Monday, November 27, 2006



While on my morning stroll - I sure can't call it a walk - I noticed the rainy weather we have had for a while has helped produce some beautiful specimens in the fungus department. If you have never seen a black autumn leaf, you have never been around Sweet Gum Trees. Their leaves come in many different colors as you can see above.

I almost missed this one... it was hiding under a log.

The little leaf really set this color off.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Thanksgiving Nor'easter

Well, as far as storms go, this one was not so bad. I have not found any trees down – yet. Some of the paths are still under water, so it may be a few more days until it is dry enough to go down to the lower 40. I do know that I heard a tree or two go down, but whether it was here or there – I do not know. And I have a couple of acres where I cannot go until dead winter, maybe even snow. Too much poison ivy in the summer time.

Anyway, here is what it looked like in my yard. These little lakes are where I mow the grass in the summer! The white thing is a bag of mulch next to the red crape myrtle.

Spook and Punkin followed me around, of course. Poor Punkin was desperate to find a dry spot so he could go to the bathroom. Spook was delighted at being able to take a drink wherever he wanted on his travels. All he had to do was lower his head!

Yule Tide held up pretty well in spite of the 55 mph winds.

Some of the pools of water actually had tiny waves in them from the wind.

Buddha didn’t seem to mind the 3.3 inches of rain or the wind.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Waiting for another storm.

Well, here we are, 2 days before Thanksgiving, waiting for another Nor'easter. Rats. We had a good one this time last week. I hope we are not getting into a pattern like we did a few years ago when we had a storm every week-end, like clock work. Last week’s storm brought down another big tree. I have been lucky, they all have been away from the house and barns. The root system that is now above the ground sticks up at least 7 feet. The hole it left is deep, I can see that, but is still filled with too much water to measure. This is only half of the surface root system, the trunk is flat on the ground, but I cannot get thru the bramble to shoot it. Well, maybe I could if I wanted to struggle long enough, but what is the point?

The last storm had gusts at 40 mph, sustained mostly in the 20s. We had tornado watches all day and another 2.2 inches of rain. Just what we needed for the already soaked ground! It stripped most of the trees of their leaves, even those that are still green. The wind beat the camellias and the ground was covered in petals. But, several of the bushes have enough buds they just came right back out, beautiful as ever.

We have had a couple of nice foggy mornings. I say nice because it wasn’t bad enough to really affect driving but was nice enough to be pretty. I love fog for some stupid reason. I love the stillness, almost like a new heavy snow. And I like the change of the depth of field. The busy background gets eliminated and the beauty of things close up becomes clearer. Front yard, redbud and camellias

Can you tell the size of the camellias out front from this picture? They are all about 8 feet tall. Yule Tide is visible on the right. Yule Tide was my first gift camellia, a gift from my dear old friend Sabra, the year I bought this house – 20 years ago. Yule Tide was cut to a third of its size about 10 years ago as it got too big where it was, so we had to move it. I was so afraid I would lose it because it was so big.

The camellia directly on the other side of the Buddha is starting to bloom. This is Debutante, a double pink spring camellia, also a gift from Sabra, many years ago. You can see how big it has grown. It is quite a distance from Buddha.

Spook and Punkin usually follow me around the yard, Punk tries to anticipate where I might be headed so he can roll over in front of me and yowl just incase I didn’t notice him. Spook, on the other hand, hides and spies out from a sheltered place.

In a couple of days it will be Thanksgiving. As I look around my yard, I see living reminders of friends who no longer walk this earth, but their memory lives on wherever I look. They are treasures that tug at my heart not just because of their beauty but because they are reminders of friends and love. As Christmas approaches, I think, what better gift could anyone give?

Friday, November 10, 2006



Ernesto was a scary storm this year and it wasn’t even a hurricane when it came thru here. But our ground is very wet and the winds have been tricky. A “simple” storm might have 25 mph sustained winds and then suddenly a blast of 60 mph whips things around in another direction and tops of trees just snap. Other people had their trees come out roots and all. I was grateful Vincent had taken down my biggest trees last year.

