Victories & Woes of the Weekend Warriors

**Fair warning, this post has lots of awesome photos.**

Everything is better with a truck.

This post is about how FB & I banded together to tackle a weekend project of building a custom king size head board. I FINALLY decided on what I wanted. F.B. headed off to home depot to find the MDF board and 2×4′s that we used. The 2 x 4′s were F’s idea for reinforcing the large piece of wood that would be resting behind our heads. Total cost of wood – $16. I went to JoAnne’s to get the fabric and batting. Total cost of fabric – $65

If you don’t already own a truck you should get one. This is a must have for weekend warriors. We have moved multiple time with this truck. We have also hauled pavers, wood, furniture, plants, dirt – you name it, that’s right with this truck. Yes, I will admit in my opinion it’s a bit on the small side for trucks (I drove around in a 1989 White Chevy Cheyenne for 4 years. That thing was HUGE. I miss being a tiny girl in a big pick up.) Honestly, though, any truck will get the job done when it comes to tackling weekend projects. You can bring home these material on the roof of a car or SUV, but you wouldn’t be able to have it double as a sawhorse like F.B. used the bed of the truck.


We finally agreed upon the Cavendish design for the top of our headboard. For other ideas and inspiration look here. I have to give mad props to F.B. for this. He was able to eyeball a grainy photo and turn a huge 8′ X 4′ piece of MDF board into this.

Cavendish Cut

Before we went and got the wood I researched the other supplies I would need for this weekend endevor. I found WAY too many Pinterest links and Google searches to post here, but trust me I found everything I needed easily.




Fabric – This was the most expensive item in the entire project. I settled with an upholstery chevron patter from Joanne’s fabric that was 50% off, but I needed over 80 inches and it ended up costing me $30. Since I went with a pattern that couldn’t be turned length wise we had to cut it in half and overlap it. Hence, the seam down the middle. When I get tired of this fabric in a few years I plan on replacing it with a solid color.

Batting – I got the full size double thick batting also on 50% off at Joanne’s. Cost – $12. Batting can stretch. You will use this to secure the padding for your head board.

Mattress Padding – I got the full size padding. I should have gotten the Queen size, but after Frankensteining several pieces together we got the entire front of the headboard covered. Cost – $19.

Button Kits – I got 2 of them so that I could make 6 buttons total. Cost – $5.00.

Waxed Upholstery Thread – If you think a standard thread will hold, slap yourself now. Buy this and save yourself loads of grief. Cost – $4. You can find it at Joanne’s in the upholstery section.

Staple Gun & Staples – Since this was my first upholstery project, I didn’t have one of these already. Gun & Staples – $20.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Curve balls are thrown to make life more interesting, not to give you something to complain about.  

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


MDF  Board- measured to your bed size. We had a King size bed, on a frame, on top of bed heighteners. We have a giant size bed, therefore we needed a giant sized piece of wood. We did add an extra 2 inches on either side of the bed frame.

2 x 4′s – You don’t have to actually buy these.  We bought them to secure to the bed frame. You are going to want extra reinforcemnt by hanging the head board like we did. You can also hang the headboard on the wall.  I highly recommend researching the method you want to use to secure your head board to the wall so it doesn’t bang during a horizontal tango. Wood cost – $16.

PIctutre Hanger-We had to go back and add this after the fact.  We decided on the 200lb. bar rated for larger pictures. The 2X4 legs bare the weight while this hold the headboard against the wall. If you are using a lighter material than MDF you could use this to hang your headboard. – &10

Total Cost of Materials – $116.

F.B. custom cut the design with a jigsaw. There were multiple versions of this headboard  with a smaller and larger circles at the top and sides. IF you tackle this project you may want to draw several patterns before getting the right one for you. After F.B. cut the wood he measured off where the six buttons would go, then he drilled the holes in those spots for the buttons. He added the spacers at the very end hoping it would be enough to keep the head board from banging. It didn’t.  We had to take the whole thing apart the following weekend to install the picture hanger.

More math.









Next, I laid the foam mattress padding on top and cut the pieces to fit the front of the head board. You don’t want it wrapping around to the back anyway. Cut it to the design you choose. I then wrapped the foam in the batting and stapled the batting to the back side of the MDF board.

Nice tight corners.

The fabric was our first major bump.(DOH! I didn’t take the pattern into consideration when I had it cut at the store). Like I said we had to cut it.  I liked the pattern because of the horizontal Chevron, but it would only fit the board showing off the pattern vertically.  That’s when we decided to cut the fabric. We pinned it off and spent a good 30 minutes lining up the lines of the Chevron pattern. Once we found the center we went ahead and stapled the top then pulled it tight from the bottom. Then we stapled the top, next we focused on the cuts of the Cavendish third, we pulled tight the remaining fabric so we wouldn’t get any weird creases. It took both of us to get the fabric to pull around the corners with no creases. We were running out of fabric to hold and I was afraid I had stapled F.B.’s fingers more than once. I hadn’t though.

Secured button & thread.

After that, I used left over fabric to make the six buttons. It was super duper easy. I just followed the instructions on the back of the packaging. We used a nail head instead an upholstering needle to find the previously drilled holes and pull the wax thread through. That stuff was amazing! It was tough and it pulled the fabric in nice and tight to create that tufted look. It also pulled our seam together to do a better job of hiding it. Finally, we secured each button with some staples.



