Friday, May 29, 2009

Two Days and Counting

June 3rd is the last day of school here in Adams County. I am excited and anxious at the same time. It hit me hard this week when I attended my twelve year old's sixth grade graduation. Yes, sixth grade. Looking back, I don't recall having any special ceremonies or events to mark the passage from sixth grade to seventh when I was growing up. There was an end of year picnic I think and that was about it.
We rushed into the school auditorium for the graduation. I was tired and had a pounding headache. We found some seats close to the stage and I settled into my chair. There was a slideshow playing for the audience-(we were asked to bring the students that were in band and chorus at 6:15 p.m.; the actual ceremony did not start until 7:00 so we had 45 minutes of waiting. I looked around the room. Most of these parents I had met seven years before on the first day of kindergarten. This evening we were all closing another chapter and moving forward into middle school.
I was not prepared for the emotions that suddenly swept over me. I caught an image of my daughter, smiling back at me, from the screen of the slideshow. Full of innocence, her whole life ahead of her. So much promise, so much to offer the world. "Come on, Andi, its only a sixth grade graduation," I told myself. Soon, the hands of the clock moved forward and it was time to begin.
The principal and teachers began handing out the awards-first for peer mediation, then band, and chorus. There were those kids who had not missed a day of school or been late or left early for the entire school year. Awards were presented for Physical Fitness as well as the Yearbook Committee and Student Council. It became apparent to me just how special these kids are. (I'm not saying we as parents haven't made sacrifices, stayed up late, gotten up early or been up all night laying awake worried about the outcome of certain events, but these kids are truly special in their own right.)
It was getting close to the end of the ceremony and the principal stepped up to the podium and began speaking. I was busy fiddling with my camera; I knew they were getting ready to pass out the certificates for completion of sixth grade and I wanted a nice picture of M receiving it. He was talking about passing out a special award to one individual who had displayed an exceptional attitude in their approach to education; someone who had worked hard in their academic achievements....."and that award goes to one particular young lady," and before I knew it, he had called my daughter's name. I was completely unprepared. My youngest could hardly contain herself, and I was speechless-so proud of M, knowing how much she deserved this special honor and how hard she had worked for it.
She got a pin, too.

And there you go, in the blink of an eye, she was only 2. Now she's twelve and so grown up! What a cliche, but where did the time go? I can't even begin to imagine what her senior highschool graduation will be like and the emotional shape I will be in. Just please help me with my camera, so I can make sure I catch that picture of her receiving her diploma.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Comforting Words From a Nine Year Old

Recently I was at a local yard sale with my daughters. My oldest waited in the car; my youngest was curious to see what treasures she might unearth, so she took my hand and we walked through the aisles of neatly folded clothing and various trinkets, jewelry and baskets. She stopped in front of a little pillow that was embroidered with some words which read: "Be Kind to Your Children, They Will Pick out Your Nursing Home."

"Don't worry, mom," my sweet little girl said. "I will make sure your room has a nice window with a view."

Taking the Kids for a Walk

Spring is such a wonderful time for all sorts of things-this is one of them......I love watching mama and papa goose taking their babies on their daily outing across the big grassy field.

