Eight And Counting

Eight years ago tomorrow, I published my very first blog post. If you’d like to read it, click here. From my first thoughts of having a blog, I knew my initial post would be about Bacon’s Castle.

So to celebrate my “blogaversary”, I thought I would post eight thoughts about blogging:

1.) In the beginning, I blogged seven days a week. Looking back, I don’t know how I came up with that many topics. Some weeks now, I struggle to write three posts.

2.) At one time in my blogging career, I had an average of 30-40 comments per post. But I think many of those comments were left by fellow bloggers, many of whom are no longer blogging. (And apparently, no longer reading my blog.)

3.) On average, on days that I publish a post, around one hundred people read visit my blog. On days that there is no published post, that number is around fifty. But apparently, these are VERY shy folks, because comments usually range around ten per post.

4.) Blogging about Bacon’s Castle has reconnected me with at least one long-lost relative. Those posts have also brought me in contact with some distant relatives whom I would never have known if not for blogging.

5.) I’ve met several bloggers in person: a few who are fellow Virginia residents, but also blogging friends from Michigan, Alaska and Texas. Those out of state gals were visiting Virginia at various times and for various reasons, and we were able to meet.  There are still a few more bloggers on that to-meet list.

6.) Although my comments are few in number now, I do have faithful readers who comment on every post.  And I look forward to their input on my posts. And it’s always fun to run into friends and acquaintances in town and hear them say: “I love reading your blog!”.

7.) There have been times that I kept a close eye on my “stats” showing how many times each post has been viewed, but I really don’t give that much thought these days. In fact, I had to research to find the info for item # 3 above. Although sometimes writing the blog feels like homework, I’m planning to continue posting.

8.) Through these eight years, there have been many posts that have special meaning to me. But, I think, this one is my very favorite.

And just for the record, today’s is post #1897.

Thanks for joining me here at “These Days”. Here’s to at least another 1897!

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

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Trusting Our Wings

Although I shared this little video with my FB readers a couple of days ago, I also wanted my blog readers to see it. I never knew until earlier this summer that you could buy swings specifically for hummingbirds. (The preview appears “sideways”, but the video plays correctly, and there is no audio.)

In gusting winds, throughout the storm,
a tiny bird still swings;
proof, no doubt, he has no fear
because he trusts his wings.

 

Safe travels south when the time comes, little one. See you next year; your swing will be waiting.

~These Days Of Mine~

Just For Fun Friday

Our area of southeast Virginia has, once again, dodged a major hurricane. We are having some wind gusts, probably in the 30-35 mph range, very little rain, and the tides are a bit higher than normal.  But, all in all, a much better situation than what was being forecast for us earlier in the week.

So, because of that relief, I thought we’d just have a fun blog post today. I shared this photo of Wednesday’s sunset on my Facebook page. It wasn’t until I uploaded it that I realized that it looks like an animal rising out of the water.

Several of my friends commented with their opinions, so I thought I’d post it here for my readers. (Sorry for the repeat, FB friends and Marshall.)

Most folks guessed the same animal, so let’s see if you agree! I look forward to reading your thoughts.

And for those of you in Florence’s path, prayers and good thoughts for you.

~These Days Of Mine~

“We’re Cautiously Optimistic”

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, we have been keeping a very close eye on Hurricane Florence and making plans about preparations for a possible major storm event. Each time there’s an updated forecast, it’s changed since the last one: landfall between North Carolina and South Carolina, landfall in North Carolina, landfall between North Carolina and Virginia.   Rainfall up to 30 inches in some areas, and I don’t even want to think about the strength of the winds.

At this time, all the tracks show her making landfall well south of our area, then turning to the west. That means we’ll be spared the hurricane-force winds and “catastrophic” rains and flooding. “Catastrophic”: there’s a word that will get your attention. Although we’re relieved at this, we feel badly for our neighbors to the south and west. And we know that, one day, it’s inevitable that it will be our area that faces the destruction from a major hurricane.

Part of today’s post (in blue) and the photos are from a post I wrote in October of 2016. In it, I shared some memories I have of past hurricanes that have impacted our area of southeast Virginia.

The first hurricane I recall was Donna in September, 1960. I was a little girl, and my mom had just severely broken her ankle that summer and was still in a cast.  During the storm, we stayed with my grandmother, who lived about a half mile from our house. What I remember about the storm was: my grandmother’s bathroom floor flooded,  a nearby mobile home lost its roof, and there seemed to be power lines on the ground everywhere.

The next hurricane that comes to mind was Camille in 1969.  This storm went west of us and flooded areas in the mountains of Virginia.  I recall riding the Jamestown ferry days later and seeing debris from the western part of our state floating in the James River.

Hurricane Gloria threatened our area in 1985, but at the last minute, she went out to sea. Thankfully, we didn’t need the bathtub full of water we had drawn.

The next major hurricane was Floyd in 1999. That storm caused severe flooding in our area and washed out roads in the county.

car-in-washed-out-road-10-6-2016-3-10-29-pm

I’m not sure if you can tell the extent of damage in this next picture, taken in neighboring Surry county.  While there’s a vehicle shown in the above photo, a house could easily have fit in the area washed away here.  The frightening part is that Marshall, a teenager at the time, had visited a friend just a few miles from here earlier in the evening.

washed-out-road-10-6-2016-3-10-29-pm

Then, came Isabel in 2003. I’d say that Isabel was the strongest hurricane that I recall. I’m not sure if she was even a Category 1 by the time she made it to our area; she was possibly “just” a strong tropical storm. But we lost over 20 tall pine trees in our yard, had flooding up to our deck, and lost electricity for several days.

