Tag Archives: The Shenandoah Valley

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


My June catchup. Sorry I’ve been so absent on the blog.

“It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.” ~William Carlos Williams

For a hushed moment after sunrise the sun touched the garden and everything was new and perfect. Then the sun rose higher and I saw the Japanese beetles. They love the same plants I do, like roses. Despite  my annual battle with these noxious pests, my garden is a little bit of Eden. I tripled my efforts outdoors this year after my dear father’s passing. The Memorial Garden reminds me of a painting as it unfolds. Gardening is a living form of art.

Neglected corners remain in the yard, but gardening is an ongoing journey. I’m eyeing the long border along the road with ideas for improvements I might make late summer or fall. Efforts there must be undertaken with caution because of the road monster.

(Breadseed Poppy–seed originally from Monticello)

Did any of you see Finding Neverland years ago, starring a young Johnny Depp as Author J. M. Barrie? Excellent film, made before Depp went off the rails. Near the end of the movie, Kate Winslet, who portrays the mother of the boy who inspired Barrie to write Peter Pan, enters  the wondrous Neverland set Barrie has created. (Peter Pan began as a play in 1904.) At times, when I go into the garden, surrounded by magical beauty, it reminds me a bit of that scene.

There’s nothing quite like a near perfect day in the garden. I say ‘near’ because perfection is elusive and my idea of a magical garden excursion may not be yours. But when the cerulean sky reaches to heaven, flowers sparkle like jewels, and leafy green enfolds me, I am uplifted. In that moment, I am happy.

All winter and spring I dreamed of delphinium spires. This is ‘Million Dollar Blue,’ an improved kind from Wayside Gardens, more heat and cold tolerant.

On blue sky days, the ridges rise clearly beyond the wooded hills. Country noises fill air pungent with farm smells sweetened by herbs and flowers. Meadow larks trill from tall grass, bees hum, and butterflies flit. I chase them with my camera.

When a new birds calls, we must know what kind it is–recently an oriole. Red Winged black birds have a distinct cry. They mostly stay at the pond but sometimes visit our back garden. Goose squawks resound except during afternoon siestas beneath the pear trees. Never mind, I spoke too soon. Our two buddy brother roosters peck around and crow, a lot. A typical country sound.

We still hear cows. Young ones will remain until old enough to go, but we had to sell our dairy herd–sad sigh. We’re remaining on the farm, thank the good Lord. Son Cory will raise beef cows while Hubby Dennis runs his farm machinery business. As for me, I will garden, cherish my friends and family, and write again. Not much to report on that front, but I’m beginning to miss writing, an inherent part of who I am. Or was. I know Dad wouldn’t want me to give it up. His death, on top of my brother Chad’s, threw me more than I can say, but I’m slowly mending, largely with the help of garden therapy. I’ve come to realize missing them will ever be woven into the fabric of my life.

This country scene may not strike some as idyllic, but it’s heaven on earth to me.

Hollyhocks set off our barn in this pic. I used to call it ‘the old red barn’ until Cory redid it in white. A decorative barn quilt adds color to the front.

(Bathsheba climbing rose from David Austin)

“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

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

(Red Admiral Butterfly on mini buddleia from Jackson and Perkins)

The fuzzy bumble bee (pictured below on larkspur) reminds me of a tiny teddy bear. The heirloom larkspur has been here longer than I have. The flowers come in blue,white, pink, and purple. A hardy annual, it reseeds for the next spring.

All images were taken this month by me.

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

“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

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


“My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings. The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming.” ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, http://www.wildthymecreative.com

(Foxglove and roses in my Memorial Garden)

Living on a farm allows me more than a bit of earth, but the garden is also where I find my bearings. As much as I savor fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s the flowers that feed my soul. Beds dating back to my late mother-in-law’s day wrap this old white farm house and flow along the side of the road where drivers roar past. The road wasn’t such a menace in Mom Trissel’s time. Now, it’s ‘gardener beware’. I’ve reeled back more than once while working in that bed when a driver zoomed by alarmingly close. I have this crazy hope they will slow down to admire the flowers. Plus the barnyard geese graze in my front yard and sometimes wander near the road. We have about two dozen squawky Pilgrim geese. We’d have even more but they aren’t great parents and often misplace goslings. We’ve rescued some babies but can only do so much. It’s a running joke about the geese hating me, while not minding Hubby Dennis or daughter Elise. I think it’s because I clap and shout to get them away from the road and out of my yard. In addition to grass they graze on my plants, like phlox and bee balm. Tender lettuce is also a favorite but the vegetable plot is fenced in. Pic of goose with the monarch was taken last summer. Those are tithonia flowers the butterflies love.

