Our Inspiration Today: Poet Donald Hall

February 26, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspiration Today: Poet Donald Hall

Edith’s Take: We were looking for a poetry book in the library to read as part of our homeschool. I picked up a book totally at random, called The Selected Poems of Donald Hall. We started reading and really liked his poetry. We looked him up and I noticed that it said that he was also the author of Ox Cart ManThere was even a poem in the book entitled Ox Cart Man. In our post about Ox Cart Man that we did many months ago, we mention that the book sounds like a poem. Well, part of the book is this poem from his book! What a coincidence!  Donald Hall is an amazing poet. He was even Poet Laureate of the United States from 2006 – 2007. His work is quite beautiful and he has a great range of poetry.

Our Inspiration: People Who Inspire!

February 25, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspiration: People Who Inspire!
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder cropped sepia2.jpg

Laura Ingalls Wilder, circa 1885
From:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Ingalls_Wilder


Little House on The Prarie is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I think almost everyone would be in agreement with me. If you have not read the series: READ IT NOW!!! It’s about a family going west to find a home [ it is a true story of Laura’s life] and the struggles they had along the way. The main characters include Ma, Pa, Larura, Mary, Carrie and all the main people in the town (and later on ALmonzo and Grace and Adam).  The book series contains quite a lot of books, at least five long ones. This a book series you should add to your collection now!

Edith’s Dad’s take:.   We made sure Edith grew up being read, then reading, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s set of books covering the early years of her life.  Lesser known could be Farmer Boy and West From Home:  Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, both worth including in a young person’s reading list.  West From Home will be appreciated more by young adults.                        

Though I enjoyed reading all of the books in the series, West From Home stood out for me because the content of Laura’s letters reflected the enormous change she experienced during her lifetime.  Imagine growing up in a sod house with no plumbing or electricity, but traveling later in life to the 1915 “World’s Fair” and observing automobiles that carried passengers about and airplanes in flight (Actually, it really wasn’t the “World’s Fair”, but the “1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition”, which has it’s own fascinating history.).

Dave Cover and His Piano Recitals

Edith’s take:  I play piano for several reasons. #1, because I enjoy it. #2 because I have an AWESOME teacher. #3 the recitals. Dave’s wife makes AMAZING  food!!!! (My personal favorite is the chocolate covered strawberries and the sugar cookies.). :]

Edith’s Dad’s take:. Thank you, Dave Cover!  You make learning the piano fun, interesting, and enjoyable for Edith.  I’ve always known you to be patient with your students and it is clear to me from observing your other students at the recital that they enjoy working with you.  Dave’s annual piano recitals are the perfect forum and his wife makes the most delicious snacks for the “after party”.  Thanks, you two, for all that you do to make the piano a special instrument in the lives of all of your students!

Our Inspiration Today:  Mothers

At Mother’s Knee Bernard Jean Corneille Pothast (Belgian, 1882-1966)

Edith’s Dad’s take:. Mother’s Day Sunday past has reminded Edith and I of another of our inspirations:  mothers.  Thank you.

Edith’s take:. Since last Sunday was Mother’s Day, we wanted to do a post “thanking” mothers all over the world. You can click on the link below to hear a Mother’s Day song that I found on Youtube, I thought it was nice. Perhaps you could play it for a mother, grandmother, aunt, step mother, sister, step sister e.t.c.).    I hope you found that Mother’s Day and mothers are just as inspirational as we think! )

Eric Oberg, The Granite Sculptor

Edith’s take:  Eric Oberg, known as the “ granite man’ repaired the Bucknell Bison statue’s horns. The process of doing so was interesting. We watched for several hours during the day to check the process. The man appears to be somewhat famous (see his website for more information), however he lives pretty far North in Vermont, USA. We even have a piece of the statue – it’s down in our kitchen!!! Very cool!!

Edith’s Dad’s take:  Edith I met Mr. Oberg working on the Bucknell Bison statue one morning.  He was a man that clearly loved what he did for a living.  He traveled from his home in Calais, Vermont, to replace the broken horn of the Bison, a horn that had been missing for some years.

