Vera

Veraby Elizabeth von Arnim

‘She had the trust in him, he felt, of a child… He was proud and touched to know it, and it warmed him through and through to see how her face lit up whenever he appeared. Vera’s face hadn’t done that’

Lucy Entwhistle’s beloved father has just died; she is twenty-two and alone in the world. Leaning against her garden gate, dazed and unhappy, she is disturbed by the slightly sweaty presence of Mr. Wemyss, also in mourning – for his wife Vera, who has died in mysterious circumstances. Before Lucy can collect herself the middle-aged Mr. Wemyss has taken charge: of the funeral arrangements, of her kind aunt Dot, but most of all of Lucy herself – body and soul.


I picked this book mainly because of the title, we have a Vera of our own! A strong headed, independent border collie mix. Nothing like the women in this book! Well, aunt Dot was somewhat strong, but ultimately not enough.

In the introduction, by Xandra Hardie, she said ‘Vera roused a furore among those in England who knew the true identity of the author, and recognized the figure to whom she (Elizabeth) had been married, upon whose personality she based Everard Wemyss.’ It was Elizabeth’s second husband, Francis Russell, whom she married after the sudden death of her first husband. My interest was piqued!

The book was well written, kept my interest even though I thoroughly disliked the characters. Lucy was so weak and Weymss was so HORRID! I really had to finish it to see Weymss get his in the end. I was sorely disappointed. I was a little surprised at aunt Dot and would have gladly run Weymss over with a bus myself if given the opportunity! So I guess the book was a success in that it stirred up strong emotions in the reader and the characters, though unlikable, made a lasting impression! I’m looking forward to reading more by von Arnim.

Museum of Appalachia

A while back a friend and I took a day trip to the Museum of Appalachia. It is a living history museum, a pioneer mountain farm village with artifacts and stories from Southern Appalachia. It was so well done! So much to look at.

It all started with one person’s collecting memorabilia of Appalachia. He acquired so much he opened a museum and it has grown. There is a large building filled with memorabilia and it is divided up by category so nicely, musical history, Indian history, military history, medical history, farming and one that I found most interesting was funerals! Then there is a large barn that has everything to do with farming and general store stuff, furniture making, gun smithing. Then there are the 30 cabins and log homes from primitive Daniel Boone type to more wealthy cabins, a little newer and maybe a general store owners or large farmers. There is even Mark Twain’s family cabin. All of these have been lovingly dismantled from various places in Appalachia and moved here to the museum. Mark Twain’s family lived in TN when he was conceived and moved to Missouri before he was born.

There were gorgeous handmade quilts!

The music section was the largest. Banjoes, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and dulcimers. Some of them homemade by the poorest of the poor just so they could make music. Wasn’t much else to do for entertainment but sit around on the porch and sing and make music together. There were banjoes made from ham tins, gourds, bedpans, cookie tins… Appalachia has a rich musical history. Lots of info on music stars from Appalachia, Radio shows, TV. Some I’ve heard of and some I haven’t

The funeral section had so much information about their burial traditions, I found it fascinating. I’ve always been a bit on the morbid side though 🙂

This amazing funeral wagon is a real treasure!38095936_Unknown38095952_Unknown38095984_Unknown

Coffins of various sizes under it. And here is an unused baby coffin and a rare metal coffin with a face hole… 38095840_Unknown38095872_Unknown 

There was info about something called an Angel Crown or Death Crown… 38095856_Unknown copy38095856_Unknown copy 2

They have Popcorn Sutton‘s, the famous moonshiner from just up the road from me, moonshine still. That’s a story 38096512_Unknownon its own! Click on the link to read about him. If you watch the video of him be ready for a very foul mouth! He was made famous on one of those reality shows about moonshiners. Of course then the ‘Feds’ came for him and charged him with tax evasion and he was going to jail so he killed himself. Shot himself sitting in his car at his property in Parrotsville. I read he had just been diagnosed with cancer too. Shortly after they legalized moonshine and you can buy it in all the tourist areas here. I’m sure its regulated and not as potent. His wife sold his name and there’s a Popcorn Sutton Moonshine brand now.

Check out the wooden sink in the slideshow above, kept outside filled with water by wooden pipes and gravity fed! I’ll never complain again!

There were peacocks all around and one hen had four babies with her! I loved the sound of them as we walked around…

sIt was a fun day and we are looking forward to more girl’s days out!

Soutsoukakia

(soo-zoo-kah-kyah)

I made these amazing Greek baked meatballs for dinner last week. They are pan licking good! The sauce has cumin and cinnamon and garlic. So different. We had basmati rice and Israeli Salad with it. The guys were all impressed and said this recipe is a keeper! I got the recipe from Mediterranean Dish. I have made several recipes from her blog and we’ve never been disappointed. I’m trying to shift more and more to fresh Mediterranean food.

For Meatballs

  • 2 slice whole wheat bread (toast-size), toasted to a medium-brown (or use GlutenFree bread if you need)
  • ¼ to cup 60 ml milk or water
  • 1.5 lb/680.389 g lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp/2.36 g ground cumin
  • ½ tsp/1.3 g ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp/0.6 g dried oregano
  • ½ cup/17 g  chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil

For Red Sauce

  • Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup/118.294 ml dry red wine
  • 30 oz/850.486 g canned tomato sauce (that’s 2 15-oz cans of sauce)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ tsp/1.77 g ground cumin
  • ½ tsp/1.3 g cinnamon
  • ½ tsp 2 g sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Go HERE to see how to make this amazing dish! 

Can’t wait to have company and make this for them. We had a lot of fun trying to pronounce the Greek name for these meatballs! It is an original Turkish dish, but brought to Greece and adopted as their own.

Speaking of Turkish food, a friend and I went made a trip over to Knoxville last week for a day out. We went to Trader Joe’s, my first time there! And then had lunch at The Turkish Market. A small restaurant run by a Turkish family. I had never eaten Turkish food before and it was such a treat!

Let me know if you make these meatballs and how you like them!