Below are Shirley Poppies, Larkspur, yellow evening primrose, roses, iris, yellow coreopsis, and blue Love in the Mist blooming now in that massive bed along the road. A giant old-fashioned rose commands the far corner. This sea of color overflows with wildflowers, perennials, heirloom flowers, roses, and herbs. The abundant plants are so thick there is little need for mulch. It’s my living barrier to that beastly road. Grandchildren also play in the yard, but on this side of the border. The kids love to explore the many beds that comprise my garden, but they aren’t allowed to stick a toe in that one. Only I risk life and limb.

I’ve whittled down the vegetable plot over the years and expanded Mom Trissel’s flower beds while adding others. Herbs and blossoms surround my vegetable garden and mingle with the edibles. Drifts of wildflowers I seeded in April are lush with promise but I’ve knocked myself out dragging the hose around during dry spells. Blooms fill our small back garden from the white snowdrops in late winter to pink Queen Charlotte anemone in late summer. I watch from the kitchen window as feathered friends visit the bird feeder and hummers dart. Because this garden is enclosed by a wall, I can only expand it so far. Aggressive plants like fragrant Egyptian mint and Queen Anne’s Lace have taken too much ground, though both are beautiful. The mint should have been planted in a pot but I didn’t know that thirty years ago. Battling mint is an ongoing struggle and I must thin Queen Anne’s Lace. Iris and Dame’s Rocket (below) are finishing up for this season, as are Mom Trissel’s peonies. I moved some of her peonies and iris to the kitchen and Memorial gardens. My dear grandmother gave me this white iris years ago.

Dear to my heart is the expansive Memorial Garden I’ve labored in since late February. Not only have I worked there every day the weather permitted, but often when it didn’t. Cold wind blasted me in my scarf and multiple layers. Raw drizzle misted my face and chilled my muddy gloved fingers. In the early days, if temps hit the upper forties, I headed out the door. Fifties was a heat wave. Sometimes I waited until mid-day for the ground to thaw enough to dig. Everything was brown and depressing at first, apart from emerging daffodils. The only beauty lay in my vision of what could be. But I was bent on digging out wild asters that had overrun this enormous bed and creating a glorious site. I still dig tenacious roots out daily, but I’ve left some asters growing along the fence. They are butterfly magnets. The colorful mounds, some reaching over six feet tall, flutter and buzz with life in late summer. If I’m not careful, though, that’s all I’ll have. And I badly needed a goal and physical work this spring.

(Me digging aster roots. Hubby took pics when I didn’t realize)

I spent hours crawling around in the bleak cold getting out roots. See the tiny plant surrounded by stones? It’s a poor little rose that got lost in the asters, much happier since its rescue. Asters pictured below.


“Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.” ~Author Unknown (Truth! My back ached terribly in those first days,not much now.)

“I cultivate my garden, and my garden cultivates me.” ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The garden has, indeed, cared for me. My father’s passing in late December, only a year and a half after my brother Chad’s death, left me overwhelmed with grief. Then my mother-in-law died. The Memorial bed is also for her. All the digging, clean up, planting, mulching, path making, and ongoing planning for what to put in where has given me a much needed focus. Writing eluded me as I never thought it would. But nature hasn’t. And Lord knows the seed catalogues and online garden sites are there for me. Local ones, too. I have discovered some wonderful gardeners through the world of YouTube. My favorite is artist Jeri Landers. the Storybook Gardener, who has been of much comfort and inspiration. I love her creativity and gardening style and avidly follow her YouTube channel.

Like Jeri, I would describe my garden as cottage, country, with native plants. I’m not in the least formal. In one video, Jeri suggested finding an unsightly–even ugly–corner and making it beautiful. So I tackled the kitchen garden, another bed ruled by an overreaching plant, Bishop’s Weed. It was a hard slog, but I am delighted with the transformation. Then I took on a third bed overrun with a different kind of wild aster, and so on…You see the pattern here. I worked until I dropped, but it helped lift my spirits.

