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Fall 2011

Friends in Feathers
Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society, Inc.
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The 2011 Autumn Tea is sure to delight guests of all Autumn Tea. Beth will ages. If you havent attended a Tea at the Gene Stratton- share a look into the lives Porter State Historic Site, dont wait until next year. For of a vital piece of china at your $25 ticket, youll be treated to this event, If Tea Pots delicious food, enjoy an entertain- Could Talk is sure to ing guest speaker and a guided tour make you think twice when of The Cabin at Wildflower pouring that next cup of Photo by Alaina Carnahan Woods. tea. Photos do the food at the Tea no After enjoying delicious justice! Sample lemon and berry food, hot tea and delightful entertainment, youll be tartlets, a variety of tea sandwiches taken on a guided tour of Gene Stratton-Porters Cabin at including cucumber and scones Wildflower Woods. Learn how Gene might have enterwith fresh clotted cream. Youre tained when she lived here and why she called her winsure to find treats dow a million dollar picture winyouve never seen dow. Photo by Alaina Carnahan before or thought Reservations are required for the long-since gone. The treats are all lov2011 Autumn Tea and tickets are now ingly made by hand by generous GSP on sale. Please call the Site at 260volunteers. 854-3790 to reserve your tickets toThis years featured speaker is Beth day. Your ticket price helps fund fuGreen, GSP Memorial Society Board ture programs, maintenance and resMember who has been busy doing retoration at the Gene Stratton-Porter search to share with guests at this years Photo by Alaina Carnahan State Historic Site.
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From the President Naturalists Corner Managers Update A Dream of Beauty Owl-oween Apple Festival Gift Shop Spotlight Membership Info The Harvester

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In an effort to keep Genes legacy alive, well share some interesting facts with you in each newsletter. If you have a question about Gene, her life and works, please send us an e-mail at and well do our best to answer! Many people know that Gene was often called The Little Bird Woman but dont know how she acquired that nickname. When Gene was a young girl, her father made a gift of all the birds on the family farm. Gene took this responsibility seriously and often brought injured birds home to nurse back to health (including a hawk). It was actually Genes mother, Mary, who coined the term Little Bird Woman in reference to Genes ability to care for sick and injured birds. The nickname followed Gene throughout her life as did her love of birds. To learn more about the amazing person she was, consider pur- Photo by Dave Fox chasing one of the available biographies in the GSP Gift Shop (on Site or online). Biographies and literary examinations of her works are available in addition to many of Genes own works.

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year, we suggested that the change in programming be implemented for 2012. If the Society is to be successful with the additional emphasis on fundraising, we will need suggestions of people and places to approach for fundraising from our membership. We, the members of the Society, believe in the value of the Site and the need to see it flourish and grow. It is up to us, the membership, to make it happen. We have been informed by a number of our members that they are not receiving our newsletter in a timely fashion. In some cases we have been told that it takes from two to four weeks for delivery. The Society has been trying to be good stewards by using bulk mail, which is about half the cost of first class mail, but timely delivery is also very important. The Board has decided to ask all of you who have an e-mail address to furnish it to us for electronic delivery of this newsletter. It will be in full color and not have any delivery cost. We will also begin to publish the newsletter on our new and improved website. We hope that this will allow more interested people to join the GSP Memorial Society and stay informed about the Site. Instructions for sending us your e-mail address are included in this issue. If you do not have an e-mail address, we will mail the newsletter to you via first class mail. This means that our mailing cost for the issues that cannot be delivered by e-mail will double, so we hope youll choose the electronic version to help us save costs. It is our hope that each of you will visit the Site at least once during each operating season. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to personally greet you. John Kessen

As we move into Fall, the seasons are changing and the Gene StrattonPorter Memorial Society is preparing for some changes as well. If you will recall, I mentioned in the last newsletter that the Board is starting the process of long range planning. On October 22, the Board will have its first one day retreat to work in earnest on the project. Through the generosity of Kathy Dues, one of our new Board members, and the Best Western in Kendallville, the meeting facilities and food will be provided. We will be working with professional facilitators and anticipate a very productive day. In line with our long range planning, we have some new priorities from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation. As you are aware, the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites are no longer part of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. We still work with the same people in Indianapolis, but some policies and procedures have changed. A change in the focus of the Society was presented to us by Kathleen McLary, Chief Operating Officer of the new corporation. She indicated that the new focus of the Memorial Society should be fundraising to help the Site. The Board is discussing what fundraising project will be tackled first and well share that exciting news with you soon. There will also be changes to the way programs are handled between the Society and the Site. We are to review the programming and determine which programming we want to sponsor that will help increase the flow of funding to the Society for use at our Site. The events that we choose to sponsor will be handled entirely by the Society, with the purpose of raising funds. All of the other programming will be handled by the Site staff, with the Society providing volunteers to assist. Since we are over half way through the

