Saturday, November 30, 2013

Over the Run and Across the Trestle Bridge to Chop Down a Christmas Tree

When we first moved to Virginia, the kids and I wanted to be like John Boy and Grandpa Walton, chopping down their own Christmas tree in the woods. They always come to mind every year when we get our tree. Incidentally, the Waltons are our neighbors to the south, a couple of hours away. 

Since moving to Virginia, I've learned that a "run" appears to be a "creek" and unlike Texas, is actually filled with water, even during drought.  In the winter a run might even freeze. Early this morning there was no snow on the ground, or frozen runs, but we did cross the small creeks, and drove onto a historic one lane trestle bridge, en route to a Christmas tree farm.  There were frozen water puddles in the fields, and frost on the trees.  We are finally getting closer to the idyllic snow covered Christmas tree!


I was going to take a picture on my cell phone and forward to facebook, but my to my surprise my cell phone was dead.  We've been so busy I'm realizing I still need to recharge it.










This has been a busy week of trying to fix a broken tv, buying a new tv, and this afternoon has been about trying to get all the wiring from analog to digital straight, among other things.  What happened to the day when we could simply buy a tv and plug it in. We don't use the tv much but we certainly have to go to a disproportionate amount of work to get it to work.

Meanwhile we started decorating.  The kids started this tree in our living room, (new window treatment that I whipped up yesterday with fabric from the fabric forthcoming), decorating it in the German style of white lights and natural and traditional elements. Then they put me to work to help them finish the tree. I hadn't decorated a tree in years, not since they told me they were quite capable of doing it themselves. The tree smelled so good and it was fun getting to work with the tree. Then my daughter put me to work setting up the train and village, while they went downstairs to set up the old artificial tree from Texas.


My daughter calls this the Eclectic Tree. While my son was working on this, he kept instructing me on how to do the train and village upstairs.  The track was a bit crooked but I left that for him, knowing that would be fun for him to fix, and it was!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgivings of the Past

Editor's Note-I've just added a new one. These will be added to as I find more. 

Texas-April 30, 1598

Virginia-December 4, 1619

Massachusetts-Autumn 1621

General George Washington-December 17, 1777

President George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation-October 3, 1789

President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation-October 3, 1863

President Ronald Reagan's speech on youtube-Thanksgiving Day 1985

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dot-to-Dot for Vision Therapy

Not long ago, it was 9:10pm on 11-12-13. With a sequence like that which won't occur again, we had to do something unique, as prompted by a challenge I had read on facebook. I told my kids to think of something to do that would forever stand out in our memory.  My daughter opted out of the activity since she was swamped with college classes.  My son suggested that we race with our personal copies of a dot-to-dot I received from Mindware on my computer screen after I submitted my e-mail to receive updates. (I also ordered a catalog.) Mindware has lots of great spatial reasoning activities. This particular dot-to-dot is like none I've ever before seen. It numbered from 1 to over 800!  My son and I sat at the kitchen table with our pencils and precisely at 9:10, on 11-12-13, we raced each other to fhe finish! My son beat me but I came in close behind. Such a puzzle is a currently a bit overwhelming to my daughter, who is working through eye tracking issues through vision therapy. However she is keeping her copy in a safe spot because she wants to conquer the puzzle herself one day! Meanwhile she made a copy to give to her vision therapist.  We found out that the another therapist saw it, made a copy for herself and together they worked through their puzzles. It's contagious! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Scotty Hamilton, Figure Skater

A little known fact about me is that I'm a huge figure skater fan.  One of my favorites from the world of ice and figure skating is Scotty Hamilton, who won the gold medal at Sarajevo, which is the first Olympics I remember watching. Recently a friend linked to this moving video where he shares his story of faith in the presence of trials, as he battled cancer numerous times.  Even if we are not fighting cancer, we all battle something in our lives.  His story was quite encouraging to me so I thought I'd share! I also found his blog!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grand Opening of the Armoury at Colonial Williamsburg

Last Saturday we went to Colonial Williamsburg for a special event, the grand opening of the Anderson Armoury Complex.  Previously the old blacksmith shop stood alone and sadly dilapidated. Research showed that Anderson had been appointed armourer in 1776, so he expanded his blacksmith shop to an entire complex of trades housed in close proximity to join forces in the war effort. It was 1779. We have watched the project unfold over the last couple of years as they have built building, after building, after building.

The future kitchen...

The future blacksmith shop...


The future storage shed...


The future wheelwright shop...


...and more!  The rest went up between visits!

