August 31, 2014

September 2014 Welcome Message

Carolyn’s Compositions


September…the month when Mother Nature begins to change her monochromatic green covering to a green print accented by brilliant red, gold and bronzes.

Speaking of green, Monte is busily painting our house with a dark green accented light green. He hopes for a week of warm dry weather so he can also paint the patio. He didn’t accomplish these tasks this summer because he had to repair and paint at our apartment building 82 miles away from where we live. We survived some major insurance problems there that required us to “burn the rubber” between our home and Slippery Rock numerous times, but now things are on the upswing.

Intermixed with the above came late summer computer and car problems. Monte hit some mysterious computer key that turned our word documents into Office 10 format, which we couldn’t access. The situation is now solved (how, don’t ask me). The next morning I woke up and my laptop wouldn’t turn on. “WHAT did you do to your laptop?” my computer guru asked. “NOTHING, not a thing,” I stated. It seems the insides were burned up as if a major power surge hit the 15-month-old now-out-of-warranty electronics device. It didn’t happen. The only saving grace is that I retrieved the data, including the only copies of 6 months of photos.  I miss my photo workshop—can’t locate an easy to use one on the Internet.

In the parking lot of the computer store the cable raising and lowering the window in our car. No car available until mid-afternoon the next day, so I missed the August meeting of the Beanery Writers Group.

We did end August on a positive note. On the 29th we enjoyed an original play, The Stone House, presented by the Butler Little Theatre at the Old Stone House in Slippery Rock in Slippery Rock and on the 30th I attended a blacksmith event at the Compass Inn in Laughlintown.

Today, the 31st,  we bid farewell to the summer and welcome autumn’s arrival by eating good food with good company at my son-in-law Michael’s annual Labor Day picnic, co-hosted by my daughter Sandy. The nice thing about this event is that my husband Monte and I can invite our friends without having to do the work.

Three days hence Monte and I celebrate our 48th anniversary.

I hope your transition from summer to autumn is as delightful. Please continue to read CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS,  my multi-genre online magazine, which welcomes a number of new July and August subscribers (if you haven’t subscribed, please do s0—go to the upper right and type your email address in—it will not be made public)

Carolyn Cornell Holland


September 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses



11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses


Have you ever wished you could live in a lighthouse? If so, this is the time to buy this unique type of real estate:

Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years, and it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts.

Dave Waller, who purchased the Graves Island Light Station in the mouth of Boston Harbor for a record $933,888 last year,

Sixty-eight of the lighthouses have gone for free to preservationists while 36 others sold at public auction thanks to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, which allows the government to dispose of federally-owned lighthouses. The act turns 14 next month. The Coast Guard, which maintains lighthouses, has 71 other lighthouses queued up to go through the transfer process, and four are at auction now.

But what do you know about lighthouses? Below are 11 questions on lighthouses (watch for the future quiz limited to New England lighthouses).


  1. Which United States state has the most lighthouses?
  2. Henry Hall, the keeper at Eddystone in Great Britain, was the oldest known lighthouse keeper. How old was he and what happened to him?
  3. What was the first U.S. lighthouse to use electricity?
  4. What uniqueness can the America’s St. George’s Reef Lighthouse in California claim?
  5. What were the first Great Lakes’ lighthouses?
  6. When and where were the first electric lamps used in lighthouses?
  7. What is the world’s first known lighthouse?
  8. How many female lighthouse keepers were there in the United States in 1852?
  9. What caused many lighthouse keepers to go mad after they served years of duty
  10. The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country. Where is its newest U.S. lighthouse located? What is the oldest active U.S. lighthouse?


List four facts about the La Coruna Lighthouse. Located on the northwest tip of Spain, it marks the entrance of Spain’s La Coruña harbor.



To learn the answers click on MORE…


September 14, 2014

Love-Apples, Tomato Blight & a Maine Ketchup Recipe





140809 IMG_0142E

In most parts of New England, tomatoes were called “love-apples” and were shunned as being poisonous.

Not so in my early 21st century world. Red tomatoes are popular items in Atlanta, Georgia’s farm market. They can be seen in home gardens and farm market booths throughout the New England coast, in Ohio, in New York, and all around our Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Many of my Southwestern Pennsylvania home gardeners were horrified when, in late July 2009, a late-blight began destroying their tomato plants in Westmoreland County. Brown lesions, caused by a fungus-like pathogen, were appearing on their tomato plants. This late blight can devastate tomato and potato plants. It can rot fruit and kill tomato plants within two weeks.

Farmers and commercial growers who depend on selling tomatoes, a high-value crop, are struggling to fight this blight, which has also been spotted in potato crops.

The  blight has spread to home gardens in Westmoreland, Indiana and Washington counties, but so far it hasn’t been reported in Allegheny or Fayette counties.*

My garden tomato plants began contracting blight in 2009, and did so every year for several years. I stopped planting them. This year is not a loss, since everything I planted fed the deer, because we weren’t home enough to stop this.


