right now

right now

Nov 12, 2009

"The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friend....!"

Couldn't resist a little Seinfeld quote there! Well, there is definitely no gardening going on here. Maybe no garden left, either! Our Nor'easter hit yesterday morning at about 7 a.m. and is expected to continue for 60 hours. Bad enough that our Governor declared a state of emergency here. Normally when we get Nor'easters, they are here and gone within 24 hours. This is supposed to be on par with Hurricane Isabel a few years back, which the flooding after the storm was incredibly bad, and there are still people here that haven't recovered fully from that.

The weather forecast states sustained winds 50-60 knots, gusting higher. The waves on the ocean are at 17-20 feet, and on the Chesapeake Bay seas at 10-12 feet. For my "up north" friends, imagine 10-12 foot swells on Lake Superior. The real problem this creates in our area is the wind pushing the water inward through the Bay into the tributaries, flooding our entire area. We won't be out of the woods for several tide cycles after the storm passes on Friday night.

This photo is horrible because I got water in my camera, but it shows the offshore winds typical of a Nor'easter:

We live in a very interesting area water-wise, as we are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, the large Elizabeth, James, and York Rivers, and the Great Dismal Swamp and Back Bay. Collectively, our 7 cities area is referred to as "Tidewater". We are basically an island, and have several bridge/tunnels that connect us to "mainland" which is really just another peninsula! The trouble arises when, during floods and hurricanes, the first roads to close are the bridge tunnels due to wind restrictions, which effectively seals us off and creates traffic nightmares. But the other side to all this of course is the beauty of the place when the weather is cooperating! And all this water is also the reason we are home to the largest Naval Base in the world.

I hope posting this map will work. It shows pretty well how affected by tidal flooding we are. Below is a topographical map I found on the National Wildlife Foundation's website. It represents pretty well the amount of water affected by tides in our area (all of it!). Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to make an arrow point to my house on the photo, but I live at the northern triangular point of "Back Bay" on the right of the map. The thin strand you see on the far right is a sandbar/barrier island near us that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland.
I would say that in my experience, Nor'easters cause more damage than hurricanes in our area. I think this is due to the fact that we get far more of them, and they tend to be stronger and last longer. Most hurricanes blow ashore at Cape Hatteras, just south of us in NC, and thus become weakened by landfall by the time they get here. But of course, not always the case!

We are lucky that even though we live extremely close to Rudee Inlet, our house is on relatively higher ground. Historically, our street may flood and it is possible that we may not be able to get out of our street, but the house usually does well.

Here are some photos/videos of how it is affecting us personally:

The River Birch tree is only a year old, I hope she put good roots down this year!

Lastly, I will end with a pic from my best friend's yard across town. She woke up this morning to a huge pine tree down, roots and all! Not sure if you are able to enlarge it, but it narrowly missed the house, didn't hit any cars, and her azaleas in front of the house are okay! Amazing luck, but a big cleanup job ahead for them. I am sure my husband will make sure he is on the cleanup crew... they started homebrewing as well... you know, any excuse will do for husbands, lol!

I hope you have enjoyed my weather/topography blog... now I must take a shower and make some coffee while I still have power! School is closed today, so it should be interesting entertaining the kids stuck indoors all day!

Nov 10, 2009

Anatomy of a Dinner...

My kids won't eat vegetables, and when I say that I really mean it! I think Finnegan has tried corn on the cob and peas, but that's like 3 times in the last year. Lochlann has never willingly tried anything. He's almost 7! I have tried bribing, taking things away from him & loss of privileges, I have tried the "one for each year of age" thing, I have tried letting him go hungry, and the times I got so frustrated I crammed them in his mouth, he threw up! But still, I haven't given up! Tonight I am going to take you on a tour of a typical dinner in our house, and you can join in my frustration and maybe give me some tips for anything that worked for you???

1. Go harvest something from the garden: for last night's dinner we harvested plenty of greens, some small still-kickin' bell peppers, and green beans (although most of the beans were forgotten and too large to eat!)

