Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day Remembrance of Jacob Romick

My Great, Great, Great Grandfather Jacob Romick was in the army twice. In 1841 and again during the Civil War. What a conundrum. I knew about his Civil War service since he has a military gravestone and I have a copy of the receipt for the stone and his pension record. But I had no idea that he was in the army twenty years earlier too.

According to the "Descriptive and Historical Register of Enlisted Soldiers of the Army" Jacob Romick was enlisted by Lt. Bradford in Columbus, Ohio in the 4 Artillery Co. F. on 29 January 1841. He was 21. He was discharged as a Private in July of 1843 in Fort Monroe, VA with a disability.

He returned to Ohio, married Rachel Britton on 30 Sept 1844 and they had 8 children: Mary M, Hosea, Charles M., Rachel L., Jacob E., William, George W. called General, and John T.B.

Flash forward twenty years.

Lt. Jacob Romick was one of the 100 Days Men in the 133 Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Active from 6 May 1864 to 6 Aug 1864, these volunteers along with thousands of others were to help the Union achieve victory in 100 days. You know that did not happen. His pension record indicates that he was an invalid. (I wonder what the original 1843 disability was and if he was injured again.)

I am still digging to learn more about him and his service. I did find out on the 1841 enlistment record that he was born in Fayette County, Ohio (something new I did not know.) and that he was 5 foot 9 inches tall and had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. It also had his occupation as a saddler. (That might explain why he kept going to war.)

Now if only I could figure out why was in the army at all in 1841. The Texas situation was over and the Mexican American War had not yet begun. I really do love history.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mexican Almond Cake

I brought this cake to our international dessert day at work. I have made it many times and it always comes out perfect. Moist and not too sweet. Several people asked for the recipe, so here it is. It is adapted from Cocina Mexicana by Marlena Spieler.

Torta de Cielo

3/4 C. whole almonds with the peel.
1 C. room temperature sweet butter
1 C. sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
9 Tblsp all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt.

Lightly grease a 8-inch round or square cake pan and put wax paper on the bottom.

Pulverize the almonds until they have become flour. I use a mini-chop for this.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, almond flour and both types of extract. Mix well. Add the flour and the salt. Mix until the flour is incorporated. Scoop the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

Take the cake out of the oven and cool it on a wire rack or trivet. Pop it out of the pan and put it on a nice serving plate. Sprinkle powdered sugar over it. You can also decorate it with toasted almond slices.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghostly Encounter

The rain lashed against the windows and pounded on the roof. With the other guests out for the evening and the staff downstairs cleaning up from dinner; we were alone in the Coolidge Suite on the top floor corner. After a sumptuous meal with dessert and a glass of B&B by the fire; I was out like a light as soon as my head hit the pillow. The last thing I remember was Sissy still talking on the phone.

Over breakfast the next morning, she sipped her orange juice and casually asked if I had heard all the tromping during the night. I shook my head with a shrug. Tromping? There were only 4 people in the whole inn and the other guests were an elderly couple on the lower level and he was frail and walked with a cane.

The story unfolded as we waited on breakfast. After she got off the phone, she lay wakeful in the darkness; listening to the rain on the roof and the creaking of an old building settling in for the night. Over the sound of the storm, she heard someone tromp heavily up the stairs directly outside our room; then run up and down the long central hall to tromp back down the stairs. Up and down and back and forth. Through the noise, she could just catch a murmured conversation between several people. Loud enough to hear, but muffled enough to not be able to distinguish what was being said. This went on for 10 minutes.

It could not possibly be the frail couple downstairs. It was perplexing. Thinking perhaps other guests had arrived late, she turned over, pulled the blankets over her shoulder and went to sleep.

When the innkeeper brought our pancakes, I asked him if the inn were haunted. Built in 1840, I assumed it must be. He gently laid our plates in front of us and nodded. “Why,” he said, “what did you hear? After hearing the story, he then regaled us with stories of the ongoing spectral party in the bar, the wallpaper episode and the yellow room.

