St. Nicholas Unit Study Reblog…

November 25, 2014

Here is the old St. Nicholas Unit Study.  I wonder how much of it we’ll manage to get done this year.   We start today because we take Thanksgiving off.

Campbellsville 2014

October 5, 2014

There was a skirmish marking the 150th Anniversary this past Saturday.  The children and I took the day off of play rehearsal to enjoy the outdoors.  Oh how I have missed the camp sites, battlefields, and company at the reenactments this Fall.  Some of the children are in a play and the rehearsals are every Saturday.  We have and will continue to miss a lot of reenacting events.  However, Spring will be here before we know it, and perhaps I’ll get some 1860s attire sewn after I’m done with Little Mermaid Costumes.  Anyway… here are some pictures.

First, taken by Joyce Burdick and used with permission….

Kevin with the flag he painted.  I was hoping to get one of him dressed in Confederate attire.  The flag accompanied the men into battle yesterday and was there when the Federal fortifications were taken over.

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The Confederate Infantry starting to their march to the enemy.  Photos taken by Joyce Burdick…

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It was a beautiful day.  The only little problem was the wind.  Some of the vendors of at the festival part had to close down early because their things were blowing away.  At one point, Vincent just could not stay awake any longer.  This next photo was taken by Renee Norton and used with permission…


The next photos were taken by Jackie Johnson and used with permission…

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After the battle.  I’m the lady in the bonnet…

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It was a beautiful day.  It was nice to be out with other reenactors again. Thanks to Darrel Ball for organizing this event!

One last picture taken by James on his camera’s “dramatic” setting…

Kevin at campbellsville

For Marilyn, Part 1

September 19, 2014

This is a 6 part series.  I ordered it like this so it would go from a year and a half ago to the present time.  It would have been too lengthy for one post.  Please pray for my friend Marilyn.  This is for her.  If you get to “For Marilyn, Part 6,”  you have reached the end!

This promises to be a lengthy post.  My friend Marilyn always mentions to me that she checks my blog and it has not been updated.  It seems to be easier to just post pictures onto Facebook.  I realize that  not everyone is on Facebook, so I should be better about posting here.   Recently I came across a list I had of things to blog about.  It looks like I’m about a year and a half behind.  So, this post will sort of be a recap of that time, and pretty photo heavy, I imagine.

We’ll start with Msgr. Peter.  We had an awesome visiting priest for a month here locally.  We didn’t find out about him until  he was hear nearly a week.  He accomplished so many things in that time, it was amazing.  We miss him, even over a year later.  When he was a young priest he had  a brain tumor.  He was in Rome an a large assembly when then Pope John Paul II came running up to him and said he needed to pray.  Msgr. Peter felt the tumor melt and he was cured.

Here he is with us in the summer of 2013…

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In the Summer of 2013, the children and I went to a monument dedication at Tullahoma.  This completed the dedications to the soldiers buried there from all the different states that they came from.  This particular day they were dedicating the South Carolina and Kentucky memorials.

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In the summer of 2013, we took a trip to Virginia, not only to tour, but John, Kevin, and James went to camp in Pennsylvania.  We went a bit early so we could tour.  First day was Lexington!  We had never been there and I was amazed at how close it was to where we used to live.  It was one of those places that we always said, “one of these days,” and then we moved.

Our first look at Stonewall Jackson’s house:

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VMI at the George Marshall Museum:

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Finally got to see Little Sorrell:

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One of the most exciting parts of the trip was seeing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!!!  If you don’t know, they were cannons used by the Confederate Army.

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Our good friend Homer graduated from VMI in 1951 and we found his brick:

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This is John’s camp buddy Alex who is now a Rat… he ended up giving us the grand tour of VMI while a storm threatened us…

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Stonewall Jackson’s grave…

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Our message to Uncle Homer from VMI:


The next day we went to Gettysburg!  It was not a sunny day, and it drizzled, but that was a blessing because the week before was the 150th and everyone who went said it was really, really hot.  We were grateful for the drizzle!

