Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Summer Vacation?

   School starts for me next Tuesday. This has been a wonderful summer, but it seems too short now. Every year I plan big projects to do during my summer break, usually garden related. This year was no exception. I had a long list this year. I plan to retire in two years so I 'm trying to get all the big projects done before then. I'm not getting any younger and where I used to be able to work 10-12 hour days working in the garden, I find 6-8 hours is stretching my limits now. A friend told me I needed to get back to work so I could rest!

  My first project in June was to build a two bin compost pile. I used green treated lumber and posts to build a 4" by 8' structure with a divider wall down the middle to form two bins. It stands 40" tall and sits behind my Compost Tumbler which I haven't had much success with. A church friend has a prolific compost pile and gave me the directions to make mine. By next summer I should have lots of rich compost. Of course, I had to create a garden setting around it to make it appealing to visitors. I spread a ton of river rock in front of it, moved my antique park bench, another red wooden bench, bird houses, and hung vintage garden tools , etc to the area to spruce it up. My husband just shook his head. Why decorate a compost bin? Why not, I said.

   I wasted no time starting the next project. I reclaimed an arbor I had built Mom 10 years ago. After her death  in January, I hauled it home where it spent the winter laying on its side on my patio.  I wanted to place it centered off my patio as  an entrance to my back garden. It needed some minor repairs first. Even green treated lumber has a life expectancy. It had grown out of square with the move and laying on its side. That was a challenge to fix. When I was ready to erect it in place, I had a high school boy, Rhett, help me because it was very heavy. Rhett is in a program called Silver Cord where students do volunteer labor leading up to graduation for special honors and to enhance their college resume. Yeah! Free labor, although I did feed him lunch. :) Once erected to its new home, I decided the arbor needed an enclosure. Mom had a rail fence on either side. I built a stone wall on either side to enclose the patio for more privacy. That lead to my decision to enlarge the flowerbeds on either side as well and wrap them around the front of the wall. Again Randy asked, "Why?"  And of course I said, "Why not?" Does a gardener ever really need an excuse to expand?

  July came all too soon and Randy decided we needed to go on vacation. We left on July 1st and headed for Gettysburg! We spent 3 days there and loved every minute of it. The battle was fought July1st thru the 3rd so we were there for the reenactment. I bought yards and yards of Civil War repro fabric at the wonderful quilt shop there, Needle and Thread, which specializes in Civil War cotton fabrics. And surprise!!! Randy stepped in front of me to pay for all of it. I was shocked and he said, "Happy Anniversary!" It was our 35th on July 11th. I thought the trip was my present, but I didn't argue the point. :) We went to Antietam National Battlefield, Harper's Ferry, Manassas (Bull Run Battlefield), and Washington DC over the next 8 days. I soaked up all the history I could and Randy had fun too. I think history is growing on him!. Some people go to Hawaii or on a cruise for a big anniversary, but Randy knows how to make me happy...Civil War historical sites every time.

  Here are a few of those moments in pictures:

  This delightful lady is Shelley Reetz who portrays Sophie Porter, wife of Union Brigadier General Horace  
Porter, aide-de-camp to General U.S. Grant. We hit it off immediately and I visited her every time we were in the vicinity over the three days in Gettysburg. Randy accused me of stalking her! 

 Recognize the fellow in the top hat? These gentlemen and several more not pictured, portray Union Generals, officers, and Honest Abe himself at various venues. They speak in the first person in narrative form retelling their career exploits. You really become convinced they are the actual historical people they portray.

  I met these lovely ladies strolling the grounds of the reenactment. LOVED their dresses.

  I'm standing in front of the pool at the WWII Memorial. This is a fantastic memorial to all who fought in the war. I hope all those still living get to visit it. I got goosebumps and was so moved by it. I can only imagine what they feel when they see it.
Here I'm holding a rifle that was actually used in the Battle of Gettysburg. It was so heavy I couldn't hold it in firing position.

And, of course I I had to see the Lincoln Memorial. Standing inside at the foot of his statue, I wanted to break out into the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Lucky for everyone present, I remembered I have a terrible singing voice, but I did hum it the whole time there. :)

I became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution last year, so I had to visit the DAR museum. I posed with my membership card at the entrance. There was only one bed quilt on display. It was in the "Texas" room. It's applique and mind boggling to see all those apples  (?) or giant berries in the baskets.

I took 479 pictures on this trip, so believe me, we saw a lot. I won't bore you with all of them here. (You're welcome!) This is already too long. I've tried to take pictures of my garden projects, but it's always too bright and they come out blurry. I will try at sunset again and post them next time if they turn out.

Till then, keep stitchin'!


  1. Your yard work wears me out just reading about it. I would love to see pictures.
    It sounds like you had a wonderful anniversary trip. Good for you.

  2. Happy Anniversary!! It sounds like you really enjoyed your trip. Your enthusiasm almost (ALMOST) makes me want to do a historical vacation... but not quite!! Give me the beach or the mountains, please. :o))

  3. Happy Belated Anniversary! What a fun post...and fun trip! I would so love to see Gettysburg but can find no one who shares my love of civil war history enough to go with me. :o( Your garden projects sound incredibly ambitious...and all the while I was reading about them, I was thinking "where are the photos?" LOL... Well, I guess you explained why not...but please do try to get some....I would LOVE to see....Your arbor and stone walls sound especially intriguing.... Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  4. I took pictures at sunset last night. Will post them next. :)

  5. What a fabulous trip! I just finished reading "The Spymistress" by Jennifer Chiaverini, which is about the civil war and focuses on a woman in Richmond VA who passed information to the union. Have you read it? I do recommend it and any of her books with quilting themes too. Gardening and quilting both can never be finished, can they?