Oh my goodness, how quick this year is flying by already! This will be a short post, but I wanted to explain the new header photo on my blog. Yes, it’s the group of friends and family who attended my son and daughter in law’s wedding in Hawaii, back in January!!! I need to do a big blog post about our 10 glorious days in Hawaii, as well as another one dedicated to the newest addition to our immediate family – Frankie the kitten! So be looking for those two posts to come soon, as well as some (hopefully) awesome adventures in SoCal this Spring!! We’ve got a myriad of fun stuff planned for the near future. I just need to be better at documenting it all here!! See you soon!!
I’ve read, or should I say noticed a few memes on Facebook recently saying something to the effect of: “Goodbye 2016, I can’t wait to see you go, you’ve been an awful year”. I’m sure some of the people that have posted these statements have honestly had a bad year for whatever reason…. although I think that probably the vast majority are protesting political outcomes. I’m so sick of politics I could scream. So in a way, I echo a slight relief of saying farewell to 2016 and all the crud that went along with the WAY TOO LONG AND DRAWN OUT presidential election. Oh yes people, I would change the political process if I could. We’d have something like 3 months to get the job done – just like other civilized nations do. But I digress, this blog post is NOT about politics! It’s really my end of the year musings, my look at how I did regarding my 2016 resolutions, and plans for the future. For me (politics aside), 2016 was a great year, with just one exception. In July we had to say goodbye to our precious kitty and RV buddy, Jinx the cat. I know I’ve talked about this in other posts so I won’t go on and on, but honestly, losing him was hard…. really hard. We have been pet-free now for about 6 months… but folks, this is about to change!! Hubby and I know we really want to get another furry companion, so at the end of January we’ll be going to the local shelter and waiting for a special kitty to meow to us in just the right way…. the way that tugs on your heart strings and says “take me”! Of course I will do a post on that when it happens!! That will be big stuff! 🙂
Last December I made a post (click here to read) about my new focus for 2016. Number one on the list was decluttering my home. Whoa baby, did I ever do a good job of that. I spent months going through closets and cupboards, boxes and bins, getting rid of stuff…. from books to CD’s to clothing and housewares and everything in between. It felt good. It felt really good. I reorganized cupboards, closets, shelves, and our pantry. My “junk” drawer was in good order…..and now, oh my goodness, it’s bad again. The junk in the junk drawer is overflowing. The pantry is in near total disarray. My closet is full of too much stuff. So, it’s going to start all over again in this little house! The decluttering and organizing will begin anew in January!! After going through ALL my clothes this past year and getting rid of bags and bags of stuff I didn’t like, want, or need (and I mean big black garbage bags full!), I thought I had it narrowed down to “just the good stuff”. Now that it’s been nearly a year, I can see with new eyes, the things that I thought I needed/wanted but that I actually never used. If they haven’t been utilized in a year, then it’s probably time to say sayonara . So the decluttering will begin anew!
Number two on my list last year was to eat healthier foods. Sometimes I’ve been successful at this, and other times not so much. I am still making and consuming on a regular basis, my homemade cultured Kefir. This stuff is not only delicious (in my humble opinion) but without a doubt, super-healthy for you. Kefir contains a greater variety of strains of probiotics and beneficial yeasts than yogurt. Making your own is easy and SO economical! I buy a half gallon of milk on sale at the store for 99 cents and that will make me enough kefir for about 2 weeks. Of course, the price would go up if you bought organic milk – and who knows, I may do that at some point. It’s still much cheaper than buying ready-made kefir. I failed at one of my goals for last year – and that was making my own fermented veggies, but next year will be a success! I got an awesome Fermentation Crock (click here for details) for Christmas! I’m so excited to finally give this a go! One thing I want to examine more carefully in 2017 is eating way less in the way of processed foods. No, I don’t want to get all fanatical about it, after all there is NO WAY I’m giving up my Kraft macaroni and cheese every once in a while, but I do want to try and and make things from scratch more. This could even mean making my own breads! I have a sourdough starter kit from Cultures for Health, the same people who sold me my Kefir making “grains”. I really need to buckle down and give it a try and get that sourdough starter growing!!
