Friday, May 31, 2013

What Is It? Where Is It? (May): The Brazier

This month's edition of What Is It? Where Is It? features the brazier from the master bedroom. A brazier is a container for fire, usually taking the form of a metal box. They are used for light and heat and also for some cooking and cultural rituals. Braziers have been recovered from many early archaeological sites and the Hebrew word for it is of Egyptian origin, suggesting the Egyptians may have been the ones to invent it. In Japanese, the word for brazier is "hibachi" - a word we may be more familiar with in modern times.

The flat supports around the top of the brazier were to support a pot or kettle - do you notice how they are a little elevated? That was to provide a bit of air space so the pot would not smother the fire. Because this example is in a bedroom we can surmise that it may have been for heating water for tea or washing up rather than cooking, which would have been done in the summer kitchen.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Is It? Where Is It? (May)

It's time for the May edition of "What Is It? Where Is It?" - our monthly photo game where we show readers a picture of something around Graeme Park and invite you to try and identify what it is and where it is located in the Keith House, summer kitchen or barn. This month's object is something that always seems to intrigue our visitors - so what do you think? Can you guess what it is? Post your guesses here as a comment or on our Facebook page. We'll be back next weekend with the answer.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Graeme: The Leader of the Pack

We’ve always considered Graeme to be the leader of the second wave of feral cats who showed up here at Graeme Park back in August of 2011. He was the first one we saw, darting through the pouring rain on the day of our Yellow Fever presentation.

Over the next few weeks we started seeing the others, all of whom turned out to be females: presumably Graeme’s little harem. They were more than half-starved when they arrived and my thought has always been that they came from another cared-for colony, perhaps on the adjacent Willow Grove Naval Air Station, and when their caretaker, for reasons unknown, left them they got desperate enough to venture forth, led by Graeme to the greener pastures here at Graeme Park.

Now Graeme has taken on a new leadership role: representing feral cats across the nation as a featured cat in the 2013-2014 Alley Cat Allies Calendar. His picture will appear in the calendar along with a short profile of his life here at Graeme Park. Alley Cat Allies is an advocacy group for feral cats and feral cat caregivers, providing resources, promoting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), and working with government officials and policy makers on humane practices for feral, or community, cats. The 15-month calendars are sent out to their donors in the fall.

Because of the rights agreement that went along with having his photo selected to appear in the calendar, I can't show you the actual picture that will appear, so I'll leave you with his "I'm too sexy for my stripes" pose. You might also notice the ear tip (point of his left ear has been trimmed off) in the first and last photos - this is the standard symbol that a cat is part of a managed colony and means that he's been neutered and vaccinated. The ear-tipping is done under anesthesia during the spay/neuter surgery. The other two photos were taken in his first few months with us, before he had his appointment with Forgotten Cats in Willow Grove, which offers spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations for community cats.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Wedding at Graeme Park: Anna & Evan

Wedding season kicked off last week at Graeme Park with the wedding of Anna and Evan. The couple staged a light-hearted, fun, preppy event full of color and charm and personalized touches. Their ceremony was held in a clearing in the woods, surrounded by trees and greenery. The alter was created from a backdrop of colorful ribbon streamers, which were then moved up to the tent to form a backdrop behind the couple's Sweetheart Table.

After the ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy various lawn games, identified by sweet hand-painted signs, and set up in the area between the Keith House and the wedding tent. Cocktails and hors d'oevres were served in the forbay and barnyard of the 19th century barn.

The reception tent was decorated with bright yellow tablecloths draped with navy and white chevron runners. A scattering of tiny bottles and colorful mercury glass style jars held a mis-matched array of flowers and each table had its own unique cake!

Not only was each cake decorated in its own style, from beachy crabs and anchors, to polka dots, stripes, flowers, and ruffles, but they were all different flavors too! When dessert time came, the catering staff collected the cakes, cut them and served them buffet style so guests could choose their favorite flavor (or two!) to accompany the sundae bar, brownies, and cookies that were also offered.

The Bride and Groom even had their own special treats to enjoy.

Oh, but wait, we skipped right ahead to dessert didn't we? The dinner was a casual, picnic-style affair with grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, chicken, salad, roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. A DJ provided the music for dancing and a good time was had by all.
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