Mother Nature has lost her mind! The first significant snow of the year, nearly 10 inches, fell earlier in the week. Yesterday the high temperature was in the mid 60s and what snow didn’t melt during the day was washed away by the torrential thunderstorms overnight. Today started out warm and we had a few torrential downpours and a tornado watch until late this afternoon. Then the temperature started plummeting and we have a chance of snow showers overnight!
With the whacky weather in mind I decided to exercise a little common sense for a change and stay close to home. I still managed to get a few frames today. This Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) taking shelter in the brush along the edge of the tree line behind our place was shot through the bedroom window at a range of about 50 yards using a Sigma 150-500MM optically stabilized telephoto zoom lens.
I actually worked up enough energy to wander outdoors today! The nasty virus I’ve been fighting seems to be letting up at long last. However, I am in still in no shape to wrangle wild animals so the leashes stayed in the house and the livestock were clipped to their cable run. They still had a lot of fun hunting cats, marking territory, barking at imaginary trespassers, climbing on the picnic table to lick my ear just as I framed a shot…….
The weather was beautiful and I was really enjoying the sun and mild temperature. Imagine……….shirtsleeves on January 24th! Why do I get the feeling Mother Nature is about to bury us in snow and ice? Maybe THE BOSS ought to stop by the store and load up on bread and milk……just in case.
Anyway, I settled for shooting some Goldenrod while it’s dormant and no threat to my seasonal allergies. It wasn’t until I downloaded the images from the camera that I discovered it was set to shoot in monochrome. I kind of like what I captured even if I didn’t mean to.
Sorry I haven’t been around to make y’all shake your heads and ask yourselves why I haven’t been institutionalized yet…….and NO, that’s not why I haven’t been online much recently.
THE BOSS has had some medical issues that have been occupying what little is left of my mind. I haven’t even picked up a camera in several days.
She is being treated by several very competent medical professionals is okay, at home and at the moment well sedated. Her preliminary prognoses are very favorable and she’ll get a better handle on her condition tomorrow when she sees one of the specialists she’s been referred to and gets the lab results.
Now, while she’s still unconscious I’ll go check the straps on her straight jacket and the padlocks on the chains. You’d think she’d behave herself, especially after I cut the handle off her broom, effectively grounding her but NO-O-O-O!
Did I mention that the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are just moving in to combine with a low pressure system that arrived in our area last night? The weather guess says heavy rain, 4 to 8 inches, through Thursday followed by scattered thunderstorms through the weekend. I’ll go absolutely stir crazy! If you already think I’m as screwy as a soup sammich you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
I spoke with my brother again this morning and he says they have Mom’s house buttoned down to ride out Hurricane Irene.
There is one positive aspect of this storm.The torrential rains will aid firefighters who have been battling the Great Dismal Swamp wildfire which was started by a lighting strike two weeks ago. So far it has burned over 5,500 acres. Smoke from the fire has triggered air quality alerts 200 miles away!
This Afternoon: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86. East wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight: Tropical storm conditions expected, with hurricane conditions possible. Scattered rain and thunderstorms, then rain likely and possibly a thunderstorm after midnight. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Cloudy, with a low around 76. East wind 11 to 16 mph increasing to between 29 and 39 mph. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Saturday: Tropical storm conditions expected, with hurricane conditions possible. Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 80. East wind 45 to 55 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts in excess of 4 inches possible.
Saturday Night: Hurricane conditions expected. Rain and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 73. North wind 60 to 80 mph decreasing to between 45 and 55 mph. Winds could gust as high as 95 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts in excess of 4 inches possible.
Sunday: Isolated showers before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 87. Windy, with a west wind between 24 and 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
The latest updates have Irene moving across the Hampton Roads (Tidewater to locals), Virginia area tomorrow afternoon as either a weak category 2 or strong category 1 hurricane.
Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale
Winds & Effects
No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
18 ft. +
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.
Mom lives just east of Norfolk, in the extreme threat area on the map above.
In addition to sustained hurricane force winds the area is predicted to get 8+ inches of rain with a 4 to 8 foot storm and unusually high lunar tides. I may need to borrow Fish Hook’s boat as well as his utility trailer if I get a call to bring in supplies to repair storm damage.
Now all we can do is wait and pray.
…..for a few words from Mother Nature.
I have more photos to post from the Civil War re-enactment in Saltville this past weekend but they’ll have to go on the back burner for a short while. Mother Nature has decided to remind us that she’s in charge and I have some preparations to make.
