Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014

May 21, 2014

One day this past week, I was assigned to take several groups of elementary school kids from a nearby city for tours around Nauvoo. It was fun to see how excited they were to go on a "real" wagon ride pulled by "real" horses!

First thing in the morning, we bring all 22 horses into the barn and feeding troughs for their morning grain and cleaning. We then harness those we're going to use during the day and turn the others back out to the corrals.

One of the school groups lined up for their wagon ride.

After the rides, many of the people--kids and adults--like to come and pet the horses.

One day this week, Jan was assigned to conduct tours in the Print Shop, which happens to be just around the corner from our apartment in the John Taylor home.

Last Thursday a group of people from a Rapid City Vintage Car Club rolled into town.

I think the average age of the members of this car club rivals the average age of the senior missionaries serving here in Nauvoo!

The cars they were driving were amazing. The oldest one was a 1929 Ford.

On our Prep Day today, we decided to visit the Nauvoo Memorial Cemetery located east of town.

This statue was put up by the Church in honor of the many Latter-day Saint family members who are buried here.

As you can see, the headstones are scattered here and there, no particular alignment or pattern.

On most of the headstones, the printing is illegible. But on this one, you can make out that it belonged to William Matlock, who was editor of the Hancock Eagle newspaper.

This headstone obviously has been redone, but it marks the burial spot of one of the more prominent saints in Nauvoo, Edward Partridge, the first Presiding Bishop of the Church. (Sorry that the picture insists on displaying sideward!)

The headstones in the front of this picture are reproductions of the original ones above them. Notice the dates of the deceased. Lucius Scovil, a local baker, lost a son and two twin daughters and his wife within two years. Unfortunately, that was the lot of many of the old Nauvoo families.

There is a lot of talk here about “Nauvoo Miracles.”  We were told in the MTC that if we took care of the Lord’s family, He would take care of ours.   Many of the missionaries here have been blessed in amazing ways because of their service.  One has a 23 year old grandson who has decided to serve a mission, another has a son whose cancer is in remission, still another has a daughter finally pregnant after nine years of trying.  We believe that all missionaries are blessed just to be able to serve, but sometimes the Lord gives additional help when needed.   We are trying to recognize each day our “Nauvoo Miracles.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014

This past week has been full of wagon and carriage rides, since the weather was a little warmer than it was earlier. In fact, the temperature was in the high 70s and low 80s most of the week.

The Carriage Depot, where visitors load onto a carriage that takes them out through the countryside in the north end of Old Nauvoo. During the carriage ride, the teamsters explain about several of the saints who lived in Old Nauvoo, such as Porter Rockwell, King Follet, Dan Jones, and  others.

The Wagon Depot, where visitors are able to have narrated tours through the streets of Nauvoo. Many of the homes and businesses of prominent members of the Church are highlighted.

Often after a ride, the guests often want to pet the horses and, if possible, get their picture taken with them.

On the carriage ride, we point out that the land here in Nauvoo is made up of layers of limestone and clay, which doesn't allow the ground to drain very well. Hence, the swampy condition of the flat land when the saints arrived in 1839. In order to drain the water and make the land habitable, the saints dug canals on the south and north ends of town to carry the water down to the Mississippi River. They also dug a network of ditches to convey the water into the canals. 

This is a culvert through which Joseph's Creek--one of the canals--runs. You can see how the land was layered with limestone and clay.

This is Stone Arch Bridge through which the water from the south end of town drains into the river.

The Mississippi River really isn't this wide. In 1913 a dam was built across the Mississippi River at Keokuk, Iowa, which is about 20-25 miles down stream from Nauvoo. The dam backed up the river and formed Lake Cooper, named after the man who designed the dam, Hugh L. Cooper. 

The dam caused the water level to rise about 18-20 feet, causing the water to spill over its banks and form the lake. The Mississippi River runs through Lake Cooper, and buoys mark the channel of the river so that boats and barges can float up or down the river without getting stuck.

If the boats don't stay in the marked channel, they will definitely get hung up in the shallow water. The drift wood in this picture is not floating, it's stuck in the mud.

When the river rose because of the dam, it filled in the quarry where limestone was quarried for the walls of the original Nauvoo Temple. This is what that quarry looks like now.

At the quarry site is this replica of one of the sunstones from the original temple.

Last Friday and Saturday, one of the local wards here in Nauvoo reenacted the moving of the Saints from Quincy, Illinois, to Nauvoo. They invited us missionaries to join in the celebration with them. Jan and I went to their Friday evening dinner and program.

Elder George Durrant and his (fairly) new wife, Susan Easton Black Durrant, were part of the program Friday evening. He is always entertaining!

Also on the program was this quaint little string band. Their music was representative of the music during the time the saints were in Nauvoo. 

Today was our prep-day, so we did some necessary chores, like our washing and shopping, and then we spent a good share of the afternoon weeding around our apartment and planting some flowers. I'm sure we have the most weed-free place in town now!

Not fun, but it needed to be done!

We hope you have a great week.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10, 2014

May 10, 2014

I just plain ran out of time to post any pictures on our Prep-Day last Wednesday, so I thought I would take advantage of a few minutes that I have this afternoon before Jan and I have to leave for our evening performance of Rendezvous at Old Nauvoo.

We have been complaining of the cold for so long that I thought we had better let you know that it appears that spring is finally coming.  As proof of that, I am posting below a few pictures to prove it!

The colors of the trees have been magnificent. 

Of course, any spring would not be complete around here without a few newly hatched goslings floating around on the Mississippi.

Notice the tulips in the Women's Garden.

Incidentally, for your information, this is the largest monument to women anywhere in the world.

I particularly like this view of the Nauvoo Temple looking up the hill to the east.

Last Sunday Jan (a.k.a. Sister Larson) and I spent the afternoon giving tours in the Old Nauvoo Post Office and Dry Goods Store, where there is a very interesting assortment of carpentry and farming tools. (I regret that I failed to take some pictures of them, but maybe that can be part of a future blog post!)

Most of my week was spent giving wagon and carriage tours. On a couple of days, we had bus loads of school kids from neighboring towns come to see what life in the "pioneer days" was like. 

One of the groups of students taking in the sites of Old Nauvoo.

This is a replica of the kind of wagon that the Pioneers/Saints used to transport all their belongings in from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City. The wagon measures three feet by eleven feet--not much space to take everything you needed to survive the journey west and to "set up shop" once you got there!

On our Prep Day this week, we needed to pick up an item or two--such as local raw honey--in the Amish variety store in Cantril, Iowa, called Dutchman's, a truly fascinating place.

On our way to Cantril, we saw a variety of old barns, so we decided to take a picture of a couple of them.

While we were out in the Amish countryside, I visited a little hat and fabric shop. I was fascinated to see the farmer there out preparing his fields for planting using one of his teams of horses. Before leaving the little farm, I took a few pictures of his farm equipment. 

His horse-drawn wagon . . .

. . . planter . . .

. . . plow . . . 

. . .  and cultivator.

On the way to the farm/hat shop/fabric store, we passed by this little Amish school house. The last time we were out that way, the children, in their school uniforms, were outside playing a game that looked like a form of softball.

I hope this gives you an idea of some of our experiences this past week.  And I hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying what you're doing.