Tuesday, December 28, 2010


ICICLES are rare here on the shore – might be because we can go for years without snow, ya think? So, I suppose folks from snowier areas must think it strange to take pictures of icicles – but even for someone who has lived in Maine, I thought these were pretty spectacular… or maybe have I just been in VA too long. DSC_0836 DSC_0838

Anyway, I just had to share these couple shots with you.

Storm update – we have 8 foot drifts. Most of the back roads here on the shore are closed. The Testosterone Cowboys with 4 wheel drive have been trying to blast their way thru the drifts, just for the fun of it, but, DUH, many of the drifts are a half a mile long, not those little 2 foot wide piles of snow they use in that commercial. So, they get 50 feet into the drift and their 4 wheel drive will not take them any further – NOR does it get them back out! It is difficult to even get out of a vehicle when the snow is up over your hood, over the windows, or even, imagine, up to the roof. So, many of our roads are blocked, not just with snow, but with abandoned vehicles.

Some of the excuses the tow truck operators are hearing are amazing… “I had a hankering for sausage, so we were going to Wal-Mart.”

“We ran out of toilet paper.”

“I dunno, we got bored and I got 4 wheel drive…”

“I was going to go dig my girl friend’s driveway out. (Does she have to go somewhere? Is she a nurse or something?) No, she invited me over for dinner. Gonna have spaghetti. I’m bringing the wine.” (well, that explained one or 2 of the bottles… maybe, but not the open beer can)…

Yep, this one will go down in the record books for us.

Monday, December 27, 2010


The final count – 16 inches… DSC_0825 and then the wind started to blow and the drifts got deep. the grackles buried the feeders in a blur of black wings, DSC_0818 and drank the water from the birdbath at the rate of 2 buckets an hour. DSC_0815 DSC_0814

If I stayed outside shoveling the driveway, the grackles stayed in the back yard and the little birds ate as fast as they could. Today, I am almost out of birdseed. I have probably gone thru 50 pounds or more in a day and a half. DSC_0817 DSC_0819 DSC_0820

For the most part Punkie stayed tucked in one box or another, coming out only to make a quick run to an azalea bush,DSC_0831 or to the cover to the crawl space door. DSC_0835 When I got up this morning to take snow measurements for the TV station, Punkie’s “sun room” and green house were covered with snow.DSC_0832 You can see it has been cleaned off numerous times.

The Buddhas are buried. DSC_0828 DSC_0829 If you did not know where they were, you would not be able to find them. I hope you made out better than we did. It has been fun, sort of, but I am exhausted.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


The day before Christmas was sunny. Not warm, but the snow hadn’t started yet. Punkin spent the day out of the wind in what I call their sun room! It was as warm as toast in there. As a Christmas treat, he had a little snack in there with him. Never say these cats are spoiled! DSC_0810 DSC_0809 DSCN28721

Then there is this morning… By the time I got outside at 7:30, the snow was close to 4 inches deep.DSC_0812 I had to measure the snow for the WBOC 8 o’clock news (my 15 seconds of fame!) Both boys were in the plastic box watching the snow swirl around them. They asked for breakfast in bed. DSC_0813 

The birdbath deicer seems to be working pretty good. We will see how it works with 12 inches of snow on the ground (the latest prediction.)DSCN28681 Whoops, radio just said 14 inches!

I shoveled the driveway – it was about 4-5 inches deep by then. Last measurement was at 6 inches. It was time to make a path for potty purposes as the snow was over the kitty’s butts. It is tough to go to the potty when your butt is covered with snow. DSCN28591DSCN28661

Part of the path goes to the weather station measuring cylinder to the left of the birdbath. The path off to the left goes to a “dry” spot under an azalea where the ground is “dry” enough to scratch a little place, if you know what I mean. Pretend you don’t see that little black and white fellow squatting under the bush.

The driveway got covered as fast as I could shovel, but I threw out some old left over seed from last year and the greedy grackles, blackbirds and starlings got to work melting the snow for me!DSCN28711

If this is 6 inches of snow, what will this tree look like at 12 or 14?DSCN28641

An update… the black birds drank all the water from the birdbath… so I just refilled it – and measured the snow. We are now at 9 inches. I re-shoveled the path to the azalea. Have you ever noticed how snow seems to drain the color from things? Even the few bright spots not frozen brown are barely visible, and the green is almost black. DSCN28701

Guess I’ll not be doing much work on the potting bench any time soon… DSCN28671OK, I guess I will sit back and practice reading on my Kindle – that does take practice, somehow… and sip my Jordan’s Pond coffee. Some of you know where that is! LOL! We have more snow than they do! I have saved this coffee in the freezer just waiting for such a day as this. (Thanks Frank and Rose!)  It sure warmed up these old bones after being out in this mess clearing little pathways. Reminds me of when we used to have an outhouse  we refused to tear down up in the mountains because the power went out so often. LOL! Nothin’ like cookin’ on a wood stove and shoveling your way to the “facilities!” I do miss the stove.