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Maybe youve asked yourself how you could help at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site. Its easy and there are plenty of ways to help with time, talents and money. We couldnt continue Genes legacy without the help of many. The easiest way to help is to make a financial donation to the GSP Memorial Society, Inc. Any donation is tax-deductible and will

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welcomed in the Gardens. If gardening isnt your passion, we can use your help with office work, cleaning or in the gift shop. Youll receive training for any project you work on and the hours are as flexible as you want. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please stop by the Carriage House or call 260-8543790.

be used for educational programming, maintenance and restoration of the gardens, grounds and buildings. If its time you have, volunteers are needed for special events as well as every-day projects and tasks at the Site. The Gardens take a tremendous amount of time and attention so whether its cutting back flowers in the fall, planting in the spring or general clean-up; help is always

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Gene didnt even realize it. Once Gene promised her husband, Charles, she would no longer enter the Limberlost Swamp. He felt it was becoming too dangerous for her. That promise was immediately broken when a lumberman reported a Black Vulture nest to Gene. Gene knew this was a rare find, and she and Charles made routine visits to this nest often encountering a large amount of bugs, sinking to their ankles in mud, and always having soaking wet clothes. She photographed the hatchlings and observed them until they took flight, making the trip every three days for nearly three weeks. She did make note of the horrid smell and figured that vultures must not have a sense

As I write this article, it is a the lack of feathers on their head. very important day for my absolute This is an amazing and relatively favorite bird- the Turkey Vulture. simple adaptation to stay clean- deToday (Sept. 3) is International Vul- caying meat cannot stick to feathers ture Appreciation Day (IVAD). which arent present. What began as a small The second most annual event in South Afnoticeable feature would rica has grown, in 4 years, be the vultures wingspan. to an international event Turkey Vultures can have with over 125 participatwingspans upwards of 6 ing organizations. In feet! This allows these South Africa and other birds to soar on thermals areas around the world, (uprisings of warm air) vultures and condor popufor hours without flapping lations have declined 99% their wings. This is an - some 40 million birds. energy conserving adaptaPhoto by Dave Fox While it is hard to believe tion. that the birds we often see soaring The biggest adaptation that above fields and woodlands in the vultures have is their stomachsUnited States would bring much wouldnt you want it to be, if you threat to those abroad, vultures are were a scavenger? The pH level of being poisoned, persecuted, electro- most vultures stomachs is between cuted as a result of power line colli- 0-1. A healthy humans stomach pH sions, and hunted for use in medilevel is between 1-2. And just for cine. reference vinegar is a pH 2.4 and Why you might ask? Farm- battery acid is a pH of .8. In addiers and local residents lack an untion the acidity of a vultures stomderstanding of how important these ach is so strong that in can actually birds are. IVAD is now promoting dissolve metal. and educating about the importance Why is this important? Well of these birds to an areas ecosysa vultures stomach is able to kill tem. I wondered how many people major diseases like cholera, rabies, really know about the great adapta- anthrax, and botulism. It has been tions vultures have, including those documented that in areas were vulfound in Indiana. tures have become locally eradicated If you see vultures soaring these diseases are on the rise. Vularound, chances are its a Turkey tures clean up carcasses from aniVulture, but if you are in southern mals that may have died from disIndiana it might be a Black Vulture. eases, preventing the diseases from Focusing on the type of vulture is entering back into the food chain arbitrary; highlighting their interest- through the ground or water source. ing adaptations is what is important. All of these neat, interestI admit that ing, uncomonly eating dead and mon, gross, but decaying things, doesnt useful adaptasound the least bit aptions (and there pealing but vultures do are more to it in style. The most mention than I common and noticeable have space for) feature about vultures is and Ill bet
Photo by Dave Fox

Little Chicken by Gene Stratton-Porter

of smell (actually found to be incorrect vultures have one of the keenest senses of smell). I am not saying that we should all own and wear an I love Vultures shirt on the first Saturday in September or even take time to celebrate IVAD. However, what I am suggesting is that we take time to appreciate and understand that everything, whether cute and cuddly, or smelly and gross, when we think about it (or even when we dont); has its place and reason and it is far greater than we could have imagined.

