Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Photo Odds and Ends

A sailboat washed up on the shore of Chesapeake Bay by Hurricane Irene

Wildfires at Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas have destroyed over 40 homes

Hairy armadilloes are considered "fine eating" in Patagonia

A man in Alaska wants to grow the world's largest pumpkin

Odds and Ends of August

Today is the last day to adopt a Free Feline from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  And, with my attention on Irene, I forgot to remind people that the Gainesville, Florida Cat Adopt-a-Thon occurred this past weekend.  I hope that a lot of families and folks adopted the 600+ cats that were available.  ....  We reached another record-setting high temperature today - that's 49 so far this summer, and we'll probably set another record tomorrow, as well.  ....  The wildfire fire near Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas is still out of control, and covers more than 4,000 acres.  The fire just outside of Oklahoma City is spreading like mad, due to the heat and winds, and the fact that there are lots of cedar trees in the area - they burn hot, fast, and with a tremendous upwards flame burst.  .... At least Hurricane Irene put a damper on the Great Dismal Swamp fire - it is now 90% contained.   ....  In today's Eastern Shore News, it's reported that there was about $100,000 worth of damage done by Irene on Chincoteague; most caused by falling trees (one mobile home was squashed by a tree).  ....  The red kids' parents have cancelled their visit to New York this weekend, because the family there has no power.  ....  Hurricane Irene swept away the beaches and beach parking areas on Assateague Island - both the Virginia and Maryland ends of the island are working around the clock, trying to get sand into place for the expected Labor Day weekend crowds.  On the Virginia end, Irene breached the beach into Swan's Cove, and literally removed the entire beach usually under the watch of life guards.  There are usually 931 parking spaces available on the southern end of Assateague, and authorities are hoping to get 200 to 300 prepared for the weekend.  Currently, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is open only to the turn-in for the visitor center; and to get to the life-guard area of the beach, a person must walk or ride a bike 2 miles along trails to get access to the beach, which is now north of Swan's Cove. - This according to a press release from the CNWR today.  .....  Last night, Lovey spent all night with anywhere between 2 and 4 feet touching me at all times.  Nedi jumped into the bed multiple times during the night, and gave me head-butts so I would scratch his ears and his chin.  Mocha spent a lot of time beside me on the sofa yesterday evening and today.  It's nice to be back home with my kits.  And since the Silvermans' are staying home this weekend, I get another night at home; I'll spend the weekend with Maggie May Barrera.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jack Pascoe is Missing

Jack Pascoe has been missing since August 25.  He and his brother were checked in to be shipped by American Airlines from JFK in New York to their new home in California.  Both boys are too large to be able to fit comfortably under an airline seat, so the baggage area was the only other option.  Ten minutes after the owner left them at the AA baggage area, she was called and told that Jack was missing.  She went to the area, double checked on the other cat, and then called for Jack in vain until she had to run for her plane.  Jack has not been seen since his check-in, and 5 days have passed, including the closure of JFK for Irene's passage.  Where is Jack?  His human is distraught!

I have arrived home and will be sleeping in my own bed tonight. I am happy.  -  While I was checking my e-mail and my usual information and news sites, I was being blasted by music.  The bass was extremely loud, and it sounded to me as if the Friday night concert and party at the Harvest House was occurring tonight - right up against the privacy fence.  I walked out onto the patio, because Lovey and Nedi kept running in and out, as though they were being frightened by something.  (I couldn't hear my TV on it's usual setting due to the loud music....)  Guess what?  The music was coming from my new neighbors!  Chokie, who complained about the bird and squirrel feeding, is gone.  I now have a size 4 white-blonde who wears very short dresses (and her as-yet-unseen boyfriend) for my new neighbors.  And she happily informed me that she had "just got a new kitten, that holds onto my feet when I walk, and just slides all over the tile floor..."  She wanted to know if Lovey would bite, and I told her that she might - I wouldn't guarantee it one way or the other.  Nedi, meanwhile, was hiding behind the curtain, hoping not to be seen.  At least the volume on the music was turned down within 10 minutes of our meeting - and I never said a word about it....  But I might be moving my bed again!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene and Critters

I finally feel as if I can heave a sigh of relief regarding Assateague and Chincoteague and Hurricane Irene.  I have not yet been able to find photos from either place showing damage or flooding, but I'm sure that some will appear soon.  The only photo from the area that I can find is of a large tree that fell across Pungoteague Road between Keller and Pungoteague:
It has been amazing to watch the video that shows historic covered bridges in Vermont being washed away by wildly flooding rivers.  I do know the power that water can generate, and I've always held it in awe. Irene, you have certainly proved to others that rain and wind are immensely powerful opponents.

On Saturday, Uncle Mo lost the King's Bishop Stakes by a nose to Caleb's Posse.  Stay Thirsty won the Travers Stakes over Rattlesnake Bridge, while Shackleton finished a disappointing eighth out of ten.  On the west coast, Acclimation won the Pacific Classic and The Factor won the Pat O'Brien Stakes.  The Breeders Cup Races are only 9 weeks away.

Nedi surprised me by avidly slurping up a mango-pineapple smoothie this morning.  I thought it would be too acidic for him...  I was wrong.   Lovey is crunching up some Party Mix Beachside treats on the end of my desk, while Mocha is watching an old western on TV.  I have already walked the red kids and the Shih Tzus and have taken care of Alexy's kits.  It'll soon be time for me to head back in their direction.  I need to finish tidying up the kitchen before Alexy gets back from London, and move my overnight gear over to the Munsinger house.  Tomorrow I'll walk the little guys, walk the red kids, walk to my shrink appointment, visit my kits, and then drive Kathy and Jim to the airport, as they leave for Alaska tomorrow evening.  It's taking them a while (longer than expected) to wean Boo off her pain and nausea medication after her radiation therapy, so I'll be there every afternoon while Kathy and Jim are gone, to give Boo her reduced 2 p.m. dose of meds.  Mike will be giving her the morning and evening doses while his folks are gone.   -  With Colorado setting record high temperatures  every day this past week, it seems hard to believe that it's almost September!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All Chincoteague Ponies are A-OK

Denise Bowden, the spokesperson for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, announced late this morning that the entire herd count was perfect.  With Hurricane Irene due to hit Chincoteague and Assateague, the Pony Committee members opened gates to higher ground (most notably to the White Hills) and stockpiled hay in several high areas.  Once folks were allowed back on the islands, the Pony Committee went to Assateague and counted noses.  All ponies were safe and sound.

