A Ham Named Snugg

You may recall seeing pictures here in the past of Marshall’s kitty, Snugg. It’s been awhile, though, so today I thought I’d share some recent ones that Marshall has sent to me.

According to Marshall, Snugg seems to know when he’s about to have his picture taken and seems to “pose”. This may be my favorite, taken on Marshall’s deck a few days ago.  Just look at the size of that paw….and those “fangs”.

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In this next one, Snugg probably didn’t realize his photo was being taken. I’m sure he probably thought he was invisible. Marshall sent this to me last week by text with the caption: “Wonder where Snugg could be?”.

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And this last one is Marshall’s favorite. A portion of a tree had fallen in Marshall’s yard during last week’s storm, and Snugg seemed to know that it would be a good place for a photo shoot.

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Keep hamming it up, Snugg. I’m sure Marshall will continue snapping those pictures for us to enjoy your silliness handsomeness.

~These Days Of Mine~

Enough Already, Julia

Tropical Storm Julia dropped in to our area for a visit last week, and bless her heart, the girl didn’t know when to leave.

Every day this week has been a wash-out.  In our rain gauge, we measured 4.5 inches. But, to the south of us, near the Virginia/North Carolina state line and on to the Outer Banks, they had reports of over 12 inches of rain.

Motor Man and I had an errand to run in the Outer Banks area yesterday.  Since we were so close to where “my” wild horses are, we decided to venture up that way.

For those of you familiar with the area, this was just one of many places where the highway flooded between the towns of  Duck and Corolla.

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We didn’t see it causing anyone problems though.  Everyone was making it through okay.

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When we got to the four-wheel drive area of Carova, we found the beach was in excellent condition for driving.  It was also a busy place with folks enjoying the first sunny day this week.

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But, traveling over the dunes to the “back roads” was out of the question – at least for us. We tried several places, but this is what we saw each time.

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We had given up hope of seeing horses since, many times, the back roads are where we see them. But, then….

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We spotted four beauties on the ocean side of one of the dunes.   They looked so healthy, and what gorgeous manes.

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So we had the trauma excitement of driving through flood waters (see video below) and, against what we thought were all odds, managed to see horses.

~These Days Of Mine~

Falling Into…Fall

As we say here in the south: “Happy Fall, Y’all”.  Autumn begins tomorrow, and I must say that I have mixed emotions about the departure of summer.

I love the warm weather and being able to go out without bundling up in a coat, gloves, etc.  However.  Around this time of year, the heat and humidity in our area have just about worn out their welcome.

And although it means fewer days of flip-flops and sandals,  the approach of cooler weather means that I  can start looking forward to little things like wearing a scarf with my outfit.

Pumpkin spice is everywhere. (We even saw a sign at an oil lube shop in the Outer Banks last week that read: “Pumpkin spice oil changes are back”.)

And with fall comes the early morning fog across the fields; in this case, fog at sunrise over a nearby cotton field.

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And it’s easy to believe that maybe, just maybe, summer may be  a bit overrated.

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Perhaps I am ready for sweater weather.

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“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”    ~Charles Dickens

~These Days Of Mine~

Six Years And Counting

Six years ago tomorrow, I published my first post, entitled “This House Has My Heart“.  From my first thought of beginning a blog, I knew I wanted to write about Bacon’s Castle and its special meaning to my family.

Since then, I’ve written many posts about The Castle. I’ve also shared numerous sunrise and sunset photos, as well as pictures of “my” wild horses on the Outer Banks.  There have been posts about our home kitty, Sundae, our shop kitty, Gypsy, the wildlife in our yard  and of course, my family.

In those six years, I have published more than 1600 posts, with 300,000+ views and nearly 30,000 comments from my readers. I miss those bloggers that I followed (and who followed me) who are no longer blogging. And I miss two very special readers: my late sister, June, and my late cousin, Lona.

I’ve learned that the number of comments on a post isn’t a fair gauge of how many people read it or whether they like it or identify with it. Many times, when I see a friend or acquaintance in person, they’ll mention how they always look forward to my blog posts.

So, even though I sometimes struggle with a blog topic, I try to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Motor Man often reminds me how I struggled when I first began blogging, trying to learn the technical aspects of posting, loading pictures, etc.  But he and Marshall are my two biggest “fans”, and both of them are quick to recognize a possible blog topic.

So, whether you’ve been a follower of These Days since the first post, or have discovered it more recently, thank you for reading (and commenting).  Here’s to another six!

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photo by my blogging friend, Pam, of One Spoiled Cat

~These Days Of Mine~

“47th Cousins, 20 Times Removed”

A couple of years ago, I received notification of a new comment on this blog post that I had written the previous year. The commenter’s name was Megan, and she had discovered the post while researching Smith’s Fort Plantation in Surry County.  Megan and I began communicating by email and soon learned that we are very distantly related.

In that post, I wrote that this property was purchased by Thomas Warren in the 1600’s from Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. And I just happened to mention that Thomas Warren was my 8th great grandfather.

Turns out, Thomas was Megan’s 10th great grandfather.  Megan and I became friends on Facebook, and she said that when she visited this area again, she would contact me so we could meet. (She lives in Ohio.)