Jeri raised stunning foxglove from seed this year, while I bought plants, so guess what seed I ordered yesterday…plus, plus. I have a little greenhouse Dennis built for me eons ago, but it relies on solar heat. Too often seeds I sow in spring don’t germinate, even with a heating mat. I like Jeri’s idea of starting some of the hardy flowers in summer and wintering them over to bloom next year.

My most enticing plant lure are roses. At last count, I’ve moved four from various corners of the yard where they weren’t thriving to join five existing roses in my Memorial Garden. Two more roses were given to me, and I’ve purchased fourteen. So far. You can’t have a remembrance garden without the queen of flowers. Most came from English rose breeder David Austin and Jackson and Perkins. (J and P had a super sale this past week.) Several roses spilled into my newly reclaimed kitchen garden. I eagerly await those that have not yet bloomed. Among my new Memorial Garden additions are delphiniums, various buddleias, oriental lilies, gladiolas, hollyhocks, sweet William, iris, peonies, hardy geraniums, dianthus, bellflowers, less aggressive perennial asters and an annual aster, heuchera (coral bells) Lady’s Mantle, phlox, yarrow, saliva, rudbeckia, violas, columbine, different varieties of poppies, foxglove, lupins, verbena, catmint, sweet alyssum, lavender, chamomile, lemon marigolds… I’m still adding. Pics below from emerging blooms in that garden: roses, nepeta (catmint) miniature delphinium and violas. I started violas and alyssum from seed.

Carding Mill — David Austen Rose

Grief has its own timetable, with unpredictable ups and downs, as uncontrollable as the tide. I’m slowly finding my way, but know the sadness will never fully leave me. I already knew this from past grief, but never quite so sharply. I’m blessed with a close loving family and dear friends. They are my lifelines. I hope to find my way back to writing. This is the most I’ve written in months and it hasn’t been easy, but cathartic. For me, gardening is a vital part of healing. At some point, I will add a plaque, statue, or remembrance stone to the Memorial garden. Maybe all three. It’s a work in progress.

“I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.” ~Phyllis Theroux

First hollyhocks opened yesterday.

In the Midst of Winter–Wrens!


Since summer, we have had a tippy-tailed little bird bobbing around the back garden (Cone flower with Red Admiral Butterfly in the garden)and visiting the feeder that hangs near the pussy willow. As winter closes in on us–and it looks to be a cold one–we hear bird song. And it’s not only our mental mockingbird.

(Royalty free image of house wren. I haven’t gotten a good pic of ours yet)

Yesterday, I spied the singer up in the crabapple tree. Today, he sang from the pussy willow. But the really fun thing is that there’s a half-dozen wrens darting about. Never before have we had a flock of wrens. Must be my reward for planting more native wildflowers, and leaving evergreen shrubs unpruned until they are massive. Last years garden growth remains for spring cleaning. Tansy, catnip, massive native asters, parsley, seed heads…are still out there. Rather, a tangle. The moral of this gardening story is, if you’re untidy you get wrens.

I’ve added peanut butter, suet, and apples to the feeding choices in the back garden, though the wrens seem happy with sunflower seeds. When it gets bitter, I will refill the bird bath often and add extra fruit to the meld. My hope is to attract more fun birds.

(Inside looking out from our sunspace. Geraniums love it)

This past summer, especially late summer/fall, we had scores of butterflies visit the garden as a result of the copious flowers. They visited coreopsis, zinnias, coneflowers, bee balm, Queen Anne’s Lace, black-eyed Susan, phlox, tithonia, catnip, thyme., and many more offerings. The biggest bird draw were all the sunflowers, but they also like the flower seed heads. Insect eaters have plenty of bugs. Bees were also frequent garden visitors. The beautiful rose-colored flowering buckwheat was a hit and will make a return to the garden.

(Cone flower with Red Admiral Butterfly in the garden)

This spring, cleaning up and cutting back old growth awaits us, and some mulching. Replanting will follow. Winter takes its toll. But we are well on our way to a nature habitat.

