Saturday in the Smokies

Naturalist Ila Hatter…

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A Couple Good Books

I haven’t had much reading time lately and only got two books read in the last month. But they were good ones!

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Practical-minded Realtor Melanie Middleton hates to admit – even to herself – that she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it, because an old man she met just days ago has died, leaving Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, complete with a housekeeper, a dog, and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her something…

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that some diamonds that went missing from the Confederate treasury a century ago are hidden in Melanie’s home. So he decides to charm the new tenant, only to discover that suddenly he is the smitten one.

But it turns out that Jack’s search has caught the attention of a possibly malevolent ghostly presence. Now Jack and Melanie need to unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak, and even murder. And they must hurry…for an evil force – either dead or alive – lies in wait.

I don’t usually read ghost stories but the mystery aspect of this one interested me. I liked the setting too, Charleston SC. Both of my sons were born there! Ghost stories set in the south are usually pretty good, I have to admit. This one was really good, I hated for it to end and thought about it after I was finished. It looks like its a series so I think I’ll look for more of these. I did notice I have another Karen White on the shelf when I was rearranging to fit the new books in! Not with this character though.  You have a wonderful mysterious unsolved disappearance, years old, history, missing diamonds, romance and ghosts, not to mention a really cute dog named General Lee. Worth the read!


The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920’s Ireland, but the threat of arson leads the parents of nine-year-old Lucy to abandon their country house. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane, with its beautiful land and nearby beach, and a dog she has befriended. On the day before they are due to leave, she runs away, hoping to convince her parents to stay. Instead, she sets off a series of tragic misunderstandings that affects everyone at Lahardane and one of the perpetrators of the failed arson attack for the rest of their lives.

In this brilliant, subtle and moving story of love, guilt and forgiveness, William Trevor has written a novel that stands among the best in the English language.

Reading about William Trevor over at Cathy’s 746 Books I’ve wanted to read one of his desperately. I got this one through Paperbackswap. I LOVED it! It is so very sad though. A insightful look at how our actions and choices affect everyone around us and the healing power of forgiveness. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I want the story to unfold for you as you read it and I highly recommend you read it! Thanks, Cathy, for bringing this author to my attention! I’ll be reading more.

A Flight Back in Time

31529104_UnknownLast weekend we had the privilege of volunteering at our local regional airport. The 1928 Ford Tri-Motor came in for a four day tour. It tours the country all year. There are a couple of these planes on tour.  John called when the Ford was coming in and said get over here NOW! We got to see it land and be the first ones to roam around inside it and take a zillion photos. We joined the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and signed up to volunteer for the weekend tour.
IMG_0945The tour is operated by an all volunteer staff that travels with the plane. One pilot brings it to its destination and then he goes back home and a new pilot flies in to pilot the plane for the tour. Our pilot was Ed Rusch and he is from Port Clinton, Ohio, which is the home of this particular plane. He then flew it to Kentucky for its next tour and he went home from there. He would then meet up with the plane again in Oklahoma. The pilots are all retired pilots and volunteers. They don’t get paid for doing this. The ticket agent was also a volunteer too, all members of the EAA. She drove over from NC. They try to find volunteers close to the tour I think. I helped Kristin at the ticketing table. We got to ride for free since we volunteered! It was so cool! Everyone was so nice. Now we’ll be able to volunteer at all the functions our airport sponsors. We are going to join our local aviation chapter.  I told him he better watch out or John will have him flying a plane before he knows it and he said, ‘you never know!’ A whole new chapter in our life in our retired years!

This plane was the first commercial passenger plane! Henry Ford recognized the potential for mass air travel! You can read about this plane HERE.

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The little silver button beside the light is the vent tube to bring in outside air. Fancy air-conditioning!

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The airconditioning! It’s a vent tube you close or open from your seat. 

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My beautiful Greeneville, surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains

Dave and John

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Want to go on the flight with me? Watch my video HERE.

