A Lovely Award Nomination!

 

Blogger recognition award

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Thank you, Robbie Cheadle from Robbie’s Inspiration for nominating me for this award. Robbie was sweet enough to nominate me for this as I was recuperating from Mystery Thriller Week.  I really appreciate you thinking of me.
Continue reading “A Lovely Award Nomination!”

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Here we are the day before Christmas. I am still sitting next to a stove with a roaring fire and am preparing for a day of cookie making excitement with the family.  I am thinking about the people I am not near this holiday and missing you. Yet, I am so excited to be sharing this holiday with Casey, Ken, Raevyndaun, Vykktoria, Vladmier, and Valerie.  This is a Christmas present that  I have been enjoying for two weeks and I am still having a blast.

Sure, I found the Frozen tundra plague and have been coughing and hacking to beat that band, but I also have had some beautiful children bringing me cups of tea and pb&j sandwiches in order to make me feel better.  That makes the cold tolerable.

My gifts to the family will bring even more opportunities for snuggling together and I can’t wait to share them with the children.  Even as I miss my little Sarah and the Alabama kids as well as Jacob and Nathan, I am truly having a wonderful time. My heart is full.

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While I am here looking at a frozen Lake Michigan, and you are in another part of the world celebrating Christmas alone, know you are in my thoughts and my heart.

 

Snap chat holiday picture!

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Merry Christmas everyone!  

 

Goodreads Giveaway: 31 Days of October: A Haunting Collection of Hallowe’en Tales.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

31 Days of October, a Haunting Collection of Hallowe'en Tales by Terry  Turner

31 Days of October, a Haunting Collection of Hallowe'en Tales

by Terry Turner

Giveaway ends October 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Nessmuk, George Washington Sears, Writer, Instructor, and Outdoorsman

The love of writing goes way back in my family. Come meet my Great Great Uncle, George Washington Sears.  He is also known as Nessmuk.  He lived in the 1800’s and shared his adventures in book form and in monthly articles for the magazine Forest and Stream. That magazine is still around today under the new name of Field and Stream. This is some information about the life and adventures of this outdoorsman.

Elder George Waashington Sears

Meet George Washington Sears.

George Washington Sears was born December 2, 1821 in South Oxford, Massachusetts. He was the oldest child of 10. Like many children of the time, he was sent to the factory to work at the age of eight. He detested being inside and made his escape as soon as he was able. He was an avid outdoorsman and a conservationist that learned to survive in the wild from a Narragansett Indian named Nessmuk. The original Nessmuk lived in the Adirondack Mountains.  The young George met the Indian and set about to learn all that Nessmuk had to teach him. Before he was five years old this friend took him to Nepmug and Junkamaug lakes and taught him all about woodcraft.  He learned about the wildlife, the native plants, hunting, fishing, and how to navigate in the streams and lakes of the area. Later as an adult the adopted his friend’s name as his own pen name. Nessmuk is an old Narragansett word meaning “wood-duck” or “wood-drake.

George began his adventuring ways at a very early age. As he liked being out of doors he joined a fishing crew at the age of 12 spending several years at sea. At the age of nineteen he joined a whaling crew which allowed him to  travel as far as the South Seas. He was whaling at the same time as  Herman Melville. They both were on the seas as teens and both gathered their own memories. They were not on the same ship.  Once he returned from his three-year stint on the whaler  he and his family settled in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.whaling ship

In 1857 at the age of 35 he married  Marietta Butler, they had three children, Jennie Boucher, Charles Rockwood, and Margaret Alice. George still traveled but he always returned to Wellsboro.

When he gave up the sea, he was able to travel across America and it was during this period that he began to write in his journal the many experiences during his travels. He was very well traveled, he had been to Canada and all the way down to Brazil where he canoed one of the tributaries to the Amazon both in 1867 and 1870 . He wrote several poems while on those two trips to the Amazon. He always carried his knife, hatchet, fishing gear and rifle on his trips as an Outer.

