Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Magazine and Guardhouse

Next Stop, the Magazine and Guardhouse. This was originally built in 1715. It was the storehouse of guns and ammunition for the colony. I believe they used this as a location shoot for the HBO series John Adams.


Revolution era barbed wire.


The revolution in Virginia was touched of in April 1775 when Governor Dunmore removed the gun powder belonging to the Colongy. Lets go on in and check it out.


It was not easy to take powder and guns out of this building. Once past the main door, you had to ascend this narrow, winding staircase. I'm sure this had a defensive purpose.


Once up in the Magazine, every kind of musket, pistol and ammunition and cannon balls were stacked and hanging from the walls.

In addition to the weapons and powder, other supplies a militia would need...powder horns, blanket roles, canteens, uniforms and drums.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Williamsburg, the Governor's Palace


Construction for the Governor's Palace was authorized in 1706. The Palace was complete in 1722. It was home to 5 Royal Lt. Governors and two Royal Governors. Usually , Royal Governors would appoint their Lt. Governors to administer the colony...because they didn't want to leave the comfort of England. When the colonists started acting up, the King required that his appointed Governor move to the Colony and administer it in person.

The Palace was destroyed by fire in 1781 while being used as a hospital for American's wounded at Yorktown. It was rebuilt on its orginal foundations in 1930. It is furnished to represent the home of the last British Royal Governer of Virginia, John Murray, Fourth Earl of Dunmore.

Inside the front entrace of the Palace.


According to the tour guide. If you were a colonist, the guns and swords hanging on the wall would not have impressed you...because you probably had at least one gun if not more. What would have impressed a colonist....the marble floor.

Most colonists were lucky if they had a wooden floor, most had packed and hardened dirt floors in their homes.


Upstairs, this was the Governor's dressing room. It walls were covered in embossed leather.



Below, the family dining room. Interestingly, the children would not have taken meals here, they would have taken their meals upstairs in their bedroom with their governess. The Governor, his wife and guests would have eaten here.


Below, the music room and ball room.


Friday, November 27, 2009

On to Williamsburg - - The Haunted House


My day in Williamsburg was also rainy. Above, the Governor's Mansion. One of the benefits of visiting Williamsburg in March is that it is NOT crowded. One of the disadvantages of visiting Williamsburg in March is that many of the places to eat are not open.

Back to the positive. Because it wasn't crowded, I got some great pictures and went on some almost private tours. So much fun...and I had such a different perspective going on tours after serving as a docent at the Museum. The "private" tour I went on was of the Peyton Randolph House. It is one of the most haunted of the houses in Williamsburg, according to my tour guide.


Since I was the ONLY person on the tour, it was like walking through the house with a 'friend'. The tour guide and I even sat at the table here in the parlor and she shared the ghost stories with me. Yes, we sat at the table as its a reproduction, not a real antique. My tour guide appreciated the opportunity to sit down as her corset was tied a little to tight and she felt out of breath throughout the tour...and I think she may have been a little sick by the time we got here...or were we being followed by the ghost of the mistress of the house, Mrs. Randolph, pictured in the portrait at the right.


It was neat sitting and chatting, again, I could imagine myself as the wife of a well-to-do merchant, visiting Mrs. Randolph for a cup of tea. According to the tour guide, both Mr. and Mrs. Randolf have made themselves visible in this room.


After 'tea' we headed back to the kitchen. This long hallway, according to the tour guide, has had the most "ghostly" activity. Above the hallway were slave quaters for the house slaves. She said often times, as it grows dark, the sounds of footsteps or other knocking and banging can be heard above...when no one is up there.


Below, the kitchen.


Out in the court yard of the Randolf House...


Peyton Randolph (1721-1775) served the Colony of Virginia in many of its highest offices. He was the first President of the Continental Congress. His father, Sir John Randolph, was the only colonial Virginian to be knighted. The senior Randolph died in the house in 1737. Peyton Randolph and his wife did not have any children. Randolph had had small pox as a young boy, this often times rendered people infertile. His nephews lived with the Peytons, I believe while attending college at William and Mary.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On the Battlefield - Yorktown

It was a cold, rainy day on the battle field. Below is a panarama of the Americans breaching one of the British positions. This was inside at the National Park Service building.


The earthworks that were re-built...I think in the 1930s. These would have been the British positions.


Below is how they built the earthworks during the revolution...early version of Hesco barriers. These are kind of falling apart. They would have been filled with dirth and the covered with dirt.


"The Fox" , this is a French made cannon manning a British position. "The Fox" was the name engraved on this cannon. It could fire a cannon ball as far as a mile.


Below, are American and French positions. This is part of the Grand French Battery. This battery contained 30 pieces of artillery which bombarded the main British Defenses. The two cannon below are field guns.


Below a Mortar (front) and a Howitzer (back).


Looking down range...that house is in big trouble.


Below, the American Approach Road. This ravine protected Americans from British cannon fire as they moved up to build the main seige lines.


Yours truly "manning" one of the American cannons.


Then down in the trenches. I actually slipped in the mud while walking around and up on this Redoubt... Yes, I was almost impaled on one those logs. Would have been very interesting as one of my ancestors survived the Revolution...lost a leg, but survived the war...could you imagine that meeting in heaven..."Hi great-great-great-great-great-great-great....grandfather, I died on the Yorktown there was no war...I slipped in the mud and was impaled on one of those big spikey log things."



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recreation of a Successful Virginia Farm

My favorite things about the Yorktown Victory Center were the immersion type displays.