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The day after that we went visiting in Fairfax.  We visited Aunt Marie and Uncle Homer and then we met up with Cousin Laura.  We were suppose to go back to the National Zoo that weekend with Laura, but we had a couple of children with fevers, so we didn’t get to.  This day we met her at the Sunflower Cafe, another place that we had been meaning to get to for years.

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We also stopped in Manassas to visit Aunt Mary Ellen.  It is always good to see her.  We then took a ride through the old cemetery to visit the children’s great grand parents.  Then we went a little south to visit friends.  I cannot believe we didn’t get pictures with these people, but sometimes that happens.

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The day after that we went to Winchester.  My sister Mary Lou was traveling through, so we were going to meet up with her.  Also, we never want to go to Virginia without going to the Stonewall Jackson Headquarters Museum.  It is a wonderful little museum with so much history and there is a little lady who is a fabulous tour guide!.  Also, they usually have a nice selection of used books!

The wonderful tour guide allowed me to take a picture in there.  This is the quilt that Stonewall Jackson slept under.  I would love to make a copy of it one day.

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My sister had called while we were still at the museum, and she didn’t have too much time.  So we did not have the time to take a group photo there.  However, these were on the outside.  The day was picture perfect and I could not help but to take a picture of the sky!  There is NOTHING like the Virginia sky!!  Nothing.

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Somewhere in there, we took the boys to Camp St. Isaac Jogues.  Then I had the younger children with no babysitting help, just like the old days.  You know, you can’t just run into a store quickly, or anything like that.  The whole crew has to come.  But, we had a good time anyway.

We visited the Warren Rifles Museum in Front Royal.

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One of our favorite spots is the Frontier Culture Museum.  If you ever get to Stanton, VA, it is well worth the time.  After spending the day here, we were able to meet up with Uncle Tom for dinner.

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Insert here about 50 pictures of gourds.  MaryEllen loved the gourds.

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We visited our beloved Aunt Ellen.  She is Joe’s Godmother.

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We then visited Uncle Jeff, but didn’t get any pictures.  On our way out of his house, I decided to make a  left and head to Old St. Mary’s.  Many of the children’s relatives are buried there.  And, for the first time, the church was open!!!  There was a cleaning lady and she didn’t know why the front door was open.   I figured it was a gift from God.

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After this we headed back to Manassas to the Old Fort spot.  I also wanted to show the children Liberia, where their great-great-great grandparents lived.  We could barely see it.  While up on the old fort hill, we got a call from Mrs. Bergida.  It turned out that Fr. Bergida was at a church that wasn’t too far away, St. Andrew’s in Clifton. We ended up going there for a picnic dinner and church tour.  Very nice.  MaryEllen sang Ave Maria for him before we left.

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Kids with Fr. Bergida 2013

I’m sure we did several other things in Virginia that I cannot remember.   Pretty soon it was time to go pick up the boys from camp.

I think I’ll stop here and go to Part 2!

For Marilyn, Part 2

September 19, 2014

We last stopped off about the time we went to get the boys from Camp.  We stayed a while so the boys could have a little more time with their camp buddies and to take a break from the car.  You see, we had driven about 5 hours to get them.  Then after we left camp in Elmhurst Twp, PA, we were driving straight through to Nashville, TN to get to an ordination the next day.  Anyway, camp…

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We finally got back in the car only to realize that the boys smelled horrible!  In the past, they had gotten showers just before their parents picked them up.  Not this time!  What to do?  I made a few phone calls and we stopped back at the place we stayed in at Front Royal so they could get showers.  Then it was back on the road to Nashville. It was probably 10 or 10:30 pm by this time.  While driving, I realized that I am not as young as I used to be!!!  Oh my!  John drove until 11:00 pm, which was his limit with his permit.  I cat-napped.  Then I stopped twice during the night for about an hour each.  Then we stopped to get “breakfast” at a truck stop, but had to eat on the road as we were running out of time.  John was able to take the controls at 6:00 am, which he did while I cat-napped some more.  Then I took over again, and we made it to the Cathedral of the Incarnation about 9:45 am.  The ordination was to begin at 10:00 am.  Yeah, we made it.  Fr. Justin Raines was ordained, along with our friend Fr. McGowan.  It was beautiful!!!

