Saturday, November 28, 2009


IT WAS A BERRY FOGGY DAY. I just had to take my camera out and walk around. The pileated woodpecker was out there banging away - sounds are so different in the fog, have you noticed? But, I was never able to get close enough to get a shot of him. I love the softness of the colors... the contrast in the things close with the grays of the background. The maple out front is almost bare... this week-end's nor'easter pretty well took care of that. But I love the color combinations with the maple and Yule Tide. I was surprised to find this beauty open at the edge of the woods.
I hope you had a good, safe day.

Monday, November 23, 2009


TODAY IS DRIZZLY and cool... a good day to stay inside and keep warm. Yesterday was spent in WalMart buying clothes for the grandsons who have both hit growth spurts at the same time. But Saturday was a busy, busy day. Part of it was spent at the Train station putting up the big wreath and cheering Pat on as he did "stuff" and taking pictures. Hopefully all that will be on the SPOTS blog when I finish this. Before going to play at the station, I went out in the yard to hang some laundry. Yes, I am one of those old fashioned women who loves the fresh smell of laundry that has dried on the line. It is good for the light bill, too, as the drier uses more electricity than any other appliance in the house. Anyway, as I hung up the first pair of jeans, I thought I saw something purple over by the birdbath. And not just one, but a bunch of clemetis! So, I started looking around. It is not unusual for the Sweet William to bloom off and on all winter. Like pansies, they are happy here in the winter. But the clemetis had appeared to have died back in that heavy frost a couple weeks ago. Spook found a warm place in the sun up next to the hackberry tree and out of the wind.
All the way in the back of the yard, I noticed some raspberries! They were delicious! Imagine, fresh raspberries in November!
Debutante has started blooming. These blooms were way at the top, then I found one tucked back in the middle of the bush. Is that beautious or what?
I walked out front where the maple tree is finally in her autumn colors. Can you see Yule Tide in bloom underneath the tree? The bumble bees were busy in the azaleas. As I walked back toward the house, I noticed a little bunch of impatiens that also survived the frost. Then I looked up and noticed the red camellia next to the carport has started to bloom. That doesn't usually get going until closer to Christmas.
A trip out into the yard, even if it is just to hang clothes to dry would not be complete without the Punkinmeister rolling over and begging for a tummy scratch. I hope it is beautiful where you are, too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I mentioned a problem with farm equipment in a previous posting and someone asked me if I was against farming - or something like that... and my answer might be that I am not happy with corporations running farms and some of their practices... but my problem is with the humongous equipment that barely fits on our road and the inability and even unwillingness of some drivers to get out of the way. I guess they expect these behemoths to back up for them - I don't know. But you would think that even an idiot seeing one of these monsters coming down the road would know enough to stop, get in someone's driveway or do something to stay out of harm's way. Most of us have deep drainage ditches separating our property from the road. This is flat land, the water has to drain into the Bay or the Ocean, hence drainage ditches. Notice the curvature of the road - it is called a turtle back here and is very slippery in freezing weather. It is very rare for a big piece of equipment to start up the narrow part of the road when they see someone else already in the middle of it. However, on Monday, a school bus was coming down my road heading back into town. This monster sized piece of equipment did not stop and wait for the bus to get thru, he just kept driving. The road is 4 lanes wide about 500 feet before the bus and Deere had a "meeting" on my road. My property is a tenth of a mile long - no place to get out of the way for something this big. It is close even for 2 school buses to pass each other.Did he expect the bus to back up over a tenth of a mile or just go in the ditch with all the kids on board? I came in the house to grab the camera. By the time I got back outside, somehow the bus had managed to get by and the equipment was up on my bank.
Do you know HOW BIG those tires are?

Sunday, November 15, 2009



Otherwise known as the Friday the 13th storm by some… the remnants of hurricane Ida paid a long slow visit to the east coast last week… the winds and rain started here on Wednesday and did not really stop until Saturday. All together we got 6.97 inches of rain here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, at least at my place. Some folks got more, some less. No matter what your measurement was, it was a lot! However, the winds are what bothered me the most. I have a friend who says she loves the wind. That may be because she has never had a tree fall on her property. Picking up a few branches is not much to worry about, but having a tree on your house or car is a serious problem.
My first memory of wind was when a hurricane took off our porch back when we lived on the island in Maine. I have been afraid of wind ever since, I guess. Or to say the least, I don’t enjoy it! Here, as many of you might remember, I have had a number of trees come crashing down – one of the hazards of living in the woods! Anyway, I did not lose any trees this time in spite of the sustained 30+ mph winds with gusts over 60. My roof made it thru its first storm, so no leaks!
I did get some water accumulation…

in fact my back and side yards are still under water in a number of places, and so soft, one can actually sink in with the mud over most of your shoe. If I go out today, I will definitely be wearing boots. The pics of the yard don’t look so bad until you realize the water is over a foot deep in places and the leaves are floating on top of the water!

My friend Dorothy Perrucci took these pictures down further in town of a neighbor’s yard and a lost tree. I have included a picture of the old Hopkins Store on the wharf in Onancock and the parking lot adjacent to the store. It looks like the boats are tied up out in the middle of the creek! See the car driving thru the parking lot?

And then there is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Remember the movie Nights in Rodanthe? Well, that IS a real house in Rodanthe, though the movie made it seem much more isolated than it really is… see the water all around it? Notice route 12. It is gone in a number of places that look much worse than this. on TV last night, they showed the house sitting in a LOT of water, the water was up over the road... much more than seen in this pic from, from whom I also borrowed the pic of the other seaside house about to go out to sea. This picture is from before the storm really got cranked up!

