Pennhurst Investigation
 

So as I said in my last post, this past weekend I grabbed an opportunity to visit and investigate Pennhurst State School in Springs City, PA. If you aren’t familiar with it, it was a pretty horrible place back in the day. It was a school for problem children, children who had mental or physical handicaps, as well as housed psychologically impaired adults. It was shut down in the early 70s when local reporters exposed the horrible abuse of patients, especially the kids, going on. It sat for years, abandoned, and reclaimed by the woods. Recently it has been reopened mainly as a halloween attraction, but now they are slowly securing and opening more buildings and letting paranormal investigators in. You can actually watch the original expose of Pennhurst on YouTube right here.

The ghost hunt took place from 7pm until 3am in the Mayflower building, one of the most active buildings for hauntings. There actually are a large number of buildings on site, and the people who have taken the place over said they are slowly working to open and make others safe. I know I definitely want to go back, and soon. It was quiet the experience! This building housed children and adults, nurses and staff lived on the top floor, and there was a “treatment room” in the basement along with medical/dental rooms.

As I said in may previous post, I went on my own to this. Normally I go with friends who do this thing regularly, but this was a unique opportunity that I grabbed. So I arrived just myself, and found out it was a self directed investigation, as opposed to following a team and participating. Oh boy, I was not too happy about going into Pennhurst on my own! Fortunately two women who had never done anything like this, but had an interest, were there and we bonded. I found them lost along the way, because we were all given the wrong address as to where to meet, but having been to the place before for Halloween I knew where to go. So we all teamed up, and it didn’t help I had a bit of equipment :)

The place is downright creepy, and honestly still fairly dangerous. We all had to sign wavers saying we wouldn’t sue if we died. The worst part was the darkness and seeing all the things that were just left behind. Strewn about were kids toys and clothing, the old hospital beds, one room had dental chairs where they supposedly pulled teeth from biters. There were also storage closets with shelves labeled “pajamas,” “towels,” “sheets” and so forth. We even found boxes labeled “Christmas” and an old plastic tree… or what was left of it. When the place shut down the patients were kicked out, the staff left, and so many things were just left in place. It was creepy.

The building had a very bad vibe to it. We walked through several cold spots, the hair stood on the back of your neck, and on one floor we heard footsteps when we were the only ones there. I have hours of audio to go through, which I only just started to listen to last night. If I find anything I’ll be sure to share, along with more of the photos I took.

One thing we did was a few ghost box sessions. If you’ve ever watched “Ghost Adventures,” then you know what it is. It’s basically a modified radio that sweeps channels quickly. For those old enough to remember static and snow channels on the TV, it’s like just flicking between them. The theory is that ghosts can communicate through these white noise signals, much like the old film “Poltergeist.” We got a lot of answers that were hard to hear. These I have to listen back to and hope something is there. Two answers however were very clear. I made a little youtube of these two, with text to explain what was heard and the context. Sadly the most clear answer didn’t record well. I was recording on my phone, which in this case I placed too far away from me. I was sitting on the floor and I put it up high on a table. Lesson learned! The room we were in was also fairly large and had an echo. This answer was so clear to us, which you can tell because in this video we all immediately know exactly what was said. I also edited the audio to lessen the spirit box noise/static and repeat the answers, which were only said once to us.


 

Life Goes On
 

It’s been over a week since we said goodbye to Galahad. The first few days were sad and especially hard for Grim. He walked around constantly looking for his friend. He even let out a few meows, which he almost never does. Since the first few days he has come out of his cave behind the sofa where he tends to hide. He’s been walking around more, even sitting under the table while I’m working. This morning he was sleeping in the window seat, which he has never done. He’s been open to being petted a lot more too, which normally makes him recoil or run. The next hopeful step is getting him to jump up on the couch with us. Oddly enough he wasn’t such a recluse as a kitten. I’m not sure what happened to change him.

