Daffodil Season


I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

Daffodils are such happy flowers. I can’t imagine anyone not liking them. They’re easy to grow and mix in beautifully with crocus, hyacinths, and other early blooms. Daffodils have always been on the farm. My mother-in-law had them, and the families who lived here before her. I’ve divided old clumps, spread them around, and planted new varieties over the years. The waving yellow and white blooms are a spirit lifting sight. When I’m outside working among the flowers, I feel more peaceful and not as freaked out about the pandemic. Like countless others, I’m at home for the duration and especially grateful for the garden. Having an early spring in the valley is a boon. I wish I could share the beauty with everyone. This is the best I can do.

Spring forever appears
the soothing music part
of lyrics unspoken.
It thaws the frozen fears,
mends the wounded heart
that Winter has broken.
~Aarno Davidson

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
~Emily Dickinson

Winter sprouts springtime wings and flies off into the budding year. ~Terri Guillemets

Daffodils, so bright and yellow,
Hyacinths of varied hues,
As they nod their heads, in gladness,
Telling us they bring good news…
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “Springtime” (1940s)

I sure hope spring brings good news to us all

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm


When you’re up before dawn googling ‘What does the queen have for breakfast?’ it’s fair to say you’re a royal junkie.

Not only am I captivated by the current royals, but also the legion who have gone before them. I’ve long been absorbed in British, as well as American history. My genetic heritage. Past tragedies affect me, like Anne Boleyn’s cruel fate, and the fickleness (to put it mildly) of Henry the VIII.

As to the question of whether or not old King Henry should be exhumed, I can see the validity in that. Tests could determine if he had a rare genetic disorder and related mental illness, and help to explain why he became an evil tyrant.

(Queen Anne and King Henry pictured)

Understandably, Queen Elizabeth disagrees. I suppose she feels he should rest in whatever peace he’s got, and if you allow one ancestor to be dug up, where does it end?

Like the eager hordes, I’ve been following the drama of ‘Meghxit’. Mostly, I’m concerned for the survival of the monarchy and poor Queen Elizabeth, who has nobly endured a great many trials.

I don’t have an inside track on what Harry and Meghan have endured, but I embrace the adage: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ (Spiderman).

My mom always says, “You do what you have to do.” And I have the overwhelming knowledge of ‘The Greatest Generation’ who did what they had to do and saved the world from Hitler.

How do you tell your grandmother, the queen, who has denied herself and placed duty first since childhood, that you’re done? And how do you transition from being an adored prince to whatever it is Harry has become? If he changes his mind, will he return to his former life?

We remember his great uncle, King Edward VIII, who abdicated his throne for the woman he loved. Uncle Dickie led a lonely life in exile, even with Wallis Simpson by his side. Harry’s situation is very different from Edward’s, but there are similarities. Edward was a very popular king, and the people hated to see him go. Harry is a highly valued, sorely missed prince. The royals follow a strict set of rules which you cannot break and still uphold your place. You cannot have it both ways. Either you’re in or you’re out.

I’ve read many articles ranging from angry Brits who want Harry to pull his socks up and get on with it, to those who strongly sympathize with the couple. As the months pass, will throngs still follow their every move when they’re apart from what it means to be a royal?
***Shakes head, sad sigh.

Poor William and Kate are rushed off their feet with all the added duties. Little Prince George and Princess Charlotte may have to bustle off from nursery school to make appearances The corgis could assume new roles. When the queen said she was too old to get another corgi pup, it pained me. I think she should. She has adequate staff to assist with training and care for the dog(s) that outlive her. And if anyone needs a puppy about now, it’s her.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, I’m battling this year’s respiratory thing–with the welcome help of an antibiotic–and striving to finish the paranormal time travel mystery romance I’ve been at work on for two years. Everything from grief over my dad, to illness, to life happens has slowed me down, but I’m finally making headway. This may be my best book ever. I’m not sure how to entitle it. Technically, this is number four in my Ladies in Time series. But these stories do not need to be read in order. The theme is the main thing. This book could stand alone but it loosely ties into the one before it. I will be quite sad if it flops because of the faulty thinking that books need to be read in order. Any ideas?

Somewhere My Lady: Book One, Ladies in Time

Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn’t expect to receive a note and a kiss from a handsome young man who then vanishes into mist.

Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th century heir. Past and present are bound by pledges of love, and modern science melds with old skills and history as Harrison Hall takes Lorna and Hart through time in a race to solve a mystery and save Hart’s life before the Midsummer Ball.

