Solar Eclipse 2017

What a day! We experienced the total solar eclipse! We were expected to have 96-98% obsuration at home in Greeneville so we decided to drive the hour and a half to Maryville to experience the 100%.  SO glad we did! It last only a minute, but it was worth it. I got a video of it happening and some great shots to share with you!

We found a nice city park (Bicentennial Greenbelt Park) and set up right by an icy cold creek we could put our toes in to cool off. It was up in the nineties today!

As it got darker and darker the locust that come out at dusk here started up. They were deafening! As soon as the moon moved off the sun they stopped! Coolest experience ever!!

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You can see the difference in the light between these two pictures as we got closer to the total eclipse…

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This was taken through the lens of the glasses 20953924_1956999004581426_2489137262083820503_n

Getting dark now, street lights came on…

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Total eclipse!

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starting to peek out again

moving off now…

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After…

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Maryville is a great town with a rich history. Sam Houston moved there as a teen. Click the link to read more about the town.

Road Trip

We are off to Ocean City MD. with the grandkids tomorrow (Saturday) for a week. My son and his wife are coming over for a couple of days at the end of the week and taking the kids home with them. Then I’ll come home and be so lonesome 😦  But I’ll have you guys to cheer me up! I have lots of places to share with you then.

Friends from back home in Pennsylvania are coming down the same day we get back to watch the solar eclipse with us on the 21st. We are very near the 100% obscuration line here in Greeneville! We will get 98% obscuration! We are all so excited. If I can I’ll get some pics but not sure how well that will work. We have to find those filter glasses! Do you live in the path of the eclipse? This is a great website for info and to see how much of the eclipse you’ll see in your area.

I broke out in poison ivy all down my neck a couple of days ago! I look cruddy! I was cutting back a creeping vine that wraps around our trees and I don’t want them to kill the trees so every now and then I have to cut them back. I must have got into some then. I was very careful not to touch my face, but I must have touched my neck.

Ian is patiently waiting for me to come play Ruckus with him so I guess I better go. See you later!

The Captain and the Enemy

by Graham Greene

Back cover of Penguin Classics edition…   In Graham Greene’s final novel a secretive stranger takes Victor Baxter out of a boarding school much like that of Greene’s own youth. The “Captain” changes the boy’s name to Jim and brings him to London to serve as a surrogate son to a mysterious woman named Liza. Raised in odd, touching circumstances, Jim never comprehends the enduring relationship between the Captain and Liza, and he struggles to understand what love itself is. Although the novel than takes the Captain and Jim into seedy political intrigue in Panama and Nicaragua, it finally returns to the question of what the proofs of human love are. John Auchard’s introduction establishes links to Greene’s biography as it considers the places in the lost past where themes that preoccupy a character – or a novelist – had their flashes of genesis.

My first foray into Graham Greene. Different from what I usually read. No likable characters yet Greene pulls you into these characters immediately and you find yourself invested in them.

A sad tale really. Victor’s mother dies when he is young, he never has a chance to connect with her. His father, the Devil as he refers to him, sends him off to live with an aunt that never really gives him much affection. He is sent to boarding school where he is always an ‘Amalekite’, an outsider. One day a strange man, the Captain, shows up and removes him from school for the day with a letter from his father. He tells Victor that he won him fair and square in a game of backgammon. He takes him to London to live with Liza, a woman who lost her child and desperately longs for one. Victor will be the replacement. The Captain is in and out of their lives never staying long but always bringing and sending money to support them. Victor/Jim can never figure out the relationship between Liza and the Captain. His real father, the Devil, stops by several times and tells Jim he is better off there with Liza than the aunt, but in not an influence in his life at all. The Captain is the only ‘father’ he really knows.  Victor/Jim never really could figure out what love really is and couldn’t seem to connect to anyone. Lots of intrigue and adventure in the second half of the book in Panama during the time President Carter was working on the Panama Canal Treaty. Lots of shady things the Captain was involved in coming to light. Jim will have to make a decision whether to follow in his footsteps or make his own path in life.

This was a book on my TBR shelf and the 14th one I’ve read this summer for the 15 books of Summer challenge. One more to go!

Have you read Graham Greene and which one is your favorite by him? I have a couple more on my shelf.

Baby Robin

While sitting outside with our morning coffee I got these shots of a momma and baby robin! She was pulling bugs out of the ground and feeding it. I wasn’t able to get a shot of that. Once she was aware of me she was too busy keeping her eye on me. The little one stayed a few steps just behind her at all times. 