We finally met in person on Wednesday. Megan, her mom, and her best friend were in the area visiting nearby Williamsburg. We decided to meet at (where else?) Smith’s Fort Plantation. We had our picture taken in front of a huge old magnolia tree. Hmm…wonder if it was there during Thomas’s time?

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Smith’s Fort wasn’t open for tours on Wednesday, but while we stood out front, chatting, a car pulled in the drive. The driver was a man named Tom, and although I didn’t ask what his exact title was, I’m guessing he may be the site coordinator for Smith’s Fort. When he found out we were Warren descendants, he offered to show us the house.

What a great tour we had. And a special surprise: in one of the upstairs bedchambers, a King James Bible, printed in 1621, is on display. Megan’s mom, Linda, asked Tom if he would look  inside to see if the name John Bill was shown as the printer.  John Bill was one of Linda’s ancestors and was a printer for King James during that time period.  Tom checked for us, and sure enough, John Bill was the printer.

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Here’s a close-up.  Just under the words  “Printed In London”, you can see the names Bonham Norton and John Bill.  And note the Roman Numerals for 1621.

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My online research regarding the King’s Printing House returned this: “In the Jacobean period the King’s Printers were Robert Barker (1570–1645), and the two Shropshire men, Bonham Norton (1564–1635) and John Bill (1576–1630). At this time the office of the King’s Printer included the privilege to print the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in English.

Since Megan’s connection to Smith’s Fort was on her father’s side, we all thought it quite interesting to find the name of one of her mother’s ancestors in an artifact within the house.

After our tour, Tom graciously agreed to pose for a picture with Megan and me.

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We left Smith’s Fort, and on our way to Smithfield for lunch, we stopped briefly at Bacon’s Castle, just because I can’t pass up a chance to share that special old house with those who’ve never been there. It, too, was closed that day, but we took photos of the exterior and I told them a little about the house and property. That’s Megan’s friend, Diana, on the right.

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Our visit ended with lunch at Smithfield Station and a photo of the four of us. Linda, Megan’s mom,  is on the left.

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(Last week,  I told Marshall that I was going to meet my “47th cousin, twenty times removed”.  Maybe one day, if we compare our genealogy notes, Megan and I can determine what our exact relationship is.)

~These Days Of Mine~

June Was Smiling

When my sister, June, passed away a year ago this past summer, we received messages of sympathy from all the folks we’d expect: friends, extended family, June’s former classmates and co-workers.

But her children and I  were surprised to receive emails and Facebook messages from a group of folks that we had never met – nor had June.  She was a member of an online knitting forum, apparently a very close-“knit” group. Many of them mentioned to me in the messages that June had often shared my photos and blog posts with them.

You may recall reading here about Matthew, who is so sweet to use some of my photos as inspiration for his drawings.  Matthew’s mom, Mary, is also a member of that knitting forum.

Following June’s death, one of those from the forum who reached out to me was Angela, who lives in England.  And recently, Angela emailed to say that she would be in my area this month to visit friends. Would I like to meet?  But, of course!

So Monday, Motor Man and I made the half-hour trip to Chesapeake to meet her. Angela was driven by her local friend, Tom, whom we were also happy to meet. (Tom’s wife was busy and not able to join us.) Angela treated us to lunch (thank you!)  and we had a nice visit.

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Angela brought me a gift: a sweet little jar of strawberry jam… from … Windsor Castle, which she says isn’t far from where she lives.  (She confided that the queen made it.)

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My gift to Angela was a calendar that I had published with my favorite photos from last year.

It meant so much that Angela wanted to meet me during her visit here.  And as we hugged good-bye, I whispered to her that June would be happy.

~These Days Of Mine~

First Ever OBX Visit

Do you ever stop to think about how your individual friendships were formed? There are so many ways that we become friends with folks. My friend, Pam, and I came to know each other about six years ago through blogging.  (She and her ginger kitty, Sammy, write One Spoiled Cat.) You may recall that she and her husband, Dave, have visited us here in Smithfield, and we’ve met them near their home in Northern Virginia a few times for lunch and antiquing. Pam and I email each other every day (usually several times), and I consider her a very special friend.

Pam nor Dave had ever been to the Outer Banks. So last week, to help celebrate their anniversary, we gave them a whirlwind tour.

First, we took them to Carova to see “my” wild horses.  We were thrilled to see a large group down by the ocean. We left home in the rain, but by the time we arrived at the beach, the sun was shining.

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I shared this next photo on Facebook, where it received a couple of humorous comments regarding that part of the horse’s anatomy in the background. And let me just say that I can’t think of anything I’d rather have photo-bombing one of my pictures.

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Next, we stopped at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk.  Dave is a pilot, so this was definitely on their list of things to see.

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Then it was dinner at Lone Cedar Cafe near Manteo.

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The next morning, we were up early to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.

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We enjoyed breakfast at Henry’s in Kitty Hawk, and on the way home, stopped at a favorite farm market. While there, we met, Tony, one of the shop market kitties. We’re all fond of kitties, so Tony got plenty of attention from us.

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It was such a fun trip, but it’s always sad for Pam and me to say good-bye.  I hope the four of us share another adventure soon.

~These Days Of Mine~