Diocese of Nashville Priestly Ordinations 2013:

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The next day was Fr. McGowan’s first Mass at old St. Mary’s in Nashville.  We were privileged to be there as well.  After the Mass there was a reception.  MaryEllen sang Ave Maria for Fr. McGowan.

You can click here to see it on YouTube.  Joe shot it with his phone.  (I hope that works!)

After all that, it was time for Veronica’s 5th Birthday and the Giles County fair.

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A back to school pie made by MaryEllen…

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Charlotte’s scrap book took best of show…

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James’s picture took 1st (and it later took 1st in the district fair)

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Kevin’s painting took best of show

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Kevin’s watermelon took largest.

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MaryEllen took a first place with her skirt..

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The end of August meant saying goodbye to the seminarian who was at our local church.  Andy suggested that we could use these pictures for our Christmas cards to the seminarians that year.  So, we did!  I’ll just post them all here.  (Remember that you can click on the pictures to make them larger.)

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We also had a very cute baby in a sweet dress sent by Aunt Maureen and Uncle Armando:

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Then before we knew it, Kevin’s birthday had arrived.  15!!!!

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As was posted before on this blog, the boys (actually the whole family) got into reenacting.  Here are a few shots from one of the gatherings before we had proper 1860s clothes.

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My children love history, not only War of Northern Aggression history.  Case in point, Kevin made himself a uniform from WWII:

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On to part 3!

For Marilyn, Part 3

September 19, 2014

The boys did a living history event at the square in Pulaski.  I think a few of the better pictures here were taken by Dana Ball  (used with permission).

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Next, some random pictures that were on a boys camera. I’m sure they had something to do with their filming:


What in the world?!?!?!?


We attended a dedication of a headstone for 1st Sgt. James Jordan Phillips at Old Shore Cemetery.  A lot of the man’s descendants attended.  It was really nice.  Kevin and James were part of the honor guard.

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The children also did living history at Campbellsville.  Photos by Dana Ball and/or Joyce Burdick.  Used with permission.

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All the while, the children had been practicing for a play.  Alice In Wonderland!  John was the Caterpillar.  Kevin was the Mad Hatter.  James was the doorknob.  Charlotte was a flower, and MaryEllen was all over the place!  I helped make some costumes for it.  Just before opening, there was a chili cook-off on the square.  The first batch of photos is from that event.  The second is back stage on opening night, and then just a few pictures from the play taken by my sister, Sue.

Obviously, James is not dressed as the Doorknob here.  For a while, he was known as “The Army Guy.”  Now you can see why.

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Kevin as the Mad Hatter (without makeup.)

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MaryEllen in one of her costumes with a couple of the Cheshire Cats

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Someone’s grandmother enjoying holding a sleeping Genevieve.

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Next is part of the show, before my sister’s camera battery died…

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My Mom came down with Sue to visit and see the play.  Before the play, lots of pictures were taken of her and the smaller children.

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Veronica in her princess dress:


In 2013 we had a little All Saints party here.

St. Theresa or Teresa?

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St. Helena – her brother, I think James, made the cross for the occasion.

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St. Patrick

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Can’t remember if she was Elizabeth of Hungary or St. Margaret of Scotland

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Our All Saints mantle

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Musical saint chairs

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On of our guests as Pius X

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There was some living History In Lawrenceburg.  That is where we met the Cedar Bush Mess!!!  Yeah!!!

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In November, some of the children were in the Nutcracker.  The only pictures I have are John dressed as the Prince and the shirt that Kevin made for the rat king.  As it turns out, the picture of John is before the costume adjustments, so I’ll not even post it!