After we secured each button, F.B. attached the 2 x 4′s to the bed frame and voila! Our very own custom king size Cavendish headboard that cost us just a tad over a hundred dollars. I couldn’t be happier. Especially, considering the headboard that we made goes for $600-$700 (I googled Tufted Cavendish Headboards).


We are loveing it. It makes our bedroom feel like a sanctuary. It has also increased the size of the bed making it feel very regal without taking up a buch of extra space.  I have since accessoriszed the bedroom with wall  hangings, curtains, and sheets.

Obviously, there is more to come.

If you liked this post here is one we wrote about one of our favorite books we read to Phoebe for home school A Child’s Gem You May Have Missed

Thanks for reading,

Joy & F.B. Wood

A Child’s Gem You May Have Missed

Phoebe readingBuilding young reader confidence can be a slow and, sometimes, difficult process.   Children look to books and don’t always see adventure.  All they see is the page count and the word size.

James Lucas’s young reader book Billy’s Tales of Wonder and Horror Vol. 1 looks to challenge young readers with an action packed novel written to encourage the love of reading. This book chronicles three adventures of Billy Matheson and his father, Dr. Matehson,  as they go on the hunt for monsters.  Their adventures take them  after vampires, werewolves, and the swamp beast as they travel from Ireland to the Everglades.  What makes this such a wonderful read for children is its fast paced plot, coupled with colorful characters, and quirky one liners that can even make the adults chuckle. There is also very little violence and only the death of one monster. The action that does take place is very docile and handled casually by Dr. Matheson throughout the novel giving readers a very secure sense as the they travel around the globe.   ******************************************************************************


“What am I looking at… That firework?!” Sid chuckled at his wife’s question.

“That’s the moon.”

 Follow Sid and Caroline as the follow the moon’s light in “Oceanside Affirmation” featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


As a home schooling parent I am constantly looking for ways to build Phoebe’s confidence.  James Lucas’s book brought her confidence up to new levels as it was one of her first books with over a hundred pages. The language is kept simple at a fifth grade reading level and chapters are very short. This allows children to gain more confidence by feeling the accomplishment of finishing chapters in a single sitting. When I read this book to Phoebe we would read two or three chapters in a single sitting. Since we have finished the book she has begun to read it aloud to the cats.  She never once got frightened by the plot or any of its characters. If anything she became more and more excited as we continued to read through the book.

As a home schooling educator I would reccommend this book to anyone whose child is struggling with reading or struggling with the love of reading.  The layout of the book encourages young readers to try on their own.  The excitement of the book will hold their attention as they are captivated with what happenens to Billy and his father.  They will be completely unaware as they fall in love with the adventure of the written word that James Lucas has penned out for all to enjoy.  As a parent I would reccomend this to any parent for their child to read or to read to their child.  The length of the chapters make it a perfect night time reading book.

James' BookBilly’s Tales of Wonder and Horror vol. 1 is avaliable through

This is also volume one in a series. Volume two is available though I have not read it. If it is anything like this volume it will contain the same enjoyable adventures written in a style that children and adults will enjoy.  



James' Book2Billy’s Tales of Wonder and Horror vol. 2 also available from







If you liked this post here is one we wrote about after saying goodbye to the satellite Brain Drain

Thanks for ‘inter’chatting


Fantasticalities Vol. 1 Issue 13

picture provided by
picture provided by

We are proud to conclude  Chapter one of Charlotte Harding’s novel A Long Way Down.  This has been an 8 part exciting event. To catch up here  is  Part 1 ,  Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.


Be sure to follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlieHardAuth.  

If you have a poetry or short story submission for Fantasticalities please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email and send it to us at

A Long Way Down

by Charlotte Harding

(part 8)

“Of course it did, but honey dey will always be folk tryin’ to take the power from us.” I caught a hint of disdain in her voice. I found my curiosity peaking again.

“Who? Who would try to take it from us?” Something told me that childhood ignorance might get me killed here. Auntie glanced over at the desk clock and shook her head. I felt her shut down emotionally, like a metal piece of wall trim snapping into place. Odd.

“I dun told you enough, cher, now git out. I got far too much to do today.” My anger surged up into my chest again. I couldn’t control it. I felt it stinging insdie my ribcage, biting to get out. I mentally pictured shoving my anger at my Auntie. I felt it course out of my body and smack into my Auntie’s stomach. Both of our eyes widened in shock.


“What am I looking at… That firework?!” Sid chuckled at his wife’s question.

“That’s the moon.”

 Follow Sid and Caroline as the follow the moon’s light in “Oceanside Affirmation” featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


“I-I’m sorry Auntie, I-I-I…” Terrified, I tried to scream, but couldn’t. I had no clue what she would do next. Auntie’s eyes welled up with tears. I thought felt the emotional wall slip a little.

“I, I haven’t felt anything like dat since your Mama would get mad at me. Oh cher, it’s just more proof that Mr. Wilkin’s was right. It was your Granny that died. All my efforts to protect you… keep you safe….I failed. Deh power is comin’ to you.” I reached forward, desperately wanting to ask her more when a furious pounding unleashed on her office door. A familiar voice tore through the solid wood.

“Nanan! Are you just goin’ to leave this crusty woman under the dryer all day?” I recognized Alphonse’s crude voice. Auntie rolled her eyes up at the ceiling, all the fear, tension from the past few minutes melting away. She was reverting back into her slinky tigress form.

