September 30, 2014

October 2014 Welcome Message



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Each time I drive down our local section of the Lincoln Highway (Rt. 30) in Pennsylvania more trees strut their vibrant colors. Mother Nature’s wardrobe change is well into transitioning from monochromatic greens to brilliant red, gold, and bronze.  It’s striking—and a good reason for living in this part of God’s world.

In September we spent a lot of time in Slippery Rock, 82 miles away, but the problems are almost resolved and we won’t have to travel back and forth so often.

Last November my husband Monte finally trimmed our knarled, bent over, apple tree. He was concerned that this action would stop producing its 3-6 poor apples. He was mighty surprised at the number of apples old faithful produced. I slaved over a large kettle making applesauce, some of which I froze to enjoy when the snow lays a two-foot blanket over our yard.

Our snow pea, green bean, and floral crops were enjoyed by a deer with a disfigured leg. We must improve our deer fence next summer. However, we did have a good crop of potatoes. Well, good being relative…in days of yore I would have considered my yield to be meager.

Coming in October: Ligonier Days with its wonderful parade, food booths, craft booths, and people. For several years I’ve photographed it from a second floor window, with gratitude to the tenant for allowing me to do so. The Beanery Writers will have a table in front of Second Chapter Books from 2:00-5:00 p. m. on Sunday. If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.

The weather so far this month has been fantastic. Monte has been painting the house and the patio, both of which will be completed next spring.

Enjoy this wonderful month. It could be a bitter winter.

Carolyn Cornell Holland

September 28, 2014

Tarantulas: Those Scary Creeping Things




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 6:7   So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.”  (KJV)

REFLECTION:     Many people would be happy if somehow the creepy, creeping tarantulas were destroyed, removed from the earth. But some people set out to save sick ones.

The June 5, 1999 AP headline captured my attention: Sick tarantula getting top-notch care.

2 ½ ounce Goliath, No. 79011, had an infection oozing from her side and an abscess the size of a quarter. The infection gave the salad-plate sized eight-legged critter value. She could teach doctors about medical care of tarantulas in captivity.

The antibiotic wasn’t working. Veterinarians planned CAT scans to identify problems during surgery that hopefully would correct Goliath’s problem.

Goliath, with her dark brown hair and turret of eyes atop her flat head, able to make a fearless person arachnophobic, must be a special spider. Such great lengths to save a creature that has “a habit of showing her fangs and shooting barbed hairs from her rump” doesn’t seem like something I might consider.

One of my pre-married era boyfriends would think differently. Stanley, my senior prom date, attended (more…)

September 27, 2014

Nighttime Shooting…With Camera



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The WordPress weekly photo challenge starting today, September 26, 2014, is nighttime. The question asked was What nocturnal photos do you like taking? Among my likes is the moon, which I featured in my post Supermoon: August 10, 2014

However, I also like taking nighttime photos in general. Below is a variety of nighttime shots taken of other subjects.

FYI, the cardinal below didn’t fly off as I took several flash photos of him.

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September 24, 2014

Separation of Church & State: A Historic Boiling Pot




 The melting pot that America’s Christian founders guarded never boiled like this…Their historic wall between government and religion kept the peace among fractured Protestant sects, helping the United States build shared schools and a common culture early in the 1790s.*



Did religious freedom exist as Europeans settled on North American soil, in what was to become the United States of America?

In my background research for my novel Intertwined Love I’ve discovered that the melting pot on American soil has, from the time of the founding settlers, been boiling “just like this”

The Province Charter of 1691 provided that, in Massachusetts, there be “a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worshipp of God to all Christians Except Papists.”

  • Note: Papist is a (usually disparaging) term or an anti-Catholic slur, referring to the Roman Catholic Church, its teachings, practices, or adherents.)

Barely a year later the basic principle of religious establishment was laid down by statute:

  •  “Able, learned, orthodox” ministers “of good conversation,” approved by a majority of the church-going voters in a “town or place” were to be supported by taxes levied upon all of the inhabitants…For towns which were delinquent in providing such a minister, the Court of General Sessions for the county could “take effectual care to procure and settle a minister qualified as aforesaid, and order the charge thereof and of such minister’s maintenance to be levied on the inhabitants of such town.”

