Sunday, July 5, 2015

Five Points South

Rolling on an Adventure...

Five Points South, Birmingham is famous for the food, but this bizarre fountain is pretty cool too. This controversial fountain in Birmingham's south side is called "Five Points Fountain" by some, "Storyteller Fountain" by others, but many local church-goers just call this landmark, "The Satanic Fountain."

From the site: The centerpiece of this fountain is a man-figure with the head of a ram. From a nondescript book, he reads to a group of entranced woodland animals as streams of water swirl around their midst. This fountain, created by local artist Frank Fleming, is located in Five Points South, the heart of Birmingham's club district. To the casual observer, the sculptures might appear whimsical, but it's unveiling certainly stirred by a hornet's nest in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt.

An inscription on the fountain reads:
"The Storyteller"
Frank Fleming, artist
Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art
Storytelling is a deeply rooted southern heritage. The animals are listening to a story intended to convey the idea of a peaceable kingdom.

We made photos.
Naynuh, Sister, Big E, No. 1 Son
Probably not supposed to be standing IN the actual fountain....

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun. ~Katherine Hepburn

Sibyl Temple

Sibyl Temple, Vestavia Hills, Alabama

This is a really random deal. The path up to the temple is well-lit and easy to walk. They have picnic tables at the top and a fantastic view of the city below. It feels isolated and quiet even though it's right on the main road. There is a clean bathroom (only open in the summer months).

Roadside America

Not sure they meant for us to climb the trees, but it's SOOOO tempting.

Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun. ~Randy Pausch 

Color Tunnel

The Color Tunnel at Railroad Park:

Located at 18th Street and Morris Avenue downtown Birmingham, Alabama it's one of the more interesting locations in the city. If you go during the day, you can visit all over the Civil Rights District, eat in a variety of fantastic, wide-price ranged venues, and take photos at dark in the tunnel.  There is a pedestrian area and a vehicle area, but it was empty the night we went. We only saw two or three cars the entire time we were there.

No clue why they are on the car...
 Our Fourth of July fireworks festivities were rained out, so we went here instead. Don't let your circumstances dictate your joy, my friends. You make your own fun.

Naynuh, Kadus, Sister, JU, the No. 1 Son, Big E

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. ~Dr. Seuss

Orr Park 6-7-15

Walking the dog in the park. Perfect day!
Orr Park lies in the middle of Montevallo and is a hidden little gem. It is a preserve on the Shoal Creek and has water access where you can wade, splash, and play to your heart's content. You can take your dog (on a leash), walk on the paved walking trail, play in the fountain, and enjoy the playground. There are also several open meadow areas to lounge on in addition to shaded, wooded areas. There are picnic areas for your lunch.

Orr Park Info
Fall at Orr Park

It's also a photography paradise featuring beautifully carved trees and sculptures.

Summer at Orr Park--you can see the Cahaba River in the background

This is at one of the water features in the park. Kids can play here

They have several places to picnic with covered gazebos

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Final Frontier

There has been a post circulating on Facebook--25 things to do in Birmingham for FREE. Well, my friends, we took that as a personal challenge in Johnsonville. This is a quest. A great guided tour of Alabama where we intend to do not only all of the free things but all of the cheap ones too (because who are we kidding--if you have five kids and a Nana who lives with you, you are BROKE, Jack). And we aren't limiting ourselves to Birmingham either, Neighbors. We are going south and north and all directions. Why? Because we can. 

Our Cast of Characters on the Mission:

Little Flower and Mother Bear

The Mother Bear (40-something year old mother of five, English teacher, living the rural dream) Really, that's enough, isn't it?

Big E
Big E (part of the dynamic duo known as the Wonder twins. 15 year old female who will be the ringmaster of fun). She's bringing the party, dj-ing the set list in her special OCD ADD way, making friends with every stranger we encounter, and yelling at random people we encounter on the road.


Naynuh (second half of the Wonder Twins or E-Squared. 15 year old female who will be the voice of reason). She's carrying a backpack full of stuff we don't need including various novels, photos, heel pads, and a map of someplace foreign she hopes to go one day.

Sister (16 year old who wandered into my house and never left who will laugh at us when we fall down in public) She's the only kid in the house with an international stamp in her passport. We're counting on her to be the blonde everywhere we go (since she's the only blonde). She may or may not be performing various stunts of daring on our adventures. She's like that when the mood strikes her.

No. 1 Son

The Number One Son (Only boy, namesake, heir apparent, 12 year old who will be the daredevil). We will photograph him doing numerous stupid, dangerous things on the road, because he's the only one idiotic enough to actually try them. You'll recognize me, because I'll be running around after him screaming helpful things like, "PUT THE HELMET ON! DON'T LEAP FROM THERE! NO YOU CAN'T BASE JUMP!"

Little Flower
The Little Flower (11 year old bizarre baby girl with wicked bad artist skillz who will refuse to get out of the vehicle or be in any photographs). She has told us that it's her dream to own an RV as her first car so that she never has to leave her house to go places. She'll be the voice asking if we can please go home now every ten minutes.

The Husband
The Husband (The man. the legend. The Father. The Husband. Get-away driver. He has a badge and one bullet.) He won't make all of the adventures (since he actually has to like work and stuff), but he's planning on playing as much as possible while we are out on summer break. I'm mostly bringing him along so we can embarrass the Shorties by making out in public as often as possible. (Hey, after 21 years you've got to search for ways to keep it fresh.)

 Featuring an assorted cast of friends and neighbors stupid, er, daring enough to get into the Family Truckster and roll with us into the wild, blue yonder.

On the Road again