Hurricane Irene Photos

Kyle Fulk took this photo of his fraternity house and a downed tree at East Carolina University at Greenville, North Carolina.

A man walks along a flooded street in Hoboken, New Jersey

Clouds announce the arrival of Hurricane Irene at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Photo by Sarah Harker Leary.

Eastern Shore Islands OK

I thought I'd end up being worried for nothing... Chincoteague and Assateague Islands survived Hurricane Irene with "minimal wind and flooding damage," according to the EMS team that stayed on Chincoteague.  According to the NWS station at Wallops Island, they received 6.15 inches of rain, and the highest wind gust was 58 mph.  The eye of Irene passed by Assateague about 50 miles to the east, out in the Atlantic Ocean.  Just before dark last night, it was reported that Main Street and Maddox Boulevard on Chincoteague, and all the paved roads on Assateague, were under tidal flood waters, that multiple trees were down, and that power outages were happening.  By 8 a.m. this morning, the mandatory evacuation orders were lifted, the causeway was open, and residents and visitors were once again welcome to the islands.  According to a friend, the flood waters didn't even get high enough to go into Grandpa's house at all.  The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Norfolk to Cape Charles is open, as is the Chespeake Bay Bridge in Maryland.  Reports state that there are piles of beach sand up to two feet tall that have washed onto the Ocean City boardwalk.  Ocean City officials say they will have public transportation up and running by noon today.

Alexy is due back from England tomorrow night, and the Munsingers are due back from Boston on Tuesday evening.  - I get to sleep in my own bed for two nights!! -  Then Thursday evening, I move back into the Silvermans' to be with Rosie and Remy, as well as caring for Maggie May Barrera through Labor Day.  Yesterday afternoon and evening Aiko decided to go on a "potty fast" - He'd come outside onto the patio and deck, but he wouldn't go into the grass to relieve himself.  Last night, and again this morning, I finally picked him up and placed him in the grass.  The beautific expression on his face was hysterical, as he started relieving himself the minute I let go of him....  He's a silly little Shih Tzu.  Shady slept with me last night, after we watched the Broncos defeat the Seahawks (and Tim Tebow got to play quite a bit!); Cloudy came in and wanted me to let her go outside just about every hour.  I was able to spend some time with Chiton, the orange and white cat, yesterday.  He's lost almost half his weight, and looks down-right skinny at the moment.  Other than weight loss, he looked fine, and let me play with and pet him for quite a while.  He also enjoyed his kitty food.  Lovey is currently laying on the end of my desk, while Nedi is peering through the curtains and out the door.  I found out this morning that Nedi loves Wild Berry Smoothies.  (He also loves strawberry jell-o, so why not a wild berry smoothie?)

And I'll leave you with one last mondegreen....  From 9th grade through my senior year at my high school, music was played continuously in the cafeteria.  The song that was played for 4 years, on a continuous loop, was the long version of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - which was turned into:  "In a glob of Velveeta, honey..."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Songs Illustrated

"... where the great giraffe is stored..."

"Secret Asian Man"
"Who is the daddy of the angel Aquarius?"


I'm certainly guilty of mondegreens, and I know that both my parents were, too.  A mondegreen is a term for misheard and misunderstood song lyrics.  It originatd with a Scots ballad; the real words of the song are, "They have slain the Earl of Murray, and laid him on the green."  A writer who had heard the song, but didn't know the correct words, always sang those lines as: 'They have killed the Earl of Murray, and Lady Mondegreen."  That's how mondegreens got their names....

I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, listening to a combination of classical music, rock 'n' roll, country, folk, and Dixieland jazz.  Mom and Dad both enjoyed a wide variety of musical expressions, and I was taught to enjoy all of them.  As the music grew louder, and as singers stopped enunciating clearly, the world of mondegreens grew enormously.  I remember Mom asking me about a Kenny Rogers song ("Lucille") - he sang that he had "four hungry children and a crop in the field."  Mom wanted to know how he had four hundred children.   I am going to list a few of my favorite mondegreens - I laughed until I cried over some of them....

From God Bless America: Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with the light from a bulb.
From The Battle Hymn of the Republic: He is trampling down the village where the great giraffe is stored.
From various Christmas songs: Round John Virgin, Mother and Child.
 Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call....
 Joy to the World!  The Lord has Gum!
 Get dressed, ye merry gentlemen ....  (Shades of Charles II's court?!?)
 Police got my Dad!  (Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad")
From the late '50s, "Who Wrote the Book of Love" by the Monotones became "Who Rode the Moo Cow Now?"
From Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman:  Pretty Woman, won't you lick my leg?
From the Beach Boy's Help Me, Rhonda: Since she left me, there've been owls pukin' in my bed... (real lyric: Since she put me down, I've been out doin' in my head...)
I loved Patrick McGoohan in Secret Agent, so I just about lost it when I read about Johnny Rivers' song: Secret Asian Man
Bob Dylan even has a mondegreen: Dead ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind...
From The Beatles' Lucy in the Sky (With Diamonds): The girl with colitis goes by...  and: Lucy's in a fight, with Linus!
And The Beatles' Michelle: Michelle, my bell, Sunday monkey no play piano song, no piano song... (real lyrics: Michelle, ma belle, Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble, tres bien ensemble...)
Jimmy Buffet, in Margaritaville, "Searchin' for my lost singer from Mars..."  is actually searching for his last shaker of salt...
The Fifth Dimension sang about The Age of Aquarius: Who is the daddy of the angel Aquarius?, which was actually "It is the dawning of the age of Aquarius..."
The Monkees sang "I'm a Believer"; some folks heard: Then I saw her face, Now I'm gonna leave her...
I loved Credence Clearwater Revival - especially There's a Bad Moon on the Rise - which was mondegreened into "There's a bathroom on the right..."
Manfred Mann, in Blinded By the Light, makes reference to a Deuce Coupe - revved up like a Deuce - that has become "wrapped up like a douche"
And, loving Rafael Sabatini, and his book Scaramouche, I was very delighted to have Queen sing, in Bohemian Rhapsody,  "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?'  That line has been reported as: Scallaboosh, Scallaboosh, will you do the banned tango?
 But the one that made me laugh until I choked was from Robert Palmer's song, Addicted to Love,  which was mangled into: Might as well face it, you're a dick with a glove!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chincoteague Must Be Evacuated by Noon Saturday

