Woodpeckers: Downy vs. Hairy

Downy Woodpecker

I finally saw my first Downy Woodpecker at my aunt’s house in Little Rock. OK, I might have seen it before but its hard to distinguish from the Hairy Woodpecker. Both are the only common woodpeckers to have vertical white strips on the back. They also have black and white wings with a comma-shaped black mark, although the mark is more obvious on the Hairy.

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, the easiest way to tell which one you are looking at is by the size — the Downy has a short, about one-third long bill and is smaller at about 6.5″ long while the Hairy has a long, chisel-like bill about the size of its head and is about the size of a robin, 9-13″ long.

It also helps that Downys are more likely to be found in suburban areas. The Downys have weaker, squeakier  calls with a slower drum than the Hairys, which have louder, more powerful calls and a faster drum.


Mushrooms galore

I visited Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock for the very first time recently, and fell in love. It was peaceful, beautiful and had plenty of activities to do. During my visit, I walked the park’s Arkansas Arboretum trail. It’s an easy trail with plenty of audio sign panels to learn about the various plants and trees lining the trail. There was also a good variety of mushrooms as well. Here’s a few mushrooms that I saw.


Morris Hall Chapel

About 10 years ago, I attended my first mass at Morris Hall Chapel on the grounds of St. John Catholic Center in Little Rock. It was during my first Diocese of Little Rock retreat and I ended up visiting the center multiple times over the next year as a staff member for the following retreat.

Last Friday, a candidacy mass for my cousin Stephen reintroduced me to the chapel. We arrived really early (my dad was afraid of traffic despite my repeated assurances that we would be fine) so we had plenty of time to learn about the chapel’s history.

It’s actually pretty neat. Architect Thomas Harding Sr., whose father designed The Cathedral of St. Andrew in the 1880s, designed the Little Rock chapel. Following a 1951 dedication, it was originally used to serve seminarians attending St. John Home Mission Seminary. The seminary closed in 1967 and the St. John Catholic Center is now the site of the Diocese of Little Rock’s administrative offices.

The chapel, renovated in 1989, is gorgeous. It has statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph (see above picture) that a German artist near Interlaken, Switzerland, carved out of lindenwood while Italian artist Lenatori made the altar in 1910 in Rome. Bishop John B. Morris purchased the altar in 1915 and it was originally used in the Little Rock College chapel before being moved to Morris Hall in 1952.

There are also 12 stained glass windows depicting saints whose lives are associated with the church’s priesthood or missionary work. The most meaningful one to me was the one portraying St. Theresa, the Little Flower.

St. Theresa (1873-1897) became a Carmelite nun at age 15 and is the patroness of missions. She is known for her “little way” of quiet acts of love, humble suffering and simple trust in God alone.

She is definitely some one worth being like.



Crossing the Big Dam Bridge

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — I can’t believe I have never been to the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock before now. The bridge is 4,226 linear feet and contains more than 3 million pounds of steel. Area residents can walk, jog and bike across it and the approximately 15 miles of scenic riverside trails the bridge connects.

For my first visit, my aunt and I took our dogs across the Arkansas River and walked along the North Little Rock side of the river.  It was such a great trip that I can’t wait to revisit. The last pictures are of Ring-billed Gulls.

Learning history through art

Anne Frank. Gerda Weissmann Klein. Sabina Szwarc.

These names are among those recorded at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. They were among the approximately six million Jews in Europe that were subjected to persecution and murder by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. According to the museum, nearly two out of every three European Jews were killed by 1945 as Nazi Germany attempted to create a more pure race which included targeting some 200,000 gypsies and at least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients.

It’s easy to focus solely overseas when faced with these horrible facts surrounding World War II. It’s a shameful part of history that needs to be remembered so that it’s never repeated again. However to do this, Americans must also remember that Europe was not alone in having concentration camps on its land. Continue reading “Learning history through art”

A Taste of Faith

I recently attended my first “A Taste of Faith” event. It is a fundraiser for Diocese of Little Rock’s seminarians. I went with my aunt to support my cousin, Stephen, who is in his fourth year. It was a great event and I enjoyed watching him play the harmonica with a seminarian music group.

Home Sweet Home

The ACM Awards are playing, my dog Izzie is chewing on her duck at my feet, and my mom is cooking me chicken and rice while I read on the couch- I am loving my weekend at home.

I am spending the weekend-Thursday through tomorrow-in Arkansas to see family and attend the Arkansas Pro Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists’ annual conference. I have to admit it was a great conference, but more on that tomorrow. 🙂

I am off to read some more!