Robert and Norma Noe's gift to the Speed Museum-Largest Gift in the Speed's 86-year History

From the time I met Tim, I heard marvelous stories about Bob and Norma Noe. Stories about their kindness and their love for Kentucky. Bob and Norma worked in the Washington, DC area for years. He once told me they used to visit museums in different states. They returned to Kentucky in 1979 experienced in the art of collecting antiques. Soon they became collectors of Kentucky pieces. Bob said, "There is an emotional reason for collecting Kentucky objects. We are Kentuckians..." Thus began their journey to become Kentucky collectors.

The Noes generously gave their collection of early Kentucky arts, furniture and crafts to the Speed Museum in Louisville. When the Speed Museum expanded, they included a wing that mainly includes the Noes generous gift of 119 pieces.

Their generous gift includes furniture, textiles, ceramics, paintings and silver. The best Kentucky pieces are identifiable by their delicate bell-flower inlay and other inlays. The Noes passion for Kentucky and for collection Kentucky antiques and then for donating them to the museum will help preserve Kentucky's heritage for generations. Thanks to Bob and Norma Noe.

Christmas in Kentucky

Some years it snows in Kentucky at Christmas, and some years it's warm. No matter what the weather, you can see and feel the spirit of Christmas.

My house is almost completely decorated, and I had a little help from Brooke and Allie setting up one of my nativity scenes. Brooke has always loved this toy nativity set, and she enjoyed putting it together for me with a little help from Bill and Scott.

Meanwhile Allie is much too busy to slow down.

In the end, when Brooke finished, we were all excited.

Merry Christmas!

Snug Hollow Farm, a Kentucky Treasure

Last weekend Tim and I slipped away for a quiet weekend at Snug Hollow Farm located just west of Irvine,Kentucky. It's three hundred acres, and serves organic vegetarian dishes. They were delicious. On the way home we decided our three favorite things to eat were the lasagna, chocolate torte, and oatmeal pancakes.

We stayed in the main house of this rustic Bed & Breakfast. Others stayed in cabins, one which was built in the late 1700s. You can see the older cabin in front of the main house in this picture.

Supper and breakfast were served in the main house where we had the pleasure of meeting new people. One of Tim's board members and his wife happened to be staying on Friday night, and I got to know them better.

We also met a couple from Bardstown. John and Mary Tim. It turns out John and I went to the same church in Owensboro when we were little. He's four years older than me, and we moved when I was eight so he and I didn't know each other. My parents remember his family.

There was also a young couple who bought a 150 acre farm in Eastern Kentucky earlier this year. They plan to work the land. Jessica cans food they grow, they have an apple orchard, and her eyes lit up as she shared her plans to use chips from some of the old apple trees for a smoke house. They truly inspired us with their love for each other and their desire to make the world a better place.

We thought we were going away to hike and rest. God delighted us by introducing us to some amazing strangers we'll never forget.

Rock Fences in Kentucky

Masons from Ireland and Scotland came to Kentucky and built stone fences, buildings, and other structures in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these masons taught their slaves this trade before the Civil War.

After the war, the freed slaves taught the skill to other free African-American craftsmen.

Over the years many of the fences have disappeared to road construction and neglect. Pleasant Hill still has at least twenty-five miles of rock fences on Shaker property. These fences were needed to keep livestock separated to maintain the integrity. After time, farmers found different ways to keep the livestock in separate areas, and rock fences were no longer constructed.

If you drive on the back roads in Kentucky, keep your eyes open. You may see one of these beautiful fences.