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Deb Spalding

Mel-PooleCatoctin Mountain Park Superintendent, Mel Poole, will retire on August 25, 2015, having completed an adventurous thirty-seven year career with the National Park Service (NPS). When summarizing his contributions, Poole let out a chuckle. Correction, it was more of a flat-out laugh. I soon understood why as he reviewed the many roles he’s filled during his career.

About Catoctin Mountain Park, where he’s spent the majority of the last seventeen years within the National Park Service system, he said, “For sure, the park is bigger, if not better,” as he explained that the park has grown from 5,772 acres to its current size of 5,890 acres.

He recalled that Catoctin Mountain Park was the first in the National Capital Region to look at deer management in order to aid in forest regeneration. Don’t forget that until the 1920s, the Catoctin forest was substantially cut over by various timber businesses to make charcoal for Catoctin Furnace. The mountain has been growing back, or regenerating, since then. Poole was part of a regional Environmental Assessment team that was formed in 1978 to determine what to do about the increasing deer population at Catoctin Park.

Poole noted that the park knows more about its natural resources than ever, but are still finding new species and monitoring populations of species. Park resources are faced with a huge range of issues: invasive species, threats to vegetation like the Gypsy Moth and hemlock, future potential threats like Emerald Ash Bore (EAB), all overlaid with fluctuating climate conditions like rainfall, severe storms, and changing air and water quality.

Brook trout have been an icon in Catoctin Mountain Park, drawing fly fisherman from near and far. In recent years, there has been a decline in the numbers of brook trout, not only across the State of Maryland, but across the country as well. Less than nine percent of historic brook trout habitat remains nationwide and sixty-two percent of the historic habitat has been lost in Maryland.

The depth of Poole’s knowledge of all of the varying parts he’s managed within the park, from studies of current plant and animal species, management and preventive maintenance of those species, and day to day challenges created by the use of the park by humans, is difficult to convey in this short space, but be assured that Poole’s knowledge is comprehensive.

He said, Catoctin Mountain Park “has one of the strongest resource protection ethics of all the parks in the region.” He shifted credit for this ethic to current coworkers and former employees of the park. He also shared credit with other state and local park systems and federal, state, and county agencies, indicating that the high standards would not be achieved without their support, cooperation, and contributions towards a shared vision.

Poole’s ethics, like that of his peers, mirror those of the National Park Service’s 1916 Organic Act that mandated the conservation and preservation of natural resources for future generations. He said, “Invasive species have the ability to come to us within twelve hours, thanks to air travel. Globally, it’s hard to keep outside influences from impacting the ecosystems that we’re trying to manage.”

Raised in the Tidewater area of Virginia, and with deep family roots in coastal North Carolina, Poole is one in a proud family of public servants. He said he knew he wanted to be a ranger from about age eight when he wrote his congressman and asked for a job. He claims he was a typical suburban kid who, in junior high, wandered into the woods in his neighborhood where he discovered life and wonder, which further fueled his interest in nature. He then climbed the ranks of Scouts as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer, spending his time completing tasks to earn outdoor conservation merit badges.

He was fortunate, at age fourteen, to attend the National Boy Scout Conservation Camp, where he spent time building trails with professors from Rutgers University who taught conservation. Poole said, “I ate it up! I absolutely loved it.”

From a tent mate who was from Pennsylvania, Poole learned about the varying wild life and terrain in Pennsylvania. He said he felt the camp mate, “might as well have been from Mars,” because he described a landscape so different from Poole’s coastal habitat. He also met people from Texas, New York, New Hampshire, and Georgia, and learned that there were even more parts of America. He said, “I was going to see them all.” He then worked in a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program in Norfolk, Virginia, for three years and went on to college at Virginia Tech, where he earned a degree in horticulture by way of forestry and landscape architecture.

He accepted his first job within the NPS in 1978 as a gardener in the White House greenhouse. President Carter was in the White House at that time. Later, working with National Capital Parks-East, a management unit based in D.C., he gained experience with hard-core urban parks, but also worked on a portion of the Potomac River and historic sites, where he worked with vegetation management and cultural landscapes. It was here and along the Anacostia River that he worked oil spills, first as a Hazardous Materials Specialist for the park and then at the regional level. This work, along with firefighting and water fowl hunting management, made for exciting daily adventures.

In 1984, he qualified as an interagency firefighter. For six years, he fought fires each summer and fall in Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Montana, and California. Meanwhile, he progressed in grade and served as the Regional Fire Management Officer for six months, during which time he mobilized firefighter crews from the mid-Atlantic area to wherever forest fires were occurring across the continental United States. In 1989, he was detailed to Kodiak, Alaska, to help clean up the Exxon Valdez Oil spill. He said, “That was interesting, because I thought Denver’s mountains were big. It’s double that in Alaska.” His oil spill expertise would again be put to the test when he was assigned to the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast in 2010.

Before accepting the Superintendent job at Catoctin Mountain Park, Poole was the Park Manager at President’s Park in Washington, D.C.—ground zero for First Amendment activity in Lafayette Park and lineups for White House public tours. He helped at seven Easter Egg Rolls, seven White House Christmas Tree Lightings, and two Presidential Inaugurations. Poole literally watched history being made every day during his time in Presidents Park.

A career highlight for Poole occurred in 1992 when then First Lady Barbara Bush requested that the National Park Service provide a White House tour for every fourth grader in Washington, D.C. Poole handed a script to rangers who greeted school children at the Northwest Gate where, every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., fourth graders entered the White House through the front door on the North Portico. These kids witnessed daily business and history of the nation as they moved through the White House on their tours. He said, “It was a great school year for them, and a great experience for all the NPS rangers!”

In 1994, a new visitor pavilion was built on the Ellipse at President’s Park to replace a kiosk where Poole and his park rangers worked. It was complete with new bathrooms for visitors and a first-aid room where rangers could treat minor visitor injuries. He said, “We saw that as a quantum leap forward.”

In April 1995, Poole helped to open the White House Visitor Center across the street at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition to high quality exhibits on White House history and a retail store staffed by the White House Historical Association, the National Park Service provided public tour ticketing for visitors each morning until 9/11 ended that tour operation. It was a big milestone to open that facility because, even if you couldn’t take a tour of the White House, you could still have a White House experience. In June of that year, Poole went to Shenandoah National Park to temporarily serve as Public Information Officer on the incident team managing a double homicide investigation. This case was later featured on America’s Most Wanted.

