August 31, 2013

Somerset Band Ends Ligonier (PA) Summer Concert Series



Hug for Dan and his almost-500 day wife




On Sunday evenings a crowd forms on the Diamond in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, to hear musical strains of local community bands. This year’s season finale was presented by the Somerset County Community, their last concert of their 25th anniversary.


IMG_3183E (more…)

August 30, 2013

Fredericktown Ferry’s Almost-Last run



Hugs for all the persons on Fred’s

almost-last run across the Mon River

NOTE: Wednesday was  Fred Ferry’s the last day.

The Thursday and Friday runs were cancelled

due to high Monongahela River water.



“It’s too bad you read the newspaper,” my husband told me this August 28, 2013, morning as I did my morning wake-up ritual, reading the newspaper while sipping a mug of coffee.

He was referring to a May article I read stating that the historic Fredericktown Ferry would have its last run on September 3, our 47th anniversary.

“Wouldn’t that be a neat way to celebrate?” I commented.

Sporadically through the summer I attempted to learn the last run schedule. I discovered the September 3 date was set not considering that it was after Labor Day weekend. Fred the Ferry would likely have its last run on the Friday before the weekend.

But the momentum for us to visit Fred, was on. As the third week of August arrived, however, we still had no set date. Finding the Fred Ferry website I requested some information in a comment, which garnered an email response from one of the site’s managers, Evan Williams: Since the ferry is on a truncated schedule next week, potentially operating from 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM, we want to get a group, a large group, to meet down the ferry at noon on Wednesday the 28th. We can all get on, take a ride, BS, shoot some final videos for histories sake, and try and get a nice group photograph…

So our question became—Should we wait until Friday for the historic last run or should we join the party on Wednesday?—because going on our anniversary wasn’t an option. But we could celebrate early.

On Tuesday evening I decided I’d had it sorting and filing papers and suffering through a dental appointment. I raised my hands, saying Let’s blow caution to the winds and go. Neither our daughter nor a couple friends could make it either day. However, our good friend Lois made a last-minute change in her day off joined us.

The sky began shedding gentle tears on Tuesday evening as I went to bed at midnight. A little after 1:00 a.m. I heard a dreadful sound. The gentleness of the tears had turned into sobbing, an emotional outburst of raindrops pounding our roof accompanied by a tympani of thunder. At 4:00 and 7:20 a. m. the sky’s tears still flowed amply. Monte said the tears would stop between mid-morning and 1:30 p. m. when more rainfall was predicted.

We left the house at 9:52 a. m. The sky, overcast but its tears no longer falling, was hanging on by an emotional thread, ready to break down at any moment.

Rt. 30 east---Ligonier, PA

Rt. 30 east—Ligonier, PA

We picked up Lois as Ligonier’s Heritage United Methodist Church bells joined the Ligonier Town Hall bells in ringing in the hour—10:00 a. m. For better or worse, we were going to meet Fred for the first time on one of his last rides across the Mon River. Our decision was based on both our anniversary and on the fact that Fred was born in 1790, the same year a group of French emigres crossed from Alexandria, Virginia to the town they were founding, Gallipolis. They traversed the Nemacolin Indian trail to its end at Redstone (Brownsville), a few miles upriver from Fred Ferry.  They then traveled up the Mon River to the Ohio River and on to Gallipolis. I’ve researched this because it is a part of the historic romance novel  I’m writing on 1790s land speculators Gen. Henry Jackson and William Duer.

Upriver towards Redstone (Brownsville), PA

Upriver towards Redstone (Brownsville), PA

Downriverview of the Mon

Downriverview of the Mon

The Fredericktown Ferry, 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, is the last of three original ferries to run across s 400 foot wide section of the Monongahela River between Fredericktown, (Washington County) and La Belle (Fayette County).

West side of the Mon River

West side of the Mon River

East side of the Mon River

East side of the Mon River

It’s a quaint little artifact that (more…)

August 27, 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt 8/24/2013: These Boots Were Made for Walking…Where???



Hug for David, once our German exchange student



The wordpress daily prompt for August 24, 2013, was These boots were made for walking…


Looking up at the elderly couple I smiled and said “Americana.”

It was the second week of November, 2000. My husband Monte and I were in Germany. On Wahlberg Mountain, to be specific. And I was belly down on the stoned path attempting to photograph the scene far below us—Tegernsee Lake—through the tall grasses at the edge of the path.  

After I snapped a couple of shots I looked up and saw the couple, amusement dancing in their eyes. I had to say something, and my German is pretty well non-existent. So “Americana” was all I could think of saying.


We were in Munich for a two-week visit with my son Nolan, who was studying on a post-doctorate program at Ludwig Maximilians University.