Mr. Oberg was an inspiration because he stopped his work (which he completed in one day) to take the time to speak with Edith and I about granite, how one works with granite, and how it can be repaired.  He was fascinating.  He even handed Edith a piece of granite from the statue that had had to remove when drilling out what was left of the broken horn.  While Edith and I had passed the Bucknell Bison statue hundreds of times on our daily walks, we have thought about the statue much differently (and much more often) since our encounter with “the granite man”.

Our Inspiration: People Who Inspire!

February 25, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspiration: People Who Inspire!

Our Inspiration Today: Tasha Tudor

Edith’s take:  Tasha Tudor lead the most interesting life I have ever heard of, she lived in New Hampshire for most of her adult years and then moved to Vermont, in a old 1700’s style cottage with her animals, living a plain and simple life as a person would in the 1700’s. She had no running water or electricity and of course no TV’s or DVD players. She was born in Boston and raised by her family. Tasha owned a great many Corgies and cats (the way I want to live when I grow up, I love cats and dogs as well as almost every animal on this planet). She was always said to have a very talented way with animals. Tasha’s last big appearance was at Colonial Williamsburg (a post of ours, if you did not already check it out, you can now if you want, its in the Places category). She was also a knitter like myself. Tasha did many painting and drawings, as well as books, we have a few and are slowly collecting them.

Edith’s Dad’s take:  This is an oversimplification, but if you took Beatrix Potter and Grandma Moses and mixed their artistic styles, you might get an idea of the art of Tasha Tudor.  Tasha was born into wealth and station, and chose to live out her life in a simple manner, eschewing more modern life to live in an 18th century farmhouse, making her own butter, sewing her clothes, knitting, and generally being comfortable in antique surroundings.  Her image and life weren’t a costume or affectation; those who knew her said that Tasha really just felt more comfortable in a different century.  Like other people Edith and I have highlighted as inspirational, Tasha Tudor isn’t an inspiration to us because she was a great or famous artist, she is an inspiration because of the life she chose to lead, one that allowed her to explore her creativity in a special way.

One of my favorite Tasha Tudor Prints.  This one is signed and numbered by Tasha, and reminds me of my Edith knitting.  Really more of her being distracted from her knitting by her cats!

Any one of the more than 100 books that Tasha Tudor illustrated would be a welcome addition to your library.  We think The Night Before Christmas is special.  It is a book we read on every Christmas Eve, sitting around the fire in our 18th century log home.  A bit, I dare say, like Tasha Tudor.

An original drawing I purchased some years ago for Edith.  James was Tasha’s favorite cat and I told Edith that I was James and Tasha captured me once in my “cat form” for this portrait.  

Our Inspiration Today: Jim Henson

Edith’s take:  Jim Henson was known as the guy who played with puppets!  Puppets were always around scince beforeJim was born, the big thing was they could not open or close their mouths or show facial expressions. As a child, Henson decided he would set out to change puppets for the better. When Henson was in high school, he convinced his parents to purchase a TV to put in the house, however Jim was surprised to see no puppets. Later Jim met and married Jane. Afterwards, his puppet carrer went off the hook.  He got several jobs, including one at MGM.  But never the less puppets still did not appaear on TV.  Later, Jim came up with an idea to make puppets able to move and show facial expressions.  One of his puppets he named Kermit.  Jim continued to make puppets this way. Several years later, Jim got his first puppet TV show, the show was called Sesame Street, Jim was a little skeptical. Could puppets really be used for kids to learn? But he accepted the job and Kermit also made his first appearance. Later in Jim’s life, he also created a series called The Muppets, using Kermit yet again!

Unfortunately, Jim died a sudden and early death. During the funeral, a lively band played music and everyone wore white and waved colorful flags. It was the most odd funeral in history, but a fun one.

