Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It almost seems dumb to post pictures about Hurricane Irene’s visit to the shore, or at least my little corner of the Shore, in view of what has happened and is still happening in Vermont and is still happening in Paterson, NJ. Who would have thought? Days after Irene rolled thru NY and Vermont, my cousins in NY are still without power, and friends in Vermont are cut off from the rest of the state as roads washed out on either side of their farm. So showing a few leaves and twigs on the yard and sidewalk is almost embarrassing.DSC_1177 DSC_1178I lost a 12 foot maple that was growing off the stump of the old maple I lost in Ernesto(?) I think.DSC_1179 And a gum tree came down over the road out front across the street from me, but it was small enough the town cop was able to get it off the road and keep the road open. DSC_1180He lost his cell phone in the process. But I helped him find it the next day when we moved the tree again. He said it would dry out! So, there is not much to see. Others lost power for considerable amounts of time. Then, again, how does one show a power outage? It has been so dry here that the 6 ½ inches of rain that fell in my yard was soaked up in a heart beat.

Friends with houses on the water had water in their yards, but almost no one got water in their houses. One friend got 2 inches in the house. Floyd gave them 18 inches, I think she said. So who would have figured NY, NJ, and Vermont would have had all that flooding?

Remember the potting bench I built? I did take the top shelf off when they told us we were to prepare for 100 mph or higher winds… the bottom with its ugly 4x4 legs never moved a centimeter, nor did the trash can filled with potting soil from the potato bags.


As many of you know, earlier in the week, we were being warned of a Cat 3 hurricane, so we almost evacuated to our place in the Poconos… that would have been a disaster. They lost power for a day or more. Roads were washed out, a bridge or two, but nothing like NY and VT. Nothing like the flooding in Paterson, NJ.

But, best of all, dumb as it sounds, the little cats were only mildly inconvenienced during the storm. No cages… no scary ride in the van… no scary new house, new smells, and then no power anyway! True, Punkin was on “guard duty” and probably did not get much sleep, just a cat nap every now and then, but he protected the back door with all his might, bless his heart.DSC_0957 Spook hid out under the picnic table in a big waterproof bed out of the wind.

Yes, staying home was the best plan – this time. And there was this little present blooming after the storm…DSC_1183 Now we are watching Katia………

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Just a quickie to let you all know we are riding this one out here in Onley. The rain started during the night - we have had 1 inch so far. The wind has not started, tho there have been gusts over 35 mph recorded at the airport, 5 miles away from here.

As many of you know, I started packing up and putting things away as far back as last Monday. It is amazing how much junk sits out where a wind of 100 mph can pick it up and blow it away, to say nothing of my carport that often acts like a wind tunnel anyway. Even tho it is attached to the house, if you have seen this blog in the winter time, you will know that does not mean things don't get wet. I have posted pictures of the van covered with snow while parked on the carport, so I was not surprised to see the van dripping wet this morning when I got up.

As many of you also know, we were expecting to evacuate - the plan was to leave Friday morning... the cages are in the van, cat food, kitty litter, people food, water, but I have brought my medicine bag (toiletries, Rx, etc) and suitcase back inside. So, we were all set, but Spook had other plans. He did not show up for breakfast, so I could not catch him. And I was not going to leave him behind. Then, too, I did not know what I was going to do with 4 cats up there in a house smaller than what I have here, tho I considered taking 2 of the cats over to my house and separating them that way. Basically, I did not get any sleep Thurs night trying to figure it all out. Having outside cats that HATE being inside a house is a problem. Punkin is elderly, he was not young when he arrived here during Hurricane Isabel with a young 3 or 4 month old Spook by his side. Punk has health issues, so that would have to be addressed. Even bringing him in the house here has been a problem, and I bet if one brought Spook in, he would smash thru the glass windows in an attempt to get back outside. Then there is Hadji - if you read my blog regularly, you know he is diabetic, but currently is maintained without insulin. The stress of an 8 hour trip in the van might set him over the edge. The cats have never been in the van for more than 10-15 minutes, just long enough to get to the vet or home.

