Archive for February, 2017

Cats in the Pines: Sugar Makes a Space Station

February 25, 2017

I have been wanting another cat feeding station. The old one in the woods has become dilapidated, almost beyond repair, but more importantly, the wild cats have decided to come inside the fencing and eat at the feeding station on the picnic table. 

Several of the cats have taken to living in the woods next to the driveway. Since I’m feeding cats there now anyway, a feeding platform would be handy. I imagined if I had a platform between two of the pines, then the food and cats wouldn’t be as exposed to ants and stray dogs. 

I explained my plan to Sugar. 

I was driving along one day when I saw a children’s play set, the kind with the ladder to the slide, and the horizontal ladder for children to go across hand over hand. 

What about a horizontal ladder structure connecting the two pines?

I explained I need a ladder between the two pines. He thought I meant a ladder from the ground to a tree. It was getting frustrating: me explaining and him not getting it. The word “ladder” was throwing him off. 

So I drew my example. 


He contrived a ladder from some old 2 x 4s that he split lengthwise. 

A Chinese Fringe shrub provided local color. 




He added a piece of plywood for the dining surface. 

Suddenly it is finished. The Butter demonstrates that form follows function. 


The Butter has some neurological problems which cause him to have a head tilt and a stare that is a bit unordinary. 





The new station is too high for dogs but not for cats. This does not discount a clever, hungry dog. 


Mr. Friendly demonstrates that canned food is welcome here. We will probably add some side rails to keep the dishes from being pushed off. You can see that we have already removed the metal bowl in favor of a dish with a flatter, heavier base. 

In other news, I am worried that I might have a marauding owl. Before the station was built, one morning during the dawn hours, I found Wendy deceased on the driveway. I had arrived home the night before that in the dark, and I fed her by the gate as usual. When I found her body the next morning, some bird high in the trees was screaming at me. Apparently I disturbed his actions. He was very angry at me, and I messaged my cousin the birder scientist. It’s possible that it was a hawk, and I learned the word “crepuscular”. 

Sugar buried her for me where she lived in the woods by the driveway. 

Cats like vertical spaces, and I’m hoping the new space station will give them safer options. 

Advertisements

Who Was Amanda M. Miller?

February 18, 2017

Sugar is working on a plan.

This plan involves going to a graveyard with a tape measure and a smartphone.


Because a smartphone has a camera.


And said camera takes remarkably clear photos.


These photos which show measurements are needed for a memorial for someone who doesn’t have one. I’ve written about him before.

The following obituary appeared in the newspaper in 1808.

  Died, on the 17th of February, at his usual residence on Black Swamp, Beaufort District, of a lingering illness, which he bore with uncommon patience and Christian resignation, in the 67th year of his age, Doctor GEORGE MOSSE. He was a native of Ireland, but for about 40 years an inhabitant of this state, of which he has been a respectable and useful citizen. To his adopted country he was a firm, constant friend, but his philanthropy embraced all mankind.

The Doctor was particularly known and respected, as the zealous friend and support of Religion; from which he derived his present, and expected his future happiness. In the profession of it he was open, yet unostentatious; in his attachment to it, rational, unshaken and uniform. His religious sentiments were those which are usually stiled evangelical; making the righteousness and atonement of the Redeemer the ground of his hope for pardon and acceptance with God; and considering morality and virtue as the native fruits of faith – the inseparable concomitants of Divine love.

Though not inattentive to other books of usefulness, his reading was principally in those of a religious and devotional kind; but especially in the Sacred Scriptures, to which he gave serious, daily attention. In consequence of which his mind was happily stored with the knowledge of divine subjects. On his hours of devotion, he would not suffer the cares and business of the world to intrude.

In relative life, he was a sincere, candid friend; an affectionate Husband; a fond Father; and an indulgent Master. And it may be truly said of him, that he was the Orphan’s friend; that he made the Widow’s heart sing for joy; and that he did not send the needy, and distressed, empty and mourning from his door.

His last scene presented a grand and pleasing spectacle – just before he closed his eyes in death, he said, in an apparent rapture of joy – “Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Glory! Glory to God, who has given me the Victory!”