First my youngest brother called Tuesday afternoon worried that Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story was under attack because he heard 4 loud booms which shook the house, rattled dishes in the cabinets and set all of the interior doors swinging back and forth. While we didn’t get so much as a jiggle up here in the Blue Ridge Mountains I was online when he called and, just as he was describing what had happened, a news alert about the East Coast earthquake popped up in my inbox. The epicenter was about 150 miles northwest of where he lives and, while they received no damage, it did give folks in that area a scare.
Now I’m following the weather updates as Hurricane Irene bears down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mom lives in Virginia Beach, about 100 miles due north of the Outer Banks (just east of Norfolk on the map below) and tropical storm warnings for her area are already up. The weather guessers are currently forecasting that the storm will strike the Outer Banks as a category 3 storm, track north across Currituck Sound and head back out into the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Virginia Beach as a category 2 hurricane late Saturday.
The governors of Virginia and North Carolina have already declared states of emergency and mandatory evacuation of the Outer Banks were have been ordered. The US Navy and Air Force are taking this storm seriously enough that all ships in Norfolk have been ordered out to sea and aircraft from Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Oceana are being dispersed to air bases inland.
Mom has lived in her Virginia Beach home for 50 years and has ridden out many a tropical storm, hurricane and winter nor’easter there. As a result she refuses to leave no matter what emergency officials advise and I’m sure she’ll do the same this time.
There is an upside to the hurricane bearing down on the East Coast. The heavy rainfall it brings with it will be a huge help in getting the wildfire that has been burning in the Great Dismal Swamp for the past couple of weeks under control. Mom’s area has been under code orange, red and purple air quality alerts recently because of heavy smoke from the estimated 5,500 acres of peat bog which is smoldering on the Virginia/ North Carolina border.
My younger brothers and a sister still live in Virginia Beach but about the only thing I can count on from them is a call for help once the storm hits……if the land lines or cell towers are still in place. That sounds harsh, I know, but the three of them together have all the common sense God gave a rock and that’s being extremely generous.
This scenario puts me in an odd position. After living in Virginia Beach most of my life I became accustomed to keeping emergency gear ready to load in the car in case we had to evacuate ahead of a hurricane. While Mom was always ready to ride one out Frankie, Laura and I were always ready to “git while the gittin; was good”. Now, living 325 miles west of Virginia Beach and safe from the storm, I’m preparing to do the opposite; load the emergency gear into the truck and head for Virginia Beach once the storm passes! This is where owning a 3.5 ton, 4 wheel drive, gas guzzling monster SUV becomes a blessing.
Now to remove the winter gear from the two 32 gallon totes in the shed and replace it with items more suitable for warm weather, especially extra tarps in case Mom has any roof damage. When Frankie gets home from work I’ll get the young man next door to help load the totes into the truck and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the storm to hit.
Actually, this arrangement may work to our advantage. In the aftermath of a major storm supplies, especially building materials and emergency generators, are hard to come by because home improvement and building supply stores are quickly stripped bare as hundreds of thousands of people try to repair storm damage. There is a Lowe’s Home Improvement store 2 miles from our house and I have to drive right past it to reach the on ramp for Interstate 81. My brother in law lives just down the street from us and I’m sure he’d lend me his utility trailer. Between the trailer and the luggage rack on the roof of the truck I can probably haul enough building materials to repair any damage Mom might sustain.
In case you’re wondering, if I have to head east with a load of gear I have no intention of loading or unloading anything heavy. The last thing I need to do is aggravate my already wrecked back and legs and become another person needing medical attention in a disaster zone. Lowe’s has a crew of men available to load purchases free of charge. Frankie and I have used these guys several times over the years. Once I get to Mom’s my brothers, while not over burdened with common sense, are both large and healthy. Then there are Mom’s neighbors, 2 or whom are Navy SEALs and the man right next door is a building contractor. I think we’ll have the heavy lifting covered.
Well, this isn’t getting the totes packed so I guess I had better get to it. I’ll keep y’all posted and if I do have to go you know I’ll have pictures to post when I get back. I take my cameras everywhere!
Wythe County Police, Fire & Rescue. What is the nature of your emergency?
WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF!
Buddy….is that you, boy? Did your daddy tell you to call for help again?
What’s the problem this time?
WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF!WHOOF! WHOOF! WHOOF!
I’m sorry boy; I didn’t catch all of that. Is your mama home?
Well, put her on the phone.
Who is this and what do you want? Did that dog dial 911 again?
Frankie, it’s me, cousin John!
Oh hey, John! I’m a little busy right now. Can I call you back?
I thought you were gonna call last week. When are you coming over to get some vegetables? I’ve picked so many from the garden that I’m out of storage space.
Well you know, I’ve been working and…….
