Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Little Abbey Update: Part Two

At one point I was wishing that my daughter would hurry up and perfect the pincer technique so that she could feed herself. But as W.W. Jacobs pointed out over a hundred years ago in his short story "The Monkey's Paw", everything comes with a price. The price I paid is that my daughter has turned into a human vacuum cleaner. At least three or four times every evening I find her picking out some speck of debris on our hardwood floors and about half those times I catch it on the way to her mouth. I really don't want to know how many I've missed. Just the other night, we saw her sitting on the floor with her hand buried up to the hilt in her mouth. We both knew she had just eaten something she had found but didn't know what. Before we could react she puller her hand from her mouth and we saw a cheerio sticking to her saliva on her hand. She picked it with her other hand and promptly ate it. Does the three-second rule apply to cheerios?

Baby Rule 2: You can have the cleanest floor in the world and a baby will find some speck that you missed, guaranteed.

Little Abbey has for a long time been able to stand when you put her in a standing position next to something she can grab on too. But she shocked us both a week ago when she was sitting on her changing table ready to get into her jammies for bedtime. She reached over, grabbed the rail to her crib and pulled herself into a standing position and then stood there smirking at us. The very next day I got out the wrench and lowered her crib mattress to the lowest position and raised the railings to the highest. That should keep her contained for another week until she figures out how to climb over it.

Little Abbey will no longer take naps in her playpen downstairs but still takes naps upstairs in her crib. In the past, if she was tired, she fell to sleep almost immediately and only fussed when you put her down for a nap and she thought she wasn't tired. Now if she isn't tired, she just rolls around in her bed and babbles to herself for a half hour (her approximate nap time) and then hollers for us to come get her. The only time she fusses during her nap time even when she is awake is if she gets a leg or two through her crib slats and can't get them back out. I assume by next week when she finds her forward gear this too will no longer be an issue.

The last update item that I can think of to blather on about is one of clothes. Already, we are tossing clothes labeled for 9 to 12 month old babies into a large box because they don't fit. Most of the time they don't fit length wise but lately it has been girth wise as well. Just the other day she went to crawl and burst the lower snaps on her one-piece outfit so that her entire behind was exposed as she crawled in reverse around the house. Fortunately we are in a sharing arrangement with another baby who is 11 months older than Little Abbey so we recycled those clothes. None of our friends that live nearby have children that are younger than Little Abbey and of the same sex so for now, our clothes just pile up in a box that will probably be stored until any future children's sex have been determined.

Well that's all for now. Little Abbey has her checkup on Friday so there may be a brief follow-up splurb if anything is worthy of sharing.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Little Abbey Update: Part One

On the eve of Little Abbey's nine-month birthday, I think it is time for another update. It started off as a quick update but grew so fast I'll probably break it into two parts. But before the updates in no particular order, I must first say that she has completely recovered from her bout with the rotavirus and as always, she not only bounces back but leaps ahead developmentally. It seemed like she was sick one day and crawling the next.

Yes you read that last sentence right and Little Abbey is definitely crawling. Right now she only crawls in reverse but she can creep forward by using the belly scoot and using the friction between her hands and the floor to pull herself along. I fully expect her to be crawling forward by the end of this week. It is quite comical to watch her crawl. She seems something in front of her that she can't quite reach and she gets into the crawling position and goes backwards instead. She will keep going backwards until she backs into an immovable object and then she will get upset or get turned around (by seeing something else in a different direction better than the first) so that she can back in another direction.

She isn't limited to crawling backwards for mobility though. Oh no. She has perfected the butt scooch where she uses her body as momentum to scooch her forward on her but an inch or two at a time. Other times she just barrel rows and other times she kind of swims, especially on a hard wood floor, spinning this way and that and going where she pleases. Unfortunately this is usually in a direction that displeases me. I've looked at 'systems' that you can buy that are like a child version of a dog kennel but they are as expensive as heck. I think I will just buy a bunch of baby gates and some bungee cords that I can configure into whatever shape I want and for a fraction of the cost. We do have a small playpen given to us as a gift but I think it is too small and is only good for keeping Little Abbey happy for small amounts of time. I think she takes after her dad in this aspect.