Poole finished at President’s Park in 1997 and moved to Catoctin Mountain Park. He’s been at Catoctin since March 1997, leaving briefly in 2006 to serve as Superintendent at George Washington Memorial Parkway, and again in 2009 to serve as acting Superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park.

His milestones at Catoctin include work on President Clinton’s Middle East Summit, President Obama’s G8 Summit, and Gulf Coast Summit. In 2008, the park conducted a two-day search operation that successfully recovered a lost eighty-one-year-old woman.

Upon retirement, he is planning some genealogy research, some doing nothing, and a visit to a lifesaving station on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, where three of his cousins were keepers, to volunteer.

Poole and his wife, Candy, will continue to reside in Thurmont. Their son, Joshua, is currently serving in the Marine Corps, stationed at New River Air Station in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Their daughter, Lauren, recently graduated from Penn State, and landed a job as page designer for a newspaper in North Carolina.

Deb Spalding

barnstormers rebecca pearlThe 9th Annual Barnstormers Tour and Plein Air Paint-Out was held on Saturday, June 13, 2015. Local artist Rebecca Pearl was one of thirty-five artists to participate. The event was sponsored by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation as a fundraiser to support the preservation of barns in the Frederick County area. The day’s activities gave attention to these beautiful old structures and their importance to our agricultural heritage.

The day had three components: a ticketed barn tour for the general public; an art contest, show, and sale; and various educational demonstrations and displays. Tickets included a guide book and map.

This year, the barns of the scenic Sugarloaf Mountain Region were featured. Artists were sent to various farms, where they each determined a perspective to draw or paint. Rebecca was randomly assigned to paint Moon Shadow Farm, located just over the Frederick County border in Montgomery County. She had never been to that location before.

“It was quiet and gorgeous. It was hot and humid. It usually is. That’s part of the challenge of plein aire (outdoor) painting. You put up with the changing light, the weather, and people talking to you,” said Rebecca.

She walked around for a while when she arrived, looked at a lot of different perspectives and lighting, and finally settled into a fenced pasture and set up. She painted until about 2:30 p.m. and then gathered her supplies and moved to the event headquarters, where a reception would be held that evening. There was no requirement on the size or number of paintings created. Once she arrived at the headquarters, every artist matted and framed their own canvas. All was complete by late afternoon and ready for the reception.

This year, tour headquarters were located at Wildcat Spring Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland. Once the art was displayed, the artists left and a judge was brought in. When the judge’s decisions were made, the artists were invited back. The judge reviewed aspects of each award winner’s art as the winners were revealed.

Rebecca had entered the event five times in the past and won first place one time before. This year, she was surprised when her watercolor was selected for first place.

“I was shocked!” expressed Rebecca. Rebecca recalled that the judge liked the composition of her watercolor, complementing the pattern of light in the painting, and expressing that it had a finished look.

“It was so worth it to put myself out there,” said Rebecca.

Dean Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction, Inc. purchased Rebecca’s painting. It turns out that his company had completely rebuilt and renovated the barn that Rebecca painted

James Rada, Jr.

Joan Boyle

June 4, 1913 – July 11, 2015

joan-boyle-2Emmitsburg lost its oldest citizen on July 11, 2015, when Joan Boyle passed away at St. Joseph’s Ministries in Emmitsburg. She was 102 years old.

Boyle was born June 4, 1913, in Adams County, Pennsylvania, but she spent much of her life trying to improve Emmitsburg.

She was elected in 1981 as an Emmitsburg town commissioner and served for a term. In an unpublished 2007 interview she gave to the author, she said that she decided to run for the same reason many people get involved in politics at the local level.

“I remember I would pick up the paper and read about what was going on, and I thought, ‘It’s such a mess,’” Boyle said.

Because she had taught a civics class during her twenty years of teaching in Washington County, she believed she had enough knowledge to run a town.

So she began campaigning door to door and was elected as the town’s parks and recreation commissioner in 1981.

She remembers as she lowered her hand after taking the oath of office, Mayor Eugene Myers, who had just sworn her in, told her, “I must tell you there’s no money in the budget for parks and recreation.”

At that point, Boyle knew she had her work cut out for her.

A member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, she also attended St. Euphemia’s School in the 1920s. The school opened in 1889 and was named after Mother Euphemia Blenkinsop, recently deceased superior of the Daughters of Charity. It operated until 1956, when the elementary school ceased and the building was used by St. Joseph’s High School.

Boyle remembered a big event for the school that she recounted in her 2007 interview. “The principal told us if we can do plays for 25 cents a person, we can start putting in indoor plumbing. At that point, I wasn’t sure what indoor plumbing was,” Boyle said.

She graduated St. Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg and went on to attend the University of Madrid in Spain; Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland; and the University of Galway in Ireland.

As an adult, Boyle taught school in the Hagerstown area and Chatham Hall School in Virginia.

Boyle also remembered the Emmitsburg town fountain when it ran. The town fountain was installed in 1884 in the middle of the square. Traffic flowed around it going through the center of town.

Boyle remembered the fountain from her childhood. “The fountain would spray out all over the place. It was lovely, but the cars had to go around it. As the years went by, the area around it became smaller and smaller as more trucks and cars came through town.” It was destroyed when a car hit it in 1927.

A Memorial Mass was held for Boyle on July 16 at St. Joseph’s. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Emmitsburg Public Library Children’s Programs, 300 S. Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

 

The Gettysburg Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation is for Veterans and Civilians — A New Lifestyle for the Rest of Your Life

experience concerning issues with my heart. I wrote of my experience with the staff of the two hospitals—Gettysburg and York—where I was treated for my heart condition. I would now like to follow up on my experience with learning a new way of life at The Gettysburg Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit, and the wonderful, professional staff who operate it.

I was home recuperating from a recent surgery I underwent to have a stent inserted due to a 99 percent blockage of the right artery of my heart, when I received a phone call from Wendy, who said she was from Gettysburg Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit. She asked if I knew anything about the Unit, and I told her I did not. She proceeded to explain what it was all about and how it would be beneficial for me to enroll in the program. She told me that she would get back to me in a few days, and that would give me time to think about it. She discussed the rule was to wait at least four weeks after surgery before starting the program. Well, I knew if I decided not to accept some help and continue on the path I was on, I would be—as much as I didn’t want to be—back in the same condition as when my heart problems began. I gave it a lot of thought and decided that when she called me back, I would go for it.

