Omar Bradley Oak
The family traveled to Pennsylvania today. It’s always good to get everyone together but today was a mixture of joy and sadness. Joy because we were with family, outdoors on a cool day in May. Sad because we came to bury Albert’s ashes. We decided that it would be appropriate to bury them under this large tree, a North American white oak (Quercus alba, not to be confused with the English white or common oak, Q. robur). Based on its circumference, estimates of its age range from about 250 to over 300 years, although we’ve never had it actually dated with a core sample. We’ll just continue to assert it predates the American Revolution.
We used to have a tire swing on this tree and in the 1960s we camped near by in the field that later came to be called the Christmas Tree Field. It’s now difficult to see where the woods ended and the field began, as it’s all pretty much grown up with trees, although there is still a wood duck house on a tree that’s near what was the edge of the field. After we started camping in what is now the yard, we didn’t get over to the tree quite as often.
As for the name of the tree, that was given by some neighbors shortly after the death in 1981 of General Omar Bradley. There is, in some circles, a tradition of naming large oaks after generals and when one of the neighbors mentioned the name to dad, he liked it and it’s pretty much stuck. It’s all very unofficial, of course and this tree is just in the woods on our property, not in a park or other public place. Omar Bradley was the last of nine five-star officers in the US military, having been promoted to General of the Army in September, 1950. Only George Washington and John Pershing, Generals of the Armies (plural) have ranked higher than the nine five-star officers.
In 1964 my parents bought some property in rural Pennsylvania. We’d go there either for the day or camp overnight. Then, in 1974 we built the porch that you see here. Two years later we spent virtually the entire summer there building the cabin. It’s had a new roof put on since then but otherwise, it’s pretty much unchanged. There’s no electricity or running water and the walls have no insulation, so it’s not currently somewhere you’d want to live long term. Still, it’s a great family retreat. Cathy and I don’t officially get Columbus Day off but we took annual leave and went there with Dorothy and six of her friends. It was a bit damp and cool, but really nice to be away from home for a little while.
Cathy and I drove up to Pennsylvania today to replace the locks on the cabin. Over the years, the existing locks have been treated pretty shamefully by those wanting (and generally succeeding) to get in. It was bad enough that they had become loose but recently they got so bent that the door couldn’t be opened properly. Anyway, it was nice to get out into the country for a little while and it was a pretty day. We didn’t stay long but we walked around a bit and I took some pictures, such as this one of reflections on the pond.
Elizabeth Wielding The Chainsaw
We had our first official work day at the farm today. There were twenty people there in all. That including two pre-teenagers, although they definitely did their fair share of work. I think people generally had a good time and we got a good amount done. Clearing the inside face of the dam was something that way way overdue and Ted’s crew handled that with the help of the new Stihl pole saw. My crew worked in the overgrown orchard. It’s been so long without being cleared that it’s not even obvious which trees should be there and which are weeds. That will be easier once the leaves are out. We made a really good start, cutting huge multiflora roses and other small shrubs and some trees that I was sure about. Meanwhile, Dorothy’s crew worked in the cabin and did an amazing job cleaning, especially upstairs.
Gettysburg Battlefield, from Little Round Top
As mentioned in Sunday’s post, David, Darius, and Maggie drove up from New Mexico, arriving late Saturday evening. Cathy and I took the day off today and went up to Pennsylvania. David and Darius went to the Gettysburg Battlefield on their own. Cathy, Dorothy, Maggie, and I went to the farm first and put up some more screen on the porch. It’s two thirds done. I also took some measurements for replacement stair stringers for the front porch. A couple of them are well on their way to falling apart. After over 40 years exposed to the weather, I guess it’s no surprise. From there we went to Gettysburg. We started with the Pennsylvania monument, where the girls’ ancestor’s regiment is listed. Then to Devil’s Den followed by Little Round Top, where this photograph was taken. Then to Culp’s Hill, again, where the family was apparently represented in the actual battle. It was a beautiful day, very windy and cool, but quite lovely.
Cathy, Reading Over a Man’s Shoulder
A young friend of ours scheduled her wedding on January 2 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We made plans to go, of course, and were prepared to take Covid tests before going in to the wedding. Sadly, both the groom and a number of family members all tested positive for Covid. The wedding went on but they were forced to make it a very small, private wedding. Nevertheless, we had planned a day off from work (tomorrow) and we had a hotel reservation, so we drove up to Lancaster for a short get away. This is a sculpture by J. Seward Jonhson in Steinman Park, on W. King Street (Lincoln Highway) in down town Lancaster.
Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River, Columbia, Pennsylvania
Many of the places in Lancaster we might have gone to for breakfast this morning are closed on Monday, so we widened our search and came across a place called Coffee and Cream on the east bank of the Susquehanna River in Columbia. It was a good choice and if you’re ever in need of breakfast or just coffee, I recommend it. We even chatted briefly with the owner, who was very nice. After we ate, we drove down to the river, where I took this and a few other photos of the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna. It’s probably prettier without the overcast, of course. We drove home into a snow storm but had no real problems getting home.
Our AirBnB Outside Lititz
After work yesterday Cathy and I drove up to the AirBnB that Susie had found for us outside Lititz, Pennsylvania. We were all coming for Jon and Carly’s wedding this afternoon and (not terribly surprisingly) many hotels were mostly books up this time of year. This place was a real treat, though. It’s a short drive from downtown Lititz, very quiet and comfortable. We got in at about 8:00 PM last night and this is the view from the porch this morning. What a lovely place for a long weekend. Of course having such good friends for housemates made it all the better.
Veterans Memorial Bridge, Columbia, Pennsylvania
I’ve posted a photo of this bridge before, when we stopped for breakfast at Coffee and Cream on the way home from Lancaster in January (see: Monday, January 3, 2022). We liked this little place so decided to have breakfast here again on our way home from Lititz. I actually fixed myself breakfast before we left the AirBnB and we both had coffee there, so it was as much about stopping at a familiar place as anything else. Being here in June is a little different from January. There were more people about and some small boats out on the river, as well as the greenery on both banks.
Andrew, Rachel, Anna, and Dorothy
Dorothy’s friends Andrew and Rachel, two of the three friends who have been roughing it with her in Pennsylvania, have bought a house. It’s just under 5 miles by road (and about 4.4 miles as the crow flies) from the farm. They settled yesterday and began moving in. Cathy and I went up to see them today and to help with some cleanup work in and around the house. They pulled up the carpeting in the living room and one bedroom, which was a good idea in the long run but resulted in some additional work in the short run. Nevertheless, it’s a cute little house and, especially compared to where they’ve been living for about two months, it’s luxurious, with actual electricity and running water! There was no refrigerator, but they’ve ordered one and it should be delivered in two days. That, alone, will be a big treat. There isn’t central air conditioning but a window unit keeps the downstairs reasonably comfortable. And, there’s a really nice swing set in the yard.
The New Dock
Cathy and I went up to see Dorothy today, stopping for a while at Wonder Book in Frederick, where I bought quite a large stack of ‘new’ (used) books. You never want your to-read pile to get too low. When we got to the farm, Dorothy was finishing up a painting she was doing on commission for a friend. The repairs to dam are finished and the new overflow drain had been installed. The new dock, with it’s seats on the side, as you can see, is also finished. Now all we need is rain (and snow in the winter) to fill the pond back up. At this point it doesn’t look like the dock goes out nearly enough, but when full, the water level should be just about where the upper support posts are. We’re looking forward to the pond being full again after quite a few years when it never really filled up.