We've given up on the baby food or more appropriately, Little Abbey has given up on it. You can put a big bowl of applesauce, her former favorite, in front of her and she would rather have what I'm eating. Since we never bought baby food and made it ourselves instead, this isn't a big problem but we are back to alternating feeding her while trying to feed ourselves. Occasionally we can stall her for a time by giving her a handful of cheerios that she happily feeds to herself or if we think that far in advance, feed her first and then give her the cheerios. If she could survive on cheerios and a sippee cup of diluted fruit juice, she could just feed herself since she can do both on her own but I'm guessing that diet is lacking on a few things. Which leads me to this observation, Little Abbey never passes up any offer of food.

The daycare lady, Mrs. Z, feeds her a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and then Little Abbey will sometimes eat whatever Mrs. Z is feeding the rest of her charges is suitable for people with no teeth for lunch. Then after she is done with Mrs. Z's lunch, Little Abbey will then eat my lunch that is last night's supper blended up. Then there is another large portion of the supper off my plate in the evening. All told, I'm guessing Little Abbey is consuming between 3 and 4 cups of food a day plus about 24 ounces of milk and 8 ounces of diluted fruit juice. No wonder my arm hurts just carrying her out to the car.

For a while, Little Abbey babbled almost non-stop and then quieted down. Now she is back to babbling non-stop but has a lot more sounds in her vocabulary along with some multi-syllable babble. She also has acquired a growl that almost sounds like she has been possessed. She does it when she is really into playing with an object and had I heard it for the first time in a dark room, I would have literally jumped out of my skin. It is that spooky sounding. Hopefully she grows out of it fast as she did her 'spitting' stage that she picked up at daycare. Funny what they 'get' from daycare.

As we were foretold, as soon as she found mobility, Little Abbey detests her saucer that provided her with such joy and us with some small chunks of 'free time' when she was smaller. She pretty much doesn't play with any of her stuffed toys anymore and prefers the hard plastic ones that make noise. Her baby piano, which is now working properly again, is one of her favorites along with a wooden kitchen spoon that she beats on everything with, including a green rubber duck that squeaks and drives her into a bout of giggles. She also enjoys taking my newspaper and shredding it into really small pieces. I try to only let her do this when I'm watching or a couple pieces will surely make their way to her mouth. Unfortunately, I've found more than one newspaper missing a soggy corner and no matching piece around but a smiling baby. Which brings to this rule:

Baby Rule 1: Babies are apparently not harmed by ingesting small quantities of newspaper.

Corollary to Rule 1: Husbands sometimes are harmed if they don't get all the ink stained wiped off the baby's mouth before the wife gets home.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Walk Around the Block: Part Four

Heading east from the driveway for the old Wellen farm, the road gently rises up to a ridge. To the south, the ridge quickly narrows down to a point on the Wellen farm and to the north, the plateau stretched for a mile due north across the Abbey farm. For the next half mile, the Abbey farm runs along the north side of the road.

Up ahead is an old windmill that has sometime ceased turning. As a kid I used to help out in the large family garden a hundred miles to the east of the windmill, then for a few years right underneath the windmill on the east side and then for a few more years right underneath the windmill on the west side. In all those memories, I can always remember the squeaking of the windmill as the vanes turned lazily in the wind. Sometimes when my mom wasn't watching, I would sneak under the apple tree that grew next to it and lay in the tall grasses munching on an apple.

On east of the windmill and the garden plots now oblivious to the passerby, there are the remains of a farm. The large maple trees along the road, a half dozen pines planted here and there and if you poke around a little bit closer, former building foundations can all be seen. The gravel drive is overgrown with grass and you can only tell that gravel exists by the hardness of its feel as you walk over it.

I can still walk around the site as if the buildings were still there. The large two story seven bedroom farmhouse was here, over there was a four stall garage used for storing firewood in three of the stalls and a workshop in the forth stall, behind that was a row of four grain bins, and further back was a large machine shed used for equipment storage, a honey house for extracting honey from comb and a honey storage building for supplies and repairs to the hives. With aid of memory, you can still follow the two track gravel path that led out a hundred yards beyond the main building cluster to a large confinement building that had been raised ten feet in the air and converted into a hay barn that could store 150,000 bales of hay. All this is gone, dust to dust. This is where I lived for over a dozen years of my life, my childhood years, the years that I remember best.

