NEW YORK CITY

New York City is such a departure from what we usually do . . . but when we realized we were just over 3 hours from the Big Apple, we decided a tour of the city was in order. We were struck by the stark contrast between the state, which is largely forested and agricultural, and the city. Pictures of the crowds of people and traffic seen on TV and in movies are nothing like being in the midst of the masses of humanity and dwarfed by mammoth skyscrapers. It was truly something to behold. Most of these places will seem familiar so here are pictures you will recognize.

One of our special moments would include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as we reflected on the people who came to our country in search of a better life. Most paid a huge price in leaving their homeland and loved ones to get here & work hard to make this country the great place it is today.

Another “Ah Ha Moment” (as Clayton would say) was the beauty of all the parks  (not just Central Park as we had thought) scattered about the city, each with many statues there. Even with all the steel and mortar, they made room for areas of relaxation and remembrance.

And for us, the street vendors on nearly every corner are an iconic part of the city that never sleeps. There are several thousand licensed vendors throughout Manhattan!

But the most emotional stop for both of us was at the memorial of the Twin Towers that remembers the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives that horrible day. The Reflecting Pools demonstrate the strength of the American people to take the most difficult time in our nations history and make something beautiful of it. We happened to be there on 9/11. At one point we were held up at a street crossing for a motorcycle procession consisting of police, fire fighters, current & former military as well as others who wanted to honor this occasion. The procession lasted well over 45 minutes.  Also, note the flower on the one name. There is an organization that places a rose at each name on their birthday. It is important to recall how we all pulled together after that horrific day. Our prayer is that we can do it again in the times we are dealing with today. Would that we could find strength in our differences and work together.

Our special thanks to our good friend, Leonard, who not only encouraged us to make the trip but served as our personal tour guide. You are amazing!!! We saved the theater experience for next time . . .

NYC tour bus

We will soon be heading to TX – once again going to the “Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm”. Since we have already shared our experiences there, it is doubtful we will have much new to post. We are enjoying not only or travels but sharing them with you. We hope you enjoy reading and seeing them as well. Blessings to one & all and wishing you a joyful fall season of color!

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Gettysburg

One of the main reasons we chose to come to PA this year was our desire to visit Gettysburg.

1 Gettysburg 

We started our tour at the Visitors Center for their movie and incredible 360⁰ cyclorama that depicts the 3 day battle that occurred around Gettysburg. These two photos below capture that the casualties were so high because of the battle tactics used in that period.  The geographic scope of the entire valley and battlefields where the fighting raged is displayed in this amazing artwork.


We attended several of the ranger talks and found them to be extremely informative. Each ranger talk focused on an aspect of the battle, bringing in the philosophy of both confederate and union armies, the equipment and tactics used, and the life of the common soldier.  We also learned that Abraham Lincoln was not trying to abolish slavery in the south but to contain it from spreading north or west.

Although Gettysburg took place in the middle of the Civil War, it became the turning point for a couple of reasons. Up until the Battle at Gettysburg, General Lee had seen amazing success and had begun to believe he was invincible. His loss at Gettysburg caused him to doubt his abilities. The northern armies were largely city-folk and did not have the hunting, shooting and woodsman ship that the south had. By the middle of the war, the union soldiers were becoming better skilled and equipped.

Many of the sculptures had a secondary symbol on them This one will show the rifleman but in the rocks at the front is a lions head in one of the boulders conveying the message of courage. Can you find the lion in the right picture?

There are well over 1,000 statues honoring the heroic efforts of both the Union and Confederate armies at this battle. Both sides believed in what they were fighting for and both sides died heroically. These statues are beautiful and a remembrance of this period of our history that needs to be preserved.  If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit Gettysburg, we encourage you to see and absorb this significant time in history for yourself. Following are some of the statues we enjoyed. We have selected some from both the Union and Confederate side.

The Gettysburg experience has made us much more aware of this period of history that shaped the country as we know it today.