It was thrilling.

If you get the chance, stay the night at the Echo Lake Inn. Let me know if anything happens. I hope you don’t sleep through it like I did.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hill Cemetery

High on the list of things to do once we reached Richmond was a visit to Hill Cemetery to lay flowers on the graves of our father's ancestors. But it proved more difficult to find the cemetery than we thought. We drove around peering into hedges, tree rows and overgrown fields. We asked at the town hall then drove around some more. We finally found Cemetery Road and the house on whose land the cemetery lay, but still could not figure out where it was.

On the off chance that he might be able to give us some direction, I sent an email to a Find-a-Grave friend, Linus Leavens. He was the fine fellow who fulfilled a photo request months before. He agreed to meet us and walk us in across the field and up the hill.

Early the next morning, we hopped out of the car and looked up at a forested slope like all of them around us. Linus pointed up the hill through the trees and assured us that indeed at the top was a cemetery. Circumventing the dew-drenched field, he made a bee-line for a barely discernible path. The golden leaves littered the forest floor providing a damp but firm footing for the steep climb. Linus strode ahead, like many a Green Mountain man before him; while Sissy and I followed gasping for breath. Pulling ourselves up through the last trees, we got our first glimpse of the headstones in the clearing.

The farmer who owned the land at some point, finding it difficult to mow around them, had removed the stones and stacked them. Generations later, the stones were reset, but not knowing where the graves lay, the stones were put in two long rows alphabetically. An odd arrangement to be sure, but these old stones are still readable when many other younger ones I have seen are not. We followed Linus straight to the "A's".

Our G5 Grandfather, Isaac Benoni Andrews was born 23 August 1765 to Isaac Benoni Sr and Mabel Messenger. He married Sara Morris when he was 24. She was 18. They had 6 children: Horace, John G. Sally, Thomas, Lucy and Lois. Only Horace, John G and Lucy lived to adulthood.

Sarah died in 1804 and Isaac married Clarissa Fay in 1805. Clarissa Fay was the daughter of Salmon and Azubah Packard Fay. Clarissa was 20 years his junior. They had 9 more children, bringing Isaac's total to 15. Isaac's oldest child, Horace was only 4 years younger than his step-mother. Not a surprise then when he married one of Clarissa's younger sisters, my G4 grandmother Azubah Fay. So I am not only descended from the Andrews line but also the Fays.

I cannot thank Linus enough for taking the time from his busy day to escort 2 strangers to an abandoned hilltop cemetery.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunset over Lake Champlain

Wanting to watch the sunset over Lake Champlain on our second night in Burlington, we were flailing around looking for a park the I had heard of. Giving up, (it turns out it was in the opposite direction.) we headed for the ferrydock, thinking we could sit and watch from there. But the dock was closed for the season. So we decided to have a drink at the Ice House. Sitting on their top deck, sipping a lovely glass of wine and nibbling on an artisan cheese plate was the perfect ending for a long frustrating day.

As the sun sank, we chatted about sea monsters: Nessie, Champ and Ogopogo and long dead relatives while we watched boats sail on water as smooth as glass set against purple misty mountains.

The wind picked up as the sky turned golden. We ordered French Onion Soup and another glass of wine.

The boats started to return to their slips as the evening slipped into darkness.

Is there anything more beautiful than a sunset in autumn on a lake in Vermont?

We loved the Ice House, the food was good, the service prompt and the staff charming. They also have one of the best views in town.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Milwaukee Art Museum's wings

From the minute I said I was going to Milwaukee, people perked up and said I had to go to the art museum. Not to see the art, but to see the building. It has wings that open and close. In variably they would stand up and slowly open their arms to imitate wings. I was intrigued.

So, I cabbed over to the museum at 9:45 on my first day in Milwaukee to watch the Burke Brise Soleil unfurl. Two workman directed me to the walkway and told me to listen for the fanfare. That's when they would start to open.