While I was watching the Weather Channel before noon, they were showing an interview with the Governor of Virginia - and I laughed aloud when he said that the County of Accomack had instituted mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas, but the Town of Chincoteague  was under a mandatory evacuation of all non-residents, and evacuation for residents was voluntary.  (We Chincoteaguers are hard-headed cusses.) I checked the town's website, and all it said was that non-residents had to be gone from the island by 6 p.m.  Now the website says that all residents are under mandatory evacuation orders, and must be off the island by noon tomorrow.  Only "emergency personnel" will be allowed to stay.  -  The last time there was a mandatory evacuation, friends and families of the emergency personnel stayed on the island, as well.  -  The new town offices and complex has been built in Deep Hole, where the ground is low, soft, and surrounded by marshes.  I feel pretty sure the folks who stay will do so in the top story of the Fire Station on Main Street...  That's where they usually congregate during storms.
The forecasters say that there will be a four to eight-foot storm surge on top of over a foot of rain, plus the fact that it's also time for the higher-than-usual neap tides.  Kathy thinks that 8 feet of water would reach the window on the staircase at Grandpa's old house, but I think the window is at about 10 feet above the ground.  (I used to spend summer afternoons at that window, sitting on the stairs and reading Zane Gray books.)  It doesn't really matter, but we were trying to put that amount of water at a place we know well.  Tomorrow I'm going to write about mondegreens, and leave Irene alone.

Friday Frou-Frou

A blue tit in the United Kingdom

Orange kitty mosh pit

Old Bristle cone pine on the Western Slope of Colorado

Walking Dogs

Lovey is lying on the desk, talking to me as I type.  Mocha is on the love seat, watching the Weather Channel with great intensity.  Nedi is outside chasing bugs.  I just finished a mango-pineapple smoothie, and I'm feeling somewhat refreshed. Whew.  Irene is a monster. While a part of me still yearns to be on Chincoteague, another part of me is happy to be here in the heat wave in the Rockies.  Shady and Cloudy were super last night - we had some thunder rumbles and a little bit of rain, but they were great companions, and didn't even flinch while I was yelling at the Redskins and Ravens last night.  Aiko and Yoshi are as sweet as ever, and Rosie and Remy behaved quite well today.  I chatted with Warren, a dog owner and walker, and we discussed the female pit bull mix that's running loose around Norwood and 15th - and how she has such a deep and frightening growl.  I also met a young man who was walking his Malamute-wolf hybrid - that was one beautiful, but huge, canine.

I have to admit I was rude the other day while walking the Rs.  We were near Centennial Middle School, and it's the first week of classes.  The sidewalk there is red concrete and is 8 feet wide; since we were meeting a number of kids on foot and on bikes, I had both of the Rs on a two-foot length of their leashes.  A group of girls approached; there were about ten altogether, and one of them was walking and texting.  As we got nearer to each other, the other girls started calling out warnings to the texter, who completely ignored them.  She was walking on the left side of the sidewalk, directly approaching the dogs and me.  When I realized that she might  not stop, or even glance up, I had Rosie and Remy stop and sit, on either side of me. The girl was less than 18 inches away from my nose when she looked up, stopped, and then screamed shrilly. (I really wanted to scream right back at her!) Instead, I just stood and stared, while the dogs also sat and stared.  Then the girl started laughing like a loon.  Once her friends had grabbed her and moved her to the other side of the sidewalk, I shook my head, and said out loud, "What an idiot."  That got the girls upset...  and I received quite a few nasty descriptives as I walked on with the dogs.   Oh, well.  If it happens again, whether or not it's the same girl, I now plan on shrieking back, and seeing how they like it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evacuations of East Coast

At 6 o'clock this evening, I grinned to myself when I saw that Ocean City, Maryland had declared a mandatory evacuation beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.  (That's an hour ago, my time...) I also went to the Accomack County website to see what had been decided about Chincoteague Island residents - that's why I was grinning.  The Emergency Management Service had announced a voluntary evacuation of those people living in mobile homes. I know that a lot of old-timers and true 'Teaguers won't want to leave the island.  I just checked the EMS website again, and found that the evacuation orders are now mandatory for everyone who lives in areas deemed low-lying, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.  If you look at the map on the Accomack County website, you will see that other than about a half-mile stretch on either side of US 13, every place must be evacuated.  I'm sure the same is true of Northampton County as well.  I do know that the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, which is built on a sandbar in the Chesapeake Bay, is also being evacuated.  I feel deeply for all the folks who are being discommoded by Irene! From the northern coast of South Carolina all the way up to Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, governors have already declared states of emergency.  And President Obama has already declared North Carolina a disaster area, so that FEMA and other agencies will be ready to provide aid as soon as they can.  Irene is certainly stirring folks up!

Chincoteague Storm Photos

The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 left a crab boat in what had been my great-grandparents drive

AJ's Restaurant On The Creek was in the creek during a November 2009 Northeaster
Ridge Road is the high point of Chincoteague - this is a view of Ridge Road looking south in November 2009

So Much to Write About....

