flag of the United States in between. Other national flags represented were France and Russia. All too soon our day ended at Key West. We did not see  everything that the town had to offer but certainly hope return some day. I have one more picture of the Keys at sunset, but no windy weather now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hemingway Home and Museum

As I mentioned in the last posting, a cold front came in Monday night, but by Tuesday the cold wind had abated and we were quite comfortable touring the town wearing our light jackets.We really can't complain about the weather when it warms up so nicely during the day!  Hemingway's home was built in 1851, Hemingway and his second wife Pauline were the second owners and moved into it in 1931. Hemingway and Pauline lived there for 10 years, after which he found wife number three and moved to Cuba. He was a complex man and our tour guide for the house had quite a few fascinating stories to tell about him. Below is the entrance to the famous author's Spanish colonial home.
While Hemingway lived here,  a good part of his day was spent hanging around numerous townspeople. Their conversations with him provided Hemingway with material for his writings while residing in Key West. During his lifetime he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as a Nobel Prize for Literature. Below is the room he occupied while writing, it is on the second floor of a carriage house next to the main building. His fishing and hunting trophies are still on the wall. Most of the original Hemingway family furniture is still present in the home.
Any discussion of the home is not complete without mentioning the 45 cats who reside there, most of whom are six-toed. They are descendants of  the first cat given to Hemingway's son by a sea captain. We were told that they are the second most costly expense of the museum. The one below, I believe his name is Archibald Macleish, is snoozing on Hemingway's bed. Each cat is given the name of a famous person. When we toured the cat cemetery on the grounds we noticed that there had been a Spencer Tracey and a  Betty Davis. The headboard of this bed is quite unique. It was made from a 17th century Spanish monastery gate.
 The grounds of the home are small and include an in-ground swimming pool. Hemingway was so irate with Pauline for installing it while he was away, that in retaliation he took a urinal from the bathroom of his favorite his favorite bar and made a fountain with it. The large jar is a Spanish olive jar from Cuba. Pauline decorated the urinal with mosaic tiles to improve the look of the urinal. We found this house tour to be as interesting as Hemingway himself!