Then there is MY personal problem - fear. I hate driving, hate bumper to bumper traffic, am terrified of interstates, and then there is the physical strain of that long drive even without all the evacuation traffic (150,000 tourists from Ocean City, MD, alone!) as all the seaside people are being told to get out. Then there is the physical problem of carrying the cages and cats into a house, especially down the steps into my house if I stashed 2 cats there and kept 2 in my uncle's house. See why I could not get any sleep? Putting up with 24 hours of hurricane seemed easier. I guess we will know in a day or 2 if that was the case.

So, here we are. As I type this, Irene is still south of the Outer Banks of NC. Hatteras has reported winds at 87 mph. We are praying the path jogs a bit more in a easterly direction and takes the eye a bit further off our coast. There has been a mandatory evacuation of our islands and coastal communities, both seaside and bayside. I live on what is called the spine of the peninsula, a half mile east of the RR tracks with an elevation of approximately 35 feet above sea level. we are about 3 miles (as the crow flies) from the ocean and 3 miles from the open Chesapeake Bay... but only 2 miles from the tidewater marsh on seaside and 2 miles from the harbor in Onancock Creek. If you draw a line due west from Richmond, you will find Onley. Irene is currently a Cat 1, not a 3 as she was yesterday, and for that I am ever so grateful.

I do want to thank those of you who have called and emailed to see how we are doing. If we have power tomorrow, I will post again. If not - well, I will when the power does come back and I have the time. Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


BORING IS NICE. I can enjoy a life without adrenalin pumping moments. I really can. Yesterday was a break from the norm, and not enjoyable. Of course, things could always have been worse. As you probably know, I used to live in the Middle East. I have been in serious heavy duty earthquake country. In the spring of my Senior year in high school for example, we had a major quake over in the eastern part of Turkey. We decided to skip our Prom and have a sock hop instead and donate all that money we would have spent on gowns and flowers, tuxedos and such, renting a ballroom, etc. and just play some music in the gym, and send that money to one of the towns devastated by the quake. A group of us bought food and blankets and water containers, a few tents, tools, rope... I don't remember what all we gathered and bought. My dad had a truck and our next door neighbr had a VW bus. We loaded up and headed out to the east, a small motorized caravan that some of us called our senior class trip! The trip took 2 days to get there since there were no paved roads outside the city. The town we took our stuff to was mostly a pile of rubble. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. It was heartbreaking. So our little earthquake (5.9) yesterday was interesting but not really scary. I do not want a repeat anytime soon, but we are almost 200 miles from the epicenter that was about 34 miles NW of Richmond. Sadly, my first thought was that someone had bombed Norfolk. Or that a nuclear power plant in NJ had blown up. What sad times we live in.

But, as I said, yesterday was not boring. When the earthquake rumbled thru, I was taking a break from preparing for a hurricane, putting all the birdfeeders away, bungying the adirondacks together, moving all the small objects that tend to migrate to the carport. Hurricanes scare me. We are only 35 feet above sea level, no mountains to protect us... hurricanes are scary. So today will be spent battening down the hatches, rechecking the hurricane food supply, filling the van with gas and a couple cages, just in case... and longing for that boring "nothing ever happens here" mode to return.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Good men are hard to find. Remember hearing that one? (and all the bad jokes, yes, I remember them, too.) I almost never get involved in politics on this blog... unless you know me pretty well, you won't hear much about my political inclinations. I was born into a Republican household, but I was also taught to think for myself somewhere along the line. I can honestly say I am generally above politics - if I like you and what you truly stand for based on what you have done, I will vote for you and support you to the end of the earth. I do think for myself. So, I am going to make my big political statement here... no surprise to some... I am first and foremost against war. I do not believe we have any business being in Iraq or Afghanistan, no business at all. My idea of supporting the troops is to bring them home. Those who love carrying guns, shooting people, hiding behind a uniform or in a tank, we have numerous mercenary groups who are looking for folks like that. With that out of the way, I will not vote for someone who wants to drag us into a war, bomb Iran, or to whom God has supposedly told to get elected and bomb Iraqis, Iranians, or any other group. I am still a Flower Child. That said...

