Yesterday we saw our first black snake this year! We probably wouldn’t have seen it if we didn’t need to run to the store. I love black snakes – don’t know why ( my favorite animal is the wolf). In Chinese astrology I was born in the year of the snake. Maybe that’s why.
This black snake eventually went into the woodpile.
For the most part, they just want to be left alone. One of the best things about black snakes is they eat mice. So, we don’t really have a mouse problem around here. (My cat eats them too, but that’s another story!)
They also eat baby birds and eggs. It upset me when I heard the momma bird squawking, but there was nothing I could do! Survival of the fittest, right!? I did take pictures, so it didn’t upset me too much.
This is a small one, probably only about 18 inches long. It wasn’t too hard to get out of the house…it slithered into the vent cover, which I had closed. I threw it and the snake outside.
One night, late last summer, my son woke my boyfriend and I up saying there was a snake in the house! I thought he was joking…he wasn’t. It was right outside my bedroom! Another baby, about a foot long! My boyfriend grabbed a clamp and threw it outside. Later, we found some skin hanging from the basement storm door. He probably fell off, landing on the inside, and slithered into the house when the door was opened.
We had a couple of black snakes living under the front stoop! I concreted up the holes, making sure they weren’t under the stoop when I completely sealed it. I did NOT want dead snakes under there! I did one side, made sure they weren’t under the concrete then sealed the other side!
Took me a couple of days, but there are no more snakes under the stoop or sidewalk. There were a couple other places I concreted up, one in the mint garden and another along the driveway.
My dad and I had been working on rebuilding the mower shed. I couldn’t do much because I had just had major surgery, but I helped a little when I could. I decided to take a break and went to sut down in the door of the camper. I heard a little commotion behind me. I stood up (I hadn’t sat down completely) , looked, and there was a snake slithering away from me. A couple seconds later here comes a mouse with her babies still hanging out! (She was giving birth when the snake disturbed her!)
Some facts about black snakes:
Non venomous, constrictor
Can grow up to 8 feet long, usually around 4
Have been known to nest with copperheads
Lay up to 30 eggs, babies are 12 inches long, incubation period is 60 days, adults mate in spring
Lay their eggs in rotten logs, manure, , wood piles, manmade structuresh
Hunt during the day in spring and fall, at night during the summer
Will rattle their tail to make predator think it’s poisonous. Also produce a musk and will bite (story about that in another post)
I am working on a post about the Morris’…hopefully I’ll have it posted by tonight. In the meantime, here are some photos to enjoy.
Sorry I didn’t post anything yesterday. Life kinda got in the way!
Just wanted to provide some information about my Morris ancestry. It took me forever to find this information…my dad had a ton of information on the Shaffer’s (his mother’s side) but next to nothing about his dads. I had as far back as Oliver Morris, my great great grandfather. After searching for what seemed forever (months?) I finally found a census from Oliver which stated that his father came from Wales and his mother came from Germany. Her name was Leah. The 1854 census for Oliver states the following: born 1854, male, 66 years old; widowed; head of house hold, owns property; father’s birth place South Wales (NOT New South Wales), mother’s birth place Germany.
I haven’t been able to find anything on Leah’s side of the family.
I was very excited to find this! Until I realized Morris was a popular name in Wales. Oh the searching that took place. I didn’t have any other info to go on. So, I keep searching, looking for someone that might fit the criteria. I found Isaac Morris! The 1880 Bush Creek, Fulton, PA census for him is as follows: age 56, farmer, male, household members: Isaac age 56, Leah age 57. He was baptised March 7, 1824 in Cilycwm, Carmarthenshire, Wales. The 1841 census (Wales) is as follows: (this is in Egremont, Carmarthenshire, Wales) Birth year, 1822-1826, birth place Carmarthenshire; parish, Egremont; county, Carmarthenshire; house hold members, Thomas 60-64, Carmarthenshire; Mary 55-59, Carmarthenshire; Isaac 15-19, Carmarthenshire; Mary James 15-19, Carmarthenshire. I also found a document that stated Isaac’s father as Thomas Morris 1779- (?), and his mother was Mary Edmonds 1783-1843 and he had a brother named Theophilus 1839- (?). This all seems to add up to me. When I found all this, I did the math. It seemed to fit!. I finally had something and I went with it.