Hubby Dennis is fixing up my greenhouse and will add a heat source. I am giddy at the thought of soon being back in there. I might even grow edibles.

Reports and pics to come.

Release Day and the Story Behind #CivilWar #timetravel #romance Secret Lady (Part Two)


Secret Lady is based on events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s Mennonite forebears during the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Historical accounts from the Civil War are a huge part of the inspiration behind Secret Lady. I grew up hearing about the war and its enormous impact on the family, and knew it would inevitably become the focus of a story or two.  But the initial challenge to write this story didn’t come from the war.

My eldest daughter, Alison, told me of the uncanny connection she and her friend, Cristin, have with the creepy closet in our house. It is, in fact, the only closet. Old homes were built without them, and it’s a slightly more modern addition. Throughout her childhood, Alison was terrified of this walk-in, but duck your head space, particularly unfortunate as it occupied the far-right corner of her bedroom. The extra creepy factor is the entry to hidden parts of the house lies at the back corner of the closet. Alison learned that Cristin, as a child, had recurring dreams (nightmares) about a closet in an old boxy white farmhouse that strongly resembled ours. In her dreams, Cristin ventured up the stairs, traveled to the end of the hall, and entered the last bedroom. She feared a black antique trunk (check—we have one from my great-grandfather) in the closet at the far right of the room where a disturbing presence dwelled. It wasn’t a huge leap to conceive a heroine with similar fears.

Story Blurb:
At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

Excerpt:

She took a steadying breath, turned the brass knob, and stepped into the room. The fragrance of lavender greeted her. Grandma G. had tucked sachets under her mattress to help her sleep and left small cloth bags in the drawers of an antique dresser. A sachet of apricot scented agrimony lay beneath her pillow.

This age-old herb was thought to induce slumber and offer protection against the dark forces. Other powerful herbs scented the room. Angelica, St. John’s Wort, and sage were in the bunch on the bedside stand beside the antique brass lamp with an ornamental white shade.

The walk-in, but duck your head, closet at the far side of the room summoned her. Boxes of Christmas decorations, a Santa, and reindeer figures stored inside the slanted nook partially hid the steps leading to the attic and the presence she swore was there. She hadn’t encountered the being in question. Yet. It wasn’t cool for a nineteen-year-old to harbor terrors of a closet, but she did.

She threw her hands up after a particularly loud summons. “What do you want from me?”

There was a rap on the downstairs door. ~

Secret Lady is available in print and eBook from The Wild Rose Press and eBook from all major online booksellers.

In Kindle and print at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z

In Nook Book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secret-lady-beth-trissel/1129945225?ean=2940161956564

At iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/secret-lady/id1444455068?mt=11

At Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Beth_Trissel_Secret_Lady?id=s-2BDwAAQBAJ&hl=en

At Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/si/en/ebook/secret-lady

If you are interested in reviewing, leave me a comment or contact me. bctrissel@yahoo.com

For the fascinating story behind Secret Lady Part One visit this link: https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/fascinating-story-behind-secret-lady-book-3-ladies-in-time/

Secret Lady Is Out In Pre-order #CivilWar #TimeTravel #Romance


Secret Lady (Book 3, Ladies in Time) is a mystery/adventure time travel romance with carefully researched history and enough paranormal to categorize the story as fantasy.  

I drew inspiration for Secret Lady from events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s Mennonite forebears and their peers during the Civil War. The setting is the beautiful richly historic Shenandoah Valley where we live on a farm that has been in his family for four generations. Familiarity with earlier releases in the series isn’t necessary as I began a new thread.

Blurb:

Torn apart by time, reunited by flames.

At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

(Image from our farm)

New Excerpt

“They brought the draft back?” This was it. She had officially lost her mind.

“It never went away. Where have you been, miss? More to the point, who are you?” His gruff demand stirred the hair at her cheek.

She tilted her face at him. Only the barest outline of his strong features was visible, and yet… Man, was he hot. Focus Evie. “I told you. I’m Evie McIntyre. I live here with my grandmother. Didn’t you realize?”

“That so? I don’t suppose you would be a spy in a Mennonite house. Still. Never know. I best get a good look at you.”

“Who would I be spying for?”