In other news, my garden has finally bloomed, and as usual all at once. I sadly lost a lot of early tomatoes thanks to blossom end rot. John got me some spray that has pretty much corrected that. I also lost some segments of the plants to wind damage in a storm or two. Two of the plants grew too big and started toppling believe it or not. I’ve had to do a lot of bracing and tying of the branched. For once I kept the pests away from my garden only to have my plants succumbed to other things. However I should be good to go for the next month or two with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. I’ve already got a plan for next summer to put raised garden beds down in the area and have a nice looking garden.

Anyways, I’ll be posting again real soon. If you followed my tumblr or instagram this weekend, you’ll notice I posted some spooky photos. I went to Pennhurst State School (and asylum) for a paranormal investigation. It was a much different investigation than I’ve done in the past with my friends, who normally lead the investigations. For this one we were basically just set lose to do our own thing. I went all on my own, not knowing anyone there, so fortunately two women who had never done an investigation were there and they were happy to tag along with me. I would not have wanted to explore that place on my own at all!

Pennhurst State School

 

RIP Galahad
 

Well today is almost over, and that is a good thing, because it was a shitty ass day. We had to put our oldest cat down this morning. Galahad was 17 and lived a long life, but it was still sad. He was the last of the original three cats that John had when we met (pictured below). Uther went first, followed by Lance, and then in January we lost Moo Kitty. Galahad outlived them all. Most of the pictures below are from when he was younger and healthy. Over the past year or two he went from a plump kitty to a skinny one. He was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism last year and had been on medication ever since. He lost so much weight because of it.

So about a month ago we noticed his equilibrium was off whack. He was also ticking his head a lot. The vet worried with his age and hyperthyroidism that it was a brain issue, perhaps a lesion had formed. The only way to tell would be an expensive CT scan, and even if we found out it was a lesion he was 17 years old, what would we do with the knowledge? Surgery wasn’t really an option because of his age and other issues. We tried some antibiotics first to rule out some kind of infection in the inner ear or maybe a tooth that was bothering him. The meds seemed to work. His equilibrium got better and he wasn’t falling off things anymore. However he still had a bit of a tick in his head, and every now and then he got wobbly. This week he just all but stopped eating. He did that a month ago too, before we put him on the meds. But he seemed to get better after the meds. This time though he just wouldn’t eat no matter what. He would lick gravy or drink broth, but he didn’t want to eat. Then yesterday he had a few vomiting incidents. I think he also had more now that I think about it. I found dried vomit around the house in the AM too. However with cats, it’s not that odd to find puke somewhere. Last night though he basically laid down by the water dish, rested his head on it, and didn’t want to move. That was when we knew it was the end. Many of our other cats acted the same way when it was their time. They found a place in the house they liked, laid down and sort of became catatonic. We honestly didn’t think he would make it through the night, but he was still there this AM. I made the call to the vet and took him in and said goodbye.

We are down to just three cats now. I’m worried about Grimm. He has never been social and affectionate with us humans like Mew Mew and Percy are. He rarely jumps up on the couch to be petted or cuddle. He likes just being by himself. He even runs off when you approach him or reach out. Galahad was his cuddle buddy. They slept together and played together all the time. I don’t know what he’s going to do without him. Right now he’s just wandering the house, I think he’s wondering where his buddy is.

 

Introducing: The Green Nightmare!
 

photo 2 So I texted John today as Christmas was on my mind. I know, it’s only July, but Hallmark already has the bulk of their ornaments out, so it was on my mind. I also knew we would likely need a new tree, and John and his sister usually start doing their Christmas orders for the farm around now. So I asked him if he had bought a new tree yet? You see after last year the Pink Nightmare might actually be dead. What I forgot to add in my blog from last year on the whole Christmas disaster was that the tree seemed to be on it’s last legs. The first time I put it up, a good chunk of the lights were out. It’s a pre-lit tree, and it took me three hours to get it back on. After taking it down when I had to move everything for the contractors, and later putting it up again, the lights on the entire bottom half was dead and I could not get them back on no matter what. I had to go out, buy several strands of white lights, and rethread them one by one into the pink nightmare to revive it. It took a looooong time! I told John next year I won’t be doing that, so he needed to get a new tree or I’d cut the lights off this one and just buy new strings all together for it.