“Alphonse! Wat, have I told you ‘bout using dat language in here?! I’m a comin’!” I knew that Alphonse couldn’t resist a lick of gossip. It was one of the things that made him so popular to the regulars. He would be curious to know what we were talking about. I was actually thankful that someone had broken up our little meeting. I was drained. I looked down at my watch. 11:30 am. Geeze, it wasn’t even lunch yet. I wanted to go home and lie down. I still felt the need to ask if I had any other relatives I didn’t know about waltzing around in the world. But after her display in there, I didn’t worry so much. She’d let her genuine emotions slip through. I stood up and followed my Auntie out her office door back into the cooler air of her salon. Alphonse stood in the tiny adjacent hallway just outside her office. His left hand was hiked up on his  hip. He was always dressed to walk the runway. Today was a blazing orange top with a faint hint of glitter embedded throughout it. He had his long black pony-tail wrapped in tanned leather that touched the middle of his back. He had the longest hair on any man that I had ever seen. I noticed he had picked up yet another pair of designer jeans. He swore by them. Said nothing made him feel more alive than a pair of hundred dollar jeans. I always choked when he told me the price tag of the clothes he bought. He may have been shunned openly by his family, but he still managed to find men to support him financially. Alphonse had expensive taste.

“I’m sorry Alphonse, I had just dropped through to ask Auntie some questions.” Alphonse’s bright green eyes sparkled as he tilted his head slightly to the left. He didn’t buy it. Not for one second.

“Oh, ok, uh-huh. You do realize that I just got here. I come in to find Ms. Anderson cooking away under the heater over there. How long you two bitches been chatting away in here?” I chose to ignore his question. I stepped around Alphonse, heading for the front door. Melissa and Grant promised to drive me out to the plantation to have a look at what we might be moving into. Jesus, what was I getting myself into?

“Earth to Annie, come in Annie! What in the hell is going on here? Something don’t smell right. You’re hidin’ something from Phonse.” I crinkled my nose up at the nickname Alphonse gave himself. No one is supposed to call themselves “Phonse” or “The Phonse”.

“Alphonse, I am serious! I came here to settle a legal matter with Auntie Vickie-Mae! That is all!” Alphonse’s eye brows perked up at the potential gossip of legal matters. Everyone in that damn salon seemed to thrive off of gossip. They came to yammer with Alphonse and Auntie. Spilling their secrets to them on a daily basis. It made me sick to my stomach. Doesn’t anyone keep their problems to themselves anymore? It never got me anything, but heartbreak confiding in people, yet, here I was.

“Well, then, do tell Annie. I am all ears. What’s wrong with poor Phonse? Why am I no longer no good to talk to?” I blushed a little. Alphonse knew some of my deepest darkest secrets from childhood. He knew Ricky Marvin was the first boy I ever did it with. He knew I accidentally killed a neighbors cat and buried it, instead of coming clean. I let out an over-exacerbated sigh.

“Alphonse, you know you’re gonna find out one way or another. Right now, I am simply pressed for time ok!?” I slid my left arm around his slender waist and gave him a tight squeeze. He let out a laugh and hugging me back.

“You know you’re the only woman that I will let touch me right? Now, git. Go do whatever you’s got to do. You can hurry on down and tell me all about it later mmmkay?” I smiled up at Alphonse and nodded. He sure was a tall skinny thing constantly picked on for being the gay stereotype, but he had a thick skin and Auntie Vickie-Mae eyeballing anyone who dare speak ill of her godson. I had once heard that she cursed a boy with a tail for calling Alphonse a faggot. I’d have to ask her if it really happened. You never dared to speak ill of us around my Auntie.

“Oh, Alphonse you know I can’t resist telling you all my juice secrets. I’ll catch up with you later ok?” I pulled my arm back and headed for the front of the salon to see if Melissa or Grant were already parked out front.

“They’re around the side, cher. Go on. Do what you need to do, k? Take your time and call if you need me. I’ll have supper ready later.” Auntie Vickie-Mae met me at the front door and squeezed my shoulders. She managed a pained smile. She was fighting hard to hide the terror in her eyes. I was uneasy. Something had her spooked good. I didn’t blame her. Whatever I did to her in her office that was some messed up stuff.

Click in next week as we return to Poetry with Fred Wood.

Thanks for reading,

F.B. & Joy

Brain Drain

picture provided by
picture provided by

Man, it has been a minute since I had the mental energy to sit down and write a blog post. I’m in the throes of training a new hire at work.  I am the only person in our department to shoulder the burden of the hiring process from beginning to end.  It has been daunting. I don’t even want to think when I get home. The chaotic crush of our family’s busy schedule has recently lead to a major (for us it’s major) budget saving decision – axing our satellite service.

Since our first steady paycheck, we’ve always had cable television. When Charter steadily raised rates, we cut the cable line and went with Dish for satellite service. We never wanted to part with our favorite brainless past time. I say brainless because it’s what most people like to do to shut down the thinking section of their brains, unwind, and pass the time. Along the way we picked up Netflix for movies & TV shows and when we got our Roku we found Amazon Prime.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Other people’s opinions of you only matter to them.  

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.


