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Wife, mother, quilter, historian and yes Virginia....SOAP-MAKER extrordinaire!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day ~ Civil War Letter

One of the many blessings we enjoy in this country is that we are free, and we know well the sacrifices of men and women who serve in the military have made-especially at this time of year. How hard it is to answer a nations call at the suffering of those you love most of all-And of all the letters written home to family over the more than 200 years of this nations history, none is more compelling than the one written by Sullivan Ballou, a Major in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, to his wife; Sarah, in Smithfield in the early days of the Civil war.

July 14th, 1861

Washington, DC

My very dear Sarah,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American civilization now leans on the triumph of the government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing-perfectly willing to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government and to pay that debt.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break. And yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly, with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memory of all these blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you that I have enjoyed them so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years when, God willing, we might have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us…

If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been.

But, oh Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you in the brightest days and in the darkest nights. Always. Always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath; and as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do no not mourn me dead: Think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

Major Sullivan Ballou

Note: Sullivan Ballou was killed one week later at the first Battle of Bull Run

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black Sheep Hand Knit Woolens launched on Etsy!

Knitting these fun and funky fingerless gloves fast and furiously these last few months! Wow...that was a mouthful!

Each pair knitted with the finest Wool, Merino Wool, Wool/Acrylic or Acrylic yarn and then to add a little fun...I topped it off with a Vintage button to boot!

Find these at my etsy store:

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Who knows where the time goes?

Across the morning sky all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter's fire
I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time
For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad desterted shore, you fickle friends are leaving
Ah and yet they know it is time for them to go

But I will still be here
I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near
And I know it will be so until it's time to go

So count the storms of winter
And then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time

For who knows where the time goes?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Yearling

...Grandma Hutto called to them and they went into the cottage.

Jody smelled its familiar odor. He had never been able to disentangle its elements. The sweet lavender she used on her clothing was plain. There were dried grasses in a jar before the fire-place. There was the unmistakable smell of honey, which she kept in the cupboard. There was pastry; tarts and cookies and fruit cakes. There was the smell of the soap she used on Fluff's fur. There was the pervasive scent of flowers from the garden outside the windows. And, above it all, it came to him at last, lay the smell of the river. The river itself was fluid through the cottage and around it, leaving a whirlpool of odorous dampness and decaying fern. He looked through the open door. A path led through marigolds to the water. The river shone in the late sunlight, Guinea-gold, like the bright flowers. Its flow drew Jody's mind with it to the ocean ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...

~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Song

We Gather Together Hymn

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, was at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tucking in and getting ready for our first COLD SNAP of the season!

Beautiful autumn day today so I took the time to move around a few perennials and dig a few bulbs. The weather will be changing dramatically in the next couple of days and I wanted to enjoy what I think will be the final days of Autumn here in the Great North Woods!

Our maple trees have lost a lot of golden yellow leaves in the past week-but the skies have been a striking shade of stone-washed denim blue and the sun was shining...

I found this poem by Carl Sandburg called "Autumn Movement."

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The Northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the Northwest wind, and the old things go, not one lasts.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings...

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace.
Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.

Lyrics from Agnus Dei

In a letter to his mother young Sam wrote...

"I was meant to be a composer and will be I'm sure...Don't ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football--please."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea Time

When Mrs. Force had invited me for tea I had expected a cup and a lump of sugar. Now we entered another room, where a white wicker tea wagon had been placed, and on it the prettiest array of food you could imagine. But this room could not be called a room-it was a gazebo, with trellises and twining Morning Glory vines painted on the walls around us. And on the floor there were cool blue and white tiles, and around, here and there, baskets holding orange trees with plump baby oranges dangling from the branches. We settled ourselves on a curlicue sofa, the wicker starchy as Battenberg lace.

Now lets see, Mrs. Force said, scanning the tea cart. Today it’s tea I brought from Claridges on my last trip to London. Their special mixture, you know, and one of my favorites.

From the teapot she removed a tea cozy encrusted with multicolored caviar-size beads and poured the tea into mauve and gold cups.

Sugar? She asked. Dipping a silver leaf spoon into a bowl, she held out a confetti of crystals. Lemon? Or cream?

Oh yes, please, I said, lemon.

Spread out on the tea cart were delicacies I had never seen before. There were little soufflé’s of gruyere with whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of cayenne, round tissue paper-thin sandwiches of cucumber and chopped sweet onion. Centered on another plate were coconuts drops surround by black walnut lace cookies. But that wasn’t all-another dish, heart-shaped, held Coeur a la crème with Bar-le-duc jelly close at hand.

I didn’t know where to begin.

Excerpt from~ Once Upon a Time-A True Story By Gloria Vanderbilt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

After Apple Picking

by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.