Thomas’ father was William Morris, and was apparently very famous. He was a botanist, antiquary, letter writer. If you search his name wallpaper comes up. He married Mary Ann Reynolds who was heiress of a branch of Williamses (formerly Boleyns) of Breconshire (Blaen-nant, Clanheugan, Brecknock(?)). Not sure if I have that last part spelled right…I copied everything from the computer by hand.
The Morris’/Morys are descended from ancient family of Bulk’eley
After this is speculative, but I find it interesting. I couldn’t find any concrete information the names keep changing…Williams father was Lewis Morris/Morys. His father was Morys ap Richard Morys. The son took the fathers last name as his first name (Morys ap Richard Morys litteraly means Morys son of Richard Morys as far as I have found). The daughter was kind of the same but they got fetch or verch (as in (Elsbeth fetch John or Elizabeth verch Madog). Those names are actual ancestors I pulled to give examples. Once I found that Lewis Morris/Morys had a son William and the dates seemed to line up, I found a lot of info. There are a lot of kings, princes and lords in the tree. Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd is the last I have on the direct line of the Morris’. He was probably born around 1300. He married Mawd Clement.
Through the wives I have lineage all the way back to Charlemagne and beyond. I stopped with his line when they noted that after this point it is speculative. I should’ve done this earlier, but I was going to count how many generations back Charlemagne is but I haven’t marked it yet. I’m sure it’s something like 30+ generations. Some of the lines go so far back that it starts to turn into mythology or legends. For example, Raum “the old” Norsson, King of Alfheim (Norway). I was going to try to include more than what I have in this post, but I think I’ve included enough information. At least enough to keep you interested. There is so much to write about, I have to break it down. There’s just no way around it.
My next post on the Morris’ will be on some of the other information I found related to Morris. I will also, at some point, do posts on Charlemagne and the other kings, lords, knights and legends that are supposedly in my tree.
I will leave you with this: Morys ap Richard (Morris Richard) married Margaret Owen. Her father did not like him, they eloped one night in her fathers yard – she climbed down from her bedroom, said “I do” and went back to bed. It came out later that they were married…he had gone on a trip and she learned of the ships fate that she thought he was on. (For some reason he wasn’t on it.) She was a nervous wreck. Morys ap Richard would be my 7th great grandfather.
This will probably be a multi-part series. Not sure how many at this point. This post is about my younger years, up to about 5 years old.
My name is Holly and I was born and raised in Maryland. I grew up in an old farmhouse, built in 1900. My parents were Max and Charlotte (Ningard) Morris. They met in Ocean City, MD in 1968, married in 1969.
That’s my mom with her Chevelle. She sold it in the ’90’s for what she paid for it. It needed major work!
That’s my dad. He just shot a groundhog. I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. I never went hunting with my dad, but I loved to fish. I now wish I had gone hunting with him, but I can’t change the past.
I was born in 1977 and I had one sister. I say “had” because we had a falling out after my dad passed away in 2017. I’m not going into detail about her and what happened, but it was bad. I haven’t talked to her in almost 2 years.
I was ALWAYS outside!! If you couldn’t find me I was probably up a tree. I started climbing shortly after I learned to walk. I also liked to wander, especially if my dad was watching me. I remember a story my mom always told, it was shortly after my sister was born. I was around two years old. It was probably the weekend because my dad was home, I wanted to go outside with him. Mom didn’t want to let me, but dad promised he’d keep an eye on me. Well, a few minutes later mom got a call from the neighbor wanting to know if she (my mom) knew where I was. “She’s outside with her dad” was the reply. Nope! I had wandered up to the farm house. Mom decided to play a joke on dad…at first he thought I’d come back inside. After looking around a bit, mom said something about me wandering into the cornfield…dad got about two or three rows in when mom started laughing. “She’s gone up to Mr. Smith’s.” I’m sure my dad wasn’t too happy, but at the same time relieved.