**unintelligible screaming in the background**
SHUT UP YOU BIG SISSY OR I’LL GRAB YOU BY THE EARS, DRAG YOU OUT FROM UNDER THAT BED AND WHACK YOU A FEW MORE TIMES!
I’m sorry, John what were you saying?
Have you been hitting Chip with the cast iron skillet again, Frankie?
You know how he is, John. I told him it was too hot to mow the lawn but would he listen? I had to go out and turn off the mower, splash him with cold water until he came to and help him stumble back indoors where it’s cool. The lawn does look good though.
Does he need another ride in the ambulance?
Hang on a second, John….. WHANG! …..he does now! Do me a favor; this time have the crew take him him to a different emergency room. I need to get a few things done around here and you know how he is.
Sure thing, cousin, where do you want us to take him….Roanoke…Charlottesville…..Richmond
No, I’ve been thinking more along the lines of Oklahoma City. It’ll take him a month to walk home from there after they release him…….unless he has amnesia again in which case I’ll have a laptop and a whole bunch of camera gear for sale, cheap.
Okay, Frankie, the ambulance is on the way. Pat Buddy on the head for me. Don’t forget to come get some vegetables.
Okay, John, I’ll be there. Thanks!
According to the National Weather Service:
Our indoor/outdoor thermometer is reading 94 °F (34 °C), it is HUMID and the hottest part of the day is still to come. It is so oppressive out there that Buddy opted to bark at a cat from the shade on the porch rather than chasing it!
Thank God for air conditioning! ours is working just fine and, thanks to a rare bout of common sense, I’ll be staying indoors where I can breathe. Even if I could tolerate the weather it would be near impossible to shoot any pictures with my glasses fogged up. That’s how I know the A/C is working properly!
Redneck tip for 4th of July safety: If you hear someone holler “Hey y’all, watch this!” DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE FLASH!
After mowing the lawn this morning Buddy and I spent some time outdoors enjoying a summer like day and experimenting with my new telephoto lens. I think I’m getting a handle on it but I’ll continue to practice, practice. practice. At least my forearms aren’t aching too badly from holding that 4 lb. monster up.
Incidentally, with the steep corporate discount, courtesy of the company I was working for when I had my accident, combined with the close out discount offered by the supply house I purchased this lens from my actual cost was less than half that quoted on the Sigma catalog page the first link takes you to.
Frankie had Godzilla today so Buddy and I were sticking close to home. These are a few of the best shots I managed to capture from the front porch at an average range of 15 to 20 yards. I can’t wait to get out and about with my new gear, especially on the beach next month when we go home on vacation.
If you’d like to see larger views of today’s images just click on the images from the gallery below.
If you would like to insert slide shows into your WordPress posts a step by step tutorial can be found here. Puzzle, a talented, creative and prolific blogger gave me the link a while back when I was still learning my way around here. I have followed her blogs since my first post on Windows Live Spaces a little over two years ago. Thank you, Heide for your friendship, knowledge and inspiration!
I was all set to shoot the super moon last night, camera sensor and all lenses cleaned, tripod out of the truck and a close eye on the eastern horizon.
However, Mother Nature decided to throw me a curve and provide some overcast for the big event.
Using my longest lens I managed to capture a few frames but they’re nowhere near as good as I had hoped for.
Oh well, we’ll have another super moon in 2029. I hope I still remember how to use the camera when I’m 74 years old.
…………….I did not fall off the edge of the world. My canine pal, Buddy, damaged the front porch while chasing a cat and, among other things, I used to bang nails for a living so…….
For those who don’t already know, I wrecked my back in a fall at home in 2005, fracturing several vertebrae and damaging my spinal cord. When surgery to repair the fractures in my lumbar spine failed to correct the problem I was forced to retire on disability.
I’m what my father would call “bull headed”, a trait shared by all my siblings and just about all of our relatives on Pop’s side of the family. Being bull headed and refusing to let my physical problems, or common sense for that matter, dictate what I can and can’t do I sometimes push the envelope a little too far and end up paying the price.
The week before last I really pushed it. This past week I paid for it. I’m also a chronic pain patient and have an impressive collection of narcotic pain killers in various dosages, some of which could probably knock out an elephant.
I only take my meds when I absolutely have to. This past week, after deciding to not just repair the porch but to re-design and re-build it without bothering to ask for help I have been taking full doses of all of my meds. I have also spent most of my “waking hours” stoned out of my gourd, staring at the idiot box and trying not to drool on my chest. To give you an idea of just how loopy, every thing Charlie Sheen has been saying makes perfect sense to me!
This is why I haven’t been blogging or even playing around on Face Book. It’s not that I haven’t tried, it’s just that the Gibberish to English translator on my laptop has apparently malfunctioned and I’ll have to do a lot of password resetting…….