Whirlwind Weekend

Friday was a perfect day in every way for the annual field day at my oldest daughter's school. It was sort of bittersweet; this is her last year here, in elementary school. She'll be off to middle school next, (and that is a whole different post.) But I can look forward to continuing this for three more years because our youngest daughter will be attending here in the fall. Saturday morning,I arrived at work and was greeted by Mandy, one of the resident kitties at the B&B. When I got through serving breakfast and changing out a room , I rushed home, gathered up Rick and the kids and we dashed off to the grocery store for a much needed stocking up for the party we were hosting on Sunday.
Check out the fabulous potato salad my mom brought over for our Sunday get-together. She always adds the most beautiful touches to everything she does.The flowers were even edible.
And this was the dessert that Rick just "threw together at the last minute." I am so lucky to have a chef for a husband. What a decadent way to end the already wonderful evening!
Earlier in the day my parents and grandmother had come up so they could meet their "grandaughter". (The furry four-legged one named Dancer.) After we made our introductions and we were getting ready to leave, the dear lady I work for at the bed and breakfast (where I also board Dancer) went out to her garden and cut the most gorgeous peonies so we could have them for our dinner table that evening. Along with these magnificent flowers, we also got a huge bunch of herbs to season our meal. So thoughtful!
Monday after work I came home and recuperated for a bit. Rick and I thought it would be a good idea to commemorate Memorial Day by taking the girls to visit some grave sites of war veterans. We chose Evergreen Cemetary in Gettysburg.
The girls were very concerned about the graves that didn't have any flowers. They spent several minutes searching out and laying flowers on those. We all took some time walking through and reading the markers. It overwhelms me to think of all those men and women who have served for and fought for our country so we can enjoy the way of life we have today. We even found a few graves with a marker showing they had fought in the Revolutionary War. This was the oldest marker I found while there. I am sure there are many more like this. I am just in such awe of all the people that were here before us. It makes me want to learn more-to hear their stories, what kind of life they lived; their hopes and wishes and dreams. I bet if I did take a closer look, I would see they were alot like us today. They loved their families very much, worked hard and wanted peace. I whispered a prayer as we left, thanking all of those who have served and fought and paid with their lives so that we can live free. Its easy in the hustle and bustle of daily life to forget all the sacrifice. Thank you one and all for your courage. May you rest in peace and know our gratitude.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dancer's Braid

The new "do" for Spring! My friend Michelle zipped through this in like, 5 minutes. She is such a talented gal! I can't wait to go out on the battlefield with Dancer sporting this-I'm so proud of my fancy girl. And I'm loving the fact that she's a thoroughbred-especially with all the hype about Rachel Alexandra-the filly who won the Preakness. Girls rule!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Daily Antics Around Here

These are our dogs, Ella and Celidh, (pronounced Kaylee). Kaylee lives for a frisbee or a ball and we call Ella "The Enforcer". She is always making sure everything is running as it should. She is always a tattle tale-she has to tell me everything that is going on. I tell everyone she is my soul mate. If she was a person I would have married her. She is so in tune with my every thought and emotion. I have made her neurotic.

This is a typical day at our house. If anyone is familiar with this breed-(Australian Shepherd) they are high energy. They are also the most loyal, loving and devoted animals as well as very protective. We had no idea when these girls came home to us that they would add such a wonderful element to our family.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Distelfink and POW Camps

It seems like years pass in the blink of an eye in my world. I start researching one thing which leads to another equally if not more interesting subject and soon, I am a million miles away from where I started. This time it involved distelfinks.
It started out with me wanting to take some shots of some interesting landmarks in the area while Rick and I were doing our daily errands. I thought one of the local icecream places would be neat because the name is so unusual. Wikipedia defines distelfink as "representing happiness and good fortune and the Pennsylvania German nation." Well that would make sense with the happiness part; icecream definitely makes most people happy.

This research led me to another exciting discovery in the never ending quest to bring you up to speed on things you probably don't know about Gettysburg: THERE WERE PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS LOCATED IN AND NEAR GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, DURING WORLD WAR II 1944-1946! While not related to civil war history,I thought this to be pretty significant.
"The United States War Department was granted permission by the National Park Service to locate a prisoner of war camp on the battlefield west of the High Water Mark, immediately south of the Home Sweet Home Motel on the Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On May 31, 1944, fifty war prisoners from Camp George G. Meade, Maryland, under guard of U. S. Army troops led by Captain L. C. Thomas, began placing poles for the stockade to surround the camp. The fifty German prisoners were housed temporarily in the National Guard Armory on Confederate Avenue. They were joined by an additional one hundred prisoners within three day of the initial arrivals; with another three hundred fifty prisoners arriving one week later. (There were eventually close to five hundred German prisoners of war and approximately ninety guards located at the tent camp on the edge of the borough.) The camp was ready for occupancy by June 20, 1944, and a contingency of four hundred twenty-five prisoners began working in the pea harvest on that date. Any farmer, fruit grower or packing plant company in need of help made application to the local employment service in Gettysburg. Mr. E. A. Crouse was the chairman of the service at that time. It was his responsibility to coordinate the contracts with the local farmers and industries with the military. The original group of prisoners were assigned to fourteen canneries, both fruit and vegetable; three orchards, seventeen farms, one stone quarry and one fertilizer and hide plant. Prisoners were transported and guarded by military police, to the various locations in Littlestown, Biglerville, Hanover, Chambersburg, Middletown and Emmitsburg. The prevailing wages paid by the employers were $1.00 per hour with ten cents per hour credited to the prisoners' accounts. (The United States Government cleared $138,000 on this one camp from June 8 through November 1, 1944.) The prisoners were not paid in cash, but were given coupons which they could spend in the camp post exchange."