True to her word, Wendy called me back and I told her my decision; she welcomed me aboard to start the program. She said I would be enrolled for ten to twelve weeks and we then discussed what times and days would suit me best. I told her I would leave that up to her, as I could work my schedule around whatever she decided. Wendy set my time for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:00 a.m.

I reported to my scheduled appointment and was greeted by Susie; we went through the preliminaries of being signed in and being asked questions about my medication and general health. She took measurement of my waist, my height, and my weight; she then showed me how to hook up electrodes to a small machine that monitored my heart rate and pulse and other things during the entire time I was there. I was shown how to hook up my monitor and fill out a check-in sheet and to weigh myself each morning when I arrive at class. The blood sugar test and blood pressure test are taken before any exercises. If the blood sugar is low, they give you some nourishment to bring it up before exercise. They are very alert to your vital signs, and if they are not right or you are not feeling well, they will call your doctor and most likely you will not be exercising that day. I only had to call off one day and that was because I had overdone it the previous day by working sixteen hours straight.

The first exercise was a six-minute walk, where I was evaluated for blood oxygen, heart rate, and pulse, and to see how many laps I could do in six minutes on a previously marked-off course. My blood pressure and blood sugar were regularly checked, because I not only have a heart condition but I also have diabetes. This monitoring system was routine each and every time I attended class, and I never met a more professional or caring team of nurses anywhere.

The class I was in consisted of two women and three men, including myself. I started out as everyone else did at three minutes on each machine, with three minutes of cool down time (walking and wiping down the machine you had just used). You were to use six machines of your choice, but to alternate between arm exercise and leg exercise machines. You are then asked to rate each session on a scale from very easy to very hard; depending on the rating you give, adjustments are made to the machines as far as difficulty and when you advance in time. We were asked to have an exercise routine at home on the days we are not in class. I choose my home exercise routine as a ten-minute walk twice a day and a bicycle ride once a day.

I have been walking, but I need a chain for the bicycle my granddaughter donated to me. When I get the bike in riding condition, I will go to the parking lot of the school that is near me and ride each day for a half hour or so.

If it sounds like I enjoy it, that is because I do, and I never thought I would say that about exercising. I have enjoyed not only the exercising part of the class but also the education part, because all of the professionals—Andi, Laura, Carol, Susie, Wendy and Ben—are all so very knowledgeable about the subjects they deal with on a daily basis. I thank each and every one of these wonderful people for keeping me on point and focused so that I now have a chance to survive my health issues. I have moved to three-and-one-half minutes of exercise and two-and-one-half minutes of cool down; you move up one-half minute exercise and down one-half minute cool down until you reach six minutes exercising and no minutes cool down.

The rehabilitation program was a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun as well. When I graduated the program, there were only two of us in the class: Ron and me. Ron has a few more classes to take before he graduates. What a great team they are at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit.

I would recommend the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Gettysburg Hospital, and their staff, to anyone with a cardiac problem who would like to have a longer, enjoyable life. I feel so enriched by doing this and thank the staff there very much. They even played Pomp and Circumstance for my graduation.

God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.

Graduation from Cardiac Rehabilitation 005

Jim Houck, Jr. (center) is shown on the AireDyne with (from left) Wendy, Carol, Andi, and Laura, a few of the wonderful and dedicated staff at Gettysburg Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Buck Reed

Let me take a moment to put on my “El Predicto” hat and take a look into the future. With the progress being made in the minimum wage, and just the overall increase in everything, I believe that going out to eat is going to get even more expensive. Face it, even fast food isn’t cheap anymore. I would argue that it never has been a bargain, but the convenience seemed to offset the price for most families.

In the search to feed our families, where will we look to? The supermarkets, grocery stores, and even the farmer’s markets. Looking to save a few of their precious dollars, people will actually go back to cooking more.

Today’s supermarket is a far cry from days gone by. They still offer a wide variety of products, but now they also offer for sale a wide range of ready-to-eat, convenient foods that make even the most inept cook look good.

One of the first things that might have grabbed your attention is the rotisserie chicken. For the most part, they are cooked fresh daily and range from pretty good to excellent; priced below raw whole chicken, these beauties have warded off more than a few of the hunger pangs of anyone needing a quick, easy meal. Most if these chickens are good enough to use for leftovers in salads and sandwiches.

But what about actually buying something and cooking it? Certainly prepared tomato sauce (marinara, spaghetti, and such) isn’t new. The best part of these is that they are certainly less expensive than making them from scratch yourself. Is it a crime to heat up some sauce and throw it on some pasta? Probably. But the only victim is you, and I really doubt anyone is going to call the police over this. But I do encourage you to do something to this product. Adding some chopped onions, fennel, garlic, or just about anything, is going to improve jarred tomato sauce. Try a small can of diced tomatoes and half cup red wine to help enhance the texture and flavor of your dish. And who doesn’t have a half jar of sauce in their refrigerator? Use it on your scrambled eggs or add a couple of tablespoons to a canned soup.

I also believe that supermarkets will become more educationally inclined. That is to say, it will become easier to find someone on the staff that can actually help you with your questions about the products they sell and how to prepare them.

Misunderstood but Beautiful

Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

In a very real way, flowers are a lot like people. Fragile, they are born vulnerable, and if fortunate to receive the proper care, will thrive and bear much goodness. However, many people, like flowers, are misunderstood. Some of us are late bloomers and get cut down while struggling to grow, while others of us may express ourselves in the wrong way, or the wrong place, and are criticized.

True, it is about the world of plants and flowers that I mostly write, but the connection between humans and the natural world being what it is—ever constant and essential—is often times impossible to separate the two. Many of our greatest writers and teachers refer to nature, recognizing the wisdom that is to be gained if we but open our hearts and our minds to it. Many of these people have been misunderstood as well.