“Rebs. Neither side wishes me well. I’m in no man’s land.”

Her heart drummed wildly. “Where does that leave me?”

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” He steadied Evie on her feet.

 Was it? She had no idea what was going on and watched dazedly as he took something from the leather pouch hanging over his shoulder. “What’s that?”

“Lucifers.”

He’d lost her again. There must be a powerful resistance movement at work. She didn’t follow politics. Maybe she should. Had matters come to an explosive head tonight? Why hadn’t her grandmother said something?

He drew what resembled matches from a small metal container and struck one. Sulfurous sparks added pungency to the room. He lit the stubby candle in a tin lantern on an end table. Shadows danced from the pale taper glowing through the punches in the metal. Pretty, how the light made patterns on the ceiling.

 Wait. Where had that lantern come from?

The stained-glass lamp Grandma G. treasured was just there before she went to bed. Dear God in heaven. What had happened to the room?~

(Our farm)

Release date for Secret Lady is 2019-01-09.  The novel is in pre-order at Amazon now: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z/

***On release day, Secret Lady will be available in print as well as kindle and in eBook from all other online booksellers.

Thankfulness from The Shenandoah Valley


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

(Our pond)

Gratitude for God’s many blessings is where I want my focus to be and not to dwell on what I don’t have.  This Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful for my family. Our newest grandbaby, Charlie, is celebrating his first Thanksgiving with us. Each loved one is infinitely precious. I’m grateful for our home and farm and am richly mindful that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I’m thrilled we were able to dig out and redo our farm pond this year and we got needed rains to fill what had been am empty dry crater. Now, it teems with life.

(Our pond with ducks, geese, and swan)

(Charlie and my dad, our oldest and youngest family members)

Good friends are one of life’s greatest blessings and I am grateful for everyone.  I love my bit of earth and look forward to getting back out into the garden in the new year and creating some order in the wild beauty.  Note I said ‘some’ as I know I will never entirely win over the wilderness. But I glory in growing things.

(Sunflowers growing in front of our barn)

I’m also grateful for my writing gift, and that I have a new release coming out the first of the year.  My Civil War themed time travel romance, Secret Lady, is out on January 9th and in pre-order at Amazon now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KNL7K3Z/

After a long slump, I am finally plugging along again on my WIP (work in progress). I would be lost without my writing, and am when I’m in a hole. My late grandfather used to say there was no excuse for boredom if you have a good imagination and I do.  I think a vivid imagination is both a blessing and a curse,  at times, but I’m wired to be creative, so I’m running with it.

(Puppy Cooper and Sparky McGee–our newest furbabies)

My furbabies are a vital part of my life and I’m so thankful for my dogs and kitties.  The searing pain that accompanies the inevitable passing of a furry friend is offset by the happiness and companionship they give me.  The only way I know to compensate for the loss of a dearly loved furbaby is to open my heart and home to a new one. I’m big into pet adoption and urge everyone to consider adopting a needy puppy/dog or cat/kitten this holiday.

(Our pond in the recent ice storm)

I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and may God richly bless you.

What are you particularly thankful for?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~American Indian saying

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Fascinating Story Behind Secret Lady (Book 3 Ladies in Time)


Many stories lie at the heart of my upcoming January 9th release, time travel romance Secret Lady (Book 3 Ladies in Time) from The Wild Rose Press. The characters in this mystery/adventure aren’t related to the first two releases in the series as I began a new thread. While strongly historical, Secret Lady has enough paranormal in it to categorize the story as fantasy.

The setting for Secret Lady is as close to home as I can get, our old farm-house (with a slight upgrade) in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I transformed our lush dairy farm into ‘Lavender and Lace Herb Farm’ and relocated it several miles up the road on the farm we once rented. During the Civil War, horses were hidden in the Alpine like woods beyond the house.

(Our house with the wild midsummer garden by Elise)
(Behind our farm by hubby Dennis)(Our pond by Dennis)

I gleaned inspiration for the story from events that occurred to my ancestors and my husband’s family, and their peers during the Civil War. My great-great-grandfather fought at Gettysburg and was captured at Pickett’s Charge, but the focus of this story is our richly historic valley. I grew up hearing about The Burning (autumn 1864) when Major General Philip Sheridan brought hard war to our green valley, called The Bread Basket of the Confederacy. In Sheridan’s ruthless destruction of farms, livestock, and supplies that might sustain Rebel troops, he unleashed Hell on countless innocents. Among the greatest sufferers in Rockingham County were the peaceful Mennonites, my husband’s ancestors among them. These plain, hardworking people are my adopted people and a vital part of the book.