On to the next part….

For Marilyn, Part 4

September 19, 2014

We’re back again.  To mark the 149th Anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, they have a march to the Carter house.  Some of us went that day, I think it was Kevin, James, MaryEllen, Vincent, Genevieve, and I.  We marched with the Confederates from Winstead Hill to the Carter house.  Kevin was in with the Cedar Bush Mess and James was with the Sharpshooters.  It was actually the first time we had ever been to Winstead Hill.

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As you may be able to see by the noses, it was a bit chilly.

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An interesting thing about this photo is that Kevin was being photographed by a man.  Later I found out the man was looking for someone to be the lead in a film about the Battle of Franklin.  He chose Kevin.  More about that later.

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The boys, John, Kevin, and James, had been to their first reenactment in Franklin a week or so before this march.  I had to miss it.  However, they had captured Grant there.  So, they went up and reminded him of that.

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Speaking of that reenactment, James went down and cut his eyelid on a piece of grass.  Everyone who saw it said it bled like the devil and they were afraid he had shot his eye out or something.  I don’t have many pictures from that at all.  But here is one…


Kevin looks like the bottom tip of the flag is coming out of his head with the blanket roll on his soldier.  John is the one who looks like he is under the flag with the gray kepi on.  I hope that is sort of clear.

John turned 17 that year, but I don’t have a great photo of that day, unfortunately.

December came and one day we got a box of Cheryl’s cookies from some of our favorite relatives!  We took a thank you picture.

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Next we tried to get a decent Christmas picture.  It is always so hard!

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Merry Christmas 2013!!!!

New Year’s Day found us at a wedding!!! Beth and Donald tied the knot!  Oh happy day!

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Genevieve turned 1!!!

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There was a video shoot.  It was that man who met Kevin in Franklin.  He asked Kevin to bring his Mom and sister with him.  He took footage and took some pictures of us as well.  We just received our copy of the finished product (and this is September 2014 now).  It’s really neat!  It is called “Somebody’s Darling” by Tony Silva.

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Next came MaryEllen’s 11th birthday.  I’m sorry to say I don’t have great pictures from that either.

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We had a warm day in February 2014:

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Our cat Rosie Toes:

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The boys were out filming a war movie:

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On to the next part….

For Marilyn, Part 5

September 19, 2014

Vincent turned 3!!!

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In the Spring, we did the Fr. Donelson reenactment…  the boys did reenact in the battle, but I didn’t get any pictures of the actual battle.  We were with the Cedar Bush Mess.

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Several weeks later we spent two days at the Battle of Triune.  One of those days, our friends from Illinois were in Tennessee, so they met up with us.  John and James were with the Sharpshooters and Kevin was with an artillery group.

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Some of the Confederate Belles.  We hosted a ladies tea for the event.

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I think it was May when the homeschoolers had their prom for 8th grades and up.

John with his cool sunglasses…

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Kevin looking very grown up…

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James was handsome as ever…

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James with our friends’ little girl…

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James is always the clown….


Next part coming right up!

For Marilyn, Part 6

September 19, 2014

It was May and there was a reenactment in Linden, TN.  The burning and seizing of the courthouse!  Let me tell you, the Cedar Bush Mess put on an incredible show!!  There was a tea in the morning and reenactment in the afternoon.  That evening there was a ball.  I think it’s safe to say we all had an incredible time!  The only problem for me was that I had a bad case of poison Oak all over my face.  Luckily, I’m not in too many pictures!

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The two eldest members of the Confederate Belles with the youngest member…

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Vincent and Genevieve slept through the entire battle!!!

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Our next big event was Resaca, Georgia for the 150th Anniversary battle.  It was pretty soggy and cool, but a good time was had by all. We stayed Friday and Saturday.  It turned out that Sunday was rained out.  Once again we were with the Cedar Bush Mess.