Before we left the states I’d made a list of the things I thought would be interesting to do. Of course, my list is always longer than our time, so we couldn’t do everything.

My list included two items I hated to sacrifice to time:

  • going to the top of one Alp mountain
  • spending the night at a farm.

I chose the farm.

With our son along as a guide, we traveled to the village of Rottach-Egern, which is approximately 35 miles (in a straight line) from Munich. By the time we arrived it was pitch dark, which created much interest as we attempted to find the farm. Finally, success.

The “room” we rented was a mini-apartment on the second floor of the farmhouse. Of course, the couple didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak German, but Nolan managed to get us settled quickly so he could return to Munich.

As we approached the farm I noticed something—a string of lights rising high into the air. What luck. We were about a two-block walk from an Alp—Mt. Wahlberg.

We rose early in the morning and took a cable car almost to the top of the Alp—which rises 1722 meters or 1.07 miles. There was still more mountain when we exited the cable car, and a path that led to different levels.

We explored the area where the cable car stopped. We stopped at the chapel, and walked the path. And I snapped pictures of Tegernsee Lake. I hope that the couple I greeted didn’t end up thinking badly of Americans.


Monte decided he would attempt to climb further up the mountain, but I didn’t (more…)

August 25, 2013

The Catgut Story



Hug for Dmitri


I ended my post  WP Challenge: I Remember…the Agony of Appendectomy Stitch Removal with Since I’ve had a long-time curiosity about catgut stitches, I plan to do a post on that soon.

The soon is today, so here is all you wanted to know about catgut, the material used to secure my appendectomy wound.


The dictionary definition of catgut is ‘a tough cord made from the intestines of animals, especially sheep.”

Catgut, to Everyman, prompts speculation as to its feline origin. There is, however, in fact no evidence that the intestine of the cat has ever been used to produce catgut strings.

The name can be traced back to the Arabic cither, an early stringed instrument. The same root is seen in the old name for the dancing master’s fiddle, a kit. From kitgut to catgut is an easy etymological step.

Mention catgut to…a musician, he recalls the mellow tones of the violin or cello; to a sportsman and he wonders if he remembered to replace the press on his tennis raquet…and a surgeon…he thinks of a suture material

…the use of animal intestine as a ‘string’ dates back as far as there are records of mankind. Susruta, a Hindu writer who lived about 1500 B. C., refers to the use of cotton, drawn copper, horsehair, and animal intestines as ligatures. Ferrara, an Italian, at the end of the 16th century used intestines of tortoises amongst other suture materials…

A short digression may be permissible to make reference to a natural means of wound closure which has been known for hundreds of years, namely the use of the mandibles of certain species of biting ants. The edges of a wound are brought together manually, the ant is held by its body and allowed to bite across the wound edges; the moment it has done so the body (more…)

August 24, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge 8/23/2013: Focus



Hugs for all the Wounded Warrior veterans




The wordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for August 23, 2013, is Focus: Snap a photo of something or someone in focus, against a blurred background.

Two men waiting to participate in the Wounded Warriors walk through Ligonier, Pennsylvania:



August 22, 2013

Cherry-Almond Glazed Pork

Filed under: RECIPES — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,



Hug for Gail, who requested this recipe years ago.


When my cousin Gail visited me while I lived in Buffalo, many moons ago, I served a cherry-basted roast that she never forgot.

For about 10 years she’s been after me for the recipe. Last I knew she found a recipe and used it, but it is probably NOT this recipe, which is the only recipe for cherry glazed pork I’ve come across in my files..

 So I post this recipe for cherry-almond glazed pork for her benefit, and I will send the original copy to her.


When you brown and cook the chops, be sure that they do not overlap in the skilled, so each one will be evenly glazed with the cherry sauce. For 2 or 4 servings, you’ll find the pork chops easier to prepare and serve than a tiny roast. But when it comes to a dinner for 6 or more, we recommend the pork loin roast with the same scrumptious cherry-almond glaze.

TO SERVE 2 OR 4 (4 in parentheses)

2 (4) pork chops (more…)

August 20, 2013

Deer Facts From Deere (A Young Buck)



Hug for Monte, the photographer


Hi there,

I was snacking in a wonderful yard containing a feast of flora and fauna when the master of the house (Monte) first saw me. He seemed pretty tame, so I didn’t run immediately. But my better nature won out when I heard a strange clicking noise coming from him, and I scooted off quickly.


But the buffet feast was so plentiful and yummy that I returned and stayed longer. This human Monte was there again, and I realized he wasn’t too scary, and the clicking noise he made was softer this time, so I hung around for a while, filling my belly.

I might note that the clicking sound the human made was a trigger finger—not on the feared gun, but on a camera that somehow created an image of me for his collection.