 

PENNSYLVANIA, summer 2017

 

1 Campsite at KOAWelcome to our campsite for the summer. Our ‘Tiny House’ is working out quite nicely for us. We are located just an hour or so from NY or NJ and the majestic Delaware River, depending on which direction we head.  We are in the heart of the northern Pocono Mountains covered with lush green hardwood trees.  It is nearly like a rain forest as we have had an abundance of rain here. The bad news is that also brings high humidity but the good news is there are many rivers and streams that have created an abundance of waterfalls that we have endeavored to find. Rather than labeling them for you, here is just a smattering of the ones we have found.

There is something mesmerizing about the power, beauty and majesty of each and every waterfall. Half of the adventure has been in finding them – some on 4-wheeler roads but worth the effort.

We jumped right into our new position here at the KOA, learning the reservations system (of course Jim mastered that quickly), the camp store and the snack bar (where Berne has mastered making a mean ‘Perky Pizza’).  It wasn’t long until the 4th of July arrived so we dressed for the occasion and joined in the festivities that included a bike and golf cart parade.

Each week-end has a theme to it. Since we are in the office, I haven’t gotten pictures to share but one w/e was “chocolate” so they had free chocolate on the hay ride, a chocolate slip & slide with squirt guns that were used to spray chocolate pudding on the participants. Another was ‘bubbles’ w/e where a bubble tank was set up that created mounds of bubbles like snow. Water w/e had a hayride with squirt guns (both on the wagon and off). It was a war of water weapons. So this is very much a family camp with events for everyone who is young at heart to enjoy.

 

On 12 Dorflinger crystalour days off, we are out exploring. One of the places we enjoyed was the DORFLINGER GLASS MUSEUM.  Beginning in the 1860’s a factory was located in a small hamlet along the shores of the Lackawaxen River.  This small hamlet became the home of the Dorflinger Glass Works where exquisite pieces of manually produced cut glass were made. Dorflinger  Glass had patented a unique cutting wheel that enabled them to cut very intricate patterns into the glass. These pieces were created for a half century for use in the homes of many of the rich and famous, including occupants of the White House from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson.

We heard the BROTHERS FOUR would be in our area so we arranged to get the night off so we could attend. They were so popular in the early 60’s and 2 of the 4 are from that time period!!!   As you can see from the picture, it was an outdoor amphitheater and we were allowed to bring in a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine to enjoy during the concert. From the first song to the last, we remembered the words and they invited us to sing along. What a blast!

Now for a little history. . . . The first commercial steam locomotive (left picture) in the US was in Honesdale, our little town here. It was imported from England in 1828 for transportation of anthracite, a hard clean-burning coal. From here we went to Scranton to the STEAMTOWN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE where we learned the history of steam locomotives in our country. The one on the right is the oldest restored locomotive but they have many locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars and even a steam powered snow thrower from yester year.

While there, we boarded the train and went for a short ride while they gave us more about the history of the railroad in our country. After each day, the train goes to the turntable and back to the roundhouse for daily maintenance. It was a hard life for those working on the rails.

Another day we ventured over to Morristown NJ where George Washington used the Ford mansion as his headquarters during the winter of 1777. Rather than a history lesson, we will share some of the trivia we learned here.

24 Morristown Geo WashingtonThis is a famous picture of George Washington. We have often heard he had dentures made of wood. In fact, they were made from ivory. So why do we not see his teeth in pictures? When the dentures were made, they were wired into the jaw bone to keep them secure. It was a pain he endured during his lifetime and if you look closely, you can see the tight jaw in his expression. We can be ever so thankful we live in a day and time when modern dentistry can do so many amazing things!

26 Morristown musket - made of 3 parts ... lock, stock, barrel

 

 

This is a musket used in the revolutionary war. It is comprised of three pieces that were manufactured by different craftsmen; one would make the lock (firing mechanism), one would make the stock out of wood (the part that would rest against your shoulder) and the barrel would be made by yet another craftsman. In order to assemble the fire arm, you needed all three pieces – thus the expression “lock, stock & barrel”.25 Morristown - ropes helped them to sleep tight

 

Most people slept on the floor with straw ticking. If you were fortunate enough to own a bed, there were ropes in place of our box springs. It would be drawn tight to keep the mattress firm – thus the expression “Sleep tight!”.