I always feel sad when I am by the old farm site. I used to spend hours playing in the dirt under the shade of the giant silver maple tree with my scale model farm equipment. By the time I had outgrown that, we had moved to the farm my parents live now and I changed to full-scale models. My memories of Ted and Rufus, both of which I have blogged about in the past, mostly come from the old farm. Now all that remain are the memories and chest high grasses growing in a cluster of large silver maple and pine trees.

For several years after we moved, we rented out the large farmhouse and garage for $50 a month, a king's ransom at that time in that area. But old farmhouses require lots of work to maintain and renters rarely feel the need to provide it and it soon fell into disrepair. Four years after we moved, I found myself inside the house salvaging what I could to make way for a crew of Amish who came and salvaged the rest for the lumber. What remained behind was burnt and buried, like many farmhouses before it.

There are two routes back to home from the old farm site, both of which I have traveled thousands of time on foot. Back when we lived on the old farm, all my father's equipment remained at my grandfather's house a mile directly north through the fields, and is now the Abbey home today. So twice a day, to save on fuel, those who were farming would walk that mile through the fields. One route was about a mile and a half long and consisted of a two-track dirt road that wound among the fields between the farms. Years of driving in the same track had compacted the soil and weeds did not grow in the dirt. Even when it rained it remained firm and didn't cling to your shoes. Though with lack of use the grass has eventually claimed it, the shallow depressions and the feel of the firm dirt underneath your shoes can still be detected and followed.

The second route straight through the fields and wooded draws using the eastern boundary fence line as a guide is the route I choose today. Past where the honey house used to stand and across the field that sometimes served as an outhouse when the well ran dry, two large oak trees stand in a waterway. Years ago I build a box kite from scratch and flew it until the line broke from the stain and it landed in the top of the oak tree. Sometimes in the fall when all the leaves are gone, I still think I can see some of the dowel rods caught in a crook way near the top.

Two wooded draws separated by little spits of farm fields also remain to be crossed. As is my habit, I pick up the first stick I can and beat the weeds and grasses in front of me. Almost dying one moonless night when I literally stepped on a sleeping deer that took off from under me and only being saved from certain heart attack by a heart only twelve years out of the womb has a way of doing that to someone with a wild imagination. Now that my heart is a couple decades older and imagination not much tamer, I'm not going to chance another such scare.

Topping the last rise, the family farm comes into sight. Over a dozen various buildings and another dozen storage bins for grain fill up nearly ten acres of land. I know it as well as I do my own hands and even now when I have lived off of it for almost half my life, I can still navigate around it with my eyes closed, except for the kitchen which was remodeled a few years ago and my mother decided to change the location of the silverware drawer and the cabinet with the plates. I still catch myself looking into the cabinet with all the glasses when all I really needed was a plate.

As I walk up to the house Ted races out to greet me wagging his tail a million miles an hour and trying to find a stick, twig, leaf or just something that he can put in his mouth and bring to me. I sit on the swing out in front of the house and spend the final hour of daylight scratching his ears and petting him as the sun sinks below the western horizon between the two groups of grain bins. As the night air begins to chill and the stars come out, the warming glow of lights begin to turn on room by room in the house behind me. Together, child and dog, we open up the door and head inside to see what is for supper and to gather as a family once again.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Walk Around the Block: Part Three

As I begin to head back east, the Melody farm continues on the left as I crest a hill and go part way down where it then switches via a fencerow to the Ford farm. Not surprisingly for those times, Sam Ford married Nancy Melody who used to live just across the field from Sam. He farmed his farm and helped Nancy's father farm his farm for many years before eventually Nancy inherited after her parent's deaths. Sam farmed both farms for a while before my father began farming for the Fords when he was getting his start into farming.

Sam and Nancy are elderly in all my memories, Sam with an oxygen tank connected to him at all times due to emphysema from a cigarette addiction. They had a 3-D alligator puzzle made from wooden blocks that I always used to play with when visiting. Sam always kept a sharp lookout out the bay window overlooking the road and could always recite how long it had been since I had walked this way last and who had been visiting who further down the road. This road eventually swings into Missouri and becomes an unmaintained roadway so there isn't much traffic except by those who live on it.

Sam died and Nancy moved to a doublewide trailer in a nearby town. Their farmhouse grew neglected and eventually had to be burned down and the remains buried. Before doing so we hired a tree moving company to move the 30 foot sugar maple tree in their front lawn to our back lawn so that we could try to save it from the scorching heat of the house fire and also to enjoy the beauty during the fall. The tree didn't make survive the winter and our lawn still has a slight hump where we filled in the root ball hole after we sawed it up for firewood. We continued farming the Ford farm until Nancy died a half dozen years later and her son sold it to my parents.