"Early in 1945, another former Civilian Conservation Corps Camp, located in the Micheaux State Park between Chambersburg and Carlisle, was enclosed in a stockade and newly captured German prisoners of war were transported to the camp. All of the prisoners were brought to the camp after dark on blacked-out trains to maintain the secrecy of the camp's location. The purpose of the camp at Pine Grove Furnace was to obtain information from the prisoners concerning troop movements. gun placements, submarine pen locations. Other than the army personnel and the military intelligence personnel, no outsiders were allowed in the area. Approximately 25,000 prisoners passed through the camp. As certain officers and scientists were identified, they were immediately isolated and sent to special barracks for further questioning. Some of the scientists were sent to White Sands, New Mexico, to work on the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Some of these men ultimately became American citizens.
After the war ended in Europe, the German prisoners who were in the camp were returned to New York City and were eventually returned to Germany. A lesser known fact is that the camp at Pine Grove Furnace was then used to house Japanese prisoners of war. On June 15, 1945, approximately two hundred Japanese were assigned to the camp. Very few of these prisoners ever became ( ) with the army personnel. They were hard workers and assigned to any job to keep busy. They beautified the camp - painting the lanes for the paths; cutting the grass by hand; planting flowers in the compound. The Japanese were all very eager to go home, even though they could be disgraced for having surrendered. These prisoners were also interrogated and then processed to other camps, but there were significantly fewer Japanese who passed through the camp. At the end of the war in the Pacific, the remaining prisoners were sent to Seattle, Washington, to await transportation to Japan. They were all amazed to see Major Thomas there to accompany them. There were approximately 1600 Japanese on the Sea Devil for the eighteen day trip to Japan. Major Thomas was appalled to see these men loaded onto barges and then simply set ashore when they did reach land - they just climbed the banks and disappeared."

Low Dutch Cemetary and Black's Graveyard

So here I was, this past Saturday morning, uploading pictures I had taken during my various travels with Rick the day before. (I was multi-tasking because I had to work at the bed and breakfast and was trying to get at least one thing checked off on my list before the madness of the day began. And yes, this was all before 7 a.m.!)