I’d like to tell you about myself—fondly named Deere by Monte’s wife—and my family.


 I’m a whitetail deer.

In North America the elk, moose, caribou, mule deer and . blacktail deer are related to me. There are about 100 types of deer (30 recognized). All of us have some common characteristics.

ScientificaIly I’m part of the family Cervidae, order Artiodactyle—way too technical! Being an Artiodactyle simply means I have hoofs with an even number of toes. My scientific name Odocoileus virginianus,, but please call me Deere.

I’m also labeled an ungulate (hoofed animal) because each of my feet ends in a cloven or two-piece hoof. 

Perhaps the children would like a page to color:


As a herbivore, I like tender young leaves, stems, shoots and in some areas acorns and mushrooms. Wild fruits and agricultural crops are especially great, but it’s rumored that this human rants and raves when us deer stand on our hind legs to reach the apples and pears on the fruit trees. Also, they have some kind of netting around their vegetable garden, so all I can do is look at the produce longingly.

Humans call me a buck, bull, stag, or hart, which means I’m a boy. Girl deer are called does, cows, or hinds, and our children are known as fawns or calfs


 It’s easy to tell I’m a boy in the summer and (more…)

August 18, 2013

WP Challenge: Green-eyed Monster Over Unfinished Novel



A Hug for Sal, Chuck, Joe, Joanne, Kathleen (writers I envy)


The wordpress daily prompt for August 3, 2013, was Write an anonymous letter to someone you’re jealous of.


 It took some thinking to come up with something that causes my eye color to change from a warm brown to an atrocious shade of green. I’m pretty satisfied with my life. I’m just not green-eyed at anyone or anything.

Well…there’s dance. I’ve always liked to dance, but I’m pretty poor at it and I’m married to a non-dancer. As I sat through my children’s dance classes, I envied their ability. But not to the green-eyed level. I lived it through their eyes and moved on.

Then, there’s music. It comes to me as I sit at the Ligonier (PA) Sunday concert on the Diamond, listening to a group of singers chant There’s Nothing But Blue Skies. Yes, I do envy those persons who can at least carry a tune without it trailing off worse than a mountain stream winding its way down a mountain, avoiding every rock and bank in its path.

Yes, I envy musical people. But not to the degree that my green eyes would cause a bold person to back off.

Along with music is an ear for language. I envy persons whose ear makes it possible and easy to learn languages. But again, not so much that my eyes turn green. I simply attribute this talent as their gift, and not mine.

Language. If only I had time and talent…I would pick up French. I’ve had many problems with French documents and books while researching and writing my novel.

Suddenly…I’m in an AHA moment. That’s it. I know what makes my eyes begin to turn hues of green…my novel.

I envy persons whose novel is written, when I don’t know if I have a sufficient amount of life left to complete mine.

So my letter begins with my writing to those persons in the Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, PA), who have published one or more novels:


Dear Sal, Chuck, Joe, Joanne, Kathleen (did I miss anyone?):

I want to tell you how much you bring out the green shades of my eyes because you have one or more books in print, books you can pick up and have tactile sensory perception with. Books with words that others read with interest.

My first draft isn’t even complete. It’s been a long time of overcoming challenges and trying to create scenes. It is a difficult novel to write, this historical romance tome I’m trying to produce.

Of course, I know why it’s so difficult. I’m using the (more…)

August 17, 2013

A Day in Ligonier, PA — Aug. 17, 2013

Filed under: LIGONIER (PA),PHOTOGRAPHY — carolyncholland @ 11:45 pm



Hugs for the Valley Players of Ligonier


I started the day at the Farmer’s Market and ended it at Ligonier Theater’s production of Nunsense A-Men!




August 15, 2013

Judge Changes Baby Messiah’s Name



Hug for Sandy and Nolan


Iceland teen. Blaer, sues court to keep her first name.

Judge orders baby Messiah’s name to be Martin.


One of the most difficult challenges my husband Monte and I have experienced in our 47 years of marriage was choosing names for our children.

Even today, choosing names remains a difficult challenge.

Perhaps it’s because a name comes with the baggage of those who carried it beforehand. Or perhaps it’s because it implies expectations of who and what that child will become, something we cannot know and that we feel the child should choose him or her self.

070709-09E OVAL h

In January I read with interest about a 15-year old girl who wanted to keep the given name her mother named her. Blaer’s request was turned down by a bureaucracy committee that approves names not on their personal Names Register, which contains 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit the country’s grammar and pronunciation rules.  If a parent chooses a name not on that list apply to a special committee that has the power to approve it.

When Blaer’s mother chose the name Blaer, meaning light breeze, she was unaware it wasn’t on the approved list.

At first Blaer’s request was (more…)

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