For more on my work, please visit my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6

My Fascination With Old Homes and the First Thanksgiving


As many of you know, I’m mad about old homes and often feature them in my books. My latest time travel romance series, Ladies in Time, is all about cool old homes. Maybe living in antiquated houses most of my life has influenced me. The farm house my husband and I live in now was built just after the Civil War, probably because its predecessor was burned, but that’s another story. History fascinates me, and Colonial America has a powerful draw. Virginia is great state to immerse myself in that era, among others. The Civil War…

(Berkeley)

Years ago, while doing research for Traitor’s Legacy, the sequel to colonial American historical romance novel Enemy of the King, the idea came to me for ghostly time travel romance, Somewhere My Love. In addition to touring colonial Williamsburg, mom and I visited some of the lovely James River Plantations. Two of these stately homes, Berkeley and Shirley, inspired the house in Somewhere My Love, Foxleigh. Berkeley, originally called Berkeley Hundred and named after one of its founders, has a wealth of history behind it. As we toured the grounds, a strong sense of the past flowed over me, carrying me back.

The magnificent terraced boxwood gardens and lawn extend a quarter-mile from the front door to the James River. The mansion itself wasn’t built until 1726, but the plantation’s history reaches much farther back into America‘s roots. I didn’t realize this, but Berkeley was the actual site of the first Thanksgiving in America on Dec. 4, 1619.

(Breadseed Poppy– seed from Monticello)

 (Williamsburg)

 (Foxglove–historic herb/flower)

On December 4,1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred about 8,000 acres on the north bank of the James River near Herring Creek in an area then known as Charles Cittie. It was about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established on May 14, 1607. The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a day of thanksgiving to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodleaf held the service of thanksgiving.

In 1622 nine of the settlers at Berkeley Hundred were killed in a Native American uprising, as well as a third of the entire population of the Virginia Colony. The Berkeley Hundred site and other outlying locations were abandoned as the colonists withdrew to Jamestown and other more secure points. After several years, the site became Berkeley Plantation and was long the traditional home of the Harrison family, one of the First Families of Virginia. 

(Reenactors)

Benjamin Harrison, son of the builder of Berkeley and the plantation’s second owner, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and three-time Governor of Virginia. William Henry Harrison, Benjamin‘s third son, born at Berkeley, nicknamed Tippecanoe for his fame as an Indian fighter, later became the ninth President of the United States, in 1841. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was the 23rd President.

Many famous founding fathers and mothers were guests at this gracious estate. For more on Berkeley Plantation and a fascinating glimpse into early America visit: http://www.berkeleyplantation.com/ 

If you have the opportunity to visit in person, by all means go.

(Chipmunk on pumpkin by my mother)

For more on my work please visit my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6/

October On Our Farm in the Shenandoah Valley


Misty mountains, autumn leaves, and garden tidying…now and forever more I will associate the pungent minty scent of catnip with my fall garden. I’m in cleanup mode, pulling weeds, grass, catnip seedlings, and struggling to root out large mounds of the fragrant herb.

(Catnip growing in with tansy in the garden)

It’s not that I dislike this old-time plant, not in the least. But several years ago, daughter Elise planted four clumps at either end of the vegetable plot to act as beneficial companions and attract pollinators, which catnip does well. Butterflies favor the blossoms and potato bugs can’t sniff out their desired food when potato leaves intermingle with catnip. Since then, hundreds of their offspring have graced every corner of the garden. Flower beds also play host. I’m fond of this potent plant so leave seedlings here and there, and on it goes. Catnip will inherit the earth, as will mint, comfrey, dill…but I love them all. And, of course, cats are mad for it.

We haven’t had hard frost yet, but soon will. As I work outside, I pause to gaze over the meadow and hills rising beyond our farm and admire the changing leaves. Yesterday’s overcast sky only muted the beauty–which I don’t mind–and the mist made the mountains appear even more mysterious. While walking the dogs into the field I call the back forty, I summon halts to savor the beauty. The dogs stand, nose to the breeze tossing my hair, and sniff appreciatively. Country scents of cows and new mown grass float around us. Barnyard geese honk, birds call, and cows let me know they see us. Pockets of mist hovered between the hills this morning, the subdued bronze and orange in the trees showing through in places. When the sun comes out, these autumn hues will shine. The woods above our meadow are called ‘Burnt Woods’ by locals because of their flaming color in the sun. Glorious.

(Maples in our meadow)

(Sugar maple at our pond)

(Hills and the neighbor’s farm behind our pond. See the Old Order Mennonite Church?)