One of the shots I had taken was of a cemetary we pass on Swift Run Road. It has always intrigued me-the facade is very nicely kept up, with fresh coats of paint, a beautiful stone wall and nicely manicured grass.
I was curious about the history behind it and googled it, but nothing really came up with the exception of a local registry of cemetaries in the area with locations. (If someone out there has any information, I would love to learn more about this place!) While looking at the registry list I noticed another interesting cemetary on Belmont Road in Gettysburg called "Black's Graveyard." My husband and I had always wondered about the story behind thatas well.
A little investigating on that turned up some better information. I found that although the earliest marked grave there is 1746, it is likely that it was used as a burial ground even before 1740, and as late as 1870 the graveyard was still used as a burial ground.
Robert Black, the father of five sons who served in the American Revolution Army, was buried here in 1760, having died at the age of forty-four years. He had come with his father, John Black, from the North of Ireland to Marsh Creek about 1732-1736. John Black, then, would have been one of the earliest settlers of the area and possibly other members of his family may be buried here in unmarked graves or in graves marked only by field stones. Many of the graves were never marked. Members of the pioneer family, Foster were buried here, but no monument remains in their memory. Colonel Hance Hamilton, a pre-Revolutionary soldier referred to as the “old Indian fighter”, and his wife Ann were also both buried here, but his body was later moved and no stone marks Ann’s grave. Many graves were marked only by field stones which carry no inscriptions. Through the years, many graves stones have disappeared or have been destroyed or defaced. After the establishment of Evergreen Cemetery in 1856, many bodies originally interred in the Upper Marsh Creek graveyard were exhumed and reinterred in Evergreen Cemetery or other cemeteries. Between 1856 and 1870 the remains of many of the early families of the church and community were removed: Buchanan, Cobean, Edie, Ewing, Gettys, Hamilton, Hays, Horner, Jenkins, McConaughy, McPherson, Russell, Smith.
Among those still buried in the graveyard are several veterans of the American Revolutionary War and at least two of the men buried in Black’s Graveyard were veterans of the War of 1812.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Love this!

Courtesy of

Lily and Moose Mousykins

The latest additions to our family-Lily and Moose......

We tried to get two girls, but M is fairly certain that Moose is a boy. I guess we'll find out in a couple of weeks for sure!

Here's a sampling of what Lily does all night-

The latest additions to our family-Lilly and Moose......

I couldn't capture the true essence of Moose's "big" personality very well-please excuse the glare of the flash against the tank.
I had to crack up when a friend of mine said she got a couple for her kids-in a recent email she wrote: "I still laugh over the fact that upstairs, I'm cleaning their cage, feeding them, etc. In the basement, there's poison put out for them!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Harbaugh-Thomas Library in Biglerville

Front of the Library on York Street, taken from the corner of Penn Street

Marion Harbaugh and her sister Jean Thomas had ambitions far beyond shop keeping at their Country Store in Biglerville. They undertook the incredible task of planning the $4 Million Harbaugh-Thomas Memorial Library, a structure that includes elements from the classical designs of Mt. Vernon and Franklin Roosevelt's Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York and is complete with a golden weathervane atop the cupola.
This public building is a fitting legacy for a family that traces its roots in Biglerville to the sisters' great-great uncle Henry Hartzell, described by Gettysburg College's Professor Emeritus of History Charles H. Glatfelter as "one of the founders of Biglerville. Taken inside the entrance-note: the painting on display is by Jean Thomas Taken from inside the back entrance by the parking lot looking straight ahead

The Harbaugh~Thomas Library opened for business on Monday, August 20, 2007 at 12:00 PM.
The new library greatly increases the system's ability to provide service to the public. It offers five public access internet computers and wireless internet access.
Also available are two meeting rooms on the first floor. The larger meeting room is able to hold 70 people comfortably for a meeting or workshop. The other meeting room will nicely hold a dozen or so for a board meeting.
The library has its own colonial reading garden and is host to an antique sled collection.

The most impressive items in the new library are a pair of candelabras, mantel cloth and clock given to President Eisenhower and his wife by the people of France. The Eisenhowers later presented the items to Harbaugh’s family as a gift. All four pieces sit atop one of the library’s mantels in a glass case.

Marian Thomas Harbaugh and Jean Thomas saw the impact that a library can have on a community and the life long aspirations of its residents. This gift will continue to change people’s lives for years to come.
The Harbaugh Thomas Library, located at 59 West York Street, Biglerville is a wonderful example of how communities can come together and make things happen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quote for the Day

"No matter what your daily struggles or the morning news might lead you to think, the potential for happiness is all around you. You just have to dip a toe in it." Roger Housden

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Totally Forgot About this Song!

A great one from the Brandos, 1987-the video leaves a little bit to be desired-some of the photographs are definitely not civil war era but these guys rock! This totally fits in with my whole Gettysburg Theme....