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John, Kevin, and James took part in a documentary filming about Richard Kirkland, the “Angel of Marye’s Heights.”   Here are a few pictures from that…

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Charlotte had a birthday.  She turned 9 years old!  Where does the time go?  She was our baby when we moved to Tennessee.   And, a great big thank you to Aunt Mary Lou!

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Next a local rainbow when we were taking a little ride through the cemetery…

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They have had a few dances at our local theater and someone took a picture of James and I.


In the summer the children had a wonderful time at Totus Tuus, our local Bible school

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Veronica turned 6 …

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John was in the play, “Clue, the Musical.”  He played Mr. Body.


Then my good friend and her children came to visit us from Minnesota.

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Kevin turned 16!!!!

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MaryEllen was Confirmed!  Praise God!

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Kevin painted this flag for his SCV group.

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As of right now, Kevin, MaryEllen, Charlotte, and Veronica are rehearsing for “The Little Mermaid” every Saturday, so we have had to miss all the reenactments.  Some of us really, really miss them.  Also, my camera battery is not any good, so I don’t know how many pictures I’ll be taking.  But, Miss Marilyn, I will try to better keep my blog updated.  We always enjoy looking back at everything as well.

The Start of a Pumpkin Patch

April 25, 2014

Well it’s that time of the year again. The pumpkin patch has been planted. Now let’s hope something actually grows! MaryEllen is a huge gardening help so far, so I actually have some hope.

Pumpkin harvest of yesteryear.

Now I have some pretty old seed that I just can’t bear to throw away. So, there are a few hills that we’ll keep an eye on. If nothing grows in two weeks, we’ll put something else in them. One that I’m pretty sure will not grow is King of Mammoth. This is the largest variety that I’ve ever grown. They are not as large as the modern giants, but that is OK with me. I’m not going to spend that much time on feeding the thing extra to make it a giant. The King of Mammoth pumpkins are more round and not as ribbed like the typical pumpkins that we’re used to seeing around Halloween. I obtained these seeds years ago from Baker Creek Heirlooms seeds, but don’t recall seeing them in the last few years. This variety dates back before 1824.

We planted one hill of old Rouge vif D’Etamps which is also known as the “Cinderella” pumpkin. I haven’t bought any more of this seed in the last few years because it wasn’t the best tasting pumpkin that I’ve grown, but it did grow well. I really don’t think this seed will grow either due to its age.

Charlotte several years ago with a squash plant.

Another very old seed that I planted on hill of is Kikuza. I obtained this seed years ago from Seed Savers Exchange. This is a tan ribbed pumpkin that I can’t recall ever successfully growing (I’m sure that is not the fault of the seed). But, just can’t stand not to give the seed a chance.

In 2011 I bought some seed and never used it. So, I planted a few hills of North Georgia Candy Roaster. This seed came from Southern Exposure. The descriptions say it has an elongated banana shape and makes great pies.

On to the new seed….

I am really excited to try and grow Amish Pie Pumpkin. This seed came from Seed Savers Exchange. A few of the things that attracted me to this variety was that it is said to be an excellent keeper, has minimal pest problems, and grows well during dry spells. They say it comes from Maryland, but we’ll see how it does in Tennessee. The pumpkins typically grow about 15-45 pounds.

A squash plant from a few years ago.

This year we planted some blue varieties which are popular in Australia (so I’m told.) Each year, whether anything is planted or not, I pour over a few seed catalogs. My favorite is Baker Creek because of their pumpkin and winter squash section. It was very difficult to narrow it down to 3 blue varieties. So, here they are.

First of all the Blue Hubbard Squash. I have been wanting to stuff a hubbard for Thanksgiving for years now. Perhaps this year I’ll have one to stuff. These are expected to be 15-40 pounds. They are from the north east, so I’m not sure how well they’ll survive the heat and abundant squash bugs. The seed was obtained from Baker Creek.

A baby pumpkin from several years ago.

