A Unique Folk Art with a whisper to the past~

They truly ARE the voices in my head.







Monday, April 23, 2007

There Is Much to Learn~

For many of you, the movie, Last of the Mohicans was a love story set during the French Indian War. The scenery and music were memorable~ as was the insight to just how hard life and death was for our ancestors as they headed to the Revolutionary War. For me, it is history in my backyard. James Fenimore Cooper wrote several "Leather Stocking Tales" and "Last of the Mohicans" is just one... but alas, it is fiction set in history.. but good fiction neverless!

In this story, James pays homage to his own sister, Hannah and a woman named Jane McRae. These two characters are Alice and Cora, respectively. Jane McRae was a Loyalist who later became a Revolutionary War heroine. She was living in Fort Edward with her brother. On a visit to her friend, Sara MacNeil, both were captured by Indians, and Jane was murdered. Col. Munro had two sons in real life. He did not die in the historic August 10th Massacre as depicted in the story and the movie, but rather dies suddenly, perhaps from a heart attack about 3 months later and is buried in Albany NY.

Disheartened or intrigued??? I personally became intrigued! All of this has given me hours of research and learning about my backyard. This is some of our finest American Folklore! It has given me chance and purpose to explore. Last summer, I did make a visit to "Cooper's Cave". It's not far from here and located in Glens Falls NY. There was a plaque there stating that James Fenimore Cooper visited the same area, and it was suggested to him that the cave would make for a good story. How great to know that I walked the same footsteps as he... and now I know his inspiration!

The past couple years, I have visited Cooperstown, NY. Founded by James and also home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this is a great place to visit and spend some time. My personal love is for the Farmers Museum. It is here that I met fellow doll maker Cheryl and her daughter Emily. They make all sorts of dolls, and are inspired by this time period also. Emily is pure fascination with her handsewing abilities in dress making and her love of pirates as shown in her dolls. I hope to visit you both again this fall!!! The rest of the museum features the knowledge of trades and crafts people during the mid 1800's. One can watch and ask questions all along this area. We learned how wall paper was made, apothicaries , printing, hearthcooking and even how flax was readied to weave. They also have a Seneca Log home that captured my interest and my heart. You can peek at it by following the link, Harvest of History in the Eye Candy section of my blog.

In all of this, there is so much that I couldn't write everything. I am cautious to say what is real and what is not, there are so many versions and it can be difficult to sort the truth. This is because many things were not documented, but passed on by word of mouth. I hope I have inspired you to continue looking. Perhaps the story is fictional, but the history remains. There is alot to learn about the real people and events. They will take you on a marvelous journey if you let them. There is a summer of history ahead in the Glens Falls and Lake George, NY area. If you have never gone to a Revolutionary or Civil War Re-Enactment, it can be a powerful learning event for everyone. The encampments hold many knowledgeable men and woman who LOVE to share everything from the way people dressed and what they ate, to buttons that could be melted down to make a bullet if needed (the insignias on the buttons also hold a lesson to be learned!).

My daughters will tell you that summer outings were always outings that were learning events. It wasn't until they were learning American history that they were eager to share that they had seen a real Long House and talked with real Native Americans about how they lived. A trip to Plymouth and Cooperstown made more of an impact on them than any amusement park. This year we hope a trip to Sturbridge, MA and their Living Museum. It is my hope that it will continue to keep a spark within them and these things will be passed on to their children. Make history matter!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Timeless Words to Live By


What words or phrases capture our hearts? I love to try to figure out how sayings may have come about over time and circumstance. Some are fun, some of a serious note, and still others capture our hearts and we keep them close over the years.

I am enclosing a picture of a sign with a saying that stays with me and my children. Netty has had it on and around her porch for as long as I can remember. I asked her once if she knew just where that saying came from~ she thought perhaps an old English rhyme. I loved it so much that I painted it on a piece of garden fence and hung it in my home. When I left, it went with me. I made a few more and I have sold a few over time. I love just setting it out in front of the booth and seeing the reaction. While most do get it's meaning, many women love to get a little man bashing in!(easy, ladies!) For my daughters and I, it is our words to live by.
My daughters have been beside me through good times and bad... in all that touches my life. I have always been their constant and always been honest with them, (even if was something painful). They help put their sweat and tears into Raven's Haven and The Good Wives, knowing that it is theirs as well. They know everything that it takes to make patterns and dolls. They know how much work even small shows can be and how to treat everyone that walks into the booth, whether they buy something or not. They are patient and listening and answer questions with great pride and joy. They see the good, the bad and the ugly. They understand that sometimes you can't please someone no matter how hard you try. They know that sometimes people are nice for false reasons, and those will show in time. They realize that these are the exceptions and also bring balance to our lives. Some would say that I should not let my children be privy to it all, but they are farther ahead in life if they do.
In it all, they have found that there are so many wonderful and caring people out there and we are blessed to have so many touch our hearts and our lives. We see that putting our best forwards and doing a bit extra brings us the most special people. We are certainly blessed by all of you. We are, "The Three Amigos" and we put ourselves front and center and know that it is our word and our actions that define us in life. We try to grow a most beautiful garden.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Greatest Works of Art


It is good to be back, and there is no place like home. Enclosed is a picture taken of my two daughters the weekend before last. My oldest had surgery to correct her scoliosis on the 28th of March. I drove both of us up to Burlington, VT~ 2 hours away. I stayed in the area Ronald McDonald House. They were so kind, and such a Godsend to us.
Bailey's surgery lasted about 11 hours. It was the longest day ever~ even longer than my 21 hour labor to have her! The first couple days were so hard to see her all puffy and medicated. Soon she had control of the Peds unit, tho and in true Mead form was up to some good April Fool's fun. Her nurse helped her fill her urine catcher with purple grape juice for the day Dr. and blue tempera paint for her night nurse!
My younger daughter Jess came up 2 days after her surgery for a visit. For as much as these two argue over EVERYTHING, they are as close as ever now. Jess has been such a help to me during this whole ordeal. I know Jess that it's no fun being a "Gopher", but I want to let you know that I really do appreciate all that you do. You are the self appointed keeper and caretaker of us all. I worry at times that you have taken on so much for someone so young, but I know it's who you are and that you do keep balance in your life. Both of you are night and day~ each has such wonderful and special gifts. I can't imagine how colorless my life would be without you both. You two ARE my greatest works of art!