I stood at the other end of the walkway and waited.

Then at the stroke of 10, the music rose above the sound of traffic and the pleated edges started to swell.

They open very slowly.

I was spellbound.

This was seriously awesome.

Just when I was sure that they were finished; they kept on growing, until they were as straight as a sail.

Wanting to see what they looked like from inside, I walked across the walkway. It was majestic inside, almost like a cathedral. I have been in many art museums, but nothing like this.

I actually did spend time looking at the art ( I loved the Bradley collection), bought a silk leaf mobile at the museum store and had a terrific lunch at the Cafe. If you go to Milwaukee, I insist you go here. You will love, trust me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peach Cobbler

I love old-fashioned fruit desserts. I prefer them to all-things chocolate. Try this.

Fruit Mixture

2 cups sliced peaches or other fruit
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minute tapioca
3-4 tablespoons butter

Cobble Topping

2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425F
Butter a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish and arrange the fruit in the dish in a layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. sugar and the tapioca. Dot with the butter.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 c. sugar. Blend in 1/3 c. butter, until mixture resembles moist crumbs. Combine the egg and the milk, and stir into the flour mixture.

Pat out the dough to about a 3/4 inch thickness, and cut into rounds. (I use a glass.) Place rounds on top of the fruit mixtures in the pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cobbler is bubbly around the edges and the topping is lightly browned.

Eat this hot awesomeness with ice cream. Yum-o-la.

Great Old Fashioned Desserts, Beatrice Ojakangas, p.34

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bear Hunt in New Jersey

New Jersey has approved a black bear hunt for December west of 287 and north of Route 80. That is my backyard. I flipped open the paper to finish reading the article. Having a bear hunt has been a controversial subject since the last hunt in 2005. There are many people for and against. It has turned into one of those taboo topics like a politics and religion. I worry about the cubs and fear the horror stories I heard back in '05. We'll see, I suppose.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I leaned in, icy water dripping down my arm, to peer at the cluster of rusty brown harvestmen on the the back of the house. They scattered as the mist from the hose wafted over them. There were small, clearly immature ones as well as large ones. There were also several kinds based on body color; but the dominant variety is the rust ones. I have always liked them. As a child I would pick them up and let them walk on me. They are harmless and tickle as they dance over the hairs on your arm. I still pick them up. They are the non-spider spider. I mean, although they are arachnids they are not spiders. They do not spin webs and do not bite.

They are common and I seem to be having a bumper crop of them this year.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Simon Patch Story

Here lies the body of Mr. Simon Patch who was wounded in ye defense of his country at ye White Plains October 28, 1776 and died of his wounds December 31, 1776. In the 28th year of his age. Photo by Diane Brace

On the eve of this 4th of July weekend, I want to offer you the story of one of my Revolutionary War patriots. Simon Patch (my G5 Grandfather) was a young man just starting out on a farm in Massachusetts. He had been married for 6 years to the lovely Elizabeth Williams and had 4 children, one an infant (my grandfather, Samuel) born in July 1776. While the war swirled around him and his brothers enlisted; he stayed in Ashby clearing the land, but keeping his head cocked and rifle handy. In the fall of 1776, he kissed his tear-streaked wife and marched off with his older brother Jacob to fight in White Plains, NY.

During the battle he was shot in the thigh. Jacob procured a horse and made a litter (by fitting the butt end of small trees to the stirrups of a saddle and covering them with a sack of hay.) to carry Simon the 200 miles back to their family home in Groton, Massachusetts. Through his determination and the kindness of strangers, he made it, but Simon died of his wounds December 31, 1776. His wife remarried in 1780 and his brother Benjamin became the guardian of the children moving them to Vermont.

I was on a message board for the Patch family on back in the winter when I saw a post about this book. I order 2 copies quick as a flash, having one sent directly to my mom. It was so interesting to read about my own people.