Boo is doing much better and we've been able to decrease her pain medication.  I still feel bad for her.  All the other dogs and cats in my care are super, and tonight I start caring for Aiko and Yoshi, the two Shih Tzus who live next door to Rosie and Remy.  Lovey, Nedi, and Mocha are great - Nedi just finished nursing on my arm.  He and Lovey are outside, while Mocha is "stealing" food from their bowl (they steal food from hers, as well). And, I do hope that Coffeepot finds a place of his own sometime soon!  ... This Saturday, NBC will broadcast both the King's Bishop Stakes and the Travers Stakes, from 5 to 6 EDT.  Uncle Mo, the Derby favorite who did not run, is facing 7 opponents in the 7/8ths mile King's Bishop; this is his first race since March.  In the "Mid-Summer Derby," the Travers Stakes, 10 colts will vie for a $1 million purse, running 1 and 1/4 miles. Horses who ran in the Triple Crown races and are in the Travers are: Shackleford, Ruler On Ice, and Stay Thirsty.

Hopefully Hurricane Irene won't cause the closing of Saratoga for Saturday's races.  It is causing a mass exodus from North Carolina's Outer Banks, and those along the Delmarva Peninsula are also preparing for the worst.  Boats are being placed in dry dock as fast as possible; folks are loading up on gasoline, water, and food stuffs.  Some places, like in my story yesterday, are packing things to the up-stairs living areas in hopes of not losing them to rising waters.  People with livestock who live in low-lying areas are trailering their stock to other places, further inland and on higher ground.  (You know, I kind of miss hurricane season here in the mountains...)  And, even though it's crazy, I'd love to be on the island of Chincoteague during the storm...  I guess my 360 years of waterman's genes make a strong pull for the coast.   .... One of the Chincoteague ponies that live in Maryland near Ocean City has been removed from Assateague for being a nuisance and becoming dangerous.  A bay stallion, 18-years-old and named Fabio (he has a long face and mane), has been gelded and sent to Doris Day's Horse Rehab Center in Texas.  On the Maryland end of Assateague, one may camp on the island - and the ponies there tend to eat whatever the tourists and campers give them, and end up becoming beggars.  Fabio, after begging for several years, started threatening campers, both biting them and occasionally charging at them, with teeth bared.  The folks at the Horse Rehab Center say that Fabio is making excellent progress; as a matter of fact, he's doing much better than they expected.  He will probably be turned out with the rest of the horses, once he's been rehabbed, but he also might be adopted out.  They'll have to see how he does with training.

And, finally, a 19-year-old female from London, England is currently in the Boulder jail.  The legal drinking age here is 21.  The young lady went to a party and later admitted to police that she had consumed several drinks.  She then got in a Volvo sedan and started to drive.  She ran into at least three parked cars, leaving bits and pieces of the bumper, lights, fenders, and a front tire at the scene.  She continued to drive on three tires and the wheel mount.  Several people managed to stop her at a red light, and took her keys from her.  The police arrived soon after, following reports of the accidents and of a car moving down the road while producing sparks and fire in the wheel well.  The young lady smelled of alcohol, and could not answer questions well enough to even take a field sobriety test.  The car was towed away and she was booked for various offenses, including DUI, under-age alcohol consumption, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident (times 3).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1938 Hurricane Aftermath on Long Island

What had been land was now underwater; houses were washed out into the sea and bays; boats and ships were carried into towns to be left as broken driftwood....  all from the 1938 Hurricane.

Peru Gets Earthquake

Mother Earth is spreading her plates - today there was a 7.0 earthquake along the Peru and Brazil border, with the epicenter being in Peru.  The quake was felt in Lima, more than 350 miles to the southwest.  The epicenter for the Peru quake was 95 miles deep, while the Virginia quake was only 3.7 miles down.  ....
But my main worry is Irene.  What is she going to do?  I do realize that it's all a matter of water temperature, air masses, and pressure areas that steer the storm; it's just that....  Well, in my grandfather's house on Chincoteague, there were five high tide water marks on the wall paper on the ground floor, and each and every summer we were in the house, I was told tales of all of the storms that left those marks.  Mom was a very good and intense story-teller, and one of her most terrifying tales (for me, anyway) was during the 1938 hurricane. The radio weather forecasters were calling for good weather, but the watermen of Chincoteague looked at the waves, looked at the sky, and sniffed the wind.  It was their consensus that there would be "a bad nor'easter" coming in.  Grandma was dead at that time, so Grandpa and Mom oversaw rolling up the rugs, and taking all easily moved furniture, plus the rugs, up the stairs to the second floor.  There wasn't a bathroom in the house (until 1962), so all the chamber pots were stored in the closet, and buckets of water for drinking and washing were carried upstairs to the landing.  Sleeping pallets were made on the bedroom floor and up in the attic, where they didn't pile furniture.  The water started to rise.  Grandpa went down to the dock and poled the family dink (dinghy) down the street, where he tied it up to the top of the front porch.  Then he brought in a little more coal (that hadn't yet got wet), and told Mom, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Howard that they were going to have a real bell-ringer of a storm.  While they could still use the rooms downstairs, Mom went into the kitchen and cooked food that could be eaten cold the next day.  The rain began, the wind started to howl; Mom was very happy that she would be able to go upstairs again, soon.  There was a loud crack and the electricity went off.  Mom lit the oil lamp, and turned back to finish washing the dishes in the sink.  The rain continued to pour, and the wind seemed to increase in strength with each and every breath she took.  The rain seemed to let up a bit, and Mom leaned forward over the sink to peek out the window, hoping to see how high the water was.  As she leaned forward, there was a giant clap of thunder, and water splashed up, completely covering the glass, and then cascading back down.  Mom dropped the plate and towel she was clutching, and ran like a jack rabbit up the stairs.  Grandpa wanted to know why she looked so be-bothered - so she told him about the water on the window, and that she thought they had gone under a tidal wave.  Grandpa walked quietly down stairs, put away the towel, and swept up the pieces of china.  When he plodded back upstairs, Mom asked, "Well?   What has happened?"  Grandpa laughed and told her that the wind had brought down a few chimney bricks, and the big splash against the window was the bricks hitting the water already under the house.   - After that, it seemed that it took an awful lot to get Mom upset. - And the high tide mark on the wall from 1938 was at 4 feet, 10 inches.....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

After the Quake in D.C. ...