(Misty mountains in the distance seen on my walk with the dogs)

Meadowlarks still trill from the tall grass, reminding me of spring, while wild geese fly in V’s overhead. I’ve left tangles of asters, bittersweet, and clematis in places in hopes of attracting the wrens who visited our feeder last year. They like a bit of untidiness, as do other birds.

(Fall asters and last of the dahlias above)

(late ground rose)

(Pocket of flowers)

I’ve been on a bulb planting craze lately, hiding them like Easter eggs to discover in the raw winds of March and balmier days of April and May. These early flowers elicit such joy, how can I resist adding more? I also sprinkled hardy annual flower seeds around for spring color like larkspur, violas, wall flowers, poppies, and sweet alyssum. Spinach is seeded for early greens. By late winter, we’re starving for them. This is when the new leaves of dandelions are appreciated for cooked greens.

Hubby Dennis’s mother made a wonderful creamy dressing to pour over dandelion greens with bacon and hard boiled eggs. That stuff made anything good. I found her recipe in an old cook book. I could post it for you in spring. She also used it on watercress. One unfortunate spring, the whole Trissel family, apart from baby Dennis, contracted typhoid fever from consuming contaminated water cress. Seems a man who lived above the spring where the cress grew was a typhoid Mary type of carrier with a leaky outhouse. Who knew? All of the family survived because new medicines were available by the early fifties.

Back to the garden. This garden was my mother-in-law’s before I became its caretaker. The first years that Mom Trissel and Dennis’s father lived at the farm they had no indoor plumbing and only one electric outlet. She boiled up her wash in an outdoor kettle. And this old farmhouse was built soon after the Civil War. But that’s another story. There are many tales to tell from this beautiful valley.(Our land leading to another farm and the hills seen on our dog walk)

(Gorgeous trees at the church up the road from our farm)

‘Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.’ ~Faith Baldwin, American Family

Paranormal Account From The Shenandoah Valley


ghostly imageIt’s getting to be the time of year to share some chilling accounts. This is a repost for those who missed the original–taken from ‘Shenandoah Voices by late Valley Author/Historian John Heatwole. Our family knew John and thought a lot of him, an amazingly knowledgeable and talented man. He collected some fascinating and hair-raising accounts from his interviews with locals.

Dark Being:

“Between Dayton and Bridgewater (not far from where I live) around Christmas 1901 there were reports of a dark being standing by the road in the dead of night. Apparently, it threatened no one, but it was not considered human, and for a few weeks there was a general uneasiness in that part of Rockingham County. (The not human part would get my attention).

In Harrisonburg one night, a stranger stopped by C. L. Jordan’s livery stable on German Street and requested to be driven out to Bridgewater. Mr. Jordan harnessed a team and carriage and asked Follinsbe Welcher to accompany them, so he’d have a companion on the return trip.

Dark ForestThe three men drove along quietly for some time. They passed Dayton and were on the upgrade toward Herrings Hill when they beheld the dark form that had terrified the countryside by its mere silent presence. It stood close by the road, featureless. Mr. Jordan was a brave soul, and he sprang from the carriage to investigate. He grabbed the creature, but was overpowered by an unnatural strength and could do no more than call for help. Mr. Welcher rushed to his aid, only to find his added strength to be insufficient in contending with this entity. The unequal contest lasted for several minutes, and the two liverymen were left sprawled on the ground. The creature, the dark, unyielding form, had melted away into the night.”~

What was it and where did it go? Nobody seems to know, but I’m creeped out and hope it stays gone. I don’t want to see the dark being while driving by that spot at night.

***John Heatwole’s books can be found at Amazon.

“Who You Gonna Call?”


While recovering from health issues, I’ve watched a lot of shows on YouTube–too many. But I’ve learned more about Near Death Experiences, Miracles, Big Foot, and various Paranormal Occurrences. One of the shows I got sucked into is A Haunting, a tad over the top–to put it mildly–but interesting.

A particularly unsettling episode is the first one they opened with–Hell House. They hit the ground running!

Plot summary: ‘Three ghosts and one demon harass the terrified Beckwith family when they move into a 19th century Connecticut house.’

Question: I’m puzzled as to why it took the mother (who seemed to call the shots) so long to seek help with their violently dark demonic home? However, I’ve wondered that about the people in every episode I’ve seen. A single night of terror would have me calling in a priest/spiritual person(s), and paranormal experts, plus loudly singing hymns and praying…pouring salt around each room, cleansing with sage…if I’m still in the house. Doubtful. ‘Here’s my number, dudes. Give me a call when you have the place habitable.’

