Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wooly Worms and Genealogy

During my summer confinement, also known as "Out for the Season," I have taken to counting the days and lamenting the return of cold, winter days. In July I saw a wooly worm crawling up my driveway. Friday afternoon I saw another wooly worm. The neighborhood mice are seeking shelter in the garage rather early, forcing me to set out sticky traps. Leaves are turning at least two weeks early. Native Americans I have known through the years proclaim that early wooly worms mean an early, cold winter.

Actually all this probably means I should come up with a big genealogical research agenda for winter, quickly ... might be an early winter. I have missed my summer walks and prowls in the cemeteries, let alone the ability to spend time researching in courthouses and libraries. Now I can envision short days and cold winter nights, howling wind and piles of snow. This will force me to break down a few brickwalls I have ignored the last three months.

You Go Girl #2 will be here in about 2 1/2 weeks when she will attend my Fall Genealogy Seminar on October 10th. It's all about free genealogy web pages, plus digging deeper to locate vital records. Now you know what I've been doing all summer. It's no quick project putting together an all day seminar, plus a CD of information to accompany it.

The local genealogy society will be celebrating Family History Month (what we call the real month of October) in a big way. We will have volunteers at the library to show people what is in the genealogy section and help them get started with their research or overcome research obstacles. There will be three tours of the genealogy section during the month. Books have been moved about three times in two years, so this will reacquaint people with their whereabouts. On October 21st we will have genealogy displays, help stations, door prizes and handouts in an evening of welcoming people to the addictive work of genealogy. You Go Girl #2 is helping out by making displays and donating prizes. She is also my listener when I have bursts of inspiration for what hopefully will be a fun month.

Let it snow ... even early ... I don't care. I don't know where wooly worms go to stay warm, but I have my genealogy to keep me warm!

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 -- Ruby

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Survived Vacation and The Bears !

I arrived back home in Nebraska on Monday after 11 days of wilderness camping in the beautiful state of Wyoming. Bears? Well this year, there were none to be found around our camp. How lucky can I be? Maybe they just didn't like the smell of this granny genealogist!

Our vacation was awesome. The weather was mostly nice and sunny with a couple afternoon rain showers and about 75-80 degrees each day. It did get down to 30 one night in the high Medicine Bows, telling us that winter would soon show its face. YGGG #2 never left the camp site for the whole time except for our daily wildlife drives and exploring of the countryside. My time was spent preparing food, cooking, feeding the campfire or reading. For some unknown reason, I did not get in as much reading and study as I had hoped, but I did spend some quality time with my Swedish books and documents. The quiet time to study was nice-- no phone, tv, computer, knocking at the door or other such intrusions! We were 50 miles from the nearest town and 40 miles just to get cell service. Go Hubby did make the town trip a couple times for ice, adult beverages, checking on work and to check in with and report to YGGG #1. The latter was recovering from her knee surgery while I was out vacationing. We had to keep tabs on her health and, she, being a "town" girl would not have survived the 11 days of no internet anyway! She did say she missed me and our several a day communications while I was gone. Getting back home and to my computer, I had some juicy tidbits of genealogy information from her and others while I was gone. I must have missed that computer more than I thought!

We saw several moose and other wildlife on our daily jaunts into the back country. The highlight of our days were our back country drives and hikes. One of the other neat discoveries was several very old hand hewn log cabins that were scattered throughout many stream bottoms and valleys. I took lots of photos of these and of course we scouted around them all. Most were built in the late 1800's and some into the early 1900's. We assume that most were early claims along the creeks seeking gold and probably many were used for trapping also, as there were and still are lots of beaver etc., in the area. There are old trash piles around nearly every cabin. We turned up broken pieces of pottery, glass, cans, square nails, an old copper boiler and even the front off of a cast iron stove. We couldn't help but to ponder the lives of those early settlers and what they must have gone through to survive in such wilderness. It is still remote and wild and one can only imagine what it was like to try and survive there well over a hundred years ago. Several of the sites are still fairly undisturbed which is amazing. Were there many women, and what about children? I found a tiny "blue willow" lid from a childs dishes set in one remote cabin spot and it was unbroken in the dump area. It is so hard to envision a child in what must have been harsh living conditions.(This area gets way below zero much of the winter, with up to 8 feet of snow at times.) Did these people even winter in the mountains? They must have in order to make a living. I have a new mystery to solve now, as I intend to dig into some records and find more information about the people who once settled this remote area. A genealogist's dream-- as if I didn't already have enough of my own family to find !!!!

The trip overall was great, the guys played horseshoes, we all had fun, ate like kings, read books for a week, and relaxed.

One small glitch in the whole trip--. We have a large sharpei/chow mix dog, Misty, which made the trip this year with us for the first time. She did pretty well as a traveler, and had a good time with us. She is ,however, afraid of the dark and shook each night when the coyotes started to howl. Go Hubby had to use the "Coleman lantern" for her before bed outings as she was afraid of the shadows that the ordinary flashlite made. Our last night there was unsettled as she had a diarrhea problem and on the way home we had to make a stop along the interstate to again get her outside. I am sure we were a funny site to the passers-by. I had to clean her up with the baby wipes as vehicles whizzed by before she could get back in the car. She adores YGGG#1 and should have stayed in North Platte with her and helped her on her way to recovery. They could have "babysat" one another. She for one was glad to be home and has slept the day away today!

The You Go Genealogy Girls now have a whole year of travel and fun together before YGGG #2 returns again to the wilderness.....with the bears!

You Go Genealogy Girls #2, Cheri

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This and That and Not Much Else

What do you do with a painful knee and limited patience? I'm suppose to rest, but I didn't hear that ... maybe it was a whisper in my ear. While I am progressing each day after my surgery, it is slower than I anticipated. After all, I consider myself a SuperWoman, or is that SuperGenealogist?

For almost a week I have hobbled around with and without the walker, going from my recliner, laptop and TV to the computer/genealogy room. I have now achieved the ability of taking my walker outside to the mail box. This morning I decided to wheel two houses to the west, turn around in their drive way and wheel back home. Before I got back to my house, a nurse at the rest home complex across the street, was watching me. I suspect she thought I had escaped.

I am anxious to return the walker to my genealogy friends who generously loaned it to me. My granddaughter's 11th birthday party is tomorrow evening at the bowling alley. She wants me to come, but not with the walker. That makes me feel good as she doesn't want her friends to think her granny has suddenly gotten old and decrepit. The walker can be useful, though. It's great for transporting items from room to room, such as my bagel and tea in the morning and books and magazines when I change locations.

On the plus side, I have read through numerous genealogy periodicals that have piled up. I bet I'm not the only one who accumulates them in stacks. I have been reading messages and leaving messages on GenealogyWise. The FGS Conference blog is keeping me entertained and green with envy that I'm not at the conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. I am also dreaming of the day when I can walk around the block and also go to cemeteries. All in time! It's been a long summer!

You Go Girl #1 ... Ruby

P.S. You Go Girl #2's hubby, "Go Hubby," called me yesterday. They are still in the mountain wilderness in Wyoming. He drove to where he could get a cell signal to make sure I am okay. Isn't that special of him? He said #2 was alone in camp with the dog and her genealogy. So far they haven't turned into bear bait!


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