The house didn’t always look like this! It originally had asbestos siding, and a metal awning over the front door. When we moved, they tore the house down and burned it. They had to take the siding off to do this (more about this in a later post). Many memories were made here.
I loved the beach! The first time my parents took me to the beach – I was about 6 months old – my mom stuck my feet in the water and I cried when she took me out. We went there every year til 1990 or 91 when huricane Bob damaged the camper too much to be used for camping (it is used for storage now). When my mom was pregnant with me, everyone told her to be careful or I’d be born with sand on my feet.
Notice the little green bug
Different images I edited in Photoshop on my phone.
A little information about black eyed Susans:
– Maryland’s state flower
-scientific name: rudbeckia hirta
– Higher class: cone flower
– North American flowering plant in the sunflower family
– native to eastern, central and North America
– upright annual
– about 90 varieties including but not limited to: Indian Summer, Toto, Double Gold
– also known as Gloriosa Daisy
– flowers from June – August
– host plant of Silvery Chestnut Butterfly caterpillar
– important food source/shelter for slugs, rabbits, and deer. Silvery Chestnut Butterfly lays eggs on
– Native Americans used black eyed susans in treatment of cold, flu, snake bites, various infections, swelling, and earache
– seeds are poisonous, juice from the roots can be used to treat earaches, an infusion from the roots can be used to treat minor cuts, swelling, and scrapes, it is a diuretic and can be used to rid the bidy of worms and increase urine flow. No known side affects.The flower petals can make a yellow dye.
– symbolizes encouragement and justice
This and that…some things I’ve done around the house. The shelving unit above, for example. It had been out in the weather for a long time, but it’s still usable. So we worked on it and got it looking good again. There was no way it was going to look like new, but we were able to get it so we could use it. At least for a little while. My dad sanded it, then I spray painted it. I could’ve done the sanding myself, but I figured I’d let him be useful! I’m one of those girls that if told she can’t do something, she will prove you wrong! I’ve always been that way!!
There was a bird’s nest in the flower pots above where my cat is. You can’t see it here, but we put wire (I think it’s called chicken wire) around the two sides to keep the cat out and hopefully snakes. Nothing managed to get to them.
There is really no way to keep wrens from nesting in things – unless you get rid of those things. They’ll nest in just about anything. We have a metal sun hanging above the deck door, the wren managed to make a nest in it. I took the nest out before they were able to lay eggs…and kept on top of it until they gave up.
When the birds decided to leave the nest, I was sitting in the chair in front if the shelving unit. I wish I had a video, but I don’t! Anyway, one of them landed in my head! I had no idea what was on my head, but I freaked out a little. Being a country girl, it didn’t scare me that bad…just a little.
Anyway, we had baby birds hopping around for an hour or so, then they were gone!
This mint garden had a lot of weeds in it. I dug it out, put a trench in and filled it in with the stone then put the mint back. Later I realized that we had a snake going in under the sidewalk so I had to fill it in. It took a lot of work, but hard work never hurt me. I actually enjoy it. I feel better if I’m able to do something like this.
We have a big pile of stone my dad brought from the house I grew up in. The house was built in 1900, had a summer kitchen, smoke house, as well as other outbuildings. My dad took the stone from the summer kitchen chimney. We now use it for walk ways, garden walls, fire pit…pretty much whatever we want. We still have a good bit left.
It really wasn’t that hard to do. Probably took me two days to get it done – only working in the morning and/or evenings. My boyfriend, I think, finally realizes that I need to work around the house…more than just planting flowers. It’s as good for me as it is for him. I enjoy the hard work, keeps me active. As good as – if not better – than going to the gym. I’m not the type of girl that does housework all day long. I need more than that.
