Friday, May 31, 2013

Gardening news and a Brick Wall

Here it is Friday already, another week gone by. The mystery watermelon is getting  bigger every day. I am wondering how big it will get and there are more coming...this one is already about 7 or 8 lbs.It seems to grow a lb about every day. Not sure when it will be ripe.

Next our green pole beans are flowering and should be producing in the next month if it doesn't get too hot..

The peach tree is loaded also with green peaches..we thinned them out some earlier in the year.

The corn is tasseling too as well as there are loads of green tomatoes so hopefully we'll be busy canning again one of these days. Our potato plants are dying back so those will be harvested soon. Depending on how many we get, we may can  potatoes, I'm not sure. 

Still working on the family tree, I'm trying to get photos of  family members as possible. Looking through one of the family genealogy's it has some addresses of family members from the 1890s + so I looked them up on Google Maps. I'm not sure if they were the same houses that the family member lived in but they do look old. Its fun reading the geneology as the writer was a contemporary of the family and writes as they were still living. It was written in 1913. I guess back in the day, a group of men, including some of the family made their way to the California gold fields back in the 1850s. It was a tremendous adventure for them as it was still talked about in 1913 by the few that returned and were still living.
I marvel in 2013 how much has changed in just 100 years. In 1913, cars were a new invention and electricity was also. Most people got along in buggies and horseback.
I have a photo of my dad who was born in 1917, in his dad's newest car that he was so proud of, along with several other family members, in the 1920s. But even the 20s, in the country people still used horses and wagons to get around. Freeways weren't built yet and most streets were dirt.

Today, we have so much in the way of technology. It boggles in the mind when you think about how far we've come in such a short period of time. And it is just a short period of time, 100 years.

My grandfather spoke about how he had been raised by his grandparents and lived in a one room house. He never went to school and started working very young. I found a 1900 census where it has him listed at age 13 and for work, a laborer. I also found a city directory and it has  him living in Ottumwa, Iowa with his (I think) his grandfather and some cousins at the same time, 1900. I know he met my grandmother in Iowa. His mother remarried after her first husband (Grandpa's dad) died and had 4 more children but as far as I can see, Grandpa never lived with her or her new husband. Its a bit of a mystery as to how his dad died, I can find no death certificate or burial site anywhere. I've hit a brick wall so far. I looked up the address for the house in Ottumwa and its a sad little place. At least if that's the same house, you never know if the old house had been torn down and a new one built in 100+ years.
Anyway, think I'm going to have to move on to other family members and leave Grandpas alone for a time because of the brick wall.  I joined thinking I could find out more, I did find the directory and census but that just deepened the mystery. Alan hit a snag in his too, one of his great aunts is missing as far as he can tell, can't find her death date or burial either. This happens, sometimes you just have to take a step back and pick it up later.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mystery Solved

Well, the mystery plant looks like watermelon, since my last post, its grown and changed to a darker green. We both hope it will taste good as in the past 3 years we've tried to grow different melons with mixed results. We tried cantalope, a oriental melon, and pumpkins. The cantalope and pumpkin got eaten by bugs and neither of us liked the oriental melon. Who would have thought watermelon was the way to go? Someone must have spit a seed into the open ground last summer and with all our winter rains, it sprouted. There are several more smaller ones developing so this is rather fun!

Saturday, we canned beets! Beets have to be canned using a pressure canner. This is ours that we bought after the great garage fire of 2010 when we lost all our canning supplies.
And here are the results 7 nice pints of beets for the winter. Our beets did very well this year and we've eaten our fill of greens and the beets themselves. The cutting board is one that Alan made back in the day when we were first married. Its held up well, hasn't it? all of 40 years.

Also on Saturday, we did an Find A Grave assignment. We signed up as volunteers to photo grave sites for family members and genealogists. Someone asked if we could find their great grand parents in the Lake Elsinore Cemetery which is 8 miles from us. Neither of us had been to that cemetery so it was a nice trip on a beautiful day. I know some think its weird to visit cemeteries but its never bothered me or the big guy. I like especially the older ones with the beautiful monuments. This cemetery is one of the older ones in the area, having been started in the 1890s.
There were flags on many of the graves because of Memorial Day, mostly WWI veteran graves. The Big War.  It wasn't too hard to find the graves and we found them within 15 minutes. Took our photos and then spent the rest of the time walking around quietly, looking at different monuments and enjoying the day. I noticed a family having a picnic on a grave site which I thought was nice.  It was very peaceful.
Later we entered the photos on the website and got a nice message a few minutes later, thanking us It was the first time we'd done this volunteer work but won't be our last !

If you'd like to find a grave, I did put a little gadget at the bottom of the blog for just that! Have fun!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Emergency and a Mystery Plant!

