Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2019 All rights reserved

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Early Snow Pt. 2

The snow continued on and off all night. When I took Maggie out at 7 on Saturday morning, our world looked like this:

The front sidewalk was at least clear.  But the snow was deeper than last night—and it was still snowing.

The road looked clear, too.

Could a gimpy old woman and her elderly border collie be able to golf-cart out to feed the barn-cats? The driveway was clear, so we could go down it to the road if we had to.

Chloe was able to go out on cat-patrol. If a small cat could do her chores, maybe Maggie and I could do ours.

Having a basic grasp of physics ("Stuff slides down hill"), I figured I could go around the front of the house and turn down the hill in the side yard. This is how it looked when we were at the top of the hill (picture of snow on dogwood limbs taken while Maggie made a comfort stop): 

We carted past the dogwood and the big maple. The going down was pretty easy. Twiggy, Spotz, and Sherman were waiting for us, and they were soon fed. (Skippy had already been to the house to eat; Wilbur was no doubt holed up somewhere.)

While I fed and watered the cats, Maggie guarded the golf-cart and looked back at the way we'd come.

We left tracks from the big maple on down.

We proceeded toward the road, so we could get the newspaper before we went in. It was clear to the right . . 

. . . and to the left. The paperbox is to the left at the top of the road. No traffic was in sight, so we started up the road.

The snow hung heavy on the pasture fence across the road.

Hard to believe that a railroad—the old F&P—used to pass in front of the old Novelty depot across from my mailbox.

After getting the paper, we started up the driveway for home.

The snow-covered crape myrtles that I planted years ago provided a photo op.

So did the big oak tree.

I think Maggie was impatient because I was stopping so often. Taking pictures isn't part of our daily routine.

So, having accomplished what we set out to do, we headed for home.

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Friday, December 08, 2017

Early Snow

Snow was predicted to start this afternoon, but it started this morning. At first it was barely visible.

Then things picked up considerably. Here's the view around 1 PM when Maggie and golf-carted out to get the mail.

From the garage looking toward the mailbox.

Looking toward the pasture across the road.

A snow-covered Maggie.

Looking toward the house on our wa back.

Yes, there's a cat in the picture. Chloe likes snow.

Scraper blade attached to the tractor and ready to go.
It's supposed to snow throughout the night, so we'll likely end up with a lot more snow than you see here.

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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Another Martin Mystery

Who is Bessie Martin?

For the past few years, I've been trying to fill in the gaps in my Martin genealogy. I've blogged before about my Martin mysteries: in "Martin Mystery" ,I wondered who my great-great grandmother was: and in "Martin Mystery II", I shared what I'd discovered about Elizabeth Webb Martin, the third wife of John Reid Martin..

Meanwhile I'd been wondering about Elizabeth's daughter—my great-grandmother, I knew Mariah Lousia Martin, born in 1854 and the second wife of Henry Silas Smith, had died in 1913 at the Snith homeplace in Union Hall. I knew, from census records that she went by her nickname, Lula. I'd visited her grave several years ago and had a photo of her broken tombstone, but I had no pictures of her. 

Did any pictures of her exist? I found her death certificate on the Internet, but no pictures. She was 58 when she died of cancer. It's interesting that her husband's name on the certificate is his nickname, "Shuge."

I'd given up hope of finding a picture when a first cousin once-removed showed me the only picture of Lula that existed. She'd gotten it from her grandmother, who was Lula's grand-daughter. 

I recognize where the picture was taken—the porch of the old Smith homestead. Some pictures of the old homestead are in this 2010 blog-post: "Smith Sleuthing,", and some of the late Ralph Porterfields's memories of the place in the 1940s are in "Going Home to the Farm," Ralph was Lula's great-grandson. 

But another Martin mystery has arisen. In the same box as Lula's picture was a photo of a Bessie Martin. The photo was taken by F. H. Brown at the Danville Art Gallery in Danville, Virginia. An ad for the business appears in the April 21, 1893, issue of the Reidsville Review in Reidsville, NC and again in May 19, 1893: "Danville Art Gallery No. 236 Main Street is the Place to get your Pictures taken Before going elsewhere. . . ." Besides Brown, there were at least two other photographers, W.E. Eutsler and a man whose last name is Blunt. (At one time, an Internet site had late 1800s-1900 photos by them and others for sale.)

Who is Bessie Martin? Did she live in Danville or just go there to have her picture taken? How is she connected to my branch of the Martin family? to Lula Martin? Is Martin her maiden name or married name? 

So many questions. . . . 

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