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  Sharon Whitehurst - Whitehurst Diaries
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The Whitehurst Diaries: Our Doughboy, Uncle Lawrence

In the photo, Uncle Lawrence Henry Ross is in the center with two unnamed fellow doughboys at Camp Devens- SHARON
Sharon Whitehurst's families recall nearly a century later, the sacrifice her Uncle Lawrence Henry Ross endured helping make 'the world safe for democracy,' detailing memories from his letters about the brutal winter endured, both in training at Camp Devon, and the families still wrenching message after the Second Battle of the Marne. Click on headline for complete diary entry.
Related: Jamestown's Doughboy in winter - 14 Jan 2018


By Sharon Whitehurst

Linda's photo of the Jamestown Doughboy, brings to mind the letters and photos treasured by our family of my great uncle, Lawrence Henry Ross.

Uncle Lawrence was 27 when he was drafted into the army. He was part of a group from Essex County, NY, who boarded a train on 22 September, 1917, arriving at the hastily constructed Camp Devens in Ayer, MA in the cold early hours of September 23rd.


2018-01-15 10:32:57 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: January Thaw

A venture outside at 42 F seemed almost balmy after the long days and nights of biting cold. - SHARON WHITEHURST
Click on headline for complete column with photo(s)

By Sharon Whitehurst

I scuttled outside in the cold, briefly, on Friday to record a few images of our frosty world.

Pale winter sunlight threw shadows across the walk and steps that lead from the side porch down the slope to the lane. Purple sage and winter-grey stems of lavender sprawl in the leaf littered herb bed. The invasive rugosas thrust out stiff and thorny branches.

In the weed-plagued strips that I am determined to see as perennial borders, thyme and dianthus still hold subdued green color.

Tattered seed heads and winter-seared leaves of clematis 'Candida' arch over the trellis and rattle against the board fence.


2018-01-08 06:08:19 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: A Sighting At Dusk

'For each time that we notice the deer making their light-footed way down the hillside, there are doubtless many more when their quiet visitation is unseen.' - Sharon Whitehurst
Click on headline for complete essay

By Sharon Whitehurst

The doe moved, a dainty side-stepping at the moment I lifted my eyes to the window. My hands stilled, the slicing of tomatoes and a yellow pepper halted as I scanned the rapidly darkening woods beyond the stable, expecting to see several other deer move gracefully down the steep hill.

The little band of deer, usually a group of four or five, are a familiar presence, often seen crossing through the scrubby saplings beyond the retaining wall or picking their way along the dry stream bed behind the workshop.


2017-12-13 03:16:36 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: The Tradition of Country Stores

Alfred & Melissa Ellis have reopened Pellyton's Store at the foot of Sanders Ridge Road, at 17165 Liberty Road; Columbia, Kentucky 42728. Once again having the luxury of their own community store, Sharon Whitehurst was inspired to write the masterpiece which follows. Swept away by per poetic prose, all we can say, at the moment, is enjoy - and maybe, 'Eat your heart out, Thomas Wolfe.' We plan to read and re-read throughout this day.
Watch for photo(s) to be added today. -- Ed Waggener

By Sharon Whitehurst

Nearly two months ago, Jim returned from an errand with the news that Alfred and Melissa Ellis were planning to reopen the Mustard Seed Country Store and Cafe.

Slowing for the turn onto Sanders Ridge Road, Jim noted vehicles in the parking lot and a welter of tools, paint buckets and step ladders visible beyond the open doors.

Closed for two years, the building was now under-going a through scrubbing, fresh interior paint, attractive landscaping.

A bench on the porch is an attractive place for a traveler to rest with a mug of coffee or a cold soft drink.


2017-08-29 07:43:18 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Dog Days, August 2017

'Greek and Roman astronomers reviewing the notes of their predecessors, added their own observations of August weather, linking excessive heat, drought, or violent thunderstorms to all manner of ills--lethargy, fever, human passions run amok, maddened dogs . . . Willis makes his rounds early each morning, keeping to the graveled circuit of the dooryard or clambering onto the retaining wall at the front of the house where he can keep tabs on our comings and goings.'
Click on headline for complete diary entry with photo(s)

By Sharon Whitehurst

I have never noted the presence of Sirius, the Dog Star, the harbinger of sunrise during the hot days of waning summer. Our farmhouse, situated at the end of a winding gravel lane, is tucked into a narrow valley between steep ridges. Oak, maple and ash crowd the slopes, blocking the earliest view of morning sun. Mist hovers above Spruce Pine Creek and drifts across a neighbor's field, shredding and dissolving as it reaches the comparatively open spaces surrounding the lower house and barn at the bottom of the lane.

