Porch Talk

IMG_1073We spent last week in Myrtle Beach SC. Bossman loves to golf and there a bazillion golf courses there. I’m not a beachy person so it’s not really my favorite place, but there is a lovely little used book store in Pawley’s Island that I love to go to! I did some shopping at the outlet mall and got some incredible buys on the clearance racks and found a new favorite store, Chico’s! I’ve never shopped there before, just went in and right back out. They have strange sizing 000, 00, 0, 1, 1.5, 2…  I take a 0, zero! makes you feel really tiny. I found jeans with a wide elastic waist, no zipper,  no snap or button , no cutting me in two! No thick seam between the legs! Stylish, classy. I was in love! And the best part was I found three pair on a clearance rack. One was only $14.97 and the others were $27 all originally $70! I’ve been searching for something more comfortable yet not ‘old lady’ looking and I found it! Also got a couple nice thing at Dillard’s on the clearance. I am a clearance fiend!

So back to the book store…
Voyage into Violence by Richard and Francis Lockridge
The Woman at Belguardo by Margaret Erskine
The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas
The Golden Ball and other stories by Agatha Christie
Dead March, A Civil War Mystery by Ann McMillan
The Escher Twist by Jane Langton
and a Rue Morgue book!: Penelope Passes by Joan Coggin
have all been added to my shelves!

It was rainy the first couple of days due to the tropical storm Alberto, but the week ended out with sunshine and way too hot temps and humidity! We played miniature golf a couple of times, there are so many lovely courses there! And We adventured out to a Middle Eastern restaurant, The Jerusalem Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar. It was beautiful inside and something very different for us. Such a wonderful menu of new experiences waiting for us. It was hard to choose.  So many lovely hibiscus plants all over with such a variety of colors! I’d love to have some here at home but I think I would have to bring them in for the winter. The highlight of the week though was finally getting to check out  Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park! It’s a neat old house built on the beach in 1933! Pictures and history coming soon!

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My good friend, Cheryl, from back home in Pennsylvania came in today for a week. She has never been to the Smoky Mountain National Park! We are so excited to show it to her and she gets to see the fireflies with us too! Saturday we are going to the Bluff Mountain Music Festival in Hot Springs NC. We go every summer. Traditional Mountain music. I did a post on it last year. I love watching the people do the Flat Foot dancing.

Our bathroom is finally done and I can take a shower upstairs now! It’s so nice. John put in a built in linen closet/shelving unit for us, floor to ceiling with the most beautiful wood grain. And we now have a lovely little access door to the plumbing in the wall for the bathtub! One thing off Bossman’s mind.

I’ve started a jigsaw puzzle on the basement table for the really hot days of summer. It’s a Ravensburger brand, Bizarre Bookshop 2 – 1000 pieces. It looks like it maybe more of a challenge than my Wysocki’s, but I’m determined! It might take all summer but it should be fun. Take a look at it here, You can zoom in and see all the fun little sillies!

I’ve started reading the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves, Raven Black. It’s really good right from the get-go. She does disturbed characters so well! I binged watched the Agatha Raisin TV series on Acorn while in Myrtle Beach. I loved it! Makes me want to go back and read all the books. Started watching an Australian show 800 Words now. Into the second series now, the third just came out a few days ago.

I made a Butterscotch Pie and a Blueberry Pie this morning in honor of our company coming. Divine is all I can say about these recipes! Check them out! I snuck in a pinch of nutmeg on the blueberry and it really set it off.

So what have you been up to lately? Any special plans for the summer? Gotta go, talk to you later!


We Won the Lottery!

Really! We did! No money involved though. It’s a special lottery that happens once a year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This lottery is priceless! This year 21,000 people entered and we were one of 1,800 winners! People have entered this for years and never won, on our first try we got it!  What did we win you say?

A parking pass to see the Sychronous Fireflies! It happens once a year when they are mating and it only happens in a few spots around the world with the densest population here in our own Smoky Mountains! Because it draws so many people they started doing the lottery system to contain the amount of people in the area to preserve the fireflies mating area. I almost forgot about the lottery and entered on the last day open for entries and late at night. Maybe that was the key! When you enter you give two dates you would like to go within that one week period and then you get an email telling you if you won or not and what day if you did. We go June 11th. I can’t wait!  We park at the visitor center and then a trolley takes us to the Elkmont area of the Park. That’s where the fireflies are. We’ll sit in the woods in the dark and witness a small miracle of nature. I wish I could bring everyone of you with me! Pray for no rain on June 11th!

Read HERE and HERE about the fireflies.

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


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!


Mini Porch Talk

I’ve been trying to get a minute to sit down for a visit with y’all, but it’s been full stop crazy around here the last few weeks. Hopefully I can slow down a minute next week and grab an ice tea and sit down with y’all for a good catch up but until then here’s a tease as to what’s been going on…





Quote, Weather and Mourning Goose.

As a lover of old books I love this quote by C.S. Lewis…

Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and especially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.’

