WITCH DANCE is here!!!

Today is release day and I couldn’t be more excited! Drama, karma, and yes, witches are coming your way.

witch dance coverJust south of Tupelo, Mississippi on the Natchez Trace lies a place of mystery called Witch Dance.

When Thomas and Margaret Speedwell took their twins to Witch Dance for a weekend camping trip, they never imagined they would be pulled into a vortex of witchcraft, tragedy, and karma. One of the girls goes missing; the other won’t say what happened on the other side of the hill.

The tragedy pulls together a cast of characters from Margaret’s childhood and beyond – Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Toltec ancestors, the extinct Hopewell tribe.

With the help of a childhood friend, a concerned newspaper reporter, and visions by a strange old woman, a two-thousand-year-old mystery begins to unfold, uncovering missing children throughout generations. Who is taking them? Could it be the infamous witches of Witch Dance?

Click here for Kindle.

Click here to check out a snippet.

Click here to see photos of the cast if I were to cast the movie. 🙂

So, I Got These Chickens…

I’ve been trying to do the A to Z Blog Challenge, but between work and getting the garden planted, I’ve been a little busy!!
Aaannnd, I got these chickens…

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It seemed like a great idea, nice pets, fresh eggs, but darn if they haven’t sucked the last of the free time out of my life.
They were cute little peeps at week one, but you need to keep one-week-old chicks at 95 degrees, so I checked the temperature every hour for the first week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By two weeks, I relaxed on the temperature a bit. They were very healthy. They were growing the cutest little feathers on their wings. Adorable!

 

They were eating more, and you know what that means…pooping more, so I cleaned out their “box” at least twice. We also began putting their coop together outside, deciding where to put their run and how to predator proof it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By week three, they were jumping on top of their water container and occasionally knocking it over. Wet chick bedding is NOT a good smell, and of course, the bottom of the box got soaked. I dumped all the Christmas items out of my gigantic Christmas tote and moved the chicks in there. While moving them, I let them play in a cat litter box filled with peat moss. They love to flop around in there and take a dust bath. By the time the tote was ready for them, they had the entire guest bathroom covered with peat moss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week four began a race to the finish. They were quickly outgrowing their tote, and since they didn’t have all their feathers yet, they were looking like awkward teenagers. Without all their feathers, it’s not safe for them to live outside. The nights would be too chilly for them, and besides, the coop wasn’t finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week five. The coop was ready and they were almost completely feathered, but the nights were still cold, so I took them one-by-one out to the coop during the day and one-by-one back into the house at night. There was some serious squawking going on. When they were inside, they wanted to be out. When they were outside, they wanted to be in.

 

Week six. Yay! Finally getting these chickens out of my kitchen. They are feathered. The nights are balmy. The Christmas tote has been washed out and disinfected and the Christmas items replaced. The coop is finished and officially named the “Taj MaHen.”

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Now if we can just get the dogs to relax…

A to Z – E is for Elizabeth “Elly” Hays

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

E is for Elizabeth “Elly” Hays

Elly was born in North Carolina in 1774 to Nicholas Hays and Ally Steele. It’s been very difficult finding a paper trail of her young years. The first I’ve found is her marriage certificate 20 Dec 1790 to James Rodgers Jr, which is signed by her brother Samuel Hays. This is in Greene, Tennessee. All of the family records bounce back and forth between Tennessee and North Carolina, so I suspect the state border was blurred at that time.

Once she married, the paper trail becomes clearer.

She gave birth to Elizabeth in 1791, Hays in 1793, a female who is listed in James’s will as “my deceased daughter” in 1794, Absolom in 1796, Margaret Peggy in 1797, Susannah in 1799, Harvey in 1800, Martha Ellen “Ellie” in 1801, Polly in 1806, Napoleon Bonapart in 1808, and Andrew Jackson in 1810, and finally, Lavenia in 1819.

clarke-in-alabamaIn 1811, the family, yes, all thirteen of them (Lavenia wasn’t born yet), moved by wagon from Tennessee to Clarke County, Alabama. At the time, Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory as Alabama did not become a state until 1819. The area was a wild frontier, filled with the Creek Indians who were causing all the mischief and death they could to keep the white man from encroaching on their land. This was also a few months before the War of 1812 began. In the south, the war was between the Americans and the Indians, who were armed by the British.

The family suffered through serious harassment by the Creek Indians. Their livestock was raided and it is reported their home was burned to the ground. This was at the time both of her older sons, Hays and Absolom, were off serving in the Mississippi Militia and were not home to help.

When the boys were discharged in 1818, Elly packed her family and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the gentle Choctaw Indians.

Following her husband’s death in Mississippi in 1826, Elly moved back to Alabama and lived with her eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

An abstract of her husband’s will is as follows:

WILL OF JAMES RODGERS

Copiah County, Mississippi, August 7, 1826 – Page 180

Orphans Court.

