Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fredericksburg National Cemetery Luminaria

The National Cemetery in Fredericksburg is located on Marye's Heights, which is a high point of ground that was the scene of a terrible massacre of Union troops during the 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg.  After the war, the US government created National Cemeteries to bury and honor the fallen (Union soldiers at that time only, of course).  Approximately 15,300 men are buried in this cemetery ... having been reinturred there from various locations around Fredericksburg.  Over 13,000 of them are unidentified.

Every Memorial Day weekend since 1995, on Saturday night, the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts place 15,300 luminaries throughout the cemetery (one candle per burial), and guides are stationed throughout the cemetery to tell stories of some of the men who are buried there.

Most of the graves of the unknown contain more than one soldier.  Two candles are placed on each grave, with others along the paths, to make up the Luminaria's 15,300 candles.

The hill which contains the cemetery is terraced, with burials on each level.  We arrived at dusk.

As we reached the top of the hill, we saw an overwhelming panorama of candles.  To experience the full effect of this scene, we would have to wait a bit for the sun to set and the sky to darken.

There were scouts assigned to relight any candles that went out.

As the sun set, the sea of candles created an incredible moving scene.

Every 30 minutes, a bugler on top of the hill played 'Taps'.  These two older men were standing with their hands over their hearts.

As an Army brat, scenes like this always make me cry.  Though these men lived and died so long ago, I can't help but think about how each of them was someone's husband, or son, or brother.

As darkness fell, the hub-bub of visitors and guides faded into the night.  All we noticed were the candles ... which is as it should be.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who's Watching the Goslings?

While The Husband and I were out earlier today running errands, we had to stop the car so I could get a photo of this.

This photo has at least 28 babies and only two adult geese.  There is more to the flock over a slight drop off behind these geese ... with two more adults and 25 or so additional babies ... for a total of four adults and 50+ goslings.  (The goslings wouldn't stand still so I could get an exact count.)

The only thing I can figure is that we accidently stumbled upon the local Canada Goose daycare center. 

Now we know where Canada Geese take their babies while they're at work during the day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rare Roses ... Ferdinand Roussel

My main objective when I started collecting roses ten years ago was to provide a place to preserve rare roses.  One of the stars in the garden right now is 'Ferdinand Roussel', a rambler bred by Barbier & Co. in France in 1902.  This rose grows on my Rambler Fence, beside the gate, and it is in full bloom right now.

I was outside with my camera earlier today, because I realized that I don't have a decent photo of this once-blooming rose in my files

There also was not a photo in the listing for this rose on Help Me Find  (the best and most comprehensive rose reference site!)  Now there are three, because I uploaded them to the site a few minutes ago.

I am trying to do all I can to make sure that I have at least one good photo of each rose I grow.  With once bloomers, there is only a short window of opportunity to do this ... or I have to wait to try again next year.

Now that I have these photos of 'Ferdinand Roussel', I can cross one more off my list ... not that I actually HAVE a list, you understand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saving Mrs. Sharpley's Rose

One morning last month, I received an email from a dear rose friend in SW Virginia.  It read,

"I have come across a rose that I believe is the Hybrid Perp, President Lincoln, Granger, 1863.  It belongs to a 91 yr old lady, Mrs. Sharpley, here in Roanoke.  She can trace it for certain to 1900 and the family history says they planted it, in Delaware, when Lincoln was president.  It was then moved to Maryland, where the family had to keep quiet about the name because Lincoln was not popular.  She herself has had the rose since 1940.  She moved it to her current house in 1960.  Two years ago it was nearly killed by "those folks who spray houses."  She moved it and it is recovering but it is still small.  The surviving [own root] trunk is appx 1.5 diameter.  She says it was a big bush, "nearly tall as I am" (4'10") in its prime.  On a scale of low-to-high 1-5, it is about a 2 in fragrance, maybe a 3, as it was cool and overcast this morning.  Attached are photos.  Do you want cuttings and if so, when should I take them?  It is a truer red than my photos, matches perfectly the red photo on the hmf site (there are only two) and, as you can see, has fingernail clipping of white at the center).  She would like cuttings for her grandchildren, tho at present there isn't that much from which to take cuttings."

That's a silly question ... of COURSE I want cuttings!  Any rose with this kind of story is one that I will do my best to propagate and preserve.

A Fed Ex truck arrived here the next afternoon, delivering a document envelope which contained a small piece of Mrs. Sharpley's rose.  That piece was adequate to yield two fairly decent cuttings, which gave me twice the probability of getting at least one of them to root. 

