Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The nest looks unstable, sitting above and overlapping an electrical outlet. Full of little ones, it looks as if it might crumble at any minute. It shakes with their activity. The nest isn't nearly as neat and trim as the ones at our community cabana, but it appears to be holding up so far.
The resident cat is temporarily excluded from the barn. I don't think she likes it very much.
Yes, Laura Bush visited Connemara Monday afternoon. Here she is with some of the Junior Rangers. Senator Elizabeth Dole is on the left of the picture.
Monday, July 28, 2008
The lilies are in full bloom, and I doubt they will still be blooming in another two weeks when my neighbor returns. I took my camera over and made a few photographs of her gorgeous lilies. At least she will have the pictures to enjoy.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It was Lilian who found the farm, already named Connemara. She was searching for the ideal place, large enough for raising her prize-winning goats and sufficiently secluded for Sandburg's writing. Lilian Steichen had married Carl (then called Charles) Sandburg in Milwaukee, WI. Both were active members of the Wisconsin Social-Democratic Party, a party whose platform included uniform suffrage, free textbooks for schools, worker benefits, and child labor laws. They met at the Party headquarters.
While a writer and poet herself, Lilian's legacy was a prize-winning goat herd. She became famous in her own right for her goats which she started raising in Michigan. Seeking a better climate (as well as a place where Sandburg could write) she chose Western NC. She improved the herd and had a thriving milk and cheese business. She became well-known for her ability to genetically select and produce improved goats.
The goats living at Connemara today are descendents of the very goats that Lilian Sandburg raised. There are three types of goats: the Toggenburgs (which are tan and white); the Saanens (which are all white), and the Nubians (which are multi-colored with long, floppy ears). Guests are allowed to visit the goats in the pasture and barn. They are indeed wonderful creatures.
[No, I am not an expert on goats. The three types of goats are listed in brochures and pictures. In fact, I didn't even know that a female goat was a doe; I always thought "nanny goat" was the proper term.]
Here are some photographs of Lilian's goats. The kids are kept separately in the barnyard, while the adults are free to roam the pastures.
Carl Sandburg died in 1967, at home. Lilian died in 1977. The Sandburg family sold the farm to the National Park Service and donated all the contents of the home. Last year, additional acreage was purchased to preserve the quiet serenity of Connemara. The home, a National Historic Site is open to the public daily, except for Christmas Day.
Friday, July 25, 2008
This is the picture we moved. It was taken when Ellie was almost two-and-a-half and Lucy was four months old. (Yes, we had a professional photographer do a shoot of our girls. After all, we have portraits of both human children, don't we?)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The value of this endeavor is with us still. Much of the infrastructure in the NC mountains exists because of the work of these wonderful young men. Whenever we drive through these mountains we see the fruits of their labors. For the lovely stone bridges, and even the roads themselves, we continually thank the men of the CCC.
One can't drive far in Western NC without seeing a sign marking a route as "CCC Camp Road." Although there were many such camps located in our county, my favorite is the one at John Rock, the first CCC camp in Western NC. While the camp no longer exists, there is a very nice monument in honor of the CCC workers.
Life in the CCC camps was not all work. Health and dental care were provided, along with recreational activities and religious services. Many of the young men first learned to hunt and fish during their time of service. Almost all of them gained a new respect for forests and knowledge in forest maintenance. They came away from the camps with renewed enthusiasm and self-confidence. The work provided by the CCC allowed men to provide financial assistance to their families at a time when unemployment was extremely high.
The CCC program ended in 1942. With our entry into WWII, the men were needed for other battles.
I cannot tell you how strongly connected I feel to these young men and boys. Many of the roads and the recreational areas in Pisgah National Forest and many other places are there because of the CCC.
I urge you to make an effort to find out what the CCC may have done in your area. And if you know of someone who worked in the CCC, or his family...please thank them for me and the people of the Western NC mountains.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As for me...well, it's not all that bad. Being retired we have the luxury of doing very little. I've been reading The Sisters, The Saga of the Mitford Family, a biography by Mary Lovell. It's quite fascinating. And I've done a little knitting. And I've done a lot of birdwatching without hiking to find the birds. Here are some of our common birds at the feeders.
Monday, July 21, 2008
So I was excited to learn that the Cradle of Forestry would be presenting a Songcatcher's Music Series at the amphitheater this summer. The Cradle of Forestry is a short drive and an inexpensive way to spend a day. For special events such as the Songcatcher's series, the admission is $6.00 per person.
We arrived a little early and found lots of people already picking out their favorite spots. Most of them had lawn chairs and were sitting in the woods behind the seats of the amphitheater.
The singers for this performance were Buddy, Carol, and Jamie, a trio from Asheville, NC. They specialize in three-part harmony and sing standard country, bluegrass and mountain music.
I very much enjoyed the music, although I wished for more of the really old mountain music. The rest of the audience seemed to prefer comtemporary country classics.
The crowd was animated and seemed to love the music. There was much clapping and foot stamping and everyone had a good time.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
For several days we noticed that the Hairy Woodpecker was changing the pattern of feeding the little male. The mother would take longer to bring food, bring less food, and then fly away before a full feeding. We knew it was only a matter of time before this little guy was going to have to feed himself.
On Saturday, my husband called me and said, "I think it's about to happen." I grabbed the camera and watched.