Whenever the discussion of the budget comes up, F.B. was always quick to put our cable provider on the chopping block. I never wanted to part with it because I convinced myself I needed to see the latest episode or that Phoebe needed her kids programs. The later held more weight than the former. I guess it just took me a few years to realize that I wasn’t watching the latest episode. I was relying more and more on my DVR – then watching it less and less. I was getting up to speed with Netflix & Amazon or even iTunes for shows. I didn’t have time to stay current with my favorite shows. I’d rather binge watch them during vacation or sick days. Plus if the episode particularly SUCKED – I always feel cheated. The big kick in the pants was moving to the West Coast, where everything is delayed anyway. I would scroll through my DVR recordings and the desire to watch wasn’t there. Yeah, Phoebe watched during the day, but all her shows are available through streaming with Roku and our Wii. All I have done has been allowing a device to sit in my house and steadily feed off my paycheck for years.

Think about it, why pay a ridiculous monthly fee for channels you never watch, just to see the one or two things you like? I’m saving more with Amazons YEARLY $70 (Yes, I hear it’s going up to $90 next year, but compared to paying that monthly you’re saving $700). I can also download the latest episodes of my favorite shows next day. I keep Netflix around as a catch all at only $8.99 for just streaming.

I am done with cable. I have a huge personal goal of in front of me and I hate distractions. Allowing the TV to be constantly on was a distraction. It’s hypnotic, you turn it on and let it just run in the background of your day, allowing it to talk you out of all those things you’d rather be doing. I would fall asleep on the couch in front of it. It’s the last thing we’d see and the first thing we’d wake up to.

It’s been five days since we cut it off for good. No one in the house misses it. I personally don’t miss my kid being constantly bombarded by advertising for crap she doesn’t need, programs she never liked and people she doesn’t need to emulate. I feel like I’ve taken back control over a very important part of my life. Errands get done, the house gets thoroughly cleaned, books gets read, games get played, trips to the park happen, books get written – LIFE HAPPENS!

Yes we still watch shows, movies and, programs, but it’s on OUR time and OUR schedule.

If you liked this post here is one I wrote about our little families beef jerky recipe MMMM-Beef Jerky

Thanks for reading,


Fantasticalities vol. 1 issue 12

picture provided by
picture provided by

We are thrilled to continue on with part 5 of Charlotte Harding‘s first chapter to her debut novel A Long Way Down. To catch up here  is  Part 1 ,  Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4Part 5, and Part 6.Be sure to follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlieHardAuth.  

If you have a poetry or short story submission for Fantasticalities please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email and send it to us at

A Long Way Down

by Charlotte Harding

(part 7)

“Annie one of the greatest gifts in dis life that I ever received was you, cher. I have devoted de last 22 years of my life raisin’ you as my own.” Auntie Vicki-Mae’s voice soften. I could make out in the multi-colored light of her office that her eyes were shinning with the first beginnings of tears. I swallowed the guilty lump in my throat. What am I doing? Auntie took a deep breath and continued.

“What am I yammerin’ about you ARE my own. You are my flesh. You are my blood. You are my sista’s first born child. You are her only child. She died givin’ birth to you Annie.” An icy cold panic began to form in my stomach. I had pushed and pushed to know, but now I doubted if I’d be able to handle any of this. What have I done?  The words continued to flow out of Auntie Vickie-Mae like a bottle tipped upside down. No sense stopping it now.



“There.” He said enthusiastically.


“What am I looking at… That firework?!” Sid chuckled at his wife’s question.


“That’s the moon.”

 Follow Sid and Caroline as the follow the moon’s light in “Oceanside Affirmation” featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


“We come from a long line ‘a strong women. Women who used everythin’ dey had at deir disposable to make a life of deir own. A free life Annie. A life that many a man or woman would have envied. I know you’ve noticed dat we live in a community of diversity. A meltin’ pot of cultures. WE are the meltin’ pot of dese cultures, Annie. WE are direct descendants of free French creole women of color. We’ve got a little bit of everythin’ coursing through our veins and honey be proud of its richness, but remember that our ancestors were forced to hide it.” I shuffled uncomfortably in my seat. You couldn’t tell hardly by looking at me, but Aunite Vicki Mae always said I was a Haitian, French, African-American, and Spanish. All this blood coursing through my veins means I was Creole.

“Voodoo, Annie, has been our greatest equalizer. Our weapon, our strength, and livelihood for generations. It courses through your blood girl. It seems dat dere is no hidin’ from it.” My heart began pounding wildly against my chest, I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. Anticipation, fear, wonderment were spilling over inside me.

“But why have you hidden this from me? Why did you think I wouldn’t understand?” Auntie Vicki-Mae’s eyes softened on my face. She stretched out a long bony hand and gently brushed it under my chin.

“I dun told you people have envied us from the day we emerged in dis land. We are a people that has blurred the lines. In a time where colored people were only viewed as slaves, no better than cattle,  we were given rights, property, businesses, money, and titles. We even bore children of prestigious titles. Honey, folks killed to have what our ancestors had. In a time when women where viewed as male property our ancestors roamed free. Free to live as they pleased, love who they wanted to love.” A distant gaze fell over her face. A trance like state lulled over me, I was torn between wanting to bat it away and wanting to hear more. Auntie Vickie-Mae took my light brown colored hands in her soft mocha ones.

“Your great-great-great granny was the most famous healer and French creole free woman of color to ever live.” My heart threatened to sputter to a stop.