Four of my very favorite wildflowers are the lavender bergamot, rarely seen anymore due to mowing; the shy blue chicory; the wild asters, of which I have four species on my property; and the tall rarely seen white and yellow wild sweet clovers (which look nothing like clovers, but are in that family). Both chicory and bergamot are blooming profusely right now here at my Mystic Meadows, and I can never see them enough. The wild bergamot has cross-pollinated with its relative, the gorgeous red monarda, creating two new shades of purple and maroon. I am blown away by their beauty and their usefulness. Standing very still by each large cluster of flowers, which are shoulder high, the hundreds of flowers seem literally in motion with the activity of hummingbird, moths, various butterflies, and bumble bees—large and small. Of course, even a hummingbird cruises by for a nip on the way to its favorite mimosa tree. Sadly, I see very few honey bees this year.

Chicory is the most tenacious wildflower I know. It tends to grow right up against the country roads people drive down in their early morning rush to work or school, gracing our journeys with their joyful blue color, brightening our moods if we but see them. Even when mowed down, they grow right back, undeterred. If permitted, they will bloom right through the summer into fall, providing nectar for bees and, later, essential seeds for small birds like finch. They usually close their blue petals during the heat of the day, and so are seen as ugly by most people as they have tiny leaves and look spindly when their petals are closed. But oh, when the day is cooler and the flowers are open, behold the powdery blue profusion!

Wild asters spend the entire summer growing slowly into tall, elegant plants full of elongated leaves. There are four varieties which I grow throughout my gardens, and the reward for my patience is a glorious, end-of-summer show of tiny, daisy-like flowers, a final burst of white and purple beauty which goes well into the fall. These plants, besides being a welcome source of inspiration for me before the long, cold days of winter, serve as essential nectar and pollen for our bees. Without these wildflowers, the bees could easily starve in their hives. Goldenrod, which I will write about in a sequel to this article, is also significant for bees, and even butterflies, to stave off starvation. It is and has been mostly misunderstood as well.

Many years ago, I was enjoying the beauty of my back road where, unfortunately, the white and yellow wild sweet clovers were growing embarrassingly close to the road. They are somewhat guilty of looking gangly, like some people I know, and were very tall. I knew they would eventually be mowed, so I decided to cut them with more care by myself. So, I went home and came back, laden with an arsenal of cutting tools, only to loose my resolve when I put the blade to their stalks. I thought to myself, What is more important, the flowers or the road? I had observed very few of these particular flowers being permitted to grow anywhere, so I put down my weapons and joined the ranks of the misunderstood. After that day, they moved themselves to a safer place. They now grow, undisturbed, in various spots on my property. Plants come to me that way, and I welcome them with open arms!

I love the late bloomers and the misunderstood ones, be they human or flower. Perhaps our biggest challenge in life is to embrace these ones, to accept them as amazing creations on this miraculous planet, which is full to bursting with diversity. I leave you with an ancient Indian quotation I love that reflects the awesomeness of it all: “Flowers are the footprints of the dancing steps of God.”

Now, off I go to enjoy the rest of this glorious summer!

Christine is a Master Naturalist in the State of Maryland. She welcomes any questions and feedback at songbirdschant@gmail.org.

James Rada, Jr.

Freemasonry conjures up images of a secret society with hidden rituals and, thanks to the movie National Treasure, hidden treasure. Yet, the Masons are far from secret. They are men who work hard to find brotherhood, enlightenment, and truth.

When John Hagemann first came to Thurmont in 2006 and joined the Acacia Lodge No. 155 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, another Mason pointed to a long row of 8×10 photographs hung on the wall of the Masons’ lodge social hall in Thurmont. They were the Worshipful Masters (lodge presidents) of the Acacia Lodge, and Hagemann recognized many of the last names as members of long-time Thurmont families.

“I was told that if I worked hard, one day my picture could be up there, and it is,” Hagemann said. He is the current Worshipful Master of the Acacia Lodge #155 in Thurmont.

The Masons came to Maryland in 1750, not in Baltimore, which was the largest population center at the time, but in Leonardtown. They weren’t established in what is now Frederick County until just before the Revolutionary War. Not much is known of the early lodges in the county. The largest lodge was called Hiram Lodge, and there was a lodge that served the army during the War of Independence. Those two lodges, along with other small lodges, combined to form the Columbia Lodge in 1815.

“The Masons met in a home at the corner of Market and Second Street,” said Kenneth Wyvill, Grand Master of the Maryland Masons. This combined lodge was enough to meet the needs of the county Masons for sixty-six years. “As population centers grew and shifted, Masons would decide to form new lodges,” said Wyvill.

The first lodge to break off from the Columbia Lodge in Frederick was Acacia Lodge No. 155 of Mechanicstown (now Thurmont). In all, six new lodges formed in Frederick County between 1871 and 1906.

Thirteen Masons in the area formed the lodge in Mechanicstown, with Robert Lyon as the first Worshipful Master (lodge president). The new lodge’s first meeting was held on May 22, 1871, in a room on the third floor of the John Rouzer apartment house, opposite the Lutheran Church on Church Street. Besides choosing officers, it was decided to name the lodge the Acacia Lodge.

Not all of the charter members of the Acacia Lodge came from the Columbia Lodge. Others came from lodges in Baltimore, Westminster, and Union Bridge.

Even before the Acacia Lodge received its charter and was officially recognized, it had begun to grow as two new members were added.

The Acacia Lodge was examined by other Maryland Masons in October 1871 to see if its membership was proficient enough to support their own lodge and on November 21, 1871, the Acacia Lodge was granted its charter. “They first rented the International Order of Odd Fellows hall to meet in,” Hagemann said.

The Acacia Lodge continued to grow between 1872 and 1876; however, for the next two years, many of the members found themselves working away from Mechanicstown. “Membership dwindled and the Maryland Grand Lodge actually took back our charter, but the members still continued to pay dues,” Hagemann said.

The charter was revoked in 1879, but the local Masons still paid dues and worked to establish stability to their lodge. They applied for restoration of their charter in 1887 and it was granted on December 19.

One of the things that the members decided would help their stability was to own their building rather than continue to rent space. Beginning in 1894, the Masons under Worshipful Master Leonard Waesche began looking into buying the Bussard Building (where the lodge is currently located at 12 E. Main Street) and adding a third floor to it. “The lodge bought the building in 1898 and added the third floor to it for our lodge hall,” Hagemann said.

The Masons also made repairs to the first and second floors of the building and began renting out the space. Over the years, the first two floors have been a livery, doctor’s office, post office, grocery store, drug store, beauty parlor, and more.

