Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Renewed and Improved

This winter has seemed like Ground Hog Day...all winter long.  The days are dark and unusually short.  I swear this year they seem much shorter than ever, maybe 4 hours long.  We get a few days of sunshine, but most are just gray.  Sometimes it rains all day long.  But even with these slight differences each day seems almost the same as each day before with no new edges or harsh angles.  I do tend to get a mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder this time of year.  I understand why Scandinavian literature is so plodding and sad.

My usual reaction is to curl up on the couch in "seasonal-change-wait" mode and read or watch TV.  I have edited all of my recent photos and there is nothing new to play with as you can take only so many photos of birds and gray trees.  This is the season of boredom and depression.  No wonder the entire nation is arguing about guns instead of poverty and jobs or chocolate cake and wine.  (We own 2 guns, have no fear of anyone taking them, and are pro-gun control, of course.)

I got so bored a few days ago that I cleaned the two bathrooms downstairs toothbrush clean---actually using an old toothbrush at times.  Everything that wasn't bolted down was taken out and every corner was scrubbed.  Every rug was washed, every wall artwork dusted, every light fixture polished.  I threw away toothbrushes and extra lotions I hadn't used in years.  I even organized the drawers.  I turned on all the lights teasing the sun to come out.  Boy am I bored!

Then just when I was ready to start taking drugs, I woke early one morning to an unusual golden light peaking at my eyelids and saw this!  I could not contain myself, grabbed my camera and ran in slipper-socks to the dock.  My socks became heavy squishy sponges as I cross wet grass and wet wood, but the temperature was not brutally cold, just bearable.  I stood on the dock in my new white Christmas bathrobe and wet feet looking like a giant poodle with black paws and snapped away in wonder.  I even had time to look at the sky and enjoy the moment.  There were two and one was complete.

Today they are predicting snow!!  I am really excited for another change!  It seems that I will survive.  My hearing will improve.  (Oh, the prior post was about Justin Timberlake's new song "Suit and Tie.")

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

The island of Aruba is hot, hot, hot.  And I do not say that because of the effect of the voluptuous body below in the string bikini.  (I thought I had excluded her from the serenity of this lovely pocket beach.)  Throughout the afternoon, as we walked back from swims in the water, every single person was talking about how cheeky she was...and much to my reader's disappointment I did not get a photo of her facing sea!

Okay, enough!  With the magic of photo-shopping, lets remove her from the picture, shall we.?

Does it still look hot?  No?  Well it was!  It was so hot, that while we could walk on the sand barefoot, we went directly from the water to lie in the shade of the Palapas, palm frond covered tables, each and every time.  Only mad dogs, Englishmen and ladies in string bikinis would lay out in the noon day sun.  Below are my fair haired son and future daughter-in-law shade bathing, both with enough Irish fair skin to practice safe sunning.

The difficulty for photographers, such as myself, is the hot flat sun.  Everything is over-lighted within an hour of sunrise, and each photo tends to lose any depth and colors are washed out unless the lighting levels are changed later by software.  Thus my eye was drawn to shadows in taking photos.

This is an early morning photo from our east facing balcony.  I never saw anyone on any of the other balconies the whole time we were there.  Of course our free condo balcony did face the parking lot!

We spent a good deal of our time seeking the shade of trees and buildings and yet I still came back with a really good tan.  Go figure.  The other thing that would draw my eye was the shadows beneath large cactus on hikes.  Sort of a tempting/not-so-tempting approach to sitting in the shade.

The other respite that was welcome was spelunking.  Aruba has a number of caves.

It is interesting to see how many people while afraid of the cave residents (rattlesnakes and bats) did not mind "hanging out" in the cool shade for a while.  On the other hand, I tend to neither fear nor want to cuddle with either.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two photos

 This old cherry was dying little by little and now with a push from the storm seems to have just missed that budget arbor we put in.
Here are three of our neighbors who came by to help and get that big tree cut into movable pieces so that we could get out of the driveway!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I am putting it off as long as I can.  This morning was filled with hot and sweaty work outside.  Lots of lifting and carrying and putting in piles made me sweaty and thirsty.  Now I have come inside and opened the fridge for the very last time in heaven only knows how many days to take out the cool ice tea pitcher and finish it off.

The yard looks like an elephant herd was frightened down the street and took a detour past the house and through both sides of the yard.  The only things that do not seem disturbed are the birds and butterflies who have continued their sugar collecting even before the sun broke through the clouds today.   HUGE and small trees are down everywhere and it is a miracle that the house, shed, boat and dock were spared.