Dinosaur Footprints on the Battlefield

I am forever amazed at all the things I discover about Gettysburg. Who knew these were here? When I came across this, I got so excited, I could hardly contain myself.

A few dinosaur footprints can be seen in the sandstone or siltstone blocks forming the tops of the walls of the road bridge crossing Plum Run on the southern edge of the battlefield. Out of the 50 or so slabs (about 25 on each side) on the Plum Run Bridge, there are dinosaur footprints on about 5 of them. There is one easily visible footprint at the west end of the north wall. (This is located on South Confederate Avenue as you approach the base of Big Round Top.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Penelope and A.L. Coble

The next time you take a trip to the battlefield, see if you can find this autographed rock!
I'm a bit of a romantic and loved reading about this soldier who revisited the battlefield after the war. His name was A.L. Coble from the 1st NC. He carved his name in a rock right where he had been fighting. His full name was Augustus Lucian Coble, and he was from Alamance County, NC. I can't imagine what it must have been like traveling back to the very spot where you previously were fighting for your life-What an interesting way to spend the day in Gettysburg-taking a step back in time and searching out this special place where this soldier once stood. My youngest daughter reminds me that not only are there witness trees on the battlefield, but witness rocks, too-and here is the perfect example. When our family finally finds this hallowed stone I'm sure I will have a desire to trace the letters of his name, or make a rubbing of it-somehow doing things like this always makes me feel more connected to the individual. I also tried to do a google search because I'd read somewhere that A.L. Coble had actually been photographed in front of this rock-his rock,but I didn't unearth anything, much to my disappointment.

To find this special marker, park your car on East Confederate Avenue across from Spangler's Meadow. The carving is in a large group of boulders about 100 feet or so from the parking area. Go around to the right and look in between the rocks for a flat area with the carving. It should be down on the level, flat surface of the boulder near where there is a large "cut" between the rocks.

Another very interesting fact I came across was "Penelope." This was an ancient cannon which had been fired after the Democratic election victories until 1855 when its tube ruptured after such a celebration. Its final resting place is located outside the former office of the Compiler newspaper at 126 Baltimore Street:
Please say "hi" for me when you visit old Penelope-tell her I'll be by to see her soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm a Specialist

This is the lovely note I got on Friday when the girls came home from school. What a nice way to kick off Mother's Day!
We've had a lovely weekend so far. Rick was off yesterday and we ran a bunch of errands in Hanover. We drove past Hanover Shoe Farms and this was the typical sight dotting their fields:
When we returned home in the afternoon, I gathered the girls and we ran up to Hollabaugh's Farm Market to check out their bedding plants and Mother's Day flower baskets. Visiting them is one of my very favorite things to do.

They had some absolutely gorgeous baskets which of course, inspired me to create a couple of my own for my mom and grandmother, and then I thought "I might as well make a few more for some of the other very special moms I know!"
The girls and I love making our own gifts-I am trying to teach my children that you don't have to spend a huge amount of money on gifts-and I think home made ones are the best. Not that any gift isn't wonderful-it's just that the hand made ones hold a special place in my heart.
While I was making my baskets out on the back porch, the girls made me a refreshing drink:
It was lovingly made with hand squeezed cherry flavored Capri Sun (which,on any other day I would have had a cow over, because those are meant for the kid's lunches), fresh mint leaves from the garden, strawberries and bananas.
All in all it was a lovely day-one that comes too few and far between. I keep telling myself I need to remember this always-this is what life is meant to be like-full of sunny skies, fancy drinks and one incredible family.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Interesting Side Note

The Peace Light at Gettysburg was said by Jack Valenti (1921-2007), who was an aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson, to be the source for the eternal flame on President Kennedy’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. Valenti who was later president of the Motion Picture Assocation of America, related the story when he toured the Gettysburg battlefield, circa 1987, with Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Mullen. Valenti stated that President Johnson ordered him to take care of the Kennedy funeral arrangements. Mrs. Kennedy requested that there be an eternal flame on the grave at Arlington. There was confusion among the military about what she was requesting. Valenti went back to Mrs. Kennedy who told Valenti that they had toured the field of Gettysburg, and saw the flame on the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. This is what she wanted on President Kennedy’s grave.