Because the original armoury complex was built to supply soldiers in the American Revolution, CW took on a theme of soldiers this weekend.  Regiments were encamped on Market Square and the Palace Green.  There were various soldier themed activities for the guests, like learning how to be a soldier and helping to assemble musket cartridges.

General Washington's grand marquee, or First Oval Office, was unveiled for the first time, being set up for all to see and walk through. While there we heard various stories about the use of tents such as these in many a war. It was fascinating!

From the Oval Office we followed the CW Junior Fife and Drum Corps up Duke of Gloucester Street to Market Square...



...where afterwards a fifer and drummer shared a bit about their instruments.


Then we watched the regiments fire their muskets and march about.







Meanwhile we listened to one of the reenactors share a great bit of amazing quantity and quality of information about various aspects of the uniform and the war in the South.  We were so amazed that we spontaneously applauded when he was done and asked if he was a historian! He laughed and said no. Then he shared his fascinating story of how he got into reenactment.  Eventually we pulled ourselves away because it was time to go to the Anderson Armoury Opening.

By the time we arrived, the crowds were gathering at the Anderson House. 




Governor Patrick Henry and James Anderson 

Governor Henry announced to the 18th century crowd (us) that the building of the Armoury Complex (it was now 1779) was complete. He stressed the need for the complex in its various tasks to supply the soldiers in the war.


He invited us all to tour the complex for ourselves.


I think I saw someone melting metal here for bullets. He ran back inside the blacksmith shop...


The complex contained a wheelwright shop...





A storage shed...


A privy (I was told)...though now I can't find the storage shed that was being built in the picture far above.


Kitchen to feed the armoury workers (red) blacksmith shop (white). The kitchen was cooking ribs, which was only served on special occasions in this complex in the 18th century.  They smelled so good and some of the armoury workers and employees were enjoying them!




The outdoor oven where fresh wheat bread was made that day for the armoury workers to eat...(yes, they really do feed the armoury workers, of today, lunch. It's a living history museum after all!


New CW trade, the tinshop (red, far right), back of blacksmith shop (white, center), kitchen (red, far left)...

Peeking into the blacksmith shop...





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Walking Through the Oval Office Project at Colonial Williamsburg

Last Saturday we got to travel down to Colonial Williamsburg for the day to see some unique events....primarily the completion of the Oval Office Project and the Armoury Opening.  More about the armoury in the next post because I have a lot of pictures to showcase the Oval Office in this post.

I've blogged previously about General Washington's marquee tent when I got to visit in May and June.  I visited again in August but sadly I arrived on their day off.  I was hugely disappointed because I did not think I'd get to see the grand unveiling of this massive undertaking which has gripped my imagination from the beginning.  It was set to be completed in August so I feared I had missed my chance.  However due to a bit of an unforeseen delay in historic fabric the project was a bit delayed. Quite selfishly I am glad because this gave me a chance to walk through history on Saturday! It was grand!  I held my breath at each turn as I marveled at the craftsmanship! The marquee is a masterpiece of design and function in the 18th century as well as a masterpiece of research and craftsmanship today





Although the tailors were the key players in this project, there were many supportive roles by various other CW trades from weaving some of the cloth to the finials being turned from wood, to various metalwork....and I'm sure others that I am not aware of.


The structure of the marquee is of a tent within a tent.


The inner tent was General Washington's office. It is from here that I was catching the light gleaming through the various seams, showcasing the beautiful details.


It is thought that here, outside of the inner chamber, is where General Washington's canopy bed was set up, whereas on the other side would be a sort of storage of important trunks of papers, etc. We could walk all the way around the inner chamber from the imaginary bed to the imaginary trunks on the other side. I love how the light plays through the fabric.


Metalwork. Woodwork. Weaving. Stitching.  Fine craftsmanship by all.


Looking up...precision details.


Towards the center you can just make out the mysterious seal.


A bit of zoom lens allows a closer view of the stamp...


Inside the Secretary's Office, near which the marquee was displayed, is where the stitching took place.  Guests could walk in and see the latest addition being painstakinly stitched...a section of oil painted cloth that was expected to help keep the marquee dry.  Meanwhile in the room next door guests can read about the history of the tent, while children can print their own seal to take with them, along with a paper project to allow them to cut and fold their own marquee tent from paper!

I heard that there is to be a second marquee stitched from the rolls of fabric remaining.  To learn more about the First Oval Office, check the blog of the Museum of the American Revolution, which commissioned this project.  To keep up with the project, check the project's facebook page.