The next blue variety is Crown. This is suppose to be a very sweet variety. It is expected to weigh about 12 pounds and is sort of a flatter shaped pumpkin.

A third blue squash is called Queensland Blue. The pictures I have seen of this look like it has an interesting shape and it should grow to about 12 pounds as well.

In the typical pumpkin category, it was a toss up between Connecticut Field Pumpkin and Howden. I ended up purchasing Connecticut Field Pumpkin seed from a new-to-me seed company called St. Clare Heirloom Seeds. This grew well in our first pumpkin patch in 2007, so I’m hoping it does well this year for us too.

If memory serves, this plant is a Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash plant.  They grew really well here, but I was afraid to try them, as “The Complete Squash” listed them as good for cattle feed.

Next is Greek Sweet Red from Baker Creek. When I first grew this in 2007, there were no pictures to be found. Now there are. This is suppose to have excellent flesh. I don’t remember getting any the last time, but we’ll just chalk that up to inexperience and hope for the best this year. The thing that really attracted me to it, besides being yummy is that it is said to be very resistant to the squash beetles! Lord knows we need that around here. Another source said it is resistant to vine borers. I’m hoping the prolonged cold this year helps that bug situation, but I have my doubts.

The pumpkin patch a few years ago.

Even though we have Blue Hubbard seeds, St. Clare’s made the True Green Improved Hubbard variety too good to resist. This was introduced in the 1840s, so that is a plus. (I have this dream of having a War Between the States Era garden. Maybe someday.) It says it’s an easy grower and and excellent keeper. Also, Baker Creek had a wonderful picture of it in their Seed Year Book. If only we could grow a Hubbard like that!

Oh yes, Long of Naples!!! My daughter keeps asking me about the flavor, and I keep telling her that I don’t know. We grew a few of these babies one year, took pictures, put them in the barn, and then left for Ohio the next day. When we got back home, some other creature(s) had gotten to them. So, we are hoping to try eating them this year! big-squashThis is from 2008 or 2009.  Long of Naples.

New this year is the Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash. We use a lot of Butternut squash around here and this is suppose to be very similar to it, but with more flesh in the crookneck. It is said to be a favorite of Amish and a favorite of Baker Creek.

Of course, we cannot plant a “pumpkin” patch without Waltham Butternut. These grow for us every year, whether we plant them or not! If we don’t have a garden per say, they grow out of the compost pile. They get used quite a bit in this household.

Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins did well in our first pumpkin patch. There is a book called “The Complete Squash” by Amy Goldman that I have read several times. Ms. Goldman has nothing but good things to say about this pumpkin. I personally love them myself, just for looks and for pies. They have a white netting on them that makes them look a bit unique.

Pumpkin plants from years gone by.

The last thing that makes up our little patch is small squash. Delicata and Sweet Dumpling Squashes are both so little and yet so sweet! What a treat. I have grown a few Delicata before, but the sweet dumplings are new to our garden.

The last little one may or may not grow due to the age of the seed is New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins. They are about 4 or 5 pounds. We’ve not grown them before either and if they grow, I’ll be very happy to see how they do. They were introduced in this country in 1865.

A squash or pumpkin blossom from a few years ago.

Oh, and last but not least, is Kabocha Squash. These are little green pumpkins with very sweet flavorful flesh. They are a staple in our kitchen. The last time we had one about a month ago, I saved the seeds. We planted a few hills of those seeds.

That about wraps up our Pumpkin patch preview. In choosing these varieties, I study the seed catalogs and the book The Complete Squash. Winter squash and pumpkins are some of my favorite things to grown. How about you? What varieties do you like?

Some of the harvest from our first pumpkin patch in 2007.

First Snow of 2014

February 13, 2014

As we sat eating breakfast this morning, I just had to go outside! We got about a half-inch of snow, the sun was shining, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bluer sky! By myself, I went for a nature walk. I’m resurrecting this blog to put up a photo essay of the first snow, February 13, 2014.

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