Sunday, January 08, 2017


FIRST A NOTE to those of you from - AWAY. We can go years with NO snow - or maybe just a little inch or two every once in a while - but this was a BIGGIE for us. Even just a few inches of snow can basically cripple the Shore and close schools for days as the buses just can't get down into the "necks" as they call our back roads and farms down in the marshes and woods. We can't use chemicals like other places because we are only about 5 miles across, the Chesapeake on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other, and miles of marsh, gullies, and guts draining into one or the other. The land is flat, so that drainage is a problem for the roads, consequently they are what we call turtle backed, high in the center often with deep drainage ditches running along side. And no guard rails, BTW. So it is difficult to plow the roads once you get off the main highway (13) that basically runs up the spine of the 80 mile long peninsula to Maryland. Some roads never see a plow. When you add wind to the snow, the open miles of farmland can quickly drift the snow back over the road. VDOT long ago stopped putting up snow fences (after 5 years in a row with no snow) and have had serious drifting problems ever since. But they save $$ not putting the fence up for only 2 or 3 snows a year. If you have a problem with that, move. Seriously. That is what one of our complaining "Come Here's" was told. Actually it was more specific............
Anyway, here are today's pix for my friends and family who are not here to enjoy this latest News making snow event. I will start with my CoCoRaHS precip cylinder, minus the inner tube which would crack in these temps (currently 23!!!!! It is supposed to be 63 by Friday) This cylinder is 4 feet off the ground to help you measure the snow drift there. The sign advertises it is a butterfly garden.
Hoover (the newest cat) actually caught a butterfly near this sign in Dec.... the 18th, actually when it was 70 degrees. But I digress. The yardstick is a few feet away in the zucchini garden, actually, minus the zucchini, of course. Please note the number nearest the snow is 17. Yep. 17. OMG!

Hoover likes to spend her days in the sun on one of the Adirondacks. This is her favorite. She struggled to find a potty spot, finally working her way over to the huge Aucuba where she could dig a spot in the leaf litter underneath. This is her first snow and she is confused!

The wind has been a real pain... the Buddha out front under the Yule Tide camellia was completely buried last night. This is what is left of the snow this morning... and Buddha sans snow the other day.

My old cat, Spook, spends much of his time across the street (away from Hoover who wants to play) and kind of got stuck there with deep drifts. I shoveled out my driveway to the street to help on this side, but that didn't help over there! At 73, I can't shovel snow like I used to... and the day of neighborhood kids coming by to shovel snow are long gone. They don't have an app for that. 

The snow is beautiful on the camellias. Snow won't hurt them but this cold temp will.
I picked these Friday and brought them in the house. I love having fresh home grown flowers on the table year round. Now I can't even get to this bush!
Stay warm! Stay safe! Keep off the ice  roads!

Saturday, January 07, 2017


IT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN, but when it does, we are up that well known creek... no paddle, but we do have snow shovels! It is still snowing as I write this... I just came in from feeding Spook and Hoover and sweeping and shoveling ON THE CARPORT! It is 23 degrees but wind chill makes it feel like 9, wind sustained is at 14, gusts up to 30.

I had someone ask me about that big sheet of heavy plastic next to the cat boxes... I said it was to keep the snow out of the boxes and I got laughed at. "But they are up on the carport!" he said. Yeah, they are... but the wind blows the snow around, even up on the car port. My van is covered on all 4 sides with snow even tho it is on the carport which is attached to the house. OK, it does not have a foot of snow like Anna's van, but it is covered nonetheless.

Anyway, here is the reworked plastic snow guard doing its thing. As you can see, some snow still made it up on top of the greenhouses - but NOT in the boxes. BTW, the temp in the boxes averages 55 degrees but is toastier directly on the pad.