What can I really say about house plants? I have WAY too many! Ivy, spider plants, snake plants, peace lilies, sun stars, Christmas cactus, some kind if succulents, and some other plant I have no idea what it is. They keep having babies and I can’t just let them die!!
The plant in the top right (above) is what I really don’t know what it is. My mom had it ever since I can remember, it has had babies! I’ve got over 60 plants, I water them every week except in the summer when I put them outside (they’ll be going out soon).
I get my green thumb from my mom! She had plants ever since I can remember, never as much as I have now, but they’ve always been around. My dad had a green thumb as well!
Some of these plants came from my grandmother as well. The ivy came from her place when we moved her into a nursing home. The succulents and peace lily we got when she passed away – someone sent us a potted plant that had peace lily, succulents, and ivy in it. It was very pretty…eventually I had to transplant them and put them in separate pots. The succulents keep having babies…
I love life, I guess that’s why I do so well with them. Animals too, but I’m not writing about animals. The ivy in the strawberry planter above is probably my favorite. I found it (the planter) a couple years ago under a bunch of junk. It had a huge crack in it – I glued it and is as good as new! When I put the ivy in it, it was just a tiny thing! You can see how big it as gotten!!
The snake plant in this picture is my favorite of the snake plants! It’s huge!!! It is said that it is one of the best to have in the house, it does a really good job cleaning the air.
Peace lily…I originally had this in a big pot. I decided to seperate it! I was hoping only two pots, but I ended up with three. While I was putting aquarium rock in this pot, a piece broke off! I finished up and then glued it back together. I used gorilla glue and rope…good as new! Now I just need to paint it.
I put aquarium rock in my pots with plants. You can buy rock at any garden center, but it’s cheaper to buy aquarium rock. I also get little bags of different size rock/gravel at the dollar store – just to spruce things up a little. Mix it in with aquarium rock, gives it a little texture.
Spider plants, snake plants, ivy and Christmas cactus
Spider plants are interesting little plants. They produce babies from long stems that hang down from the main plant and prefer to hang, but will be happy sitting on a high shelf, as long as the babies have a way to hang down. The babies can be taken off and planted. That’s how I got so many of them. They usually came off when I’m moving them outdoors or back in.
Cats like to eat them. Usually is harmless for cats, it’s like heroin for cats. It can make them sick if they eat too much, but they (the cat) is usually ok. It’s probably best to try to keep the cat away from the plant, but (in my experience) the cat will probably find a way to get to it. My cat has learned – for the most part – not to eat too much. I have the most problems with him when I first bring the plants back inside for the winter.
I usually have good luck with the plants. Some of them I have killed. I had an aloe that I over watered and somehow I managed to kill African violets that my mom had and we got from my grandmother. For the most part, my plants are happy.
Family has always been important to me! Probably one of the most important “things” in my life. I know I get it from my parents, who got it from their parents…must run in the family!
Front row left to right: Aaron Layton, Guy Morris (Floyd’s brother), Clarence Engle, Alfred Decker (in front of Clarence), William Henry Decker, Alfred Layton, Riley Decker
Back row left to right: Oliver D. Morris (great great grandfather), Albert Decker, Raymond Morris (Floyd’s brother), Benjamin Morris (great grandfather), Floyd Morris (grandfather).
Everyone in this picture (above) is related to me in some way! Oliver married Isabel Layton, who was the daughter of Samuel Layton. That’s where the Layton’s come into the family – they came from England. Benjamin married Margaret Divelbiss, they’re originally from Germany. We didn’t know it til recently, but Hans Michael Divelbiss settled in Frederick, Md. Debelbesin was the original German name.
As far as I can tell the Morris’ come from Wales – Isaac Morris was born in Wales in 1824, died in 1898 in or near Bushcreek, Fulton, PA. His wife’s name was Leah and came from Germany (don’t know her maiden name, 1854 census). His son Oliver is my great great grandfather. Isaac’s father was Thomas who was born in Wales, not sure where he died. Thomas’ father was William Morris…the William Morris known for botany, antiquary, letter writer (and wallpaper).