Number three last year was to READ MORE and compute less, and in this I was totally successful! I set a goal of 25 books for the year, and ended up reading 37! I love to read, so this really wasn’t a difficult or tedious task for me, but I’m still proud of actually exceeding my goal for the year. I will have the same goal for 2017, 25 books. I enjoy using GoodReads,com for keeping track of my reading progress.
So, this brings us to next year, 2017. As you can see, my goals from last year still apply for this year – I’ll be reading, decluttering, cleaning & organizing, fermenting, and hopefully more physically active. It’s so dang easy to sit around or just do house work during the day, but I need to get out and take walks much more often.
I’m also looking forward to several things that are upcoming! In January, we are flying to Hawaii to attend the wedding of my oldest, Aaron. He’s 39 and two years ago he finally found his “soul mate” in Andrea (Andie). We’ll spend a week on the island of Maui with family and friends, and then after the wedding we’ll be going on our own to the Big Island for a few days. Should be fun! When we return, it’s off to the Humane Society to find the next furry member of our family – can’t wait! Later on in the spring, we hope to get down to our southern hang out (Palm Springs) and spend some sunny days there – hubby playing golf and me having pool time! We have RV trips in the works with our delightful neighbors this coming summer also. I hope our new kitty is adaptable – he/she will need to enjoy being at home in the northwest, the sunshine of southern Cal, and on the road in the RV!
Here’s wishing everyone a truly wonderful 2017 ~~ and let’s not wish our years away like the folks who put up the memes I mentioned at the beginning of this post…. after all, we don’t know how many years any of us have left! People (celebrities, anyway) seem to be dropping like flies lately 😦 A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!!!!
We’ve just been through a really difficult election in our country. The voting public is still very divided. I watched as so many people on Facebook felt the need to share their political convictions with others and in doing so, alienated about half of their friends. After all, don’t most of us have friends of different persuasions? I do. I live in a diverse neighborhood and I love all my neighbors. We are black, white, gay, straight, married, single, republican, democrat. We may vote for different people, but despite all that, we still care for each other. We still have hope that there is GOOD in our futures. It really bothers me that people feel the need to attack (verbally or otherwise) folks who may have voted different than they did. It also annoys me big time when people who own retail companies decide to share their thoughts about politics. One company that I have purchased from many times, flat out insulted customers who voted differently than they did – and did it in a scathing, public way. This makes absolutely NO sense to me. Do they only want revenue from customers who voted for their candidate? I am not naming the company in this diatribe, but I do know that I’ll have to think pretty hard before buying from them again. On a similar note, a person who has had a very upbeat blog about food and decorating and all things homey, turned one of her posts into a very long and unpleasant political statement that had me wondering again, why? Probably 50% of her readers voted differently than she did, and yet demeaning their choice was something that she apparently just HAD to do. I’m not sure I’ll be reading more of her blog – I loved it when it was a “happy place” but I’m not loving it now. I do hope my country can somehow be united again, because this deep, horrible division is painful. Yes, painful. The good thing? My neighbors, as different as we all are, are at peace. And that’s the way it should be.
Oh goodness it’s been a while since I sat down to work on finishing this series of posts about our recent cruise to Canada and New England. We were saying goodbye to Halifax at the end of my last post, and today we say a brief hello to Bar Harbor Maine. I had never been to Maine before, but had always dreamed of going. In particular, I’d always wanted to see Acadia National Park. Bar Harbor is situated on an Island called Mount Desert Island. Our ship had to anchor out in the harbor/bay because the town is not set up to accommodate cruise ships of our size. Today’s tour was arranged by me, and not the cruise line. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s so typical that with a little bit of research you can find great tours on your own that are much more reasonably priced than booking with the cruise line. In this case, I booked with a company who has a fabulous reputation on Trip Advisor, called “Oli’s Trolleys”. Once on shore, we had a short walk to where the Trolley pick up was. It was a grey, drippy day, but we were determined to make the best of it. Here’s a pic I quickly snapped on our walk to the trolley –
It’s true, everything is about the Lobster in Maine!!! I know this may sound crazy, but neither one of us are lobster lovers, so nope, we never ate any. People did say it was delicious! After boarding the trolley, we headed into Acadia National Park. My photos from there were not spectacular – mostly because of the weather, but I will share a couple. One of the reasons I chose Oli’s Trolleys is because if the weather cooperates, they WILL drive you up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Many other tours do not. In fact, I’m not sure any of the the ship sponsored tours went up there! We were very lucky…. while it was wet and grey, it wasn’t foggy, so our driver took us up the mountain! Here is a view from the top, looking down. You can see three cruise ships and the bay is called Frenchman’s Bay. The islands are called the Porcupine Islands. Apropos, I think!!