We’ve had tons of house sparrows this last week too. Their new to the backyard. My Merlin bird app says they are uncommon to my area. They seem to stay in small flocks and the feeder has been mobbed with them this morning! The poor finches have had to vie for space at the feeder. Of course when I went in to get the camera I disturbed them and by the time they started coming back my battery was blinking low. Only got a couple shots and they aren’t very good. I’ll try later to get a shot of the mob feeding.  Female on top, male on bottom…


Here’s what the Merlin app said about this bird…

Widespread and abundant in cities, neighborhoods and farms. Avoids dense woods. Flocks cluster in dense bushes, bustling around and chattering to one another. Males have smart black bibs, bright rufous napes, and stunningly patterned wings with brilliant buffs and browns. Underparts are pale pearly-gray. Females are plain brown with cute face and lighter eyebrow. Native to Eurasia; introduced to North America and not closely related to other sparrows there.

I got up to take a couple shots of the mountains out front and the whole flock took off and flew through the carport and almost hit me in the head!  It’s very cloudy and dreary today. We’ve had rain since Sunday night. I love the way the clouds wisp around the mountains.


This is my pecan tree where all the bird action happens, the suet feeders are hidden by branches…

Porch Talk…

My kids have been in for a visit so I haven’t had much time to do any posts. The youngest son and his family came in a couple of weeks ago and they left the grandkids here for their annual summer visit. I made the comment the other day that I needed to do a blog post and my grandson, Ian, said ‘but you only have limited time with us. Can you say the same thing about that post?’. Put me in my place didn’t he 🙂  It is time consuming when I do a post with lots of pictures. Take so much time to sort through and load the pics to Flicker first. So I think the Juneau post will probably wait until they go home. We are taking them to Ocean City, MD. August 12-19. Paul and Steph will meet us there and stay a few days with us on the beach and then take the kiddos home with them.

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We went to Tuckaleechee Caverns while Paul and Stephanie were here.
They are in Townsend TN. near Gatlinburg. Nice caverns, large and has a small waterfall in them and a stream that runs throughout. Then we stopped off at Gatlinburg for pizza at Big Daddy’s, a must visit place on their trips here! We walked around town and took the new skylift ride so they could see where all the fire had burned last November. The Skylift was burned and had to be completely replaced. The buildings at the top, gift shop, overlook and refreshments was burned out completely and hasn’t been rebuilt yet but they are going to. There were 200 homes burned on that mountain top.

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Here are a few pics from the cavern…

We also did a couple of hikes while Paul and Steph were here. They love to get out in the mountain woods! I’ll do a post with those pictures later.

We’ve had a pretty laid back couple of weeks with the grandkids. They’re homebodies and never really want to go anywhere so we hang out at home. We’ve played a lot of  games, Flinch, Acey Deucy, Mystery Rummy, 500 Rummy, but especially the card game Ruckus. It’s the new favorite! It’s a mad, crazy, steal your opponents sets type of game. We played a few games of Clue, (haven’t played that in years!) and then watched the movie Clue. They draw and read and watch videos. We made kites from a kit and Ian and I made a sock monster. Isa and I are going to make PJ’s out of an old sheet for her this coming week. We went to the city pool once. Isa made brownies. Next week we might go to Bays Mountain, (they have an animal park, hiking trails, wolf preserve and planetarium) and to the movies to see the new Spiderman. Then Saturday we leave for Ocean City.  I so enjoy having them here! I’ll be very lonesome when we get back from the beach without them.

We had a couple of hummingbirds zipping by and stopping off at the butterfly bush so I put the hummingbird feeder out on the carport and they frequent it often. There are two males that fight over it. The female will feed and then go land in the pecan tree and sit for quite awhile. I was surprised at that as I thought they always stayed in motion. Here’s a male at the feeder and the female in the tree. They zoom past us and sometimes you think they are going to hit you right in the head!

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I’m zipping along in the 15 Books of Summer challenge, only two more to go when I finish The Captain and The Enemy by Graham Greene. It’s a pretty decent read.

I made Million Dollar Spaghetti recently. It’s so rich and full of cheese! Mozzarella, parmesan and Philadelphia Cream Cheese! Check out the recipe HERE.  tried out two new pie recipes that were both hits, Cherry and Blueberry Cream Pie and Sugar Cream Pie. This Chicken Bog is something I’m dying to try out! Have you ever heard of it or made it?

The solar eclipse is coming right by our house on August 21st! We will get 96.48% obscuration in Greeneville. If we go to just southwest of Knoxville about an hour away we would see 100%! Pretty excited about seeing this thing! Do you live in its path?

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Red circle around Greeneville

Well, I’ve got to go order the pizza and get this crew fed so I better go. Talk to you later in August! Hope your well and enjoying your summer!

** I forgot I wanted to show you these pics of the birds a few weeks ago when we had high 90’s for temps. The birds lined up and stayed close to the pan of water I keep along the tree-line…

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Peggy

The Mystery at Orchard House

by Joan Coggin
first published in 1946

1334071Lady Lupin Lorrimer Hastings, the young, totally scatterbrained but extremely kind wife to the vicar of Glanville, is off for a bit of rest on the eve of World War II at a country hotel in Kent owned and run by old pal Diana Turner when a series of petty thefts requires that she once again use her odd deductive powers to restore order.