When the lodge celebrated its first fifty years at the Thurmont Town Hall on November 29, 1921, only three of the original members were still living: George Stocksdale, Leonard Waesche, and David Martin.

World War II saw a surge in attendance at lodge meetings, mainly because of servicemen stationed at nearby Camp Ritchie who came to the Acacia Lodge. The Acacia Lodge conferred Masonic degrees on servicemen on behalf of other lodges through the Masonic Service Association.

“At the end of World War II, we had 156 members, which is the largest we’ve ever been,” Hagemann said. Of that number, 84 were veterans.

In 1959, the U.S. Post Office moved out of the first floor of the lodge building and into a stand-alone building that the Masons had built. However, a new tenant was found to fill the vacant first floor of the lodge building.

The last tenant for the second floor of the lodge left in 1960. The space remained vacant until 1962, when it was decided to use the floor as the lodge’s social hall, and it continues to be used for that purpose today.

Though generally believed to be a Christian group, Masons include many faiths. Each lodge has a book of faith on its central altar. The Acacia Lodge uses a Bible, but other lodges can include a book of faith for the predominant religion of the lodge. “It doesn’t matter what religion you are, you just have to believe in a higher power,” Hagemann said

The Acacia Lodge in Thurmont currently has 77 members, although Hagemann notes that like many civic and volunteer organizations, the average age among members seems to be rising as fewer young people become involved with organizations. The Acacia Lodge is one of 102 Maryland lodges and 15,000 Masons.

Emmitsburg also has a lodge, Tyrian Lodge #205. Ernie Gelwicks is the Grand Master of this lodge at the present time, a Past Master, a Grand Inspector for the Grand Lodge of Maryland, Sir Knight in the Knights Templar, and Noble in the Scottish Rite Shriners. The Emmitsburg Lodge was formed and met above Annans Store, later moved and merged with Acacia in Thurmont before being re-charted in 1906, they met after that above the Vigilant Hose Fire Co., then met in Taneytown until buying their present location. Many prominent Emmitsburg Leaders and businessmen founded Tyrian Lodge in Emmitsburg.

The Masons are involved in many civic activities and participate in parades and building dedications. They can be identified in full regalia that includes tuxedos, top hats, and aprons. The local Masons dedicated the cornerstone of the Thurmont Library and have contributed money to many local efforts, such as purchasing a new flag pole for the town and paying for the memorial stone for servicemen in Memorial Park.

“We also have an annual $1,000 scholarship that we award to a senior in the Catoctin High district,” Hagemann said.

Hundreds of Maryland Masons will be participating in a parade in Baltimore in full regalia for the re-dedication of the Washington Monument on July 4. The Masons laid the cornerstone for the original monument in 1815, and re-laid the stone in 1915.

“We’ll be using the implements from the time period of 1915 to rededicate the cornerstone,” Wyvill said.

Young people who are interested in becoming a Mason may join as members DeMolay for young men or JOBS Daughters for young ladies. Women join the Order of the Eastern Star. Ernie Gelwicks added, “The Knights Templar is another branch which many Master Masons also join, as is the Scottish Rite Shriners, which are responsible for Shriners Hospital fame and support this worthy cause.” For more information in our area’s Masonic membership, please call John Hagemann at 301-271-2711 or Ernie Gelwicks at 301-447-2923.

mason 3

Members of Acacia Lodge #155 in Thurmont are shown dedicating the cornerstone of the Thurmont Regional Library.

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Thurmont Acacia Lodge No. 155 members and Maryland’s Grand Master, Kenneth Wyvill (third from right), are pictured with a scholarship recipient, Lydia Spalding, in June.

Deb Spalding

DSC_0036Alyssa Imes of Emmitsburg (pictured right) is a student of art. The dining room of her parent’s home resembles an art museum with displays and photos of her sculptures. A muse-ful elephant smiles at you proudly with his ceramics metallic body and wire trunk; a gumby giraffe made of screws and pipe seems ready to play; and a gracefully rusty sculpture resembles a ship’s sail. One of her recent pieces features steel rods supporting volumes of knowledge in the floating pages of books. Her favorite piece, showing the history of cast iron, allowed her to further her casting metal talents and to use heavy iron within the sculpture. Many of her sculptures are from “found” objects that Alyssa transforms into art that can be treasured anew. During high school, Alyssa is a 2014 graduate of Catoctin High School, she attended an A.P. art program at Thomas Johnson High School, where she was able to determine her artistic focus. In May, she completed her freshman year at Shepherd University, where she is studying art with a concentration in sculpture, of course. “In college, art is taught from a basic level at first because they want you to make work that is visually interesting. Then, as you increase in the years, you work on the concept of your work. They give students simple tasks at first like combining two elements of art and creating great things,” Alyssa said. “I like when they give just enough instruction to go off of, then you make it visually awesome.” She’s using materials such as iron, aluminum, and steel, and combining them with more fragile elements such as paper and natural wood. This is challenging and interesting. Recently, Alyssa took a trip with Shepherd students through Europe to study art history and see some of the classics. While winding her way through London, Germany, France, Italy, and Greece, she attended a contemporary art show, she rode in a gondola, and she watched glass blowers. Her favorite part of the trip was seeing Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in person, in Florence, Italy. “It’s incredible to see pieces of art that you’ve looked up to your whole life,” expressed Alyssa. When she finishes at Shepherd, Alyssa hopes to apply what she’s learned and artistically incorporate the knowledge within her sculptures with an architecture team, or she may work with a team of artists on bigger art projects. Her parents, Laura and Jeff Imes, have been Alyssa’s biggest influence. She said, “Art is not a wealth-oriented career, at first it can be hard to set off on a prosperous path. My parents have always encouraged my art and allowed me to go to school for it.” She added, “My teachers are next. They encouraged me to always do better in art and to go to school for it. They gave me the confidence to accept art as the path I want to take.” Alyssa is a true student of art, as she tells the story of how her sculptures came to be, she shares a deeper connection with each part of her sculptures because of what she learned creating it. The story is conveyed through each piece, with the combination and arrangement of the elements in the final look of each piece that gives it character.

Will there be enough water to survive? Thirsty Land is an exciting new documentary that tells the story of drought, its impact on agriculture, communities, and the global food supply.