Vincent, out local “best” tree cutter came by Monday and started ridding the back yard of its gum trees. By Monday afternoon, he had cut down 6 trees. Wednesday, he cut down the next 2 trees. Cutting and cleaning up is not a rainy day job, but the rain stopped and the sun came out – for a while. He was back on Thursday to finish up and take down a cherry tree on the other side of the house. The cherry tree was very tall, had almost no branches, and was leaning toward the house.

Cherry tree in mid fall.
Eventually, he will take down the rest of the gum trees near the house. It is amazing how he calculates where he is going to drop a tree and how he ties things up to make sure they drop where he wants them to.

Fortunately for me and for Dave, a friend and neighbor, there will be plenty of wood to burn in 2008. Vincent cuts it up in small enough logs to be easily carted off, but charges extra to carry the wood away. So if I pay him to remove all the wood, he then turns around and sells it to somebody else. Usually he has already made those arrangements before he has even cut the first tree. But, I would rather give the wood to someone else for free. Well, if I were burning wood, it would be nice if someone gave me a few truck loads of wood. We burned gum for years at ERM’s house. It burns nice and slow, doesn’t spit or bang around in your stove – you just have to age it. Green gum won’t burn worth a hoot.

This will once again change my yard drastically in terms of sunlight and plants. I bet I can actually grow sun loving plants in the backyard next year. Ya think? My air conditioning bill will now be higher. Sigh. But at least I will not have those big trees leaning over the house nor will I have trash cans of gumballs to scoop up anymore. There are so many gumballs, I use a snow shovel and rake to scoop them up and dump in a trash can which I then haul off to the woods to dump – loads and loads of them!

“Vincent,” as he is known to those of us who have known him for years, has a heavy Jamaican accent. He loves to tell jokes. I miss half of what he is saying, but his laughter is so infectious, it really doesn’t matter, you just gotta laugh along with him. He is what we call a local character.

My neighbor, back behind me whose house I cannot see thru the woods, asked yesterday if I had Vincent cutting some trees for me. I said yes, of course. He said he thought he heard him laughing. He didn’t mention the sound of the chain saw, he mentioned hearing him laughing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006



No, I am not making a political statement, tho I do believe we have quite a few bloodsuckers left in the Senate, maybe even the House. No, this is a "bug" - a Triatoma sanguisuga, a fascinating little creature common to this neck of the woods... well, I have only seen them in the fall. Apparently they bite - I never knew that - and people can have a bad allergic reaction to their bites as they can transmit a parasite. They DO drink the blood of mammals, but usually just small mammals. I hate to call anything ugly, but I can make an exception in this case.

This little fellow, about an inch and a half in length, was out on my carport last month. I jusy had to get a picture of his ugliness!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


EARLY NOVEMBER, after the first frost.

Can you believe it is November already? Of course the stores look like it is the week before Christmas. One of our stores, Roses, started putting Christmas stuff up as they took the school supplies down and put the garden things back in the warehouse area. I hate that. Anyway, autumn has arrived at Possum Lane. Miz 'Pidey has disappeared to where ever the 'pideys go in the winter.

Some of the trees are rapidly losing their leaves, some are actually changing color. I do have a few bright yellow trees. I must go down and see if the little gingko is still alive. It should be pretty about now. It just is so far to walk.

The fall camellias are so pretty. The spicy pink ones are still covered with blooms even though the ground is covered with pink petals. Yule Tide is getting enough blooms now that you no longer have to search for them.

This pink bush is 8 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter.

The Ice Angel Camellia is starting to bloom. It is fast becoming one of my favorites.

The tomato garden is history – all but for one little cherry tomato plant I have curled up and covered with the cold frame. It has green tomatoes on it. Maybe they will ripen. They usually do.

Some call this a Fire Bush. I have heard lots of different things called Fire or Burning Bush, so I don’t know exactly what it is. I will have to do some research. Anyway, it has just turned red, which is why I bought it.

It is pretty across the street.

The berries on the bushes are turning red. So are the holly trees.

The winter pansies are all in the ground.