“Marie Laveau herself, The Voodoo Queen of Louisiana.”  I snorted in disbelief. When Auntie shot me such a violent look I had to suppress an urge to throw up. My Auntie thrived off the connection, but I’d always  thought it was just a ploy to get people’s money. I always shied away from any similarities to the great voodoo queen. Even the voodoo queen’s daughter who carried the same name. Marie Laveaus history was shrouded in mystery. Some regaled her as a great force for good, only practicing good Gris-Gris (magic) others believed she bended the craft to her gain seeking vengeance on those that crossed her. Most of the physical history on Marie Laveau has been destroyed in public records. Her tomb still stands in New Orleans. The only physical testament to the woman left. I had gotten a wild hair a few years ago to try to look into Marie Laveau’s family history. All I managed to find were a bunch of dusty old records far too damaged to make anything out of.

“It can’t be.” I whispered, my ponytail bouncing back and forth as I shook my head. “There’s lots of Laveau’s out there! Plenty folk claiming to be her kin.” Auntie Vickie-Mae pressed one long bony finger to my lips. A look of pride blossomed on her face.

“You are the kin, cher! I am her kin! After Marie Lavaeu’s reign as Voodoo Queen of Louisiana ended with her death, most of her living children fled New Orleans and went into hiding. The only one to stay was the daughter that carried her name. She fought for the claim of Voodoo Queen. One fled here to Baton Rogue and married a wealthy land owner by the name LaFluer. That is how Bellmonte Grove Plantation was built.” I bent forward and pressed my hands to my head. I was reeling from it all.

“What do you mean, ‘fought for the claim’? Didn’t it just naturally pass to her?”

Click in next week to read the exciting conclusion of Charlotte’s first chapter of THE LONG WAY DOWN (available summer of ’14).

Thanks for reading,

F.B. & Joy

One Mark One Man Made on Saluda, NC

From left to right: Debbie Evans (aunt), F.B. Wood (me), Niece Lundgren (mom), Ray Pague, Jesse Pague
From left to right: Debbie Evans (aunt), F.B. Wood (me), Niece Lundgren (mom), Ray Pague, Jesse Pague

This post could have been written many months ago, but there are some wounds that need more time to heal before they can be talked about openly.

Whether we want to admit it or not we all want to leave a mark of permanance on this world.  We all want to be remembered after we are gone. Some of us have children.  Some of us leave behind art or some humanitarian legacy.  Others are content to leave their name carved in a tree or pressed into concrete.  Whatever we strive towards we put our all into making something happen that will live on long after we have left this plane of exsistence.

Jesse Pague (featured above on right) was a young man that lived his life completely full of life. His means of expression was not always understood, but his enthusiasm for the world around him was surpassed by none.  We are coming up on the two year anniversary of an event that took this gentle person from us.   His life celebration will go down as one of the best celebrations Saluda, NC had seen in a long time.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Other people’s opinions of you only matter to them.  

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdoms by Frederick and Joy Wood.


Saluda had become a town that Jesse loved to call home.  The small town and plentiful woods were an enchanted atmosphere that left his artistic soul free to explore.  He left positive impressions on many of the people he encountered.  He elated them with song from his guitar.  He humored them with his personality.  He enjoyed the written word, but very few got to read what he had written down.

He attended my wedding and there are several pictures of he and I standing beside eachother in many of the family pictures taken at the end of the ceremony.  I also had the unique pleasure of getting to know his personality a little more intimately when I offered him a temporary job as my carpenter’s assistant.  I was contracted to build a custom bar for Honking Tonkers, an art house/coffee bar in downtown Saluda.  I was also to perform various other smaller tasks, but the bar was the biggest project. His only experience in the matter was laying tile, which didn’t come until the very end of creating this custom furniture.

He was not the first inexperienced carpenter’s assistant I had every worked with .  His enthusiasm for the job made up for his lack of knowledge.  He was the first to tote the lumber and his hands were on the project every step of the way through framing and trim.  The tile was blue ceramic that had been hand painted with various artistic white patterns. When it came time to run the tile I touched the first one to set it and he ran the rest.  He set them to make sure they would fit.  Then he gingerly picked up all them, we ran the glue, and he re-ran the tiles with me only watching.  He smiled the entire time.  I asked him why he was so excited about this and he responded “Because it’s for Saluda.”  Unfortunately, his tragedy came just two days after he had completed this.

Honking Tokers is still enjoying a rousing business career.  There are many patrons who lean upon the tile top  that leisurely enjoy their coffee and paper or a conversation with the shop owner.  Perhaps they are unaware of who or what went into the making of this surface for them to enjoy. But, hopefully they all feel a little better once they leave and go about their day.  So, when you do take your chance to visit this very special place in the Blue Ridge mountains place your hand on the bar and know it is full of as much life as the man who built it.

The marks we leave on this world will not always bare our names, but our essence can never be erased from what we create.

If you enjoyed this post here is another one I wrote after having a long conversatin with myself Coping on the Road of Dreams

Thanks for ‘inter’chatting


Life’s Pendulum with its Highs and Lows

Highs and LowsIt was a hard bump. The kind that no one wants to feel, but life seems to just lay out for you nice and pretty.  It’s either so well hidden or you’re so enrapted with yourself that you don’t see it.  Whichever the case may have been bouncing back from these setbacks is a low point in just about any peron’s road.

