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Thursday, May 27, 2010


We're on the countdown for departure. We leave Saturday morning for a trip to Canada. My brother Merle moved from Dryden to Sioux Lookout five years ago and we have not been there yet to see where they live.
Plans are to spend the weekend with Cheryl in Ohio and head north from there on Monday morning. We plan to drive through Michigan and cross the Mackinac Bridge. We've never gone that way so it will be new scenery. While we're there we'll take the ferry to Mackinac Island and get in a little sightseeing. From there to Sioux Lookout is another 15-hour drive.
We expect to be with Merle and Edith from June 2-7. We'll head back south 7th, making a few sightseeing stops along the way, and return home June 10. At least that's the plan.
Gerald will be here to keep things under control while we're gone. It's nice to have a maintance man in residence and not have to bother someone to look after things. I don't have a laptop so posting will probably pause until the middle of June, unless I can hock computer use somewhere along the way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peter Martin Log Cabin

Peter Martin, grandson of 1727 immigrant David Martin, lived in a log cabin in Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pa. before he moved to Canada in 1819. The log cabin remained standing but was eventually abandoned and deteriorated badly. Still, many of the descendants of Peter's seventeen children came from Canada to see the house and wrote their names on it.
In 1973 a group of men determined to preserve the old log cabin. They purchased it and carefully dismantled it, numbering each log so it could be put back in place whenever it was rebuilt. The logs were in storage for 28 years while the committee, known as the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Association, searched for a suitable place to rebuild the cabin.
Paul W. Martin was the last of many generations of Martins to own the farm known as the "Spring" Isaac Martin farm. The property features a strong spring that has provided water to Martins on that land since the 18th century. Paul never married and had no heirs to inherit the farm. He was active in the Swiss Pioneers and when he died a few years ago the farm was donated to the Swiss Pioneer organization. The farm is half a mile from the place where Peter Martin's log cabin stood. At last, the cabin had found a home.
Lloyd Weiler, who is both a historian and builder of log homes, supervised the rebuilding of the log cabin. In the process, samples of the logs were tested. The results showed the logs were cut in 1784 and 1785. The cabin was probably constructed in 1786, which is much later than many people had guessed.
The public was invited to an Open House today. A large crowd showed up and the affair was a huge success. It was hard to get pictures of the cabin without people getting in the way but I managed a few.

The cabin is special because the builders used round logs. The early Germans and Swiss made most of their cabins of squared-off logs. This cabin is unusual, if not (among surviving log cabins) unique. The one-and-a-half-story cabin contained three rooms. It also had a chimney outside the building, as opposed to the interior fireplace germans preferred. The limestone chimney remains intact. It probably looks as good or better than it did when it was new.

When the cabin was dismantled the entire fireplace and chimney was loaded by crane onto a truck and hauled twenty minutes away where it was stored until it made the reverse trip early this year. It is an unusual fireplace because the door to the bake oven is on the side rather than at the back of the fireplace. This is the bake oven from the outside.

There is a root cellar under part of the house with the door to the cellar conveniently locaed in the kitchen rather than on the outside of the house. The house originally had three rooms but by the time it was dismantled there were only two rooms on the first floor. The sleeping loft on the upper floor is reached by the typical German style curved staircase.

Today the dream of the Swiss Pioneer Preservation Association became reality. The Peter Martin log cabin is once again standing just a half mile from where it originally stood. Some of Peter's descendants came from Canada to touch base with their roots and participate in the Open House. More events will be held on the farm in the future, beginning with a threshing demonstration on August 7.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wheel of Life

I'm getting there! When I looked ahead at my calendar for May I knew it was going to be a wild ride. The first half of the month included a house guest and a week of historical activities (Genealogy Conference etc.) immediately followed by Gerald's graudation. I survived that round and shifted into second gear---getting ready to go on a trip to Canada. The list of little things I must do before we go was being crossed off one-by-one this week. I am not finished but with one week to go, the list has been whittled down to a manageable size.
We plan to leave on May 29 and travel as far north as Sioux Lookout to visit my brother and his family. Fortunately, Gerald will be here to keep things under control. His new job begins June 22 so he should have time to take care of himself and the place in our absence. We expect to return June 10, followed immediately by the family weekend at the cabin. This means it will be the middle of June before I know what happened.
I thought people are supposed to slow down when they get older. Either I'm not getting older or I was deluded. I hope the pace slows and the dust settles the last half of June. I want to do all these things but the wheel of life is spinning too fast to smell the roses.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yesterday was the big day. Gerald received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and is now an alumni of Alvernia University. We managed to get fairly good seats in the Sovereign Center but it was hard to get good pictures. Here he is, having his red and gold hood adjusted just before he walked up the stage for his diploma. (There were two ladies adjusting hoods. He is the first one on this picture.)

Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of the stage and I could not get a good picture of the big moment but photos were taken by a professional and will be available for purchase. As is usual in college, he received only the folder for his diploma and a certificate which promised the actual diploma will be mailed later. Nevertheless, the degree has been conferred upon him and the state has been notified that he is eligible to take the state test to become a Registered Nurse.
We had a party at Gene and Amy's house in the evening to celebrate Gerald's success. The weather cooperated perfectly and gave us a beautiful evening for an outdoor party.
This was a better place than the crowded Sovereign Center to take photos. Here he is with some of his biggest fans---his family.
And the newest fan who joined the cheering section during his senior year--Kelly Martin.

All of these fans surprised him by pooling resources and presenting him with a new laptop computer. He earned it!

Gerald worked long and hard to earn his BSN. We celebrate his success with him and wish him a long and rewarding career as a Registered Nurse.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Pinning

Gerald has been pinned! We attended the pinning ceremony at Alvernia University this afternoon and I used his video camera to record the whole thing. I never used it before so it probably isn't the best that could have been done but better than nothing.
Since nurses no longer wear caps, pinning takes the place of capping. The pin was actually fastened to a red ribbon which was slipped over the head of each graduate and worn around the neck. Pinning was optional but he worked so hard to get to this point he might as well enjoy all the benefits and honors he earned and deserves.

There was a light reception after the ceremonies and then we left campus for the last time. Commencement will be at the Sovereign Center in Reading tomorrow. I got rather emotional watching him being pinned. The first year he went to the community college part time and then switched to Alvernia so he has spent five years working toward this day. I told him I prayed every day that he would be able to finish all his courses. What shall I pray for now? He said I can pray he passes his state test to become a fully licensed Registered Nurse. I'll do that!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back to Reality

I'm still alive. I've just been immersed in history the past week. I've been visiting historical societies, libraries, and museums as well as attending a genealogy conference and going on a tour of the sites where the first Europeans in Lancaster County settled in 1710. The place I most wanted to see on the tour was the Weber tract. This is where the Weber family lived before three of the sons (Jacob, Henry, and George) moved across the ridge to settle in a new place now known as Weaverland. Their brother, John, stayed on the Pequea side of the hill. This is the Weber homestead in the Pequea Valley. The old stone house has been nicely restored on the outside and is occupied by a renter. This house was the highlight of the tour for me as I am descended from all three of the Weaverland brothers.

Today it was time to come back to reality and get in gear for the big weekend coming up. Gerald took his very last final test on Monday and has completed all the requirements to earn a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. It's been a long road but all that's left are the ceremonies. We will attend his pinning (which takes the place of capping) on Friday and Commencement on Saturday. He has already started the process to move on to the next stage of preparing to begin his job at the Lehigh Valley Hospital on June 22. I have a lot to do between now and Friday and then the party begins! I know I shall be weeping tears of joy, pride, and relief when I see him walk across the stage to receive that diploma.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Last week at the funeral of Leroy's 93-year-old uncle someone said he had owned only four cars in his entire life. I don't think we're going to match that record but we're not far behind. Leroy bought a brand-new 1966 Chevelle when we were dating. We drove that until about 1978 and then got a 1967 Chevelle with low miles. We drove that until about 1992 and then got another low-mile 1971 Olds. It was an ugly orange color which our children despised but it saw us through until 1998 when we got a 1995 Pontiac which we are still driving.
In the 44 years from 1966-2010 we've had four cars, averaging eleven years per vehicle. That may be long by some people's standards but compare that to some of these things:
a. married since 1967
b. lived in the same house since 1968
c. went to the same church since 1973
d. Leroy worked for the same company since 1973
We don't change very much, do we? Some people seem to thrive on change but we stick with what we've got as long as possible. I like it that way! Reminds me of a Mennonite joke I heard.
How many Mennonites does it take to change a light bulb?