So when I texted him today and asked if he had got a new tree, he replied “maybe.” I responded “oh lord, is it purple?” Then he sent this photo of the lime green nightmare. It’s only 4 feet high and he said it was an accessory for the other tree. I reminded him the pink one might not work, to which he responded “well lime green goes well with purple!” I told him that I was going to bring back some of the older Star Wars ornaments from my mom’s that we have no room for anymore, and maybe some of the other older ornaments we used to use when I was a kid but can’t fit on the tree for it. He didn’t respond :)

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In other news, the backyard is slowly coming along. They finally put the caps on the brick wall, now we just need the lights on top and the actual patio put in. After that the only thing left is to grow some grass, which I may start on my own before it gets too late and too cold to try and get grass growing. I know that’s aways off, but with these contractor’s work schedule, it’s a reality. I’m still not sure how I’m going to pull off the Halloween decor with the new yard layout. However one of these years I will have enough decorations to make a haunted trail to the back of our house in this area. I just need trick-or-treaters to come for it! If we get the patio done, I’m hoping to finally throw a Halloween party of some kind to have friends over to see the house, the decorations and then hit up the corn maze at the farm at night for spooky fun.

Oh after all these years I finally added a “holiday” category to the blog for my decoration posts :)

 

Landscaping and Halloween Space
 

So a lot has been done with the house since my last update. Almost all the windows save for the attic window have been trimmed, and they are getting fancy copper accents on the top. Rain, rain and more rain kept delaying work and the finishing of the back porch/wall area. There is a photo of it below with some of the blue stone caps on top. These have to be finished, and will also be the same material for the patio area there. We are still waiting on our lights for the pillars, of course there was an issue with the ones we ordered. The company can’t find them in the warehouse and wants to sell us similar ones, for a lot more money. Um, I don’t think so!

Out front I got suckered into helping with landscaping the past few days. Today I finally said “Oh no, I’ve done enough shoveling, carrying large rocks and carting wheelbarrows of dirt!” It was a great workout, but I need a break. Fortunately they finished the last of it today . . . after all the heavy rock carrying had been done by yours truly. Most of the rocks you see in the photos below I carted from an old pile 100 feet or so away. Next to the side of the house, where the brick wall is now in the photos, was an old rock wall. They took it out, piled the rocks out back and the brick wall and a drain to keep water out of our basement. We reused those rocks out front. You can actually see the pile in the photo in the previous post I made.

There are still a few touch-ups to be done. The rock wall out front near the sidewalk and small shrubs isn’t yet finished, and the sidewalk area by the front steps is going to be expanded/widened out. Also a lot of grass or sod has to be put down in areas in the back, and some new grass out front as well.

While I’m thrilled that our house doesn’t look like white-trash anymore, I’ve lost so much prime real estate space for Halloween decorations, and the spooky atmosphere of the “woods” next to the house is totally gone! Where the two southern magnolia trees are now is where I used to have the cemetery gate and spooks hidden back among the trees. Two of the trees had to be taken down because they were rotting, one actually fell on it’s own in a big storm. We also had all the saplings that had been growing ripped out, and sums fugly bush thing. As you can see in one of the photos from the back, there is now a natural break between two mulched areas. There was always a path through there, it just got over grown, and another tree was in the way. I’m thinking the gate will go there, with some stuff placed behind it. I’m hoping it will, if lit right, cast some nice shadows on the side of the house. The front yard though . . . that’s gunna take spatial planning. At least I should have a usable porch again this year. John’s already ordered my birthday gift/s and said I’m going to be so shocked by them. Can’t wait! It’s months away though . . .

 

My Garden Is Growing!
 

So I finally got my garden in. I didn’t get it totally done until the end of May thanks to all the yard work going on, the cooler than normal temperatures and way too much rain. A photo of it is below, and yes it looks ghetto. It is even more ghetto than normal given all the work debris in the yard. Believe it or not, this was the nicest angle I could take it from. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll notice the fence around the area is completely gone. It opens our backyard up so much. Now if the rain would end so the patio could get completed and some of the junk hauled off.