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My position as Site Manager at the Gene StrattonPorter State Historic Site affords me some extraordinary opportunities. The next best thing to meeting Gene herself is getting to know some of her family and that is exactly what I was able to do this June. Cosette Lang is the great grandniece of Gene, being Jerome Strattons granddaughter. She has had a long relationship with the Site and was one of the first life members of the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society! She called this May and arranged for me to visit, which was like a dream come true. Unfortunately, the drive was frightful a small-town boy trying to navigate around Chicago using a GPS purchased the day before! The drive took two hours longer than expected, but it was well worth the extra time. Cosette was so sweet about my tardiness and even helped guide me in when there was con-

struction nearby her home. If ever there were someone to model your life after, it could easily be Cosette. She just celebrated her 90th birthday this June and is one of the most active and interesting people I have ever met. She loves sports (especially tennis!), is a volunteer driver for a local senior center, loves to play cards, and is of course, the family historian! My stay lasted for well over 12 hours, and we talked until 2 am. She is a wealth of knowledge and we had a great time pouring through letters and scraps of paper with various notes as well photo albums and books authored by Gene. I learned not only about Gene, her family tree, and history, but also about other facets of Cosettes fam-

ily, such as her relationship to a very famous Confederate general in the Civil War, a territorial governor over the Sac and Fox tribes in Oklahoma as well as other notable figures. Cosette has carefully maintained these stories throughout her lifetime. How lucky are her descendents, not only to have such a rich family history, but to have such a dedicated historian in their midst! Im looking very forward to keeping in close touch with Cosette to learn as much as I can. Hopefully, I will have more exciting news to share with you about this truly exceptional person as well as other members of Genes family!

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The Annual Holiday Walk, A Dream of Beauty, The Holiday Walk at Gene Stratton-Porter traditionhas been scheduled for Saturday, December 1, 2012, ally features live music, craft activities, refreshments and Saturday, December 7, 2013. This and horse-drawn wagon rides between buildyears Holiday Walk is still in Novemings. Both the Carriage House and Genes ber, on Saturday the 19th. Our holiday Cabin are dressed for the holidays and full of celebration will be held in conjunction festivities. with the Rome City Holiday House Genes Cabin at Wildflower Woods is decorated according to Gene and Jeannettes Walk and other festivities in Rome description of Christmas 1917 spent at LimCity. Tickets for the GSP A Dream of berlost North. Many guests last year comBeauty will be $3 and ticket prices for mented that the simple and rustic dcor showcased Genes collections as well as the beauty the Rome City Holiday House Walk, Photo by Dave Fox of the Cabin itself. which will also include admission to Mark your calendar and plan to join us for A Dream GSP, have not yet been determined. The Rome City Chamber of Commerce will announce ticket prices as of Beauty and enjoy the sounds and sights of the seawell as homes included on the tour and other festivities. son.

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Some may say that Halloween coyotes. One stop will feature is only for the kids, that you outa craft activity and you never grow trick-or-treat but we say not know who youll meet at the at Owl-oween!! Kids of all ages other stops! are sure to find fun at Owl-oween The fun wraps up in the on Friday, October 14, and Carriage House where youll Saturday, October 15, from 6:30 have time to shop the GSP to 8:30 each evening. Gift Shop and enjoy refreshWeve combined Halloween ments upstairs. Past years with a holiday icon, owls, to creactivities and stops have inate this educational, family event cluded dissecting owl pellets, Photos by Alaina Carnahan minus the scares. For just $3 per making pipe cleaner spiders, person (all ages included), youll learning about moths and butmeet some new creatures, get terflies and even the chance to treats and hopefully learn somemeet Charles Porter, Genes thing new! husband. Costumes are encouraged but You never know what this not required. The event runs from years Owl-oween has in store 6:30 until 8:30 with groups being but you can be sure it will be led from stop to stop throughout a great time for the whole the GSP grounds. Theres no family. Reservations are not worry of being late as groups are required for this event but a staggered to enjoy the event at a flashlight is recommended. leisurely pace. The admission is $3 per perStart the evening at the Pavilion son for everyone over the age with the first stop of Owl-oween. From there youll be of 4, children 4 and under are free. For more informaled to stops along the way where youll learn about tion, call the Site at 260-854-3790. misunderstood creatures like bats, snakes, spiders or