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Once his reputation as a guide and proficient conservationist he began to work with the hikers and campers. He called these people that loved to be in the wild  “Outers”. He included himself as one. The  Outers  would hire him to lead them into the mountains and show them the best fishing, hunting and camping methods. In the evenings he would write in his journal the new things that crossed his path, wrote poetry, as well as working on designs for better camping equipment.

During the mid 1800’s he was spending most of his time out in the mountains with the outers. Camping and learning more about the naturist lifestyle. The topography of the area is such that you would hike for a while carrying your canoe then you would row across the lakes to the next hiking area. There was a lot of carrying the canoe through the forest.  One of the things that Nessmuk is known for is that he believed in traveling light.

“Go light, the lighter the better” Nessmuk

With this in mind he designed a new lightweight canoe that would be easier for the men to carry. At that point in time canoes weighed about one hundred pounds. Sears was a small man. He was barely over five feet and only weighed about one hundred pounds himself. So he felt the need to develop a lightweight canoe for his trekking. From his own design he had a canoe built.The famous builder J. Henry Rushton was the builder based on Sears own design.  He named her the Sairy Gamp.Sairy Gamp

This picture shows the Sairy gamp along with a photo of some of the outers that went with him camping the Adirondack Mountains. This boat only weighed ten and a half pounds and he could carry it alone. He still enjoyed going out and observing nature and camping alone when not working with the outers.

With his reputation of being an expert on camping, canoeing, and surviving the wilderness he was asked to start writing a series of articles from the magazine Forest and Stream.  Today that magazine is known as Field and Stream and is still just as popular as it was then.  In 1880 wrote about his experiences in the wilderness and gave helpful information to future hikers and campers. He was in his sixties by this time and he was willing to share his memories and his expertise to younger adventurers, future naturalists and campers. He wrote eighteen articles over three years while continuing to make trips into the mountains.

He also shared so much of the valuable travel information that he learned. It was the information in his journal that would later become the Woodcraft and Camping book. That book was published in 1884. There is a free Ebook available in all formats online here.Woodcraft

There are drawings of his designs included in the book.  Some of his designs helped create new items such as the Nessmuk knife. nessmuk hunting knife

This design is still popular today and has been written about in many articles due to its ingenious design and excellent workability.

There is no actual existing Nessmuk knife that he had, it has been lost to history.  There is the drawing, measurements and dimensions from which many companies have used to create a replica.  Many companies now produce a Nessmuk style knife. He also writes about making tents and making the forest safe with reminders to  not point a rifle at any other man while carrying it into the woods. This book was the definitive guide to camping during his lifetime and has continued to be so even today.

There is a book called Forest Runes written by George Washington Sears that was published in 1887,while he was alive. The book is comprised of his poems and writings. These poems were inspirational to nature lovers and people that enjoy heartfelt poems and prose. The writing is beautiful, it is full of deep emotion conveying the loneliness and beauty in the great outdoors and the people he met along the way.  I am reading it now and it is so pleasant to read a first hand accounting of the man and his feelings. This is a poem that is included in Forest Runes.

“OUR LITTLE PRINCE
“LITTLE CHARLEY is a prince,”
So we said in joyous pride,
As we loitered side by side,
Where the roses bloomed and died,
Half a dozen summers since.
He was rustling through the leaves,
Where the golden tassels swayed,
Half in pleasure, half afraid,
Hiding in the furrowed shade,
Where the August cricket grieves
. Silken tassels on the corn,
Silken curls about his head;
“Which is which?” we laughing said;
While the sun a glory shed
On the curls and tasseled corn.
Saxon eyes and face and hair,
Saxon blood in every vein,
Cheeks like roses after rain;
Never shall we see again
Childish loveliness so rare.
When the apple and the quince
All their summer fragrance shed,
How we miss our darling dead;
How we miss the curly head
Of our lovely little prince
. Little Charley was a prince—
But, somebody in the sky
Had more need of him than I,
So we laid him down to die
Half a dozen summers since.”

