Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We had a good rain recently, and I was out in the back 40 reading the rain gauges as it was almost time to call the weather in. I have a number of gauges, hither and thither, scattered around the 2 acres closest to the house in the areas with the least number of trees. I am the southern-most weather watcher for our "local" TV station 65 miles north of here in our closest city this side of the Chesapeake Bay, WBOC in Salisbury, MD. My nephew was here and answered the phone for me while I was outside. He explained to the caller I was outside weather-watchering, I’d be back inside in a minute.
“Weather-watchering?” my caller asked.
“That works,” I said.
And so another new word is born. Weather-watchering… that is right up there with a sentence I overheard in the grocery store the other day… “Well, we were conversating about when his mama was gonna be funeralized…” and for the life of me I don’t remember what else was said but they were planning the food to take to the church for the “…’Ception after the cem’tary.” Ah, don’tcha love the English language – or whatever it is we speak?
Apparently weather-watchering originated the week before when I went up to Salisbury to see the new facilities – the new Weather-plex at our all new High Def TV station. But I hadn’t actually heard the word yet, myself.
Apparently the Eastern Shore is a tough place to forecast. Well, I knew that! Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes! I do, however, try to let them know when they are wrong!!!! We are on a long peninsula that is made of up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the 2 easternmost counties of Virginia (that are often left off the state maps, thank you very much. We only count at tax collection time, the Pony Penning, and the Seafood Festival) but we're connected to Virginia Beach by the 17 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the state of Delaware to the North. With the Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, our weather can get quite interesting. On any normal day, the temps can vary more than 10 degrees from Virginia to Dover or from the beach to any inland city. There can be 6 inches of snow in Dover and the palm trees are swaying in the breeze here – well, not really, but you know what I mean – or if the storm is coming from the south, we can have the 6 inches and the ground is barely covered in Ocean City.
We met in the Green room – this one was actually kind of green, too! Our chief meteorologist, Dennis Ketterer gave us the warm-up speech and a history of the station. Many of us remembered when WBOC was a radio station! My how it has grown! We got a tour of the old facilities and then the new studios and offices. Wow!
Danielle Vollmar, weather-person extraordinaire, and Dennis explained the workings of the set, even though Danielle was a bit under the weather. (Sorry, I could not help myself! But her voice was real "froggy.") I was getting tired from all the standing, so I sat on the edge of the set.
Dennis explained how the green screen worked and the monitors.
We all had a chance to point out our home towns on the green screen. In case you didn’t know it – the map you see at home is not visible on the green screen if you look at it on the set – so you have to be able to point to things by watching yourself on a TV screen monitor. It feels all backwards. Here is where I live! See a moniter behind me? There is one on each side, and one in front - that was the one i was using as my guide.
A group shot. I wonder what the average age is. I think only 2 people were under 50.

These pictures are courtesy of Terri, weather watcher from Sharptown. Now where was that on the map????
Oh, by the way, Punkin was on the weather news the other night curled up next to a couple of rain gauges. Ya missed it? He was being a rain watcherer. I was sure CBS would have picked up that shot by now!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Cleaning and filling the Feline Entertainment Centers... There really is a gray cat in that window... The curtains were on the line. Don't ya love clean curtains? They will be covered with cat hair by this time tomorrow. Sigh.......... Plus, I didn't get the windows washed in this room yet. Bigger SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHH.........See all the leaves? Spook is complaining about the noise they make while he is sneaking around bird watching. Sorry, dude... those leaves are going to wait a while for some more to join them before I get on the mower to mulch them up.
Putting away the rain gauges so they don't freeze... well, all but these 2 for now...
Punkie is a good weather watcher - when he is awake.

Draining and storing 675 feet of hose... I thought I only had 500 feet until I took these pictures and added them up. And - I threw out 2 50 foot hoses this spring.

275 feet -

100 feet - patched, but it still works...
6 50 foot hoses in a HUGE Trash can - great for storing lots of hoses over the winter! This can is 4 feet deep.
These hoses needed to stretch from the back yard all the way past the right side of this picture - double the distance to the telephone pole on the edge of the picture. We planted 15 Crape Myrtles, 3 redbuds, 6 azaleas, and 4 camellias along this bank, and it was the driest summer in many years! Well, of course! 1/10th of a mile of Crape Myrtles to bloom in late summer, the camellias, redbuds, and azaleas in the spring...
But the most exhausting thing I did today was write 3 checks for heating oil... mine, my God son's, and a neighbor's who is in Florida. You don't even want to know the total. At least I will get my neighbor's back in a week or two. GIANT SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH... followed by a whimper.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



