weekend in the mountains

12.10.16 ~ cougar, Western North Carolina Nature Center

Last weekend we flew to a different part of North Carolina, where Tim’s brother had rented a vacation house in the southern Appalachians. So we had a little family reunion and an early Christmas there. We spent the better part of Saturday at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville. It was very cold there in spite of the welcome bright sunshine!

12.10.16 ~ Katherine was very much interested in understanding and using the map

We bundled up and enjoyed seeing many animals native to the Southern Appalachians. All of the animals there are rescues and could not survive in the wild. Katherine especially loved watching the river otters gliding in and out of the water, but I couldn’t get a good picture of them. They were moving too fast!

12.10.16 ~ Katherine studying the brochure
12.10.16 ~ sunshine made the bitter cold easier to bear
12.10.16 ~ Western North Carolina Nature Center
12.10.16 ~ watching other children play
12.10.16 ~ sunlit beauty
12.10.16 ~ let’s see, where should we go next?
12.10.16 ~ let’s proceed!
12.10.16 ~ taking in a bit of rock climbing
12.10.16 ~ we didn’t take this trail but I thought the sign was beautiful
12.10.16 ~ deserted picnic area – too cold for a picnic
12.10.16 ~ coyote, Western North Carolina Nature Center
12.10.16 ~ another beautiful sign
12.10.16 ~ screech owl, Western North Carolina Nature Center

This little screech owl is blind in one eye and is being used to educate the public about rescuing wildlife. Katherine was paying close attention.

12.10.16 ~ Katherine in Mama’s arms, watching the screech owl and listening attentively to its handler

We stayed in Asheville for dinner out at the Tupelo Honey Cafe, “a southern restaurant with mountain south roots.” Tim enjoyed the food so much he bought their cookbook! And after dinner we took in the Christmas light and music extravaganza at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. There were so many light displays it took us a full hour to drive through the two-mile maze, synchronized holiday music playing on our car radio! It was a pretty dazzling experience.

Sunday we stayed in the cabin, enjoying each other’s company by the fire. Dima, Larisa and Fran whipped up some scrumptious dishes for us. A perfect weekend!

grackles by the sea

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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia

Last April we took a trip to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Georgia. When we got home I started posting pictures on my blog of the places we visited, but never finished. Since I have a little time now I decided to post some more of our photos. (For anyone interested, the first batch of pictures started here.) The following pictures of grackles were captured at the Howard Gilman Memorial Park on the waterfront of St. Marys, Georgia. The park has a lovely large water fountain and on the day we visited it was doubling as a bird bath!

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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia

To claim, at a dead party, to have spotted a grackle, 
When in fact you haven’t of late, can do no harm. 
~ Richard Wilbur
(New & Collected Poems)

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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia 
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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia

Few people know so clearly what they want. Most people can’t even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain.
~ Barbara Kingsolver
(Animal Dreams)

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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia

Birds know themselves not to be at the center of anything, but at the margins of everything. The end of the map. We only live where someone’s horizon sweeps someone else’s. We are only noticed on the edge of things; but on the edge of things, we notice much.
~ Gregory Maguire
(Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years)

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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia
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4.5.12 ~ St. Marys, Georgia

photos by Timothy Rodgers

riding out the storm

I’m not going to mince words. This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes.
~ Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
(Emergency Operations Center, October 29, 2012)

Looking at the map above one might wonder why our governor is broadcasting such dire predictions. It’s because tropical storm force winds extend 485 miles from the hurricane’s eye. And because of the wind direction, a massive amount of water is being pushed into Long Island Sound which will likely result in an unprecedented storm surge of 4 to 8 feet here on the eastern shore of the sound, where we are, and 6 to 11 feet on the western shore and down into New York Harbor. There is a full moon today, meaning the high tides are higher than normal, even without the storm surge.

We’re about 20 feet above sea level and have not been given an evacuation order, so we’re going to ride out the storm. According to the City of Groton Government Facebook page, the roads by Eastern Point Beach are now impassable, from this morning’s high tide, and have been closed. The worst high tide is supposed to be overnight tonight.

Thank you every one for your prayers and well wishes! I’m sure we’ll lose power sooner or later, but I will have an update when possible.   City of Groton

timing

I am soooooooooooooooooooooo tired……………..

It was only ten days ago that Auntie came home from the hospital with eight stitches or staples in the back of her head, on the mend, and a few days ago when her doctor removed them in his office. Yesterday Tim & I finished preparing for the big storm and went to bed, content that we were as ready for it as anyone could be.

We only had two hours of sleep when the phone rang. Auntie had fallen yet again and this time she broke her hip or her pelvis. The local hospital felt she would get better care at a bigger hospital so off we went in the wee hours of this morning for another long vigil at an emergency department until they found a bed for her so she could be admitted. When they transferred her from the gurney to the bed, as gently as possible, her cries and screams of pain tore my heart open…

After Auntie got settled and we felt satisfied that she was in good hands we had no choice but to leave her there. The sun was rising behind the gathering clouds – a monster storm is on its way. I saw on the news this evening that the hospital was calling in extra staff and testing its generators in preparation. Governor Malloy has declared a state of emergency. He said the storm is a hurricane blending with a nor’easter and that we could have an eight foot storm surge. The barometric pressure is forecast to be so low it will break all the record lows in this state.