Everyone will tell you that good times lie ahead.  That all you have to do is keep pushing forward.  That isn’t what you want to hear when your feeling low. You’re not sure what you want at that point, but it sure isn’t that.  So, if you are feeling low then perhaps an event that just came to be today might let you know there is a ray of sunshine and it will come from the most unexpected place.

***********************************************************************cover1Looking for more words of encouragment. Find them along side timeless black and white photography. You can find it here in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdoms by Frederick and Joy Wood.


As you know I have been traveling down the road to self publication. I have enjoyed an even footing until the beginning of this semester.  As part of my continuing education I have been enrolled in my minor Entrepeneurship.  It is a 403 class. I was given an override to skip 401 and 402 for now. Because of this I have spent a great deal of time playing catch up. I have toiled endlessly teaching myself and putting together balance sheets, income statements, and break even analysis. On top of writing the other twenty pages of the business proposal. All of these endless hours has been in an effort to compete in the Donald W. Reynolds Business Competition outlining my self publication endeavor.  I have been very excited as it has shown me a path at which to work towards with my and other’s writing.

Simultaneously, Joy and I both entered into the Reno News and Review Poetry Competition.  We pulled together our best, reviewed eachother’s work and submitted.  This will be Joy’s first competition and I’m really proud of her for having the courage to put herself out there.   Well, it turns out that the announce date for the winners of both competitions would be on the same day.  We waited anxiously and when the day came I was first on the computer to check all the listings.

Much to my dismay we didn’t place in either competition. Devistating as it was to lose I received comments from the business competition that let me know that my proposal didn’t even meet the average. I had been given a 3.23 out of 10. The comments ranged from “lack of experience in the field” to “poor grammar”.  I began to question my life’s work, where it was going, and even if it was worth it. This might have been my fault for letting my hopes get to high. But the pendulum came back from it’s up swing and smacked me right between the eyes.  Sometimes that’s what it takes for you to realize how far you have to go.

Joy and I resolved ourselves not to give up and if you ‘ve been following along with our blog we haven’t missed any posts.  We continued on and today the pendulum swung back up so high I burst into tears of joy.  I checked my e-mail today to see a letter from one of professors back in Spartanburg, SC.  It turns out that the paper I had written last year for the South Carolina Upstate Symposium was so well received that  it was edited and resubmitted to the Upstate Research Journal.  An even more prestigous scientific magazine published in the upstate.  This will be released within the next two mohths. Two more e-mails down I saw Writers Inc. USC Upstate’s literary magazine.  They got back to me from a submission I had turned in last October, eight months before the deadline.  They let me know I had been selected to be published in that as well. Copies to be available at the end of this month.

I burst into tears and held onto my daughter tight.  My writing had not been forgotten, nor was it unpublishable.  It was just waiting for the right audience.

The greatest journey an artist will ever go on is finding the audience for their art. 

If you liked this post here is another one I wrote after having a long conversatin with myself Coping on the Road of Dreams

Thanks for ‘inter’chatting


Fantasticalites vol. 1 Issue 11

picture provided by
picture provided by

We are thrilled to continue on with part 5 of Charlotte Harding‘s first chapter to her debut novel A Long Way Down. To catch up here  is  Part 1 ,  Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. Be sure to follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlieHardAuth.  If you have a submission for Fantasticalities please copy and paste your entry and email us at

A Long Way Down

by Charlotte Harding

(part 6)

The office was lit by strands of old Christmas lights of various novelties. Chili peppers, liquor bottles, and naked breasts for Mardi Gras were strung up around the room. The multi-colored lights caused Auntie Vicki-Mae’s beautiful face appearing sickly as she let out a heavy sigh.

“You don’t understand cher, you wouldn’t understand. ” Auntie Vicki-Mae’s eyes fell to the floor as I felt the physical tension in the office drop with her shoulders. Anger ripped through my insides, despite my fear of my Auntie’s sudden change in mood. I grabbed her wrist demanding eye contact.

“I must know. I have a right to know who this woman is!” Auntie Vicki-Mae turned her body to face mine. She clasped my wrists with her warm hands as I let go of her. All my pleading, doubt, self-loathing, and anger reflected up at her from my face.

******************************************************************************BookCoverImageLooking for a great book to relax with.  Be sure and check out Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood featuring suspense, sci-fi, and stunning poetry.       Follow us on Twitter @Inthewoodspub or Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 


“You’re right child, Jesus, you’re right. Tell your Auntie what happened yesterday.” I hesitated for a second knowing good and well that this may just be a simple deflection of hers.

“Mr. Wilkin’s secretary called me, told me there was some important business to handle in his office and said I had to come in right away. I met with Mr. Wilkins. He said that my Granny had died at a hospital in New Orleans last Tuesday. He shoved the death certificate and her will into my hands. He said he didn’t have any other information. That he was strictly contacted by her executor’s lawyer. She left me everything, including Belmonte Grove Plantation.” Fear slithered across Auntie Vickie-Mae’s face.

I knew it!

“No! It’s a curse child!” She said. It was my turn to clasp at my Auntie’s wrists in shock. I was baffled. I had a feeling that she would contest this woman being my Grandmother, but – a curse? Auntie Vicki-Mae released my hands, went behind her desk, and sat down very slowly in her office chair. I watched frozen as she gently rocked back and forth. Her cold citrine eyes lost in the blinking lights.