Simon Patch DAR # A105895

From Massachusetts Army & Navy, The Revolution 17 Vol.'s: Vol. II, page 1005, Patch, Simon, Ashby. Copy of a list of men who voluntarily enlisted in Sept., 1776, to serve for two months at New York and served accordingly; also, Private Capt. Thomas Warren's Company, Col. Brooks Regement; Company return dated Oct. 31, 1776, and endorsed "White Plains" -- Reported Wounded.

Birth: Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849 Vol I Births. P. 181. "Simon s. Ebenezer and Sarah, July 11, 1749."

Death - Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the end of the Year 1849. Vol. II Marriage and Deaths. p. 254 "Wounded in defence of his country at White PLains, December 31, 1776a. 27y."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bears Do Know What's in the Can

While I was chatting with Sissy this morning on the phone, a black bear sauntered into the backyard heading straight to where I hang the bird feeders in winter. It must be the same one that has chewed on my feeders in the past. By the time I grabbed my camera, it had moved on. The odd thing was that it was 9 am, late for bears to be about.

Then on my way home from the market this afternoon, I saw one making a beeline to a bear can on the side of the road a few block from the house. The bear reared up and pushed it over and was rolling it around. I inched up in the car and took this picture through the open passenger side window. What you can't see is that the bear was panting, it was noon on a hot summer day, why is this guy not holed up somewhere out of the heat?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day tribute to Grandpa Fancey

Omer James Fancey

3 August 1903 - 25 August 1967

I remember his lace-up boots with the hooks at the ankles. I remember his dark ruddy complexion from the sun. I remember lying on my grandpa's lap and him blowing fragrant smoke into my ear as a remedy for my ear aches. I remember him giving me those round red and white peppermint candies for my stomach aches. I remember curling up against him when I slept. I remember his kindness. He died on Sunday, August 25, 1967. He was 64. I was 11. The sun was shining and it was in the low 70s. A beautiful day. I remember my mother walking in the door weeping.

His death was expected and may have been a blessing; I was too little to understand. He had been in and out of the hospital for a while for his emphysema. Having worked in the brass factory during the war; his lungs were riddled with tiny holes from breathing metal sparks.

I am blessed that I knew him and have a memory of him. Some people are not as lucky.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pasta with Dehydrated Tomatoes and Garlic

The thermometer hovered in the high 80s with heavy humidity. It reminded me of being in Managua. I wanted to make some summery tomato basil pasta sauce, but didn't have the ingredients without going to the store and I was too lazy. Sissy pulled her head out of the freezer and saying, "I have some dehydrated tomatoes from last year." What the heck, I thought, let's give it a whirl.

1 quart bag of dehydrated Roma tomatoes. Cover with water and let sit overnight. Simmer for 20 minutes and mash. I added a small can of tomato paste to thicken it a little. (I think 1/2 a can would be better, since I ended up adding water at the end.) I added 2 glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. While it was simmering away, I threw some dehydrated garlic slices from last year's bounty into a cup with water and popped it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I let it sit to soften then chopped it. I threw it in with a cup of basil leaves fresh from the garden. Simmer to combine the flavors. Serve over pasta of choice. We used basil garlic fettucine, Sissy had hanging around. Simple, easy, delish. You can, of course, use all fresh or canned ingredients. I normally use 1 of those big cans of whole tomatoes.

To dehyrated tomatoes:

Use Romas, slice into 4 half-inch rounds (any thinner and it turns into a fruit (veggie) roll-up and you can't get it off the rack. Just saying.)

Lay them on the racks in a single layer, not touching

Put them in the dehydrator for 24 hours. They have to be stored in the freezer.

To dehydrate garlic:

Slice in 1/8 -1/4 inch pieces

You should do the garlic by itself because the strong aroma may taint the flavor of other vegetables. It also needs to be kept in the freezer.

Set the dehydrator for 135 degrees and walk away. Do not keep checking it. Watch dehydrator never dries. Sorta like the watch pot.

