Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cemetery Tales

As we near All Hallows' Eve...

The past two days, instead of getting some of the things done that we should, we've been out enjoying crystal clear days and fall leaves. It's been fun, especially since our brother, who until recently has shown little interest in the outside world, was with us.

On Sunday, we ventured out enjoying and photographing fall foliage. John and I had been out on Friday and the trees were at their peak. They were still beautiful on Sunday, but heavy rains on Saturday had taken some toll. In our travels, we saw a lot of beautiful vistas. We were looking for drama, I think - pictures that told a story - and as we passed a cemetery, John asked if we had ever been up to Mount Bethel Cemetery in Columbia. Most of our relatives from that area are in another cemetery there, but Mount Bethel holds our great grandparents and some great aunts and uncles we never met. We filed the idea away and decided we'd have to visit - someday.

Well, Monday dawned clear and beautiful and by afternoon we were able to put our work plans aside in favor of another photo day. After running a few errands, we headed to Mount Bethel. We really had no idea where our relatives were, but while we were looking, we found a lot of interesting stones and stories:

First, the requisite angel....This is the marker for Charles F. Sourbeer, aged 19 years, 1 month and 16 days. He died in August of 1885. I guess I feel like the childrens' markers are the most poignant... This one says "Our Son" across the top and it marks the grave of David Smith who was 9. There was another one that said "Our Boy" and I was so touched by that.There were large markers that listed a number of children and babies - Often, before the list, it would begin, "Our Babes". I realized that stillborn and very short lived babies were not at all uncommon.

When we finally found our great grandmother, we noticed that there were apparently two very small babies buried with her as they were marked on the front of her stone. Our grandmother was the youngest of 17 and I'll have to check family record to see if the 17 includes the very young ones or not - I don't think so. In that particular plot were our great grandmother, great grandfather and one great aunt, Harriet or "Hallie" who died as a teenager of heart problems. I remember our grandmother always speaking very fondly of Hallie and suspect everyone knew she would not live long. The other one of the children buried there was George. George was killed when he was a young man, in a railroad accident.

So, while I'm writing about children, these appear to be two sisters, Edith and Eveline. They were 12 and 11 when they died and it appears they died around the same time in October although I can't read the year, I suspect it was the same for both. What a tragedy that must have been. I didn't really look around - I suppose their parents or other siblings must be buried somewhere nearby, but there is no last name anywhere on the stone.
When I saw the lamb on this one, I assumed it would be another child, but no, it is a 58 year old woman, Fannie A Gohn. I wonder if she was never married...
Since it is a derivative of our name, the name on this one attracted me - Samuel Swartz. As I read more, it is the marker of a young man who died in the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1861, during the Civil War. He was 31.
I just liked the carving on this one and took the picture before I had actually read the stone.. She was 30 when she died and is remembered as a wife and as a daughter...
It was interesting to see the stone work and the difference in the wear in the various stones. I guess some were carved from native limestone and they have worn quickly and are hard to read. They were apparently the most interesting to me because I didn't take any pictures of the marble stones that still seem almost new until you read the dates and realize - oh these are from the 1800's too...

Finally, I loved this obelisk with the beautiful wreath carved on it.
All those stories... All those lives...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goddesses and Teapots

I finally updated the "Focals" Page on my Torchsong website.

I had showed both my goddess beads and my teapots before, but I have a few new ones and finally put them up on my site to sell.

The one on the left is the fire goddess. This is the first one that turned out the way I imagined and I'd like to make more - definitely one for me! I'm a fire sign and love my torch.

Even as I was making them, I envisioned how I would display the beads on these neck pieces. The goddesses are attached to a neckpiece of wound silk. I think it makes a nice presentation. They adjust from about 18-20" by buttoning them in different stretchy links in the back.

They are shown in colors including black, dark green and gold.

I also finally listed my teapots.

Last summer, when we were up at The Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA to help celebrate their 40th anniversary, Nancy Reppert saw the vessels I make and asked if I could do teapots.

I went home and gave it a try. They are wired and I give them little tops and bottoms with bead caps and daisy spacers.

The main problem with making teapots is that they begin with hollows, as do vessels. Hollows are a skill I have mostly mastered, but some days I sit down at the torch and find it completely impossible to make one. I was having a spate of that problem for a while and only recently recovered my abilities and added to the collection of teapots I have to offer.

I am happy to now have them all available for purchase on my updated focals page.

Friday, October 02, 2009

A favorite barn

This is probably the one that inspired me to want to do a series of barn pictures on my blog. We used to pass it every day, way back when we were doing the Renaissance Faire.

I knew there were designs in the bricks, but never stopped to really get a good look at it. On Tuesday, we were on the way home from a small wholesale show up at the Lebanon Expo center and I happened to have my camera. I had decided I would stop and get a picture on my way in that morning and I finally stopped and took this one.

Now, looking at it, I see that the design is interesting, but... the date "A 1816" tells me exactly how old it is. What a very cool barn.

The white building behind it is a "tobacco barn" that is in use drying tobacco this year. See the slats that are propped open? The barn has been filled with hanging tobacco plants and the slats have been opened to get the air flow through that will dry them correctly.

I believe it was the morning before the show that I snapped this one as we were getting ready to be on our way...Such a beautiful sunrise over Frog Hollow, I just felt the need to share it!