One can see where the turret tops (cornices) are missing from the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. after today's 5.8 earthquake.

Don't Mess With Mother Nature!

Twenty-nine minutes after I posted my flippant "What Earthquake?"  blog this morning, my home state of Virginia decided to give me a wake-up call.  There was a 5.8 magnitude quake in Virginia, centered near Mineral, to the northwest of Richmond.  That quake was felt from Boston to Savannah.  A water main inside the Pentagon broke and flooded two partial floors; windows cracked in Philadelphia; and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC lost three cornices from it's 30-story tall tower.  Aaaiiiiieeeee!  I prostrate myself before your glory, might, and power, Earth Mother!  Please protect my friends and cared for places from Irene!

What Earthquake?

People in Denver felt the earthquake last night; it occurred in Trinidad, Colorado just before midnight and was a 5.3 quake.  I slept through it - and, even if I had been awake, I probably wouldn't have noticed it.  In any event, there were three small tremors in Trinidad yesterday, and then the big one last night.  A few walls cracked, a few bricks fell from chimneys - that was the most damage that was viewable this morning.  I'm more interested in Hurricane Irene - what her track will be and how much damage she causes the eastern seaboard.  I hope the folks along the coast get only rain and rough seas - but that seems too much to hope for.  My biggest hope is that Assateague and Chincoteague don't suffer serious damage - and that my friends in Florida aren't bothered too much by wind and rain.

Yesterday was the first day of classes at CU - there were masses of new students running around, and I'll have to be helpful to the kids that don't know where the buses run.  Not much else is going on.  A doe ran into the bushes near one of Cloudy's sleep spots this morning, and Cloudy ran for the house as though demons were after her.  When she saw me standing in the door watching her, she slowed down to an amble, but looked back over her shoulder to be sure she wasn't being followed.  Shady slept with me again - and was a comfort when I awoke from a nightmare early this morning.  The callus spot on Rosie's rump turned into an abscess, so I had to make sure she didn't go swimming or get her haunch wet while we were walking today.  And when I went to put her harness on this morning, I found that it's hanging together by only a few threads at one of the pressure points.  I made certain that I pointed it out to Joel; and I'm very lucky that those threads held, because we ran into three groups of deer today, and Rosie and Remy believe they are deer hounds.  I visited my kits twice yesterday, and this morning Lovey can't get close enough.  She is keeping some point of her anatomy against my skin at all times...  Hmmmm.  I wonder if she and Nedi felt the quake last night?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon Routes

The finish line for the Ascent race is 14,115 feet above sea level

Josh Eberly of  Gunnison, Colorado runs up the Golden Stairs, near the Ascent finish line

A photo of Jim Snow, taken on his route near the top of Pikes Peak Marathon, may be viewed at

Yeah, Jimmy!

Jimmy finished fourth in his age group for the Marathon up and down Pike's Peak yesterday.  With his combined times, he placed 97th as a "Doubler."  But he was the only man in his age group to run in both the Ascent and Marathon races, so as a Doubler, he was first - as a 67 year-old.  There is no way I could have even walked the course, let alone run it, or them back-to-back!  So I humbly salute my brother-in-law.  You are something!  I needed some flat land today, so I drove over to Longmont and Berthoud - just so I could see fields of crops and rolling pastures with livestock.  I love looking at the mountains, and climbing in them, but my east coast up-bringing still makes me hanker for non-mountainous areas.

All of the critters are fine - Rosie's haunch is bothering her again, so she's visiting the vet this afternoon. When she got her short trim, I thought she had a callus on her rear from sitting; but it's gotten inflamed, so to the vet she goes.  Shady slept on my legs last night; I was reading A History of Latin America that was written by Alexy's father.  It's very good (if you like history), and I then found out that George Pendle had been a BBC commentator from South America for many years, as well as being the CEO of a huge textile company in London...  Who'd a thunk?  All I can say is that his book on the overall history of Latin America is very entertaining, as well as also being very insightful.  I'm looking forward to reading his other books regarding each country. - My kits were happy to see me again this morning.  I think I'll surprise them by showing up this evening as well.  It'll make a nice break in our current routine, anyway. .... And I think I'll have to make more nectar for the hummingbirds here.  There is a very small amount left in the one that's out, and I've seen it visited more than 20 times so far today.  A couple of them are having a discussion on the patio even as I type this....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pike's Peak Ascent Race

Brother-in-law Jim Snow ran in the Pike's Peak Ascent Race yesterday.  That race is 13.32 miles long, and has a 7,815 foot vertical gain - you are running up the mountain.  Jimmy finished 5th in his age group (65 to 70) in a time of 4 hours, 44 minutes and 43 seconds.  .... At the moment, he is competing in the Pike's Peak Marathon, and the course for that goes up the mountain and then back down.  The usual joke is that the race peaks at 14, 115 feet, but trees stop growing at the 12,000 foot mark... Why? because they can't  get enough oxygen.  Most runners take 60 minutes or more to run that highest mile, just because the air is so thin....   Keep on running, Jim!!