Here it is landing at our airport! I’m not very good at photography, sorry!

I found a neat little video from inside the cockpit HERE. Looks like a rough ride for the pilot! If this plane ever comes to an airport near you GO! Even if you don’t ride it you can look at it and go inside and sit down in it and take pictures. HERE‘s a little video about the tours and our pilot Ed is in it! It was like stepping back in time. We sure take the comfort of our modern planes for granted! Although this plane did have a lavatory in it! No stewardess though.

Have you ever seen this plane or another vintage aircraft?

Porch Talk

Finally, I’m gettin’ to set a spell with you and bring you up to speed on whats been going on in our neck of the woods! Last year I posted about remodeling our bathroom and finding a portion of drywall crumbling under the tile wall and Bossman saying thats it, he was done! Read about it here and see the pics.  Well, last month we hired a friend of ours to finish up for us. Bossman helped him, but he just did the grunt work. We were in no hurry and John worked a few days a week in-between other jobs. He is the maintenance man at our local regional airport. They had to take down a whole wall behind the tub that was tiled and remove the drywall.

John raised the shower up higher as it was really low, it would hit Bossman on the belly! The good news was we didn’t have to tear out the other wall where the crumbling was happening. John was able to patch the bottom where it was crumbling. All that tile work is tedious! We couldn’t find the same tile as it was from 1961, white with small flakes in it. But John had a box of white tiles so we just saved as much as we could, taking it off the wall by the toilet and used it in the conspicuous places and used John’s white tile on the wall next to the toilet as that little alcove is shadowy and its not as noticeable there.IMG_20160414_072547_398 2 We had one of those old fashioned wall heaters in the middle of the wall under the window and John took that out and used the original tile we salvaged on that spot. He utilized the electric hook up there to put an outside outlet on the front of the house. Now Bossman will have a convenient outlet for the travel trailer and won’t have to have 3 extension cords running around the house! This week he is building a built in narrow cabinet in the corner between the vanity and the wall.

John ate with us a lot and brought his young nephew over some to hang out with me. We really enjoyed having them around! He started just dragging Bossman over to the airport with him when he had to run there for something and put him to work. He’s been moving planes around hangers and fueling helicopters and planes with John. He’s just one of the guys over there now. Funny thing is he doesn’t like flying in big jets let alone small planes, so its kind of an odd fit! He’s even helping fuel up planes and helicopters! IMG_1028

We also had an electrician come out and run electricity from the house to the garage and install lighting. So he was working in the basement and running wires out the side of  the house and burying wire underground to the garage. We didn’t mean for all this to be going on at once but it’s just how it worked out! While we had the ditch witch here for the electrician, Bossman dug up the drain line for the basement shower and fixed it as it was plugged or something and the ground was wet all the time. Our basement shower doesn’t drain into the sewer, it drains into the sump pump/French drain and then out into the backyard underground in a pipe.  It’s been that way since the house was built we guess. They put a concrete patio over top of the drain pipe where it comes out of the house :0. Would never pass muster nowadays! Our washing machine and stationery tub in the basement drain into a dry well. It’s kind of nice because that reduces the amount going into our septic system.

And sadly in the middle of all this, Bossman’s mom passed away. She was 92 and had

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Mary’s wedding picture

been bedridden for six months. It was very sad, the last six months had been very hard on the family. They kept her at home and took care of her themselves. They did her proud. By the end she didn’t really know them all the time and had dementia pretty bad. Thank heavens there were so many of them to help! Bossman is one of nine! Three of those, including us, live away. We went home for five days then. His dad died in 1977 of a massive heart attack at the age of 51.

Of course there was the book sale. We worked on that for two months setting up. Our first weekend was April 27 & 28. I missed the 27th as we were up in Pa. but I got home to work it on the 28th. Then I worked all day Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th.  We had a picnic for the workers on Sunday. The same weekend we volunteered at the vintage airplane tour! Who said retirement was relaxing? Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the plane!

IMG_0856We got a new truck! The cargo van just didn’t have the umph to tow the travel trailer up and down all these mountains. The van sold in one day! We were so surprised at that. We just went to the Ford dealer to ask about which engines where best for towing, not to actually buy as Bossman wanted to get a used truck, a couple of years old. But they gave us such a deal we couldn’t resist. Always buy your vehicle on the last day of the month! All kinds of incentives then. Bossman gave them a ridiculously low price as he didn’t want to buy and he thought no way they would come down that much but they did! The warranties were hard to beat. It will last us the rest of our lives so it was worth getting new. The technology on these new vehicles is ridiculous! We had to go to the dealer three times to have them explain things to us. It’s nothing but a huge computer. One day we pulled into the driveway and turned it off and got out and the radio kept playing. We couldn’t get it to turn off and the dash lights and functions on the steering wheel wouldn’t work. On a Sunday too, the dealer was closed. Bossman said oh no, dead battery in the morning. Take it over now and leave it there for the morning. I convinced him to unhook the battery for a second and ‘reboot’ the computer. It worked. They did put a new audio module in it though. It came with 6 months of Sirius Radio. We can stream it in the house too. I love the Siriously Sinatra station! I want to keep it now! I can listen to audio books and podcast from my phone through the truck radio! We’re living’ in luxury now, baby! I guess you can tell we haven’t had a new car in a long time 🙂

I finally subscribed to Acorn. I love it. Picked up a Roku stick for the TV in the back bedroom so I could watch back there when sports are on. Otherwise I stream it through the Apple TV in the living room. I’m thinking about subscribing to BritBox too. Shetland is streaming on there right now. Those Roku’s are pretty neat, I can take it with me when we travel and have my Acorn with me.

I found this cool Agatha Christie reading list app to keep track of which of her books I have! You might like it too if you love her, check it out HERE. There’s also an Agatha Christie Mahjong game app, Mahjong Crimes, and another solve the mystery game featuring Poirot, Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders.

The iris are blooming along the back property line and the color is magnificent this year! Too bad the stalks always end up falling over with the weight of the flowers. There’s lots of flowers on each stalk. The mockingbird is still chasing other birds away! The woodpeckers have stopped even coming by. I thought he would be on his way by now.

We finished a couple more puzzles before all the work got started. I also found a Wysocki puzzle online that I’ve been looking for several years! I was so pumped. It’s an old puzzle, but this one is brand new, never opened. Picked up a couple more we don’t have at Walmart recently too. We’re set for when the heat gets to much to be outside! Puzzling and my blog have brought me a new friend from Massachusetts! Sue emailed me about a puzzle and we have struck up a correspondence through email. I love meeting new people!

We are off to Maryland to see my son and his family for Mother’s Day weekend. Haven’t seen them since Christmas. My granddaughter got excepted into a performing arts high school for next year. She plays violin in the school orchestra. She also started playing recently with her church worship team! I’m very proud of her. We’re going to Myrtle Beach for a week soon too, looking forward to just getting to relax and catch up on my reading!

Just found out today that a friend, back home in PA., who has been battling cancer for several years has found out the new medication isn’t working for her. She went through chemo and radical mastectomy and reconstruction several years ago and now the cancer is back in the bone, I think it is. She opted not to do treatment again. The cost and the treatment itself was just too much for her to do again. It is a hormone driven cancer so they tried this new drug but it didn’t work. I got the saddest message telling me she probably won’t see me in this life again but she will look for me in heaven. She has the most amazing faith and doesn’t want anyone to feel bad for her. She said she is going home to be with her savior and we’ll be reunited someday. I haven’t known her long, but we had an instant connection. She gave me all her Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt books from her teen years because she said she knew they would have a good home!  We’re praying for a miracle, but it looks like God will heal her on the other side.

Well, I’ve rattled on enough. It was nice chatting, although I wish you’d talk a little more! Ha Ha!

Thanks for stopping by!