What about you? Made of sterner stuff? Remember, we’re dealing with a demon.

Back to Hell House. The mom, Bonnie Beckwith, says: “I came into this house pretty much an atheist. And now I’ve seen the powers of God, I’ve seen the powers of the devil, right before my very eyes. And it’s made me a stronger person.”

That’s awesome. I’m guessing her initial lack of belief in anything delayed her pleas for assistance, but the happenings in that house are crazy scary. From the intro, the eldest of the two teenage daughters had a bad feeling and man, was she right. Soon after moving in, the Beckwith’s young son came under attack with bangs, rattling, darting black shadows, an unseen presence tearing off his blanket and calling his name… The freaked out boy woke up screaming every night. I can’t imagine the child still slept alone in his room. My kids would have bunked in with me and hubby, or the car, with the dogs.

The Beckwith’s younger teenage daughter was next, with the sensation of a fist coming through her mattress. Bonnie called a family meeting where each member shared their experiences and it became clear something was off, so she called Ed and Loraine Warren, famous for their research into the paranormal, the Amityville Horror, plus, plus. They advise the family to take pictures and collect more evidence. This will help the Warrens know what they are dealing with. I could make a wild guess, but it’s Thanksgiving and they shelve the ghostly situation for now (assuming you can).

When the kind grandmother visits for T-day she’s confronted by a trio of spirits in her bedroom which sends her scrambling for home. Poor woman. The Warrens return after the holiday with paranormal assistants. One alarmingly possessed psychic mindlessly scribbles a sinister ‘Get out!’ message.

Done. Send this to me via postcard.

At one point, the entire paranormal group appear possessed. Creepy. They learn an enraged demon controls the three normally mild spirits and is the source of the horror.

Would you believe it gets worse?

It occurs to Bonnie to research the home’s history and visit old graves to discover who once lived there. Time to call in a priest to cleanse the house. At first, it seems a success, until Bonnie becomes obsessed with drawing images and channels a female spirit. The house cleansing is not a done deal. Paranormal activity revs up and the family camp out together in one room. (That would have happened here after day one.) But books and other objects fly at the sleepers.

Enough already! Bonnie again summons the Warrens and recalls the priest, who is preparing himself spiritually for his next attempt. However, Christmas is upon them. Not a jolly one.

Lorraine Warren tells the family there’s no escape, they must stay and fight. Apparently, badness could follow them. I don’t know why obsessed ghosts would leave their home to go after them, but I guess the demon dude might. He’s easily entertained.

When that poor grandmother comes back to bring some holiday cheer, she’s instantly stricken by a high fever and irregular heartbeat. We next see her in a hospital bed with her rosary reciting her prayers backwards, and that’s not easy to do. Something’s amiss. Then the oldest daughter is in a car wreck while out running errands. This has got to stop, Bonnie insists, or something to that effect.

Agreed. Here’s where I invite the fire department to burn the house down, while taking up residence with the exorcist. Maybe the air force wants to use the place for target practice. Then we bring in buckets of holy water and douse the rubble while a choir sings sacred songs and…

Not to panic! The sorely tried priest returns, his mission clear, with a medium, to enact another cleansing. The tormented medium is again possessed, while heavily restrained, and the priest battles to banish the highly resistant demon. Success! Finally.

The family decide to call it and live there with the three milder spirits. They dwell together peacefully for several years, UNTIL excavators near the home inadvertently disturb an ancient Indian burial ground. Never a good idea. And we’re off to the races!

Now what? It doesn’t really say. I wasn’t that impressed with the Warrens. The priest and the medium were the ones who achieved success and may have had to return a third time. These events took place years ago, and I don’t know how the family fare. Unmolested, I hope. The children probably fled.

Back to me. I’ve written mystery romances with a ghost or two and strong historical/fantasy element. I’ve mixed spirits into my time travels…doing that in my WIP. If/when I get it finished, you can expect a super story, I add modestly.

For more on my ghostly tales, please visit my Amazon Author page and explore Somewhere My Love, Somewhere My Lady, The White Lady, Somewhere the Bells Ring and Traitor’s Curse. Except for Somewhere My Love, these books are published by the Wild Rose Press and also available at all major online booksellers. As ever, I need reviews. If interested please message me here or at bctrissel@yahoo.com

***It’s possible this old farmhouse is a bit haunted, but it’s a happy house, like a favorite blanket. The Shenandoah Valley has a high level of paranormal activity. I don’t think most ghosts are violent or dangerous.