Island Views

Light house at Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Sun rise at Pawleys Island, South Carolina

You never know what you'll find in your kayak at Eagle Island, Georgia

Critters and the Broncos Game

Lovey is pacing back and forth on my desk, talking to me, and rubbing her chin, side, and tail against my chin and glasses.  It makes typing, and thinking, difficult.  I sat on the sofa yesterday afternoon and watched the local news before going back to Alexy's to watch the Broncos game, and to be with Cloudy and Shady.  Mocha spent almost as much time on the sofa as I did - getting love and attention, scratching and petting.  She certainly is a little love.  While Mocha was getting love, Nedi and Lovey were out on the prowl, investigating the back yard and the neighbors' patios.  Rosie and Remy got their dinner when Joel called me from Lyons and let me know that he and Nancy were nearing home.  Those red dogs pester their owners for food all the time, but have realized that it doesn't work with me.  Remy and Rosie will look at me hopefully, but when I say, "No," the desist.  Cloudy and Shady came for loving during the Broncos' game, and I happily gave it to them.  Cloudy, as usual, just wanted to rub - as soon as you move your hand or fingers in any way, she bats at them (with claws out), hisses and leaves.  Shady is a snuggler.

I enjoyed, and didn't enjoy, the Broncos game.  There were several injuries to both teams, which I hated (even if I do yell, "Kill the s.o.b.!" when the Broncos defense is on the field).  In the last game, Kyle Orton ran one series in the first quarter; then Tebow played for the rest of the first and second; and Brady Quinn played the entire second half.  This week, Orton started and played half-way through the second quarter; Quinn played the rest of the second and all the third quarter; Tebow was allowed two series in the fourth, and was instructed to play what was called - no audibles; and then Weber, the fourth-string QB was brought in.  The Broncos won.  I'm happy that they won, but I wish that Tebow had gotten a little more play time - he was only called on for 2 pass plays, one which slipped through the receiver's hands (it was thrown perfectly), and the other was completed for 10 yards.  Of course Orton and Quinn had much better stats, but they were also on the field a lot longer, and were able to call audibles.  I think if Tebow will persevere, he will be a starting quarterback in the NFL - but the change in coaches, change in the game styles of the coaches, and the lock-out hurt him this year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Views of Tangier Island, Virginia

Tangier Island and it's airstrip; photo copyrighted by Sam Andrews in May 2007

Waterfront on Tangier Island

The old Holland House on Tangier Island, during a storm

Tangier Island

It's a beautiful, cool morning.  We had a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, and a good rain during the evening.  Luckily, it stopped in time for me to walk over and love and medicate the Snow girls.   Then I took them all out for a potty break, and stayed with them until Boo settled down again.  Then I wandered over to Alexy's and made certain that the cats and house were fine, and then headed back to Rosie and Remy's.  I ran into John walking Tessa with a flashlight, and chatted with them, before giving the Rs a snack and climbing into bed.  Right now, I have Audie Murphy on the TV in The Texican.  Mmmmm-mmmmm; those Spanish bred horses are gorgeous!

Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, has been losing land to the water at a rate of 9 acres per year.  Tangier used to have over 1,000 residents, but that number has dropped to less than 500, due to the loss of land and the economy.  Tangier folk make their living off the water - fishing, oystering, clamming, and crabbing. As the government keeps increasing the the rules to protect the Bay from having the natural stocks of sea creatures depleted, the watermen of Tangier feel that they are being governed against, rather than for. And then, with the rising waters eating away the marsh land that makes up Tangier, Mother Nature seems to be against them as well.  It is quite possible, that without a $12 million system of sea walls and break waters, that Tangier  Island may no longer exist in 50 years.  -  My family has been on Chincoteague and Assateague Islands for over 360 years.  Both of those islands are of the barrier type and they have grown and shrunk as the whims of the Atlantic Ocean have decreed.  But, in the last 60 years or so, since Assateague was designated a National Seashore and a National Wildlife Refuge, a lot has been done to replace beach sand washed away by northeasters and by hurricanes.  Parts of the Assateague and Chincoteague Channels have silted up, creating new land for people to build upon as Chincoteague "grows."  The Assateague Island light house was originally built closer to the eastern side of Assateague, and the Atlantic, than it was to the Assateague Channel and Chincoteague.  Today, the light house stands within 200 yards of the Assateague Channel.  The island changes are the both the gift and curse of Mother Nature.  -  I feel for the people of Tangier; most families still there have resided on the island for many generations.  I find myself conflicted regarding the final decision about Tangier Island.  I want it to continue, to keep its traditions alive, to stop the erosion of the land into the Bay.  At the same time, I don't want to stand in Mother Nature's way, and if the Bay is going to swallow up the Island, then so be it.  ....  I just guess I'm very lucky that Assateague acts as the out-rider and protects the island of Chincoteague from the vagaries of the sea.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicory, Bees & Cornflower

A honey bee dives into a chicory flower (from RawThoughts and

A chicory flower

A red-tailed bumble bee harvesting pollen from a blue cornflower

Bees Harvesting

Yesterday morning I took an easy amble through Githen's Acres.  Along the western edge of the neighborhood, I encountered several stands of chicory that ranged between three and six feet in height.  Here, there were dozens of honeybees hard at work, gathering pollen.  I sat down on a nearby boulder and watched them.  It was amazing to watch the pollen build up on their legs as they went from flower to flower, harvesting the white gold.  They looked as if they had donned old fashioned pantaloons, and with each new harvest, the pantaloons ballooned out around their legs even more.  I had a very relaxing and enjoyable peek into their lives.  And we have 4 bee-keeping families that I know of in the neighborhood, so I have no idea if I was watching a group from one specific house, or if there were several different colonies visiting the pretty blue flowers.