Sissy uses a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator. She likes it because it has a fan on the top and a thermometer. And it's reasonably priced.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Picking Currents

"Come, help me pick." I looked up and she handed me a bowl. Off to the garden we went to stoop and peer under leaves, delicately plucking tiny scarlet berries. I love current jelly and my sister is growing them with the hope of one day having enough to make some. It takes 7 quarts to make one batch, so, this is going to take years, even though she now has 3 bushes. She picks them a bowl at a time, washes and freezes them. I have fond memories of picking currents and gooseberries at my aunt's place. She sold out years ago, I hope the new owners didn't pull those old bushes out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dragonfly Summer

A walk with friends along a path strewn with yellow vetch and spotted with daisies reveled not a morning resonate with bird song but one resplendant with flashes of richly jeweled dragonflies. One of my new favorites is the Ebony Jewelwing.

Widow Skimmer

Ruby Meadowhawk

Common Pondhawk (female)

Spangled Skimmer

Ebony Jewelwing

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Treat

While pawing through the freezer looking for something to make for dinner, I found a gallon bag of chunked rhubarb from last summer. With no thought other than this needs to be used, I tossed it into the sink to thaw. This morning I dumped the rhubarb and its liquid into a pot with some water and a couple of big pinches of sugar and stewed it until it was thick and sweet tart.

There is nothing better over ice cream.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Warwick Garden Tour

For me, one of the highlights of June is the Warwick Valley Countryside Garden Tour. I have been going for years and in fact many of the plants in my garden; I first discovered growing in someone else's, during one of the tours. The route is self-guided and at your own pace. When I bought my ticket ($15) I was given a yellow flower sticker to wear and a tour booklet with information on each garden and explicit directions from one house to the next. At each turn along the way, there are yellow flower arrows clearly pointing the way.

This year there were 8 houses on the tour. Starting with the lovely garden in the picture, I wandered through a front yard transformed into a putting course, a wood nymph's playground outside of the community of Amity, 4 petite gardens on one block, including a white garden (the first one I had ever seen) and I ended in Greenwood Lake, NY at the most incredible lakeside property I have ever been on. Gardening in a microclimate is tough, whether on top of a mountain or lakeside. They have done an amazing job; around each curve there were surprises.

I did not find anything new that I HAD to run out and buy, but I did get lots of ideas on how to deal with the rocks. AND a yen to have my garden on one of the tours, maybe even next year.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Remembered at Last

The request came in through Find a Grave. Someone wanted a picture of Dorcus Ackerson's gravestone. Having just seen Garrett Ackerson's stone, I knew exactly where it should be. I drove past the new section and wound my way through the shady meandering paths until I pulled up beside a cluster of ancient stones isolated from their newer sleepmates.

On the right side of Garrett was a red stone from the same period (he died in 1811) but the epitaph was eroded and flaked away. Poor Dorcus slated to anonymity through weather and an irregularity in the stone itself. I gazed at the defaced stone for long minutes weighing the options. No matter the condition, I would want to see the stone of one of my ancestors. I took the picture.

Now, every time I fulfill a request from this cemetery, I visit Dorcus. Today I visited her with the express purpose of planting a handsome but prolific penstemon from my front garden.

Although she is hidden behind the marred stone, today she sports a perennial that will bloom and bear babies like she did.

Dorcus Springsteen Ackerson
Birth and death dates unknown
Married to Capt. Garrett Ackerson
Had a daughter Martha Ackerson Lequier in 1765

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The wild Dame's Rocket that I keep threatening to yank every year has turned into a butterfly magnet. This one kept me company on and off for most of the afternoon as I transplanted lots of penstemon. The Black Swallowtail caterpillar eats parsley, carrots and dill. I might be worth planting some just for them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Facts Behind the Ghost Story

Christmas 2007

My mother put down her fork and leaned back; time and distance receding. She fixed her gaze on us and started to tell us the story as it had been told to her.


Grandpa Charlie sat straight up in the middle of the night and looked around. “Davey?”
He got out of bed.