Edith’s Dad’s take:  Like a lot of kids growing up in the ’70s, I watched The Muppet Show whenever I could.  It was endearing, funny, and predictable in it’s sentiment and in the character’s reactions to each other.  It this respect it was very much like Henson’s other project, Sesame Street.  You knew what to expect on “The Street”, and it was reassuring.

The Muppet Show was like a Saturday Night Live for kids.  It also, like a lot of great comedy, had more than one level of humor.  Kids would laugh at the kid’s stuff, while Mom and Dad would get a chuckle out of the lines meant just for them.  The genius was that parents and kids could watch the show together and laugh together.

And the characters!  Of course, Ms. Piggy and Kermit, but what about Professor Bunsen Burner and Beaker?  Poor Beaker, always the victim of one of the Professor’s experiments gone wrong.  Genius.

Jim Henson is like many of our other picks for inspirations.  He isn’t inspirational because of what he did as much as he is an inspiration for how he conceptualized things in a new way.  Plus, he was a grown man that got paid to play with puppets.

Our Inspiration Today: Contra Dancing

Edith’s Dad’s take:  I would catagorize New England Contra Dancing at the Donald Heiter Center as one of Lewisburg’s hidden gems.  These folks go out of their way to make you feel welcomed and comfortable, take the time to teach you the various steps, and clearly LOVE what they do.  I am not much of a dancer, but the experience of just going to watch and listen to some excellent live music (shout out to Carl Kirby and Lux Bridge!) is a magical one.  One of the things Edith and I find most inspirational is when people LOVE what they do so much that it is unmistakable.  The dancers, the caller, and the musicians often display this kind of inner devotion to enjoying fully what their role in making New England Contra Dancing absolute magic.

Edith’s take:  ” Lady’s chain!” the caller says. What does that mean? Well its a special move in Contra Dancing where lades on opposite and diagonal lines take hands and switch places.They do this again to return to their original spots with their partner. Contra dancing is both fun and great excersise! You meet new people and best of all if you live near Lewisburg, you will be able to learn it! Not only are there a lot of people in Lewisburg that know the dance, but it is also offered at the Donald Heiter Center in town every second Saturday in the month. People play live music, often guitars, different types of drums, maracas and violins. You never have to worry about looking silly or not knowing the moves, no one will laugh. Even experts will get tripped up on a move and that makes it all the more funny! A caller also calls  out moves and helps you practice at the beginning so you know whats going on. Contra Dancing moves are often filled with twirls, chains, do-si-dos and the like. One of the best parts is  you don’t need a partner to dance, often times people are looking for partners in certain dances and will offer advice and help with dance moves. We certainly hope that you will try your own hand at this fun and creative dance!

Our Inspirations: Lewisburg

February 25, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspirations: Lewisburg
Our Inspiration Today:  Lewisburg:  Dovecotes 

Edith’s Take:    Dovecotes are very pretty and unique structures meant to house pigeons and doves. Some dovecotes are very simple like this one.  

And some have more complicated designs like this one

And some are built into houses and other structures like this one

In some cultures the possession of a dovecote was a symbol of status and power. The reason why we got stared on dovecotes as an inspiration is that my dad actually built his own dovecote which is now hanging on  our non functioning   brick outhouse.  It looks very pretty there and my dad even added his own touch by including a little mini arbor to hang our large rose bush on, he also added a little red painted heart in the center, which I think really adds a nice touch to our dovecote. It is really very cool that we have our own dovecote as I do not know of another one in Lewisburg, at least not one attached to an outhouse!!!!!!

Edith’s Dad’s take:  Thanks for your kind words, Edith!  I had a lot of fun with this project.  The entry holes are a smaller diameter and different shape than those of a traditional dovecote.  I did this to discourage starlings and other like birds from nesting, but hope to encourage smaller birds like bluebirds (although they are territorial and only one would likely move into a dovecote) and warblers and wrens.

When examining design possibilities, I really like this one.

I hope the birds get half as much enjoyment from my dovecote as I did making it for them!