“Sweet Jesus, it’s a curse! That place, Annie, is cursed! It will kill you, child. Chew you up and spit you out. Nothin’ good, ever came from that place.” She said. Auntie-Vicki-Mae’s voice was nothing but a whisper.

“Why? Auntie, why?! Who or what has cursed it?!” Anger was edging sharper in my voice as I stood over her. I was going to shake the secrets out of her. Even if it took all night. Auntie dropped her face into her hands; a tired whimper escaped her lips as she took in a shallow breath.

“Voodoo, cher. Voodoo.” I felt my knees give out as I let myself sink into the faded purple chair. I sat there, unblinking for several minutes. Voodoo…?! A frustrated laugh finally escaped my lips. I started to pull myself up to leave. I had heard rumors. I had heard the jokes about my Auntie. I even had my own suspicions about some of the people who sought out my Auntie. Some things she did for money, but I never believed them, never for a second. Voodoo wasn’t real. But it was why everyone in Baton Rouge thought my Auntie was crazy. She still believed in it. A few wayward folks here and there sought her out for help from time to time. I always thought it was just part of her charm, her authentic appeal. She was losing it. I looked over at the door, ready to split. Forget that I had even attempted to get a solid answer out of her. I stood to leave.

A heavy current of warm air slammed into my chest knocking the wind out of me. It pushed me back down into the chair. Ants began biting their way down my arms. I felt sweat prickling across my forehead. A wave of nausea building up in my stomach. My eyes flickered over to my Auntie’s. Neither one of us dared to move towards the other.

“I told you to sit child.” My eyes widened. What the fuck was that?! I was certain that the freakish burst of whatever that was, had come from my tall boney looking Auntie. I did what she said. I sat back down and stayed as perfectly still as I could. Voodoo although commonly associated with Louisiana, wasn’t as prevalent and rampant in Baton Rouge as it was in New Orleans. I guess that’s why my Auntie was so known in town. Attractions of the city were typically for the scholastic, culinary, or business savvy. This was the capital city, not some back alley entertainment town conning you out of your money with some Voodoo nonsense. I didn’t dare move my eyes off of hers. Something dark sparkled behind them.

“Stop acting like a damn child! Now, cher! You wanted to know! You bring dis upon yourself! Well, once I dun tell you. Once you know de truth, there is no taking it back. You hear?” I flinched at the cold hardness of her words.

“I said, DO YOU ‘EAR ME?!” Auntie Vicki-Mae shouted as she seemed to grow taller over me. Her Acadian/Creole accent grew thicker when she was angry. Auntie still knew more of the old language than I did. It came out often when she was angry.

“Y-yes ma’am.” I swallowed hard and fought to match Auntie’s dark gaze. Auntie-Vicki-Mae didn’t seem to be satisfied. She rose quickly and came over to where I sat. She drew in closer and clawed at the arms of the faded purple chair.

“Repeat, after me. ‘I will not turn my back on what I will learn.’” I gulped out a response.

“I-I promise not to turn my back on what I will learn.” It was a promise I wasn’t sure I could keep, but Auntie was terrifying me. I had never seen her so intense, so fearful. Auntie cleared her throat, smoothed down her shiny black hair, and pinched her ruby red cocktail dress straight.

Click in next week to read the exciting conclusion of Charlotte’s first chapter of THE LONG WAY DOWN (available summer of ’14).

Thanks for reading,

F.B. & Joy

Coping on the Road of Dreams

phote from
phote from

We each have a different way to release our frustrations. Some people prefer to yell or scream.  Others beat up inanimate objects. While others just curl up into a ball and cry. I prefer to walk inside my mind and sit down with a long conversation with myself. Here is one I have had recently.

Coping on the Road of Dreams

I walked upon a path I had found in the woods. It had been trodden by others with their signs laden along the way. When I felt I could walk no further I turned to find myself in front of a stone road. The rocks had been worked smooth and cut so that they fitted together in a beautiful puzzle. The road was not very long and I could see a man not too far away. I stepped out on the path and was surprised out enjoyable it was to walk upon.  The trees rustled slightly in a soft breeze. Several birds chirped as the bees’ went about their jobs over several colorful flowers. The man’s hammer clinked steadily as I approached.  I raised my hand and said

“Hello.” His hammer stopped and he nodded to me. There was a pause as we looked at one another. “It is a lovely road.  Do you see many travelers?” He shook his head and pointed his hammer at me.

“There are a few, like you,” he said. I looked at his works once again.

*******************************************************************************cover1If you would like more words of encouragment you can find it here in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdoms.



“Is it hard?” I questioned. He shook his head slightly.

“It is only molding the elements of earth. Some elements may take longer.” I marveled at his patience then questioned,

“Why would you build out here? With so few to admire your work?” He let his hammer fall to the ground and stared at me before he made his reply. He stood and turned. He gazed at the various tools laying on the ground.

“Each day I till the soil breaking rocks loose and smoothing the dirt that remains for an even foundation. Then in the afternoons I chip the rocks, I dug up, into these pavers under your feet. After dinner I get out my mop and bucket and polish the path I have already made.  There have been days and days that I have seen no one.  I have asked the same questions. I have yelled to the trees and the heavens around me.  It only rusted my tools.” I stood perplexed by the man’s response.

“Then why continue you on?”  His gaze left the tools on the ground and fixed themselves way beyond the trees that lay ahead of him.