It really was a stunning view in person, and OH… if it had been sunny!!! Well anyway, we quickly realized how lucky we were to have had this view at all! Just as we were beginning our walk back to the trolley, the fog started to roll in. In less than 5 minutes, this view was TOTALLY obscured. Here’s how it looked as we approached the trolley:
Crazy weather, eh? We came on down the mountain and made a circular drive around Mt Desert Island, nearly all of which is in Acadia National Park. Some famous people live on the Island according to our tour guide – the most famous I think is Martha Stewart who has a summer home there. Here is a snap I took during one of our stops…
Ahh, the Atlantic sea breeze… It really is lovely there and we sure enjoyed finally getting to Maine! One thing I am fascinated with is the poem, Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I read this as a teenager and never forgot it. It’s about how the Acadian people were rounded up and marched south from Maine to Louisiana. It’s well worth a read and heart-wrenching the way Evangeline is separated from and searching for her love, Gabriel.
The next day we woke to sunshine and another “new-to-us” place, Gloucester Massachusetts. Gloucester is not too far from Boston (about 40 miles) and is mainly known for two things: Fishing and the movie “The Perfect Storm”. This tour was booked through the cruise line and whoa baby, did we tell the cruise about it later….. anyway, our first bus stop was at the iconic “Fisherman” statue (the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial). I don’t really know why, but I had always wanted to see this. Here is a view from behind the fisherman, looking out to sea…
This is a memorial (built in the 1920’s) to all the fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. There are plaques with the name of every unfortunate soul who died while fishing. Here’s a view of the front of the statue –
Oops, hubby is blocking the inscription. It says, “They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships 1623-1923”. Funny thing, I found what I think may be one of my distant relatives on one of the plaques of fallen seamen. I’ll have to do some research on that! Anyway, here’s one of me –
Oh, and that’s our cruise ship, the Holland America Zuiderdam way off in the background. Gloucester was another “tender” port. We went around a lot of Gloucester with our tour guide telling us stuff like, “there’s the beach I swim at every day of the year… yes every single day”…. or “there’s my family home — it’s for sale but we will keep it in the family” (what? that didn’t even make sense, but it’s just what she said!)…. or “over there is the pole they grease every year.. oh, well, we’ve gone past that now…..” You get the drift, she was useless as a tour guide. A nice woman and clearly a local, but being a tour guide was NOT her forte. Then there was the bus driver…. he kept driving into parking lots and other tight areas where it was nearly impossible to turn around. This guy was really struggling! John and I felt somewhat unsafe, but what could we do? We wanted to see the area, so on to Rockport Massachusetts we went! Rockport is a really cute, tiny, touristy coastal village. We had an hour and a half on our own, and really enjoyed exploring the small area. I guess the area is called “Bear Skin Neck” and I had to take a photo of this sign:
I was so caught up by the sign that I didn’t even notice (’til now!) that I walked right past a Pewter Shop! Hmmm, would have loved to have gone in there! We wandered down the streets and struggled to find a place that served fish and chips! Since we’re not lobster fans, we were rather put off by all the Lobster and Chips establishments, but did finally did find what we were craving – and it was so delicious! After our meal, it was time to wander through the little town that is truly so picturesque!
Our tour guide told us that the little red boat house (above) is “the most photographed building in America”. While it’s quite quaint and all that, I highly, highly doubt her words are factual. Oh well, we sure did enjoy Rockport.
As we approached our bus, we noticed another bus in the road, trying to pass our bus which was parked. We watched as the moving bus hit our bus and damaged the side mirror. Within 5 minutes another bus tried to pass by, but this time our bus driver started up the bus and moved it closer to the curb (where it should have been all along….) and avoided another bus to bus confrontation! Oh my. Needless to say, we did mention the less than adequate tour guide and the less than competent bus driver in the survey sent to us by Holland America after we returned home.