Last week I had an opportunity to meet our former governor and current Senator, Mark Warner. He was Not here campaigning - Senators serve 6 year terms, he has 2 to go. He was just HERE... asking US what was on our minds, what he could do to make life better. It is seldom politicians come to little back water areas like ours even when they are campaiging. Anyway, he was here, there were NO prepared speeches, he read no notes, nothing was written on his hand, nobody stood near-by passing over cheat notes... he just talked WITH us, not TO us. Our Delegate, Lynwood Lewis, introduced him, and turned the floor over to Warner. After a few moments about what was going on in DC and where he stood and a plea for folks to work together, he opened the floor for questions. Folks were civilized (is that a good word? I am beginning to question that term.) and cordial. I jumped in on the No Child Left Behind discussion stating that teachers who read the law knew it was a bad deal from day One... He listened. It was like a conversation with a neighbor, one you like! He was animated, but I think that is just his way of speaking. I wondered how well he could speak if his arms were tied down! He never talked down to us, but then, not to be concieted, the vast majority of the crowd was educated, most with at least a Master's degree.

The Shore has been fortunate. We have had several excellent men representing us, men who cared more about serving the shore than serving their own political interests. One was Republican, and I would vote for him in a heartbeat if he ran again. One is a Democrat, and I will vote for him again in November. Both are men that I cannot find anything to criticize - and trust me, I am good at that! I have known Bob Bloxom most of my life. They don't make them any better than Bob. Actually, Bob was screwed by members of his own party because he voted FOR those of us who voted for him, and not always with his party. Sometimes we get folks in office that are NOT politicians... they are the folks we want who will represent US! Often, the politicians then work to get rid of them.

I had Senator Ralph Northam in school when he was just a little boy - my first year of teaching. He was a sweetheart then and he is the same today (only taller!) Ralph is a neurological pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk when he is not in Richmond, and does a lot of work pro bono. I guess the Tea Baggers would call him a socialist (unless it was their child or grandchild he was caring for and they were out of work, had no insurance, no income, etc.) but I just call him one hell of a good man. A man of compassion. An HONEST man - a rare bird in these times. You might think I am dreaming, but I know these men are actually listening to me when I talk to them about something. They don't just say "unh huh," and shake my hand (They are all good huggers!) and not hear a word. They are real people first, politicians last. They are in office to serve those of us who put them there, not the BIG corporations that now own most politicians. They are not there for the money or glory or because they want to bomb somebody or finally make "Poppy" proud.

If you ever have a chance to vote for one of these great men, please do so.

Mark Warner was a good governor and has tried to be as bi-partisan as he could be in DC, working for the good of the People and not for the crippling of the government or the ruin of a president. It takes a lot to impress me... and I am impressed. If the time comes that he chooses to run for a higher office, I certainly would not hesitate to vote for him.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eggs-actly right!


John was in the fertilized egg business.

He had several hundred young layers

(hens), called 'pullets,'

And ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

He kept records,

And any rooster not performing

Went into the soup pot

And was replaced.

This took a lot of time,

So he bought some tiny bells

And attached them to his roosters.

Each bell had a different tone,

So he could tell from a distance,

Which rooster was performing.

Now, he could sit on the porch

And fill out an efficiency report

By just listening to the bells.

John's favorite rooster, old Butch,

Was a very fine specimen,

But this morning he noticed

Old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all!

When he went to investigate,

He saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets,

Bells-a-ringing, but the pullets,

Hearing the roosters coming,

Could run for cover.

To John's amazement,

Old Butch had his bell in his beak,

So it couldn't ring.

He'd sneak up on a pullet,

Do his job and walk on to the next one.

John was so proud of old Butch,

He entered him in the Renfrew County Fair

And he became an overnight sensation

Among the judges.

The result was the judges

Not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize

But they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making.

Who else but a politician could figure out

How to win two of the most highly coveted awards

On our planet by being the best

At sneaking up on the populace

And screwing them

When they weren't paying attention.