…….as soon as the drugs wear off………again!
You see, I was feeling pretty good this morning and the weather was nothing short of glorious; sunny, pleasant little breeze and 72°F ( about 22°C for those of a metric persuasion) so I decided to tackle a few little jobs I’ve been meaning to get to.
The first order of business was to change out those lamps in Godzilla’s headlights for the high powered ones I bought at Auto Zone. I put a set in Laura’s Jeep a couple of years back and people were flashing their high beams at us in an attempt to tell us we had our brights on. Flashing her high beams in response left several people suffering temporary blindness as well as flash burns.
Godzilla sits a lot higher off the ground than the Jeep and I can’t wait to show that jerk across the street my high powered headlights! I wonder if his vinyl siding will melt if I aim them at his house and leave them on all night.
Next I decided to do a little more on the porch, nothing too strenuous mind you, so I broke out the implements of construction, buckled on my carpenter’s belt and proceeded to measure, cut, curse, nail, curse some more when I hit the wrong nail (usually thumb nail), drop stuff where I couldn’t reach, curse ………. and wreck my back again.
At least I still have plenty of meds!
As you can see, I also managed to get a few shots of the sunset this evening. I wanted to be sure the camera was ready for the super moon tomorrow night, the largest it has appeared in the sky in 18 years.
I also discovered the camera needs a good cleaning, especially the sensor, but I’m not going to try that until the meds wear off.
See? I do have a little common sense, especially when it comes to playing with delicate electronics while stoked to the gills on pain killers, muscle relaxers, sleep aids, nerve pain meds.
Besides, I can’t do any fine work with my hands until the bandages come off. Did I mention that Frankie spent a good half hour doctoring all the cuts, scrapes and splinters I picked up today. I won’t repeat any of the “special” words she used when voicing her opinion of “a man my age” doing the bull headed things I do. Your monitor would probably catch fire if I did.
Oh look………the meds must be kicking in…….the cartoons in my head have started and it’s a Road Runner marathon! WOO-HOO!
P.S. If you are having trouble following all this you may want to stop by www.tigerbloodAdonisgenes.com and have Charlie Sheen explain today’s post. I’m sure he knows where I’m coming from.
We’ve had several days of nice weather recently and I have a bad case Spring Fever but winter isn’t done with us yet. The remnants of the latest storm to hammer the center of the country are moving in on us. We’re only supposed to get a couple of inches of snow out of this one but I’ve already had enough. My aching bones can do without the low pressure that accompanies bad weather.
The birds were mobbing the feeders this afternoon, always a more accurate predictor of bad weather than the meteorologists with their high tech equipment. The birds were so intent on getting their fill that I managed to get a few nice shots as they landed within just a few feet of my position just inside the shed door.
This Tufted Titmouse paused for a moment or two at my eye level. I was lucky to get a few clear frames of him because these little guys are speed demons!
The Northern Cardinals were more cautious so I used my long lens to get a few frames of them perched in the upper branches. Even though the female’s plumage (above) isn’t as brilliant as the male (below) I still think she’s a beautiful bird.
Carolina Chickadees are always the first to arrive at the feeders and these tiny birds are fearless! We’ve watched them gang up on European Starlings to drive them away when they try to bully the smaller birds.
Just as I was packing up to go back indoors this male Downy Woodpecker showed up. He spotted me and made a beeline for the woods. After I went inside he showed up again along with another male and 3 females.
The light was failing rapidly by this time and since I was watching them through the bedroom window I would be shooting through two panes of glass so I didn’t bother getting the camera out of the bag. There will be plenty of opportunities to shoot more woodpeckers as springs gets closer. It can’t happen soon enough to suit me!
The latest round of winter weather is moving our way: nothing as drastic as what most of the rest of the nation has been battling, just a little light freezing rain or sleet and maybe a few snow showers. The latter we can deal with easily. The former is just plain dangerous but we have reason to hope for the best.
I managed a few frames returning from town after dropping Frankie at work. With solid low hanging overcast the early morning light was very poor but, with a little editing, mediocre color images become fairly nice black and whites. If you look closely you’ll note the tree trunk is wrapped in heavy wire screen. The purpose is to keep deer from eating the tender bark.
Even the Canada Geese are hunkered down today in the chill breezes!
Looking out our bedroom window I found this male Slate Colored Dark Eyed Junco, who doesn’t need the black and white treatment, packing away the seed before the storm moves in. I’m optimistic about the upcoming weather because, while there were a few birds feeding Burd Town was by no means mobbed which is always a sign of heavy weather on the way.