Just past the Ford farm on the south side of the road is a deep ditch. At the bottom of the ditch now almost completely buried in silt are the remains of a fertilizer truck bed. My father had hired a fellow who was notorious for how jury-rigged his equipment was to haul fertilizer for our farm one fall. The fertilizer guy was trying to pass our neighbor's tractor pulling in a wagon load of grain and got a little too far onto the soft shoulder and his who vehicle was swept into the ditch. The truck tractor was winched out of the ditch and salvaged for parts but the bed was just left behind. I remember the story every time I walk by and try to imagine what it must be like to ride a truck thirty feet down to the bottom of the ditch.

On up near the top of the hill on the south side of the road lays the Wellen farm. This was the first farm purchased by my father when he got his start into farming. There used to be an old farmhouse there too but it was salvaged for lumber, burnt and buried, the demise of most vacant farm buildings. There are a dozen large oak trees that act as a tombstone for where the Wellen's used to live and nothing else. For awhile, what used to be the back lawn of the house was a location for twenty or thirty hives of bees to collect the nectar of the plentiful white clover all around. The honey extracted from it was almost white, very sweet, and left no after taste in your mouth.

On the very south side of the Wellen farm, the land drops off slightly into a ravine forming a large bowl shaped depression in the land. I've often thought that someday if I were to build a house on my family's farm, it would be at the top of the bowl on the north side facing south where I could survey my 'kingdom' in solitude. I could also pick morel mushrooms to my hearts content in the little wooded draw that would be my front yard.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Walk Around the Block: Part Two

As I walk south, the 80-acre Well's field ends at the Miller farm which my parents bought back in the mid eighties. The Millers were another large Amish family that packed up and moved to Wisconsin with many others in the area. Partly it was for new opportunities and partly it was to get new blood into the genetic line as most of their children were closing upon the marrying age. The Millers, Zimmermans and other area Amish families have been marrying each other for several generations and it was time to break it up.

Just over a dip in the terrain to the west on the Miller farm is a 2.5-acre farm pond that used to be the site of many of our Abbey family outings to fish, canoe and roast weenies over bonfires. If the summer was particularly dry, we often celebrated the 4th of July over there to prevent a spark from setting the countryside on fire. The farm pond contains some of the biggest bass in the state of Iowa, who were seined from another smaller pond a mile away one winter before it froze dry. It used to have some lunker catfish as well but I haven't laid into one of them for about twenty years and suspect that they died out for some reason.
I always enjoy farming the contoured hills of the Miller farm during the spring and fall months for the wealth of wildlife that live among the many wooded draws. If you make a pass on the lowest contour below the bottom terrace and don't see at least fifty white tail deer, a couple dozen pheasants, a brace of fine turkey and countless rabbits, you are doing so with your eyes closed.

The outbuildings and barns of the Millers have long ago been torn down and sold, burned or salvaged. The old farmhouse was for years the storage center for the Abbey honeybee business but after someone stole most of the extra processing equipment and sold the metal for scrap, we burned down what was left and buried it. Now all that remains are several old oak trees, characteristic of where old farms stood of that era and a overgrown fruit orchard where we sometimes pick some apples or cherries if the worms and birds don't beat us to them.

Another quarter mile down the road and on the east side, there are more trees signifying a farm once stood there. This farm is the Melody farm that my parents bought in the late 80's but have farmed since the 50's. There was an old barn there when I was very little because I have vague memories of it but it has been gone for so long that I can't remember any of the details. In a few more years, I will probably begin to doubt if my memories are even true. There is the remains of another farm across the road that my parents recently bought a few years ago but I am not familiar with it other than I know the previous owner who was a pallbearer at the funeral I went too last week.

The road, perfectly flat up to this point begins to dip down towards a creek bottom where it T-intersects with another gravel road. One year when I was around ten years old, I wouldn't have been able to make this walk without swimming. The creek some 20 feet in elevation below the intersection was over 30 feet higher than normal and rising fast enough that you constantly had to be moving back in order to keep your shoes dry. Other than that one time, I've never seen it over the roadway.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Walk Around the Block: Part One

Stepping outside the door, I cut across a corner of the lawn underneath the large Chinese Elm tree with a half dozen assorted racks of deer antlers nestles among the crooks and crannies. The smooth white bone stands out brilliantly among the rough dark bark and green foliage, yet I hardly notice them. I guess familiarity brings complacency. I walk down the driveway on the east side of the house crossing over the bridge spanning a ditch that only runs with rain and on out to the gravel road, one eighth of a mile from the house.

