Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene cleanup ...........

We've been busy the last few days cleaning up after Irene. We were very lucky. We had no major wind damage, no flooding, and we had electricity except for two hours on Saturday. Our yard was covered in sticks, leaves, and branches. Our neighbors lost a tree and several large limbs, but all we had was small stuff. We went over the yard with the bagger on the mower and got up most of the debris. I raked up the rest.



The pool was full of leaves and I spent a couple of afternoons getting it cleaned out. It won't be long before it will be time to close it for the winter. I hope we have a few more hot days so we can enjoy the water a bit longer.


We seemed to be just on the edge of the strong winds. Just thirty miles to the east of us there was extensive tree damage and even a death from a tree which fell on a house. There are still many areas without electricity. Luckily, we are not in an area that floods.

We have much to be thankful for. I hope everyone was as lucky as we were. The east coast had a rough week - first an earthquake, then a hurricane. This week the weather has been beautiful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A whole lot of shaking going on .......

We had an earthquake this afternoon around 1:50. It was a 5.8 magnitude quake, the stongest in central Virginia history. The epicenter was near Mineral, Virginia which is about 50 miles north of us.

Hubby had been cutting grass and was sitting in the garage resting. I had just taken clothes off the line and had come in the garage when we heard a rumble and things began to shake. We both realized it was an earthquake right away. Things on the shelves in the garage were rattling and at one point the house began to creak and groan. I stood there fascinated by the shaking and noise, then calmly walked outside and looked around. The only damage I've been able to find is that a thermometer was knocked off a tree in the yard.

I came inside and turned on the TV. I wasn't sure if there would be any reports on our local TV stations. I was totally surprised when I heard that it had been felt all along the east coast and that it was news on all the major stations as well as MSNBC and CNN.

Earthquakes are not all that rare in our area, but they are usually so weak that unless you are paying attention you don't even know they happened. We did have one in 2003 that felt as strong as this one.

Now our attention will be on hurricane Irene which will arrive this weekend. I plan on going to the store tomorrow and stocking up on water and batteries. I'm hoping it stays far enough off shore that we do not get stong winds, but close enough so we get rain. It's still too early to tell what her path will be.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bears and snakes and cougars ..........

I have been reading our local weekly paper. A neighbor of mine reported seeing a black bear with two cubs near the barn behind her house. In recent years there have been more and more bear sightings in my area as they move east out of the mountains. I haven't seen one yet and hope I don't run up on momma bear and her cubs.

I also read about a guy who worked with Hubby being bit on the hand by a copperhead snake. His hand was swollen to almost twice its normal size and he had to spend two nights in the hospital. I've killed two copperheads in my yard this summer. Black snakes I can tolerate, but not copperheads.

Then, there have been more cougar sightings in the area. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries keeps declaring that we do not have cougars here. Since so many people have seen the cougars, they finally conceded that someone must have let them loose. I wouldn't want to come face to face with a cougar while going for a walk, and I do worry about my cats being supper for one.

I never considered that I was living in the wilds, but I may have to reconsider.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Smokey .........


It finally cooled off a bit at the end of the week. I had plans to get outside and catch up on some of the long neglected yard work. However, we were under a blanket of smoke on Friday and Saturday. People were warned to stay inside since the air quality was so bad. There is a huge fire in the Dismal Sawmp. Wind currents were bringing the smoke this way. Also, a large cut over piece of land was being burned on the other side of town and we were getting smoke from it. I tried to do some things outside but the smoke burned my eyes and throat so I gave up and stayed inside. I did get outside today and got all the shrubs in front of the house pruned. They have been growing like weeds this summer. I was beginning to worry that the house would be completely hidden by bushes.

Maggie May has an appointment at the vet tomorrow morning for her rabies shot. It should be interesting getting her in the carrier. She runs in the opposite direction every time she sees it. For some unknown reason, she has decided that she wants to stay in the house all day. Not too long ago it was almost impossible to get her inside. Maybe she is smart enough to know that Mollie Ann comes in the house when she goes outside and she doesn't want Mollie in her house. Sometimes they are hard to figure.

I'm still on my reading binge. I need cut back on the reading and spend some time crossing things off my long, long "To Do List". I also need to start walking again. I just gave up completely during all the hot weather and I can tell that I haven't been exercising.

Hope you have a nice week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bits and pieces .............


Summer is going by much too fast! Our local schools open next Monday. It seems like they open earlier every year. When I was young, we always went back on the Monday after Labor Day. Of course, that was back in the olden days.

This has been an extremely hot summer. We've spent lots of time in the pool trying to cool off. After several 100+ days the water was so warm it wasn't at all refreshing. That's when we retreated to the air conditioning and hibernated inside.

I've been on a reading binge. My Nook, which now has 305 books, has had a workout. My favorite so far this summer is "The Mill River Recluse" by Darcie Chan. It is a beautifully written and engrossing novel. This is Mrs. Chan's first novel and I'm anxiously awaiting more from this talented new author. The book is only $.99 and can be purchased for your Nook or your Kindle. It is well worth the price.

The three M's - Maggie May, Mazie Grace, and Mollie Ann - have been very, very lazy cats during all this hot weather. They stretch out in the coolest spot they can find and refuse to move.

A week ago we moved the rest of my brother's things from New Jersey to Virginia. We got up at 4 AM on Saturday morning and headed north. We got to Cherry Hill around 11 AM, rented a UHaul trailer, loaded his furniture, and began the trip back south. We got caught up in a traffic jam caused by a ball game near Washington DC. Then the interior light on the truck came on and we couldn't get it to turn off. For some reason the trailer was causing a short or something in the electrical system. We were fooling with the lights and missed our turn off 95 and ended up having to go through downtown Richmond. It was 11 PM when we got back home. That was a long and tiring day. It took us all day Sunday to recover.

The monster plant has not strangled anyone yet. I did move it to the guestroom so the cats wouldn't chew on it and get poisoned. It still looks the same.