My kits were ecstatic to see me again this morning, and my conscience is really beginning to bother me about being away for so long.  But I will be back, sleeping at home on August 29, unless something dire happens.  I'm looking forward to my own bed, shared with Lovey and Nedi. Poor, poor little Boo!   The illness and pain from her radiation treatment was supposed to be worse last weekend, after her treatments were ended.  She didn't seem to be any worse until Tuesday; and now the poor girl is plain old miserable.  And to top it all off, Jim kept her upstairs to keep her separate from the other dogs yesterday, and on her way down the stairs, her bad leg gave way and somehow got stuck in between the railings.  She pulled it out herself, but in doing so, removed all of the skin on her radiation site - so she has this exposed raw meat open to the air.  She has her cone on, to keep her from licking the leg, but will just lay the cone on top of the injury and lick the inside of the cone, which is almost as bad as licking the wound itself.  I'll be stopping by this afternoon and evening to sit with her and give her pain meds, since this is the Pike's Peak Double Marathon weekend, and Jim is running in it.  Mike will be at home over the weekend to care for all three of the dogs, but is going to a concert tonight.  Rosie and Remy and Cloudy and Shady are all well, and the Rs were on their best behaviour when we met a new Bernese Mountain dog this morning.  ....  Watched the Steelers beat Phillie last night - cheered the team on while still disliking Roethlisberger immensely.  Looking forward to a good game tonight, and Verne Lundquist will call the Broncos game Saturday.  -  Football!  I love football!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pony Foals and Assateague

This energetic filly isn't afraid of anything!  And she is a direct descendant of Misty...

This colt has a beautiful head and markings

Assateague Island on a summer afternoon

Critters and Bits

It's a humid Thursday - my kits are on the patio, and I have both fans blowing in hopes I won't sweat to death.  Rosie and Remy had a great walk this morning, and I was able to keep us in the shade for most of the time.  Cloudy and Shady are doing well, but you can tell they miss their real Momma.  I've been reading a book a day, and will have to get new ones either this afternoon or tomorrow from the library.  I'm really in the mood to do genealogy work, but with everything here at home (all my programs and previously gathered info), and with me away most of the time, I'm getting frustrated.  And Chokey, the neighbor who complained about everything, has completely moved out.  It sounds as if folks are preparing the place for a new tenant today.

Bits and pieces; odds and ends -  Michael Matz, the show jumping rider and dressage rider turned race horse trainer, was blind-sided by the sudden withdrawal of 11 horses from his stable by the owners of Barbaro.  The horses, including Barbaro's two full brothers were split between two other trainers.  ....  A British trainer has been banned for four years because he ran a horse in eight races after he knew the horse had "palmar neurectomy" surgery.  This removed the feeling in the nerves of the legs from the knees and hocks down to the hooves.  The horse wouldn't even know if it had broken a leg!  The trainer, Howard Johnson (no relation of mine, though), retired immediately upon the decision of the British Racing Board.  He also had three runners come back positive for pain-killers.  I would have banned him for life, full stop.  ....  The Chincoteague Fire Company now says that they have "out-grown" the old fire station on Main Street, and are seeking a place to build a new station.  They had a car show at the high school to start raising funds to buy the land and build the new place.  ....  In the last week, there have been four armed robberies of women here in Boulder.  All have been conducted by a Hispanic male, armed with a handgun, and using a bicycle as his get-away vehicle.  Last Thursday, three ladies were robbed of their purses, backpacks and pocket contents, while walking on the Boulder Creek Path near the University Rec Center by the man brandishing the gun.  Monday evening, the man robbed three women who had been sitting at a picnic table near the Boulder Justice Center (again, on the Boulder Creek Path), he showed them the gun and had them walk into the Creek.  Then he took their belongings - purses and backpacks - and rode away on his bike, discharging the gun into the air as he left.  Tuesday night, the robber was hiding in an underground garage (next to the Creek Path), and robbed a woman as she was returning home.  This time, besides showing her the gun, and getting her purse and belongings, he also made her pull up her skirt (showing her undies), and then grabbed her hand and made her touch his crotch.  At that point in time, another vehicle entered the parking garage, and the man ran away.  I'm glad I'm wandering around Githen's Acres and not the Creek Path at the moment! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baby Asian Fishing Cats

These darling babies were born on July 29 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Ohio). The litter consists of two boys and one girl.  Fishing cats are an endangered species from southern Asia.  They have webbing between their toes and are frequently swimming and diving in the waters and marshes, searching for fish, which is their primary food.  Adults weigh between 15 and 35 pounds in the wild.  These kittens weigh about one-half pound each.


I had my last (I hope) appointment with Dr. Pohlman yesterday.  He stated that unless I have "significant changes" or redevelop an abscess, I should be completely healed in another 10 to 14 days.  Still healing slowly, but, most definitely, surely.  He apologized to me, saying he was amazed that my body rejected the glue and skin patches, and he said he was extremely sorry for the fact that I had to deal with the fistula and its problems for such a long time.  He was sweet.  -  He did say that I shouldn't try to ride a bicycle for at least another 6 to 8 weeks - but after that, I should be fine for anything. Yippee!

Lovey just brought me a freshly killed chipmunk - a young male.  She came in the door talking, as usual, but with a very guttural sound, that usually means she has caught something.  She jumped up onto the desk and laid the poor, dead critter on my keyboard.  I had to give her lots of verbal praise and a lot of petting, stroking, and scratching to get her to calm down a bit.  Nedi had to knock the little thing off the desk and onto the floor, where he batted it around for ten minutes.  Once everyone was finished with it, I placed it in a trash bag and took it to the dumpster.  Poor little thing...

Rosie and Remy have been so excited to see me in the morning that it's almost embarrassing.  They dance and twist and prance and almost fall down on the waxed hardwood floors as they gambol around me on my way to grab their harnesses and leashes.  I'm glad I give the dogs such joy - but it still seems to be a little weird to me.  - Of course, I do try to vary their walks, and yesterday we explored some new places that I hadn't walked before.  So maybe it's just because we don't follow the same routine, day in and day out.  I really have no clue.  ...   Shady and Cloudy have been little love bugs for the past few days.  We had another thunder storm with heavy rain yesterday evening, and they both came to me and voiced their complaints.  It's hard to tell when Cloudy is about because she walks very softly and seems to glide above the floor.  Shady stomps around like an old man in a pair of boots two sizes too large - one can always hear him walking, trotting or galloping through the house.  And Jonathan, the young buck, is still sleeping under the front window.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Youngsters

