The End of a Season

Our time here at Hopewell Furnace has just flown by, but today was Rob’s last day at work and tomorrow we are hitting the road. We have a 1,700+ mile journey ahead of us as we make our way to North Dakota. We have some stops planned along the way as well as a visit with some family. This time of year makes for some beautiful scenery and we are looking forward to everything that lies ahead.

Rob took the camera out a few mornings ago and got some beautiful pictures of the park. I though it only fitting to share some of them with you on this, our last night here. Hopewell Furnace has been incredible and it is a place that will always hold a special place for us.

 

“Fireweed”

Most of our volunteer hours here in the park are spent in the gardens, weeding and maintaining or occasionally planting flowers. These last few weeks, however, we were painting. The kids were excited because this was their first painting project. There were days I was convinced they had more paint on themselves than they had actually gotten on the building, but they worked hard and did a really good job.

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Seven gallons of paint later, we are all finished and it looks much better. New roof, new windows, fresh coat of paint, all it needs now is a little TLC on the old doors and it will look as good as new. I am so glad we were entrusted with this project because we really did have a good time. Standing out in the sunshine (with the spiders…), painting bugs (and spiders…), running from bees (and spiders…), swatting gnats (and spiders…). I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than that!

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Dutch Oven Gathering

William became interested in dutch oven cooking quite some time ago, so for his birthday we gave him his own dutch oven and a membership to the International Dutch Oven Society. He also became a member of the Valley Forge Black Pots, who come out to Hopewell Furnace each month for a dutch oven cooking demonstration.

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The members of the Black Pots have always been so good with William. They teach him and include him, even though he is ‘just a kid.’ They allow him to help with just about everything, which makes him feel pretty important to the group. He looks forward to the gathering every month.

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They had their latest gathering on Saturday. William had gone to all of the previous gatherings, but this is the first time he took his own dutch oven so he could cook along. He chose to bake some homemade rolls and Can’t Leave It Alone Pudding. Rob helped him and they turned out just perfectly. When everyone was done cooking, it was time to eat. The licenses are not in place to feed the public, but the volunteers and workers are allowed to eat. So the dishes are shared and everyone gets to taste all of the creations, which are absolutely incredible.

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I love that this is a hobby William has chosen. He interacts well with everyone and it gives him a chance to be a part of something. There are chapters all over the country, so no matter where we go, he will be able to attend gatherings. He is already planning what he wants to cook next month, which he has decided needs to be something more challenging.

Spring has Sprung!

I absolutely love spring, and I think it has officially sprung here in Pennsylvania. Charbie and I went for a nice walk through the park this evening and it was incredibly beautiful. There must be a million shades of green out there. After a long, drab winter and seemingly endless rain, the variety of colors is extremely refreshing.

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The orchard is blooming and everywhere you look, colorful flowers are poking their little heads up through the grass. Out in the pasture, the lambs are strong and energetic, wearing out their mamas by the end of the day. The water wheel has been turned on after a winter of rest and all of the bright grass has been freshly mowed. This coming Sunday is sheep-shearing day here at the park, and nothing says spring quite like sheep-shearing.

With spring comes the end of another school year and a new group of high school gradates. This year my nephew, Ian, will be one of those proud graduates. When I graduated from high school, (which does not seem all that long ago) Ian was only three weeks old, and here it is time for his graduation already. My sister made me promise years ago that since Ian was at my graduation, I would be at his. I may be thousands of miles away, but I am not one to break a promise, so on Wednesday, the kids and I are flying back to Idaho.

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We had originally planned on driving, but my family is so amazing, (and they said it would take us too long to drive and they wanted us there sooner) that they bought us plane tickets. The kids are crazy excited about getting to fly. Will flew when he was two, but I don’t think he really remembers it and the twins have never flown. I am just super excited for what will be waiting at the other end of the flight.

We will be back on the western side of the U.S. for three weeks and in that time, we will visit Grammy and Grampy, Great Grandma, aunties and uncles, cousins and two very dear friends of mine. I will get to see two aunts whom I have not seen in 13 years, and will even be running a half marathon with one of them. We will spend time in Boise, Spokane and Reno. We will be there for three birthdays and the graduation of one amazing young man. The only one missing will be Rob, who, unfortunately, will be staying home so he can work and hold down the fort. I wish more than anything that we could all go together, it is just not possible.

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As for the kids, May 20 marks the end of the school year for them and they, too, will be turned loose for the summer. We have some things we need to work on over the long break, but for the most part they will be free as wild birds. Another school year has flown by…

So many exciting things happening, so many amazing places to go, so many wonderful people to visit… I. Love. Spring.