This is the new water dish - keeps the water at 45 degrees. It is smaller than the old one which held a quart and a half, but it is easier to drain and clean. Spook is getting a drink.
2 other warm boxes are on the left of Spook... often there is a possum in the bottom one. A visiting cat sometimes sleeps in the box above it... plastic covering the opening but snow actually got in it this time! (Another reason why I built a new box for Hoover.) The bottom box has a vent that opens to the furnace room, upstairs has a heating pad like in the boxes.

And this is how I keep the greenhouses warm when we have these unbelievable cold temps! (currently 57 and 58 degrees) It will come off to let the sunlight in as soon as it warms up a bit... Tuesday?
   I LOVE foam board insulation! I wish I had discovered it sooner! The cats love it, too - and so, apparently, does the possum snuggled down in the possum box out in the back yard.

The foam is taped to a piece of plywood (with red duct tape) because the critters use it as a highway from the ground to the cat boxes - and food, of course. The old windows (with Plexiglas) keep a snow free path for critters heading out. All this is covered in snow now.

Here is the back yard taken at about 9 inches of snow. My new wheelbarrow (a Christmas present) has a good pile of snow on it as does the Adirondack the cats and I enjoy in the winter when the sun is shining. Gotta keep that Vitamin D up so I don't have to take any more pills! The old Adirondack is in the top picture, just about in the center buried under a load of snow!

I hope you are enjoying your snow - if you got any. Most of all, stay warm and stay SAFE!

Sunday, January 01, 2017


For the New Year (2017,) having a new kitty (Hoover), who is not exactly welcomed by Uncle Spook, I felt it would work better if she had a more comfortable place to eat, perhaps to sleep, or just hangout when it is cold, where she can see out, keep watch, listen to the back door open (FOOD???), and basically be warm and safe, and Spook can have his old familiar space back to himself. The old medium sized cat mat decided to quit heating, so I bought a replacement and took the smaller one I had been using until the larger one arrived, for the new, slightly smaller box. Hoover CAN get in it unaided, but is still needing to be put in there to eat as she goes over to her old heated but dark box to eat. She is a fast learner, so, a couple more meals in the Upstairs Apartment and she will be all set.
I feel sorry for her, in a way... she so wants Spook to play with her, but at 13, all he does is hiss and smack at her. She smacks back and he turns and leaves. Spook has never been a fighter. Punkin always fought his battles for him. I had hoped Hoover might sort of take Punky's place in his life - or at least provide some companionship. They often curled up together and sometimes walked leaning into each other. I often wondered where Punkin found Spook as he was a kitten when the 2 of them showed up in my yard during Hurricane Isabel. One would have assumed Punk was his mother, but that would have been rare - Punkin was, after all, an orange cat.
Punk has been gone several years now and Spook has been a solitary cat ever since, but still roams his territory here and across the street where he now stays mostly as Hoover will not go near the road - be grateful for some things, right? Spook is VERY cautious. Punky taught him well.

Anyway, here is the new box with Hoover on top, Spook chowing down by himself 'downstairs.' The electrical connections have all that wire around them so critters don't bite into them and get electrocuted or start a fire. The wiring is actually quite elaborate as I have remote controls on their beds as well as the greenhouses under them. Their water dish is controlled by a thermo-cube that turns on at 35 degrees and off at 45. Their water does not ever freeze. I feed them in the boxes when it is real cold - the heated pads keep the food from freezing.

A friend came over the other day and was quite surprised at how warm it was in the boxes in spite of them being only a thin piece of plastic.
The doors are covered with Ziploc freezer bags and a clear contractors grade plastic flap.
The bungee cords keep the boxes from blowing away. The blue stuff is insulation foam. The white mat covers come with the mats.
If you are interested, here is the info on the larger pad that I bought for Spook and Punkin and just replaced. The old one lasted 5 years and had a lot of critters warm up on it.

Product Details

It is also the perfect size for a couple loving possums looking for a meal and a place to toast their toes. In fact we could fit quite a few possums in here!

Just sayin'..........
Ya know, I think they are wishing you a Happy New Year!