Greenish thumb

Last year we planted tomatoes in our front flower beds.  The front of our house gets more sun than the back and I wanted to grow some tomatoes.

And keep them close enough to the house that the deer wouldn’t get them.


But a chipmunk decided to make himself at home and steal the tomatoes.


By that time the plants were too large to do much of anything so we reluctantly shared.


This year I decided to be a bit more proactive and make the plants less accessible.


Half-inch hardware cloth (it is not soft like cloth) rolled into 18-inch high circles/columns.  I secured the circles/columns with wire and put some duct tape around the tops to keep from getting scratched when I had to pull weeds, pick ripe tomatoes, etc.


I wedged the tomato tag from the seedlings in the back between the overlapping screening.


Red Beefsteak

So far so good.


L to R: Red pepper, German Queen, Red pepper


L to R: Roma, Cherry, Better Boy, Red Beefsteak







Husky Cherry Red


Husky Cherry Red



German Queen

I followed Martha Stewart’s suggestion for tying up the floppy plants using old panty hose.


Better Boy

I even tried a couple of red pepper plants.


Red pepper

From the top clockwise: Beefsteak, Beefsteak, German Queen, German Queen, Better Boy

From the top clockwise: Beefsteak, Beefsteak, German Queen, German Queen, Better Boy

Question:  Why do some tomatoes split or get those lines in them as in the beef steak above?

Those German Queen tomatoes are huge!  They aren’t the prettiest but measure at about 6 inches across the widest part.  Very meaty and makes a great tomato sandwich.  I had not heard of them before but decided to try one plant this year.  It’s an heirloom tomato so I will save some seeds and try to start my plants from seed next year.  Looking forward to eating more fresh veggies soon!

Bacardi Cardi

I knew I wanted to knit this sweater the very first time I laid eyes on it.  In 2007.

(c) Barbara Gregory

(c) Barbara Gregory

This sweater was the reason I bought the book: No Sheep for You by Amy Singer.

No Sheep for You

I loved everything about it.  Colors.  Style.  Over-all look.  And the name: Bacardi Cardigan


The original yarn was not available anymore when I decided it was time for me to knit.  So I had to find a substitute.

I checked out the various projects on Ravelry to see what yarn other knitters used and narrowed it down to one.

With six different colors of yarn required I knew I had to be budget conscious.  My LYS was having a 20% off sale store-wide.  Yes!  They carried the Cascade Ultra Pima that I wanted to use.  I’ve knit with this yarn before and it is divine.

But my plan quickly vanished when they had only one of the six colors I needed.

Yes, the LYS could order the colors I wanted but the policy in the past was that I would have to buy all 12 skeins/hanks/balls per color as they did not want to be stuck with weird colors.   It’s a small store and while I understand that policy, (in my opinion) it’s a dumb one.  The owner was not available to question the policy so I decided to search throughout the store hoping I could find yet another substitute.  I found many yarns that I could use.  Not in the right colors for me.  Or way out of my price range.

Back to the drawing board.

Wait.  Someone used Drops Muskat.  After some quick (or not so quick) math, I figured out what  amounts I would need and the colors.  And it all came in under budget!  I wasn’t sure about two of the colors so I bought enough of each to make that decision when I saw them together with the rest of the colors.

I’ve never ordered yarn on-line before as I like to use all my senses, well, maybe not taste, when I buy yarn.  It was a giant step for me to go ahead with it.

The yarn was shipped on a Thursday and arrived the following Monday!  Fast, fast, fast turnaround.


I love the feel, smell, sight, and sound of the yarn.


I love the colors though if I had seen them in person, I might have chosen a lighter yellow.


What I bought will work for sure.


From the top and going clockwise: Warm Yellow #51, Light Olive #45, Apple Green #53, Light Beighe #61, Yellow #30, Dark Olive #44, and Khaki Green #77.  I can’t decide on whether to use the light olive…


…or the bluer khaki green.  Color in the photo is off.


Khaki green

Either one will look great.  The warm olive will play off the other warm colors.  The cooler khaki green will add another dimension.

What’s your opinion?

I have other knitting to do before I can get started on this.  In the meantime I might just go ahead with some mindless knitting swatch knitting so when I am ready to go, that part will already be done.

I can’t wait to get started!



Pieces of eight

Knitting.  Not gold.

Though part of it is gold.

The twins each wanted a knitted animal like the one I made for their little brother last April.  The bunny is still shirtless.


I got sidetracked with getting the house ready for our anniversary party and other projects had to be done first.  Like the new cushion covers for the new front porch furniture.


And replacing some screens.


I had all my knitting projects put away so “outta sight, outta mind” happened.

Over the weekend I decided I should get started knitting again.  The first bunny still needs a sweater but I got the other pieces knitted for a bunny and a fox.  I am using the Little Cotton Rabbits pattern for the bunny and the fox.  So cute!!  A bit fiddly but the cuteness factor outweighs it!

What do you think?  Pieces of eight: one head, one body, two ears, two arms, and two legs.  And a tail.  Ok, so pieces of nine.


White bunny with pink and white striped tights and pink shoes.


A golden fox with white socks and pink shoes.


Yeah, I think I have a tiny bit more work to do before they are ready to be gifted.


Garage sale?

I saw this on my way home from work the other day.


A garage riding down the highway.

Was it new?

