We've had a wet spring in Christian County, Kentucky!
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Monday, May 14, 2018

Update

I have been having computer problems that have made my desktop essentially unusable. The new component that will (hopefully) fix things should be here midweek. Perhaps I'll be able to resume my usual random blog entries then.

I've been busy looking for a new used car. I am hoping the car situation will be resolved this week. Since I can't use my computer and I don't have my own wheels, I've been making a garden for the first time in a decade and crocheting rag rugs.  One recent rug is pictured below.

Pecking this short post out with one finger on my cell phone has reminded me how little patience I have for typing on the small screen. So until I get the desktop computer going again, best wishes to you for a happy May.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Punch Recipe

Punch Glass by New England Glass Company
Blown glass, circa 1883–88
Gift of Mrs. Emily Winthrop Miles, 1946
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
So far this spring, I've felt like a character in the 13-book set, A Series of Unfortunate Events. First I hurt my back and hobbled around with that for a couple weeks. Then I caught the worst cold and lingering cough that I've had in well over a decade. Then a tooth gave me all kinds of misery before I finally got it pulled.

And, most recently, a fellow from Tennessee rammed his 1995 Ford F150 truck into the back of my car.  Fortunately, I was not hurt. The accident did no damage to the truck, but damaged the trunk, bumper, and back corner of my car extensively. We are still waiting to hear whether his insurance company will fix it or total it.

All will be well. No condolences are necessary. Thank you for allowing me to whine.

Despite all, I managed to attend an estate sale and picked up an interesting little recipe book. The following recipe was handwritten and tucked inside. A comment at the top of the paper says this recipe is over 100 years old. Since it was obviously written down quite a few years ago, the recipe is surely 125 years old by now. One thing that the recipe doesn't really explain is that you need to have 3 quarts of water heating to a boil while you are simmering the spices.
Kentucky Spiced Tea
4 cups cold water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 cup tea leaves
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
12 cups (3 quarts) boiling water
Put sugar, COLD water, and spices (tied in a bag) in enamel or stainless steel boiler. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Put in tea leaves (tied in a bag.) Add 12 cups BOILING water and juices. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain if desired. Chill. Serve each glass with a lemon slice skewered by a cinnamon stick.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Just Give Me a Map

A young friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook today that read something like this, "Dad started pulling maps out of the glove box, but I was like, whoa, Indiana Jones! Just let me google it!"

It amused me and also got me thinking about map reading. I love my GPS, and Google maps on my cell phone is extremely convenient, but when I head into unfamiliar territory, I still like to look at a map and have a general picture in my mind of where I am headed.

Map of the world
!794 Samuel Dunn Map of the World
I would rank map-reading as one of the most useful skills I learned in school. What else is on the list? Reading, writing, and arithmetic, of course. And typing -- I can't imagine not knowing how to type. I give Miss Laberdy's Home Ec. class partial credit for teaching me basic sewing skills, along with my mother, 4-H, the Simplicity pattern company, and my own great desire for new clothes.

I don't credit Miss Laberdy with teaching me how to follow a recipe. I learned that long before I got to Home Ec., from my mother and 4-H. My high school didn't have drivers' education and didn't encourage girls to take shop classes, so I learned those life-skills elsewhere, too.

Back to map reading -- when I was in elementary school in the late 50s/early 60s, map-reading was part of Social Studies class.  I don't remember reading maps with the teacher very often, but we did have to write answers to the questions at the end of the chapters, and some of the questions always gave practice on map reading skills.

I got some real-life experience with map-reading on trips with my dad, usually either hauling cattle or going somewhere to look at cattle.  One Christmas, I made my mom and dad an orange felt envelope with the word "Maps" glued on it in brown felt letters.  They put it into service, and it saw a lot of miles. I smile when I think about that humble, child-stitched, felt packet of road maps.

As a young adult, it was empowering to have the ability to read a map and drive myself to new places. I discovered that the rules of map-reading applied to street maps as well as road maps, and city maps helped me find my way through cities on several continents.

When we moved here, I wore out my Christian County map, exploring new roads on summer afternoons with my kids. They were usually willing to participate -- they were game little troopers, my kids. Or, I'd get the Hopkinsville street map and the newspaper and plan a route for Saturday morning garage sales. And of course, going to Kansas and Missouri to visit our families has always required much map reading.  Because of maps and my insatiable curiosity about strange roads, I've taken every logical route there is through the Missouri Ozarks (and some illogical ones, too.)

Even with GPS and Google Maps on a smart phone, I don't like to go on a trip without paper maps or a road atlas in the vehicle.  I forgot to pack the maps when we drove out to Kansas a few years ago, and my daughter was quite upset with me. I was upset with me, too!  So we picked up some maps along the way.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Recent Rag Rugs

Rugmaking has become one of my great passions these last few years. These are a few of the rugs I made this last winter.  As always, you can click on these photos to enlarge them.

Crocheted rag rug in rainbow colors
Rag rug in rainbow colors

This rug has the colors of the rainbow -- ROY G. BIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.) It's a little weak in the orange and yellow section since I'm saving everything I have in those colors for kitchen rugs I'm making for my daughter-in-law next.

I experimented with several new-to-me techniques in this rug.  I used two narrow strips of fabric as the "yarn" throughout the rug, rather than a single strip like usual. This made the transitions from one color to the next easy.

Since the strips were an inch or less in width, I didn't attempt to fold in the raw edges as I usually do, so the rug surface is more thready than what I usually prefer.  I also joined the fabric strips by slit-knots, rather than sewing them together as usual. I don't think knotting is any faster than sewing (with the machine.) But I do see that it's easy to carry my rug-making with me whenever I leave the house, if I don't need sewed-together strips.