On the way home from town this afternoon Frankie and I stopped by another pond in search of herons. While we didn’t find any we did get to witness a little drama. The overcast was even thicker but monochrome saved the day again.
We’re guessing that the two birds engaging in this territorial dispute are both ganders and the bird on the left is a goose they’re both interested in.
The honking at this point was near deafening!
I don’t know if the chaser got tired or decided the intruder had had enough at this point.
Once the second bird settled back onto the pond it appeared the dispute was over. But we soon heard honking from the bird left behind.
Whether she was cheering on a mate or giving him a hard time for letting the other bird off easy we have no idea. It was at this point that I heard a different sort of honking and looked up just in time to see the Big Brown Truck bearing down on me. I have to stay on the good side of those guys because, along with the FedEx lady they’re my chief source of new toys…….when Frankie lets me order camera gear online!
The weather has been cold and damp for the past couple of days keeping me close to home……and my meds, heating pad and Bertha, my La-Z-Boy recliner.
Today the sun rising over the mountains was a welcome sight so I took the long way home after dropping THE BOSS off at work.
You sometimes see the oddest things as the beams of sunlight cut through the mist and the trees.
Buddy didn’t know what to make of this critter! I love the way this guy’s coat gleams in the morning sun.
“What you lookin’ at?” The expression on Buddy’s face when he saw this said “What kind of dog is that?”
I need to start carrying my ladder on the roof rack of the truck. Apparently whoever owns this land thinks camels and llamas can jump like deer because that fence is at least 8 feet high! Even standing on the running board I still had to shoot through the chain link.
There are usually several horses in this field but they weren’t around this morning. Neither was that HUGE whitetail buck I’ve spotted on several occasions. That deer sure is camera shy!
The way the morning sun colors the rising fog and the trees along either side of the creek is deceptive. It’s really chilly out there, especially with the howling winds bringing the next blast of Arctic air down upon us. At least we’re not getting buried in snow the way most of the country is…..so far. Winter ain’t over yet!
“What light by yonder winder shines?” *
Ain’t that the sun?
Our friends and neighbors to the south will tell you that God must be a Tarheel because he made the sky Carolina Blue. I don’t know about that but seeing the clouds part after all the winter weather we’ve had sure is a welcome sight!
We got another 2-3 inches of snow this morning and that, along with those blue skies, has brought out a few of the feathered visitors we haven’t seen in a while such as this White Breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis).
Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) are a common sight around the feeders. From the way these 2 feasted on sunflower seeds you’d think they hadn’t eaten in months!
Black-Capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) are regular visitors, no matter what the weather.
However, when there are so many large birds crowding the feeders a little ingenuity is sometimes called for.
Being a little guy comes in handy when it comes to dining in peace. One of these days a chickadee is going to gorge himself to the point that he won’t be able to squeeze between the top of the window and the roof to get back out.
This is the first American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) we’ve seen this winter. I guess there has been plenty of wild thistle to feed on but it’s buried in the snow now so they’re feeding on our thistle socks.
This Red-Bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is another visitor we haven’t seen in quite some time. We can always tell when he’s around because he is LOUD!
Also present was a bird of the 4 legged Fox Red Gooney Bird variety (Leapus allaroundus) doing his level best to work up a hearty appetite before returning to his usual perch on the sofa…..as if he needs to work up an appetite. That dog gets hungry dreaming!
The latest storm to blow in has been more aggravating than usual, mainly because we had to go out in it. Laura’s Jeep was in the shop and we had to pick it up today, mainly because we’ll probably need the 4 wheel drive if the snow continues falling the way it has been since early morning.
Even though I followed a pair of snow plows all the way into town, the road was still very slick. These guys had their work cut out for them as the snow fell faster than they could clear it.
This is 4th Street, one of the major thoroughfares in town. As you can see, the plows were really having a tough time clearing the slush.
The first part of the return trip was a little easier. Heavy trucks use this section of road and that helps to keep the surface a little warmer. Caution was still required as slick spots were everywhere. That’s Laura in her Jeep ahead of me.
Back in town the plows were making progress.
As we passed through town the snowfall picked up again. You know there’s a lot of snow falling when you have to fire up the snow blower to get the car into the driveway after a quick trip to town! This guy was pulling out of his driveway as we passed his house on the way to town and he couldn’t get back up the driveway without clearing the snow when we passed by again 20 minutes later!
The farther west we traveled the faster the snow fell.
Out here the plows were still having a tough time keeping up.
There are those who are happy about snow. Buddy the 4 legged snow plow was having a ball!
WOO-HOO, I’m back online at maximum speed and I am happy about that! Now all I have to do is catch up on the 300 or so blog updates I haven’t been able to read over the weekend due to modem malfunctions. At this point I would like to thank Mrs. Francisco, my fifth grade teacher, who made us learn speed reading whether we wanted to or not! Even though I wasn’t very happy about it back then I am now.