Other news...
Changing the subject… for those of you who know the Shore, the Captain’s Deck burned down earlier in the week. I pulled off and took this picture yesterday while on the way to the Organic Food Store, Quail Cove. I have had many a meal at this restaurant over the years. It was usually very busy. Fortunately the motel behind it was not damaged.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


OR, HOME, as I call it. Hopefully this little video will work and you will see a bit more of My Little Corner of the World... The wild ponies are on Assateague. They are called Chincoteague ponies and are now a recognized breed.
Sorry, I am not tech-savvy enough to do better than this. I do hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


DO NOT LAUGH... as far as I know, this was the only parade on the Shore in honor of Veteran's Day. Now I normally do not do a lot in the parade department - but, I got roped into sitting and begging down at the train station. And it was profitable... Considering we need LOTSA money for a new roof, any donations were gratefully recieved. Also, I met a nice guy who helped with the parking issues we had - saving spaces for our antique cars... and wrapping up our yellow tape, no mean feat in a steady wind. Add ImageNothing like joining a group and doing your first volunteer job before the ink is dry on your check! After hearing the band and sirens for a while, the parade finally came in view as they headed down East Main St. Eventually, they went around the country sized block and came back headed for the FireHall. When the economy gets rough, the first programs in the school systems to lose funding seems to be the arts. Trust me on this - I taught art for 38 years! None of our county's school bands could make it to march in our little parade, but the kids from Northampton County proudly showed up with only band sweat shirts for uniforms. What they lacked in uniforms they made up for in enthusiasm and talent! God bless them! I must say, it brought tears to my eyes! I also have to say, they were excellent! They played and played - those kids played their hearts out! I do hope they got some money in their Uniform collection bucket! Northampton is one of the poorest counties in the state. We had a good collection of Fire and Rescue vehicles from neighboring Volunteer Fire Departments (as seen thru the freight door in the old train station)
As the antique cars lined up, I spotted my favorite car from the past... I was a Thunderbird fan! Now, I confess, I have a spot in my heart for a certain GTO, but there has never been a sharper looking car than the 66 T-bird. And my favorite color, too! However, I am content with my van... but still, some memories are nice.
A PS - about 20 minutes after posting this, I started checking the blogs that I follow, and found this little bit on mudflats - remember my comment about bands (the arts) (schools in general) and funding? This is why... (and you know how I try to keep this blog non-political...
And skyrocketing national debt? OK, let’s look at the gross federal debt as a percentage of the GDP for the last 30 years…just for giggles.
Jimmy Carter (D) -3.2%
Ronald Reagan (R) +11.3%
Ronald Reagan (R) +9.2%
George H.W. Bush (R) +13.1%
Bill Clinton (D) -0.6%
Bill Clinton (D) -8.2%
George W. Bush (R) +6.9%
George W. Bush (R) +11.7%
I believe that’s what you call a “pattern.”
Just sayin'...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY

AND THE BEAUTIFUL… We had our first serious frost this morning. It really was pretty, but it has done a number on some of the cold sensitive plants, namely the Strobilanthes and coleus. I think I have all the impatiens in the greenhouse.

So, while Hadji was asleep in my chair, (he sleeps with his eyes opened - creepy!)I grabbed the camera and jacket and headed out back. The azaleas got kissed by Mr. Frost, and tho they can usually take a bit of frost, I think this will finish the red and magenta ones.

The Beauty Berry bush… My new roof on my newly rebuilt lean-to got a good covering of frost. If anyone was hunkered down inside, I hope they were warm. It is built with openings so the possums can get in and out.

In answer to several questions about “shatters” – the pine trees shed their old needles, just not all at one time. The pines we have here are long needle pines, the ones in my yard that have come up by themselves have 8 inch needles. A nice pile of shatters makes a pretty mulch, and yes, it makes the soil acidic. However, camellias and azaleas LOVE acidy soil and that is why they do so well here. In the spring, potato farmers bring in tons and tons of lime to ‘sweeten” the soil before planting their potatoes.
I have also been asked how big camellias and azaleas are. Well, it all depends on the plant. Ice Angel (taken a couple days ago) is a big flower, whereas Yule Tide is not much more than 2 1/2 inches across. These azaleas are about 3 inches across.
I found this little late bloomer the other day, too. It is next to the Persian Shield. The temps that day were in the low 60s. This morning's temp was 30!

And the ugly… it is the time of year when the tomato farmers down the road from me burn their crops. The noise of the gas jets is horrendous, to say nothing of the stench.If you look carefully, you will see that the bushes are still covered with tomatoes. Each year millions of pounds of tomatoes are poisoned then burned so they can quickly be gotten rid of and the field made ready for the next crop. Currently winter wheat is up about 6 inches. Soy beans are being harvested. So the air is filled with the roar of farm equipment and the stench of burned tomatoes and soy dust.
If you notice the size of that tractor, it just barely fits on my road, taking up BOTH lanes. As it is, it does hit the trees and bushes along side the road. For a little over 1/10th of a mile (my land) there is NO place for anyone to get by. You have to back up until you get to someone's driveway and pull off the road for the equipment to get by. DAILY, some idiot sees the huge farm monsters coming down the road and they keep coming toward them instead of pulling over where there is a driveway. What do they think the tractor is going to do? Sometimes the tractor stops and waits and the idiot in the car stops and waits, each in the middle of our little narrow road. It is so stupid! Then traffic starts to build up on either side waiting for the cars to back up and let the equipment thru. The driver of the car that started the mess is invaribly under 30, was probably talking on the phone, maybe texting, and when they then do back up and pull off the road, they scream at the tractor driver about his Oedipus tendencies. Like he can hear them. Duh.