Cottontail bunnies

Fox kit

Great horned owlet

African serval

British stoat

Monday, August 15, 2011


Knowing that Kathy would be very "hurt" if I didn't show up for her anniversary dinner, I made myself go.  Luckily, Anne came down from Sugarloaf, so we sat and talked together, while Kathy and Jim whispered sweet nothings to each other, and the kids and their partners talked across the table.  And, it was lucky, too, that Colterra always has specials that aren't listed on the regular menu.  I think that out of the 8 in our party, only Annie and I had the same meal - pork tenderloin.  Anne had grilled salmon, Sarah had the duck comfy, Mike had the halibut, and I don't remember what Michael, Jim and Kathy ordered.  Then we ordered 4 different desserts and shared them around the table - not to mention the roasted almonds, gnocchi and buffalo carpaccio that were the appetizers...  I ended up completely stuffed.  We were the last patrons in the restaurant, and once we got back to Boulder, I read a couple of chapters and then zonked out.  And I slept in this morning until after 7 a.m. -  I still feel more than half-asleep.

Rosie and Remy were very excited to see me this morning - and we had a very good walk, even though I did reprimand Rosie for pulling so much.  We met several new dogs, and the reds were well behaved.  I had forgotten that today was the first day of school in our District for the kindergartners, first graders, sixth graders and ninth graders.  The Rs and I walked by Centennial Middle School, and it looked like a huge ant-hill had been poked savagely with a stick.  There were new students and parents running around like mad - even double parking on the street.  It was amazing to watch.  ...  Shady and Cloudy are doing well.  We had a thunder and lightning storm about 3 yesterday afternoon, and they both came to me and voiced their complaints about the rain.  ...  My kits are fine - everyone is laying on the patio in the shade at the moment, and I can see all of them through the door and window.  Nedi is engrossed with catching large brown grasshoppers this week - I've had to remove several leg pieces from my keyboard since Saturday.  Not much else is going on - I have another follow-up appointment with Dr. Pohlman about the fistula tomorrow afternoon.  It's not completely healed, but it's getting there.

There is a wildfire in the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge that was caused by lightning a couple of weeks ago.  The fire has burned over 6,150 acres and is still only 10% contained, it is now burning in both Virginia and North Carolina.  Due to the continuing smoke and ash, they've been having air warnings posted as far away as Baltimore, D.C., and the entire Eastern Shore - Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.  I really love Chincoteague and Assateague, but at the moment, I'm happy I'm not there.  And the US Government is looking for input from users of the Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge regarding four proposals concerning the future of the barrier island. - the main question is what do they do about global warming, and the rising of the Atlantic from it; how will this affect such a low, sandy, barrier island?  There are meetings open to the public in Ocean City, Berlin, and Wallops Island for your comments.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Little Critters

Cougar mom and cub

A baby sea otter

A baby Fennec Fox kit

Very Little

I've had two e-mails from Alexy since she arrived in England.  While wandering in the City of London, near the Barbican, she was busy looking at the architecture ...  and suddenly found herself surrounded by hundreds of people, all walking purposefully down the street.  She was swept along with the crowd, and finally asked someone she was walking next to what was happening.  Turns out that she had gotten swept up in a building-wide fire drill that involved over 700 people.  Then, the day before yesterday, she got herself lost in the Cotswolds - she had gone out for a walk and lost her way.  I wrote back that there was no way anyone could get lost in the Cotswolds - but she was too shy to ask for directions.  (She was visiting her niece near Stowe in the Wold.)

All the kits are in fine fettle.  I made skettie for supper last night; and was disappointed to find that I couldn't watch any football.  (I could have seen one game, if I had been at home.)  Today is Kathy and Jim's 30th wedding anniversary.  I've been invited to join everyone at Colterra, a French restaurant in Niwot, owned by one of the neighbors, Brad Heap.  (He also owns Salt, the Bistro, here in Boulder.)  I just looked at the menu for tonight and I think I'll opt out and stay at home - the only thing on the menu I could order would be crispy duck breast at $36 a plate.  And I don't think any duck breast is worth that... 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Four young Eastern Bongos are being watched over by a "teen-aged nanny"

Spotted sport horse foals in the UK

Tequila, a Rottweiler-Pit bull mix, nurses a litter of piglets who needed her milk - she's also feeding her own eight puppies...

Kits and Pups

Not much going on today - the Redskins won their game last night, so I'm happy.  The only football on for me to watch was Tampa Bay against Kansas City, and that wasn't much of a game (I turned it off after 10 minutes).  There are some interesting games scheduled for tonight, but I probably won't be able to view any of the good ones.   ....  It took me 20 minutes to convince Shady to come home and back inside yesterday evening.  He was two doors down, in a garden, and I had to coax him over a fence and then under a fence, and across the yards to get him inside.  Once he ate, he fell asleep next to me.  Cloudy, meanwhile, was incensed that I had closed her up inside and wouldn't let her out.  I didn't walk the Irish Setters last night, as Joel e-mailed me and said they were bushed from their morning hike.  Nedi, Mocha, and Lovey were excited to see me this morning - they all greeted me with vocalizations as soon as my key was in the door's lock.  Just before I left yesterday, Lovey brought in a young robin - still alive and completely unharmed - other than being scared stupid. She brought it to me, and turned it loose on the bed, and it just sat there, still stunned.  So I picked it up, shut the patio door behind me (with the kits inside) and checked it out.  It seemed to be fine, so I settled on one of the rattan chairs, and, after a couple of minutes, it flew away.  I am so glad the kits don't kill and then bring me dead things!  ....  Boo had her last radiation treatment yesterday; she's back wearing a cone to prevent her from licking her leg, and we're to keep the other two dogs from licking it, as well.  The vets said she'd probably feel her worst between now and Wednesday; she has a follow-up appointment on Thursday.  (I have one, myself, on Tuesday afternoon.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kids and a Buck

Playful kids

A Yorkshire Terrier greets a new kid

Mule deer buck in velvet in Colorado