Thanks to critters, (chipmunks, rabbits and groundhogs), I have to put my plants up as high as I can to keep them out. The cinder blocks really add that white trash look we’re trying to get rid of, and I didn’t think until too late to use segments of an old tree we had removed. A few pots are on those, and they at least look nice. By time I was getting ready to place and space things out, most of the tree had been hauled off.

A lot of the places critters been living here are now gone, so I’m hopeful this year won’t be as bad. I do know Mr. Groundhog and Miss Rabbit are still around, I think they relocated to the neighbors barn. I have tried all kind of critter ridders and sound machines to keep them out, but eventually they end up getting me! However there isn’t much I can do right now as once the porch area is done, and the final window touches are put on the house, the contractor has to tackle repairing and fixing up our garage. This is next to my garden area, so I couldn’t put too much down that would get in his way. What I’m hoping to do next year is put in a raised bed system and a small fence around just the garden. We we see though. Every year when my garden finally gets attacked I swear I’ll never garden again.

This year I am growing some new things. The list of everything I’m attempting to grow is below. I believe I’ve grown all the tomatoes at one point or another. The second list is all new. While I’ve done green peppers and Japanese eggplant, I’ve ever done any of these varieties. It should be interesting to see how they work out.

  • Classic heirloom tomatoes
  • Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Rutgers tomatoes
  • Super roma tomatoes
  • Better boy tomatoes
  • Super fantastic tomatoes
  • Orange bell “sweet” peppers
  • Mini bell pepper mix.
  • Sweet banana peppers
  • Mini Gretel eggplants.

Lastly, I know some people have found my blog since I departed Facebook. If you wish to be notified when I update, you can fill this form out to subscribe to the blog. You can also do the same thing by checking the box below the comment form if you wish to leave a comment at some point. Finally you can also use the RSS Feeds link if you have a newsreader of some kind installed into your browser and simply add the blog in. I’m not sure how many people actually use newsfeed readers anymore in the age of twitter/facebook.

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Facebook Is No More
 

So after a year of my love-hate relationship with Facebook, I finally did it and just got rid of it all together. I had actually deleted all my status from past years, photos and videos awhile ago. Let me tell you that is not an easy thing to do going back to 2007. I would then periodically clean my wall of recent stuff. I don’t know why I started doing this honestly. I think it was my version of slowly trying to get myself off Facebook.

Lately though Facebook has been less fun for me and often would make me angry, upset and raise my blood pressure. I actually had deactivated the account last weekend and survived a week without it. My initial thoughts were to eventually go back and purge my friends list of all but close people that I knew and liked. However when I tried to do that, I found myself unable to. I felt bad about unfriending people, and the there was the issue “if I unfriend this one, but not that one, they are mutual friends and the first will know and wonder why I ditched them…” It just became too much, and I ended up deleting a whopping ten people and still had 305 friends, many I knew I should just get rid of but again couldn’t seem to be mean enough to do.

So I the end I decided the easiest thing was to get rid of it. Now Facebook does not make this easy at all. You have to google to find the real way to delete, not deactivate your Facebook. They also don’t immediately delete it, you have to not log in for 14 whole days and then they remove it. It unfortunately becomes really easy to end up changing your mind and saving it from permanent deletion. I know! There is also the “connected apps” that can accidentally revive your Facebook. So I resorted to drastic measures. I went and unfriended all 305 people. That way there wasn’t much to bring me back. Then I made a random email on my server I would never remember, made that my default Facebook email, set the account to permanently delete … then deleted the random email I made so I again couldn’t retrieve it! Yeah, that was way too much work to get rid of Facebook!

Now I actually have to let what I did sink in and get used to not being on it. I do wish I had saved a few contacts that I now realize I didn’t have in my phone. However if someone really wonders where I went to and really wants to find me, it’s not hard to do that for me with Google. I imagine this blog may be getting a few more hits over this week from people doing just that. Who knows, maybe now I’ll actually blog more, because what I would normally share on Facebook I can post here. I think I am gunna need a new blog category for “John’s Brother Stories.”