I still haven’t been able to sleep. And now I have an earache.

Must get a cup of green tea and honey and then some sleep now, but I hope to have some time tomorrow to visit blogs and respond to comments. I have much catching up to do in the blogosphere, at least until we lose power! Good night all – things will surely look brighter in the morning.

downed trees

Happy to report that we are safe and sound and the kids are as well. We partially lost our power early this morning, so we have no air conditioning – ugh! We ran an extension cord into the kitchen to keep the refrigerator running. We’re only getting a couple of cable stations. We brought our laptops down here to the living room and set them up where we have power. There’s a good stiff breeze, but it’s still a pretty humid breeze.

8.28.11 ~ Sound Breeze
8.28.11 ~ Sound Breeze

We slept through the worst of it and were lucky to have no damage. We did lose part of a tree in our condo complex (above). Then we decided to go out for a drive… This tree (below) was behind the Groton Town Hall.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The storm surge at low tide still swelled the Poquonnock River…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

A large family of swans on the Poquonnock River seems to be all accounted for…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

This tree was near the Groton-New London Airport…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Irene was a tropical storm when she got to us so we were very grateful – things could have been so much worse. With the windows open now I’m smelling the aroma of someone’s delicious dinner coming in on the wind. Tim’s asleep and I’m hoping Irene washed all the ragweed pollen out of the air!

in the offing

In all the excitement yesterday I forgot I had a prescription to pick up at the drug store. So… we decided to go get it this morning, even though it was already raining, but with no wind to speak of. Workers were boarding up the large expanse of windows at CVS. I wonder if they will stay open for 24 hours through the storm.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Since we were already out and about we decided to have second breakfast (as Hobbits refer to it) at our favorite restaurant. And then we decided to go to the food co-op for Tim’s sliced almonds. And then we decided we may as well check out the beach before returning home.

On the way we spotted some die-hard golfers, out for one last round! That’s the Thames River behind them, shrouded in mist.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I’m guessing these cormorants were getting a feel for the wind direction. They didn’t fly, they were just standing there with their wings open…

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This little house is on a rock island in the Thames River and is the object of much curiosity and speculation. We have never seen people there before, but today these two kayaked out there! When I got home and uploaded my pictures to my laptop, I noticed that there seems to be a wind turbine just behind the bushes! I called Tim over and he had never noticed one there before either. It’s strange that I didn’t even see it while taking the picture.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

We drove right up to this seagull. He was unimpressed with us and wasn’t about to leave his post.

8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

This gull had a long and mournful cry…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

As I moved closer to him I could see something wrong with his foot, perhaps it was injured and healed in an awkward position. He seemed to know I meant him no harm and allowed me to come very close to him and talk to him.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

Later he was waiting patiently, hoping to get a crumb from a woman enjoying one last hot dog before the storm arrives.

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point

On the way home we stopped at Baker Cove and found this tranquil scene…

8.27.11 ~ Eastern Point
Baker Cove ~ 8.27.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

There have been a few evacuations near us, but so far we’re good to stay. The storm track is a little more to the west, so we’re out of the “red” zone. Now we’re more concerned about Larisa in New York than about us here. There is a high new moon tide coming along with a 6′ storm surge. (We’re 20′ high.  If I see water, though, I’m out of here!) Tim has his webcam aimed out the window – wonder what we’ll see?

calm before the storm

Decided to take a walk along Avery Point this morning… Lots of activity in the marinas and there is definitely a tropical feel to the air, and a feeling of pause and anticipation.

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Here’s today’s predicted path for Irene — we’re still smack dab in the middle of it.

I hope to respond to all the thoughtful comments left on my earlier posts soon…

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Governor Malloy addressed the state last night and again at noon today. He said that Connecticut is much more forested now than it was when Hurricane Gloria (1985) and the Great Hurricane of 1938 roared through here – many farms have returned to woods. So we may be out of power for some time, as I’m sure many trees will be uprooted. Stocking up on non-perishable food…

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

The good news is that Irene seems to be weakening a little, but one can never be too certain about what a hurricane will do at the last minute. So we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst!

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

Will come back and check to see how this observation deck does during the storm!

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

The boat belongs to the University of Connecticut, which has degree programs in Marine Science and Maritime Studies here at its Avery Point campus.

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

And finally a picture of the Avery Point Lighthouse

8.26.11 ~ Avery Point
8.26.11 ~ Avery Point

a life story

“Symphony in White No. 3″ by James McNeill Whistler

Gather up your telegrams
Your faded pictures, best laid plans
Books and postcards, 45′s
Every sunset in the sky

Carry with you maps and string, flashlights
Friends who make you sing
And stars to help you find your place
Music, hope and amazing grace

Maybe what we leave
Is nothing but a tangled little mystery
Maybe what we take
Is nothing that has ever had a name

~ Mary Chapin Carpenter
♫ (Your Life Story) ♫