Or was it looking for the vehicle that used to be inside it?


I couldn’t see what was towing it.

It ended up being a pick-up truck.  Must have been a pretty powerful engine to get up the mountains around here.

40 Fabulous Years


Last month Mr. Aitch and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.


40 Fabulous Years!


We had a party at our house with lots of delicious food and drink.


My very talented sister made these beautiful cupcakes.  I made fans in case anyone got too warm.


Of course we also had cake.


And I got the piece with my name on it.

with-banner - Copy2

Cheers to 40 more!

Final tidbits

For your information I was not too enamored with history while I was in school until I had two wonderful professors in college.

Dr. Collins taught Art History at WVU in the early-mid 1970s and I was fortunate to have him as one of my instructors.  Our class was in an interior room of the Creative Arts Center which was cool and dark, just perfect for showing slides of art works.  Along with the cool, darkness, Dr. Collins’ soothing voice allowed some students to think that was the perfect opportunity for a mid-afternoon nap.  But not me.  Instead of just mentioning the painter or sculptor and the name of the art work, he also included some tidbit of information about the artist, obvious as well as not so obvious details about the work, the political and religious atmosphere of the times, and the reactions of the world to each piece.  His dry sense of humor was evident and he interjected his commentary with it daily.  I learned so much about the history of the era we were studying and not just about ART history.

The other professor, whose name I do not remember, was just as fascinating.  Ancient History was dull and boring, or so I thought.  He brought it to life by talking about the everyday people of the time, the culture, the wars, the food, the floods, and how it all related not only to that time but how it related to the present.

Neither class was dull or boring.  It wasn’t solely focused on specific generals, dates, places, and battles.  History was real and about real, everyday people.

I don’t even know if the schools teach real history any more.  And that’s too bad.



“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana

Our last day – the Jennie Wade Museum

Our last day in Gettysburg was shorter than expected as we wanted to avoid the thunderstorms and rain as much as possible on our way home.  We did have our rain suits but they are hot.  And on a hot, muggy day the thought of wearing something waterproof makes one even hotter.


After our delayed breakfast, we packed the Harley, checked out of the hotel, and headed into town to visit the Jennie Wade House Museum.  The Battle of Gettysburg took place in fields, on farms, and in the town.  The fact that  Jennie Wade was the only civilian killed during the three-day battle of  is amazing.

Mary Virginia Wade, “Jennie”, was a 20-year old girl living in Gettysburg with her mother, younger brother and another young boy.  Jennie’s sister Georgia had just given birth and Mrs. Wade was helping her with the infant in Georgia’s house on the south side of town.  When the fighting broke out, Jennie took her brother and the other boy to Georgia’s house as she thought they would be safer there than in the heart of town.

Jennie had been taking bread and water to the Union soldiers near Georgia’s house during the first two days of the battle and she realized that they were running low on bread.  She and her mother were in Georgia’s kitchen getting ready to bake the morning of the third and final day of the battle.  Jennie’s back was to the north facing door and she opened an interior door to shield herself even more.


Mrs. Wade was in the kitchen with Jennie tending the fire.


Georgia was in the living room, which had been converted to a bedroom for the birth, along with her five-day-old baby, younger brother and other boy.

During the battle at least 150 bullets hit the house, some going through windows, some still lodged in the bricks, interior walls, the fireplace mantel (see the bullet hole on the left side of the fireplace surround) and the bedpost.


One went through the north facing exterior door…


…and interior door that shielded Jennie.  You can see where she would have been standing behind the door at the dough box on the far left side above.



And right into Jennie Wade as she was mixing dough in the dough box.


The one ounce lead bullet pierced her back and heart and was found in her corset.   She died instantly.


A 10-pound artillery shell went through the roof, a double brick wall separating the house (Catharine McClain and family lived in the other side) and lodged in the overhang on the south side of the house.  Fortunately the shell did not explode.

Upon hearing the cries inside the house from Georgia and her mother, Union soldiers came into the house and tried to move the family to the cellar.  The only entrance into their side cellar was outside on the north side of the house in full view of the Confederate army.



Tour guide Bob

Tour guide Bob

The Union soldiers opened the brick wall that had been damaged by the 10-pound artillery shell on the second floor, moved the family, including Jennie’s body, through the McClain half of the house, and down to the cellar on the north side of the house.


This artist’s rendering was done after the cellar floor was lowered and does not show Mrs. Wade nor the McClain family.


Here you can see where the original floor was and the newer lowered, bricked floor.  There were no windows in the cellar so it was very dark and crowded.

Jennie was buried the next day and later moved two more times.  Her final resting place is in Evergreen Cemetery.

I’ve only touched on a small part of this story.  Listening to our guide and seeing the house and original furnishings was astounding.  It is remarkable that the house and some of the pieces of furniture are so well preserved.

You can find more information here, here, and here.

So many of us have not had to witness fighting, battles, war and are immune to the sufferings of those who have.  I, for one, cannot not imagine, nor do I want to experience any of what these courageous people saw and lived through.

I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson as it is so different from my usual posts.  There were so many other things and places we wanted to see but on such a short trip with such short notice (and hundreds of motorcycles), we saw a lot.  Gettysburg isn’t that far from us so we can go back again and plan our trip in more detail.


These wooden fences line the roads in and around Gettysburg.  Just like in 1863.