Our Inspiration Today:  Lewisburg:  Halloween

Edith’s Take:  Halloween is such a fun time of year. It is certainly one of my favorites. It is so much fun to see all of the  kids dressed up different costumes. This year we all dressed Victorian to match with the era of our house. We handed out candy, but we also walked around quite a bit, we got a lot of nice comments. A lot of people also asked where I had bought the dress, they were shocked when I told them someone had made my dress for me. The fun thing about it was that it was not only me dressing up, it was my mom and dad, too. A lot of people seemed to really like the costumes. We also got a lot of thank-yous for our dog dish (we put out a dog dish out in front of our house so that dogs and other animals have water to drink). People said that their dogs would not go down the street without getting a drink from the dog bowl. We even have a cat whom belongs to our neighbors who also drinks out of the bowl. We hope you had as much fun Halloween night as we did!

Edith’s Dad’s take: We did have fun!  I was impressed by the number of adults that thanked us (and presumably others) for participating in Halloween.  It does seem like fewer and fewer of our neighbors are participating, though I cannot blame them given that we had 491 trick-or-treaters!  It can be a mortgage payment!

Our Inspiration Today:  Lewisburg:  Piano Teacher Dave Cover

Edith’s take:  I play piano for several reasons. #1, because I enjoy it. #2 because I have an AWESOME teacher. #3 the recitals. Dave’s wife makes AMAZING  food!!!! (My personal favorite is the chocolate covered strawberries and the sugar cookies.). :]

Edith’s Dad’s take: Thank you, Dave Cover!  You make learning the piano fun, interesting, and enjoyable for Edith.  I’ve always known you to be patient with your students and it is clear to me from observing your other students at the recital that they enjoy working with you.  Dave’s annual piano recitals are the perfect forum and his wife makes the most delicious snacks for the “after party”.  Thanks, you two, for all that you do to make the piano a special instrument in the lives of all of your students!

Our Inspiration Today:  Lewisburg:  Edith’s Farm Stand Opening

Edith’s Farm Stand Grand Opening for 2017!

This Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother’s Day Flowers, Fresh Spinach and Red Leaf Lettuce

All Natural * No Sprays * No Chemicals * No Synthetic Fertilizers

Looking forward to Your Visit!

Our Inspiration Today:  Lewisburg:  Edith’s Farm Stand

Edith’s take:

Happy Tuesday!!!!!!  Anyway, this is not really an “Inspiration” post more than it is a sort-of update. What are we doing here? Well since spring FINALLY came, we have been planting for our farm stand. If you live in the area, why not drop in? We should open in the summer. We have stuff like lettuce and tomatoes and onions and also homemade cards and other crafts. And we do not use any pesticides, chemicals or sprays, other than an organic homemade weed killing spray [if you want to see how we make it or want to make it yourself, we have the “recipe” down below]. And 50% of profits go to charities [also listed below, are some of the charities I like to give to.] and the other 50% goes toward seeds for the next year! Happy Season!!!!!

How to make the weed killer we use:

2 cups of Epson salts.

1 gallon of white vinegar

A drop of dishwashing liquid [Dawn].

Charities I give to:

Mostly Mutts

Petsmart Charities


Humane Society

Child Fund

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

The Ocean Conservancy

Alley Cat Allies

Paws For a Cause

Four Paws

Nature Conservancy

A Field Guide to the Historic Carriage Barns and Houses of Lewisburg

February 18, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on A Field Guide to the Historic Carriage Barns and Houses of Lewisburg
       A new Edith & Her Dad venture to support local charities. A Field Guide to the Carriage Barns and Houses of Lewisburg examines the historic carriage barns and carriage houses of the borough of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, employing over 100 pages and 230 photographs to do so. Included is a chapter on timber framing as the preferred method of construction of 19th century borough carriage houses, carriage house forensics, and a site overview of over 80 borough carriage houses, including the McClure barn (once used to house fugitive slaves), a carriage barn that is actually a large ice house, a carriage barn that was disassembled, moved, the re-erected, and several which have been lost over time.