However, Maine’s seafaring families didn’t shun love-apples… Sea captains brought tomato seeds from Spain and Cuba, and their wives planted them, and the good cooks in the families experimented with variants of the ubiquitous and somewhat characterless tomato sauce of Spain and Cuba. The ketchups they evolved, in spite of the aversion to tomatoes throughout early America, were considered indispensable with hash, fish cakes, and baked beans in Maine, even in the days of love-apples.

  • Ketchup is an important adjunct to many Maine dishes, particularly in families whose manner of cooking comes down to them from seafaring ancestors. So far as I know, a sweetened ketchup in those families is regarded as an offense against God, and man, against nature and good taste. This antagonism to sweetened ketchup is traceable to the days when dozens of Maine sea captains from every Maine town were constantly sailing to Cuba and the West Indies for cargoes of molasses and rum, and to Spain for salt. Captain Marryat, in Frank Mildmay, describes a shore excursion of ship’s officers in 1807, and complains of the lavish use of tomato sauce on all Spanish dishes. The same thing is true in Spain today, as well as in Italy, where it is customary to serve a bowl of hot tomato sauce with macaroni spaghetti, fettuccini, ravioli, and many other dishes, so that the diner may lubricate his viands to suit himself. Under no circumstances is this tomato sauce sweetened. It is made by adding hot water to a paste obtained by boiling down tomato juice to a concentrate. —The Kenneth Roberts Reader, Introduction by Ben Ames Williams, 1945

…I begged the recipe from my grandmother when I went away from home; and since that day I have made many and many a batch of her ketchup with excellent results. The recipe has never been published, and I put it down here for the benefit of those who aren’t satisfied with the commercial makeshifts


September 13, 2014

Snapshots of Humanity



The more I see the world, the more I realize that humanity is a common trait that runs through different cultures. Although people are different, they are very much the same—even though we speak different languages, have different cultures, religions, values, and physical traits, we share common hopes and dreams of love, family, and survival. Whether I’m in their country or someone from another country is sitting on my front porch.

Below are some pictures of a variety of humanity taken when the other world visited my front porch or I visited their homeland.

Singapore meets America on my front porch

Singapore meets America on my front porch

 Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

Whether from Singapore or America, we all experience joy

An experience in New England...

A musical experience in New England


September 11, 2014

9/11: 13 Years Later—2014




Today we pause to remember the 9/11/2001 events that altered so many aspects of the United States. My husband Monte and I live about 20 miles from where Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County. Below is a list of articles I’ve posted through the years since the tragedy. I hope you take time to read some of them on this day of remembrance. Click on the titles to access the complete articles.

All of the following articles are posted on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS except LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2 and The Twin Towers 

NOTE: The Westmoreland County Historical Society magazine being released later this month contains an in depth article on Flight of Valor, the music composition commissioned by the Somerset County Community Band. It ties in the roles many Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, residents took following the crash of Flight 93 in the adjacent county of Somerset.

NOTE: September 11 is also the birthday of my late nephew Todd James Jay. Keep my sister in your prayers today, too.

LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2

NOTE: This story is posted on the Laurel Mountain Borough newsletter site.

LMB resident John was working in one of the twin towers in New York City the morning of September 11, 2001. His story will be posted in the LMBoroLMPark Newsletter in three parts. To view photo illustrations taken by John, click on: September 11, 2001, John was in New York City working as a freelance sound recordist/video engineer. He had many clients in downtown New York, where he found most of his jobs. He also worked in Philadelphia and other places, but the New York work was most challenging.This Tuesday he was working at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (Company), a very large financial consultant company similar to J. P. Morgan. He’s worked there a half dozen times. They had a television studio they’d just built, completed in December 2000.They had called me to (more…)

September 9, 2014

Welcoming the Stranger Into Your Church



NOTE: When I saw the September 8, 2014, WordPress prompt, Greetings-stranger, my first thought was welcoming strangers into the church. Was it  a coincidence—or a God-incidence—that the title of the September 8th Upper Room devotion, written by Hugh Lake of Georgia, was Welcome Stranger?Some of the content of the following was excerpted from this devotion.

The boxes of stuff were finally unpacked, freeing me to explore our new community. It had taken several months to unpack, during which I’d noticed a small café tucked behind the local dime store.

On a midweek midmorning I entered the cozy homelike café. I took a seat at a table for two. The steaming coffee hit the spot, and I settled in, reading the local newspaper left behind by an earlier customer while waiting for my order of scrambled eggs, rye toast, and sausage links.

I was absorbed in a local story when I was startled by a tap on my shoulder.

“What’s your name?” the tall, older woman asked.

“Carolyn,” I said. “Carolyn Holland.”

“I’m Anna. I’ve been looking for you,” she said. “I saw your name in the guest book at church last Sunday and hoped I’d see you somewhere this week. May I join you?”

“Certainly,” I said, welcoming the company.

“It was nice you visited my church,” she said. “Are you considering returning?”

“My husband and I are visiting different churches in the community. We’re not certain where we’ll end up.”

“It can be scary to walk into a new church, being a stranger. Tell me about your explorations.”

For some reason I felt comfortable enough with Anna to share my impressions of the church visits.