Grandma Lizzie rolled over. “Charlie, what’s wrong?”

“I just heard Davey call my name.”

“Charlie honey, that‘s not possible. Davey's down south. Everybody's with him. Come back to bed.”

“I tell you, I just heard him call my name. He must be outside.”

Grandpa Charlie went outside and started to search the farm. Grandma Lizzie stood at the door in her nightgown and looked out. She was scared and worried. She had no idea of what was going on.

Grandpa Charlie finally came back to the house alone and perplexed.

“I can’t find him. It is strange. I heard him speak to me clear as a bell.”

Lizzie finally got him back to bed. Several days later they got word that the night Davey spoke to his brother-in-law was the night that he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Ohio river.”

In the Portsmouth Sun, July 4 1922

Man’s Body Found in River

David Darnell Victim of Tragedy: Brother Identifies Corpse at Lynn Morgue

David Darnell, father of five children, left home Saturday evening about 7 o’clock, telling his aged father, William Darnell, that he was going fishing.

Monday afternoon about two o’clock, his body was found by Vernon McQuillen, 205 Front street, floating in the Ohio River, about opposite the county infirmary.

The theory held by the family of the drowned man is that he committed suicide. He had been in ill health for the past seven or eight months, they say he had been forced to quit work. He was very nervous at times, inclined to be despondent.

Before leaving the house of his brother Oakley Darnell, 822 Prospect street where he had been visiting Saturday, Darnell gave his brother, all of his money, clothes, and asked if Oakley could wear his shirts. Before leaving home Darnell changed his clothes, putting on an old pair of overalls and an old black shirt and an old hat.

He had frequently talked to his family of disposing of his property, and had given one of his brothers the key to his safety deposit box in a Youngstown bank and to the rooming house he once lived there.

When he did not come home Saturday evening, the family became alarmed and conducted a search for him, but being unable to locate him, decided that he had either gone to look for work or had gone to visit some friends out of the city.

The first the family knew of his death was when his brother, James, after reading an account of a man found floating in the Ohio river called at the Sun Office and was directed to the Lynn morgue where the body was taken after being removed from the after.

He recognized the body of his brother and after bringing the other brothers to the morgue, the identification was made certain.

McQuillen, who found the body, said that he was returning from the Kentucky side of the river to his camp, which is located near where the body was found and noticed it floating in the water. He fastened his grab hook on the clothing and towed the body ashore notifying Coroner J. D. Hendrickson immediately.

The man’s body was badly swollen and disfigured, being bruised in places where it had been struck by floating debris.

The coroner rendered a verdict of death by drowning Monday evening.

Darnell is the father of five children; Valena, Charles, Alice, Margaret and Cella, who live with their mother on Eleventh street.

He had been working in Youngstown until about six months ago, when he was taken down with a nervous attack, and since that time had been unable to worked at his trade and at the time he left the home of his brother, it was thought he might be looking for work.

Darnell is survived by his wife and children, his aged father and mother, whose home is in Madison county and eight brothers and sisters; William and Charles of Pittsburgh; James, Louis and Oakley of this City; Mrs. Elizabeth Wood of Erwin, Ohio and Mrs. Charles Hersey of Newscomerstown, O.

He was a member in good standing at the Trinity M. E. church of Youngstown, O.

Darnell was born and raised in this county and was 41 years old. His place of birth was Miller’s Run. He had worked here until about four years ago, when he moved to Youngstown, finding employment in a steel mill there.

The aged parents, who happen to be visiting here at this time were, distracted over the news of their son’s untimely end, and the sympathy of many friends was being rendered them last night.

Arrangements are being made for the internment of the remains but these have not been completed at this time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nancy Browning Darnell

Stashed away in my aunt's papers was this picture of my Great Great Grandmother, Nancy Ann Browning. She was born in Ohio April 6, 1855 to James and Bettie Wallace Browning. She married William Henry Darnell on August 7, 1873 in Scioto county, way down by the river. They had 9 children, my Great Grandmother was in the middle of the pack and the first girl.