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If youre near Kendallville the first weekend of October, Apple Festival is the place to be! This year GSP has a new location - the Demonstration Area at the Fairgrounds (located in the Dairy Barn)! Support the community by attending the 2011 Apple Festival and support GSP by stopping by our booth to see our demonstration or to do some shopping. Who knows what Apple Festival bargains might await you! The Apple Festival is Saturday, October 1, from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, October 2, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Watch for Your Invitation!

If youve volunteered at the Gene StrattonPorter State Historic Site this year, watch your mail for an invitation to the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. This years Dinner will be held on Sunday, November 13 beginning at 5:30 p.m. This dinner is a way to recognize the many hours of work provided by our dedicated corps of volunteers as well as giving everyone a chance to reflect on another season of successful events at the Site. If you havent yet volunteered at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site but would like to, please stop by the Carriage House Visitors Center or call 260-854-3790 to learn more.

G i f t S h o p S h o w c a s e In honor of the Autumn Tea, the GSP Gift Shop is featuring an assortment of related items so you can have a perfect tea at home anytime. Youll find individual tea strainers in beautiful sterling silver designs. These are perfect for brewing an individual cup of tea so every guest can sample their own taste of tea blend. Tea towels with lovely embroidered designs will make your kitchen feel like its tea time anytime. The designs include Luna moths, butterflies and birds and are embroidered on 100% cotton towels that will withstand washing and daily use. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the publication, all copies of The Harvester are still 10% off. This is one of Genes most popular novels and considered to be a great novel for men. You can read an excerpt from the first chapter on the next page. If you havent tried the ginseng flavored hard candy from Plyleys of Lagrange, be sure to ask for a sample and pick up a bag to take home. There are many other flavors, including sugar-free options, to choose from. Youll find as complete a selection as available of Gene Stratton-Porters works in the Gift Shop. Along side her works, youll also find biographies and literary criticisms. If youre looking for field guides and nature gifts, look no further. Remember that the holidays are just around the corner and the GSP Gift Shop has something for everyone on your list. Were always bringing in new items as well. Dont forget that GSP Memorial Society members save 10% on everything in the GSP Gift Shop.

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T h a n k s t o O u r S u p p o r t e r s FORT WAYNE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY Thanks to the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society for their participation in our Star Gazing and Night Hike Event. Not only did the Society send knowledgeable volunteers, they sent wonderful telescopes and stayed past the end of the event helping our guests learn more about the stars. STONEY CREEK WINERY Located in Millersburg, Stoney Creek Winery joined us for the Moonlit Garden Tour last month, providing their delicious wines for guests to sample. This family-owned winery creates everything from Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to Mango, Wildberry and Peach wines. Find them on Facebook or call 574-642-4454 to learn more about these wonderful wines! SERV-ALL Thanks to SERV-ALL of Noble County for their complimentary trash pick-up. You can imagine how much trash is generated during peak visitation and were grateful to SERV-ALL for helping us keep costs a little lower. NATURE UNLIMITED Dave Yoder of Nature Unlimited in Topeka donates bird seed and suet to keep the feathered residents of GSP wellfed. You can visit Nature Unlimited at 219 Nature Trail in Topeka for his selection of feeders, houses, seed, suet and more. FORT WAYNE HOME & GARDEN SHOW The Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show, produced by Fort Wayne Shows, Inc., graciously provided a booth at no charge for the GSP Memorial Society. Please join us next year at the 39th Annual Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show - March 1-4 at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum.

GSP Memorial Society Newsletter Now Available Electronically!

If you would rather receive this newsletter by e-mail, please send your e-mail address to us at As mentioned by John Kessen in his message, we are attempting to provide timely information to our members in the most cost-effective method. Well also begin posting the newsletter on our new and improved website for everyone to enjoy. The electronic newsletter will be in full color and contain links to additional information that we dont have room to cover in the print version. Dont miss out on expanded articles, photos and videossend us your e-mail address today to receive this newsletter electronically!

Not a GSP Memorial Society member yet? Join today!

Complete and return this form.

Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society, Inc. Membership Application

Single Family Sustaining Non-Profit Org. Business Single Family $10.00 $15.00 $20.00 $25.00 $25.00 $100.00 ___________________________________________________________ Street Address ___________________________________________________________ Name ___________________________________________________________ Business or Non-Profit Organization (if applicable)

Life (40 years or older)

$150.00 ___________________________________________________________ City State Zip Phone Number Please make your check payable to: ___________________________________________________________ Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial E-mail Address Society, Inc. and mail, along with this form, to Your GSP Memorial Society membership includes 3 newsletters GSP Memorial Society, each year, invitations to special events and a 10% discount in the 1205 Pleasant Point, GSP gift shop. Your membership dues support educational Rome City, Indiana 46784 programs, special events and help continue Genes legacy!
A n E x c e r p t f r o m T h e H a r v e s t e r

Chapter 1 - Belshazzars Decision Bel, Come here! The Harvester sat in the hollow worn in the hewed log stoop by the feet of his father and mother and his own sturdier tread, and rested his head against the casing of the cabin door when he gave the command. The tip of the dogs nose touched the gravel between his paws as he crouched flat on the earth, with beautiful eyes steadily watching the master, but he did not move a muscle. Bel, come here! Twinkles flashed in the eyes of the man when he repeated the order, while his voice grew more imperative as he stretched a lean, wiry hand toward the dog. The animals eyes gleamed and his sensitive nose quivered, yet he lay quietly. Belshazzar, kommen sie hier! The body of the dog arose on straightened legs and his muzzle dropped in the out-stretched palm. A wind slightly perfumed with the odour of melting snow and unsheathing buds swept the lake beside them, and lifted a waving tangle of light hair on the brow of the man, while a level ray of the setting sun flashed across the water and illuminated the graven, sensitive face, now alive with keen interest in the game being played.

Bel, dost remember the day? inquired the Harvester. The eager attitude and anxious eyes of the dog betrayed that he did not, but was waiting with every sense alert for a familiar work that would tell him what was expected. Surely you hear the killdeers crying in the night, prompted the man. I called your attention when the ecstasy of the first bluebird waked the dawn. All day you have seen the gold-yellow and blood-red osiers, the sap-wet maples and spring tracing announcements of her arrival on the sunny side of the levee. The dog found no clew, but he recognized tones he loved in the suave, easy voice, and his tail beat his sides in vigorous approval. The man nodded gravenly. Ah, so! Then you realize this day to be the most important of all the coming year to me; this hour a solemn one that influences my whole after life. It is time for your annual decision on my fate for a twelve-month. Are you sure you are fully alive to the gravity of the situation, Bel? The dog felt himself safe in answering a rising inflection ending in his name uttered in that tone, and wagged eager assent. Well then, said the man, which shall it be? Do I leave home for the noise and grime of the city, open an office and enter the money-making scramble?

2011 Events
Wildflower Walk & Brunch Sat., May 7, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., $20 (reservation only) Wildflower Woods Bird Hike Sat., May 14, 2 - 5 p.m., $3 Gene Stratton-Porter Cabin Overnight July 16 -17, 8:30 p.m. - 8:30 a.m., $100 (reservation only) Star Gazing & Night Hike Sat., July 30, 9 - 11 p.m., $3 Chautauqua Days Sat. & Sun., Aug 13 & 14, Noon - 4 p.m., $3 Genes Moonlit Garden Tour Sat., Aug. 27, 8 - 10 p.m., $20 (21 & over only) Upland Wildlife Cookout Sat., Sept. 24, 6 - 9 p.m., $5 suggested donation Birding by Kayak Sat., Oct. 1, 8 - 11 a.m., $3 (reservation only) Owl-oween Fri. & Sat., Oct.14 & 15, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., $3 Gene Stratton-Porter Autumn Tea Mon., Oct. 17, Noon - 4 p.m., $25 (reservation only) GSP Memorial Society Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Sun., Nov. 13, 5:30 p.m. (reservation only) A Dream of Beauty Holiday Walk Sat., Nov. 19, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., $3


*Proceeds from all events are used for future educational programming as well as maintenance and restoration of the gardens, grounds and buildings at GSP.

1205 Pleasant Point Rome City, IN 46784 (260) 854-3790

For more information on events, or to make reservations, please call 260-854-3790

G E N E S T R A T T O N - P O R T E R M E M O R I A L S O C I E T Y , I N C .