(Old-Order Mennonite Buggy Passing our farm. Image by Dennis)

Our farm stands where the worst of The Burning took place, and it occurred to me that our Victorian house might have been built soon after the Civil War because its predecessor was destroyed. We knew our home dated at least to the mid 1870’s from an elderly woman who visited here decades ago and said she was born in the house. We dated our home even earlier after finding it on an 1866 map, plus our bank barn has original features that pin it to that era.

(Our old barn. Image by Beth. It used to be red.)

This past spring, in what was my last conversation with my father-in-law before his death, I asked him if he knew of a farm that once stood on our land that might have been destroyed during The Burning. His adamant ‘yes!’ surprised my husband who wasn’t aware of its existence. However, hubby never asked.

Dad Trissel told us he used to walk back the long lane that leads behind our farm up to the wooded hills beyond and there he saw the remains of a burned-out farm (woods have since overgrown the site). He also told us our farm used to encompass that land which was later parceled off. We decided to walk back to the woods and search for any remnants from the past. Fortunately, we chose April for our exploration as the only trace of earlier dwellers our untrained eyes could detect were the faithful daffodils outlining what must once have been a house, barn, and outbuildings.

(Daffodil discovery in dry early spring before rains came with me and granddaughter Emma. Images by Elise )

If we had chosen any other season for our walk, we wouldn’t have noted anything. We later learned foundation stones and usable timber were reused in rebuilding homes and barns after The Burning. Scavengers must have been at work, and nature has taken a toll over the years. I’m not sure what my father-in-law saw in the nineteen forties, but more than we did. The daffodils are an heirloom variety that used to grow in my garden, likely from those same bulbs. Not appreciating their historic value, I replaced them with more attractive varieties and must restore these blooms to a spot in the yard.

More research is needed to determine whether the farm behind us was, indeed, burned during Sheridan’s infamous valley campaign and whether that family built our present house or fled, and another took their place in the building. We learned the road that runs in front of our house used to cut through the meadow, which would account for a farm being located back there. The stream ran beside it in those days, and springs also provided water. It could be as Dad Trissel said.

A strong sense of history hangs over the woods, our farm, and our fair valley called Shenandoah, ‘Daughter of the Stars.’  Fiery war once raged here, but we survived and rebuilt. Of course, we did, we’re Virginians.

(The valley much as it would have looked then. Image by daughter Elise)

Secret Lady Story Blurb:

Torn apart by time, reunited by flames.

At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house “warbles” between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she’d paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.

Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?

Against the background of Sheridan’s Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?

Excerpt:

She took a steadying breath, turned the brass knob, and stepped into the room. The fragrance of lavender greeted her. Grandma G. had tucked sachets under her mattress to help her sleep and left small cloth bags in the drawers of an antique dresser. A sachet of apricot scented agrimony lay beneath her pillow.

This age-old herb was thought to induce slumber and offer protection against the dark forces. Other powerful herbs scented the room. Angelica, St. John’s Wort, and sage were in the bunch on the bedside stand beside the antique brass lamp with an ornamental white shade.

The walk-in, but duck your head, closet at the far side of the room summoned her. Boxes of Christmas decorations, a Santa, and reindeer figures stored inside the slanted nook partially hid the steps leading to the attic and the presence she swore was there. She hadn’t encountered the being in question. Yet. It wasn’t cool for a nineteen-year-old to harbor terrors of a closet, but she did.

She threw her hands up after a particularly loud summons. What do you want from me?”

There was a rap on the downstairs door. ~

Secret Lady will be out in kindle and print at Amazon and in eBook from all major online booksellers.

In kindle and print  at Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B07KNL7K3Z/

In eBook from all major online booksellers.

Follow my Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6

Follow me on BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-trissel

***If you are interested in reviewing please contact me: bctrissel@yahoo. com


(Old barn behind our farm. Now torn down–sadly.)