I’ve been able to trace this line all the way back to Charlemagne (through one of the wives), and further. Some famous names are Tudor, Salisbury, Oliphant (Scotland), Wheeler/Welere/Welert, Lancelot Bors de Esposyni (Sir Lancelot – I do believe), Colius (old king Cole, he was a real king!)…if I made the connections right. I’m pretty sure I did. I have an account with MyHeritage, but I haven’t been able to do anything with it lately.
When Charlemagne popped up in the tree, I did some research. One of the websites said that if Charlemagne is in your ancestry, you’re related to all of Europe! Wow!!!
My ancestry through the Morris line goes all the way back to 20 B.C., goes into Finland, Sweden, and Russia (lots of kings). When I did the research I had no idea that I would find this!! Sometime I’ll go into detail about what I found with the Norse lineage I found. It’s too much for this post.
We’re supposedly related to Princess Diana. Haven’t found the connection yet, but considering that the Morris’ come from Wales, it’s entirely possible. One of the Morris’ that signed The Declaration Of Independence is also an ancestor. As far as I can tell, he would’ve been a distant cousin. We’re also related to President Bush – both… Senior Bushes 2nd or 3rd great grandfather was my 4th or 5th great grandfather. Go figure…
Oliver Morris back row, 3rd from right, Benjamin Morris back row far right
Rosa Smith is Benjamin’s sister. She married Ira.
Lydia Mason married Cecil Shaffer. Laura was a Devore. Lydia and Cecil were my great grandparents…story goes they were caught in the barn fooling around and were forced to get married. 7 or 8 months later, their oldest child was born.
I have to look and see how exactly Oscar and William are related. William and Rachel Mason are more than likely Jessie Mason’s parents. My dad did most if not all of the research on that side of the family (Shaffer/Mason/Devore), I did the research on the Morris’. My dad passed away in 2017, so I can’t ask him. All the paperwork is around here somewhere, will be a later post.
Max, Keith and Larry were sons of Marion (Shaffer) and Floyd Morris.
The Ningards come from Germany. The original name was Nichengard, I believe they were night watchmen ( night guards). When they came to the U.S. the name was either to long or to hard to pronounce. I don’t have a lot of information about them, but I do know that my great great (?) grandfather participated in the civil war in Ohio and came back with an Indian bride (Souix). As far as I know, her name was Kate. They lived in Baltimore, MD.
Mary Holly married Winfield Ningard. Her father’s name was George Holly. That’s not the original spelling, at one point it was either Hollie or Holley – George changed the spelling of it a couple times, but I can’t remember the actual original spelling.
That’s about it for now. I have a lot more information – like Max married Charlotte Ningard (Winfield’s daughter). That information will come later.
Meet Kalimba (pronounced kah-lem-bah)! His name is Spanish, named after some famous Guatemalan singer. My sister named him, used to own him. I got him in 2011, after she divorced her husband (long story, no longer important). Anyway, he is 12 years old.
He used to have hardly anything to do with humans – very skittish! He doesn’t like when new people come over, especially men. He has, for the most part, accepted my boyfriend and he eats out of our hands. He loves when my boyfriend cooks, practically eats off our plates.
He does pee on my boyfriend’s clothes, if he leaves them on the floor. But I think he has for the most part stopped. It’s a territorial thing – especially for males. I think my cat thinks that my boyfriend is taking his (the cats) place in my life. He seems to like my boyfriend, he just pees on his clothes if they’re not picked up. Even the bed sheets that have just been washed.
He is a tuxedo cat. Didn’t know black and white cats had a specific name (kinda like calico, tabby…black and white dogs are called party dogs), until not long ago.
He thinks he’s a dog…acts like one! He gets me up almost every morning at 430, without fail. Sometimes he lets me sleep til 5am or so. If he hears my boyfriend’s alarm go off at 330 (and he usually does) he starts meowing at the door within 5 minutes!