The 'dog days' have been identified from antiquity as a 'period of stagnation or inactivity' arriving yearly to stifle inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere.


2017-08-20 20:46:51 | Comments | Printable version

Lavender creekside blossom -- Monarda Fistulosa is its name

By Sharon Whitehurst

Scrolling past Linda's photo on Monday I said to myself, "Monarda fist-----?" My eastern wildflower book wasn't readily noticeable in the tipple on my desk, so I put the ID of the plant in the mental file labeled 'later.'

As serendipity would have it, my attention was caught today by a bushy wild plant in bloom above the retaining wall where Mose Miller used to hitch buggy horses when visitors arrived.


2017-07-19 10:53:51 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: It always rains on the peonies

'I caught the sun-warmed scent of them before I saw them: peonies in a sprawl close to the sidewalk. Buds were rimmed with a hint of rose, the blowsy cups of half-open blooms were creamy white, perhaps the old-fashioned variety, 'Maxima.' Back at home I inspected my own peonies--I have seven. The buds were still clasped tight in their green jackets.' - SHARON WHITEHURST, after a walk on Burkesville Street in Columbia, way back on April 24th, long before peonies usually bloom in Vermont.
Click on headline for complete diary entry, photo(s)

By Sharon Whitehurst

I had an errand or two in town on the 24th of April, a sunny pleasant morning.

I'm not keen on trundling around the square seeking a parking space, so usually leave the car elsewhere and walk in to the bank, insurance office, or wherever I need to be.

Business accomplished, on a whim I decided to cross Burkesville Street and walk back to my car through a block of residential streets below the Square.
In addition to a bit of exercise, there was the pleasure of strolling past tidy yards where clumps of iris and late tulips danced in the breeze, while petals drifted onto green grass from a variety of shrubs and small trees.


2017-05-08 06:19:42 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Latest Chapter - Life & Times of Willis

Hobbling Home: It is a month today since Willis went missing. 'We scold Willis and remind him of the trouble he has caused. We tell him that his recent escapade may have permanently impaired his agility, taken a few cat years off his life. We note when a damp morning chill seems to stiffen his hip joint; we see him carefully calculating a leap that until a month ago would have been smoothly automatic. Mostly we are relieved and happy to have Willis back home, nosing into our business, over-seeing our work, providing companionship, secure in his job as head cat and farm manager.' - SHARON WHITEHURST
Click on headline for full facts on famed feline Willis the Cat's latest saga.

By Sharon Whitehurst

Hobbling Home

It is a month today since Willis went missing.

I was mildly surprised, but not concerned when Willis was not on the front doorstep when I came downstairs. I've sometimes wondered if he has an internal clock which has him waiting for me each morning, or if perhaps he hears my measured tread on the 14 stairs to the main floor and hurries from one of the blanket-lined 'beds' on the side porch to pose on the doormat, face up-tilted to the window in a beguiling reminder that he needs his breakfast served before any other concern can claim my attention.


2017-03-05 07:41:55 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: A study of breakfasts, then and now

'Retirement in Kentucky finds us with a relaxed attitude toward breakfast. It is rare that we consume more than 2 meals per day. Breakfast is a movable, usually mid-morning affair--depending on weather, season, plans for the day. We don't always choose the same components. I may prefer yogurt and fruit, having started the morning much earlier with my one cup of coffee and a cookie!' - SHARON WHITEHURST.
Click on headline for complete diary entry, photo

By Sharon Whitehurst

"Would you eat oatmeal for breakfast?"

I turned from the bleak prospect of another grey and chilly morning unfolding beyond the kitchen window, feeling the need of hearty comfort food.

Jim, engrossed in a website catalog of vintage tractor specs, did not answer.