Buddy is home again, after a “sleepover at the vet clinic” last night. I don’t think he has discovered his missing parts yet, poor guy. It may be my imagination but I’d swear his voice has risen a couple of octaves. He’s a little puzzled by our refusal to play Buddy Ball …. throw the ball, he chases it down, you try to get the ball away from him, repeat …. but the post surgical instructions say no vigorous exercise until the sutures come out in 10 to 14 days. It’s just as well because he’s having a terrible time keeping his eyes open.
Buddy will need all the rest he can get in the coming days. He absolutely loves snow and it looks like he’s gonna have plenty to romp in if the National Weather Guessing, Star Gazing and Palm Reading Service get’s this one right:
Winter Storm Warning 331 PM EST TUE JAN 25 2011 …HEAVY SNOWFALL WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT…. A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL TRACK FROM THE CENTRAL GULFCOAST INTO EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA ON WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. SIGNIFICANT COLD AIR ALOFT COMBINED WITH SIGNIFICANT MOISTURE FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL RESULT IN HEAVY SNOW AS WELL AS PERIODS OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN BEGINNING EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING AND LASTING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING. …WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST WEDNESDAY NIGHT… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW, SLEET AND AREAS OF FREEZING RAIN WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO A WARNING. * HAZARD TYPES…PROLONGED HEAVY WET SNOW IS EXPECTED. * ACCUMULATIONS…4 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED. *
* TIMING…RAIN OR A LIGHT WINTRY MIX WILL CHANGE TO SNOW BY MID DAY WEDNESDAY AND CONTINUE INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING. * IMPACTS…DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS ARE EXPECTED. DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES ARE POSSIBLE DUE TO THE HEAVY WET SNOW. * WINDS…NORTHWEST WINDS WITH SPEEDS INCREASING TO 10 TO 15 MPH AND GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED WEDNESDAY EVENING. * TEMPERATURES…FORECAST TO BE IN THE LOWER 30S WEDNESDAY WILL DROP INTO THE 20S WEDNESDAY NIGHT. *Taking past performance on the forecasters’ part into consideration this translates to either no snow at all or 4 to 8 feet!
Winter Storm Warning
331 PM EST TUE JAN 25 2011
…HEAVY SNOWFALL WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT….
A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL TRACK FROM THE CENTRAL GULFCOAST INTO EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA ON WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. SIGNIFICANT COLD AIR ALOFT COMBINED WITH SIGNIFICANT MOISTURE FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL RESULT IN HEAVY SNOW AS WELL AS PERIODS OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN BEGINNING EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING AND LASTING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING.
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST WEDNESDAY NIGHT…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BLACKSBURG HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW, SLEET AND AREAS OF FREEZING RAIN WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM WEDNESDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO A WARNING.
* HAZARD TYPES…PROLONGED HEAVY WET SNOW IS EXPECTED.
* ACCUMULATIONS…4 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED. *
* TIMING…RAIN OR A LIGHT WINTRY MIX WILL CHANGE TO SNOW BY MID DAY WEDNESDAY AND CONTINUE INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* IMPACTS…DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS ARE EXPECTED. DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES ARE POSSIBLE DUE TO THE HEAVY WET SNOW.
* WINDS…NORTHWEST WINDS WITH SPEEDS INCREASING TO 10 TO 15 MPH AND GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES…FORECAST TO BE IN THE LOWER 30S WEDNESDAY WILL DROP INTO THE 20S WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
*Taking past performance on the forecasters’ part into consideration this translates to either no snow at all or 4 to 8 feet!
Today Laura is getting a lesson in the downside of having her own vehicle. When she got her driver’s license 2 years ago we gave her the Jeep her mother had been using. While she has paid for such things as registration renewal, county sticker, fuel, etc. we’ve kept the Jeep in my name for insurance purposes. She’s covered under my family plan which means much lower rates than if she had her own insurance.
She and her mother took great pleasure in applying this decal on the liftgate window. I didn’t mind all that much because this happened just after my accident, and the incredibly stiff suspension, made it impossible for me to ride in it, much less drive it.
When Laura got the Jeep she added these decals and I have a feeling she’ll be wearing the same expression when she calls home during her break tonight. I just got a call from the garage. The $56 quote for safety inspection, oil and filter change and fluid top off has just gone up another $80 thanks to almost worn out front brake pads.