Clearly, this turkey wasn't afraid of losing his head.


Below, a recreated, successful Virginia farm during the pre-revolution/revolution era. My ancestors were successful Virginia farmers (Not wealthy, but successful, according to documentation my family has). As I walked up to the farm, I imagined myself walking up to the S. farm.


The house was modest, single room building with a loft.


The lady of the house was de-seeding cotton... looked like quite the tedious chore.


One one side of the room was the dining/work area, on the other was the bed. If there were additional children, they probably slept above in the loft.


This "family" had a separate building that served as the kitchen.


The barn was full of drying tobacco. Looks like they had a bumper crop, the barn rafters were full.


Most households grew their own fruits and vegetables. This is the vegatable garden.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back in March, I took five days of vacation and toured Virginia's historic triangle. On my first day, I spent a rainy day walking around the Yorktown battlefield.

Below, is the Moore House. This is where the British surrender was negotiated. Imagine, riding up the drive via carriage or on horse back.


The front door of the the Moore house.


Inside the sitting room, a recreation of how it may have looked at the time of the surrender. At the table were representatives of the British (2), French, and the Americans. The interesting fact shared by the park ranger was that the only one at the table that understood both English AND French was the American Lt.Col.


For more information on the Moore House and the articles of capitulation that were signed, check out the National Park Service's Moore House site.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Dash and Stache Kitten Update

So I have the day off and I'm catching up on blogging, reading and writing them. I've been meaning to give you all an update on Dash and Stache, the last two of my foster kittens to be adopted this summer.

As you remember, my heart was torn, I loved those little guys. When they weren't adopted, I wasn't disappointed. However, when they weren't adopted, I was a little afraid as they got bigger and started to lose the kitten cuteness, that they wouldn't be adopted. I was baffled that no one was adopting them as they were so friendly at events, their fur was so soft and shiney and they were cute as could be. How could all those people reject my babies?

As the weeks progressed and I got more and more attached, I did what several of my friends parents did for them...kind of. I have several friends whose parents prayed for their spouse from the time they were babies...and they all were married to good, Godly men. I decided to bring in the "big guns" and pray to God for a family for Dash and Stache. I was very specific. I wanted them to have a young couple that would spoil them rotten, treat them like children and just love them up.

Prayer works. Two weeks after starting my prayer and after an evening of tearful pleading with God the night prayer for Dash and Stache was answered.

The cool thing, their new mom friended me on Facebook. She gave me permission to share a couple of the pictures they posted of the boys at the beginning of Football season.

Here, the boys are sporting Ohio State sweatshirts. cool is that, their new parents are Ohio State fans!

Stache is at the top, Dash is at the bottom.
Dash and Stache sweaters
Stache: "Hey, help me out of this sweater!"
Dash: "I can't, I think I'm paralyzed!"

This is Dash and his mom. He was very upset over a score made by the other team.
Dash: "UNBELIEVABLE! How hard can it be to tackle someone?! If the Buckeye's lose I think my short life will END!"

Below, Stache realizes that he can move...and still eat while wearing his sweater.
Stache: "Hey Dad, hand over the grub and no one gets hurt!"

I laughed and laughed at the pictures. I know they are being loved and spoiled rotten. They are adorable little guys. I also got a kick out of reading all their friends' comments on the pictures. Their parents' kept their names, Dash and Stache, and people thought those names were cool.

Their mom updated me on their first vet visit. It went well and they are healthy. Stache is going to be the big guy and was a whole pound heavier than Dash. They enjoy chasing each other up and down the stairs and entertaining their parents.

....and they lived happily ever after!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Handwriting from the past

Today, I decided to make these peanut butter and chocolate bar cookies that are quite famous in our family. You can't just eat one....

I pulled out one of my old cookbooks to get a peanut butter cookie recipe. There, written on the cover of the cookbook was a message from my grandma. Seeing her handwriting was almost like seeing a ghost. It brought a flood of memories back. Suddenly there was that desire to see and to talk to her but that isn't possible as she passed away 11 years ago. I wish the cookbook was a hardcover book. Eventually, it will fall apart. I will never get rid of that book. It would be like getting rid of a piece of my grandma.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holy Crap! I'm 40!

Copy of DSC_0556

This is yours truly just 9 days ago with one of my fellow volunteers at the National Museum of the Marine Corps' Birthday Ball and Volunteer appreciation ceremony.

I don't think I look like I'm 40.

O.k, technically I wasn't 40 when this picture was taken...but still, I don't think I look like I'm 40. Have no idea what I expected myself to look like at 40. I wish I were a little bit thinner - - but hey, I've always wished that even when I was in the best shape of my life. One of my goals this year is to get back into the best shape I can be. 40 just seemed like such an old age. Almost an end to things, until I started getting closer to that number.

So any way, here I am. No bells or whistles. It is what it is, just another day. Hopefully tomorrow will be another day and I'll have about 80 more years of another day because there is a lot of stuff I still want to do.

Um, like work on my 40 on 40 journal entries. I think I have 38 more to go.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


This morning, I shot past the first exit I take to get to work. I turned around, missed the next exit I needed to take. Finally got on the toll road. Then I missed the exit I take to get off the toll road.

It was the most bizarre thing. Something that hasn't happened to me since September 11, 2001.

I met one of my co-workers in the parking lot, she was also arriving late and I told her how unsettled I felt and all the exits I had missed and the last time this had happened to me. Her response, "Jeez, I hope nothing like that happens today."

Today, as I left work I heard about the shootings at Ft. Hood.