Killer Barstools

One of my favorite pasttimes is "yard saling" (as my daughters have fondly coined the term.)

You just never now what treasures you will find! Recently, it was these incredible, upholstered barstools. Three of these beauties for $30. You have no idea how long I have been looking for something like these-probably about four or five years!

I am really starting to enjoy my house-while it is really small-(we're talking about 1100 square feet of useable space, my husband and I have decided to make every inch not only functional but very special.

I recently came across a really neat website; and since I haven't figured out with Blogger how to work it so when you click on the photo it takes you to the site, I will have to ask you to copy and paste the address into your browser here:
This site reaffirms our choice to downsize and live in a smaller abode. Who says you can't still have nice things, just on a smaller scale?

Going back to fabulous finds at yard sales and thrift shops, I found this chandelier for $10 at the Adams County Rescue Mission off of Route 30 going out towards New Oxford, (I just realized one of the shades is crooked-my bad!) It graces our dining area:
Here's a not so great full shot, but you get the general idea!
Here is a shot of our living room which is work in progress...

The curtains came from a bolt of fabric I got from-you guess it! The Mission! I love the cheery yellow-Now if you can just help me figure out how to hang art from the walls without breaking off huge pieces of plaster, we'll be making progress. Also, I am planning on stenciling the floor in the next week or so to look something like this:

Of course, it will be sort of a "Honey, while you were out" episode, because my husband absolutely hates it when I take on these sorts of endeavors. He doesn't understand just how much I truly enjoy the challenge of making things beautiful on a shoestring budget.

What he does understand is that I start lots of projects that I have a hard time finishing. (I am convinced I went undiagnosed with ADHD as a child.)
At any rate, stay tuned for more updates as the weather hopefully cooperates and in the mean time, "Happy Yard Saling!"

One Crazy Goose and a Pretty White Horse

Yesterday I went out to visit my girl, Dancer, the wonder horse and thought this was a cool shot. Sorry, I took it from a distance, not sure if Mama goose would indulge me a close up shot. No, thats not Dancer, but a lone goose and "Gray". What responsible mother would put her nest in the middle of the pasture among a herd of horses? Maybe she knows something I don't. I keep thinking about that movie, "Babe." Either there is some really great communication going on there or that goose is incredibly naive, much like me in my younger days.

One silly antic from her pasture mates and its going to be scrambled eggs for breakfast.....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother's Day Message Box

While I was searching for blog templates, I came across an extraordinary site that has some very cool designs and ideas. Thank you, LivingLocurto! Click on the title above, "Mother's Day Message Box" and it will take you to a tutorial of how to make this. The site is loaded with lots of cool things so you better grab a tall lemonade and make yourself at home for awhile. Mom, hope you are't checking me out today because a version of this is coming your way.....


So many great ideas and so little time to try them all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Victory Gardens

If you look around, there are so many opportunities out there just waiting for you to discover them.
My problem is when I come across them I want to do them all. Here is a running list of what I want to do in the next day or two:

-Decide if I am going to homeschool my kids next year
-Paint a portrait of my idol, Jackie Kennedy
-Finish my book on Witness Trees on the Gettsyburg Battlefield
-Finish my painting of a barn in Adams County to submit to the Historic Gettysburg - Adams County Barn Art Show-due by May 23rd
-work on my jewelry, specifically my bohemian rings
-work with my horse and take her on her first of many trail rides on the battlefield
-repaint the wood railings on my front and back porch.

That's just my short list-the long list includes stuff like tiling my front steps:
And the latest inspiration-"Plant a Victory Garden!"
(Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun)
What a cool thing to do with the kids. And of course, it has to look cute, with little plant markers, tomato cages and all.

Well, it doesn't hurt to set your ambitions high now, does it?

"The best changes often start as a single, simple thought. Think big, and discover the ways to make your dreams real."