A Hodge Podge Sunday Blog

What a glorious Sunday in Galax, Virginia! It was 58 degrees here this morning! WOW, and it’s the end of JULY! I’m so thankful to live in the mountains and the woods, and especially in the summer!

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my reading friends – I haven’t posted any new books for you in way too long! So, for the last dog days of summer, here are some to put on your list. I waited for a new novel from my favorite writer, Robert Hicks, for seven years. As you know, he wrote the incredible book “Widow of the South” in 2005 and followed it up with another awesome novel, “A Separate Country” in 2009. His latest, “The Orphan Mother,” is kind of a follow up to “Widow of the South,” but not really. The main character, Mariah Reddick, was Carrie McGavock’s slave while living at Carnton Plantation and this new book is about her life after the Civil War. I have to be honest and say that I was a tad disappointed. Certainly not in Hick’s writing because he is by far the best – but just more so in the plot. But for ME, it would be extremely difficult to top his first two books, and perhaps I was expecting too much. And at the end of the day, “The Orphan Mother” may be Hick’s least appealing book – but it is still far superior to 60% of the other books out there. So give it a chance and let me know what you think!

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Another book I recently read was “The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson.” Again, an “OK” read, but a great one? No, but perhaps a B-.  But gosh, I’ve had a real dry spell the last several months trying to find anything great to read, so these two novels are the best I have to offer from my recent stack of reading material.

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In fact, I’ve consoled myself the last couple weeks re-reading two of my favorite novels from the past, (something I rarely do) and that was “Cold Mountain,” and “Fair and Tender Ladies,” by an all-time favorite author of mine, Lee Smith. Other recommendations I have for you from long ago books I’ve read are:

“Cataloochee” by Wayne Caldwell

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“Into the Savage Country” by Shannon Burke

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“The Good Journey” by Micaela Gilchrist

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“Wish You Well” by David Baldacci

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Many of you have emailed since yesterday to see how the cabin looked that I mentioned in my video from Friday. As you know, the man who crimped the tin for the log house was here last week, and he mentioned his Father-In-Law had a cabin on his property that he would like taken down before it falls. In great anticipation, myself and some friends went to see it last evening. It was a beautiful drive down to Wytheville, Virginia and out in the country. When we first came upon her, it struck my heart at her beauty.

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But this is a tale of, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The “good” was certainly that first view of her from the road and her overall appearance. The “good” was the awesome staircase, amazing floor joists, and a “few” good logs.

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The chinking was done in the same way as Aunt Cory’s cabin here on the farm – with slats of wood placed horizontally behind the mortar.

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The ugly … well, that is better described in photos. What could have been an incredible cabin to restore and save if someone had just nailed the tin back down on the roof when it first came up on the ends, is now really just a home for millions of bugs to devour. This breaks my heart …

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This was a sweet little nest made between the logs. This little bird found a beautiful red ribbon to decorate her home with!

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So, I gave my book friends some recommendations, and I don’t want to leave out my music loving friends so here are some you tube links I think you might enjoy! In honor of my Texas trip coming up tomorrow, I’m going to give you three Texas connection songs – all in very different genres! The first is a really great project that was recorded live at the Schneider Dance Hall in Columbus, Texas which was built in the 1930’s. It is a tribute to the traditional sound of Southern Gospel. My personal favorites from the album are the tracks from Courtney Patton and Jamie Lin Wilson.

This website link gives you a video experience of just some of the songs on the album, http://themoderntrade.com/revival

I don’t usually listen to main stream country music, but I will confess here that I do like me some Ronnie Dunn, and here is one that I can get rockin’ to when I’m driving:
“How Far to Waco.”

And to make sure I give you a well-rounded list of genres today, some of you might like this tune by Red Steagall, “Fiddle Man.” Red is a Texas native, and when I was in college, I listened to him faithfully. He is dubbed as the “Great American Story Teller.”

One last thing – if you haven’t seen these new Andrew Wyeth stamps from the USPS – run down to your local office and pick up a sheet (or two)! They are a dream for lovers of A Simple Life!

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When I return from my Texas trip, I might have some updated photos of the log house progress for you – hopefully with the roof on! Stay tuned for that! But for now, I bid you farewell as I pack my suitcase and head out to the Lone Star State with my “Texas Tunes” playing along the way!

Thanks for joining me today!