Leopold Publishing has reprinted Forest Runes because original books are selling in upwards of three hundred dollars. Of course you can get more modern reprints for less. One such book is the newly reprinted Forest Runes on Amazon. You know I love a free book or eBook so here is where you can get a PDF copy of Forest Runes.

A new book has also been reprinted containing the eighteen articles from Forest and Stream. That book is called The Adirondack Letters of George Washington Sears aka “Nessmuk”.  This book is also available on Amazon.Nessmuk book

From this book we see the first words from the Forest and Stream articles penned by George Washington Sears in 1880.

“She’s all my fancy painted her, she’s lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night. But I had nothing to do with her painting. The man who built her did that. And I commence with the canoe because that is about the first thing you need on entering the Northern Wilderness.” George Washington Sears aka “Nessmuk”

 

George Washington Sears died on May 1, 1890 in Wellsboro,Pennsylvania. He was 68 years old. One of the reasons he spent so much time in the Adirondacks was because it was believed that the fresh mountain air held healing properties for people with Asthma and Emphysema.  He died from consumption which seems to have stemmed from the  emphysema or asthma.   He was buried and a tombstone was erected with his likeness and his signature. Tombstone

His children and family stayed in the same area for generations. His son Charles Rockwood lived to be 76 years old and like his father wrote poetry and was a woodcrafter. His mother, Marietta lived with him 30 years after Nessmuk death.  In fact, there are some relatives still there.

Thank you for letting me share this Great Great Uncle with you.  To me he is a true renaissance man.  This little foray into my family tree, just got me diving into the research mode. Instead of finishing this post, I have spent the last two hours adding to and editing profiles in the family tree over on Geni.com.

 

The Final Decision by Sojourner McConnell

ibnalStepping outside the door bumped against Meagan’s heel. The wind was brushing her hair across her face and she squinted into the sunlight. She wondered aloud “is this tornado weather?”
Studying the sky she shook her head and decided that it did not have that spark in the air that made her aware of a tornado on the horizon so she visibly relaxed.

Reaching behind her back she pulled the door firmly closed and checked it once to make sure it was locked. Sure, she remembered the days when you did not have to lock the doors in her small town, but that was not the way to stay safe anymore. Her children always reminded her to lock the door before leaving home and she complied.

Today was hard for her in so many ways. Today was the first day without her mother. Her mother had been the voice of wisdom for the last thirty five years. Here she was heading into town to pick out the urn for her mother’s ashes. She wasn’t even sure at this point if she wanted an urn to pass around from person to person. She wasn’t even sure anyone else would want her mother placed in a position of honor on a mantle in some unused living room.

Maybe one of those free spirited ceremonies where the family meets on a shoreline or a favorite mountain top and sprinkle the ashes into the wind. She kind of thought that she might become covered in ashes and that left a distasteful smirk on her face. Her luck she would swallow some of the ashes or something equally as horrid.

It really was not the best time to be the eldest of the three siblings. If she had just been born a few months after Caroline then all this would fall on someone else’s shoulders. But no, she was the eldest, so she was expected to be the mature one with all the innate knowledge of how to properly see someone off to the hereafter.

But Darn it, she didn’t have a clue. Google helped some, “thank God for Google” she muttered to herself as she plopped into the car and cranked the engine. “Who would have thought that you would have to get permission to toss ashes into the air at the local state park?” Not worth it, she thought. Not worth getting the state officials involved in this. It was enough that people were going to have to fly in from other states just to play ring toss with her mom’s ashes.

It looked like she was going to have to fly in at least four of the grandchildren if they were going to participate in this yet to be determined celebration of life. They certainly loved their Grammy and wanted to be there. It wasn’t their fault that husbands, jobs and a sense of adventure had taken them away from the family hometown.

Meagan wasn’t even sure she liked the term celebration of life, didn’t they celebrate every opportunity they had while Mom was alive? It seems a bit strange to call this event a celebration. Maybe she was just warped by grief right now.

She had not been expecting her mother to die like this for a long time. She wasn’t that old. She didn’t seem to be sick. How can a heart just give out like this? Wouldn’t there have been some signs she could have noticed to keep her mother alive longer?