A pious Widow, seven Daughters, and many friends lament the loss of this good man.

 

Dr. George Mosse and his wife Phoebe Norton had SEVEN daughters. Three of these daughters married three Lawton brothers. One set belongs to Sugar.

We were then looking at the tombs of his particular set: Alexander James Lawton and Martha Mosse Lawton. We realized that there was another tomb that we had consistently overlooked.  She’s right there in the line with Alexander and Martha.

She was Amanda M. Miller. But who was she?

No more confined to groveling scenes of night,

No more a tenant pent in mortal clay;

Now should we rather hail thy glorious flight,

And trace thy journey to the realms of day.

She is the daughter of Alexander and Martha, and she died in her early twenties. (Thank you, clever Reader Leo, for confirmation!) Childbirth, perhaps? One on-line tree says she had an infant son that also died. But where is the baby?

Good-night, friends. We are thinking of you.

A Cat Named Georgia 

February 11, 2017

Georgia lives here at the Swamped! Plantation. 

She decided to plonk herself on me because she wanted a nap. 

That’s how it is with Georgia. She only does what she wants, and she doesn’t care who she needs to walk on to get it. 

In this case, she made for some good close-ups. 


Georgia has lived here longer than any of the other cats. She arrived with some neighbors when they moved down the road with their *twelve* cats. It had turned into an unintentional hoarding situation when some strays adopted them, and nobody had the money for spay/neuter. I took in Georgia and her sister, and found homes for 2 kittens, after I had them all vaccinated and spayed. (That was back in the day when I had a much larger disposable income.)

Georgia has a direct personality and she is exceptionally nosy. If you come to visit and leave your car windows open, she will go home with you. 

She has always been brought back. 

Because the photo below? Is also the face of Georgia. 

In Which Sugar and I Are Not Related

February 7, 2017

Well, that’s a relief. 

I mean, he’s related to everyone.

When I first started working on his tree, over ten years ago, I knew of some other of his family’s researchers. They seemed to do the same kinds of things that I do, like make trees on ancestryDOTcom, and post memorials and photos to findagraveDOTcom. 

One fellow sent me a message about Sugar’s tree because he couldn’t find where I fit onto the tree and how he and I were related. I explained as vaguely as possible that I wouldn’t be in his tree, because we were not related, I was not a Lawton, and Sugar and I were friends. 

This exchange must have been about 2009. Recently I took an AncestryDNA test, and I found I have over 20K cousins on Ancestry alone. 

I loaded my raw data to gedmatch, and found several thousand more cousins there. 

I found a few folks that I had corresponded with in the past, so it was good to see that the DNA bore out what the paper records showed. 

I found one fellow that graduated from high school a few years before I did. He shares the African ancestry, which was interesting to see, because that helped me narrow down which line that was on, and it wasn’t the line I would have guessed. 

Gedmatch has a spreadsheet format, and one of the fields is for username. Lots of people don’t use a name; they use some kind of code, like Aunt Lou or Chicken Dinner or Cat Lover. These codes are not helpful, and in the case of Chicken Dinner, they only serve to make me hungry. 

So I’m scrolling down the list of usernames. Dozens, hundreds, of usernames. And I see it. I see *Him*. 

Boyce Mendenhall Lawton. Sugar’s cousin who wanted to know how we were related, and I told him we were not. 



I’m related to Boyce on Boyce’s mother’s side, and Sugar is related to Boyce on Boyce’s father’s side, but Sugar and I are not related. 

Now I want a chicken dinner. 

FlowerFest 2016: On To Robertville 

February 6, 2017

We had too many grave sites to visit to get it all done in one day. For the second year in a row, the FlowerFest needs two weekends.

Sugar and I headed for Robertville.

It was a quiet Sunday, and we thought we’d arrive after church had let out, and all had gone home. Not today, a few cars were still parked at the church.

This is a private time for us, this FlowerFesting gig, even though I photograph and write about it. Sugar is very serious about the ritual. You can probably see how intense he is when he marches across each cemetery, and places each plant *just so*, and tweaks the placement of each pot.

He didn’t want to hang about, so he hustled to get the job done. He can be so hustle-y, I can’t catch up.