The two rugs at left, below, were made in my customary style -- fabric strips sewed together and raw edges turned in. These rugs reside on my daughter's back porch. The rug at right, below, includes remnants from the other two.  It was photographed in different light, but actually, it's a mate, more or less.  I gave it to my daughter as well.

I'm not sure why I was so determined to get rid of every scrap of those fabrics, but it seemed logical at the time. To me, these three rugs will always remind me of my husband's sinus surgery as that was the period of time in which I made them. I don't mean that they are sad rugs. My husband's sinus surgery was a great success, and he's feeling better than he has for a long time.

Green rag rugs
Two of a set of rag rugs
Oval rag rug with green, beige, and navy
The third rug of the set

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wolves and Bears in Trumbull County, Ohio

Early settlers in Trumbull County Ohio
Warren's location in Trumbull County, Ohio.
Wikipedia image.
My 6th great grandmother Mary (Bretta?) Lane, her husband Henry Lane, and her children from both her marriages, were among the first settlers of Warren in Trumbull County, Ohio. Mary's two sons from her first marriage, Caleb Jones (our ancestor) and Edward Jones,  arrived in 1799. Henry Lane brought Mary and the younger children in the spring of 1800. 

Mary is an ancestor on my father's side of the family. (Note to my kids: You remember that Almus Hill's mother was Mary Ann Jones. Mary Bretta was Mary Ann Jones's great grandmother, and Caleb Jones was Mary Ann Jones's grandfather.)

A small book, Early Settlement of Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio,  written in 1876 by Leonard Case, has quite a bit of information about the Lane family and other pioneers of the area. I thought the following description of the wolves was interesting.  This comes from pages 4-5.

   Wolves and bears committed depredations almost continually upon the cattle and hogs, and other smaller vermin upon the domestic fowls. The wolves would approach even within two rods [about 35 feet] of the cabin, seize a pig, run off with it and eat it, and as soon as the flock became still again, would return again and seize another in like manner; pursuing their depredations to such an extent as to render it difficult to raise anything.  The wolves would likewise seize and destroy the weaker cattle. In winter, when quite hungry, they were bold and would come among the settlers' cabins.
   The writer recollects one night in February, 1801, when the weather had been stormy-- the wind then blowing a severe gale-- when the wolves attacked the cattle on the Bottoms, on Lots 35 & 42 in Warren. The cattle gathered together in large numbers; the oxen and stronger ones endeavoring to defend the weaker ones. They ran, bellowing from one place to another and the wolves, trying to seize their prey, howled fearfully. In the morning, it was evident that the oxen had pitched at the wolves, burying their horns up to their sculls [sic] in the mud and earth. Several of the weaker cattle were found badly bitten.
   The bears preyed more upon the larger hogs; frequently carrying off alive some weighing as much as 150 pounds, though they preferred smaller ones.
   The foxes and other vermin so preyed upon the domestic fowls, that for some years it was difficult to keep any. That wolves prey upon sheep is usual wherever they exist in the same vicinity; but they were so bad about Trumbull, in its early settlement, that the settlers were unable to protect the sheep from the ravages of the wolves, for six or seven years.
Related:  I wrote about my 2nd great grandfather Almus Hill some years ago in my Prairie Bluestem blog. See "The Almus Hill-Almus Lentz Legend."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brave Orpha Baker

I searched in old census records last night for any and all women named Orpha in Columbiana County, Ohio, and adjoining counties. As I was browsing,  I came across the 1840 census record for Orphie Baker and her family. That poor woman -- God rest her soul --was alone that year with eight children under the age of 20 in her home. I can only imagine the challenges she was facing when the census taker recorded this snapshot of her family.
Orphie Baker
Home in 1840:  Elkrun, Columbiana, Ohio
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9:   2
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19:   2
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:   1
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9:   1
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14:   2
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49:   1 (Orphie Baker)
Persons Employed in Agriculture:   2  (probably the two oldest boys)
Free White Persons - Under 20:  8
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9
"Winter Afternoon" by Claude Howell
"Winter Afternoon" by Claude Howell
Orpha's husband, Richard Baker, died in November of 1836, according to family trees that I viewed on Ancestry. What an awful time of the year to be left a widow.

Tax records for 1837 show that Orpha owned 50 acres valued at $101. Other Bakers lived in the same township, so I hope they were her husband's brothers and cousins and that they gave her the support of an extended family. She must have been thankful for her two oldest sons who could do the heaviest work on the farm.

Pondering this lady's situation, I wondered if she might have remarried before long. But I saw in the 1850 census that Orpha Baker was still on the farm alone and still raising her family. Of the eight children, seven were still with her. And in 1860, Orpha Baker was still on her farm with three unmarried adult children and a young child with a different surname. (I'm guessing that the child might have been an orphaned relative or a motherless grandchild.)

On FindAGrave, I learned that Orpha Chamberlain Baker died in 1865. Her tombstone is in rough shape, but I am glad that her family made sure she had one. May she rest in peace. May her descendants respect and honor her. And may she be an inspiration to all of us who think we're entitled to whine every time little things happen.

Published in the Cadiz Sentinel (Cadiz, Ohio), 14 Mar 1834
Vaguely related:
The Sudden Freeze of 1836 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Snow

Spring snow
One of winter's last sputters
Light snow fell in Christian County today and continues this evening. A few minutes ago, I went outside with Sophie and saw that the cars' windshields are covered, but the sidewalks are still clear. The snow will be gone soon after it stops falling, as the temperatures are not quite cold enough to prevent it melting.

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