Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wildflowers and Great Blues

One of my favorite things to do when we're in the Adirondacks is hike through the woods with my daughter in search of wildflowers. Another favorite is to go to the Beaver pond and check out the Great Blue Herons in their nests. 

A new wildflower for me! This is Crinkleweed. My daughter spotted it earlier in the week with the moth which was still there.

These are Ramps a spring delicacy. They are also known as Wild Leeks and tasted great in Connie's homemade hummus. 

Foamflowers in bloom.

Bluets and lots of them in our yard.

Dwarf Gingseng near the river.

 A gorgeous Trillium.

Another new one for me--Coltsfoot.

At the Beaver Pond Connie set up her spotting scope so we could get a good look at the Great Blue Herons in their nests. I took some pics by placing my camera on the sight tube of the scope.

Here is the photo cropped. We watched long enough to see mama feed at least three little chicks.

Last Sunday there was an open house at a creamery that just opened in Upper Jay, NY. We bought some yummy homemade cheeses and yogurt and took pics of this sweet brown cow with a wreath of flowers and a large cowbell around her neck.

This weaving is suspended between two trees at the entrance to one of the camps on our street. Don't you just love it?

Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Honoring Our Heroes

When the NY Times reported Many Services Arranged for the Memorial Day celebration on May 30, 1936, it mentioned services at Grant's Tomb at the "conclusion of the Riverside Drive parade."

Little did they know that the Bower branch of my family would be participating in that ceremony. My family had been involved with Lafayette Camp Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Vanderbilt Auxiliary for years.  

Posing on the steps of Grant's Tomb are my Aunt Midge (center) and behind her is her father (my grandfather) Stanton M. Bower; next to him is his mother (my great-grandmother) Irene Florence McCord, and in the front row far right is her daughter (my great aunt) Leila Bower Kroepke.

Written on the back of this photo: "Grant's Tomb May 30th 1936, To My Friend Marjorie, Lloyd Vosseller, Junior Vice Commander, Lafayette Camp 140, S.O.U.V."

Aunt Midge often reminisced about her laying the wreath at Grant's Tomb when she was 12 years old.

My gr-grandmother, Irene Florence McCord Bower (1867-1944) was president of the Vanderbilt Auxiliary c. 1895.

This American flag was passed down from Aunt Leila to Aunt Midge to me. The inscription at the top: "Presented by [illegible] to Aux. 64, 1917.

Great Aunt Leila was proud of her involvement with the Vanderbilt Auxiliary. She was its president from 1915-1917, treasurer for twelve years, personal aide to Dept. President, and Chairman of Grant's Birthday Committee "many times." Above: Ann Oelhaf and Beatrice Hott with the flag which the Auxiliary presented to the Leonia Girl Scouts, Leonia, NJ.

Every year on Memorial Day, Aunt Leila and the Auxiliary, along with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, placed wreaths at the Civil War monument in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. My gr-grandfather, James McCord, a Civil War veteran, is buried in this plot.

This is why I'm one of 50 volunteers helping to computerize the burial records of Woodlawn Cemetery. The project has been underway for 2 weeks and 15,000 records have already been processed! That's 6% of the total. Only 235,000 more to go!


Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars marching in last year's parade, Livingston, NJ.

Remember to support our military heroes by attending the Memorial Day parade in your community.

Have a great weekend!

Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Moms in My Family Tree and Puppy Bouquets

Remembering the moms in my family tree. Here are some favorite pics from my files starting with me and going back in time on my mother's side . . .


My mother Etta Bower Davis (1910-1964) was 33 years old when I was born. I have several mother/daughter pics taken when I was a toddler but hardly any as I got older. 

Fast forward to my wedding in 1962. All the years in  between I could only find one other pic of just the two of us. My mom was very artistic. I've blogged about her before. She made quilts, appliqued pictures, and her artwork graced the pages of her high school yearbook.       

Next generation. Here's my mom (left) with sister Leila, mother (my grandmother) Etta Strubbe Bower (1890-1970) and sister, Midge. When I was growing up my grandparents lived only a few blocks away so I was constantly visiting. Whenever I went to their house, I'd call out to announce my arrival and Grammie always responded with W-E-L-L???? She made the best corned beef hash--and apple pie  :)


Next generation. My grandmother (left), her mom (my gr-grandmother) Henrietta Wesler Strubbe (1861-1948), my mom and sister Leila being held by someone who I can't identify. My gr-grandmother was born in Germany in 1861 and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 15 years old. She was the mother of 5 children who were born between 1881 and 1890, three lived to adulthood. You can read more about her here.

Next generation. My gr-grandmother (upper right), her mother (my gr-gr-grandmother, upper left) Juliane Johanne Dietzmann Wesler (b. abt. 1840-d. ?) and two unidentified ladies. I'd venture a guess that the one on the right could be my 3rd gr-grandmother. This photo was taken in Germany.


On my mom's dad's side of the family. My gr-grandmother Irene McCord Bower Landwehr (1867-1944) and her daughter, my gr-aunt Leila. I just love their outfits, especially the hats :)

Next generation. My gr-grandmother (upper left) and her mom (my gr-gr-grandmother) Maria Miller McCord (1848-1899). Both were pregnant at the same time and their sons (in military hats on steps) actually look like twins. I have a home movie taken by my gr-uncle George in the 1940s that captured a fleeting shot of my gr-grandmother. I just had this movie converted to a CD. 

Aren't these the cutest flower arrangements?? For Mother's Day I asked my husband to sponsor two dogs at our local animal shelter in my name. These came with the sponsorship. I'm happy to report both dogs have been adopted.  

Happy Mother's Day!


Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dear Old Stars and Stripes

In 1908 when my maternal grandfather, Stanton M. Bower (1888-1965) was 20 years old he enlisted for five years as a private with the NY National Guard, Battery B, 2nd Field Artillery. He was also a talented artist and musician. In 1909 he composed a song Dear Old Stars and Stripes and dedicated it to the Officers and Men of the Second Battery.

At the time of his enlistment he was living at home with his mother, Irene McCord Bower and his sister, Leila, in the Bronx. His father, Samuel Bower, left home in 1901. 

The top two are postcard photos.

Dear Old Stars and Stripes was published by the Tremont Music Co., 210 E. 181st Street, Bronx, NY, my grandfather's home address. In addition to writing the words and music he also did the artwork for the cover.

"When the call "to arms" is sounded,
When we hear the bugle blow,
Bid farewell to all our sweethearts 
As off to war we go. . . "

He was discharged on March 4, 1913. His horsemanship was "good" and his "service honest and faithful."

Last month I made this small quilt top. I'm thinking it needs to be softened with some tea-dye and I might even write in the words to the chorus:

Dear Old Stars and Stripes we love you, 
 And to you we'll e'er be true,
Dear Old Flag your stars shine brightly,
On your pretty field of blue . . . "  

Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer