Tag Archives: The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Geese Are Grazing In My Yard


Geese in front yard.jpg1

(Image from last summer but you get the idea)

Barnyard geese grow fussy and restless this time of year. The gaggle are in search of nesting sites and busy bringing about the goslings who will soon scuttle behind their parents. I read our variety of geese are called Pilgrim, because their coloring resembles the drab garb of those early folk to America’s shores, not because they date back that far. I used to think they did. Duh on me. This American breed was developed in the early 1900’s. They are termed friendly and called good parents by one site who sells the fuzzy goslings. I beg to differ. While it’s true these are not ‘attack geese’ I must point out that they hate me and run fast and far, so I must sneak up in them to get pics or use a telephoto lens.

Gray Geese sitting on eggs

(Nesting Geese in the barn)

As for their parenting, I would add, ‘When they remember.’ They tend to misplace their offspring and forget where they put them. It’s not unusual to discover a peeping gosling in great distress because it was left behind. I’ve retrieved and returned these babies more than once. But the adults lose a certain number every year. If they didn’t, the gaggle would be far larger. They roam about the farm, my yard, and the meadow. While they love swimming on the pond–now empty as it will soon be dug out and deepened–they are content with puddles, the cow’s watering trough, and ample grass. They also glean corn from grain the cows spill as they eat. We never feed the geese anything. They are free ranging. I’ve tried tossing grain their way to make friends with the ‘Beth haters’ but they just think I’m throwing stuff at them and run faster.

Geese and goslings

Sigh. I continue to try and befriend them but they are a ornery suspicious lot. Still, I’m fond of the cantankerous critters and protect them more than they know. So don’t ask if you can buy some to eat, and people do. The answer is NO! I am their defender whether they like me or not.

The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats


We’ve had a lovely garden season this year with rains enough not to need the sprinkler. This may change, as higher temps are in the forecast and no imminent showers, but weather can turn around overnight, so we shall see. Meanwhile, we’ve been blessed and I’m sharing July pics of the farm and garden with you.

A parade of poppies by Elise(A parade of poppies by daughter Elise)

_MG_0679_copyright (1)I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir (1838–1914)

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings  (Cone flowers by Elise)

Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composed… if we only knew it. What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons. ~James Russell Lowell

poppies and alyssum by EliseI know the thrill of the grasses when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover felt as it held a drop of dew pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said to the dipping willows, and what the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when they came stealthily down and crept fondly into the tops of the trees. ~Muriel Strode, “Creation Songs”

(Poppies, sweet alyssum, and bachelor’s buttons by Elise)

July 5th evening light in between rain storms

(Grazing cows in the meadow taken by Beth)

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. ~Rachel Carson

Happiness flutters in the air whilst we rest among the breaths of nature. ~Kelly Sheaffer

barn in sunset                                              (Barn against sunset by Beth)

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere. ~Vincent Van Gogh

All I want is to stand in a field
and to smell green,
to taste air,
to feel the earth want me,
Without all this concrete
hating me.
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations, http://www.originals.net

I can still smell the green of the grass crushed beneath me. Feel the damp of the dew on my elbows. Hear the birdsong. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987

Garden shot by Elise in July

(our garden by Elise)

God’s handiwork is all about me,
As I sit on the porch and gaze
At the far-off peaks of the mountains
That are touched with the sun’s bright rays.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “In the Mountains” (1940s)

farm pond with cow(Our meadow with pond and hills beyond by Beth)

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

A setting sun still whispers a promise for tomorrow. ~Jeb Dickerson, jebdickerson.com

Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
~William Wordsworth

Brilliant coreopsis and Queen Ann's Lace by Elise(Coreopsis Tinctoria and Queen Anne’s Lace by Elise)

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story. ~Linda Hogan

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. ~Henry David Thoreau

morning garden along the road(Bee Balm, white Phlox and other flowers in front garden by Beth)

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence


“Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.” ~Lou Erickson~ This quote repeated in my mind while I weeded this afternoon. The sun came out after cold rainy days and the meadow shone like a green jewel in the glorious light. All was bright and beautiful.

blue iris and poppies

(Image taken by my mom)

“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” ~ And a lot of herbs, flowers, wild flowers, vegetables, and weeds.  Many of my plants were sown by the birds, or carried in by the wind. My goal is to have a garden for butterflies, bees, birds, and people to enjoy. The cats like it too.

“The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” ~George Bernard Shaw

warbler

I’ve spotted this little warbler in the back garden. They migrate through in the spring and fall, wish they’d stay. I purchased this image because none of us are fast enough to capture him ourselves.

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

No matter how many seeds we have, it’s never enough. I count my wealth in seeds and just ordered some more. Seeds are filled with promise of the magic to come. The garden is magical. I believe in seed fairies too.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~Abram L. Urban

The garden uplifts my spirits and is a perfect place to dream lovely dreams.

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.” ~James Douglas,Down Shoe Lane

June Roses Abraham Darby

(My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by daughter Elise)

blue phlox spring blooming

(Native blue phlox.  Image by Elise)

“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.” ~Marcelene Cox

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

owl-cat-in-the-garden.jpg1

(Owl Cat in the garden. Image by my hubby)

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

Salad garden.

(Salad Garden. Image by Elise)

“You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” ~Author Unknown

“The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.” ~German Proverb

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson

The Man Who Would Rise–Tale from Old Cemetery in the Shenandoah Valley


On a recent fall foliage drive through the spectacular countryside, my hubby, Dennis, daughter Elise, and I stopped at the old Mt. Clinton Cemetery where the bizarre story I’m sharing took place.

Fall color in the graveyard

When Dennis was a little boy, he remembers riding to this cemetery with his father to gawk at the crowd gathered by the grave of valley resident,  the Reverend Paul Frye, who was expected to rise from the dead that day. Apparently, before his death, Reverend Frye spoke about rising again. His wife and son, Leon, (who fought in WWII and was deeply religious) assumed the devout Reverend Frye meant at the Christian Rapture. However, Leon was prone to visions and had a vivid one about his father rising sooner than that. Much sooner. His vision also included a cherry pie, his dad’s favorite. As his mother, Sadie, had discovered a crystallized piece of pie set aside for his father and forgotten in a kitchen cabinet, that imagery struck Leon as significant. In fact, it was a sign. Not a leap most would make, but Leon put a lot of stock in his visions. Especially this one.

The Fry gravestone at Mt. Clinton

Upon reflection, Leon concluded that his dad meant he’d rise from the grave a year after his death. We’re not certain how he arrived at that particular date. Details are sketchy. But we’ve spoken to valley residents who recall the event. Not only did Leon have this resurrection revelation, but his widowed mother also shared his zeal. Wishful thinking, maybe. With Sadie’s blessing, Leon made it known to the community that his father was going to rise on this day and word rapidly spread. As did morbid curiosity.

Armed with Sadie’s freshly baked cherry pie and a pair of shoes for the newly arisen, (no one’s buried with their shoes), Leon and his mom settled in with neighbors to await the big event. And wait. And wait. Maybe they brought picnic baskets. People swarmed that cemetery.

One valley man said Leon later admitted to him that by 4:00 in the afternoon, he decided he’d made an error and quietly slipped away, leaving the pie and the crowd behind. Not sure about his mom. Eventually, both the pie and people disappeared. Bear in mind that this event predates modern TV shows and movies about zombies and the Walking Dead, so that wasn’t what the family had expected would rise. If the Reverend Frye had actually battled his way from the grave, though, I expect there would have been a mad scramble to flee the cemetery. But he didn’t. Sadie and Leon are now also buried at that grave and their names etched on the tombstone.~

***Images by Elise Trissel. I pointed to which ones she should take, so my assistance was vital.

***If anyone reading this has added details, please share in the comment section.

Spooky Tale for Halloween


apparition creepy dead death dress eerie female figure floating forest fright ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! Seems like an appropriate time of year to repost the account of the poltergeist in our old farm-house. Settle in for a ghost story, keep the lights on, and hug your dog or kitties close.

More than a dozen years ago, my son moved into the big white farm-house on our other farm. We have two farms located near each other in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and both homes are well over one hundred years old, going on two. Some of his guy friends moved in with him and everything was fine, then he and his fiancée (now wife) started remodeling the house. At first, no one thought much about the noises. Neither of them even mentioned a thing to me.

Then one night my son called, alone and uneasy. He was hunkered downstairs with his cat. Seems there were footsteps he couldn’t account for and a certain bedroom upstairs with a door that wouldn’t stay shut. No matter how many times he closed it, come morning it was always open. Earlier that week, his fiancé had been distressed when the bathroom doorknob turned and the door opened on her. No one was there. It freaked the cat out.  Didn’t do her much good either. She was promptly converted from a disbeliever in ghosts to one strongly considering their reality.

Fog, Farm, Mist, Cemetery, Tree, Wet, Tombstone, Field, Morning, Grave

Now, she’d gone away on a trip with her church and none of my son’s other friends were around. The last of his roomies had moved out. I suspected all the remodeling they’d done to the house had stirred something up. So, I went over. Here, I’ll digress to say I’d dreamed earlier of a small grave plot way back in the fields behind the house and of a restless spirit associated with both. As it turned out there is just such a cemetery, an antiquated one. After I arrived that evening, my son and I went upstairs to the suspect bedroom and shut the door. The sensation that came over me was of wanting to scream, and not just because I’m claustrophobic.

We held hands and I repeated the Exorcism prayer sent to my mother from an Episcopalian woman in England.  She’d written mom about visiting the church manse at the invitation of the new priest who was plagued by a poltergeist–one so violent, it had flung portraits down from the upstairs hall, shifted heavy furniture in front of  doors, and hurled a saucepan lid across the kitchen. But the congregants, along with the priest, had prayed it out. As this was a Christian prayer, my son and I did the same in the old farmhouse. Never again did he or his fiancé/wife hear footsteps or have any more trouble with doorknobs turning. That bedroom door remained as they’d left it and the chill feeling I had in the room is gone.

stained glass windowFor those of you who want it, here’s the Anglican prayer. Do not try this alone if the presence you sense is evil, only with a strong group of Christians. And join hands. Even if you think I’m nuts. “In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, may this distressed soul be relieved of his obsession with this world and sent to where he belongs.”  I added, ‘go to the light,’ although a truly evil presence won’t, but a troubled, restless one may. Seems only right to offer that as an option.

Award-winning paranormal romance novel

Award-winning paranormal romance novel

This is one of the experiences that influenced the writing of my award-winning paranormal murder mystery/ghost story romance novel Somewhere My Love.

“As I read Somewhere my Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.”~ Joysann, Publishers Weekly
***Visit my Amazon Author Page where ALL my books reside.

Gardening–A Worthy Legacy


Emma in the garden with larkspur1Whisper blue sky days in the garden feed my soul, especially when the plants are fresh and the world is new. May and June in the Shenandoah Valley are as fair as any place on earth. I launched myself from winter slug mode into the garden in March. Since then, I’ve tended neglected nooks, (and entire beds) pulled weeds, thinned vigorous reseeding heirlooms to make room for other contenders, planted, pruned, and mulched with compost from our farm. I hear the envious sighs from gardeners who yearn after all the organic compost we have access to.

(Granddaughter Emma above with blue larkspur taken by Dennis)

perfect June roseGardening is an ongoing labor. Daughter Elise, my right hand and ‘colleague’, undertake many projects together. Our dreams are far loftier in January than when reality hits. That tends to pare them back. I also have the enthusiastic support of various small people. Some of the children work harder than others, but each one loves the garden.

Earlier this spring, 10-year-old grandson Ian asked who would care for the plants when I’m too old to manage.

‘You,’ I said, ‘and Elise, and anyone else who loves to garden.’ He pondered who that might include. I assured him I’m good to go for many years yet, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

Despite my moaning about the–at times–backbreaking work, I can’t imagine life without gardening. Nor do I wish to. What a wealth to leave future generations, culminating from the love I inherited from those who’ve gone before me. Plus some still avid gardeners in their 80’s. It’s a family thing.

(Above, A David Austen Rose by Elise)

my gardening assistant1

Elise and my husband Dennis have taken wonderful pics of the garden, our farm, and several of the small people this spring. I hope you enjoy them.

“It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.” ~James Douglas,Down Shoe Lane

***I totally agree with this quote, but don’t have images at dusk or dawn on this particular post.

(Above, my most enthusiastic assistant, 5-year-old Owen, pulling the vintage wagon one warm spring day with his hoe and drinks to keep us hydrated.)

Emma and Owen beside the old pink rose with larkspur1 (The heirloom pink rose-bush the children are beside is 34 years old.)

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

***Wow, is this true. Mine surely is. I suppose the way our garden(s) are allowed to assert themselves as much as they are, says something in itself.

Siamese barn kitty in herb bed

(Siamese barn kitty in the herbs, by Elise)

“I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I’d see the summer garden in rainbow clouds. ~Robert Bridges, “Testament of Beauty”

***What imagery. Quite enchanting.

“How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

***Gardening has comforted and consoled many on this side of the veil.

Emma and Owen in the flowers with poppies

(My wildflower meadow border)

“You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.” ~Author Unknown

***You surely can.

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.” ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

***These quotes really struck me because Elise and I often imagine what could be. Especially in January, then we pare down those visions come spring, but glorious dreams rise ever before us. And who knows what might yet become reality. The possibilities are ever there. We have room here to dream.

pilgrim geese in spring meadow1

(We see the meadow from our garden. Image by Elise)

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

***A wonderful quote from Kate Morton, and yes, I am in accord with her.

From an aunt, long ago: “Death has come for me many times but finds me always in my lovely garden and leaves me there, I think, as an excuse to return.” ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

***I absolutely love this quote from Robert Brault, who has many excellent insights into gardening and all that it means, or should. And still can.

blue phlox spring blooming

(Wild blue Phlox divaricata above and Coral bells below by Elise)

Coral Bells 2

If you want to show your love for the earth, plant something and encourage others. Family and community gardens can make an enormous difference in a person’s outlook, no matter how old or young they are. Gardening feeds the five senses as well as the body and the spirit.

“In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there. To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe. I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.” ~Dodinsky, www.dodinsky.com

***Wow. How well said. The farm pond in the meadow below. Rather like a very large water garden. We’ve planted trees and pussy willow around it.the farm pond with geese “It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not.” ~W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish, 1936

***You really do.

“My garden is my favorite teacher.” ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,www.wildthymecreative.com

***I’ve learned immeasurably from my garden. This past Saturday I took Emma and Owen on a garden tour and invited them to smell many of the herbs, as well as seeing and exploring. Fragrance is our earliest memory, and it’s my hope that someday, when they’re older, the scent of an herb will carry them back to this happy fragrance filled morning with their grandmother, as dill once did for me.

Emma and Owen in the garden1

March has been ‘Right Mixy’


Spring 2015

Years ago, when I asked an Old Order Mennonite woman how her two-year-old daughter was doing, she responded with, ‘Right mixy.’ Which sums up a wee tot and their erratic moods quite well. The term also applies to March in the Shenandoah Valley, and other parts of the country. One day it’s mild and in the 60’s and the next, temps drop to the teens and snow flies. Is it any wonder I’ve been stricken with a respiratory thing, as have many others in the valley. We all long for full-blown spring and more settled weather, and hope to live to see it. Hack, sniffle, honk.

March 6

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” ~Mark Twain

March 5

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.”
~Robert Frost

(I know, but am hopeful April will be kinder.)

***snowdrop, crocus and pussy willow are blooming. Daffodils have just begun. Images by daughter Elise