So I just zoom in, camera-wise.




We found that last year’s poinsettia pot was still on the ground.

I stopped to photograph Edward Payson Lawton’s marker. He was killed at Fredericksburg.

I’ve been listening to Irish music on Pandora. One song in particular, “Clear the Way”, has a line that always gives me chills.

At Fredericksburg, we rose to meet them,

Though we knew the price we’d pay….

The song is sung from the viewpoint of a man who served with the Irish brigade for the Union.

In the cold grey light of morning,

after the deal had gone down,

I awoke and shook all over –

hoping a dram would bring me round.
Well, I stared at the sight all around me;

busted blue and faded grey.

Men in heaps were scattered;

men who fought and died the other day.
Well, I lived my youth in Connemara,

roving from town to town.

I shipped on board of the Amelia,

to New York City I was bound.
Not for honor, nor for country;

we killed for three square meals a day.

Off the boat and pack on shoulder,

gun in hand we’re here to stay.
Chorus:

At Fredericksburg we rose to meet them,

though we knew the price we’d pay.

But the Irish Brigade will not surrender –

Fag an bealach! Clear the way!
General Meagher, he gave the order,

”Up Mary’s Heights, charge away.”

The hills were rife with blood and murder

as we gouged and tore our way.
McMillan’s rebels, they fired upon us –

shot and shell, buck and ball.

Their green flag rose high above them

as ours fell on the battle wall.
Well, hand to hand and face to face there

a young rebel he charged me in the fray.

I turned around and my blade went through him;

I did the devil’s work that day.
For I saw my face there before me

in the boy that I hew down.

He could have been a friend or brother;

another exile from my town.
Three thousand strong rose to fight them

in Antietam’s ripening corn,

but Fredericksburg was our undoing.

Three hundred left to weep and mourn.

*****

Sadly, our FlowerFest is almost over. We head over to the Robert Cemetery, near Mulberry Grove Plantation, to finish the job.

Elizabeth Dixon Robert and John Robert.

That’s our Christmas FlowerFest 2016! We’ll see you in 2017!

FlowerFest 2016: A Parallel Universe

February 3, 2017

Unbeknownst to us, while we were starting our FlowerFest at the Bateson plot in Laurel Grove, another Bateson FlowerFest was happening at almost exactly the same time in another state. 


Two of Sugar’s grandchildren are at Sugar’s father’s grave in Virginia. 


Rather amazing the way life circles us together. 

FlowerFest 2016: On To Bonaventure 

February 1, 2017


Annnnd our yearly hello to Dr. and Mrs. Tucker. Dr. Tucker christened Sugar at Christ Church years ago. 

Dr. and Mrs. Tucker are buried in the same lot as Albert Sidney Lawton. We don’t know the connection. 


I have no clue where the minister who christened me is buried. Now, that is devotion on Sugar’s part. 


Albert Sidney Lawton and his wife Tayloe Corbin Lawton.


Further along, we stop at the Basinger plot, which is across from the Starr plot. 

Y’all know these people. I’ve written about them every year, plus there are all the Civil War letters that William Starr Basinger wrote home to Savannah. 


Across the lane are the older generations of the Basinger family: the Starrs, more Basingers, and Anne Pearson who married William Starr. (Her sister “Polly” Densler is buried in Laurel Grove.) Connections surround us. 

See the “caution” tape along the left rear of the photo? The tape marks out hurricane damage still in evidence.






Our last stop at Bonaventure is the final resting place of Alexander Robert Lawton, his wife Sarah, and their descendants. 

A popular monument is Corinne Elliott Lawton. I talked, months ago, to a tour guide over the phone about some of the false stories that are still being told about these families. When I mentioned that Sugar and I feel like we have a special connection to this family, and that we’ve placed flowers for close to a decade, she said that she had wondered who was doing that. 



There’s an enormous old Sago palm which almost prevents my obtaining a photo. 






FlowerFesting is hard work. Pilgrims need food and drink. So off to The Distillery. 


We’re done for the day, but we are not done with the FlowerFest. There’s still more to be done in Robertville, which will have to happen the following week…