Vote carefully,

The bells are not always audible.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


LIFE HAS BEEN BUSY here on Possum Lane. I don’t do well when it is too hot (read humid) to breathe, on those days I would like to curl up next to Hadji and his catnip pillow and take a nap. Move over meeses, make room.DSC_1144 But, I have never been able to sleep during the day anyway, so all I would accomplish is several relocated catnip mice and a disgruntled cat. Speaking of cats, as I came home from the store the other day, I noticed my lump of gold (read Punkin) curled up asleep on my potato bags.DSC_1148DSC_1149 Remember my great “farming” experiment with potato growing bags? The growing bags were about $11 each and took 2 BIG bags of potting or garden soil mix. I got the seed potatoes from a friend. I doubted it would work, but I followed the directions.DSC_1008 After a while, I saw leaves! I was excited. It has been a long hot dry summer so far – we are under an extreme drought designation – so it meant watering faithfully. They looked OK when I went to PA to see my Aunt, but they were dead as anything when I came home. So, I stopped watering them. Did I mention I know NOTHING about growing potatoes? I figured they were dead. $40 out the window, or something like that. Shoot, I could buy a lot of potatoes for $40! So, while Punk found a new bed in the yard, I waited for a cooler day, dragged out my potting soil storage unit ( read trash can) and got the shovel. After a few good scoops of dirt, the shovel hit something! Well, what do you know? I put the shovel aside, having just split what I figured was the only potato in the bag, and scooped with my trusty potting soil scooper (read cool whip container) and what do you know! Or as one of my former students used to say – Viola! Yes, that is what he said – I know what I spelled. As I dug thru the dirt, I found some decent sized redskin potatoes. I also found a bunch of little potatoes starting to sprout… they were too tiny to bother with, so I replanted them, watered them, and have one bag out there to see if I get a second crop. This batch weighed in at 5 lbs, and that is after the dirt was washed off and tiny ones replanted.DSC_1152 Punkin is not happy having a soggy bag out in the yard, but that is too bad. He will find another spot. And so I made some potato salad today. Lunch was awesome. My own potato salad, my own tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Does it get better than this? OH, and by the end of next week, my second crop of string beans, yellow wax, and Italian flats will be ready to be picked. Who said I'd never make a good farmer? Oh, right, I did. Who'd a known?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel...

He has been a journalist for 49 years.

He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People

-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House now? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you.

This might be funny if it weren't so true.

Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,

Tax his bed,

Tax the table,

At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,

Tax his mule,

Teach him taxes

Are the rule.

Tax his work,

Tax his pay,

He works for

peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,

Tax his goat,

Tax his pants,

Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,

Tax his shirt,

Tax his work,

Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,

Tax his drink,

Tax him if he

Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,

Tax his beers,

If he cries

Tax his tears.

Tax his car,

Tax his gas,

Find other ways

To tax his ass.

Tax all he has

Then let him know

That you won't be done

Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;

Then tax him some more,

Tax him till

He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,

Tax his grave,

Tax the sod in

Which he's laid...

Put these words

Upon his tomb,

'Taxes drove me

to my doom...'

When he's gone,

Do not relax,

Its time to apply

The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax

Building Permit Tax

CDL license Tax

Cigarette Tax

Corporate Income Tax

Dog License Tax

Excise Taxes

Federal Income Tax

Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

Fishing License Tax

Food License Tax

Fuel Permit Tax

Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)

Gross Receipts Tax

Hunting License Tax

Inheritance Tax

Inventory Tax

IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

Liquor Tax

Luxury Taxes

Marriage License Tax

Medicare Tax

Personal Property Tax

Property Tax

Real Estate Tax

Service Charge Tax

Social Security Tax

Road Usage Tax

Recreational Vehicle Tax

Sales Tax

School Tax

State Income Tax

State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)

Telephone Federal Excise Tax

Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax

Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes

Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax

Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax

Telephone State and Local Tax

Telephone Usage Charge Tax

Utility Taxes

Vehicle License Registration Tax

Vehicle Sales Tax

Watercraft Registration Tax

Well Permit Tax

Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom, if agreed, stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?'

Sunday, August 07, 2011


I WAS JUST looking thru my pictures to find some stuff for a Newsletter........ and I kept passing these shots. ..............sigh.......... It is 94 at this moment. Humidity is probably 250%. It is like breathing soup. Gardening anyone? It is too hot today, but it was buried in snow then. So, I decided to reminisce. We do that as we get older, right? Just thought you might like to think back along with me...