This is from when we had the floors redone…the 20 gallon fish tank was in this spot. Didn’t move it until I went to bed the night before. He loved laying on the bare plywood (flooring)…nice and cool. It was August after all!
Well, I’ve got a ton of Kalimba pictures but I figure I’ve bored you enough. There will probably be more posts about him in the future!
Until next time 😸
Like it won’t always be in progress, but the stone pathway is not finished yet in the picture above. Now, I’ve got flowers on either side
This is from when I first decided to expand the garden. It started when we – my dad and I – decided to fix the bell post. It was rotten and needed to be fixed (below).
I felt very Amish working on this…we took everything off the post, broke the post (it was rotten), cut it off, put metal legs on and set it in concrete. The bell isn’t back up yet in this picture.
Getting the bell down was a challenge! My dad was going to use the ladder, pulled the van up alongside… everything he tried to do I stopped. It seemed way to dangerous!! At this point my dad is 70something and legally blind. We ended up using a rope and post – tied the rope to the bell and wrapped it around the post, then used the post to lift the bell out of the cradle. I held the rope while dad used the post. It worked!!! The only modern tool we used was an electric drill to drill holes in the post and metal legs, but other than that, everything was done by hand. As you can see, we’re using the mower to help stabilize the post while the concrete sets.
We put metal legs in concrete and set the post off the ground to help keep the post that much longer. You can’t see it here but there are four bolts (2 on each side). You take a bolt out of each side and you can lower the post for whatever reason…paint the bell or post, replace the post, add to it, whatever. It took us some time to finish, but it’s much better than it was.
After the bell post was finished, I started working on the garden.
I’ll add a picture after the flowers start blooming
These are digital lumen prints (I’ll detail what lumen prints are in a future post – but it’s an alternative photo process). I say digital because after the image has been scanned into the computer, it is a different image. The original is one of a kind – can’t really be reproduced as an original, like a photograph.
Below is an original of a lumen print scan… untouched. There are some blemishes (that are not present in the actual original print). A little bit of detail on lumen prints…it requires photo paper (the kind you use in the darkroom – I’ve used color and black and white, they just have different outcomes. In fact, now that I think about it, I used color printing paper with black and white darkroom fixer.), the sun, whatever object you’re making a copy of, glass hold everything together (I also use clips, but you don’t have to) and fixer. It takes about 12 hours to “develop” the photo then you fix it. I have been known to let it develop for 24 hours – two days of sunlight!
I know the deer are out of focus, but it showcases the struggle deer go through during the winter (in my humble opinion). I took this photo while I was still going to school at Shepherd University…I included it in one of my portfolio reviews. The teacher commented that while you really do want the subject to be in focus, this works because it shows struggle. (What do you think?)
Ok, I have to admit something here…most of these pictures in this post have been rejected by shutterstock. Some I understand, others I don’t really. This one for example (above) was rejected because the subject is out of focus (and there’s writing – my copyright). I took the copyright out and submitted two photos…this one and one not so close cropped. Both were rejected. It’s irritating bc I can’t really showcase my artistic ability. If it really is out of focus, I understand…
This is one of my favorite cyanotypes that I have produced. I have others, that may possibly get included in my blog and hopefully shutterstock. I need to get the chemicals to do this – again this is one that requires sun and water…the chemicals are painted on watercolor paper, set it out in the sun for about 15 minutes (depending on how strong the sun is on that day) or so then rinse it with water and let it dry.
This praying mantis is on the hummingbird feeder…he looks really old. I cropped it close like this bc this is the best parl…too distracting. Looks like he’s peeking over the edge of the photo.
These are also lumen prints…the one on the left has been edited in photoshop, the one on the right is an original scan.
I took a slice of onion, stuck it on the paper with glass on top and let it sit. I can’t remember at this point if this was a 12 hr or 24 hr process, I’m thinking it was 12 hour.
Happy onion smokes lumen print
pictures with words
Ok, that’s all I have for now. I hope you have enjoyed this so far. If you have any questions or comments, please do get in touch.
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