I decided that I would have the best chance of success by using my favorite low-tech milk jug/soda bottle method of propagation ... placing the container in the cool north-facing window in my basement workshop.  (Photo tutorial is HERE on the Hartwood Roses web site.)

It's been a month since I received and planted those two cuttings.  Two weeks ago, one of the cuttings turned black ... indicating that it was dead.  The remaining cutting has appeared to be doing fine.  The leaves are still attached, which is always a good sign.

This morning while I was in the basement, I checked on the cutting and found that it has rooted!!

That's a nice strong, healthy root ... and I am confident that there are more roots in the pot that I cannot see yet.  I will leave the cutting in its little bottle greenhouse with the lid on till I see signs that it is beginning to grow new leaves.  At that point, I will begin to transition the cutting out of the bottle by removing the lid for a week or so ... then I can remove the bottle all together.  The little rose can stay in the milk jug till it has a dense root system.

I know Mrs. Sharpley will be pleased when she finds out that the cutting of her rose has rooted, and that we can continue to propagate from this new plant in the future to share her rose with the rest of her family.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Running Individually ... but Together

Our youngest daughter ran the Marine Corps Historic Half marathon yesterday morning.  Her husband ran it, too ... 7000+ miles away on his base in Afghanistan.

She registered for this race months ago, and she had no idea that plans were being made at her husband's base for the Marines and civilians to run it there, too.  She found out about the plan last week, via a video sent to her by her husband.

The video was also sent to the marathon officials, who notified the newspaper.  Our daughter's story was on the FRONT PAGE of yesterday's paper.  She was photographed and interviewed last Thursday when she went to pick up her race packet.

My husband designed a special shirt for her to wear during the race.  The back of the shirt says it all.

Congratulations, Sweetie!  Your dad and I are so proud of you.

To read the article and see the video, click HERE.
The title of the article is a mistake ... it says that our son-in-law is a Marine and he isn't.
He is a civilian crew chief with the base fire department.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lucketts, Day One

This year, Lucketts Spring Market is fabulous as always.  The vendors have all brought great stuff.  The aisles were crowded with enthusiastic shoppers, and very few folks appear to be leaving the show empty handed. 

Sales in my booth were steady all day, with large pieces and small items selling equally well.  (The credit card ap on my iPhone has worked flawlessly.)  The weather was clear and warm ... bright blue sky, light breezes, and temps topping out at about 80 degrees.  I applied a coat of sunblock to my exposed parts every so often, and I offered it to customers and other dealers who looked like they needed it.  (It was definitely a "sunburn before you know it" type of day.)

I was on my feet nearly all day, and by the end of Day One, I felt a lot like this vase of flowers that I saw at a fellow dealer's booth ... tired and wilted.

The Husband is working the booth with me today, so I will have an opportunity to get out of the booth and really do some shopping ... instead of yesterday's quick look at the booths as I went to and from the ladies room or to grab a bite to eat (crabcake sandwich ... yum!)

One more day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Off to Lucketts I Go!

The Husband and I spent all of yesterday afternoon setting up my booth at the Lucketts Spring Market.  We loaded up the truck and trailer on Thursday, piling in everything I had that would fit.  I never in a million years believed that I could cram all of that stuff into a 10 x 10 space (with a bit of overflow) ... but we did!

This is only a small fraction of it.  (Took this photo with my new iPhone!)

I'm sharing a double booth with Deborah (Confessions of a Craigslist Junkie), and our booth is right beside Susan (Uniquely Yours or Mine), so it almost feels as if I'll be hanging out with friends for the weekend.  All of us are first time Lucketts vendors, so we can learn the ropes together.

If you are planning to come to Lucketts this weekend to shop the Spring Market, be sure to stop by.

I have to hush now, so I can finish getting ready and get out of here.

See you in Lucketts!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hello Phone

My antique red Razr phone died yesterday.  I've had that phone forever.  It was a bit of a pain to use it to send text messages, and the camera took crappy pictures, but it was proficient in the performance of its most important duty ... phoning people. 

Here is my new phone.

My husband has been 'suggesting' to me for a while to upgrade to an iPhone ... I resisted, because I couldn't see the sense of ditching my perfectly good (though outdated and awkward) old phone.  The old phone made the decision for me and left me high and dry, so my conscience is clear.

