Archive | January, 2011

Cemeteries and Private Property

January 13, 2011


Did you know that in some municipalities, it is perfectly legal to use a portion of your property as a private family cemetery? I can’t remember where I read that last year, but I remember reading it, and being surprised. Some states are developing more stringent laws about burials on private lands. In early America, families usually buried their relatives on a small plot in a woodsy area. Here in my area of New York, I can immediately think of dozens of such small private cemeteries on private lands, dating way back to the late 1700s. Some of those old headstones tell amazing stories on them.

Did you know that, in many states, if you are a property owner with a private cemetery, you must allow for easement for family members of the deceased to visit their buried kin, if their family is buried on your land? A Virginia statute reads:

Owners of private property on which a cemetery or graves are located shall have a duty to allow ingress and egress to the cemetery or graves by (i) family members and descendants of deceased persons buried there; (ii) any cemetery plot owner; (iii) any person engaging in genealogy research, who has given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the occupant of the property or both. The landowner may designate the frequency of access, hours and duration of the access and the access route if no traditional access route is obviously visible by view of the property. The landowner, in the absence of gross negligence or willful misconduct, shall be immune from liability in any civil suit, claim, action, or cause of action arising out of the access granted pursuant to this section.

I’m glad I saw that statute, as I often visit cemeteries for my genealogical research. The fear of trespassing often kept me from seeing the headstones; now I know. šŸ˜€

Obviously, as the country industrialized and developed, fewer families placed their deceased relatives on their private property. Cemeteries were built, either by churches or the state, or by wealthy individuals who dedicated land for the citizens. Burials are expensive, though. Most “normal” folks would have had to hawk their stuff to afford a plot and a funeral. I don’t know when funeral insurance was invented (probably about the same time other insurances were invented?). In this area, the wealthy mucky-mucks must have had some very fine Insurance, because some of their burial sites are of Egyptian pharaoh proportions. Forest Hill Cemetery and the cemetery at Hamilton College hold some of the wealthiest and brightest people of history: Elihu Root, Samuel Kirkland, Roscoe Conking, James Schoolcraft Sherman, etc.


Utica, NY's largest cemetery was established only in 1850.

Anyway, as far as I know, most municipalities allow property owners to bury their pets on their own lands. But if you want to start your own private cemetery, it’s best to check with your local codes department, first. If allowed, they may require you to get a survey of your property or draw a map of the location of the plot on your land. And many states require that you allow family visitors to the site.

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Lounging Livvy

January 10, 2011


It’s Monday, I’ve got a lot of work to do and there’s a lot of it so I’m in a hurry, and what happens to me??


Lounging Livvy

How can I resist that?

She just wants to lounge around.

She’s been very clinging lately. Follows me everywhere. I’m not sure why she’s doing it. Sure, she followed me everywhere before, but these days she’s on top of me, like in the photo. She’s with me all night, too, hogging my bed and stealing my covers.

Conked Out

She's been a bed hog ever since babyhood.

She’s very happy when the family is sprawled out on the couch and floor, hanging in front of my computer and big monitor, watching a film. She’s always out of sorts when one of the family members is not home. I’ve never known such a personable cat, and I’ve had many cats.

I was considering leaving her behind in the care of a babysitter when we go on vacation sometime…. rrrright! She’d never let us.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Livvy thinks I have been at the computer too long, and must get back to cuddling and petting her. See you all tomorrow.

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Find the Kitty Friday! 01/07

January 7, 2011


Oh me, oh my, where where WHERE could she be??


Ha ha! She thinks she is invisible!

Photo taken with my iPhone. Eh, it’s an “OK” camera. Photo was taken on the day that we *finally* tried to organize the living room. After the renovation, we kind of simply dumped furniture into the room willy-nilly. I need my desk for work, but hadn’t any time to organize it…. so for one day, we tore the place apart– a cat’s delight! We pulled out boxes of stuff: books, shoes, (um, yeah, the kids accidentally brought in the wrong boxes!), etc. It was a good day for Livvy, lol.

Because it is back to being cold again (our January thaw was short-lived and not very thaw-ing), Livvy has taken to nesting under the covers. Right about every morning at 5am (she’s regular like clockwork), she nuzzles up to me in bed. She plants her cold wet nose strategically on my face until I groan and roll over. Now that the warm spot of the bed is exposed, she burrows under the covers in the little “cat cave.” We snooze for about an hour or two, until The Hubs rises to get her cat food. She has SUCH a good life.

Only three more months of winter to go!

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Things I Want To Do This Year

January 3, 2011


Don’t get me wrong! I’m not making New Year’s resolutions! Several years ago, I resolved not to make them, and I don’t want to break my winning streak! But now that it’s January and soon February will be nipping at us, my mind turns to projects to be done for this year. I don’t always get them all done, but some I do. Late winter is the perfect time to assess the projects, because I generally have nothing else to work on!

Clean up the vegetable garden.
We totally let the gardens go last summer. The renovation consumed all our energy, and therefore the gardens were a mess by autumn. I never tilled them, either. We have a lot of work to do back there this summer.


Finish the kitchen projects.
My window seat/bench is still unfinished.

It requires a lot of piddly, meticulous sawing, so I have put it off for the winter. It’s TOO cold to work in the garage. The area is a disaster, because the family really has no place to store boots, coats, etc in an organized area. But it must wait.

Get new clothes.
The teens have worn out their clothes. That, and they wore a lot of different outfits during the renovation (which were consequently ruined, GRRR). So while they have several pairs of work clothes now, the good clothing has depleted. Good thing the kids like their t-shirts. And they aren’t too proud to wear fun or goofy shirts. One of my readers sent me a hilarious Chuck Norris t-shirt, after reading that we loved these kinds of shirts. Haha!!!

Pay off the renovation debt.
I incurred several thousand dollars of debt for the renovation. I want to pay it all off this year. Yes, it’s a big goal, but if I am careful, I may be able to do it. We’ll see. I have hope of renovating the upstairs (not insulated, and it feels it!), getting new windows, creating a family room from the attached garage, and getting central heat…. but all that must wait until I pay off the debt. So I’m very motivated!

Start an herb garden.
We’re going to make our own teas and grow medicinal herbs this year. I have assigned a daughter to do some research, and I will bankroll the project. The kids drink a lot of tea, and it’s so expensive. Here’s hoping we can create our own tasty teas this year.

I think that’s enough for now. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, or I will grow discouraged. What projects do you have in mind to do this year?

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