2017-02-14 11:58:51 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Sweater Weather

'Like the competent woman of Proverbs 31, I am not afraid of the snow for my household, having assured myself each year that all who fall within my care are well equipped to brave the weather in warm jackets and gloves, with a special emphasis on the comfort of wooly sweaters.' - SHARON WHITEHURST
Click on headline for complete diary entry, photo(s)

By Sharon Whitehurst

SANDERS RIDGE, PELLYTON, ADAIR CO., KY (Sat 07 Jan 2017) - I don't have a digital thermometer that announces the outside temperature in increments of degree. The white dial with its black numerals and slender red needle, mounted beyond the glass of the north-facing kitchen window, is one my father would have recognized. At 6:15 this morning the needle was firmly lodged at 8 F degrees above zero. I eyed the gauge as I moved quietly about the kitchen, chunking wood into the glowing innards of the stove, thawing ice from the outdoor cats' water dish, measuring coffee, warming a blueberry muffin. By 8 A.M. the red needle had barely moved a degree upward. Now, at 9:30, with the sun fully emerged, we have gained 5 degrees from the dawn reading.


2017-01-07 17:25:21 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Winter Solstice Walk-About

'I note each Winter Solstice, not as a pagan affirmation, but in remembrance of my late father Larry's observance of the changing seasons with their complexities of weather. He greeted December 21st as 'the first day of winter'--braced for the extra labor and the watchfulness that a long Vermont winter would surely bring.' - SHARON WHITEHURST
Click on headline for story with photo(s)

By Sharon Whitehurst

Freezing fog has been a presence for three mornings, legacy of the weekend's erratic weather changes. Opening the curtains at what should be daybreak merely invites a spill of grey into the room. The cats rumble down the staircase ahead of me, clamoring at the front door. They hesitate on the brink of stepping out into the heavy December dampness.


2016-12-21 20:45:24 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Morning Walk

By Sharon Whitehurst

Mornings have crept in quietly since the rain of Saturday evening, sounds and colors subdued by the grey fog that rolls through the valley.

The cats are awake early--by 5--and are less than subtle in urging me to arise and acknowledge them.

The layout of the hallway and master bedroom [altered during our renovation] is ideal for cat games with its circular route down one side of the double hallway, through the bathroom, into the bedroom and back into the hall. There is always opportunity to reverse the direction of the chase, skidding on scatter rugs, charging across the bed.


2016-09-22 12:08:05 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Delight in wildflowers from Grampa Mac

By Sharon Whitehurst

PELLYTON, ADAIR CO., KY (Sun 7 Sep 2016) Early morning finds the wildflowers along our lane at their freshest and most appealing, before the heat of the day causes the big-root morning glory [Ipomoea pandurata] to crumple into limp folds of spent petals. Many of the wildflowers are old familiars: goldenrod, the dusty harbinger of early autumn in New England; Joe Pye weed, boneset and ironweed which edged the strip of marshy ground in Grampa Mac's west pasture even as they line the fence-rows of our Pellyton acres.

My delight in wildflowers is a direct legacy from Grampa Mac who often paused while walking the short stretch of dirt road between my parents' small house and the farm to cut a rough bouquet with his Barlow knife, binding the whole together with a long stem of timothy. When one of my own earlier efforts included a stem or two of wild chicory, Grampa removed these with the caution that it was a weed he hated to see invading his hay meadow.


2016-09-11 05:04:25 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: The [Mis]Adventures of Willis the Cat

Click headline for complete story with photos

By Sharon Whitehurst

Jim has waged a long battle with the Pellyton possums who delight in raiding the melon patch. The malodorous, marauding melon-munchers have an uncanny way of knowing when a melon is on the cusp of perfect juicy ripeness.

Greedy creatures that they are, sampling one melon is seldom sufficient.

Jim live-trapped one large offender and trundled it off to a remote location where no one would think of gardening. There was a lull when a few melons ripened unmolested, than evidence of another poacher was detected, this one apparently wily enough to avoid the trap.


2016-08-19 06:50:11 | Comments | Printable version

The Whitehurst Diaries: Snake encounters of the mistaken kind

The first 'expert' identification was that Willis' prey, dutifully and lovingly placed on her doorstep was a particularly fractious and dangerous kind of snake. Though it turned out be more terrifying in its fractious mode, it was really an environmental friend, better than even Willis at send vermin on to rodent heaven.
Click on headline for complete diary entry. After reading each diary entry, scroll down for previous Whitehurst diaries

By Sharon Whitehurst

I do not like viewing photos of snakes. I don't want to be surprised by such creatures and was alarmed by the discovery of a somewhat damaged snake near my bucket of potting earth on the front porch. The cats regularly present us with tiny snakelets that resemble a brown shoestring. I don't appreciate them, but they are small enough that I can deal with one - especially if it has already succumbed to the maulings of an enthusiastic feline.


2016-05-20 08:03:50 | Comments | Printable version



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