As with all Edith & Her Dad ventures, this field guide is being sold to support local charities. 100% of the proceeds of the sale of this book are divided equally among the Packwood House Museum, the William Cameron Engine Company, and the Eastern Union County Food Bank.

Softcover, 103 pages, over 230 photographs – $16.95 + 1.75 USPS 1st class postage

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Our Inspiration: Places

February 16, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspiration: Places

Our Inspiration Today: The Corning Museum of Glass

 A Collection of glass paperweights in the Corning Museum of Glass.

Edith’s Take:   For a while it was my family’s  goal to visit the Corning Museum of Glass. Well the other day, we did it! There was nothing in the museum that was not pretty or interesting.  My favorite was the glass bird (below) and the pretty and unique paperweights ( above).

Edith’s Dad’s take:.  The Corning Museum of Glass is well-designed museum and is a great experience.  The History of Glass collection and exhibit is very interesting, tracing the origins of glassmaking to the earliest days.  We were able to see the traveling exhibit of Tiffany mosaics, also very well done.  You don’t have to have an abiding interest in glass to enjoy this museum!

Our Inspiration: The Christopher Wren Chapel

Edith’s Dad’s take:  During our last tour of Colonial Williamsburg, we were able to score tickets to an organ recital in the Christopher Wren Chapel on the campus of William and Mary.  Construction on this beautiful chapel began in 1695, making the chapel the oldest college building in the United States.  The Wren Chapel is marvelous, but we were there for the music.

Below is an audio recording I made of the organ playing.  Imagine…you are hearing early music of the kind that would have been played in the 18th century, played on an c. 1735 organ restored to sound as it did when it was built!




The organ in the Wren Chapel is believed to have been built c.1735 and was found in a barn in England.  One of the organists from nearby Bruton Parish came to play for our group, and she clearly relished her time both playing the organ and relating some of the organ’s history.

Edith’s take:   What is most amazing about this organ is that it was brought to Williamsburg and restored, what time that must have took!!!!  It was beautiful to listen to and the organist there was quite talented!! She would stop for brief periods of time to explain about the organ and the history. The organ was built in c.1735!! That has been there for over 250 years!! The original plans to the college date back to the early 1600’s- even older than Harvard which was built and established September 8th 1636 [ My birthday is 6 days before that!!] . The music was lovely and the best part? it wasn’t four hours long, it was only about half an hour- which made it nice for people with young kids [and even older kids].

Our Inspiration: Union County West End Library

Edith’s Dad’s take:  A few weeks past, Edith and I wrote about the Union County Library system.  Today, we chose to highlight our favorite of the library branches, the West End Library.  This little gem is tucked away near Hartleton, Pennsylvania.  The librarians have worked hard to cultivate a welcoming environment, one that clearly encourages visitation and readership.  This was most evident on our last trip, when they were welcoming Ruffio, their newly adoptive library mouse.  Of course he was a magnet for many young visitors, and the librarians did not miss their chance to create an entire reading selection based upon mice as characters.  Brilliant.

A view of the children’s corner at the library.  The large picture window overlooks several well stocked feeders that attract birds by the dozens.  Comfortable chairs, stuffed animals, and plenty of things to keep young visitors happy.

Edith’s take:  West End library is a cute library lying just a few yards from the grave yard we talked about in our post a few weeks ago. It is part of the library system, yet they get little attention from the system itself, they are a more independent library. Besides books of all kinds, they have a goldfish and a mouse with a big personality named Ruffio who Is spoiled by the librarians as well as over weight with all of the pumpkin seed treats it gets from visitors to the library. His cage is surrounded by books about mice and rats. While I was in the library yesterday, I spotted a cute looking book that was called The Library Mouse. The book had a pretty long story around it, It was about a mouse who lived in a small hole in a library and loved to read books, so he got it in his head to one day write a book of his own to share with the library, so he did and people could check it out. During a request from the librarian (left on a bulliten board for the mouse to read about a Meet the Author day, he grabbed an empty tissue box and a mirror and so when kids looked into it, they saw themselves. Inspired by this, each of the kids wrote their own books, which got published and the library mouse continued to also write interesting stories. We had a fun day and I ended up getting about a 20 pound stack of books!