Meagan shook her head and blinked back the hot tears that threatened to spill down her cheek. “Mom, I can’t believe you are gone. None of this seems real to me. Help me know what to do, what to say.”

Meagan had a sudden memory of her mom on the day that her grandmother had passed away. She could almost hear her mother telling her “Do not spend a fortune on the trappings of an elaborate funeral. It is a waste of money and I will not be there anyway. So do not make a spectacle of me when it is my time.”

Was her mother reminding her of that day so that she would know what to do? Meagan felt the peace come over her in a rush, like the incoming tide flowing over her feet at the beach. It was a warm feeling that eased away so much of the fear she was feeling.

“Mom, Is that you?” Meagan closed her eyes for a moment and just breathed in the calm peaceful spirit in the car. Opening them she noticed the light had turned green and she sped along the main street heading toward the only Funeral home in town.

Mr. Aldwin met her at the door and held out his hand to her in a consoling gesture. “You must be Mrs. Brand, I am so sorry for your loss. If you will come with me we can take care of the arrangements for Mrs. Jefferson. I know you have a lot to do today. We will try to make this as painless as possible.”

Meagan nodded and frozenly followed him into an office filled with thick hard binders that featured caskets and urns. She felt like she was in a dream. She almost snickered at his grim expression that was meant to convey pity and understanding. It really did nothing but make her uncomfortable and a little embarrassed. Yes, she felt grief, but she did not feel that she was going to make this the huge program he expected her to purchase.

Her mother surely sent her that memory so that she would not end up as Aunt Jayne had, broke and struggling to make ends meet, while her dead husband laid in the most expensive casket in town. She remembered that conversation and it was drumming in her head louder than Mr. Aldwin’s voice. “Do not pay for the additional police escort.” Once again the voice in her head referring back to Uncle Chuck’s parade of police cars that cost Aunt Jayne more than she had allotted to spend.

The entire morning had been filled with bits and pieces of memories that had been told to her in preparation for this day. She never realized it until now, but she was being given the knowledge to survive the process of planning her mother’s funeral. She just never thought about it that way, until now.

Mr. Aldwin brought out all of the 8×10 glossy photographs of the available caskets and urns and flipped through them one by one. Making small comments about the upgrades and the accessories that each entailed. Silks, satins, and velvet in all colors were presented to her in vibrant color.

Meagan’s head pounded. The throbbing matched her heartbeat and it thrummed throughout her body until it crested in her head with forceful blows.

“I have decided on cremation. That is what Mom wanted and I have decided to go along with her wishes.” She spoke more forcefully than she had intended and Mr. Aldwin looked rather taken aback. “In place of an urn, I would like to bring a vase that she loved. It is carnival glass and it meant so much to her. Is that a problem?”

Mr. Aldwin agreed that that would be fine and assured her that they could have the funeral before the cremation took place for visitors and family to say their final farewell. After all the paperwork was filled out, Meagan left and went back to her home. She called her sister and brother and explained her decisions and her rationale for those decisions.

Caroline and Glenn were both very understanding and agreeable to her choices and asked if they could join her at her home that evening to talk about things.

“Of course, I want to see you all. Come as soon as you wish. I will be here all evening. Tomorrow is another day of errands and trying to get everyone here for her service. We have to decide what we want to do with Mom’s ashes. I want you both to help me decide.”
Within an hour all three siblings were seated around the large oak dining room table with a cup of coffee in hand and a paper and pencil in front of them.

It wasn’t long before the giggling started. All it took was Meagan stating in her clear no nonsense voice, “I do not want to have Mom’s ashes in my hair or my mouth. I say we bury the ashes in Mom’s garden.”

“Eww, gross Meagan,” Caroline shivered and announced.

Glenn looked mortified as he too shook his head strongly at his sister. He was speechless until that first rumble of laughter burst out of his mouth.

He tried to cover his mouth before anyone noticed, but it was too late. Once that first peal of laughter sprang forth they all burst into laughter. The laughter was interspersed with hiccuped sobs and lingering giggles.

