The hummingbird migration is complete. Last weekend I had one straggler at my feeders. In a day or so she would be moving on. A hint of fall is in the air. The leaves are starting to show their autumn colors. The dogwoods, sassafras and sugar maples are just stunning. We had a light frost last week and a killing frost this past weekend. Saturday after a low of 32 in the morning, it warmed up enough to plant a lot of my potted daylilies and iris.
I took a little break Saturday afternoon for a History and Haunts Trolley Tour in Tuscumbia. This past week marked the anniversary of the Civil War battle of Tuscumbia which took place October 26 and 27, 1863. It was a combination of a Civil War sites and haunted places tour.
Our first stop was at the Winston Home on the campus of Deshler High School. Construction was started on the home in 1824. During the tornado of 1874 which destroyed a lot of the town, Mrs. Winston was coming down the stairs from the widow’s walk and was killed when the stairs collapsed on her. The home was used for classes while I was in school and restored as a community center some time later. Mrs. Winston doesn’t mind activities in the home as long as she is invited. Invitations are kept on a table for those renting the home for festivities to fill out and invite Mrs. Winston. Spurn her and you will incur her raft. The Mother of one bride neglected to invite Mrs. Winston for the reception and was in the building setting up. She went out to her car to bring in more supplies and came back into the reception area, all the chairs were bouncing. She ran out of the building and called the manager and was told to go back in and fill out an invitation for Mrs. Winston. After filling out an invitation, all was calm. Another wedding party neglected to invite Mrs. Winston and had all four video camera to malfunction.
Our next stop was at Congressman Edward B. Almon House. This gabled Victorian house features stained glass windows, service stairs as well as a front staircase, and a system of bells to call servants from the various rooms of the home. It was built in 1888 by Edward B. Almon who served in the U. S. House of Representatives. He was partly instrumental in the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He is best known for getting the postal service to start home delivery of mail. In the early mail system, the receiver paid the postage on mail. Mail was kept at the post office and those who had mail were notified in the newspaper. Congressman Almon is said to still roam the halls of the house.
Our next stop was at the Nieman-Moss House -- George T. Nieman built the house around 1890. The house was purchased by John W. Moss in 1906 and was used as a meeting house for the Tuscumbia Church of Christ. One of the previous occupants of the house is occasionally seen, but most of the time is heard coming in the back door and walking through the house. The current owners of the house, the Cahoon’s provided punch and cookies as we headed off to the site of the battle of Tuscumbia.
At the battlefield reenactors showed what life was like at a camp and showed off the firepower of their Civil War era rifles. Just as the rifles were being ready for firing, I got a call from the Blood bank at the hospital I work at. As we were talking, I told Tara the Technologist on duty that she was going to hear shooting. The deafening thunder of the guns occurred twice while we were talking about a problem patient she was getting from another hospital. I had my cell phone in one hand and my camera set on a sports setting in the other hand continuously snapping pictures while we talked. I called her back after getting home from the tour and she asked what was going on? She kept expecting victims in the emergency room and didn’t get victims.
As the sun was setting and the temperature dropping, we headed for our last stop, the Tuscumbia Depot. The depot was built in 1888 by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as a district headquarters between Memphis and Chattanooga. This brick building marks the site of the first railroad west of the Appalachian Mountains, which was chartered in 1830 and completed in 1832. It connected town with the Tennessee River at Tuscumbia Landing and utilized a horse-drawn car. The depot had a turntable for servicing locomotives and turning them around as locomotives back then lacked a reverse. The railroad placed an ad in several newspapers looking for an exorcist after a ghost appeared on one of the trains and it landed up in the street. Apparently the exorcist wasn’t found as the depot is still haunted. Last year’s tour was showed a video set up at a door that was constantly found unlocked. It shows the door opening and a shadowy form coming in the door and walking around the room.
The next tour is the Plantation Christmas at Belle Mont Mansion on December 4, and the Christmas trolley tour of historical homes on December 11 and on December 17 at Ivy Green, the birth place of Helen Keller. One new interesting sounding function is the Dickens Christmas Ya’ll on December 9 and 10 with a Dickens Feast, characters and carolers If I’m over my knee surgery, I’ll have to see what that one is about.
Blackie has amazed her Veterinarian with her recovery. She had surgery on a Wednesday to remove several large stones from her bladder, and Saturday Levi was running for dear life with Blackie in hot pursuit. After she got her stitches out, she’s really been on a tear. No field mouse or rat is safe. Each afternoon after coming home from work is spent picking up the remains of her hunt in the grassy area at the end of the driveway. Saturday while I was working out in the garden, I kept hearing a loud snorting noise that I knew I needed to check out in case a plant had to be saved. Blackie had a post hole size hole and had half her body in the hole. Patches was standing by watching for any escapees. At least this time my trees were safe. Wonder if it’s safe to plant something in the hole now?
Check out my gardening blog post Black widow spiders and Halloween blooms. I couldn't leave you without one last bloom of the season, a fall crocus.