10 thoughts on “A Hodge Podge Sunday Blog

  1. Enjoyed your blog. I just left Fancy Gap this morning and it was beautiful there as well. I spent Friday and Saturday with a friend doing the 100 mile yard sale from Harmony, NC to Wytheville, VA. We drive to Independence on Friday and do the Harmony end of it. Then we go back to Independence on Sat. and go to Wytheville. We had a great time and found a lot of good stuff. And you’re right, it’s beautiful up there in those mountains. Thanks for the reading list. I have Cold Mountain recorded to watch one evening soon. I’ve seen it 2 or 3 times but it’s been a while and it’s such a great movie. Thanks for the music too. I just listened to some of it and it’s great.

    Be safe on your trip tomorrow. I wish I had some of your energy. I’m sitting by my big window watching the dance of the hummingbirds. They’re really fighting over the feeder but I prefer to think that they’re really friends and just dancing…..lol. Looking forward to the next ASL. Hope it comes this week.


  2. Thanks for the book recommendations Jill. I’m about finished with what I’m reading & wondering what to read next. Cold Mountain is also a favorite…book & movie! Also love the stamps…they will be my next choice…last ones being an old pickup truck. Perfect weather here in eastern PA as well…in the 50’s last night & tonight. Safe travels.


  3. Really enjoyed your blog today. My favorite author is Alan Eckert and book “The Frontiersman”. I am retired but so busy I haven’t really had time to read. We have seen so many wonderful houses, cabin, barns that are just falling down and it is so sad. We did restore an old brick schoolhouse in our younger days. We tried our best to save a wonderful house on the river but the lady would not sell. We actually tried for seven years and it finally just fell down and all the history with it. We are not able to travel like we use to so don’t get to the East Coast any longer….but, keep writing…it is so refreshing!! Blessings. Sharon


    1. I’m going to look into that book Sharon! Thanks so much for the tip! I’m desperate for a good read! ha! I hear so many stories of people who try to save structures and the owners won’t sell – and then only to let them fall in. What in the world? Why do they do that? I’m also always sad to see people buy an early house and then gut it and make it modern inside. If they want new, why don’t they build new?


  4. So good to visit with you today from Galax, Va. at…..58 degrees this morning!! OH MY, but I bet it felt like a little slice of heaven in that cool mountain air. Thanks again for a another reading list. I am down to starting “Widow of the South” and need more books for after that. When I finish the books you recommend, I have been sharing them with others who are equally loving them too. It has been such fun to pass along a great book to others because I believe good books are just as good for you as an apple a day!

    I am so sad that the little cabin had been neglected to the point of no return. It looks so sweet from the road and I love that it is built on one of those Virginia hills full of the greenest grass ever! There aren’t many of these treasures left in the world and I wish it had been loved a bit more and salvageable.

    I have recently started collecting the USPS commemorative stamps and have not seen these Andrew Wyeth ones. They are fantastic and I am going to hunt some down. Also, My Seven Gates book arrived yesterday and you are so right: it is a MUST HAVE for prim lovers. The photos just make me feel all warm and happy inside! Now I really can’t wait for our Fall ASL to read more and see the farm again from your recent visit.

    AS always, thank-you for some down home gospel music from some of your favorites! I always enjoy learning and hearing old favorites.

    Have a great trip to Texas and drive safe!!


  5. I want to thank you so much for the book suggestions. Because of this post, I have just finished reading “The Widow of the South”, and “A Separate Country” is waiting for me at the library. My husband is going to start “The Widow of the South” tonight. I just do not have the words to express how much this book has meant to me. Right after I saw the movie “Glory” for the first time, I read the book that the movie was based on, which was written by an officer who was part of that regiment. I was profoundly moved then by what I saw and read. I’m one of those people whose ancestral families were torn by the Civil War. There are so many of us. The people living today just do not have any idea of what this country went through. Mr. Hicks’ book captures the majestic pain of those days in a breathtaking way. Thank you so much for your recommendation and I will definitely be reading the other books you have mentioned.


  6. Thank you so much for your sweet note Vicki! I’m so happy when people tell me they enjoy by book recommendations. I am so passionate about good books and they need to be shared and read! I’m especially glad that you enjoyed one of my very favorites, “Widow of the South!” The rest may all be downhill after that one though! No, seriously – so many good historical fiction books on my list for you to enjoy. I hope your husband likes it too – keep me posted! And if you’re ever in the Franklin, TN area – Carnton Plantation (home to Widow of the South) is a must visit!


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