All three looked at each other and smiled. This is how their mother would want them to handle her death. Not with formal police escorts and flower strewn cemeteries, but with laughter and love and memories.
They came to the conclusion that they did not want a windy beach or a mountain top scattering, they wanted to gather in their mom’s garden. Bring as many family members as possible and place her in the well-tilled soil of her rose garden.

Four days later with family, friends and former co-workers that is exactly how they said their final farewell to the woman that loved her family and her garden.

Everyone remarked on how much she would have loved the laughter that spilled through her yard as they told stories and shared memories of a sweet loving wonderful woman that was known as Helen Jefferson, Mom and Grammy.

Rose

Arrow the Clockwork Aussie & Her Trusty Sidekick Beau

Every morning I wake up to a forty five pound alarm clock named Arrow.  First comes the rumble, the groan that she makes to see if I open my eyes. Then she begins the pawing of my left arm. Not sure why it is always my left arm with her left paw, but it is. Just like clockwork.  If I peek open my eyes she moves in closer.   Arrow’s next step in the process is to nuzzle me with her nose and lick me on the cheek. If I tuck my head under the duvet I can escape those morning breath kisses.

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Usually that is all it takes and I am awake and struggling to tug the covers up.  Then the black tri, Beau, moves in to make sure I am awake. He is a gentleman and always waits until Arrow has done her best.  Once Beau, the fifty pound fellow comes up to sit on me I am positively up.  So I announce “Let me up” They both spring off the bed and start heading towards the door.

They patiently wait while I put on my coat and my shoes. If patiently means running around me in circles jumping up on me and giving me kisses, then yes, they patiently wait on me.  I say the magic words, “do you need to go outside?” At that point they are off, racing and dancing towards the closed bedroom door.  They attempt to open the bedroom door in order to lead the way through the house to the back door off of the kitchen. Once they beat me there they jump up and down at the back  door until I meet them there with Arrow’s leash in hand.

Arrow must have a leash because she is a runaway. She will escape and only gives a wicked look back over her shoulder as I call her back to me as she darts around the house and out of sight. Therefore, Arrow has to stay on a leash.

Beau is happy to stay in the boundaries of the back yard. He will go no further than the imaginary property line. Somehow he has always known it is there and he respects it.  I do not know how he knows there is an invisible property line, we just accept that he knows it.

beau full face

 

Beau has only attempted to cross it once and that was when he was being teased by a neighborhood squirrel.  Who would be able to resist chasing a running squirrel?  He  did however stop chasing the squirrel as soon as I called to him to stop.  This one fact alone is why he is allowed out without anyone holding a leash.

Arrow has not noticed that invisible line. She has not looked for it and does not understand why Beau doesn’t run off down the street every time he goes outside.  Arrow has taken a short vacation from our home on one occasion. She ended up actually only one house away, but the house was a quarter of a mile down the busy road that runs between our house and that house.

Those were a terrible ten days for me.  She did not have it so well either. Seems that the little lady that took her in (The same little lady that did not want the flyer I was passing out about my lost dog) decided to keep Arrow for herself.  Until that is, Arrow got sick from the chicken and dumplings she was being fed by the neighbor lady. It seems that chicken and dumplings made Arrow a little nauseous.  By the time she had returned a weeks worth of chicken and dumplings to the porch of the kindhearted neighbor, the lady was ready to find a posted flyer and call me saying only  “Come get your dog”!

We went and retrieved Arrow that moment.  Arrow howled and yapped and whimpered for hours after we got her home because she was so glad to be back with her family.

Needless to say, we keep Arrow on a leash for her own good.  She doesn’t mind as she seems to enjoy pulling me around the yard willy nilly.

So out we go, everyone knows what they need to do next and the morning has begun. Now we can move on to breakfast, waking the rest of the family and tossing about the toy de jour.  Welcome to our morning schedule planned and executed by Arrow the Clockwork Aussie and her trusty sidekick Beau.