 

Now for some more current history . . . we found we were only an hours drive to Bethel where Woodstock happened in 1969. A trip over there was quite interesting. There is now a museum that exhibits the changes that occurred in the 60’s from the “Ozzie & Harriet” philosophy of home and family to the cold war, to the shooting of President Kennedy and Dr Martin Luther King to the Viet Nam conflict. So much happened in that relatively short period of time. By the end of the decade, young people were both protesting the war and civil unrest as well as seeking an existence where they could live without rules or controlling power. The event was initially planned for a few thousand but quickly grew to over 400,000. As the word spread, young people came from across the country for a week-end of music and freedom.  the exhibit is well done and gave us a better understanding of what happened that summer.

 

14 Brothers four concert
14 Brothers four concert
14 Brothers four concert

February on the farm

One of the things we have really enjoyed is the herd of bison that is literally just outside our camper. The first picture has a corner of our picnic table so you can see it is perhaps 10-15 feet from us. They have a large field to graze in but come by to see us most every day and it has been fascinating to become more familiar with them. They have a long blue tongue that they continually seem to be licking their lips but are probably working the grass and oats around in their mouth. They seem to just meander, eating all the time, but on a few occasions (we haven’t figured out why) they have run up and down the fence line and then take their horns to dig a hole. One interesting fact – you can not tell if they are pregnant until a calf appears so that is always a special event!

Everything on the farm is done the way it would have been done 100 years ago – and that includes the slaughtering & processing of the meat. It is a very busy week on the farm as it has to be done in a timely manner which is not an easy task without power tools. It was ‘all hands on deck’ for this operation and we still had to greet and guide the visitors in each process. I snuck these few pictures as I don’t have a 1915 camera. We butchered an 850# hog and 1100# steer in a week, including stuffing 175 sausages, ham and bacon and then smoked. From the pig’s fat, fresh lard is made. The meat is put into large crocks and the lard is poured over it to preserve the meat for up to a year.

Do you remember our parents saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? Trust me, there are no idle hands on a farm as these two ‘city slickers’ have learned. There is always wood to be chopped, animals to be fed, eggs to be gathered and even when taking a break, a rag rug to be made.

The picture to the left was taken when we first arrived. Most, but not all, trees lost their leaves down here and everything was rather colorless. February seems to be bringing Spring. It has been an exceptionally warm winter with record-setting temperatures 25 days so far this year. They are predicting a good wildflower season but thus far, we haven’t seen a bluebonnet. The picture on the right represents the way the trees are now coming to life. I have always seen trees bud on all the branches but these trees develop clusters of green leaves while many branches remain bare.

March is Texas History Month. We gave tours today to about 100 school children and are bracing for spring break. We are told there will be 500-700 people a day – a busy way to finish our TX winter experience. Hope you have enjoyed the ride!

Month One Complete

1 Sauer Beckmann sign

The time is flying by – it’s hard to believe we have been here a month already. We have learned a ton and now able to share that with our guests here at the farm.  The weather is in the high 60s to lower 70s most days. We did get a lot of rain in January but none in the forecast. We want to see the blue bonnets before we leave so hoping for rain this month. Farm - crew

Here is a picture of everyone we work with in front of the house, Jim & I are on the left. There are other volunteers who work on the days we are off. Pretty neat period apparel wouldn’t you say?  The two guys in the center are park rangers and they are the ones who actually milk the cow each morning and bring it into the kitchen.

Remember – this is 1915 and we have no electricity or even an ice box so the milk sits on the counter for the day. It’s not homogenized or pasteurized so it is able to sit on the counter. State health regulations do not allow us to drink it (DARN) but the family would have enjoyed it in its raw state. By the next morning, it would be sour milk and used for baking. The third day it has ‘clabbered’ (looks like a good Greek yogurt) and at that point, we put it on the stove to make either a type of cottage cheese or something like a parmesan cheese they would have added to their meal. It lasts about another 3 days and then we cook it once again, adding milk & butter and it becomes ‘kochase’ a German cheese that is like warm brie when warm or hard cheese once it sets.

