my life is an art project

….adventures in annieland

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Mom, Dixon and Alice

While rummaging through my parents photo albums on a recent visit, I came across a bunch of photographs and documents which relate to my maternal Grandmother’s side of the family. It goes without saying that I spent a few days smiling over the photos, letters, and various bits, furiously scanning and taking notes. The photo below was taken in June of 1966 at Saratoga National Historic Park, and shows my Mom (the dark haired gal) with my Aunt and Uncle. They are adorable! My Mom would have been about 12 or so in this photo. Her father (my Grandfather) was Superintendent of Saratoga National Historic Park in New York at the time.


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Some good info on foraging, gardening and so forth, courtesy of

I am a big fan of the website There is a wealth of information on the site, free for the taking. Since I’ve been in a wild-food-foraging and gardening state of mind, I did a few searches on the site to see what relevant information I could find. Here are a few books, articles, videos, or other sources of information that I’d like to check out when I get the chance.

The Agro Rebel: the trials and tribulations of a permaculture farmer in Austria.


pFARM: “Organic Fetish Biotech” in Woodstock, NY.


Edible Wild Plants: by Oliver Perry Medsger, Professor of Natural Education, Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State College, 1939.


 AZ Bushcraft: Wild food foraging in Australia.


The Alternative Kitchen Garden Podcast: Emma Cooper grows a garden in Oxfordshire, England.


Rebecca Lerner, “urban forager and herbalist” and creator of First Ways, which aims to educate people about edible, healing, cleansing and other plants, speaks with The Sprocket Podcast about foraging wild foods in Portland, Oregon.


Second Servings: Morel Mushrooms. A wonderful discussion of the morel mushroom from Indiana.


The Feral Forager: “a guide to living off nature’s bounty in urban, rural, and wilderness areas. Bringing wild food gathering and roadkill scavenging into our everyday lifestyles.”






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Ghost flower



This was my first time seeing these lovely specimens. I was with my parents, grandparents, nieces and nephew, visiting Shenandoah National Park, and of course, I was completely absorbed in the fascinating fungi growing beneath my feet.

I’ve heard these strange fungi being called “Indian Pipe” or “Ghost Flower.”

Monotropa uniflora

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What is it?

I’ve loved small boxes, tiny pouches and secret storage compartments since I was a kid (just ask my Mom). I still love them. I love tiny things in which I can place other tiny things. Anyway…

On a short trip with the hubs to the area by the seashore where I grew up, we stopped in to one of my all-time-favorite-shops-EVER, a small little store just outside of OC, absolutely jam-packed with cool stuff…soooo much stuff…crystals, buddha and other deity statues, stones, beads, jewelry, antiques, cards, weird, odd little things. The place, fittingly enough, is called Buddhas and Beads.

I picked up this strange and adorable little box. The clerk told me I’d get a discount if I could tell him what it was…I had no clue, and neither did he. I still got it for a bargain of two bucks…and still have no clue what it is. The box is only about an inch long, and looks as if maybe something was affixed to the inside of the lid at one point. When the chain and silver “V” shaped charm are extended from the box, the box will not close shut. Curiouser and curiouser.








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After drooling with jealousy over all of the great finds I’ve been seeing on the social media page for WEEKS, the hubs and I finally had a chance to get out in the woods and do our own hunting…and boy, am I glad we did! Some of the morels that we found are the largest that I’ve seen in person. We took the bro-in-law’s four wheeler (thanks, L!) to our usual spot, had a nice hike, and picked a nice little haul. We’ll have them later this evening, rolled up in a little egg and flour, and fried crisp. YUM. Ive seen folks on the interwebs talking about stuffing the large ones with a mixture of cream cheese, blue crab, scallions and spices…that, too, sounds heavenly, especially to a born-on-the-Eastern-Shore-of-Maryland gal like me. Maybe next time, if Mama Nature so blesses us!





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November 30, 1943 (to Dad)

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This photo was in a tin that belonged to my Pop Pop, along with various other photos and items. That’s my Grandfather there, on the right hand side. I’m not sure who the other gentleman is, or where and when this photograph was taken, unfortunately (I don’t believe there was anything written on the back, I’ll have to take another look). Pop Pop looks pretty young, and both gents sure look dashing.



November 30, 1943, Africa.
4 pages
(Written on brown paper labeled “American Red Cross Club” in red, with the red cross at top. At bottom of page is typed in red: “To furnish volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of armies…..andTo act in matters of voluntary relief and in accord with the military and naval authorities as a medium of communication between the people of the United States of America and their Army and Navy…..The Charter of the American National Red Cross. By Act of Congress January 5, 1905.” )

My dearest dad!
Just a few lines to let you know I am well. It’s been a long time since I wrote you. So I am doing so now. There isn’t much news to write about.
I am in a hospital in North Africa. But just a nervous breakdown. I have been in the hospital for about a month. But not before I got my share of combat in Italy. I was there for about two months. About half of which I spent in combat. I was in the invasion and came out alright. And I was also in a few raids. I promised to send Mom a newspaper clipping about one of them. But I forgot to put it in the letter so I will put it in this one. I was one of the (word obscured) men the clipping was about. Maybe it will give you some idea of just what we do.
There are a lot of things I could tell you about my outfit but I can’t put it in a letter. How are things going there at home? I hope they are O.K, I know they are. It’s been a long time since I got any mail from home but maybe it will take quite awhile for it to catch up with me.
Did Mom get the check I sent her? It was from the Viscase (?). I couldn’t get it cashed over here. So I enclosed it + sent it to her. It was for quite a large sum of money + I was worried. Just wondering if she got it or if it may have got lost in the mail.
Do you have any hogs this year? And how about the cow + calf do you still have them? Is the cow giving milk. If she is, I bet it is good. Everything we get over here is dehydrated. It’s food but to me it all tastes the same.
Did you have a nice Thanksgiving dinner? I did we had turkey with all the trimmings. Boy I really enjoyed it.
It won’t be long until Xmas will it. I sure wish I could spend Xmas day with you. But I don’t guess I will be there but one never can tell.
Is it snowing there yet? I bet it is cold there anyway is it?
How is Luray I guess it still looks the same. I hope so. Just so it looks the same when I get back. Then it won’t be so hard to get used to. I guess you are tired of reading this so I will close. Give my love to all. Be sure and write.



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