Hello, iPhone.  I have no doubt that you and I will get along really well.  I hope the credit card ap that my sweet Computer Guy husband downloaded works like it's supposed to while we are in Lucketts working the Spring Market this weekend.  (we tested it and successfully sent $1 to my bank account, so we should be good)

I like the idea of having photos on hand to show people.  Sending text messages should be much simpler now, too.  The Husband says that I can even put music on this thing ... I'll have to sit down with our daughter so she can show me the rest of what this phone can do.  I'm pretty technically savvy, but there's still a bit of a learning curve ahead of me, I'm sure.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Glimpse of Ruby

I walked into the dining room a little while ago, and this is what Ruby was doing.

She must have wanted to see if there was anything going on at the winery next door, but our windows are too high.  She hopped up onto the church pew underneath the window, and now she can see fine.  (She's not supposed to be up there ... but today I don't mind.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Preparing for Garden Guests

On Sunday morning, shortly before my visitors were to arrive for the Open Garden, we found this guy slithering across the driveway near the nursery roses.

See him?

This Black Rat Snake is a welcome addition to the outdoor cast of critters around here, since he is always on the prowl for vermin that may find their way into the house.  He is NOT, however, welcome to be out in the open during the times when visitors are expected.

There's only one thing to do when confronted with a large, harmless-but-scary snake that must be moved ... so I grabbed and moved it.  I couldn't leave him for guests to see, because folks like me who aren't afraid of snakes are definitely a small percentage of the population.  While I was doing this, my daughter made me stop so she could get a photo of her mom wrangling the snake, to post it on her Facebook page.

(I didn't crop my head out of this photo, she did.  It IS a photo of the snake, after all.)
... and the Washington Capitals T-shirt was one of my Mother's Day presents. 

With photos taken, I deposited the snake safely into an area of the garden where visitors don't go, and I got back to work.

My husband says that Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) and I would have gotten along famously. 

Sharing this post with 'A Rural Journal's' Rural Thursday.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trying to Contain My Disappointment

Six months ago, I was so excited to sign the lease for my OWN space in an antiques mall.  The Minuteman Minimall in Culpeper, Virginia, seemed to be a perfect fit for me.  It wasn't.

(I had already packed the small items in the booth by the time I remembered to take these photos.)

I have been a shopper at the Minuteman for 20+ years.  It used to be a great place to shop ... but it fell into a spell where it was more like a crappy indoor flea market than an antique mall.  It looked to me like the quality of the dealers and their merchandise was on its way back up, and the management assured me that furniture and items like mine were in great demand.  It isn't.

Almost all of the furniture that I moved into the space over the past six months was still sitting there today when The Husband and I went to move it out.  In an effort to reduce the load, I offered a 25% discount for the past month ... only sold the small grey and white chest during the sale. 

All empty.

Was it price?  Merchandise?  Location?  Whatever it was, it took lots of sales of small items for this little venture of mine to cover expenses ... and I never got the impression that it would do anything more than that.  No matter how much I promoted myself in this location, the location itself seems to have worked against me.

Now it's time to rework the plan.  A short-term test will be the Lucketts Spring Market on Saturday and Sunday.  I'm really excited to have a booth there, since I have loved shopping this market in past years.  I wonder, though, how well my stuff is going to do in what I imagine will be a whole sea of competition.

It's not that I doubt that my stuff can compete ... quite the contrary.  I will put the quality of my items and my workmanship up against anyone else's.  I come at this enterprise from a carpentry and remodeling background, I know quality construction when I see it, and I only spend my time refurbishing pieces that are worth my time.

I have considered taking space in another antiques mall ... and I have a couple of recommendations for ones where I would probably do well.  I'm not convinced that this is what I should do.  I also have the crazy idea to have monthly sales HERE.  My little white workshop building would make a PERFECT shop space ... so would the greenhouse when it's empty of plants during the summer.

Both trucks are all loaded up and ready to go.

So, dear readers, I find myself standing indecisively at yet ANOTHER fork in the road.  If any of you have suggestions or advice to offer, please speak up.  I could use some words of encouragement ... or perhaps the voice of reason and experience.  Whatever you have, I'm listening.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Rambler Fence Approaching Full Bloom

Open Garden Visitors yesterday were greeted by this sight as they walked down the driveway past our house toward the rose gardens in the back of the property.

The roses you see are:
4.  'Albertine', beside 'Rene Andre' and a root sucker of "Peggy Martin"
9.  'American Pillar' climbing into a cedar tree
(The name of each rose is a link to its description page on Help Me Find, a great rose reference site.

The Rambler Fence is a total mess this year, but it's a glorious mess with roses the size of haystacks.   I didn't take the time to thin or train any of them this winter like I usually do ... and it is still a spectacular sight, with thousands of flowers and buds.

I won't torture you by mentioning the fragrance (which is lovely, BTW).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dresser Project, Inspired by Wedgwood

It's been a while since I showed you the results of any of my furniture projects.  I've been working on them ... I just haven't been showing them. 

Since it's Friday, and I usually get the urge to show furniture on Fridays, here is one of my latest completed items.  Please allow me to introduce .....  The Wedgwood Dresser.

You may or may not remember this dresser's humble beginning.

It's a very solid, heavy, well-made dresser from a good maker.  It just has dated styling ... which makes it perfect for a beauty makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

I took my inspiration for this piece from the applied carvings on the drawer fronts.  They remind me of applied decorations on Wedgwood dishes and cameos, so it seemed natural to do this piece in ASCP Old White and Duck Egg ... perfect Wedgwood colors.

When I painted the first coat of Duck Egg on the carvings, the details didn't stand out quite like I wanted them to ... so I dry-brushed a bit of Old White onto them.  Now they're perfect!

The dresser had ALMOST all of its original hardware ... the only missing piece was ONE eye-bolt for one drawer handle.  (The handle that appears to be missing in the 'Before' photo was in one of the drawers.) 

I knew that I wanted to keep the original handles if I possibly could.  A quick trip to Lowes yielded some handles with eye-bolts that worked perfectly with the original handles.  I'll save the parts of the new handles that I didn't use for another project later.

I used a texture technique on the top of this dresser ... two coats of slightly-thickened Duck Egg ASCP ... then I waxed and sanded and and polished and waxed again ... and the effect has depth and a silky smooth, satiny shine!

(The paintbrush is in this photo to trick my camera's auto-focus function ... it couldn't focus on the shiny dresser top at the angle I wanted to shoot without it.  Oh, the things we have to do with these new-fangled cameras.)

On the body of the dresser, I lightly distressed corners and edges and feet to simulate a lifetime of use and care.  No fakey, patchy, random distressing for this girl ... every mark and wear spot can tell a story. 

Now that this dresser is finished, it's in the pile of things that are staged to go with me to the Luckett's Spring Market, May 19 and 20.  I have one more project to finish, then I'll have everything ready for the show ... all I will have to do is decide how to arrange everything into my 10 x 10 foot space.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Enjoying the View

Yesterday afternoon, when I pulled into the driveway as I arrived home with Daniel after his check-up at the veterinarian, I was treated to the most wonderful view.

The roses on the left are the beds of antique Hybrid Teas.  On the right is the mixed rose border, with Hybrid Musks, Hybrid Perpetuals, Teas, Chinas, Noisettes, and Portlands.  All of the roses are in full, spectacular bloom!

What a beautiful greeting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My First Rose Rustle of the Year

When we lived in our last house, there was a cluster of small houses and trailers that I passed each time I went to town.  There is a large, old rose in the front yard of the trailer closest to the road.  Many times, I wanted to stop and talk to the owners of the trailer and ask them about their rose.  I never took the time to do it.

At least two years ago, and probably longer than that, all signs of habitation on the property ceased.  I don't know who owns it or why it appears to be abandoned.  I suspect that it may soon be a victim of road widening, but this is just a guess on my part.

The bush is approximately 7 to 8 feet tall, and is wider than it is tall.

While I was out running errands one day last week, and I had my D-SLR camera with me, I decided to stop to see what rose this is and take photos.  I found that it appears to be an early-style white Noisette and it is very healthy and vigorous .. despite having at least two rogue weed trees growing out of it.

After I finished taking photos, I returned to my car and fetched my trusty Felco pruners.  I trimmed off a low-hanging cane with lots of good cutting material, tossed it into the car, and headed for home.

If my hunch is correct and this property IS going to be demolished, it is important that this old rose be preserved. 

The cane I cut off yielded 11 cuttings, which are now planted in a milk jug, sitting on a shelf in a north-facing window in our cool basement.  I expect to see roots in a month or two ... if this happens, I'll have plants for my garden and to share with friends.

Thank you very much for your kind words of sympathy about my accident with the chef's knife.  My finger is feeling better than I thought it would at this point, and I'm not taking pain meds anymore ... just the antibiotics.  I mustered up the courage earlier this morning to change my whole bandage and check on the wound itself, and it looks really good (relatively speaking, considering a slice of my finger is missing.) 

I hope to be able to downsize the bandage in a day or two ... this vet-wrap club on my finger is really awkward.  It helps remind me, though, that I have to take it easy and remember not to overdo things too soon.  I certainly don't want to do anything that will cause this to heal wrong.

Still typing without using my left index finger ... getting pretty good at it, too.  :)

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