If you get some snow out of this storm, let me know how you made out! Keep a path shoveled, ya never know who will need it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



And, Happy Solstice, too!!!!!!



Last night, the Town’s Neighborhood Watch group sponsored a Christmas Caroling. We hope this will be an annual event that includes people of all religious backgrounds and denominations. The clergy and congregations of the 3 largest churches in town were all invited to join us as well as any other members of the community. This was not a specific church sponsored event, and indeed had representatives of many different groups participating. DSCN2844 DSCN2847

The coordinator for this event was Scott Mears. The Onley Baptist Church offered us the use of their bus, a real blessing considering the cold temperatures and breezy conditions. The Onley Police Department gave us an escort. AT least we hoped that with a police escort we would not get arrested for disturbing the Peace! DSCN28501

It was so much fun to see the families with their children and hear them enthusiastically singing Christmas music as we went from house to house. DSCN2854

After a freezing hour and a half, the group returned to the Onley Fire Hall to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies (courtesy of the Eastern Shore Buddhist Sangha) and fresh made cannolis donated by the Sage Restaurant. DSCN28583

Hopefully next year we will have a much larger turnout of singers and all the town’s churches will be represented, and hopefully it will be a bit warmer!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Getting old is not fun. There are 2 things that go first – your memory……….. um,…………… and I forget what the other thing was. I have had trouble connecting faces and names for a long time… after teaching a thousand kids a year for a hundred years or so, I long ago gave up on names. Fortunately no one ever sued me for sexual harassment for calling them Honey, or Sweetheart, because I learned early on to do that. I realized how good I was at it the day I said “Hon, will you bring me some towels?” expecting the kid closest to the towels would respond and instead I had about a dozen kids jump up and grab for some towels to bring to me. (In an art room there are always stacks of paper towels around.) They were ALL my “Honeys!”

But then I started losing names for THINGS! Sigh. Well, I had always had the problem of switching languages… I think it is common in families that are somewhat bi-lingual… we often mixed languages in the same sentence which was not a problem as long as the people you were talking to spoke the same combination of languages. It is frustrating when folks look at you like you are nuts and you don’t have a clue that you just switched from one language to another, only for one word… I wish we had a way to send a visual picture from my mind to yours – then you would know what I am talking about. So, now my frustration is losing words in more than one language!

Anyway, the water thingy came today. OK, it is a birdbath heater, they say. But it is heating the water, not the birdbath. Whatever. So far it seems to be working. The robins love it. However, they were very cautious, only one brave tiny soul at a time ventured to the edge for a drink. The others sat near by watching. Maybe it is because it is so shiny. It is also very light weight, consequently the frog sitting in the middle to keep it in place. DSC_0808

While I was fixing dinner, the first deer arrived. Again, it was only one at a time… and it was too dark to get a picture. After dinner, I had to refill the birdbath.  DSC_0807

Fortunately the black birds stayed out front by the feeders. I swear, there were over a hundred of them at one point. They emptied 4 feeders. Sigh. So, I guess I will be off to the Tractor Supply place when the roads clear. Maybe they will have one of those water heater thingies for deeper containers so I can provide water for the deer like I did last summer when it was so dry.

Hope the weather is better at your place than mine!

Friday, December 17, 2010


DO YOU KNOW any of those people who always have a “Yeah, but…” to say after you say something? I have a neighbor, a sad soul she must be, for whom nothing is ever right, nothing is good, or if it is kinda good, it should be better. I feel safe in writing this because she does not believe in computers (OK, I don’t believe in having a microwave or dishwasher) – not that that makes her a bad person, just I doubt she will ever read this. Maybe famous last words, I know – but, what the heck.

She stops by here periodically. I am never sure why, except I listen to her until she runs out of gas or starts sneezing, which ever comes first.  She is allergic to cats. I will make no further comment on that. I have been known to lock them up in the bathroom when she is here because Hadji will love her to pieces and Rascal will wash her toes if she is in sandals or untie her shoes if the weather is cooler. She thinks the inside cats should be allowed to go out and I should bring the outside cats in. For someone who is allergic to cats, she seems to worry about them a lot. It seems no matter what I say, she counters with “Yeah, but…”  - even when I switch sides and agree with her!

