Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Where are they now? A Walk in the Twilight Zone with Jim Verrecchia and Jim Haley

The Lamberts in happier days
In 1998, a scandal boiled at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, VA. The pastor, Fr. Jim Verrecchia was giving "spiritual" direction to a parishioner, Nancy Lambert, who spent more and more time with him. They walked, they danced at church functions, they hot-tubbed and nuzzled together in full view of the entire parish. Meanwhile, Nancy's husband, Jim, became more and more concerned, confronted the pastor, and tried to convince his wife to stop, if not for him, for the sake of their four children. The behavior of the two "lovebirds" grew so egregious and so open it made the pages of the Washington Post and the Washington Times particularly after Jim Lambert, the aggrieved husband, sued the diocese which aided and abetted the adultery. To make a long story short: Nancy got pregnant, divorced her husband, married Verrecchia, and, with the help of Fr. Steve Leva, who testified for the adulterers at the custody hearing, got the couple's four children. Jim Lambert got a heart attack.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What a Country!

I've seen very little of New England so a trip to the northeast was very appealing. Larry and I started in Auriesville, NY at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs. What holy ground! To walk where men were actually struck down and killed for the faith is to be linked directly to those saints. The ravine at the shrine is just such a place and like Rene Goupil and St. Isaac Jogues who prayed the rosary there, so did we. Rene was killed by an Iriquois brave because he had made the sign of the cross on the head of child and the superstitious Indians thought it was sorcery. Fr. Jogues held him as he died fully expecting to be the next victim, but God had work for him to do still and he was spared.
Rene Goupil instructing an Indian child

One of my favorite spots on the grounds was "Theresa's rosary." Theresa was a young Indian girl who learned the faith from the Ursulines in Quebec. She was captured along with Fr. Jogues and his companions and Indian guides. Theresa was staunch in her faith and when her captors confiscated her rosary, she made another from rocks so she could pray it walking alongside the "beads." She later married one of the braves from the tribe, but never abandoned her faith. Like Kateri Tekawitha, she was one of the beautiful Christians baptized and taught by the blackrobes.

Theresa's rosary
First chapel at Auriesville
We also visited the Shrine of Kateri Tekawitha in Fonda. Kateri was born in Auriesville, but was raised in the Indian village located in what is now Fonda. The shrine includes the excavated site where metal posts mark the actual double stockade and the outlines of the long houses where Indian families lived. Not far from the site is "Kateri's spring" where she would have gone to get water for washing and cooking. Our two days in Auriesville were an opportunity to begin our trip as a pilgrimage. We prayed the 20-decade rosary both days and attended Mass at the second chapel built on the grounds in the 1800s. The first chapel is tiny, like a small gazebo, but it is lovely and reminds one how eager people were to honor the martyrs even when they could only build a tiny shrine. 

From Auriesville we visited Vermont and Maine passing through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. What a testimony to the glory of God. If Auriesville was like being with the saints washed clean in the blood of the lamb, driving the highways and byways of the northeast was like watching "the word" creating in all his glory. I'll post just a few pictures to illustrate. The glories of God's world made me pause often to sing How Great Thou Art! 

Sailboat on one of Maine's "ponds"

Scene from an overlook in Jamaica State Park, Vermont

One of the amazing examples of Vermont flora

Nature "reflects" the glory of God!

We met this German biker who visits the U.S. twice a year to bike around our wonderful country with friends. (There were half a dozen of them.) He said his favorite trip was following the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis to Portland. 

A New York honeybee collects nectar from asters. Beekeepers say aster honey is terrible, so the bees can have it! LOL!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Shenandoah County Fair with Two Little Princesses

Taking it all in...

 I love the Shenandoah County Fair and we had a great time with our two little granddaughters who enjoyed every minute. We arrived right before the midway opened so guess what we did first -- got armbands and went on some rides. 

B loved the merry-go-round. A took a surry ride. Don't you love her pony's hair?

We also loved the animals: the bunnies, the goats, the little piglets
and a funny chicken who liked she was wearing a bonnet.

The John Deere display was also a big hit. The girls each chose their favorite.
B even managed to turn the lights on. Good thing there was no key!

Driving without a license got them a stint in the fair pokey. 

A and I did the slide together the first time and then she was brave
enough to go five more times on her own. Wow!

The house of mirrors was fun too and worth three or four goes.
It ended with a curvy slide. I went once too. That was enough for me!
B collapsed right before the Tiger Talks show so she missed the big cats.

This was my favorite part of the fair. It wasn't so much an anima show as a trainer's explanation
of how they go about training the big cats to do their thing. The "whips" aren't used to
hit or discipline the cats. It guides them where to go and when they do it they get a piece
of meat on the end of a stick. What a fascinating show. After that it was home with two
very dirty girls for a bath and dinner before going home with Daddy. What a fun day!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Honey Harvest and I Forgot My Camera!

Sometimes I wonder why I bother having a camera at all. I always forget it when we are doing something interesting. We joined in the honey harvest on Saturday and were the first ones there so we did our eight frames of honey first and got about 25 pounds and several pounds of beeswax.

The setup was great. There was a wax melter with a big hot knife that was used to slice down the frame to uncap the honey. Then we put the frames in the extractor a centrifugal drum with a handle for turning. There are electric extractors but this one was manual so we took turns revolving the drum to spin out the honey. The honey is spun out on one side, then the frames are turned and the second side is extracted. The honey then passes out a spigot into a bucket that has a double strainer. When the honey fills the bucket enough it's moved over to a counter where we filled the jars by opening a tap at the bottom of the bucket. It was really fun.

We stayed another hour after extracting our honey and just visited with the other beekeepers. We're talking about starting a bee club here in Woodstock and I'm looking forward to it! There is so much to learn from the experienced beekeepers and even those who've only been doing it for a few years.