I am writing now on a laptop with a waning battery and am writing this post in MSWord as there is no electricity in the neighborhood, and I hope to post it at my daughter’s house.  Rumor has it that 80% of the county is without electricity due to some major power station router being down.  A man up the road who has a tree on his house and works for the electric company said we might get power by 9:00 this evening.  I doubt  it.  I am not complaining because the temp will not break 80 F for the next few days and I do not have large trees resting on my house as those who live on the Bay and elsewhere seem to have experienced.  There were emergency calls about once a minute to the local fire station last night.  (My neighbor, the lottery winner, volunteers as an EMT, and she has had no sleep all night according to her husband.)

I had promised to take my granddaughter down here this week to care for as she has no school or camp…but it looks like we will be spending the week up at her house.  I am putting off opening the chest freezer and emptying the contents into a cooler to take up the daughter’s house where there is electricity.  It seems like such a long and dreadful project, and I am debating whether to complete a wash/cloth bath before or after.  We are on a well and that means no water can be pumped to the house, so everything is done using the water we have set aside.  I have so much food from the garden that will have to be tossed away.

When I return here at the end of the week I have only a weekend left to pack for a two-week trip, and if there is still no electricity, this could be a bigger project than I wanted.  I will empty the fridge, the freezer, and try to check off my list the things that have to be done when one is gone for two weeks to a place far away.  It will be a job with many small errands and projects and I am fighting a chest cold which drains all my energy reserves.  My adult kids want to join us for the next weekend prior to departure, but I am NOT cooking anything while they are here.  Seems reasonable to me?  Either we BBQ or eat out.

At least, with the neighbor’s help we have cleared the driveway of a 16-18 inch diameter poplar and tons and tons of leaves and branches. It is a long drive this evening up to my daughter's house past many black or yellow blinking traffic lights, dark houses, and darker stores.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I just noticed that my last post on this blog was the 1,000th.  Quite the journalistic diarrhea I have going on here.  I didn't notice or I would have made greater use of the milestone.  Certainly it was worth a poem, but it appears that both you and I dodged that bullet.

This week I am breathing and eating slowly and catching up on all those murder mysteries that I missed watching when my grandson was here.  I did get him introduced to the Narnia series and now have purchased two other DVDs for when he returns for a few days this fall.

While I was breathing like a yoga instructor and sitting in front of the computer upstairs the house began to sway and jerk.  I did have a small glass of wine at the computer, but I knew it was not that, and instead, hopped like a crazy bunny outside.  I could see the bird feeders swinging dramatically from side to side in the back yard and I waited outside at least ten minutes before going back inside.  I am alone this week as hubby is on a business trip.  I figure I would not be found beneath the rubble for days!  5.8 on the earthquake scale and the largest since 100 years ago.  Everyone up and down the East Coast felt it.

I walked carefully around the house when I got back inside and found only one broken wine glass that had been hanging in the rack beneath the cupboard.  It seems that Colorado got a similar earthquake just a short while ago.  Here in the East we rarely get quakes, so they can be very startling.  Mother earth is settling down after all the water, oil, gas, and shale we have been taking from her layers.

Next week I get the 4-year-old girl for a week.  She is much more clingy and far less in love with the great outdoors  Maybe baking, making cookies, tea parties...!  Then we are off to Colorado and Utah for two weeks.  I will be taking the laptop and hoping to post and looking forward to some dramatic scenery to preserve with my camera.  I sure hope what I have to write about is of more significance and readability than these last few weeks.  I just need some Rocky Mountain air as my gray matter has been very sluggish these days.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No Tornadoes, No Complaint

All we got was some very nasty winds and torrential downpours...but it was enough to dislodge these two tulip trees.  One had been damaged in the building of the house 5 years ago, but we thought the other was pretty healthy.  Notice that it missed the compost corral but did knock aside the bat house.  AND more money to fix that damn deer fence...AGAIN!  At least I am safe and my house is safe.  I will not complain.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hollow Whistle

She is biting sharp like the blade of a knife and as cold as the last song of the loneliest sparrow.

This confident weather has thrown me to the ground and has me gulping parchment air.

There was a time when winter was fresh like sparkling ice milk
and soft and delicate like downy white feathers.

There was a time when winter was a novelty
like an antique satin music box
with glittering snow fairies twirling to winter waltzes.

Now is the time when the death rattle of paper leaves is gone
and the birds have cloaked themselves with the dark green thorned holly leaves
or shrouded themselves deep in the barbed rose tangle, huddled frozen puff balls.

Now comes the time when bleak shadows are dark and long witches fingers
and the sun seems embarrassed to try and play the game anymore.