Two Frederick production companies are collaborating to produce this film. Frederick County filmmaker, Conrad Weaver, is already well-known for his award-winning documentary The Great American Wheat Harvest. His work with farmers and harvesters has led him to turn the focus of his company, Conjostudios LLC, exclusively to agriculture, and now he’s focusing on the drought that’s strangling our landscape.

“Those of us living East of the Mississippi River very rarely think about the amount of water we use. That’s why this story needs to be told! The drought in the American West ultimately impacts all of us, and I want to make the audience think about it every time they take a drink of water, enjoy a shower, or water their lawn,” said Weaver.

Weaver recently collaborated with Archai Media in Frederick to provide production support for the documentary project. Sam Tressler with Archai Media has taken on the responsibilities of Director of Photography for the film that takes the team across the country from the Central Plains to the Central Valley of California.

“I’m excited to be involved in this important project,” said Tressler. “Working with Conrad and helping him capture the story has taken us to some of the most beautiful parts of this country. I’m really looking forward to helping to bring this film to the big screen.”

Weaver is excited to have Archai Media involved, “Tressler’s experience and expertise in shooting in High Resolution 4K is what really made it exciting for me to collaborate with Archai Media. It’s been fun so far to have him along and capturing the story; he’s making my job so much easier,” said Weaver.

Production on the project began in April and will continue throughout the summer and fall months. The film is scheduled for completion in spring 2016. Weaver plans on a Frederick premiere screening once the project is completed. To see the film’s trailer, visit www.thirstylandmovie.com.

For more interview requests and for more information on the making of the film, contact Conrad Weaver at 301-606-7794 or email conjostudios@gmail.com.

California-May-4968

Sam Tressler (left) and Conrad Weaver (right) look over the dry California landscape on a recent trip.

 

Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS 1st Annual Picnic at North Point Home

by Jim Houck, Jr.

COLUMN-Jim-Houck--North-PoiSaturday, June 5, 2015, started out as a dreary, rainy day to have a picnic—especially the very first one—for the immediate residents of North Point Home in Hagerstown. The Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS), led by representative Jim Payne and aided by National AMVETS appointed Deputy VAVS representatives Dick Fleagle and Jim Houck Jr., along with Ed Stely, our Department of Maryland Commander, and Bob Stouffer, our Department of Maryland Adjutant, had been planning the picnic for a long time and were hoping for a beautiful day to have it. The food was purchased and prepared, the drinks were chilling. Dr. Mudcat’s Medicine Show Karaoke and DJ, operated by Mike Mahoney, was being set up. Things were set to kick off at high noon, and Director of North Point Home Jennifer Drake, along with her staff and the residents, were anxiously awaiting the event. Suddenly the skies cleared and the sun appeared; it was clear that God had heard our silent prayers. The crew arrived and began to set up all the tents, tables, and chairs, as well as getting the grill ready and bringing out the ice chests, filled with soda pop and water. We could tell it was going to turn into a great day and a great picnic. Mike (Dr. Mudcat) got his medicine show going to start off the fun. The Department of Maryland AMVETS Auxiliary was represented by their President, Mary McKinnon. We had three Sons of AMVETS Squadrons, three AMVETS Auxiliary Units, and two AMVETS Veteran Post Members from Maryland represented at the picnic: Sons of AMVETS Squadrons— Squadron 7 from Thurmont, Squadron 9 from Middletown, and Squadron 10 from Hagerstown; AMVETS Auxiliary Units—Unit 7 from Thurmont, Unit 9 from Middletown, and Unit 10 from Hagerstown; AMVETS Veteran Post Members—AMVETS Post 7 from Thurmont and AMVETS Post 10 from Hagerstown. Jim Payne had certainly done his job well; everything was in place and everyone was enjoying themselves. The Catoctin Hollow Boys even made an appearance and sang a few songs. Donny McKinnon was in fine voice as he sang Sinatra and Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) and some other songs. Mike Mahoney sang a few songs while he attended the equipment. The music and festivities soon began to draw in the neighborhood children, and they were all invited to join in the festivities. The kids soon wanted to sing karaoke; several of them did, and they really enjoyed being in the spotlight. Bobby Stouffer had the hot dogs and burgers grilled, and it was time to eat. All food was taken inside and laid out, and what a layout it was! There was a fruit tray, a vegetable tray, a cheese tray, a meat tray, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, slaw, rolls, and cookies. Everyone filled their plates and found a seat inside or outside. Everyone really seemed to enjoy all the delicious food. When everyone had satisfied their appetite, the festivities resumed outside. Commander Ed Stely and VAVS Representative Jim Payne presented an award to Brett Brown from Gladhill’s Furniture warehouse for allowing us to store our used furniture, which is donated by generous people from around the state of Maryland, to be used by the homeless Veterans, who are helped to become independent and lead fruitful lives on their own, to furnish their apartments. Commander Ed Stely also presented the plaque to Jim Nicholson, the general manager of Gladhill’s Furniture. Thank you Brett and Jim for all you have done to help our Veterans. The festivities began again after the presentation of the award and a bit of excitement was felt by all when Jim Payne came through the door with a large clothes basket filled with water balloons. We could tell by the way the kids eyes lit up that if you wanted to stay dry, hide. The kids had a ball with the water balloons that Jennifer Drake filled, and they commenced to throw them at all the guests, giving some a good soaking. Mary Mahoney and Sandi Burns joined in, trying to soak the kids and got pretty well soaked themselves. I think it was decided that the water balloons will not make an appearance at the next annual picnic. I took over 150 photos. If you would like to see them, go to Facebook: Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS, and you will be able to view them. The 1st Annual Picnic at North Point Home was a huge success, and we will strive to make each one in the future equally as successful. We give thanks to Jennifer Drake and her staff, the residents of North Point Home, and all who participated from the AMVETS family, for their help and support to keep this great institution open for our homeless Veterans living on the streets of our great nation, and for helping to give them a so-deserving second chance at independent living. If you have furniture you no longer use or need, please consider giving it for this worthwhile cause. Contact Jim Payne at 240-446-7183 or Ed Stely at 301-524-9333 to make arrangements for a pick-up at your convenience. We also need items such as toilet paper, paper towels, wash cloths, bath towels, small kitchen appliances, plates, silverware—basically everything to start housekeeping from the start. Due to state laws, the only item we cannot accept is used mattresses. All those who participated in the 1st Annual Picnic at North Point Home should give themselves a big pat on the back for helping to make it a tremendously successful event. Thank you! God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the American Veterans, and God Bless You.