Our Inspiration today: The Irish Famine Monument

Edith’s Dad’s take:  On a recent trip to our favorite city of Boston, Edith and I spent a day wandering through Cambridge.  We happened upon this statue, known as the Irish Famine Monument.  We were stunned and moved.  It is most likely the most haunting monument I have ever seen.

Created by sculptor Maurice Harron, the statue commemorates the horror of the Irish Potato famine.  Dedicated in 1997,  the inscription at the base reads “Never again should a people starve in a world of plenty.”  Never, indeed.

Edith’s take:  This statue, slightly disturbing, was a fascinating portrayal of a family that must have been starving during The Great Potato Famine, an event somewhat like The Great Depression. A beetle diseased all of the potatoes, which was often the only food a family had. As such, many starved to death, but a very few fortunate  people. I remember seeing  the statue as a little girl for the first time. I was half interested in it and half freaked out about it, I think I stared at it for an hour plus!   This particular statue it looks like the man ( husband/ father) is going to a different country to find food or a job, the woman looks as if she does not want to go and wants to care for her child or perhaps she is too weak with hunger to get up. The statue is truly an eye-opener of just how terrible the  events must have been back then. Families splitting up, people starving, unable to find jobs and babies dying in peoples arms. The question was: why did so many people [ like the woman in the statue picture above] want to stay in Ireland, when they had such little opportunity? I suppose there was several reasons, maybe they were too weak to go, or had children too young to walk and families feared that they would collapse after a mile in the hot sun, just from carrying their kid[s]! This statue shows just how terrible it was in those times!!

Our Inspiration Today: Tools: Vintage Polaroid Cameras

February 16, 2018 |  by  |  Comments Off on Our Inspiration Today: Tools: Vintage Polaroid Cameras

Doesn’t get much more hip than this.  Diana Ross (right), Florence Ballard, and Mary Wilson, known collectively as Diana Ross and The Supremes at the time of this photo, c. 1963.  These three talented ladies are each holding the Polaroid Automatic 100 Land Camera.

Edith’s take:  To me this camera is easier to use then  a digital camera. Although the foucasing is hard and its hard for the person posing to not move, however you get your picture somewhat instant. In modern cameras today you may have to wait days to get a picture printed, but with polaroids its thirty seconds to a minute! That is what is great about these cameras! We have had several fun days taking pictures at our farm!

Edith’s Dad’s take:  When Edith and I created this site, we chose to include tools as an inspirational category, as we sometimes find tools that inspire our creativity, or simply make life more enjoyable.  I think the older Polaroid cameras do both for us.

The technological history of the Polaroid camera is fascinating.  When I was a younger soul, the Polaroid had devolved into a cheap, semi-instant gratification novelty with results to match.  Yet in it’s day, the Polaroid Automatic 100 Land Camera, while still perhaps a novelty, was a serious piece of equipment.  It sported a fully automatic exposure metering system, utilized pack film, and was a substantially made piece of photographic equipment with a 3 element glass lens, metal body, and a parallax-corrected viewfinder.  They were, for the era, an expensive camera.

Getting used to a Polaroid can be tricky as it is completely analog and is also, to say the least, quirky.  At it’s worst it can prove frustrating, though in our experiences this frustration is due to issues with the film, not with the camera.  At it’s best, the photographs are acceptably sharp, though it really is in it’s element with portraits.

In addition to the camera’s technical abilities, we find the camera inspirational and unique for other reasons.  One is the light and color quality produced by a correctly exposed color print, yielding an almost ethereal quality.  In addition, the camera evokes some unique and great responses when it is brought out.  Sometimes, these reactions foster conversations that are just plain fun to have.  These conversations are fantastic “ice breakers” that open a wonderful opportunity to photograph people.  The camera has this great quality of putting people at ease – and that is it’s greatest attribute.