The glow of the water's surface has become opaque steal gray.  The trees bare arms plead silently for forgiveness.  The wind whistles smoothly on its way past us all.

I am a coward and will hibernate until the days grow long once again.

(Everyone has posted such lovely words on winter and I am feeling gray and brave enough to post the other side...)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumnal Reverie

This is my favorite time of year.  Days are cool enough for roast chicken dinners.  I harvested the last of the garden vegetables and the farmers market completes the rest.  I do not mind having the oven on for over two hours to let the big bird brown as the afternoon cools.  The fall rains have started and after our two-month drought, this is like champagne from the sky.

While I can no longer run outside barefoot across the wet grass to harvest the rosemary and sage for the chicken, I also do not have to avoid the hot sidewalk on the quick return.

I can no longer watch the moon rise in my Chinese pajamas (pink "silk" which my Princess granddaughter loves) because the evenings are most chilling now on the back deck, but I can still BBQ on the deck and enjoy the earlier sunsets through the flame red and yellow trees.

Perhaps I will also finally have time to search the back seat of my car and find the injured grasshopper which my grandson saved, wrapped carefully in a napkin, and then somehow lost on our trip back from the ice cream booth this past summer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Enough Already!

I am in Florida trying to thaw my frigid bones as this post is being published.   It seemed that almost every weekend that we headed into the city to visit my daughter this past winter, we saw this mess in our driveway on our return.  I love the beauty of the snow but this winter we have had at least 5 (6?) snowstorms when usually we have only one little one.  I have become way too familiar with the snow shovel as we keep the deck clear and the sidewalks safe.  The driveway has to take care of itself because it is quite large.  I guess that I got spoiled by the past decade of milder winters.  I hate to say it, but we better not see this when we pull into our neighborhood upon our return and yet,  I am sure we will.  Photo above was taken after the second major snow storm.

Here is the same driveway after the fourth and record breaking snowstorm and just one day before we left.  What looks like a berm of snow is actually snow covered ice! The hedge in the mid-distance is a lovely cedar that fell across the driveway with a big snowy sigh.  There was another even larger cherry tree across the driveway closer to the house!  It was like our hiking trips to get back home.  (Post Script:  Just got off the phone from talking with our tree removal guy who cannot get into the driveway with his big truck because it is still too snowy and wet...he did say that the other BIG pine tree at the front of the driveway also added its opinion to this snowy winter...that makes 4 trees down so far!)

If we do have this much snow when I get back,  I am getting out my magnifying glass and putting a stop to all this nonsense.  Let's hope I don't start a forest fire!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cold Windy Day!

Being retired means, for most people, that everyday is Saturday or Sunday.  Baring economic hardship, you can pretty much do what you want.  Baring guilt trips or health restrictions you can pretty much do it as long as you want.  Baring the attitudes of people you live with you can do it all day if you want.

Lie in bed and pull the covers over your head on a cold windy winter morning.
Grab the binoculars and watch the bird feeder for hours until your stomach reminds you that you have eaten nothing yet today.
Drink your coffee slowly and mindfully rather than in scalding sips on the way to work.
Read an entire book in one sitting.
Watch more than one movie on DVD in an afternoon.
Spend an afternoon wondering how on such a windy and cold day the geese can manage to tack their way flying down the river pulling into stalls and then tacking to the other side to continue with their progress.  Takes them much longer on a day like today.  Spend another hour trying to get a good photograph of that challenge.

And if you have a little Puritan work ethic in your soul, as I do, go through all those old files in the basement with your husband and reduce them to 30% by tossing or shredding the 60%...
OR actually exercise through an entire episode of NCIS which you have seen several times before!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grayness Begone!

Today has been one of the grayest and wettest days thus far.  I am hoping that this will not be a consistent pattern for the winter months, because we have been having luscious weather and I have gotten used to that and this weather is beginning to get on my nerves.

I decided to post a few flowers photos to cheer myself (and you all) up.  I was cleaning out old folders downloaded to this new PC and loading some new photos off the camera.

These yellow strawflowers above  were still blooming yesterday on my deck in spite of weather dropping to the 20's C at night and barely breaking 40 C most days.  They do look a little bedraggled today.

This other flower below is one I took at the conservatory at Biltmore.  It is a lovely varigated hibiscus that I had never seen before.

OK, that cheered me up a little.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rushing (T)Rains

I had just returned from two days of taking care of two preschool grandchildren last night. They had tag-teamed me and while the deafening roar of children screaming, laughing, crying, shouting was still ringing in my ears, I removed faded jeans and sweatshirt to put on the softer pajamas as I heard the roaring and banging of the weather. The wind has been pummeling this end of the bay for over 24 hours. The rain bangs intermittently on my kitchen skylight and I can see the glisten of water in every area hit by outside lights.