The Time of My Life

by Valerie Nusbaum

me…

A stitch in time saves nine.

—Francis Baily, 1797 (This simply means that repairing a rip or tear in a garment when it occurs, will save more stitches and time later when the hole has gotten bigger.)

Time and tide wait for no man.

—St. Marher, 1225 (Pretty much self-explanatory.)

Dear, it’s time for that old garden shed to be torn down and hauled away. Randy? Are you listening to me? Where are you hiding?

—Valerie Nusbaum, yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. (Again, this is self-explanatory, and I’m guessing that a lot of you can identify with it.)

Time is something that we never seem to have enough of. Older people fear it’s running out, while young people continue to unashamedly waste it. We have it on our hands and on our side and we kill it. Time marches on and it stands still. It is of the essence, and it is money.

One minute is sixty seconds of time, but this same minute can seem like a lifetime or be as fleeting as the blink of an eye. When I’m walking on the treadmill, the first minute always goes by quickly, but the remainder minutes drag on and on. If I’m reading a good book or spending time with friends, an hour —sixty entire minutes—can pass in a heartbeat. It really is true that time flies when I’m having fun, and, evidently, I do not think walking on the treadmill is fun.

Sixty seconds may not seem like much time, but it’s amazing how much stuff I can accomplish while my morning hot tea water is heating in the microwave. Conversely, if I jump up during a commercial break while I’m watching television, those few minutes are barely long enough to get to the bathroom and back.

We use time to set records, to measure accomplishments, and we use it as a deadline. We enjoy the good times and persevere through the bad ones.

Some of the greatest minds of all time have concentrated their efforts on time travels. Some would go back in time to change events, while others would journey to the future to see if the things we are doing in the present are right or wrong.

Would you go back in time if you could? I assume that in doing so, any changes we make or things we do differently would affect our present lives. I always say that if I could do it over again, I’d take a different route with my education and career choices. However, if I had done those things differently, I probably wouldn’t have met Randy, nor had some of the wonderful experiences I’ve had. I wouldn’t have the life I have today. If my mother could go back in time and change her life, I might not be sitting here at all. It’s a lot to consider. Time travel is very confusing to me, and it takes way too much time to think about it.

Boy George, Cyndi Lauper, Jim Croce, and Mick Jagger have all sung about time. Sorry. I don’t have any current references. I only listen to the oldies channels on XM radio. I’m sure that Taylor Swift or Kanye West have also written or sung songs about time. My point is that time is something we all share.

A lot of us are fond of saying that there aren’t enough hours in a day, but, in truth, we know that the twenty-four hours in each day is a constant and this will never change. We need to change our expectations and stop trying to cram too much into one day. How many of us say every year that we’re not ready for Christmas? Do we forget that Christmas rolls around on December 25 every single year? I’m going to make a real effort to lower my expectations about what I can accomplish in a given time frame. Please remind me that I wrote these words when I’m sitting up at 1:00 a.m. on Christmas morning wrapping gifts, and I’m crying because I can’t get it all finished.

On a happy note, our garden shed was torn down in a timely fashion. Even though it was a difficult job, there was very little cursing and swearing, because Brooke came over to help. Randy informed me that it took two entire days (48 hours or 2,880 minutes) to complete the job, but it was worth it. The yard is looking better, and we have space for a small vegetable garden, plus Randy didn’t find any snakes underneath the old building.

In closing, I’m sending a big “Thank You” to Linda Myers for sending me the photo of Boardwalk Elvis. It was great to see that he’s alive and well and, well, timeless.

Happy Independence Day to all! Have a great time!

Deb Spalding

DSC_0036Alyssa Imes of Emmitsburg (pictured right) is a student of art. The dining room of her parent’s home resembles an art museum with displays and photos of her sculptures. A muse-ful elephant smiles at you proudly with his ceramics metallic body and wire trunk; a gumby giraffe made of screws and pipe seems ready to play; and a gracefully rusty sculpture resembles a ship’s sail. One of her recent pieces features steel rods supporting volumes of knowledge in the floating pages of books. Her favorite piece, showing the history of cast iron, allowed her to further her casting metal talents and to use heavy iron within the sculpture. Many of her sculptures are from “found” objects that Alyssa transforms into art that can be treasured anew.

During high school, Alyssa is a 2014 graduate of Catoctin High School, she attended an A.P. art program at Thomas Johnson High School, where she was able to determine her artistic focus. In May, she completed her freshman year at Shepherd University, where she is studying art with a concentration in sculpture, of course.

“In college, art is taught from a basic level at first because they want you to make work that is visually interesting. Then, as you increase in the years, you work on the concept of your work. They give students simple tasks at first like combining two elements of art and creating great things,” Alyssa said. “I like when they give just enough instruction to go off of, then you make it visually awesome.”

She’s using materials such as iron, aluminum, and steel, and combining them with more fragile elements such as paper and natural wood. This is challenging and interesting.

Recently, Alyssa took a trip with Shepherd students through Europe to study art history and see some of the classics. While winding her way through London, Germany, France, Italy, and Greece, she attended a contemporary art show, she rode in a gondola, and she watched glass blowers. Her favorite part of the trip was seeing Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in person, in Florence, Italy. “It’s incredible to see pieces of art that you’ve looked up to your whole life,” expressed Alyssa.

When she finishes at Shepherd, Alyssa hopes to apply what she’s learned and artistically incorporate the knowledge within her sculptures with an architecture team, or she may work with a team of artists on bigger art projects.

Her parents, Laura and Jeff Imes, have been Alyssa’s biggest influence. She said, “Art is not a wealth-oriented career, at first it can be hard to set off on a prosperous path. My parents have always encouraged my art and allowed me to go to school for it.” She added, “My teachers are next. They encouraged me to always do better in art and to go to school for it. They gave me the confidence to accept art as the path I want to take.”

Alyssa is a true student of art, as she tells the story of how her sculptures came to be, she shares a deeper connection with each part of her sculptures because of what she learned creating it. The story is conveyed through each piece, with the combination and arrangement of the elements in the final look of each piece that gives it character.