When I started to look for her, I kept finding weird inconsistencies. She appears in the 1910 census living with her husband and 3 of her children, her youngest, Oakley was 15. In 1920, she is living with her daughter Celia and it says she is a married. She is no longer living with Celia in 1930 and I can't find her with any of her other children. There is an obit for her in 1936 several counties away. Meanwhile, I can't find William Henry in 1920 and he gets hit by a car in 1926 and dies in the hospital. His son signs the death certificate and says that William was a widower when Nancy is still alive, living in eastern Ohio, for another 10 years.

As you can see in the photo she was a tiny thing and I presume from the black glasses she was blind. I have no idea why she and William were living apart. Maybe Celia was helping care for her. Could her son really have had no idea that his mother was still alive?

This is what makes family history so fascinating.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Making Pot Holders

Some of the best pot holders are handmade. They are thick enough that even wet, you will not get burned. They are washable and last forever. Making them is excellent for emergency boredom prevention.

The key to making good pot holders is a metal loom to weave on (much sturdier than the ubiquitous plastic ones) and you have to get the cotton jersey loops not the nylon ones. (The nylon ones will melt if you get the pot holder too close to the heat source.) It is a basic exercise in elementary weaving. Over under, over under. The loops are put on in one direction making the warp and each loop of the weft is woven in a 1-3, 2-4 pattern. Once completed, the ends are crocheted off the prongs. The fun part is choosing the colors and pride of craftsmanship. And for a little while it will alleviate boredom.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I have the biggest, fattest, cheekiest chipmunks on the planet living in my stone walls. If I leave the garage door open while I work in the yard, I often find one dashing out as I come in. They are not stupid. They know where the seeds are, well were (I am out of seeds and will not buy any more until winter.) I have no one but myself to blame. When we had that 4 feet of snow; I scooped the snow away and poured sunflower seeds down their hole. Now they think I am the local market.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Searching Surnames


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daffodil Braids

What? You don't braid them? Okay, okay, I know I am completely out of my mind and I don't really braid ALL of them. But I can't stand the leaves flopping all over the place for months until they die back.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Red Admiral Migration

While I was birding along one of my favorite powercuts yesterday, I noticed a Red Admiral butterfly. I stopped to admire it then moseyed down the path. Not too far along, I noticed another Red Admiral, then another. It slowly dawned on me that I was seeing them everywhere. I vaguely remembered that there was a butterfly, other than the Monarch, that migrated. Curious, I looked it up and sure enough not only do they migrate but there is a Vanessa migration project. They are looking for 3 things: what species, when you saw it and where. If you see them, report it.

I love citizen science.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just because you are family

Guest Post on Genealogy from Sissy

The TV show sponsored by has started a resurgence in popularity of all fields of family history.

I am a newbie when it comes to family history. My sister has been at it for about 30 years.

She now has me hooked. That being said, she was doing it WITHOUT the internet.

A lot of time was spent manually going through papers and photo coping.

There were phone calls and letters to different county seats in all the different states where we had ancestors. There were research costs and copy fees for each one of them.

There was and is a huge cost in just the copies from the local libraries.

I firmly believe some etiquette is required.

This should be common sense but……

Do not believe that you are entitled to all of their research. Just because you are family.

Do not believe that if someone has a document that they should give it to you.

Just because you are family.

Do not get into a war over paper. Think how you would feel if you had spent years of your life gathering all of this information and someone (family or not) thought that they could just take it.

Do let them know that you are interested and are willing to help.

Do take on the hard ancestor that no one could find. The internet is a wonderful tool.

Do look outside the box and not just cover the same avenues that have already been mined.

Do get your hands on any local historical documents. The local genealogy societies are a great place to start.

DO SHARE your findings as soon as you get something. The excitement is contagious.

If you help and show that this is not just a fad; that you are truly interested they will more than likely share what they have already collected.