Sunday, January 27, 2019

It took a while

but after a few more days journey, the Sandflea's crew was once more in sight of the mountains. There was a distinct chill to the air, even though it was early summer on the coast. The mountains were their own, local climate that was more than a bit cooler than downstate, especially in the early mornings. Unfortunately, that also meant that the weather was much rainier than in the piedmont area as the warm, moist coastal breezes encountered the Blueridge Mountains and dumped their cargo of moisture as rain.

"Almost there" said Little Red. "I never did like hot weather."
Tira, who was still cross about her vacation being shortened at a moment's notice, just shrugged. She had brought some of her popular mechanics magazines with her so she wasn't entirely unhappy. But she had planned to read them while lying on the beach, not while bundled into a cramped airship.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Full Speed Ahead!!!

Well, I'm back! And in considerably better mental and physical health. And I've really missed working on this story, so here comes another try.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Where do we go from here?

When I started this story, I had it roughly blocked-out and a plan of posting new chapters every other week. This plan clearly has not worked out! This is in part due to mental health issues; depression creates a "brain fog" for me that makes it hard for me to find and use words. It's like those cartoons where the cartoon character gets hit and falls down and we see the tweety-birds and stars circling over the character's head, almost out of reach.

I feel a lot better now but I need to rethink how this project is developed. It is tons of FUN, so I don't intend to toss it out! But I am leaning towards taking down the blog and just writing this as a regular novel and then publish the whole thing at once.  

What do y'all think? If there is still anyone watching (and I will certainly understand if there isn't!!!) 

Friday, September 30, 2016

More to follow!

In the airship cockpit the newest crew-member chatted with the Captain as they headed north by northwest. Clear skies and a light wind made for smooth flying over the central piedmont area of Carolina. Of course, that didn't mean that an afternoon thunderstorm wouldn't build-up suddenly, but for now they were safe.

“Somewhere around here is the remains of Cofitachequi what was.” said Captain Willie as he pointed through the windshield to the ground. “You know, the old Indian main town from when the Spanish first showed-up. Not really sure just where, of course, but somewheres hereabouts.”
“Hasn’t anyone tried to find the remains?” asked Little Red. “To investigate them?”
“Naw” answered the Captain. “No real idea of where to start. It could be just about anywhere round these parts. Then again, I think a lot of Indians don’t want it disturbed either. They don't take to outsiders putting their noses where they don't belong."
She nodded. “Understandable.”
"Tira and Kennia might know some more about it. They've got friends who are Catawba and Kennia's old school-mate is even married to a Catawba fella, but I don't know how interested they are in sharing with you. At least not until they get used to ya."
"Oh, I just kinda grow on folks. Eventually y'all won't wanna say good-bye to me!"
"We'll just have to wait and see" was the Captain's noncommittal response. Though Little Red was pretty sure she saw a slight smile under his mustache.
"Suit yerself."
"I always do."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

North by Northwest

As the Sandflea flew northwestwards at a moderate speed Tira and Kennia continued their conversation about their new crew member.
“She said that Chavous was her mama’s family name, didn’t she? Wonder what happened to her daddy?”
Tira answered “And I wonder if she’s related to those Chavous.”
“Which ones? There’s folks named Chavous and Chaves all over the place in Tuscarora country.”
“You know the ones I mean.  The French ones. She sure ain't no Tuscarora.”
Kennia just shook her head. “Please, just let it be for once. We’re just on a mission together. It ain’t like we’re getting married or nothing. Let’s just focus on our work,”
Tira frowned. “I’m just saying, that’s all.”
“Well, let’s just say something else. What about your mechanics magazines? You bring some of them with you? There must be something interesting in them. That’s what you’re always tellin’ me at least.”
Tira smiled at her friend’s choice of an alternative topic.
“Yeah, we weren’t in port long enough for me to get caught-up with my readin’. I have a whole mess of readin’ to do when I’m not working. I do wish I’d had the time to give her a good look-over before we left Charleston, though.  There’s always somethin’ that needs adjusting, don’t ya know?”
Kennia patter he shoulder. “I know you’ll be busy keepin’ everything running right.” She signed as she looked at her pocket watch. “Now I must relieve our Captain before he gets too cranky from being cooped-up in that little cockpit. Maybe you oughta invent or design a bigger one for tall folks! See ya later in any case.”


