Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


One day you're reading their blog and then you realize nothing has been posted in a long while.  Happen to you?

I had started reading this blog Meggie on the Prairie because I was interested in her trip to Scotland and all she wrote about it. [Dan and I are headed there at the end of September and we are trying to read all we can ahead of time.]  Now I see Meggie hasn't posted since the end of March.  Anyone know why?

Another disappearance was Amanda of Wildly Simple.  I loved reading about the escapades of raising her 5 children.  She also had such beautiful photos.  She hasn't written since last September when she wrote about her Grandmother's death.

There are others.  I have long erased the bookmarks to their blogs but I still have to wonder.   What happened to the connection we had while they were blogging?  Broken off that easily when one day they just stopped posting with no explanation why?

I know of only one blogger, Daphne of Daphne's Dandelions who wrote a blogging farewell.  She explained why too.  I was sorry to see her go but grateful that she told us why.

So here's my plea to bloggers out there, if you decide to quite blogging, write that last post to say good-bye.  I will do the same for you.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Church in a Carriage House

This church is across the street from where I live.

As the sign says its in a building that was once a carriage house.  It was built in 1811 according to the history here.

It is very popular for weddings.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Benjamin Banneker Museum

Benjamin Banneker is called the first African-American Man of Science.  He was an incredibly smart man that you may remember from US History as participating in the surveying the District of Columbia.  He did that in later life.  Before that as a self taught scientist he charted the skies and wrote an almanac.  He took apart a pocket watch and then built his own from wood.
Vantage House where I live had a trip to nearby Oella, MD to the Banneker Museum this week.  The museum sits on land that was once owned by the Banneker family.  Though I taught Maryland history to 4th graders and they learned about Banneker, I had never visited this museum.

The only portrait of Banneker is a woodcut (blown up below) that appeared on his almanac.

Banneker's father took the last name of his wife and changed it from Bannaka to Banneker.

Archaeologists have found where the original structures stood on the land.  Unfortunately the cabin where Banneker lived burned to the ground during his funeral.  He never married but there are descendants of his sister's children who gather at the museum for reunions.

A reconstruction of the cabin is behind the museum.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strawberry Pie Season

Strawberry pie starts with a baked shell.  I use my mom's crust recipe: 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup milk.  Sometimes the wet ingredients need to be just a smidgen more especially if I use King Arthur's flour.  Bake the shells for 15 minutes at 425ยบ then let cool.

Here's a close up of the pie recipe.  I doubled it to make two pies.

Half the strawberries go into a pan and are mashed.

The other half are set aside.

I saved out these two to go on top.

Here is the mixture cooking with the cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar.  Note the color.

Still not ready.  It needs to get translucent and very thick.

I'm cooking on an electric stove these days, when I cook.  No big meal prep with living in Vantage House. Family coming in two weeks so I'll be using the stove more while they are here.

Aww, here's the right color.  So thick the spoon will stand up in it.

Rather than folding the cut up strawberries that were set aside into this mixture after it cooled I put a layer of it in the bottom of each pie crust and then the cut berries.

I covered it all with the remaining cooled mixture and then more cut up strawberries.

This pie went to someone at church who purchased it at our church fundraising auction in April.

Here's the other one in the refrigerator ready for guest who came to dinner last night.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fredericksburg - A Town Between Two Capitals

The two capitals being Washington, DC - the U.S. capital and Richmond, VA - the Confederate capital.

Over 18 months, the Union Army had four battles in and around Fredericksburg.  The area became known in history as the most contested ground in America, and the bloodiest landscape on the continent. (Source: NPS Brochure)

Joining Through My Lens

We stopped in the Visitor Center for the Fredericksburg Battleground on a Sunday afternoon, just in time to view the film and then join the walking tour of the Sunken Road.  The Park Service official was outstanding in his knowledge of the battle.  I am sorry I didn't get his name.
 It was good to walk where men opposed each other and see what they would see.  These walks are only offered on weekends because of budget cuts, I do believe.

Our walk started in front of the map so we could get a lay of the land and the positions of the Union and Confederate troops.

The sunken road was a major roadway between towns.  Confederates had the advantage of being on this side of the wall with a hillside to their backs where their artillery could shell the Union troops coming up from lower ground where the town was on the Rappahannock River.

Confederates had sharpshooters in this house but it was on the other side of the wall.

When the Park Service restored it they found bullet holes in the inside walls.  We could see them when we peered in the windows.

Below is the original wall left intact.

This mansion on the hill on the Confederate side is now the residence of the President of Mary Washington University.

We walked to the top of the hill where the artillery would have been pounding the Union troops contributing to their loss of this battle.

The Union graveyard is there now.

Its sobering to consider how many died in these battles.  At the Chancellorsville Visitor Center that we stopped in on Monday, there was a floor to ceiling wall of all the names of those who had died there at that battle, thousands of them.  It brought tears to my eyes.