Motor Man and I stayed at home during Isabel, and, even in her weakened state, she was powerful.

Here’s our side yard just after Isabel:

And this is a photo I took of that same area – under normal conditions.

ducks-and-cedar-7-5-2016-8-18-44-pm

Isabel also wreaked havoc on the old “Brick Church” cemetery near Bacon’s Castle.  It was heartbreaking to see all the damage to the ruins of the old church (built in the 1600’s) and the tombstones.

Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused us no damage except tidal flooding (and the following clean-up) here at home and more serious flooding in the Outer Banks.

In October of 2015, Hurricane Joaquin brought more tidal flooding to our area, but in the Outer Banks, washed away part of the highway in the Kitty Hawk area.

db and ocean wash 10-5-2015 2-50-00 PM

All of my hurricane memories are of strong tropical storms, perhaps a Category 1. I cannot even begin to imagine a Cat 4 (or even a 3) hurricane.

Yesterday morning, our county issued a mandatory evacuation as of 8 a.m. for all areas in Zone A. And yes, that applies to our home. But we didn’t leave.

We’re still waiting to see the last minute path Florence decides to take. We have a generator, food, water, batteries, supplies for the kitties and our vehicles filled with gas. We just pray that all that preparation will just be a good practice for us, all the while sending good thoughts to those that WILL be affected.

~These Days Of Mine~

While We Wait….

….for (Hurricane) Florence to decide exactly what she’s going to do later in the week, Motor Man and I took a trip to the Outer Banks yesterday to visit “my” wild horses.

Although we had 5 inches of rain at home on Saturday, the Outer Banks was apparently spared that amount of rain.  For the past several weeks, we’ve had to dodge huge mud holes at the beach, but yesterday, things were fairly dry.

Florence will most likely change that.

But, yesterday was beautiful.

The ocean was a little rough, but nothing compared to what it will probably be in a few days.

Although it’s scary to think of the horses enduring a hurricane, they’ll be fine. They instinctively know to head for the “sound” side and hide out in the brush until the storm has passed. Obviously, they weren’t a bit concerned as of yesterday.

Unlike some of us, who are watching and waiting for the latest updates.

If you’re a new follower to the blog, we live in southeast Virginia, not directly on the coast, but not really that far from it.  I’ll let you know Wednesday what the latest “guess” is on Florence’s projected path.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

Every Morning, They Wait

Today’s blog post is a cute story about these two horses.

Their pasture is just a few miles from our house. Some days, Motor Man has reason to travel that way early in the day. He has noticed that the horses are standing right up at that corner of the fence nearly every morning. (The driveway to “their” property is just to the left, and the picture was taken from the highway.)

Then, one day, he realized WHY: their trainer/person who feeds and cares for them turned in the driveway just as Motor Man was approaching. Sure enough, walking along the fence-line, they accompanied the vehicle down the driveway.

Those sweet horses are waiting there to greet that person every morning.

I sure hope said person smiles at this sight.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

First Day Of School Memories

Seeing pictures on Facebook yesterday of my friends’ children heading back to school brought back memories of those days for me with Marshall.  Of course, back then, we didn’t have Facebook to document those milestones.

I published this blog post back in September of 2011, and since I have some new followers, I thought it would be a good time to share it once again.

This was back when I was participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

For Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week, I chose the prompt:
3.) First day of school pictures…let’s have’em!

As I seem to do from time to time, I’m taking liberties with the prompt. Mama Kat may have intended that we post current school year photos, but I’ve decided to write about Marshall’s first day of kindergarten.

Thankfully, starting school was not as traumatic for Marshall as it had been for me. Maybe that was because he had attended pre-school a couple mornings each week the year before. In these photos, he seems quite ready, with his book bag and Super Powers lunch box in hand, to begin his journey through school.

In days to come, the book bag would contain school announcements,  permission slips for field trips and workbook pages as Marshall learned the three “r’s”. The lunch box would return home in the afternoons with sandwich leftovers, zip-lock baggies of potato chip crumbs and many times, mystery food from a lunchtime swap with a buddy.

Next photo….on to the front porch. Marshall’s still smiling, but I’m not sure why his dad was holding the lunchbox.  I wish I could recall what Marshall took for lunch that first day…. a peanut butter sandwich, perhaps? And I’m sure there was Kool-aid in that thermos.

Next photo: we’ve made it to the school bus, and “all systems are still go”.  I have no idea what I was attempting to do here, other than have Marshall turn around for yet another picture.  The little girl behind him is his childhood friend, Maggie, the daughter of a neighbor.

Although Marshall didn’t cry on his first day of school, I certainly did. But I made sure to hold back the tears until the school bus was well on its way. No, I wasn’t one of those parents that followed the bus to school, but doing so probably crossed my mind.

And even though Marshall’s first day of school went smoothly, he and I agree that we’re glad our school days are a thing of the past.

Mama’s Losin’ It

And as my blogging friend, MJ, wrote on her Facebook post about first-day-of-school pictures this week: to all you parents sending your little ones off to school, “don’t blink”.

~These Days Of Mine~