Need a Little Humor in Your Life?


Don’t we all? These Mom texts (below) gave me a hearty chuckle. I totally get the difficulty with texting (autocorrect) and haven’t even attempted voice text. Navigating the world of acronyms and emoticons is perilous. Uncharted territory. My advice: ‘when in doubt, don’t’.  But you can’t always help it. Like yesterday, I’m  in the garden taking flower pics with my nifty iPhone (from my last birthday) when I spot weeds taunting me. I tuck the phone under my arm and bend down. After a few minutes an alarm blares. I’m so startled I nearly fall into the beans I haven’t picked. Yet. I will.

What the heck? It’s coming from my phone and there’s a red emergency SOS threatening to send. Or did it already go out? Insert panicked bad word here.

I can’t turn the phone off fast enough. Are cop cars gonna roll into my yard demanding the nature of my emergency? I didn’t even know the phone had an alarm, let alone how to engage it.  I do now.

What a monster this deceptively innocent device can be.

Oh, and then there’s the whole Mom Memory lapse thing. I nearly forgot to mention it.

Fortunately, like the moms in this post, I’m blessed with helpful kids. My daughter Alison’s silly goats worked best image wise. It looks like they’re amused, or can’t believe their eyes. I’ve included some ‘best of’ text exchanges between moms and their offspring.

Mom: Hi Bridget I space space space space how space are space you space doing period capitol eye love this new phone exclamation point

Bridget: I see you’re using voice text. You don’t have to say space Mom it does it for you.

Mom: I cucumber lettuce pea Ritalin

Bridget: What? Mom stop just type.

****

Mom: What does IDK, LY and TTYL mean?

Daughter:  I don’t know, love you, talk to you later.

Mom:  OK, I will ask you sister.

****

Mom: Andy, I can’t find my phone. Can you call it so I can track it down?

Andy: I don’t even have time to be quippy, Mom. It’s in your hand.

Mom: What? No it’s not. I’ve got a bag of groceries in my hand. Are you saying it’s in the grocery bag? How do you know these things?

Andy: WHAT ARE YOU TEXTING ME WITH?

Mom: Never mind. I found it. Thanks!

****

Daughter: Mom where are you???

Mom: Leaving Walmart. Halfway home. Why sweetie?

Daughter: You brought me to Walmart with you…

Mom: Oh DARN! Be there in a bit!

Madre: I left my friggin charger in Dayton.

Mom: Do you know how worried I’ve been?

Madre: Mom I’m sorry. I couldn’t get a hold of you.

Mom: I almost broke the treaty to be sure you were OK.

Madre: What treaty? MOM ARE YOU QUOTING TWILIGHT AT ME?

Mom: Yes.

***

Mom: Your great Aunt just passed away. LOL

David: Why is that funny?

Mom: It’s not funny David! What do you mean?

David: Mom lol means laughing out loud!

Mom: Oh my goodness! I sent that to everyone. I thought it meant lots of love! I have to call everyone back. Oh God.

****

Mom: Please stop changing the google logo so much. I like the original one.

Son: Mom I don’t change the logo. Google changes it.

Mom: You don’t run the google?

Son: If I did I wouldn’t be driving a 2004 ford.

Son to his Mum:

Finally, you’ve entered the digital age and got a smartphone!

How is it?

Mum?

Helloooooo???

Why aren’t you answering?

Mum: Howdoyoudoaspace?

****

Son: Got an A in chemistry!

Mom: WTF, well done!!

Son: What do you think WTF means?

Mom: Well that’s fantastic!

****

Mom: Good morning beautiful.  🙂 xoxo Your imaginary boyfriend.

Daughter: Thanks Mom

Mom: Hi Honey how was your day? 8=======D

Daughter: WTF Mom! Why’d you type a penis emoticon???

Mom: I don’t know what you mean. 8=======D is an alien smiley face.

Daughter: No it’s not! It’s a penis. Who told you that?

Mom: Well I saw it in some of your brother’s texts to his girlfriend and when I asked he said it was an alien. Wait so 8=======D~ { (0) } isn’t a space alien getting on a ship?

Daughter: No Mom it isn’t.

****

Mom: I’m learning how to hashtag!

Son: That’s great, Mom.

Mom: Hashtag conversation with son

****

There are a lot of these hilarious Mom texts online. I laughed out loud. LOL.

I don’t write comedy but I do have a keen sense of humor which comes out in my books. For more on me please follow my Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6

*** Goats like to sit on rather than in their house.