What Makes a Cottage Magical?

#NaBloPoMo #Winterthur#3 #Delawaretrip

The odd-shaped thatched roof?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 46 Roofs

It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion.                Herman Hesse

On this September day the sky, though blue, filtered through the trees until it became transparent, blending into the enchantment of the forest in the Winterthur Gardens.

I looked for the pictures I remembered taking on that magical day as I strolled with Hal, but they weren’t there. Have you ever had that happen?

You know, you just know, that picture is somewhere, but it’s not.

I am persistent. I found the picture of the medieval English-style roof I wanted to share with you. But it’s a video! Woe is me!

This quick post turned into a two-hour ordeal. I shortened the video (a new skill). Next, I added some beautiful bird sounds chirping after the rain cleared the air that I downloaded for free. Google helped me learn how to erase my own boring intriguing narration which I had already chopped to bits when I cropped the video. Finally, I uploaded it to YouTube.

If you are wondering about the woven branches, I’m not standing on a twig roof shooting this video. Hal and I are standing opposite the enchanted cottage in a gigantic roofless bird’s nest replete with three wooden eggs the shape of king-sized watermelons.

The little box on my YouTube channel tells me that I now have 56 videos. Guess how many followers I have of my YouTube channel?

Back to the thatched roof

Once I finished the video, I learned about thatched roofs. I looked for roof shapes so I could be more precise. After I searched through all the common roof shapes, thatched and cottage finally paired.

Guess what?

Thatched roofs are odd-shaped. Duh! No wonder they are so quaint.

Although they once denoted poverty, the wealthy put thatched roofs on their homes to be more eco-friendly. Did you know that thatched roofs can last up to 50 years? The English used thatched roofs from available resources such as dried vegetation like straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, or heather. Experts contend that thatched roofs do not burn as easily as some roofing materials.

Maybe it’s thatched, and maybe it’s not

This simple Woodlake home looks elegant with a cottage-style roof.

 English cottage style
English cottage style

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So what do you think makes a cottage magical?

Brandywine, What Better Name for a Relaxing River?

Winding Through History on the Brandywine

#blogboost #Delaware trip

WordPress Photo Challenge H2O

Everything in Delaware winds. Driving from the airport in Philadelphia, I turned off the freeway onto a state road and headed towards Hockessin, DE. It felt like I had entered a land of make-believe.

Even state highways were paths through a deep, mysterious forest. And water showed up at almost every bend.

The day after I arrived, mom’s cousin Hal suggested a drive to the historic district of Wilmington. He knows I love historic buildings and babbling streams. This spot along the Brandywine was the perfect stop.

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You can never say corner in Delaware, it seems. Points are obliterated in curves, drown in the gurgling streams. How could this pastoral scene be part of the 9-11 Battle in 1777?

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Mr. Dylan Duck stands on his rocky lookout over the Brandywine surveying his family activities. Donovan and Dana Duck discovered something fishy in the Brandywine.

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The twenty-mile lower stem of Brandywine Creek winds lazily around the historic district of Wilmington, DE. Maybe Dylan’s ancestors watched for Redcoats.

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Possibly Dylan’s ancestral family watched Peter Minuit who founded New Sweden in 1638 along the Delaware River and inland to the Brandywine. He died in a hurricane on his return trip, but his colony remained. I can imagine the Swedes lounging with their feet dangling in the stream sipping a mug of home brew on a beautiful September day after harvesting crops all day.

Gossip Along the Brandywine in 1644

Overheard by Dylan Duck I

“This here is mighty fine wine, you’ve made, Peter.”

It’s not wine. It’s brandy, Beatus. Made from this gurgling stream right here. It’s the water that makes it tasty.”

Brandy? Wine? Whatever. It is delicious. ” Abram added.

“Sounds like a good name for this river to me, Brandywine,” Beatus said.

Don’t tell that old Swede, who built the grain mill, Andreas Brainwende. He thinks this stream is his, and we should call it the Brainwend River after him,” Peter said.

Brainwend, Brandywine, his hearing’s so bad, he won’t know the difference.

“You got the water in just the right place, didn’t you, Peter?” Abram said.

Yeah, a couple miles from here the creek pours into the Christina River,” Peter told them. “Ah the beautiful Christina, named after our queen. She’s a spoiler.”

“Yeah, she looks sweet, but looks are deceiving, so I hear.”

“Shhh, you two! Someone might be overhear you. You don’t want to mess with our governor!”

“I’m talking about that brakish water two miles yonder at the confluence of the two rivers. Christina’s waters would make a brandy that even you wouldn’t drink, Abram,” Beatus said

“You don’t think much of my tasting skills, Beatus?”

“Not so much.”

“OK, fellows, better finish it up here before you get us in trouble. The wives will wonder where we are.”

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Hey, Marsha,” Hal called interrupting my reverie. “Haven’t you seen ducks before? What are you doing?”

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What looks like placid waters now, once powered grist and gunpowder mills. Mills fueled the industrial era before the onset of steam-powered machinery. The DuPonts made their fortunes here. Ah, this was the place to learn history.