“Because it is in my dreams. I look around me and I am compelled to continue you on. I have quit, many times, and each time I found myself sitting back down to these same motions. As if my soul knows something neither my mind nor body does.”  The man took his seat back on the ground and went back to his steady hammering.

“Did anybody come?”  The man smiled.  “You did,” he answered. “But what if no one else comes?” I retorted. “What if it is a wasted life?” The man shook his head once again. “The wasted life is the one who creates nothing.”

If you liked this post here is another one I wrote about life as a student at any age Scholastic Discomfort

Thanks for ‘inter’chatting


Mmmmm – Beef Jerky

Every time I post about our homemade beef jerky, on social media, immediately folks ask for the recipe. I usually give the brief run down, but today I’ve got pictures and simple, yet detailed guidelines for making your own Beef Jerky – right now, in your own oven – so you don’t have to mooch off mine!

Why homemade beef jerky you ask? Well, have you seen the junk they’re trying to pass off as beef jerky in the stores? Gross. Pick up the package, turn it over. Read the ingredient list. That is not food. On top of that, they charge you a whooping $9-$12 for a measly 6 oz. bag for organic jerkey and $3-$6 for 6 oz. of the other stuff. It really is much cheaper to make your own at home. It keeps well in a Ziploc baggie or airtight container. We’ve even shipped our homemade jerky across the country as Christmas presents.

*******************************************************************************cover1If you would like to see Joy’s beautiful photography you can find it here in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdoms.


Now, the first thing you’ll need is a nice piece of beef. We prefer to use London Broil. We’ve also used Bottom Round, but those cuts are fattier than the Top Round London Broil (as it is called in the picture below). You’ll get tastier jerky for your buck if you go with the Top Round. Fat is the enemy of beef jerky taste. Do your best to avoid Sirloin or Prime Rib. We usually wait until the beef goes on sale BOGO or for a promotional price at a local grocer.  Go ahead and buy extra and freeze it. Back in Greenville, SC – BILO was the place to go for the best price, here in Reno, NV – SMITH’S has the best price for the quality of meat. It is important to keep in mind that during the dehydration process your meat will shrink. So, as you’re pricing your meat take your price per lb into consideration – a 1.57 lb piece of meat yields 0.79lb in jerky when it was all said and done.

London Broil

The items you will need for your marinade base are:  Soy sauce & Worchester sauce –from there your jerky flavor options are endless! You can take just about any dry seasoning and add it to the base or sprinkle it on the meat before dehydration. We’ve done Caribbean Jerk, Italian, Mexican, Garlic but the most popular flavor has been Lemon Pepper – so I will use Lemon Pepper as my recipe example.


If you cook often the Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce will probably already be in your fridge. The Kikkoman Soy Sauce was on sale $1.89. Worcestershire sauce was $1.15 and the Lemon Pepper Seasoning was $.99. Still we didn’t top out at more then $4 for the seasonings for this flavor.

Measurements for Marinade:

1/4 Cup soy sauce

3/4 Cup Worcestershire

1 TB Lemon Pepper

If you’re making a larger batch keep in mind it is one part soy sauce to three parts Worcestershire.

***TIP: Freeze your beef before you cut it. Then let it thaw for about thirty minutes. This will soften the meat to an easy to cut consistency.***

Mmmmmmm jerky!

We like to slice our beef in 1/4 inch slices the night before and let it marinade at least 8 hours. You can let it soak longer, but the salts and worcestershire start to break down the meat rather than tenderize it.

The following day when you’re ready to cook up some of the tastiest jerky ever, preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or use the lowest setting available. You can not use a gas stove as they do not have a low enough setting. If you have a dehydrator I recommend using one of those.

20140319_175340Because we have a gas stove we have to use a food dehydrator. I found this one on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond and used a 20% one item coupon. Came out to be quiet the steal.

Before you lay down your beef to be dehyradted you need to get the excess marinade off. I place a paper towel on a plate lay out my beef and then pat it dry with another paper towel.   Then you want to sprinkle on any additonal seaoning you may want to add.  I do use more lemon pepper seasoning.  Try to give your beef jerky a little space in between pieces, but it’s okay if they are touching on the pan or in the dehydrator. If you are using the stove remember to line your pans with tin foil or you will be throwing them away by the end.

If your using a dehydrator turn on your machine to the appropriate setting and check back in a few hours.  If you are using the stove you will need to leave the door open slightly to allow moisture to escape. I usually close the door and stick a butter knife in there to hold it open a fraction of an inch.   You can not set it and forget it.  You will need to check on your jerky frequently if your using a stove.  You will also have to flip your jerky every hour and a half as no air is flowing under the pieces.

I can’t give you an exact cooking time for everywhere in the world, but I can tell you my times for Greenville and Reno.  In Greenville in a stove it took almost four and half hours to make beef jerky in the stove with them being flipped twice.   This time can run longer if you use a seasoning that has no salt in it.  A dehydrator may take all day in Greenville, but you do not have to tend it. In Reno I’ve never used a stove, but because the air is so dry my dehydrator will finish up in under three hours. Voila!

I hope this has shed a little light on one of our happiest snack foods.  We would have pictures, but we ate it all before we took them.  Enjoy.

If you liked this post here is one I wrote about the thoughts I left in the mind of a man no longer with us Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading,


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