Our final port of call was Newport, Rhode Island. Again, a new place for both of us… 🙂 I’d always wanted to see “the mansions” along the water in Newport and so we arranged (for less than half the price!) a local tour that drove us all around Newport and then included a tour of one mansion. We had a small bus with only about 6 people onboard and a great guide. The walk from where the tender boat dropped us, to where we connected with our tour was about a block. The day was stunningly gorgeous with clear blue skies and bright sunshine.
Here are some mansions we drove past…
This one, fondly known to locals as the “Hurricane Hut”
Don’t know the name of this one, but love how close it is to the water!
Then we arrived at “The Breakers” the mansion we would tour. It was owned by the Vanderbilt family.
How’s this for a back yard??? Check out the sailboat in the distance. Wow. Just Wow.
We were allowed to take photographs inside the mansion, but without flash. My camera did the best it could in low light… which isn’t great. Here’s one that hubby snapped of me… this home of the Vanderbilt’s was quite opulent. For the self guided tour, we were given headsets that worked perfectly. By pressing a button as we entered each room, we could hear a description of the room, the pieces in it, and how it was used by the Vanderbilt family. Fascinating stuff.
Here’s one of the Music Room.
In a way, The Breakers reminded me of Hearst Castle. An ‘over the top’ home near the ocean, lived in and loved by it’s owners. Well folks, that wraps up our photos for the cruise. The day after Newport we were “at sea” and then the next day arrived at 6 am in Manhattan, New York City. We rode a pre-arranged Holland America bus from the cruise terminal through Manhattan over to JFK Airport. It’s about 20 miles of driving, but oh my, it took well over an hour! It was a VERY long day of traveling to get home, but we made it, safe and sound. Cruising is a lot of fun, and there’s a chance we’ll do one more – someday…. maybe. It’s just too soon to say. I do love traveling and seeing new places SO MUCH, but coming home… well, that’s pure sweet heaven to me.
On this post we’ll cover days four and five of our cruise. Day four finds us in Northern Nova Scotia, Sydney to be exact, on Cape Breton Island. Because many are not familiar with this region of the world (including me), I’ll insert a map.
Because I tend to research a thing to death, I read quite a few reviews of the port of Sydney saying that “there’s nothing to see or do here”. Hmmmmm. One of the excursions that was actually offered by Holland America was a taste of the local music. Scottish and Irish music, as well as Scottish dancing are common here. Here’s what we saw upon reaching the port of Sydney…..
There you have it folks, the world’s largest fiddle! Just seeing this thing let me know we were in for a musical treat! This was the view from the deck of the ship, zoomed in a bit. Looking another direction we saw what is a very pretty little harbor town.
Here is a short, three minute video I made showing a few clips that I took from the music show. It starts with a bagpiper and then we go inside to hear the local musicians. If you are a fan of Irish or Scottish music, you’ll love this. We sure did!!!!! I hope you’ll take a peek. Just click on the pic below and the video will start. Be sure and have your speakers turned on!
Talk about a delightful afternoon!! Not only were they talented, they were super friendly too. Homemade Oatcakes were on every table, as well as coffee or tea to go with them. I sat there and silently wished I’d been born on Cape Breton Island – I love when people are SO proud of their heritage!
Day five was another sunny one, and we were SO pleased! Our port of call today was Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is the only port that was not new to us. Back in 2009 we did a cruise that took us to Halifax. We remember thoroughly enjoying the port, taking a tour out to Peggy’s Cove (stunningly beautiful) and around the town. This time around we decided to forego an organized tour and take a short walk down the street from the cruise port to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. We sure enjoyed it! We particularly enjoyed watching the Bluenose II come in to dock after taking a group of school children out on a morning cruise. The Bluenose II is an exact replica of the Bluenose which was a celebrated racing ship and fishing vessel. Interesting facts: The Bluenose is featured on the Canadian dime and was one of the first ships involved in the now famous America’s Cup sailing race!
Hubby, lover of America’s Cup and sailing ships in general was thrilled when we got to go aboard the Bluenose II and he got to grab the wheel!
After enjoying the Maritime Museum, we meandered our way back to the ship. The walk was less than a mile and so pleasant on a sunny day. Here’s a pic of our ship, docked in Halifax.
