Saturday, July 11, 2009

Appomattox and Monticello

Hello Daylily Friends,

Diana and I have just returned from about 4 days of travel, and although we enjoyed our trip, we are glad to be back home. The first thing we did when we returned home was to let our cat "Sammy" out of his confined area. Diana does not like to leave Sammy outside at night because there are Coyotes that roam near our home, and they are dangerous. We are concerned that Sammy could harm one of them. Sammy is a tough cat!

The first place that we went to see was Appomattox Courthouse. A very interesting Courthouse. The village of Appomattox was originally called Clover Hill. There was a stopping place on the "Stage Road" at Clover Hill, and so in 1845 the people in Appomattox County changed the name of the village from Clover Hill to Appomattox Court House. Notice that the Courthouse is called "Appomattox Courthouse," and the new name of the village was "Appomattox Court House." So, the actual courthouse was spelled with one word, and the name of the Village was spelled with two words. Then, in 1846, one year after the village became Appomattox Court House, the Appomattox Courthouse was built. The Appomattox Courthouse would have been used by General Lee and General Grant, but the surrender took place on Good Friday, April 9, 1865, and of course the Courthouse was closed on that day. So, they used the home of Wilmer McLean, and I am showing a picture of the McLean home.

It is interesting to also note that the railroad did not stop in Appomattox Court House. Instead, it stopped at a place a few miles from Appomattox Court House. So, the village eventually moved to where the railroad stopped, and this is now the town of Appomattox. The place where the surrender took place is now called Appomattox Court House NHP. The NHP stands for "National Historic Park." It is interesting to note that the Union had approximately 60,000 troops, and Lee's Army approximately 9,000 troops. Lee's Army had no supplies, and for a week they had been eating the corn that the horses ate. Lee was headed toward the place where the railroad stopped in the new city of Appomattox to receive supplies for his troops. However, on April 8, 1865, the day before the surrender, Union Cavalry headed by General George Armstrong Custer captured the southern train. This was a masterful stroke by General Custer. With no supplies, with his Army being only a shadow of its former self, and being completely surrounded by over whelming numbers of Union troops with repeater rifles, General Lee had no reasonable choice other than surrender. I am showing a picture of a Park Ranger explaining the actual surrender meeting in the parlor of the McLean home.

One agreement that was reached between the two Generals was that each Southern soldier would receive a "parole pass." The parole pass meant that the soldier could travel home and would not be stopped and held by other Union forces. It was very interesting to me to see that three of my ancestors from the State of Georgia with the last name of "Waldrop," were men in Lee's army. I knew that I had ancestors that fought in the Civil War, but I had not taken the time to check the places where they were or their assignments during the war. It is good to know that these ancestors survived the war.

When we left Appomattox we went to Monticello to see the home of our third President, Thomas Jefferson. I'm showing a picture of myself and Diana standing beside a statue of Thomas Jefferson. I am not sure of President Jefferson's height, but he must have been tall. I am 5'11" and his statute is clearly taller than I am. Jefferson's home at Monticello is just simply grand. What an achievement to have built such a home and have it survive all of these many years. I like the architecture of the place. So simple and yet so majestic. I was surprised to learn that every morning when Jefferson awoke he would take his bare feet and put them into a tub of very cold water. Some mornings it would be freezing in his home when he would get up, but he still put his feet into that ice cold water. I am showing a picture of Monticello.

We walked through Jefferson's garden which is next to a walkway that he called Mulberry Row. So many vegetables were grown there, and it is interesting to see them growing. I understand that the vegetables being grown were from seeds that Jefferson used. He used the produce from his garden for the family table, and the garden also was a "laboratory" to create better seeds for better vegetables. I particularly liked seeing the fruit trees and grapes that Jefferson grew. I wonder how Jefferson kept the deer from devouring his crops.

Diana also liked the garden since she is truly a tremendous gardener herself. However, she seemed to particularly like the Cypress Vine that Jefferson had growing in his Flower Garden. The Cypress Vine is indeed a vine that produces small red flowers that are enjoyed by Hummingbirds. They swarm to the Cypress Vine and take its nectar. I'm showing a picture of Diana next to where Jefferson's Cypress Vine was growing. Diana likes the Cypress Vine because she grows it on many poles and posts in our yard. I agree with Ms. Diana that the Cypress Vine is very lovely.

One of the first thing that I did after we returned home was to go to my Greenhouse and gather seeds. I have gathered thousands of seeds, but I have no idea as to the total number. I keep the seeds in a bottom drawer of my refrigerator in my barn. I'm showing a picture. I want to plant the seeds as early as I can but they just have not had enough time in the refrigerator. I planted the seeds last year around August the 11th, and I had about 98% germination. In 2008 I planted the seeds around July the 11th, and I had about 65% germination. I hope this year to get the seeds planted by around July 25. I know that my rate of germination may not be quite as good, but I have lots of seeds. If I get 75% germination that will be fine.

Diana and I really enjoyed our getaway, but as I said, it is good to be home.


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