In spite of her best efforts, theft follows theft (Loops hopes it is just a case of justifiable kleptomania). Things get a bit dicier when a guest’s car goes out of control after the steering nut is deliberately loosened. Is it attempted murder? And just who set fire to Orchard House? It could be anyone of the guests, a very odd assortment who spend most of their time bickering among themselves. There’s a self-centered lady novelist whose only concern is recovering her ‘child’ – the manuscript to her book; a newly married couple who quarrel most of the time; a retired army officer who seems to have set his cap for any number of women; a vicar’s wife whom Lupin desperately tries to avoid for fear the older woman will see immediately that she is a fraud; her son, a chinless young poet who longs to be a mechanic; a sweet-faced but domineering widow determined to control her spineless daughter’s life; the daughter herself who yearns to make her own home; and a cynical young painter who claims to find beauty only in grim industrial scenes.

As usual, Lady Lupin gets everything wrong, yet somehow stumbles to the truth, as she runs the hotel in Diana’s absence and tries to conceal her highborn origins from a socialist garageman she befriends. Lady Lupin’s first case, Who Killed the Curate?, was a hit with readers and reviewers alike who helped put it on the bestseller lists of several mystery bookstores.

This was a fun mystery with no murder. The characters are quirky and fun and I love Lady Lupin. This one was the second book in a series of four and I’d love to get the first. Lupin is an Earl’s daughter and married to a lowly vicar. She always feels like she is a ‘fake vicar’s wife’ and someone is going to find out. She is sweet, silly and scatterbrained and yet always ends up figuring out the situation best and giving the best advice.

A taste of Lupin for you…

  ‘”Have you any ideas?”
Lupin blinked. She was never much of a one for ideas, and when she did have them they weren’t very good ones. For instance, there had been that idea of a Pierrot show for the Communicants’ Guild. Well, that hadn’t been a very good idea, not really. Then she had thought of bribing the children with doughnuts to come to Sunday school. Two of them had been sick, but they had certainly had a record attendance for three Sundays, and she still secretly thought that it had been rather a brainwave, but , of course, Andrew knew best. Still, it had been an idea, whether good or bad. “I do sometimes get an idea,” she said guardedly.’

Playing bridge… “I find it difficult in any position,” agreed Lupin. “I went three hearts just now thinking that I had got seven, and three of them turned out to be diamonds.”

  “Well,” he remarked, as they drove out of the hospital gates, “so your father is an earl, is he?”
“Well, yes, I suppose he is in a way, but I did ask the policeman not to tell you, because I had an idea that you didn’t like earls, and after all, its not altogether Daddy’s fault, is it? He’s got the sweetest nature and, anyway, my husband is only a plain minister, not that he’s exactly plain. In fact, he’s very good-looking, but you know what I mean.”
“You ran away with a humble suitor, did you?”
Lupin pondered. She remembered the surprised and incredulous delight her family had displayed on learning that she was engaged to Andrew. So many girls nowadays were prone to marry film stars, crooners, and broadcast announcers who, though no doubt excellent husbands and fathers, were something of an unknown quantity to people like the Lanchesters. They had always felt that Lupin was just the kind of girl who might do something eccentric, and that her eccentricity should take the form of marrying a clergyman instead of running away with a member of the Left Book Club was a great relief to them.
Clergymen were a race with which the Lanchesters had always been familiar, and this particular one had the advantage of being related to families they had known all their lives. Then he was old enough and sensible to keep Lupin in order, which was a distinct advantage. Not that there was any harm in her, but she had an impulsive nature which often led to trouble. At twelve she had adopted six sick dogs from a neighboring dogs’ home, at fifteen she had become engaged to the gardener’s boy, to his intense embarrassment, and at eighteen she had absentmindedly gone to a neighboring hunt ball in fancy dress. Three more years had passed while her parents felt themselves treading on the edge of a precipice, and then she had become engaged to this young, or not so young, clergyman, and they had felt themselves on firm ground at last.

Or…

“No, I have no idea how the fire started,” Lupin told the superintendent. “Isn’t it funny how if you try to light a fire with plenty of paper and firewood and matches and everything, it is almost impossible to get it to go? Whereas if you drop a cigarette-end on to a bit of glass or steel or asbestos, the house is on fire in no time.”
“You think the fire was started by a cigarette-end:”
“Oh, dear, I hope not. Do you think I could have dropped one anywhere? I expect it will all turn out to be my fault. But I don’t think I sat in that armchair, though, of course, knowing how things happen, especially to me, it might easily have leaped out of the ashtray on to the chair or something.”

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

This book counts for Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ Bev’s My Readers Block in the Golden Era, category – Hat.