Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Learning by Travelling

"A school should not be a preparation for life. A school should be life." Elbert Hubbard

We've learned much about the past from living history museums. There's a great one in Norris, Tennessee about pioneer life in the Appalachias. We also went to one in Virginia that shows how different ethnic groups lived in the 1600-1700's. One was Irish. Another was German. I can't remember the other one. Yorktown, VA has a pretty good one.

The one I'd really like to visit is in Massachusetts. It's called Plimouth Plantation. I've been wanting to see Cape Cod, so maybe next August we can go see both.

Seems like we usually take a vacation this time of year. Due to the twins coming two weeks ago, we'll not be travelling too far from home anytime soon. I do hope to take Darcie to the North Carolina mountains in October to see Biltmore House in Asheville and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee.

In the fall the mountains call, and I must answer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Travel Photos from Britain

A few more images from our last trip to the British Isles.

This path was on the hill overlooking Tintern Abbey in Wales. I love the moss and the exposed roots.

The next one is of a barn courtyard. What I love about this photo is the contract between the red bricks and the blue doors with the large black iron hinges.

The last one is of canal boats. We stayed on one for a week. It was close to Nottingham. I thought it was quite an adventure. Husband was less enthusiastic. It was cramped, for sure. But all we did was sleep there anyway. I wouldn't want to do it again, but I'm glad we did it once. We didn't go to Sherwood Forest, because friends who had gone said it is too commercial and to skip it. So instead, we went to Burleigh House. It was well worth the visit. You can read that post here:

A Good Education

Darcie driving a wagon in Colorado and scraping a deer hide in Jamestown, Virginia.

"The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives."
Robert Maynard Hutchins

Grandsons watching a rifle-firing demo at Yorktown, VA. Good grief, those old guns were loud!

Bauer receiving a lecture on different punishments given to wrongdoers. The 'Insubordinate' label he's holding up certainly fits.

Caed petting a turkey in the colonial settlement at Yorktown, VA.

Bauer and Caed chasing a strange-looking duck.

I think one of the best ways to self-
educate is to travel. All these photos were taken on family field trips/vacations. Our family loves to learn the history of a place we visit and to do as many interesting things as we can while there. The children aren't always willing participants, but they'll thank me someday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can One Ever Have Too Many Books?

I came across this quote in a small book called The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers. It was under the title of True Wisdom.

A brother said to Abba Serapion, "Give me a word." The old man said to him, "What shall I say to you? You have taken the living of the widows and orphans and put it on your shelves." For he saw them full of books.

I used to think that you couldn't have too many books. After reading this quote, now I'm not so sure.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Purging Continues...

This is my husband's office. I only took photos of MY side of the room. His is just as bad. So last Friday night he declares, "I'm going to Bass Pro tomorrow to buy a gun safe, and when I get back, I want all your stuff out of my office."

When I come up against anything unpleasant I don't want to do, I remember these words from Psalm 55: "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness."

I could really use some 'wilderness' time right now what with the babies being born, lessons that need planning, rooms getting painted, grandchildren being kept, etc.

So...that gave me about three hours (see paragragh 1). Fortunately, both daughter-in-laws could help, so we attacked it and did a fine job of tossing out, keeping, and Goodwilling. The rest of this stuff are things I no longer
want but are valuable; things I don't want to thrift.

I've already called two of my younger friends over and let them have a scrounge around. I need to call a few more. I said younger friends, because when you're my age you're usually looking to get rid of what you've accumulated over the last quarter century or more.

After the aforementioned gun cabinet was safely in place, I boxed up all the things I'm keeping to regift and quietly slid them back into the office.
He's not happy about it, but it's only for a short while.

Kitchen redo is in progess. Pics coming soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hydrangea Love

I love hydrangeas; blue, pink, purple, green, and all shades in-between. My bush has blue ones which turn green and pink on the bush if they aren't cut off. I brought these in and dried them and can enjoy them all year.

This old Mason jar is one my grandma used. I love the diamond pattern. It makes lovely refracted patterns when the sun shines through.

The books are all about motherhood. I haven't read many of them, because I'm always too busy BEING a mother to read about how to be one! I learned motherhood in the trenches. I always prayed (and still do), "Lord, help me to be the best mother I can be. Help the children to remember and good and forget the bad. And God, please fill in the cracks."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Sabbath

Church sign in Ducktown, Tennessee. I had to stop and take a photo and laugh. Best one I've seen in a long time. Click on it to be able to read the sign. Funny!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baby Update

More baby photos. The twins are doing exceptionally well. Piper even nursed. Laurel said she was ravenous and was screaming about it. She already has quite a reputation in the hospital nursery. Yikes! Just what we need, another drama queen in the family.

The children in our family are very hard to raise. They're self-willed and stubborn. None are easy going. But they sure make interesting adults and friends. If you can get to that point! I about lost my everlovin' when I had four little ones at home. Note: I don't know if 'everloving' is a Southern thing or a modern word. Anyway, it means 'my mind' as in "I about went crazy" or "I lost my mind". Does anyone else say that?

Babies and mama are doing well. The pediatrician said last night that their lungs will be compromised until ages 2-3. We all have to get a flu shot. I was whining about needles when Laurel said you can get a squirt of the vaccine up your nose. Oh boy, flu germs in my airways. Actually, that may not work for me. I have viral issues anyway. I'll have to check. Anyone have any experience with this?

The girls are going to be called Piper and Scout. I think those are the cutest names ever!