On our walk back, we noticed a fishing boat come in to a small public dock. We watched in astonishment as they pulled up this MASSIVE fish! People say that it was a blue fin tuna, probably headed to Japan or China as sushi or shasimi for BIG bucks.
Farewell beautiful Halifax! The view below is looking back to the city.
Our cruise is now leaving Canadian waters and moving south towards the USA. The third and final cruise blog will take us to Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I hope you’ll stay tuned!
Time to put up a blog post on our lovely cruise to (mostly) new places in Canada and New England! I could probably do an entire post on how much we despised our red-eye flight out of Seattle to New Jersey… and then the long lay over in NJ, before finally reaching our destination of Quebec City at 2 pm Eastern time, the next day. All in all it was 19 hours from door-to-door, so to speak. We were unable to sleep on that overnight flight so we arrived totally exhausted. Oh heck, we knew that red-eye was going to kill us, but in the end it was SO worth it. We left home on Friday September 16th, arriving in Quebec on Saturday the 17th. The cruise lasted until September 27th.
Here is photo of our ship, Holland America’s Zuiderdam. The view is from the top of the “old town” in Quebec City.
This was our third cruise with Holland America and our second cruise on this particular ship. In regards to our cruiseline, we really like HAL. The service is always fabulous, the food quite good, and the other cruisers, nice. To be honest, HAL is not a popular line for folks with kids. Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean have lots of kids on their cruises, and lots of activities catered towards kids. Let’s face it, we kind of like the “no-kids” feel. Having said that, there were a handful of young children on our cruise and they are certainly allowed to cruise with Holland America, but you just don’t see that many – this is our observation from having done three cruises with them.
Next, I’ll say a word or two about our cabin. In past cruises (we’ve been on 7 now), we’ve always had either an ocean view cabin or a verandah (balcony) cabin. On this cruise we chose an inside cabin, mostly to save money, plus, we’d never had an inside room, so why not give it a try – we thought. We were surprised at how small the cabin was and we took to calling it our “cubicle”. After a few days, we found we really missed being able to look out and see where we were or what the weather was like. We really missed the verandah for our own little “happy hour”. On past trips, we’ve enjoyed sitting on the verandah, sipping a glass of wine, and watching the world go by. Obviously that was not possible in “the cubicle”. Take away from this: the extra $$ is worth it, get a verandah cabin! Here’s a snap of our little room –
I’ve got to say, our cabin steward was wonderful, in there cleaning the place twice a day and leaving us cute towel animals at night. The bed was extremely comfortable. The bathroom was perfectly adequate. We just wished we had sprung for a larger room with a balcony, in hindsight.
Day two on the ship was our second day in Quebec City. What a gorgeous place! So clean you could eat off the sidewalks! We took a 2.5 hour walking tour that was billed as a “leisurely walk from the top of the old town, down to the lower old town”. Hmmmmm. It didn’t actually turn out that way. We walked up lots of hills and stairs to be able to see everything, there was no time to rest, go potty, or run in somewhere and buy a bottle of water (it was a warm, humid day). We still thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the sights that QC has – so much history here, as well as the stunning Hotel Frontenac which looks down upon the St Lawrence River from high on a cliff. It is rumored that this is the place where Churchill, Eisenhower, and FDR made the decision to do Operation Overlord, AKA, “D-Day”.
Our guide was fabulous, and even made me want to come back and visit in the wintertime when everything is frozen over, including the St Lawrence River.
Next is just a random photo of some historic buildings I thought were pretty –
I can just imagine this with snow everywhere and all decorated for Christmas…. 🙂
After our lovely tour of Quebec City, we meandered back to the ship (pretty darn hot and tired) and went up to the Crow’s Nest Lounge. It’s nearly at the top and at the front of the ship, with huge windows everywhere. A great place to be comfortable and watch the sailaway. It was here we got in on the 4-5pm Happy Hour special. You can buy one libation at the normal price and get the 2nd for $1. On a cruise ship, that’s a pretty good deal. What we found out though, is…. I couldn’t have a glass of white wine and hubby a glass of red, even if they were the same price! Nope, you have to get two of the EXACT same thing to get the deal. Oh well, we worked through that, but thought that rule was a bit silly.