Here's a video that describes what's involved in the harvesting process. It was a great experience and we just took the box with the frames and put it back on the hive for the bees to clean up. They will too!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wow! The Bees Have Gone Honey Wild!

We never expected to get any honey this season since the bees need to have plenty of food to winter over, but our mentor who has about 45 years of experience, just came over today and he said we can harvest an entire super from one of our hives. For those who don't know bee jargon, a super is a box of ten frames where the bees build honeycomb and store nectar which becomes honey when capped. After capping it loses a large percentage of moisture. That's when it becomes thicker and more syrupy. Among the sources of nectar our bees were visiting we can confirm one for sure. The little gal in the picture is gathering nectar from my lavender. During the entire blooming period we had dozens of busy bees flitting about gathering for the hive.

Today when we went into the hives with Gordan and Tom (after two weeks) the bees had already worked so much and filled one of the supers so much that we needed to give them another entire box. Most of the frames were filled with capped honey and most of that work was accomplished in the past two weeks! Everything they gather from here on out will be saved for the winter, but the capped honey they have made up til now we will harvest. Yum!

I wish I had taken some pictures today because the bees had filled the box so much they were building extra comb and storing nectar in a space at the top. We took that comb out, I squeezed out the nectar which is delicious, but it wasn't capped so it will ferment if I don't use it up quickly. I already put some in my iced tea and will probably mix it with maple syrup for french toast. Yum!

We also got a big chunk of wax and I will be making some lip balm sticks out of beeswax, coconut oil, honey, and a few drops of clove essence. I already made one batch a few weeks ago and poured it into two little jars. I gave one to a granddaughter and have the rest in a little jar to my bed. I use it every night and, oh, it feels lovely on the lips and smells like ginger cookies. Maybe that's why I've been sleeping so well.

When I went to the bee store yesterday, I picked up little plastic chapstick-style containers and will pour my next batch into them.

What a great hobby! I love playing with the bees. They are the most amazing little creatures on the planet and our mentor said, our "girls have a great disposition." I said they are mirroring mine. After all, I may not be the queen bee, but I'm the bee yard mom!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Princess Week is Coming to a Close

Camp Kreitzer Princess Week is nearing it's end. Today is wrap it up today. Mom and Dad return this evening and the princesses will return to their kingdom of Zelienople tomorrow. But we've had a great time including a cousin sleepover:

And a trip out to dinner at a Thai restaurant and to see Les Miserables with the oldest princess:

We enjoyed a fish and chip dinner prepared by our culinary chef :

And we went to a festival in town with dancing in the street, a moon bounce and bounce slide, and a visit to the local museum which was open for the event. The girls also got their picture with town hero Peter Muhlenberg of Revolutionary War fame. What a busy, fun week!

It will be hard to say good-bye to our girls when tomorrow comes, but, hey!, there's still today and more fun in store before the final kisses and hugs.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Six Pretty Princesses and a Victorian Tea Party

Did you ever meet a little girl who didn't like to dress up as a princess and feel special? Even little wild things like tea parties after the tree climbing, tumbling, and bug collecting. So today at Camp Kreitzer we planned and hosted a fancy tea party. We filled most of the morning planning and implementing. It started with pulling out all Gramma's pretty plates and silver (most of which belonged to my own grandmother) and setting an elegant table. As we were working I remembered a book on my cookbook shelf with instructions on folding fancy napkins. We chose an easy patter, the fan, for our tea.

To complete our table we needed flowers, so we all took scissors and baskets and went out to collect flowers, leaves, and grasses for our arrangements. Some ended up on the table, one in front of the Blessed Mother and two decorating side tables. What a display of beautiful summer elegance!

The only thing left to put on the table? Goodies -- and there were plenty of those: deviled eggs, marscapone and jelly tea sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, cookies, raisin and blueberry scones, lime and cherry jello, and three choices of "tea": real tea (not popular except with Gramma), hot chocolate, and apple juice. Several of the princesses (especially the 22 month old) enjoyed clinking tea cups and saying "Cheers!"

Of course, the most important part of a princess tea party is the guest list -- the princesses! And we had a gaggle of gorgeous girls to fill the bill.

We were especially blessed to have an elegant waitress (princess herself) to serve us and she did a masterful job. She also did double duty as scone chef.

What do you think? Do the princesses look like they are having a good time? Mmmmm.....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Camp Kreitzer is in Session even Rainy Days are Fun!

Camp Kreitzer is in session and it's hard to blog at Les Femmes with five pretty princesses calling for attention. So I haven't been  Instead, we've been doing all sorts of things. Yesterday morning we went to Mass, then the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. After we got home it was clean up time, then into the pool about the time the two little cousins arrived.

After swimming and cousins left we decided to do a secret something related to their mom's birthday which is next week. (I'm not telling her age, but I'll just say it's a prime number which means it's REALLY SPECIAL!) Everybody contributed, but you'll have to wait until Saturday to see what it was in case mom is watching. Shhhhh!

But other things aren't a secret -- like going to the potato chip factory and the  library on Tuesday which was a rainy day and required some inside activities. The parking lot was jammed because the River Bandits Baseball Team was reading to kids in the library lecture room and giving away free tickets. I don't know if we'll make one of their games, but the girls enjoyed the cozy kids' room and almost everybody came home with a few books for quiet time. Even Gramma found a some craft books to give her some good ideas for Camp Kreitzer activities.

Route 11 Potato Chips are the best! (Try the Dill flavored.)

Just ask the potato who makes the best chips. He never lies!

The library was lots of fun too.

It's always great to make a new friend!

Free books? All right!