Piper getting some Nana love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Maxfield Parrish and Me

Late summer is the time when giant thunderheads produce afternoon and evening storms. There have been some beautiful displays of fluffy clouds and dark blue skies. I believe that the painter Maxfield Parrish must have loved these dramatic clouds as much as I do, because so many of his paintings show them. Do you see a similarity between his paintings and my photographs? If only I could paint them like he could. I'll just have to be content with my photographs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Twin Granddaughters Are Here!

Last night our twin granddaughters were born at 33 weeks. Weighing 4.10 and 4.11, they are stable and doing well. They aren't identical. The son-in-law and I stood in front of them this morning comparing ears, noses, lips, and chins. Definitely not identical.

The one on top is Piper Jane to be called Piper. She is already a feisty little thing. Screamed her head off when they stuck her heel to draw blood. She wiggles all the time flailing her arms and legs around.

On the bottom is Della Scout to be called Scout. She's more laid back, likes to sleep, and doesn't make much noise. Piper and Scout; love the names! Good job, Mom and Dad. They're named after their great grandmothers Jane and Della.

With four older brothers protecting them, these little ladies will do just fine!

Monday, August 8, 2011

In Remembrance of Gabe's Daddy

See the little boy in red? He was in my class this summer in Vacation Bible School. He was visiting a cousin who used to go to our church, so they both came to VBS. I talked with him on the last day about where he was from, where he went to church, etc. A very personable young man, he told me he lived in Virginia and that his daddy was in Afghanistan. I enjoyed our talk very much.

Two days ago, I learned that his daddy was one of the Navy Seals on the helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan; the one in which 31 young men, in the prime of life, died.

My heart aches for Gabe and the loss of his daddy. His life will be forever changed. Please pray for him, his family, and the others who lost a son, husband, brother, or friend.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Charlotte Mason Wisdom

"The habits of the child produce the character of the man, because certain mental habitudes once set up, their nature is to go on for ever unless they should be displaced by other habits. Here is an end to the easy philosophy of, 'It doesn't matter.' 'Oh, he'll grow out of it,' 'He'll know better by-and-by,' 'He's so young, what can we expect?' and so on. Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend." (CM Original Homeschooling Series Vol.1, pp. 118)

"This is the law of habit, which holds good as much in doing kindnesses as in playing the piano. Both habits come by practice; and that is why it is so important not to miss a chance of doing the thing we mean to do well. We must not amuse ourselves with the notion that we have done something when we have only formed a good resolution. Power comes by doing and not by resolving, and it is habit that serves us, whether it be the habit of Latin verse or of carving. Also, and this is a delightful thing to remember, every time we do a thing helps to form the habit of doing it; and to do a thing a hundred times without missing a chance, makes the rest easy." (CM Original Homeschooling Series Vol.4, Book 1, pp. 208,209)

An Artist's Eye

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web." - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Savannah Scenes

Had a gallery meeting tonight in Savannah. The dolphin downspout is so cool. I parked next to the crumbling brick wall. I love the doors of the buildings in the background. And the last photo is the setting sun as I travelled home going west. It was an amazing sight even through my dirty windshield.

Quotes on Reading

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read." Grouch Marx

"In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read....It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish." S.I. Hayakawa

"When I am dead, I hope it will be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read." Hilaire Belloc

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Pride & Prejudice and Other Assorted Interesting Stuff

I had the pleasure of visiting Chatsworth House, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. We thoroughly enjoyed not only the house but the grounds as well. There were fields full of sheep and large trees, lovely gardens, and the cutest little hunting lodge. Of course one of my favorite rooms was the library. Chatsworth is famous for it. I had a jaw dropping moment when I saw a paperback copy of Georgiana by Amanda Foreman lying in front of ancient leatherbound books. The incongruity of it struck me as chuckle worthy.

Georgiana Cavendish was the 5th Duchess of Devonshire and quite a character. There's an excellent movie about her with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes called Duchess. I've seen it about four times and would like to again.

The top photo is a painting of Georgiana as the Goddess Diana by an unknown artist. I believe it's on the ceiling going down a staircase in Chatsworth House. The small portrait of her at bottom is by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

You may remember in the P&P movie the long gallery at Pemberley (Chatsworth) where Elizabeth Bennett saw the bust of Mr. Darcy. After they were finished filming, they left the bust there. It looks very much like Matthew McFayden as Mr. Darcy. I couldn't quit looking at the girl behind the veil. How can cold marble be sculpted to look so warm and lifelike? Michelangelo did it. You just want to embrace his figures and sink into them. Not the David. I'm referring more to his pietas. Anyway, I digress.....

The final scene where Mr. & Mrs. Darcy are sitting beside a pool was taken here at this fountain. I believe there's a scene in the movie looking out this same window at the fountain and pool.

And one final comment on the photo of the bells; I can't remember where this was taken. It could have been Chatsworth but may have been taken at Burleigh House. Have you seen these down in the servants' hall while watching a movie or touring a house? You know what would happen. The servants, including the housekeeper and butler, have just sat down to their dinner when one of the bells rings. Every head turns in dread to see which room is requiring something. The butler sees that it's the drawing room needing attention. He sighs and says, "It's for me. Carry on with your meal."

If you click on the photo, you may be able to see the labels underneath the bells telling which
bell goes to which room.

I love touring the grand houses of Europe. I just wonder....if my ancestors had stayed in the old countries, would I now be living in a house like Chatsworth or Burleigh, or would I be a poor relation, having to accept whatever charity my rich relatives dish out? Unfortunately, I'll never know since the ancestors DID come to America leaving behind either grandeur or squalor.

Georgiana Cavendish by Joshua Reynolds  - Public Domain