Meanwhile, back at the mining camp (for that was what it really was), spring  had come to stay even in the higher reaches of the Appalachian Mountains. With the milder temperatures the men were becoming increasingly boisterous. No longer content to huddle around the wood-stove and drink coffee for warmth, a few had made some half-hearted attempts to plant a small kitchen garden as a way of passing the time. No one made any effort to plow and plant a commercial crop. The pair of oxen spent most of their days standing and chewing their cud. For better or for worse, the group had abandoned all pretense of starting a real farm. Some had taken to panning for gold in a nearby mountain stream but without much success. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tinned Peaches

The Sandflea’s interior was always crowded and never more so than at the beginning of a mission.  Extra supplies were crammed into every possible nook and cranny.  The ship was fast and maneuverable but she was built for speed, not luxury.  Even basic comfort could be hard to come by at times! Her crew had long since figured out how to make the most of the available space, of course.  During take-off, the captain and the navigator were in the cockpit and the rest of the crew were strapped into hanging seats just behind the cockpit. Take-off could be a bit of a bumpy ride until they reached their desired altitude and leveled off.

Once they were well underway the captain and navigator remained in the cockpit usually. But since the Sandflea had a splinter new crew-member, Captain Willy thought she should get acquainted with the airship’s layout as well as with the other crew-members.

Kennia and Tira had already headed to the crew area (it was too small to call it crew quarters!) In the back of the airship and were settling in. Tira  climbed over a carton of tinned peaches to get to her usual hammock, pulled her cap over her face, and promptly  started to snooze.  Kennia sat down on the carton and sized-up her new crew-mate.
“I envy her” said Little Red. “I get so wound-up at the beginning of a new mission that I can’t sleep to save my life.” She shook her head. “I just keep thinking over and over about all the mission details and wondering if I’ve missed something.”
“That doesn’t sound like much fun.” answered Kennia.
“No, it isn’t!”
 Kennia shrugged. She pointed to the crate on the floor. “This is the last of last year’s peach harvest. I get on good with the folks in Supply,” she grinned.
“Hope these don’t have too much sugar syrup in the cans. I hate when I taste more sugar than fruit.” Tira spoke from under her hat.
“Same here,” said Little Red. “I haven’t eaten peaches in ages!”
Tira just grunted a reply and pulled her cap further down over her face.
“Good to see that y’all are well-stocked. Who usually has kitchen duty? Or do y’all take turns? I’m not half-bad in the kitchen, even if it is a tiny one.”
“Mostly me,” replied Kennia, “and I am glad that there is someone else onboard who knows the way around an airship galley. Why don’t ya go down there now and see what ya think. We could use some better cookin’ on these trips.”
Little Red grinned and headed down the ladder to the galley quick as a wink.

Tira pulled her cap off of her face and looked around. “She gone?”
Kennia nodded.
“My god, we’ve got us a chatty one this time!”
“Least she’s awake! That’s better than Harry was. I used to wonder if we would even notice if he’d had a heart-attack and died in his chair,” answered Kennia.  “‘Sides, she’s supposed to be some kinda expert. That oughta come in handy if things get heated.”
“You mean when, don’t ya, not if,” replied Tira. “Things always get heated sooner or later.”
“Well, here’s hopin’ for later.  I for one could use some peace and quiet. Boredom even.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Audacity of Robert Smalls

"Michael B. Moore shares the story of escaped slave Robert Smalls, his great-great grandfather. Smalls commandeered a Confederate Naval vessel, freeing his family and two others. But Small's life story doesn't end there. Prepare to hear one of the least well-known, most important stories of the Civil War."