I had arrived in the dark and hurried out of my car in the pelting rain to open the gate. There were no trees down in my driveway, but I am too far from the dock to see how high the water is and it is too dark to see if the wind has brought down trees elsewhere in the yard. I snuggled down beneath the covers so thankful that I have shelter from the storm and can worry about damage until tomorrow.

The continuing tempest of nature woke me at 4:00 this morning and I am sitting here waiting for the sun to push a little gray light through the tropical storm clouds. I am curious to see the sudden transformation of naked trees and also to see if there is damage. This lovely summer without any storm made me complacent and I am surprised by this violent aftermath of late summer that pushed her way up here in our late fall.

The sound of rushing trains continues as I post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two-Days in the Boonies

The heat and humidity along the Bay had worn us thin. It seemed that just walking out to the shed would result in a necessary change of clothes when one returned. We decided to celebrate our 39th anniversary in the mountains instead since the days that followed were going to be busy with relatives and houseguests. We were able to book a room at the lodge for $69. Do we know how to celebrate or what? The problem was that the above view was the weather that greeted us when we drove to the mountain ridge for our first afternoon hike (we really sort of saunter). The clouds in the distance grumbled and growled finally bringing a small downpour our way as we hurried back to the car where we sat for a long while watching raindrops pelt the dusty windshield. (The danger on these high meadows is the ligntning...not so much the rain.)

We decided to drive down the mountain and found a place below the clouds that was just misting moisture and not threatening a full-fledged shower, and found this old road that was a perfect hiking trail. No slipping or sliding along muddy rocky trails. (This was the area where I photographed the red salamander which I will post about later on my other blog.)

We also traveled another nice trail that followed the Blackwater River just outside of Davis, West Virginia. They have a spillway dam and camping areas and several new trails. The goldenrod was in full bloom reminding us that all of those great autumn colors were soon to be revealed as fall was hovering nearby.

Some trails are marked and others just become intriguing green paths that make you wish you had all the time in the world to wander them and see what new vistas will reward you.

This trail might have been an ATV trail until the ATV's were banned. (Thank God or the powers that be, says Tabor under her breath.) The recent rains made it a challenge to follow. When deciding where to place ones' foot there was either sloppy wet mud or boggy Muskeg on either side. I knew that my new waterproof hiking boots were worth the money when my feet stayed dry and hubby ended up with very wet socks.

The trail formed a loop just as we came to a beaver pond in the sunken marsh at the foot of a large meadow we had been edging. Most of one side of the marsh was wreathed in brown cattails as warnings about the wetness of the soil. We saw two brown hawks in the distance and even though we were very careful and quiet we scared a few pin-tail ducks at the far edge of the pond. We wandered down to the Muskeg edge and saw the remains of a very small deer that had perhaps been a wolf's or fox's dinner. I can visualize the predator enjoying a nice dinner as he looked over the quiet pond.

We moved on up to the side of the hill and set out our lunch with the million dollar view of the pond in the distance on one side and the meadow on the other. We shared cheese, salami and crackers. Cut into juicy fresh Asian pears and peeled some Clementine oranges and then topped the meal off with cookies and dried fruit and nuts. Best restaurant we have eaten in all year! Although there were deer flies about, none bothered us while we recuperated our energy on the fern bed in the shade of the trees.

We encountered even more new trails for another visit on our drive out. They seem to be reaching for creative trail names! There are hundreds of hiking trails in the area. I think we will never be able to trek them all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Just Another Day

After one of the more torrential thunderstorms had cleared a few weeks ago, we were rewarded with the view above from our dock. Actually, there were two rainbows both forming complete arcs across the end of the finger of the river. That more complete view was impossible to capture with my not-so-wide angled lens. Even capturing the colors of a rainbow, that mystical reflection of rays of light painting their way through the raindrop, is quite the challenge as this photo does not look as stunning as the real thing. It was sort of "you had to be there."

It never ceases to surprise me that rainbows create such a feeling of hope and euphoria in me. Maybe it is the electricity in the air that polarizes the brain cells; maybe it is the vastness of the arc that makes us appreciate that, tiny creatures that we are, we were saved from all the thunder and lightning; maybe it takes us back to the first time in our fresh youth when we saw our first rainbow. I don't know, but it sure does ring my chimes.

(This should probably be posted on 'my other blog' but I already have a line-up of pre-scheduled posts with some other photos waiting there! I am spending most of my time in the "room without walls" these days.)