I shall not gloat. Godzilla is due for inspection in March and I already know of one minor suspension part that needs replacing. I’m praying that’s all it needs. This is the absolute worst part of learning to live with my physical limitations; paying someone else to maintain my vehicle. After 16 years as a master automotive tech knowing what is wrong and not being able to just crawl under there and fix it just grates on my nerves!
At least we have an honest, dependable and reasonably priced mechanic. We took our old minivan to a different shop once and their shop manager tried to convince me that it needed nearly $6,000 in repairs before they could release it to us because it “wasn’t safe to operate.” I very nearly got arrested over that…….and, NO, he didn’t get the $6,000 either! He was lucky to leave his office alive. Frankie had to use all her persuasive powers to keep me from beating him to death with his own clipboard……..because she wanted to do it!
Still waiting for the new modem to arrive so I’m extremely limited to how much I can upload before the worn out piece of junk I’m currently using craps out again. I have discovered that blowing about half a can of air through the vents cools it down enough for me to stay online for as much as 20 minutes before it gets so hot it shuts down again. I think this time rather than following the tech support weasel’s advice to just toss the old one in the trash I’ll keep it. Since the average life span of the cheap junk our ISP provides is about 6 months it’s anyone guess when I’ll need spare parts. Maybe next time I can build my own modem (or even a Borg drone) while waiting for a replacement to arrive.
Buddy is in the pet hospital today so the house is unnaturally quiet. No, he’s not ill or injured, he’s getting neutered……poor guy. While I understand the need for such a thing it doesn’t make it any easier for me, as a man, to contemplate. I can’t help wondering if the pitch of his voice will change……or if eat all my shoes for leaving him in that place and letting them remove what are apparently his favorite toys.
My shutter button finger hasn’t been idle while the modem slowly melts down. This is the first Nuthatch I’ve seen this year and I managed to get a few frames shooting through the bedroom window again. I just hope I haven’t included too many images with this post to publish before the modem quits again. We shall see…….
These little guys have a unique way of feeding. They start at the top of a tree trunk and walk down, head first, pecking at tasty morsels hidden in the bark.
That is, they feed upside down when foraging for food.
When they’re getting their fill on the feeders they’ll eat upside down, backwards, sideways or any which way they can! The weather guessers are calling for more winter weather in the next few days so I should be able to get some good shots of the feathered gluttons as they put away as much free food as possible ahead of the weather.
Okay, now to see if I can get this published before the modem quits again. I’ll be around to visit all of you and respond to any comments you’ve left as soon as I get my new equipment. In the meantime y’all play nice. Don’t make me stop this car!
Yesterday was gray, cold and damp so I stayed indoors most of the day but managed to get a few shots of a Crested Titmouse through the bedroom window.
Today it is still cold out and the stiff winds cut to the bone making 2 layers of fleece my fashion choice for the day. However, the skies are clear and the sun is shining brightly so, even though I was once again shooting through the window, this little chickadee seemed to just pop in my viewfinder.
Now, I’m off to my Blogger page, Virginia Through My Lens, to share the woodpeckers I managed to capture today.
Hazardous Weather Outlook
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BLACKSBURG VA 442 AM EST THU JAN 20 2011 NCZ001-018-VAZ009>012-015-018>020-WVZ044-210945- ASHE-WATAUGA-SMYTH-BLAND-GILES-WYTHE-GRAYSON-CRAIG-ALLEGHANY VA-BATH- MONROE- 442 AM EST THU JAN 20 2011 THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR NORTHWEST NORTH CAROLINA...SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA...WEST CENTRAL VIRGINIA AND SOUTHEAST WEST VIRGINIA. .DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 1 TO 3 INCHES TONIGHT. .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. WIND GUSTS OF 40 TO 50 MPH FRIDAY. WIND CHILLS NEAR ZERO FRIDAY NIGHT.
This ain’t my first rodeo. I know how those clowns at the National Weather Service operate. They use a Ouija board, tea leaves, and a small pouch containing shiny pebbles and chicken bones.
A weather forecast calling for 1-3 inches of snow means we’ll get nothing or:
We’ll be hoping for the former while preparing for the latter.
Our trip to town this morning was made under gray skies but the temperatures were relatively mild. An occasional rain shower and buds on the trees brought a taste of things to come with Spring just a couple of months away.
The trees bearing these buds are just across the street from the little cabin I blogged about earlier.
We’ve yet to learn any more about it’s history but I did get a few more shots of it today in between the showers.
Though the crude curtains in the windows give the illusion that someone has made the effort to preserve this old building the gaping door and rubbish piled inside attest to it’s neglect.
I can’t help but wonder what boots crossed this threshold and what stories lie buried within these mud chinked log walls.