Friends, if you live in northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin, or know someone who does, Nancy really really needs to find a good place to rent. Her blog post says it all, so I won't elaborate here but its grim where they live now. They're seniors in their early 70s.No one should have to live like this. If you have a blog, will you mention her situation on yours? If the blogging community would help spread the word, I know we can all help this couple soon.

We planted a mystery volunteer plant in a raised bed this spring. It was a tiny thing and Alan thought perhaps it was a zucchini plant from last year.Well, its no zucchini plant! what do you think? I'm leaning toward a melon of some sort..hopefully watermelon,but the leaves don't really look like watermelon. We had some corn in this bed but the plant has taken over and is even growing over the sides of the bed as you can see.

What could it possibly be? Time will tell, I guess!

Monday, May 20, 2013

More Family Tree Stuff

I'm still working on the family tree. I was blest to have previous generations have several genealogists do research and have family books published. The oldest one I have my maternal grandfather gave was published in 1913. Some of the family they wrote about were still living at that time.

My uncle also sat down with my grandfather back in the early 70s and taped Grandpa's memories of growing up in Missouri in the late 1800s. He was born in 1886. That's him in the old photo in Carrolton, Missouri. I think he's in his late teens in the photo. Trying to be a tough guy!   His father died when Grandpa was only 3 months old. This has been a bit  of a mystery to me and one I'm researching.
The 1880 census has his dad as a harness maker and 20 years old. He would have been only 26 when he died. I can find no burial site or death records anywhere. How did his death come to happen? Was he ill, had an accident, or what? My curious mind would like to know. The Carrolton historical association has a complete history of the town in book form and since much of the family came from there, it might be worth purchasing.
The old paper family trees are wearing out so I'm transcribing everything into the Wiki Tree site for future generations. Hopefully they will be useful to others.

If you like old photos like I do and don't have any or like to collect them for an instant "family" my friend Judy has some in her Ebay shop...just click and see.

This is actually one of my ancestors but thought I'd give you an example of similar photos she offers. So many times, they were never identified which is a shame. I feel people should be remembered.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Family Tree Adventures

I've been working hard for the last week on my family tree. I stumbled across a website called WikiTree with free genealogy help. They have templates to fill in with your information and then search engines to use to find other surnames that match yours..I've been able to fill in information and by doing searches found a few photos I've never seen before. The above lady is my great grandmother, Laura Alice Hunt Wagner.  She's my maternal grandmothers mother. Never seen this photo before but found it, and her tombstone on another site, called Find A Grave along with a photo of the gravesite.
I also found a photo of her husband, Henry A. Wagner.
from the same, Find a Grave site..although neither are very good photos, you can see they were a handsome couple back in the day.
They also had a photo of the gravesite,

The only photo I have is of both of them taken out on the dry farm in Montana.
This must have been taken before 1917 as Grandma Laura died in a terrible accident in April of 1917. They were coming  back from spending Easter Sunday with a widowed brother, when the wagon tipped over in a river, trapping Grandma underneath. Grandpa remarried but his second wife died soon after giving birth.
Its been almost addicting, finding these photos and tracing the ancestors. I did this way back when and have just picked it up again.
When I think, the huge box of photos my grandfather had, and how they were given away to the thrift shop back in the 70s as the family thought no one would want them, sigh.  I'm so thankful for the web and others that have the same interests. You never know what a long lost family member has a photo you will cherish.
If you'd like to start your own family tree, the Wiki Tree site is a good one. is excellent for research but it is pricey. They do offer a 14 day free trial. Find a Grave is excellent also and is free.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Alan and I went to a garage sale today and we found two wonderful quilts. The couple who were running the sale, said they were weeding out things as they'd just moved. Didn't have room for everything so out they went.
This is is a lovely butterfly quilt, its a full size. I love the colors in it and its all appliqued. The plain blocks have a quilting in the shape of a butterfly also.  SOLD!

The second quilt is my favorite of the two....Flower Girls! and its for a twin bed.

Each girl has been hand painted and then the blocks were quilted...really cute

I listed them both on Ebay and you can find them at China Lake Auctions    

Thursday, May 2, 2013

More Fairy Gardens

 I thought I'd share a few more fairy gardens I found on Pinhearst...thought they were inspiring and kinda fun.
It looks like gnomes are popular too.
I like the rock walkway in this one and the miniature furniture. I found a miniature table and chair kit at an estate sale so guess I should it together.
This one is for outside and just darling, I think anyway....

How about a concrete birdbath?

Just goes to show anyone can have a garden, even if you live in an apartment or condo.
Below isn't mine but wish it could be..hope you enjoy it!