 

Flowers In The Attic
 

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The “Flowers in the Attic” books (also known as The Dollanganger Saga) by VC Andrews were the first real adult books I ever read. The only reason I even read them was because the mother of my best friend at the time owned them and had them locked in a glass bookcase for all to see, but not touch. My friend and her siblings would always say those were dirty books, which is why their mom locked them up. So of course me, being in the 7th grade, purchased them the next time I went with my mom to the grocery store. I actually bought it at the Crown Bookstore that was next-door to the local Giant.

I remember not being able to put “Flowers” down and reading it in the span of 24 hours. Then I of course had to buy the rest. I remember “Petals on the Wind,” which was the longest of the books if memory serves me, took me forever to get through. It wasn’t as gripping as the horror of the first. It basically was just about the abusive relationship they all ended up in. The third was down right twisted, and the forth was just a depressing ending to it all.

If you have been living under a rock, Lifetime TV has made movies of the first two books. “Flowers” aired in January and “Petals” just aired tonight. I will say that the “Flowers” movie disappointed me. The acting of the main kids was terrible, I didn’t feel the fear or terror in the book, and even the dirty scenes just weren’t shocking. I was actually rooting for them all to just die by the end. However Lifetime greenlit the sequel even before the original aired, and it’s a good thing they did, because it might not have come about it they waited for the reception “Flowers” got from many like myself. “Petals” was phenomenal! It was definitely better than the book. Whereas I hated that they cut so much out of “Flowers,” the cuts to “Petals” were welcomed. I haven’t read these since I was 12/13, but I plan to reread them over the summer and before “Thorns” and “Seeds” air.

Oh yes, Lifetime is making all four of the original books into movies. There is no word whether “Gardens,” which was a prequel about the Grandmother and Grandfather, will become a film.

 

Happy Birthday Ebbie!
 

So last week was Ebbie’s birthday. She was one years old on the 18th. I totally forgot as I had so many other things going on :( I’m a bad doggy daddy!

Ebbie turned out to be a tiny Westie. She’s smaller than Princess, who is considered ideal for a Westie. Most Westies I’ve met tend to be a little bigger than Princess. Nikko, the Cairn, is actually a bit bigger than an average Cairn should be. Most Cairns are smaller than Westies!

I’ve been forced to feed Ebbie kibble for now. I’m trying to get weight on her scrawny butt, and kibble has the carbs that do it. I don’t like feeding kibble as it usually is what Princess was allergic too. However she’s shown no signs of any itching or paw biting like Princess did as a puppy, and as you can tell from the photos she also isn’t getting the beard staining. Though I did just bathe her because she was a dirty puppy. She likes to roll in the dirt more than anything else.


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Princess, Ebbie and Nikko

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Princess and Ebbie.

 

We Really Need Another Brick In The Wall
 

So our big ole ditch out back finally has been filled in with all sorts of high-tech draining system stuff, and they are onto bricking over the ugly cinderblock wall. Unfortunately because it was so wet this whole week, they didn’t get far. Sadly the week coming up doesn’t look much better. Apparently it’s not good to do masonry work when it’s raining or to moist out, it is bad for the mortar.

In the photos below you can see the start of what is planned. Hopefully they will make a dent in this work tomorrow before all the severe storms move in. The pillars you see here will all have some kind of lights/lanterns on the top.

Were the wall bends in is where our new bluestone patio is going. This will also wrap around the backside of the house where our back door is. The indentation is going to be my grilling area, and eventually I hope to get some kind of table and chairs to put out there so we can enjoy the patio.

We are also working on getting some new bushes put in soon. So much of the brush and trees had to be removed, really exposing the back of our house to the street. We are hoping to put something back as a shield, not just for privacy but especially for the noise from the road.

One thing we really need back though is our A.C.. They took this out in order to grade the land for water and dig all the ditches. Unfortunately one of the reason we are getting storms this week is the heat is soaring into the mid-to-upper 80s. We have several windows open now to create a breeze, but it’s also bringing in the dreaded pollen. It seems like every year right when we need the A.C., we don’t have it for some reason or another!

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