In the name of God Amen, I James Rodgers, doth find myself weak and infirm in bodily health, though strong in recollections and understanding doth therefore recommend my soul to God, my body to the Grave and my worldly effects to be deposed as follows–

 To my dearly beloved wife Elly Rodgers

 My oldest daughter Elizabeth Matlock

 My Eldest son Hays Rodgers

 William H. Wilson, the husband of my daughter and deceased, I give $1.00,

 My son Abslum Rodgers

 My daughter Peggy Rodgers

 My daughter Susanah Rodgers

 My daughter Ellie Kirk

 My son Harvey Rodgers

 My daughter Lavina Rodgers

 My daughter Polly Hendricks

 My son Bonapart Rodgers

 My son Jackson Rodgers

Lastly I, constitute and appoint my son Hays Rodgers and John Deaton, Executors.

 

 

Elly died in Grove Hill, Clarke County, Alabama in 1839.

The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.

Elly is my 5th great grandmother.

41n6zHpRqRLI wrote a book about her called “Elly Hays.”

It’s available at Amazon. Click here. 

Maury County’s Worst Christmas

This is where I live…right in my back yard. This Christmas day, we are blessed.

Historic Maury County

Maury County has seen many joyous Christmas seasons since its founding in 1807. With so many cheerful tales of Christmases past, it would be hard to single one year out as the best Christmas in local history.

But, one year is agreed upon as the worst Christmas Maury County has ever seen—Christmas 1864.

Frank H. Smith, in a special December 1904 edition of the Columbia Herald, wrote, “At this, the most prosperous Christmas tide that Maury County has ever known, it may be interesting to recall some incidents of this season forty years ago, the gloomiest and most depressing holidays our country ever had.”

SmithPhoto2 Frank H. Smith (third from the left) sits on the front porch of the Athenaeum Rectory with his siblings.

Why was this the “gloomiest and most depressing” Christmas? Simply, the Civil War was the cause of this county-wide depression.

After the fall of Atlanta, Confederate…

View original post 1,268 more words

The Strawberries are Here!!!

My local farmer’s market had “Strawberry Fest” this morning!

I can’t even believe how good these smell and how beautiful they look.

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I bought ten pounds of these beauties. Enough to freeze…

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Enough to make jam…

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And a few left over for a strawberry shortcake and a late-night snack.

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God bless strawberry growers!!

If you’ve ever canned, you know my kitchen is popping away right now. 🙂

Earthquakes in Tennessee??

Not only earthquakes, but huge 6.8 to 8.8 earthquakes!! They happened back in December of 1811 and January of 1812, but they could happen again.

new madridThe New Madrid Seismic Zone, (shown here compliments of Encyclopedia Brittanica) is six times larger than the San Andreas fault zone in California. It lies centered in New Madrid, Missouri, and the last time it shook it’s ugly head was two hundred years ago. It’s waaaay overdue!! Back in 1811/12, there were over 2000 earthquakes and aftershocks that shook the midwest. They were felt as far away as NY, Boston, and Washington D.C. President James Madison felt them at the White House.

No other quakes have produced so much damage in the history of the world. The Mississippi River ran backwards, crevasses opened up in the land, and missing people were assumed swallowed by the earth. It created two waterfalls in Mississippi.

The prediction for the future?? Some say an earthquake this size will split the United States in two. Some say we haven’t seen any activity from the New Madrid fault for two hundred years, so why worry about it now?

41n6zHpRqRL._UY250_My book Elly Hays opens with Tecumseh’s prediction for the quake, and the quake is the cause for the family moving from Tennessee to the Mississippi Territory. The story isn’t about the 1811/12 quakes, but they are the reason the story happened. Elly Hays is based on a true story and is the tale of my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Hays Rodgers. It is the epic clash between a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.

Elly Hays is on SALE for only $0.99 at Amazon on Kindle April 1-5!

 

 

52 Ancestors – #28 Elly Hays

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This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is Road Trip.

Marriage document James Rodgers and Elizabeth Hays GreeneCoTN1790Elly Hays was sixteen when she married James Rodgers in Tennessee on 20 Dec 1790. The document to the left is their marriage license. She birthed twelve children.

In 1811, the family packed up and moved to the eastern Mississippi Territory – a place now called Alabama, which wouldn’t become a state until 1819.

You know how difficult it is going on a road trip with little kids in the car? Imagine being on a covered wagon for two months with a dozen of the little rug rats and not a McDonalds in sight.

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This was a time in history when the U. S. was flexing its political muscle and tensions were escalating, leading up to the War of 1812. And little did the Rodgers family know, they were moving into Creek territory. Not only were the Creek Indians fighting the U.S. Government, they had also broken into two factions and were fighting among themselves in a civil war called the Red Stick War. The Rodgers family moved into the middle of a hornet’s nest. They were harassed for years by the marauding Indians, who taunted them and stole their livestock, and the final straw, burnt down their home.

Eventually, in 1818 the family took another long road trip and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the friendly Choctaw Indians.

James died in Mississippi eight years later, and Elly moved back to Clarke County, Alabama and probably lived with her daughter. She died in the 1830s in her 60s in Grove Hill, Alabama. The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.

Her story is told in detail in my book Elly Hays available at Amazon.