Each Massachusetts “town or place” had an established church or congregation that represented the beliefs of a majority of community residents—generally Calvinist doctrine and (more…)

September 23, 2014

Autumn Leaf Masquerade Ball



Almost every time my husband and I travel to New England in the autumn I’m asked Are you going to leaf peep?

I ask them back Why would I go to New England to leaf peep? I live in the Ligonier Valley, in Pennsylvania, at the northern end of the Appalachian mountains, which is one of the best leaf-peeping regions in the country.

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(Photo taken in Boston in autumn, 2013)

This is not to say that, when traveling home from New England, I don’t enjoy following the north-to-south progression of autumn’s brilliant foliage. I can simulate the leaf-change progression locally by traveling into the Ligonier Valley from atop Laurel Mountain, close to 3,000 foot elevation. Truly, I agree with George Eliot who wrote Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns, and Albert Camu, who wrote Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower.

Accordingly, autumn is the time at the green-theme Autumn Leaf Masquerade Ball, when deciduous tree leaves gradually remove their masks and show their true colors. Their mask is created by a green pigment, chlorophyll—a biomolecule essential for converting sunlight into energy during a process known as photosynthesis. Once this green mask is shed the true colors that have remained hidden, yellow and orange (called carotenoids), amaze all whose eyes view them.

Autumn in the hills of Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania

Autumn in the hills of Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania

Red and purple pigments (anthocyanins) are also buried under the green mask. These colors are revealed only when the sugar in leaves breaks down in late summer. The more prevalent the anthocyanins the more fiery the leaves will be…think red maples, red oaks, dogwood and sweet gum trees.


As autumn leaves unmask

A population of thousands

Caps their host trees in (more…)

September 21, 2014

Marriage Can Endure…



In 1999 a magazine approached me with a request: would I do a piece for them on a couple celebrating their 70th anniversary? You can read about their life together on a previous post, on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS:  SEVENTY YEARS OF LOVE . While doing the interview for the article I snapped the following picture:


Seventy years of marriage. Anyone marrying that long ago would expect to be married until death—that the marriage vows that state as long as you live, ‘til death you do part are serious business. Marriages would endure.

It is unlikely that my husband Monte and I will celebrate 70 years of marriage. However, our marriage has lasted longer than most—we celebrated 40 years on September 3 in this year of 2014, by having An Apple Cider Adventure . We look forward to our 50th in two years.


My grandparents, Albert and Mable (May Isabelle) married in 1920, and separated by my grandmother’s death 35 years later. The gloves she wore in her wedding were laid over my daughters Bible when she was married in 2008. The gloves, to me, represent marital stability. They endured for 88 years and remain in good condition.


In the box with the gloves was a (more…)

September 20, 2014

Endurance Illustrated Photographically



The WordPress weekly photo challenge for September 19, 2014, is endurance—to show what endurance means to me. I can best do this by photographing examples of others who demonstrate what endurance is.

The hands of my late elderly aunt, Nyllis Gardner (Cape Cod, Massachusetts), were so crippled by arthritis I wondered how she could hold a spoon to eat. Yet she endured pain, struggling to hand-stitch many Barbie doll clothes that were sold at her church bazaar. She allowed me to photograph her hands during one of my visits.

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Nature, too, can endure. It may be mid-September but some blooms refuse to accept that their season is done. There are yellow blooms on a forsythia bush near my local post office, and four crocus are blooming under my apple tree. And my morning glories produced their first blooms on September 14.

 140918 IMG_7183E (more…)

September 18, 2014

Recipe for Apple Brownies



 QUESTION: If you asked for a “love-apple” in early New England, what would you have asked for?

ANSWER: A tomato

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I know you wouldn’t want to substitute a “love-apple” in the following recipe. I suspect, however, that the following recipe will result in a delicious treat. I can only suspect this because I have never tried making apple brownies. If you try making them, please, let me know if my suspicion on its deliciousiosity  is correct.

This recipe was saved from a church newsletter (probably in New England) to which it was submitted by (more…)

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





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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


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