Buck Reed, The Supermarket Gourmet

I was thinking about this month’s article when my three-year-old niece mentioned that July was her birthday; she informed me that she would be four this year. I like Gabrielle. I guess at that age it’s hard not to: she plays a good game of Uno, laughs at my magic tricks, and she is a pretty good eater. When I say pretty good eater, I mean she eats what is put in front of her. She keeps the fussing down to a minimum, and she can actually hold a conversation.

Teaching your kids how to cook is important. Why teach your kids how to cook? The easy answer is: So they can eat. A better answer would be that it is something that you can both take an interest in and even share with one another throughout your life.

The first place where a young person might get a good understanding of “results follow procedure” is in the kitchen. A practical application of math can be found there. For instance, it is one thing to go over multiplication problems in a classroom, yet it is quite different when you are doubling a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

The kitchen is also home to a whole new vocabulary for your little sprout. You would be surprised how quickly they can pick up terms like roll, pat, and vent, as well as the difference between macerate and marinate or bake and roast. Most likely, if they can relate to learning how to measure ingredients, follow steps in a recipe, and so on, they might find it easier to relate to other subjects.

Also, there are rules in cooking. Not only are there set rules for cooking and baking procedures, but there are safety rules as well. Learning and obeying these rules might give your child an edge in becoming a disciplined, well organized adult.

After you have spent some time preparing a meal with your youngster, take some time to sit down and eat with them. I know this sounds like a widespread idea, but The Supermarket Gourmet is sad to report that it is not. There are people out there who do not think sharing a meal with your loved one is a big deal.

In my last job of teaching, my boss actually made a rule that I was not allowed to sit down with my students and enjoy the meal we made together. I say there is a big difference between eating and dining. Eating can be done out of a can, standing over a sink; dining is a shared meal with good conversation and proper table manners. Thus, even if you don’t get to cook with your kids as much as you would like, at least take the time to eat with them.

When I say eat with them, that means turn off the television and put the cell phones down and relate to each other the old fashioned way: face to face.

How did I find out that Gabrielle’s birthday was in July? She told me over dinner.

Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

Oh the place that I’m from is the place that I won,

It’s the joy of my heart, it is my own.

It took many a year but I’m finally here,

With a hey and a hoe, to the field I go!

—Song of the Homesteader

German Homesteaders in the Catoctins

Most of us who have transplanted ourselves into this wonderful upper Frederick County soil are so busy with our present-time lives that we do not even consider the roots of how Thurmont even got here in the first place! I know I was guilty of this, until I viewed the marvelous DVD Almost Blue Mountain City by Christopher Haugh last month. As I witnessed the area’s fascinating history unfold before me, I was awestruck by the vintage photographs and drawings, but especially by the interviews of our area old-timers and historians.

My ancestry is 100 percent Germanic, settling in Baltimore and Wisconsin, so as I watched this DVD it became crystal clear why I was drawn here to put down roots and do my homesteading work and my music. Names like Weller and Apples, Harbaugh, Kelbaugh, and many others—so familiar to me now—took on new meaning as I viewed the documentary.

I was also inspired to see how initially only hardworking, creative Germans came to settle in this area. In fact, they were purposely brought here, as Germans were known for their ethics of hard work, creativity, and downright determination (which I can relate to, because I am as persistent and unrelenting as they were when it comes to my homesteading efforts and my music).

Since those even earlier years when the Native Americans were kicked off their land and forced into all sorts of difficult situations (we all know that sad history) other folks have immigrated to this fair land. They were equally as full of hope for freedom and independence from their own oppressive governments. They were of all nationalities: Irish, Scottish, French, British, Spanish, Scandinavian, and others even further away, coming from exotic places like China, Japan, Vietnam, India, Africa…and so many other countries, too innumerable to list.

I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be so displaced, whether it be by choice or slavery, persecution or war. Fortunately, I was able to come here to my mountain valley home by choice. The first thing I did when looking at this property as a potential homestead was to put a shovel into the field to see what the soil was like. My fervor for living in the country and growing crops was more deeply entrenched in my genes than I knew even then, as it is in the genes of many others.

The soil had to be rich, but even if it wasn’t, I knew tricks to make it better. Some of those ideas came to me through books, but mostly through family heritage. My Germanic ancestors were all of hardy peasant stock, and all were avid gardeners and lovers of nature and music, so you might say I came by my passions naturally.

Since that fateful day just twenty-six years ago, I have allowed trees to grow back on my 11.6 acres. Locust and ash, mulberry and cherry, pine, and so many others, including the wonderful dogwoods and red buds. They all came back without my help since the rootstock was simply waiting for someone like me to come along. I then integrated a few favorites, though not native—remember, I am not native either— such as the wonderful mimosa tree. I now have several large trees, which are now just starting to bloom, the bees and butterflies swarming to their sweet smelling flowers.

I never buy nectar from the store for the hummingbirds, as there are so many flowers here, especially the mimosa, which they love.

My intention when first moving here was to create integrative gardens, allowing mostly native trees and wild plants to grow, in between which I would have my beds of vegetables. The plan seems to be working out quite well, for all of us—the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, and all of the native plants simply growing and waiting to be known and appreciated…like most of us!

I believe there is a little bit of the homesteader urge in every gardener, no matter how large or small the property. The satisfaction of growing one’s own blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, and the like, and even canning produce goes deep into that ancient urge to survive and to thrive independent of—and frequently in conjunction with—others. (Remember the earlier days of bartering?)

Happily, in our very own town of Thurmont, there is a new program to make us a Sustainable Maryland Community. A Green Team will be encouraging the creation of a community garden, as well as encouraging people to buy local produce. This is one initiative among other projects that will benefit the environment. (Google Green Team Thurmont and join us!) This movement here and elsewhere around the country is increasingly becoming an ethical imperative. My personal belief is that the less traveling, the better, and that includes my food.

Now that I have established my own German roots here, I know for certain that these mountains, valleys, and plains are still filled with people with vision, much as they were centuries ago. I have been privileged to get to know many dedicated, creative, and caring people, heirs to the hard work of the talented German immigrants who first settled in this region. This gives me great hope. Years ago, in my twenties, and poor as a church mouse, I had a dream of homesteading, and now I am here. So, “with a hey and a hoe, to the field I go!”