We wandered around the ship a bit after we got going and went up really high to the area where they rent out the “private cabanas”. I think these cabanas are only in use on Caribbean cruises. No one was using them that day, so we did! Here’s a photo of me, hanging out in the private cabana, shortly before sunset. There wasn’t a soul around!
We stayed out there quite a while, admiring the gorgeous, and I DO mean gorgeous Quebec countryside. Talk about peaceful and pastoral! We loved it!
Sorry it’s a bit blurry… this was a big zoom-in photo and I don’t have a fancy camera. But you get the idea. Peaceful.
Day two was an “at sea” day, which had us going the length of the St Lawrence seaway and up around the top of Prince Edward Island. This was the only day that the boat really started rocking. We had “gale force winds up to 60mph” according to our ship’s captain!
Day three found us on Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, the day dawned cloudy with the threat of rain, but we were still thrilled to be here. We took a tour called the Island Drive and Anne of Green Gables House. I didn’t remember ever reading Anne of Green Gables as a child, so made sure I read it just before we left on the trip. I’m so glad I did 🙂 Next two photos show us at Cavendish beach, not far from Anne’s house.
The beautiful red earth is everywhere on the island! We then hopped back in the bus and carried on to the Green Gables house. Obviously, Anne is a fictional character, but the author of all the Anne books, Lucy Maud Montgomery, lived on PEI as a child and this farm was owned by one of her family members. She visited the farm and apparently based the books on this lovely place.
Here’s a pic of the woods surrounding the farm. Just gorgeous, even on a cloudy early-Fall day.
I couldn’t resist this next one. I had to join the rest of the tourists and put on the “Anne with braids” hat and stand by the buggy. It wasn’t all that much of a stretch really….. only a few decades back, I was a little girl with long red braids. No buggy though! 🙂 PS, I still have the braids, wrapped in plastic, in my garage. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. Strange, eh?
After a lovely visit to Anne’s house, we hopped on the bus and the rain started in earnest. I tried to get some shots through the bus windows showing the stunning beauty of this Island, but the weather made it difficult. I loved this place so much that I told hubby I wanted to pack up and move there. Forget about this crazy upcoming election and terrorists, and just live out our lives in such peace. Hubby’s a Canadian, so we actually COULD do this. Then the tour guide said that it’s typical for the Island to get up to 10 feet of snow a year. My friend Karen, who actually lives on PEI has since told me that that number is really a bit of an exaggeration, that they only get that much snow on the worst of the worst winters. Well, it scared hubby (the 12 feet of snow scenario), so I guess we won’t be moving there. It’s ever so tempting, though.
Okay, I can see now that this cruise blog is going to be a long one. So, I’ll go ahead and publish this part now, and work on the rest of it in the days to come. So far we’ve done 4 of the 10 days. Many more ports of call ahead!! Hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy remembering the fun on our recent trip.
Hello everyone! Just wanted to remind you all that I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year and I’ve reviewed quite a few of the books that I have finished right here on the blog! Just click the header up near the top of the page that says “Books 2016”. I finished another one today, so I’ll post my latest review here as well as above just for the fun of it. According to Goodreads, I’ve read 29 books so far this year!! Woo-Hoo! I’m pretty happy about that, and needless to say, there’ll be more to come. I have not reviewed every single book above on my Books 2016 tab, but a majority are on there. I hope you’ll find one or two that may pique your interest 🙂
September 9 A Painted House by John Grisham I went into “retro” mode with this book as I listened to it on audio cassette over the period of a few weeks. I enjoyed it a lot and think it’s probably worth 4 stars – but I think I’d actually give it 4.5 stars, with the extra half-star simply for the awesome narrator in this audio book! I like John Grisham but have not read any of his work for a very long time. This one was published a long time ago (2001) and didn’t contain one word about lawyers – which may have been one reason why I was attracted to it. The story takes place in about 1952 in rural Arkansas, on a cotton farm. Life on a farm back then was pretty rough, and this novel does not sugarcoat it. I truly enjoyed listening to this book and the narrator did a fine, fine job depicting the southern accents, as well as different verbalization for each character. A lot happens in this rural community during the course of one cotton picking season… lots of things that little Luke (our 7 year old main character) hears and witnesses. It’s a good story, but I think I enjoyed it even more because it was an audio edition.