Turning west, I set out along the shoulder of the gravel road. The fencerow of Bois d'Arc trees on the north side of the row was removed almost twenty years ago and still I feel bare as if I am missing an article of clothing. A quarter of mile from the driveway, the fencerow of dying elm trees that used to mark the western boundary of the Abbey's 120-acre field is also gone, removed perhaps ten years ago. Coming up to the fence, you only see more corn with no breaks.

Another quarter mile up on the right is the home of the closest neighbors, an Amish family. It is a satellite house of a larger conglomerate of houses a half mile to the northwest and has housed many of the elder Zimmerman's children as they begin families of their own and then move farther from the nest. The youngest son, Joe now lives there with his wife Sarah and occasionally stops me on my walks to give me a bit of their latest batch of summer sausage or goats milk ice cream. Today, no one is in sight but the freshly turned soil of the garden with nary a weed in sight and Tuesday's laundry hanging on the line assure me that they are around.

Just past where the 40 acre parcel of the Zimmerman farm end on the north side of the road, lays the beginning of the vast Well farm that the Abbey's have farmed for over fifty years. It's an eighty acre parcel with 60 acres gently sloping back towards the eastern half which is a mixture of clover, alfalfa and scrub timber growing up in the draw. I sometimes drop into the draw and search for morel mushrooms in the spring on the back of an old farm pond with the dam washed out and grown up in trees but rarely do I find any to pick. I find lots of stumps of where they had been growing probably the day before and know the Zimmerman's have beaten me to them. That's okay because I still find plenty in other places.

Now a mile into my journey I come to a gravel crossroad and also to the border between two counties. On the northeast, northwest and southwest corners are 80 acres parcels of the Well's farm and the remaining corner belonged to a former family friend whom I've written about before and is currently serving one count of twenty years in prison for molesting his daughter and is being tried for thirty more counts of child molestation against two more girls of families that live several miles further west. It's a memory that I would rather not have to think about.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Baby Testing Technology

Most of the time technology these days fails to impress me. It is built cheaply and with a disposable attitude. Little Abbey's illness demonstrated this for me and yet also surprised me. Let me explain.

On Monday, she threw up all over the bed while resting there with my wife so my wife gathered up the sheets and threw them in the washer. Of course she had to do this while also tending to a sick baby who also needed changing and thus she did it hurriedly. Later when I got home and while the clothes were being washed, she asked me if I had seen the remote for the television in the bedroom. I hadn't but I looked high and low for it and came up empty. So on a hunch, I checked the washing machine which was by this time filling up for the final rinse but didn't see it floating about. I figured it would show up sometime and went back upstairs.

Upstairs, Little Abbey threw up again all over her baby piano and one of her favorite toys. It has lots of big keys and one tiny blue button which when pressed, plays music on one of five different instruments for about a minute. She never bothers with the keys and just repeatedly presses the little blue button much to our amusement. After we had cleaned up the piano and Little Abbey, she started playing again with her piano but this time it wasn't the same. The music "jams" up playing the same second long sound byte over and over without end until frazzled parents start punching other buttons. I would think that the makers of the baby piano would have thought of a little baby saliva leaking in-between the keys but evidently not.

When the load of laundry finished the spin cycle, I went downstairs and started throwing them into the dryer. At the very bottom of the washer tub laid the remote control for the bedroom television. It had gone through a rinse, a wash, and a couple rinse cycles along with agitation and a spin cycle. It looked intact and incidentally clean, but I had no hope that it would ever change another channel. I showed it to my wife to let her know that I had found it and took it upstairs to throw on the nightstand. On a whim, I pointed it towards the television and hit the on button. The television came to life. I changed through a few channels and then hit the power button again. The television obeyed every command. I still think the life of the remote will be dramatically shortened and everything will start molding inside at any minute but for now it has given me new hope in technology. A remote control some fifteen years old and now sparkling clean and spun dry is still going strong.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Knock On Real Wood... Not Laminate

It was just last week we were talking with a couple whose child was always getting sick and making the comment that Little Abbey had been healthy since her consecutive colds early on in her life. She had been over five months without so much as a stuffed up nose. We did knock on wood but evidently it must have been laminated because Sunday night after the parents were dead asleep post Superbowl, she decided to get sick.