Ah, this was the place to learn history.

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I could see that it was no wonder why many nineteenth century builders used stone to construct Wilmington buildings along the Brandywine. Mmmm, I wanted to put my toes in the cool water and feed the ducks, sip some wine and…

“Marsha,” Hal called again. “What is so interesting down there? Come up here. I want to show you something about this old post office building.

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How do you ignore a 91-year-old retired engineer who was tired of Dylan and Donovan, the dark-feathered ducks, and wanted me to move on to something more mathematical? More than likely he wanted to go home and eat, my stomach reminded me that it was getting late.

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“Did you notice the way the sun is casting a shadow on this stairway of Breck’s Mill?”

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Hal scores again – something I would not have noticed without him.

The shadows had crept up on me as time swirled dreamily down the stream. But the sun was dipping in the sky. Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the fridge was beckoning us to come back to the 21st century and go home for dinner.

What wonderful, lazy afternoons do you remember sitting by a gentle stream, or lovely lake, waterfall, or even a water fountain?

Does water make your mind wander, too?

Catch more water pictures here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

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How I Framed Hal and Manny

#WP Photo Challenge Frame

I’m on my way on Thursday to visit Philadelphia and Delaware to see my mother’s only cousin, Hal. He’s 91 now, and he’s planning our trip to Harper’s Ferry. He’s also anxious that I bring Manny. Hmmmm?

Treed Hal2r

Last time I was there I framed him along with Manny. It wasn’t Manny’s fault he likes to climb trees and Hal had to hold him up to keep him from falling out. Hal acted like he did not object to being framed.

Do you think he wants revenge?

Old Swede Hal1r

Framed again! hahaha, Hal.

Oops, I’d better be careful. He may be older than I am, but he’s a lot bigger – and degrees smarter, but that’s another story.

Since I’m leaving my neck of the woods, I’d love to meet any East Coast friends – who are willing to come somewhere near DE or PA. Any bloggers in the neighborhood? I’d love to meet you.

A friend of mine also told me I need to look up Ben Franklin in Philly while I’m there. Last time I looked up an old relative, Robert Morris. I was too late, He was buried at Christ’s Church. The tour guides let me ring the sister to the liberty bell, though. Very cool.

If you know me, you know I love museums, so I’m sure there are a few of those around.

I’m flying into Philadelphia on September 1st.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

The Oldest Original Church Structure in the United States Still Used for Worship

Old Swede church 1

Spring arrived in Delaware coaxing daffodils and crocuses to bloom in the ancient cemetery outside Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.  Sun warmed my bare arms, and a light breeze rearranged my hair as we ambled among the crumbling tombstones towards the large stone church.

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Colonial settlers may have built earlier churches, but those buildings fell down or out of use. Hal and I missed the 300th Anniversary Celebration at Old Swedes Church. This original stone structure, cemented together with crushed oyster shells mixed into the mortar, sprang to life in 1698.  The pattern of small stones, hand-carried by women parishioners, added strength and sparkle to the walls.  The pattern reminded me of ships or rafts in a fast-moving river.

 

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Graffiti artists began working on the edifice in 1711 making it their own.

Some things never change.
Some things never change.

Calligraphers etched their marks in the door as well as the stone walls for over one hundred years.

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I couldn’t substantiate this 1697 piece of church gossip, on the internet, so it must be true.  In a church bustling with young life, when the new twenty-nine year old single pastor, Erik Bjork, arrived from Sweden, he began a building program.  Of course, he needed his own parking space.  We entered the church through what had been his reserved “barn door.”  He drove his carriage inside the barn door entrance to the church.

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According to our guide, his ride attracted the most eligible bachelorette in the congregation.  Other carriages drove under the front overhang, dropped off the riders, and drove on through.  Bjork stayed with his Christina congregation for seventeen years before returning to Sweden.

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Inside the church, nearly one hundred years passed before artisans added stained glass windows.  This one attracts interest because young Jesus appears to carry a cross.  We approached the window so we could see the measuring marks along the t-square Jesus must have used as a carpenter’s apprentice.

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As we moved through the church, the guide fed us more facts that I could digest.  He and Hal discussed the abundance of eagles adorning Episcopal pulpits.

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“An ornamental eagle sales agent must have passed through all the New England churches in the early 1800s,” Hal suggested.

We stayed over twice as long as the 30 minutes needed to tour the church recommended by the Triple A Tour Book for Delaware and New Jersey.  We enjoyed many personalized stories we couldn’t read online.  We finished by meandering through the graveyard photographing crumbling tombstones of individuals who made history in early Delaware.  We wondered what made some famous, earning them shiny big headstones, and others remained obscure.  More questions drove us home to research in silence.

M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.
M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.

“Thanks to you, I learned a lot.” Hal told me at 9:30 in the evening.  Then he punched me in the ego.  “See what I found out about the new National Park in New Castle,”  he said as he handed me a new printout.