2. Cook a yummy dinner! We had some beef from our local farm supplier and green beans tossed in a pan with butter and garlic, and a salad. Take a close look, what's NOT to like? Well, if you were to ask my kids, everything on their plate is "yucky" except the steak. Yucky? This stuff was harvested an hour ago! I really don't believe I was quite this bad when I was their age. I even dressed up their tiny salads with a flower, lol! Look at mom & dad's plates heaped with salad... I was only asking them to eat a tiny bit!

Another lovely shot of the kids' yucky dinners. Go ahead and enlarge the photo to get the full yucky experience!

3. Place said dinners in front of hungry children with skeptical looks on their faces.

4. Revel in disbelief. Yes, there are still the 3 green beans we started with, and the yucky salad. Steak, Milk, and child are long gone. Finn's plate looks the same, minus the parsley. Minus the parsley??? He will eat plain parsley but not green beans in butter and garlic. Oh, I forgot to mention that I even bought them the "spray-on" salad dressing and called it a "salad gun" - they didn't fall for it.

So there you have it: my daily dinner frustration! Why do I have to have such picky kids? I think the parents who drive thru McDonald's every night should have the picky eaters by default, not the moms who grow food, lol!

And just look at all the "salad" below... it appears I will be Frustrated Mom for a good while longer!

Tonight I am admitting defeat. This is what I laid before them, and now I am walking out the door to go do some unnecessary shopping, by myself! Hmmmph, take that, kiddos! (Unfortunately they are overjoyed by their macaroni and cheese.) Whatever...

Nov 9, 2009

Mama's Gettin' a Hammock!

This weekend was a busy one! We had great weather, and a decent amount of energy to get alot of the fall chores done. Not often both of those come together at the same time. I managed to spend the entire weekend doing nothing but moving plants around. I found this summer that our sun/shade combination had changed enough over the last few years that many of my plants in the perennial garden were suffering due to lack of sunlight caused by the growth of some of our trees. In the process, I divided many of them and was able to fill in some empty spaces for free! Of course, none of it will be noticeable until spring & summer. Sailor/Farmer/Husband probably has trouble understanding me running around with dead ("excuse me, that's dormant", lol) cut down bushes and spearing spades through them, but all I can see is "free plants"!!

My husband's idea of a good time in the yard involves power tools and things that are questionable for the environment in general, but in his defense, usually things that need to be done in a brutal fashion. Some advance notice would be nice, though...

I am referring to Saturday morning, when I was sipping my morning coffee and leaving a comment on Mama Pea's blog. I was in mid-type when I heard the distinctive noise of a chainsaw... After stating on her comments that "ooooh, I better go, I hear a chainsaw...", I ran outside to this:

Yes, there goes my tree! Granted, this tree had some serious problems, including some decay & rot at the soil level on the trunk, but it was my shade tree for the gravel patio area! Here you can see it behind the kids. It's a purpleleaf Sand Cherry, or some call it a purpleleaf Plum. Either way, it is really pretty and the blooms in the spring are knockouts. It had seen better days though. A hurricane messed it up pretty badly about 4 years ago, and it never recovered and has been going downhill since. But still, some notice would have been nice, as I never really got a decent picture of it while it lived!

Tree is behind the kids with the purple leaves

My Purple Leaf Sand Cherry in Spring

Which brings me to the hammock! I have always wanted a hammock. I wasn't sold on putting a tree back in that area, since planting it among the roots would be painstaking, and I would also have unwanted shade on some of my raised beds. So the kids and I re-routed our little "fake dry riverbed" and reused some slate I had stored from our old huge aquarium and created a little patio area where the tree trunk was. We have a small shade sail that we never got around to putting up so we will use that here. Picture a triangular shade sail suspended above this area and a hammock that will straddle diagonally the dry riverbed and slate walkway to it. I am also going to finish the herb garden here, with some extra thyme, sage, and Salvia for color. I already have lavender and rosemary on the left and right. Of course, I will probably never get to actually lay in the hammock and read since I have too many garden chores and little heathens to chase around and a husband on deployment, but I am hoping that just looking at it might have the same relaxing effect!

New Hammock-Patio area

Lastly, our Chief Bottle Washers helping us sanitize and bottle a batch of homebrew Saturday night! We like to call it "Life Skills class"!