Terrible weather overnight in the south. Prayers for those in Alabama with 9 tornadoes last night! The 4th nor’easter of this month is beginning today in the northeast! My son in Maryland is expecting 12-18 inches of snow! That will break all records for this late in the season for them. Back home in Pennsylvania they’re right on the line between 1-3 and 8-12! We are suppose to get rain here in Greeneville, maybe a half inch of snow tomorrow. Woke up to heavy fog this morning!

Yesterday morning we woke up to a lone Canada goose pacing between our yard and the neighbor on the side. It was honking up a storm. The neighbor said it started around 3 am. By 1:30 I was worried that it was lost from its flock. The golf course is behind us and there is a chain link fence with barb wire slanted in at the top. I thought maybe it couldn’t get a long enough run to fly over. I called the Wildlife Agency and the ranger got right back to me. He said they are not in flocks right now but it’s mating and nesting time so they should be in pairs. It might be a male guarding a nest nearby. If it wasn’t injured just leave it alone and call them if it seems to not be able to fly or leave after awhile. I felt much better as I had been worrying about it all day. They really are pretty birds.

You can see the old barb-wired fence along the property line behind us in the pic below. It’s been there for a hundred years from back when this was all farmland. The goose had watched a robin bathing in the small water dish I keep out there for the birds and walked up there. I thought it was going to drink but it seemed to want to go into the other yard. After supper, Bossman went out and took down the barb wire fence. He’s been talking about doing it. The goose waddled over then. I was worried that it couldn’t fly as no matter how close we got to it, it never even flapped it’s wings. Silly me sat there watching it and praying about my concern that it might not being able to fly or maybe being injured. So of course the Lord being concerned about even the small things in our lives, let the goose pick up and fly a small distance so I could see it was okay 😁. I think it had lost its mate and was looking for it. They mate for life and mourn when a mate dies.

Did you see that a self driving Uber car in Arizona hit a woman on a bike and killed her yesterday? Crazy, self driving cars are a ridiculous idea! Even though there is a human at the wheel your just not as alert if your not doing the actual driving. This is the second time someone was hit by one. The other didn’t kill the person though.

I was playing around with the camera yesterday while Bossman was taking down the barb wire fence. Got a couple nice shots of the 🌼’s

This is the hemlock wooly adelgids on our hemlock tree. Amazing these tiny white things can kill the tree.

Hemlock cones

We started sorting books the end of February for the library book sale in April/May. We have double the books as before! Probably close to 200,000! Their going to hold the sale two weekends this time. This year we’re having a mystery section! I asked last year and they said no. I’m so pumped about it. I get to be in charge of it too!

img_0762Bowling has become a part of our routine over the winter. We go twice a week. Our bowling alley was built around 1968. Old wood lanes. The owners are super people. They had a new roof put on shortly after they bought it and then a hail storm damaged it. The insurance company has been fighting with them for several years over paying up so they are in court with them over it and in the meantime the leaking is getting worse and damaged the inside ceiling too. They have containers sitting all over to catch drips when it rains. They’ve put tarps over the roof trying to help but it doesn’t work too good. Needless to say the cost of repair now is astronomical. April 17th they finally get to find out if they get to take it to a jury. If not I’m afraid they won’t be able to stay open. I am the most inconsistent bowler ever! Last week I had an 82 game followed by 178! Yesterday I was fairly consistent with 125, 154, and 124. Brenda is trying to get me to join the ladies league. Maybe I’ll join next fall.

Finally got to see Three Billboards in Ebbing Missouri. So much unnecessary foul language! Good story and excellent acting though. I enjoyed it. I think Bossman was too put off by the language.  We are going to see I Can Only Imagine next Tuesday. Mercy Me is one of our favorite groups. We could use a movie full of hope with all negative news! What I’m really looking forward to is Paul, Apostle of Christ! It’s coming out March 23rd. Jim Caviezel is in it. I LOVE him.

We recently went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC and to a Civil War re-enactment at a Tennessee Historic Site. I’ll post pictures from those soon!

Stay dry, warm and safe in whatever weather your being hit with right now and remember summer is on its way!

A Remarkable Woman

A friend on Facebook originally from England, now living in Michigan, USA, shared an article about a woman, Hannah Hauxwell. Thank you, Carol! She had died at the age of 91. She lived alone for the majority of her life on an isolated farm in the Yorkshire Dales, Teesdale. I was fascinated with her story and looked up all the videos I could find online about her. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running water, no companionship other than her cows. The winters are brutal in The Dales. A sweet lonely woman, she led a very isolated hard life, but her attitude was so positive and kind. I wish I could have known her.

After she was briefly introduced in the Yorkshire Television documentary To Long a Winter, people fell in love with her and asked about her frequently so they went back and did several more documentaries on her throughout her life. She became Britain’s first reality star! They did a couple documentaries of her on trips abroad, Innocent Abroad, after she left the farm. I couldn’t find any of these online. I thought you might like to meet Hannah as well…


This video was made 20 years later…


You can also watch catch-ups in Past and Present and Past and Present Part 2

Her home, Birk Hatt Farm, has been donated to a wildlife trust. The meadow and barn have been. I believe the house is owned and lived in by someone. I also found these lovely website articles about her, A Day with Hannah and In Pictures: Hannah Hauxwell at 85 Takes a Look Back.

Did you enjoy meeting Hannah as much as I did?