Yesterday was supposedly the last warm day for a while with temps in the mid 60s, so I figured it was my last chance to get a few chores done. The last of the hoses were finally drained and coiled up. I couldn’t help but be grateful I had only a few hoses out and in use this year. One year, the year I planted all the Crape Myrtles along the road, I eventually had over 500 feet of hose stretched from the house along the edge of the woods. It still did not make it to the end, but it was closer... or close enough to fill a bucket and not have to walk too far. It was a huge help compared to dragging wagon loads of water bottles down to the thirsty plants as I had to do all winter. I believe it was the driest summer we had had in decades – just my luck! Draining and putting away 500 feet of hose was definitely a challenge. I had only 200 feet to work with this year.
That done, I started cleaning out my tiny green house. It is only 4 feet high, 4 feet long, and 3 feet wide, made out of scrap lumber and Plexiglas. It is heated, on VERY cold nights, by a drop light in a bucket, seen in the front by the door. It is amazing how many plants I can cram into this tiny space, from a HUGE Aloe plant in the back that is too big for me to move or bring in the house anymore, to my Christmas cactus collection that will stay in the greenhouse until they are ready to bloom – usually around Thanksgiving. The geraniums and impatiens will bloom all winter long and provide a bit of color on the days when there are not any camellias in bloom.
Currently the camellias have gotten off to a roaring start. In addition to the pics from the other day, the Ice Angels have opened, and looking out the window, I see a bloom on Yuletide! That bush doesn’t usually start until December – well, duh, look at its name. Sigh.
The tomato plant (from a couple of days ago) is now in the wagon sitting next to the greenhouse, all snug in a plastic lawn bag, waiting for me to get up enough energy to lift it out… that won’t be today. I hurt my back a bit getting it in the wagon – and this little wagon does not have a removable door like the old one that has finally lost a wheel, so I can’t just slide it out and let gravity help.
More fall azaleas have opened. What a beautiful time of year! I have enjoyed seeing the snow on a couple of blogs, but right now, I will stick with the azaleas and camellias.

I had to have the guy who installed my gas logs come by and “get them working.” The logs would come on and burn for about 30 seconds, then, poof, nothing. Seems some dust had gotten on the nozzle and the tiny air vent next to the pilot light. DUST???? IN MY HOUSE????? THE THOUGHT OF IT BLOWS MY MIND!!!!!!! Yeah, right! I actually did use the little dust brush and thought I had cleaned the cobwebs and stuff out before I tried to light the fire a few nights ago… really, I did! But apparently one has to use compressed air to blow the important parts clean, dusting with a little dust pan and brush can actually make things worse. Well, duh, one more time. Who’d a thunk that! But at least I had the BIG cobwebs out so it didn’t look TOO bad. I mean, with 3 cats in the house, and one of them a long hair, a house is only going to be but so clean anyway, right? And I bet you know how I love to dust!!!!
So, we can be warm and cozy in the evenings and save turning the big furnace on a while longer and not worry about the plants. And in the morning, I can wake up to the amazing camellias so filled with blooms, people have been pulling in my driveway to ask what they are. I must say they are loaded this year, and they are now over 12 feet tall, so they are a bit impressive, even if I say so myself.
So, for those of you who are snowed in, enjoy my flowers and I will enjoy your snow - from a safe distance!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Well we had a surprise this morning... the Norfolk TV station said we would be around 40, no frost... further inland (on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay) there probably would be frost. So, I did not worry about it... not that I really had to worry anyway... the house plants are all in the house or in the little green house and the cats have been sleeping in their warm box by the steps... So I was surprised when the sun came up to see a white barn roof and the top of the Buddha's stump was white. It was 35 degrees! So, today, I disconnected the back hose - the front hoses have been put away for a week or two - and loaded my big tomato plant in the wagon and brought it up onto the carport. Maybe I will get to the geraniums tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008



There is a crispness in the air most days now that hasn’t been here for a while. The mornings remind me I need a jacket – if only for an hour or two – and that it soon will be time to dig the warmer clothes out of the closet. The furnace has been cutting itself on early in the morning. The days are comfortable, the kind that make you feel like working out in the yard getting the chore done before it gets too cold to do much. It is perfect weather to paint the outdoor furniture, wheelbarrows, or put a coat of Woodlife on the barns.
The leaves are starting to fall even though the colors haven’t changed much. The redbud has some golden leaves and the dogwood is wearing some deep red. But the greatest color is found in the early fall camellias and the azaleas that brighten up the landscape.

There are a few zinnias here and there; they pop up like wildflowers anymore.
The camellias out front are up to roof level.
It seems reds and purples, pink and deep magentas are the colors wherever one turns, even on the cactus.
The butterfly population has thinned; most of the migrants have passed on to the south. There are still clouds of birds every once in a while and sometimes the air is filled with bird song mingling with the crickets and other 6 legged creatures chirping thru the days and nights.
Interestingly, the honeysuckle is in bloom again… some days the breeze is heavy with its fragrance, a wonderful change from the burning fields, burning plastic, burning tomato plants. Oh, the tons of food we waste in this country. No wonder we having problems – the waste, the waste. My own tomatoes are still quite fine. This plant is in a big pot and I will pull it in onto the carport before the first frost, put a plastic bag over it, and hopefully, have fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving and maybe even Christmas.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I managed to get out in the yard yesterday to sit a bit in the sun. I firmly believe the sun is healing - and I could use a bit of healing right about now... So I went out back and settled in the sun in one of the adirondacks, and I noticed a flurry of activity only a few feet away from me. The daisies next to the Buddha were alive with little butterflies. If my memory serves me, these are Painted Ladies on their way south for the winter. I counted 18 at one point. Well, actually I counted more than that, but I deducted for them moving about... About a week ago this bush was filled with dark butterflies, whether Black Swallowtails or Dianas, I am not sure and did not feel well enough to go and check, but we have them both in abundance.
It seemed lonely out in the yard without Punk... he got into a fight the other night and had to spend a couple of days at the vet's getting patched up. He will be home today.