“I’ve been really disappointed. I’d hoped we would find an authentic church environment but it hasn’t happened. We visited several churches in our denomination. We visited one three times and not one person spoke to us. In the others we were greeted at the door and then ignored. It’s not that I expect we should be fawned over, but at least there should be some welcome extended to a visitor.”

“Sometimes those of us who’ve been part of a local church for years forget how scary it can be to walk in as a stranger. We may also forget the importance (more…)

September 7, 2014

Doing the Tanka



The WordPress Weekly Writing prompt for September 2, 2014, encouraged me to write in a genre different than my usual—tanka, a cousin of haiku.

Traditional haiku is present tense, and captures a moment in time. It is a metaphor, not a simile, and  has 3 non-rhyming lines containing a total of 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 line structure (lines 1 and 3 have 5 syllables, line 2 has 7 syllables).

Traditional tanka contains 5 lines and 31 syllables, in a 5-7-5-7-7 line structure, although it was noted that many contemporary poets take liberty with these specifics.

We were encouraged to write about something in our lives, perhaps in the past week. Below is my attempt.

140907 IMG_5754E


Mercilessly cut

the apple tree’s twisted limbs

no matter—who cares

likely his lifespan’s over

autumn brings apples galore

140719 IMG_6395E1


Spring seeds embedded

in rich soil under the sun

seedlings do flourish

yield vegetables, flowers

that served deer and storm, not man


September 6, 2014

An Apple Cider Adventure




Adventures come dressed in various outfits. My husband Monte and I have experienced many types of adventures in our 48 years of marriage. Among them are our apple cider ventures, described in Fresh Apple Cider and a Drunk Moose .

This year we decided to drive to New Centerville, Pennsylvania, to attend the  annual  Farmers & Threshermens Jubilee, sponsored by the New Centerville & Rural Volunteer Fire Company.  It’s  the only place we know of around our home where we can  find fresh pressed apple cider—not the treated stuff of the current day grocery store.

I talked to a delightful volunteer, Leonard Compton, 88 years old. He’s worked with the cider press 23 years, since he retired in 1991.

Arriving  early the first day of the festivities (our 48th anniversary) we watched them revitalize the old cider press put into use 2 years ago, then watched the first apples roll through. This new-to-New Centerville cider press can both squeeze the apples and chop them at the same time.

Below are photos from our adventure in the apple cider barn.

140903 IMG_4625E

Golden Delicious apples await the press...

Golden Delicious apples await the press…


September 4, 2014

Woolly Worm’s Prediction for Winter 2014-2015 & 11 Facts About the Woolly Worm





Sit and relax?

Sit and relax?

STAY TUNED TO THIS POST for any future updates on the woolly worm’s prediction for winter 2014-2015. The data isn’t out yet. My daughter Sandy reports the first sighting, with black on both ends. If you spot a woolly worm/woolly bear let me know, in the comment box, the color of its stripes and therefore its prediction.

My personal first September sighting of the woolly worm was in my daughter’s garden in the late afternoon of September 9. It was hidden in the leaves of a large cabbage she was picking for me: 140809 IMG_0139E

This is the time of year that people actively seek to discover what the coming winter will be like. One resource they search online is the wooly worm a.k.a. woolly bear. In the tradition of past years, I’m posting a feature on the creature, this year in the form of a quiz. Previous posts discuss other aspects of the woolly worm:

Wooly Worm Winter Weather Prediction 2013-2014

The 2012-2013 Weather Prediction from the Woolly Worm & Accuweather

Wooly Worms Predict the 2011 PA. Winter Weather

 Cry foul on the frigid cold---too cold to swim.

Cry foul on the frigid cold—too cold to swim.


  1. What’s the difference between the woolly worm and the woolly bear?
  2. The woolly worm is well-known because…
  3. The woolly worm is actually not a worm, or a bear. What is it?
  4. How fast do woolly worms crawl?
  5. How many stripes does a woolly worm have?
  6. Original studies of the woolly worm were done in 1948 by whom?
  7. How many different species of tiger moths are there?
  8. What two towns celebrate the woolly worm at annual October festivals?
  9. What determines the woolly worm’s coloring?
  10. What special traits do Arctic woolly worms have?


What three ways does the woolly worm pass its winter weather prediction on to us humans?

A bundle

A bundle

Click on MORE to learn the answers.


September 2, 2014

6 Lessons From the Aids 2014 Conference





 No one can be left behind if the AIDS epidemic is to come to an end by 2030. This was one of the main messages of the 20th International AIDS Conference, which closed in Melbourne, Australia, on 25 July (2014).

AIDS 2014 concluded with a general sense that, despite all the progress made to date, the social determinants of the epidemic still need to be addressed. Existing punitive laws and stigma and discrimination were identified as some of the main barriers to bringing the epidemic under control. Catering for the needs of adolescents and key populations at higher risk of infection was identified as important for an effective response to AIDS, as well as focusing programmes in the geographical areas where most new HIV infections occur.*

The conference, organized by the International Aids Society, was attended by more than 16,000 members from more than 177 countries. The society is the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals working at all levels on the global response to AIDS.




Next Page »

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 292 other followers