As you know, the weather here has been brutal the last few days. It has been a chore trying to keep fresh water out for the birds. I am thinking about getting another heated water dish if the thing I ordered for the birdbath doesn’t work. Anyway, she yells at me for not bringing Punk and Spook inside when it is cold. I don’t bother to tell her again how miserable that would make 4 little cats, I just try to show her how nice and warm their boxes are. They sleep in the real warm one, the one with the padded sides and top. Their food is in the heated box on the greenhouse. DSC_0806 It is not as warm, but they can eat and be out of the wind, rain, or snow, their food stays dry, clean, and does not freeze. Sounds like a good deal to me.

YEAH, BUT, SHE has NEVER seen them IN their little nest, she says. WHY? They run like H--- when they see her coming. Yep, even Punkin who is usually out there begging for a head scratch. Even he hides under a bush. They now know the sound of her car and bolt the second they hear it pull in the driveway. DSC_0802

When they are not sleeping, sometimes they just sit and look out, much like folks looking out their window. Often one will be watching while the other one sleeps. In this case, Punkin is asleep while Spook keeps an eye on things. Or maybe he is just hoping there will be food coming out the back door soon. I don’t know. I do apologize for the lousy quality of the photo. The storm door was steaming up faster than I could push the shutter button. DSC_0957

Punkin is the braver one… he loves to sit and keep an eye on the back door from whence cometh the food. But this morning, he decided to sit in the box on the greenhouse where the food is kept. That way his hiney was warm, his toes toasty, and he could keep an eye on everything. And his ear was only a few feet from the kitchen door!

We are got snow.DSC_0805 That doesn’t sound like anything exciting to most of you, but for us it is a BIG event. I shoveled a path for the boys to travel to their favorite potty spots. We got about 3 1/2 inches. The feeders are overloaded with customers. DSC_0803The camera scared the birds away for the moment, except for the bunch on the ground.

One of my favorite things is to see the camellias covered with snow. I love the color contrast. DSC_0981

I just had a mean thought… at least I know someone who won’t be coming by to fuss about things today! The roads are a sheet of ice!

Well, guess I’d better go clean some snow off the driveway while the sun is shining. You all stay safe if you have to be out in this stuff!

Friday, December 10, 2010



As the song on the radio right this minute is saying, the weather outside is frightful… But then, it is not as bad as it was yesterday. We made it up to 47 today! That is still lower than it should be for this time of year. And next week, they say we will be in the teens at night. TEENS! WOW! We have had years when it barely went down into the 20s and then that happened only 4 or 5 times all winter. Anyway, all this is leading up to Spook and Punkin, my outside kitties. They HATE it in the house – believe me, we have tried it and there was no peace until they got back out, even in temps in the single digits. So… I do the next best thing. I make sure they have plenty of warm places to sleep, even a warm spot to eat. DSC_0791

Their warm nest last year worked out so well, I bought another one, since often Spook sleeps inside the nest and Punkin stands guard on the green house. They can and DO sleep in there together, but, for some reason, Punk often likes to be on the greenhouse. DSC_0794 DSC_0799

While I was at it, I did the cats AND myself a favor, I bought a heated water dish. Now you might ask yourself how is that a favor to me? It means I don’t have to go out and break the ice in the morning. That has become a major job these days as I am having a little trouble getting in and out of the house in the morning. I can get their food to them, sometimes just placing it on the greenhouse, but cracking the water out of the dish and refilling it in the bitter cold when I can barely walk, well, it is a bit hard. And last year, it often froze back solid in a few hours. Now before you call me a wimp, let me say, people with Lymes have a lot of trouble with cold temperatures. It quadruples the pain, and the morning pain is the worst, as many of you sadly know. DSC_0957

Also, I have been severely criticized by a neighbor or 2 for “not taking care of my cats” because they are outside in all that bad weather. Heated kitty beds are not cheap, but they are wonderful. See the grey double plug in the big yellow extension cord box? That is a thermostat that controls the bed in the area under it. If the temp drops below 40, the bed turns on. Also, note the wires wrapped around the cords. That is so an animal cannot bite thru or even into the wire. They think of everything, don’t they? DSC_0793

On the right, you can see half of a timer (dark green, semicircle), dusk/dawn or totally on or off, or by the number of hours – that controls the light in the greenhouse that keeps it at 45 or above. DSC_0795

The new kitty bed is in a clear plastic box so they can see everything at least until they get used to it. I guess it is their sunroom for now! The bed is currently on as I need to waterproof the area where the thermostat will plug in. The bungee cords will keep it from blowing in the winds we are supposed to get on Sunday (rain turning to snow.) I will level it out later. It just got too cold putting it all together today. DSC_0797  

Even the possum has a warm room. The back wall of her nest has a vented opening to the furnace room. The furnace is about 2 feet from where she sleeps. They did not have a sign that said Spoiled Rotten Possum Sleeps Here. Guess that is a good thing. DSC_0798 cathouseIn

Next project, a heated birdbath. Next year.