Saturday, July 25, 2020

July 18 & 19, 2020 The Decay Devils Clean Up at Union Station

Saturday, July 18th
I joined the Decay Devils three years ago because of the artist who painted this mural, Wayne Thomas Abel. I first met Wayne at a Hammond Art Walk years ago. I loved him and his art instantly. He had a wonderfully rough and uniquely wild way about him but was passionate about the things he cared about. He also has so many great stories and knows how to tell them. I met him several times since then and he was always willing to hang out and talk about music, politics, and art with me. In the Summer of 2017, Wayne posted on FB that he was painting a mural for the Decay Devils at Union Station in Gary. I looked up who the Decay Devils were. A group of artists, writers and photographers who enjoyed Urban Exploring (Urbex). Their love of abandoned buildings led them to form a nonprofit charity to try and save these historic buildings. I signed up to join this group that day. Today I found out Wayne passed away last week. Wayne lived his life on his own terms and I respect him for that. I also thank him for the few times our paths crossed and I will miss him.  
I took a few 'before' pictures inside Union Station. 

We plan on clearing as much of the main floor as we can and salvage the metal for recycling.

We have two dumpsters one for scrap metal and one for the wire mesh that used to be the underside of the roof and the ceiling.

Several of us worked on the main floor...

...and Tyrell and Emery worked on the second floor.

We started at 8am but the heat and humidity quickly increased. I'm glad there were several young men helping out because I needed a lot of water breaks. 

We concentrated on cutting out as much metal as we could. Everything else will be removed when we get garbage dumpsters on site.

Most of the debris on the main floor is from the roof and ceiling collapsing over the years.

Maurice cleared the garden early in the day. Then helped Leo, Keith, Bryan, and me inside the building.

Making some progress.

The only breeze was right here in the framed entranceway. It felt good to stand here for a few minutes.

Keith was a one-man wrecking crew in this corner. He cleared out several layers of debris.

Taking pictures on one of many rest breaks for me.

A quick rest for the crew.

I found this old Colt 45 can in the rubble...

...if you called this lady you could win a trip for two to Las Vegas.

After we were done for the day. I planted two maple trees that I grew from seeds last fall in the woods behind Union Station. 

I did this for Christy's Trees For You and Me charity. She raises money to plant trees that help the environment and hopefully save her beloved polar bears.

The east side of Union Station.

Sunday July 19th
Due to the extreme heat yesterday, we stopped working at about 2pm. A few of us agreed to start at 6am this morning to avoid the heat. It didn't matter to me. I was sweating as soon as I got here. It rained for a few minutes about 7am. We worked through that rain. It was Tyrell, Keith, Leo and me this morning. We tried to clear a path from the side entrance to the staircase. About 7:45am I storm blew in and the rain was pouring through the holes in the roof down on us. We did our best to salvage as much scrap metal as we could. Eventually, it was pointless to continue as the rain never let up. We called it a day at 9am.

While picking up the tools and boarding up the entrance. I took a few pictures. I love @poetrybyboots. I've seen these heartshaped poems all over Gary. They always make me think, then really hit me hard in a good way.

This corner cleaned down to the floor.

A clear path to the staircase. The Decay Devils thank everyone who helped us on-site this weekend and everyone who supports our work with donations like Summit Inc who donated the dumpsters and recycled the metal for us.

Tyrell's about to board me up in here, I gotta stop taking pictures.

Another thought-provoking poem by @poetrybyboots on the wall outside Union Station. 

I was drenched with sweat before it started raining. So it felt good to me when that cool rain poured down on me. I changed into a dry shirt and took this picture before driving home. Even though I am exhausted, it felt good to spend time at Union Station with my Decay Devils family.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

June 22, 2020 Brinka Cross Gardens

I'm always looking for new places to take the dogs. I've seen the sign on Route 20 for the past few years but never looked it up. I just thought it was a botanical garden and dogs would not be allowed. Well, I finally looked into Brinka Cross Gardens online and dogs are allowed on a leash. This place has a great story and we finally stopped to check it out late last month. 

Yeti loves a good story so here it is...Bill Brinka and Basil Cross lived on this property for more than forty years. They developed and curated four acres of gardens and 21 acres of forest on this land. Bill passed away in 2001 and Basil died in 2006. The Porter County Parks and Recreation bought the property and turned it into a public park. They are currently expanding the park with a recent acquisition of 36 acres adjacent to this park. 

So here are some pictures I took while wandering on the trails of Bill & Basil's backyard.

It was a hot and humid morning and the bugs were very annoying as we walked the trails through the forest. 

It's not often you find old stoves in the forest. Since I'm a history dork, I looked up Atlanta Stove Works. They made cast iron stoves for almost 100 years (1889 - 1987)

We walked along most of the intersecting loop trails through the woods. 

Then we found several buildings on the property.

The gardens are all in this area near the buildings.

Late June is a bit past prime time flowering for our area, but there were some flowers to see.

I love the contrast of light in the reflection. 

We walked through and around the gardens. I took pictures of plants that looked interesting to me.

I took Yeti into the Hostas Garden.

The path is a bit overgrown in some areas and Yeti stopped until I led the way.

After a little research, I found out that hostas do flower.

He loves standing up to get a better view.

I love the flowers and the giant leaves on these plants.

There are a wide variety of shapes and colors on the leaves.

You have to pass through a little enclosed porch to enter the hostas garden.

You know I love informative signs.

This is an incredible place to visit, I would love to have lived here. 

I've been trying to make the best of our strange year. I also try to document as much as I can because we are living in historic times just like 102 years ago...without a World War least for now, let's hope it stays that way.

Again with the signs, I think it is interesting which groups join together to protect places like Brink Cross Gardens.

Since we were only a few minutes away from Lake Michigan, we stopped for a quick swim at Kemil Beach. I love the sky in this picture and Nola dropping a duece makes it even better.

The girls in the lake.

Yeti waiting for me to put my camera in my backpack.

Beach scenery with a great sky.

A wet and cool dog.

Christy made daiquiris with strawberries from our garden. It was tasty on a 95 degree day.