Farm - Jim at door.JPG

There is a breezeway between the kitchen and the main part of the house – a common design back then. It would face the prevailing winds and many of the meals were eaten out there. Jim is inviting guests into the main part of the house and explains the furnishings & what life was like in there. We also have an 1908 Sears & Roebuck catalog as most things were ordered from there since Fredericksburg, our nearest city, is 16 miles away and would have taken 7-8 hours because there were no roads so they were riding cross pastureland.   Besides the main house, Jim has mastered the original ‘log, rock & mortar’ cabin that was built in 1869 and can explain that structure as well.

 

Hope that gives you a little idea what we are doing here at the SAUER BECKMANN LIVING HISTORY FARM.  We are enjoying learning about that time period and I am learning more about my heritage. They were hardy people and refused to give up when the going got tough. Mark, one of the guys we work with is 5th generation native to this area and a wealth of information.  Thanks, Mim, for telling us about the TX Hill Country!

TEXAS – winter of 2017

SAUER – BECKMANN LIVING HISTORY FARM

in STONEWALL, TEXAS

It was a slow start as we hit a snowstorm leaving CO.1 snow shot
This picture doesn’t quite capture the 6″ of snow nor the sub zero temps but that’s what we had along with 50-70 MPH winds that caused them to close the interstate. We ended up staying put for a day because of the winds but had clear sailing after that.

1 Sauer Beckmann sign

This “Living History Farm” is on the LBJ State Park,just across the Pedernales river from the LBJ Ranch.

The oldest structure on the farm is the Sauer cabinFarm - Sauer cabin 1869.JPG

which was built of rock and logs in 1869.

This is the newer part of the farm, The left side constructed in 1885 and Farm - Beckman L is 1885 n R is 1917.JPGthe house on the right in 1915 and maintained at that period. We cook on its 1915 era wood stove and perform farm chores as they were done in 1915. These are fresh eggs from the chicken coop and the morning milking.

Farm kitchen - fresh milkFarm kitchen - eggs

After the milk sits for 2-4 days, Berne warms it on the wood stove then pours it into cheesecloth and hangs it on the clothesline. The next day we have cottage cheese.

The yard is kept clear of weeds as a fire break and snake deterrent and, of course, the chickens must be fed.

Farm - sheep

A ram and two ewes live on the farm. We are told that the ram can be a bit cranky but we have only noticed that he is quite curious.

One of the ewes had a pair of lambs but unfortunately they only lived for a few days.

Our meals come from meat and vegetables that are produced on the farm. We have avoided telling this pig that her days are numbered.

We still have cabbage and collard greens in the garden and canned vegetables from last year – tomatoes, onions, okra. Some sausage that has been stored from last year. Any day that we are on duty, we share the noon meal (dinner).

We share the park with a variety of wildlife:

There is an exceptionally large deer herd. We often wake up to 50-100 whitetail or axis deer in front of the motor home. The Texas Longhorn herd is on the other side of the park and a small (9) group of Bison live on the other side of the fence behind us

 

Idaho Sights & Scenes

Mining town -made out of crushed cansOn our days off to explore the area. there was a significant gold strike and, like so many others, towns sprang up, developed, and turned to ghost towns when the gold ran out.

Ingenious miners cMining town 3reated this building using flattened tin cans!

 

 

 

 

This part of Idaho seems quite wet – water, water everywhere!

Salmon River, North Fork 2

North Fork of the Salmon River

Salmon River N of town 7

Salmon River N. of the city

Panther Creek 3

Panther Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the route that Lewis and Clark hoped to travel to the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean. After advice from the local tribe and much investigation they realized that there was not to be an easy water route, but a very difficult overland trek though 180 miles of mountains before reaching a tributary of the Columbia.

cactus in bloom 1

Imagine walking on this for over 100 miles without hiking boots. For most of the trip the Corps was walking in badly worn moccasins. The paths through these mountains consist largely  jagged broken rock with cactus as one of the prominent forms of vegetation.