The worst illness that all kids go through at an early age it the rotavirus. It's a guaranteed certainty among children 3 months and 2 years of age unless they have gotten the oral vaccines starting at age 2 months. Doctors at our pediatrician's office didn't start suggesting that all kids get this oral vaccine until Little Abbey was three and a half months old and too old to start them. Way back then, the clock started ticking.

The rotavirus starts with vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, fever and a general malaise. Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, Little Abbey started showing all the symptoms. Monday, my wife stayed home and I went to work but Little Abbey continued to be symptomatic. She was very lethargic whenever her temperature was spiking and just kind of mewed like a sick kitten. She wasn't herself and it just broke my heart to hear her over the phone whenever I checked in throughout the day.

Late Monday, the fever started going down and except for one episode of diarrhea during the middle of the night, she slept through it. This morning, although not 100%, she was well enough that you could see the real Little Abbey starting to shine through. She was talking and when hard pressed, she would even smile the smile that previously came so easily. I was going to stay home today and take care of her but my wife had to turn back because the winter storm we are currently receiving has made it suicidal to drive a long distance. So because I have only two miles across town to get to work, I had to leave my girls behind again.

Hopefully Little Abbey continues to function today without the fever and hopefully the diarrhea will taper off as it is supposed to do after three days. We are fortunate because 100,000 kids in the United States are hospitalized every year from dehydration due to the rotavirus. Fortunately Little Abbey has been drinking her normal milk and drinking lots of pedialyte during this whole ordeal and is still producing "wet" diapers. We hopefully have made it through the storm. Knock on wood.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Tracking Down Ramie, Rama, Rame, Rennie's Parents

With the story of great grandmother Ramie, knowing her husband's name and her last name, I set out to find her parents again after failing on my last attempt. On my last attempt, I had tried searching for her under her married name but had no luck. I also tried under her maiden name and various spellings of it and still had no luck. This time I was older and wiser and started out properly, I found her husband.

Males have kept their last names throughout the centuries making them much easier to track down. Within minutes, I had found my great grandfather in one of the federal census databases and saw that he was married to a Rama. Aha I thought, Ramie is a nickname. I kept tracing my great grandfather back through the census years and also found Rame and Ramey. Now one might suspect that these could be multiple women but they were always the same age difference from my great grandfather and their parents always came from the same state as the others. No, I had to assume that they were all one and the same and that the census taker simply had a hard time spelling her name. This was all well and good but it still didn't help me find her parents other than I now knew which state they were born in.

But times have changed and back 'then', most people never strayed far from home. I had her last name, or at least a spelled version of it, so I decided the next step was to pull up one of the census records that I had for my great grandfather with her in it as wife and look at others on the same page. Perhaps Ramie's parents lived just down the street. The later ones proved fruitless but they were all after a move they had made to a different county some 10 to 20 years into their marriage. I went back to the earliest census record I had of their marriage and started looking at their neighbors. Not half a page down from my great grandparents, I found a couple about the right age and definitely had the same last name. Looking deeper at their records, I found that Robert and Sarah J. were born in the same state as listed on Ramie's records. Things were now looking up.

I started tracing Robert and Sarah back through the census but in the 1880 census, Sarah J. disappeared and Mary A. appeared. Furthermore, listed under their names as a daughter was one Rennie at the right age as my Ramie would have been in that year. So now I knew that Robert and Mary A. were my great great grandparents. A half hour later, I had confirmed that my great great great grandparents were James and Elizabeth, my fourth great grandparents were Thomas and Patience, and I had one and a half sets of fifth great grandparents James and Jane along with Samuel whose wife I haven't had time to track down yet. In a short time, I have gone from the 1900's to well before the Revolutionary War with this line of ancestors.

I still don't know the name of my great grandmother for sure, but I'm guessing it is Rennie since that record was created when she was a young girl and before people in that time tended to change their names but until I find a death or birth certificate, I'm not betting any money on it. And so goes my genealogy search for more ancestors and the stories like going to the greenhouse that sometimes comes with them.