Frankie came up with a great idea today. On her next day off we’re going to pay a visit to the County Historical Society and see what we can discover about this cabin. It’s located behind some restored Civil War era buildings which we will research as well.
I have a feeling that this will lead to a few blogs dealing with the history of the town, the county and the region. Frankie and I are both history buffs and she’s a budding photographer so I may even be able to get her interested in a blog of her own. We shall see …….
Cloudy skies, fog most of the day, washed out light….not the best for shooting but I’m not complaining because that fog is the result of warmer temperatures. The ice and snow around my parking space is nearly all melted away making the likelihood of my falling on my butt a little more remote.
Just a few random shots ……….and thoughts……. today from the trip to town to pick up THE BOSS this afternoon.
“I’m tellin’ ya, Maude that pond was right here yesterday! I even way pointed it on my GPS so I could find my way back!”
“These goose suits were a brilliant idea, Simon! They don’t have a clue it was us that turned the pond into a giant ice cube! Your freeze ray works great!”
You’re right……it is leaning but it’s also still in use.
Not just an old farm building. This one contains a modern pumping station for the town water supply. Even though I doubt this was ever more than a humble shed I love that the town tries to preserve as much history as possible. Too many places don’t.
Today I had no sooner picked up the camera than this Red Bellied Woodpecker landed on a feeder no more than 15 feet from where I sat.
He even worked his way around the feeder to allow me to get a shot demonstrating where the name comes from. The 55-250MM image stabilized lens I was using really brought him in!
Just as I was about to get up this male Downy Woodpecker zoomed in to one of the other feeders. The male of the species has a red blaze on the head while the females don’t.
I’m still trying to capture a clear shot of a female but they are not only fast, they don’t hang around long, either. With more winter weather in the long range forecast for next week I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity.
……please hang up and try again.
I really have no idea what the title has to do with today’s post. It’s just something one of the voices in my head told me to do……. the one that sounds like Donald Duck. I don’t think that guy has all his marbles in one sack.
Frankie and I are both dealing with a dose of the latest virus making the rounds. She’s feeling well enough to go to work while I’m still at the stage where I’d have to die to feel better. Add in a case of cabin fever, thanks to Mother Nature’s latest “gift”, and what’s left of my mind isn’t exactly up to par today so I’m willing to let someone else do the thinking for a change. Today it’s Buddy’s turn.
That’s right, Buddy talks to me and I understand what he says. During his tenure as my constant companion for the past 5 years Sam taught me to speak fluent Lab. That’s how I know that Labs are absolutely crazy, especially pups like Buddy, and if you listen to their “suggestions” you can get into all sorts of trouble.
IMPORTANT NOTE/LESSON LEARNED: Whatever you do, NEVER, EVER let a Labrador Retriever tell you how to rewire a porch light!
I’ve also learned that telling Frankie the dog told me to do it, whatever it was, doesn’t work. She says that if I’m silly enough to listen to someone whose tongue hangs out one side of their moth when they grin I deserve whatever trouble/injuries I get.
Back to the bug………since the folks at the VA clinic tell me I can’t have any meds to treat this monster because of the drug regimen they have me on I think I’ll make another pot of chicken noodle soup. Now if I can just figure out how to pump that stuff directly into my veins maybe it will stay down.
Okay, Buddy is trying to fill my lap with tennis balls so I had better go play a round of Buddy Ball (throw the ball, Buddy fetches it, you have to wrestle the ball out of his mouth, repeat) Did I mention Buddy has at least 4 or 5 tennis balls? Buddy Ball can wear you out pretty quick if he remembers where all of them are.
The nor’easter that brought blizzard conditions to much of the East Coast and buried Mom’s part of the state in more than a foot of snow was much easier on us but we still got our share of winter weather. Strong winds overnight and about 6 inches of powdery snow produced white out conditions at times and drifting snow kept the plow operators busy.
All that has changed now and, while it is still unusually cold for this early in the season, we have clear, sunny skies and the world looks fresh and clean.
These are a few of the shots I got while out running errands this afternoon.
The Wytheville water tower can be seen outlined against the far ridges in this frame, shot through the windshield while returning to town from the gun shop out of Rte. 21.
Note to self: When field stripping Laura’s target pistol for cleaning never, ever, ever hit the slide release while removing the barrel assembly!
Another shot, from a different angle along Barrett’s Mill Road, with the water tower silhouetted against the ridges.
The white scar on the ridge in the distance is a clear cut for high tension power lines.
Some enjoy the snow more than others. Buddy is a real snow dog. When he’s not romping or rolling in the snow he likes to stick his snout in it and run along like that until his head is completely covered! My biggest challenge has been trying to stop laughing long enough to get photos of his antics.