Carova Recovers

In the past month, Hurricane Julia and Hurricane Matthew collectively dumped nearly 30 inches of rain on the Outer Banks.

In those 4 weeks,  travel in the 4-wheel drive area of Carova has been very limited due to flooded “streets”. Motor Man and I have visited a couple of times, but since we were only able to drive on the beach, we hadn’t seen many horses.  We tried again over the weekend, and were able to drive on some of the streets on the back side of the dunes.


A couple of weeks ago, FEMA began pumping water from some of the streets, and sand is being brought in to fill low-lying areas.


Most of the roads are still quite a mess.


We spoke with a deputy who told us that, just this week, they’d rescued folks who had been stranded in some of the homes since the storm. Although they were safe, they were running low on essentials, and the water was still preventing them from leaving their homes.

We were able to spot 16 horses while in the area, including these two who were nose-to-nose.


And this one, who seems to have had enough of the flood-waters and was looking for a room.


Although the horses really haven’t been bothered by the flooding, we’re happy for the residents that the area is slowly returning to normal.


As for us being able to visit again, well, that’s just a bonus.

~These Days Of Mine~

Little Things Come In….BIG Boxes

Motor Man thought my recent Amazon experience might make an interesting blog post.  Actually, it wasn’t really the experience that made us laugh, but rather the packaging of the items I purchased.

Since my eyelashes are naturally stick-straight, I began using an eyelash curler when I was a teenager.  Maybelline was always the brand I used, and although I never saw that it helped much, I kept trying. Then, in the late 1990’s, I met someone who suggested I try a Sheseido brand curler.  Since then, that’s the only curler I’ve used.  Since no stores in our area sell that brand, I must order it online.  That’s where Amazon enters the picture.

When I added the curler to my cart last week, Amazon thoughtfully suggested that other customers who had bought that item also purchased the curler refills, so I added those to my cart as well.

A few days later, a box, which contained the curler, arrived. The size of the box was in proportion to the curler, not that we really noticed at the time.   (I removed the packing material before taking the picture.)


The refills arrived the following day, sent from a different company.


I ‘m guessing the company that sold the refills had no smaller boxes available the day my product was shipped.  At least that tiny little package of refills was securely buried in packing material… in that huge box.

~These Days Of Mine~

A Weekend “Out West”

Not the “wild west”, but the western part of Virginia.

Motor Man and I got a very early start on Saturday: a beautiful morning with just the right amount of fog at sunrise.


There’s just something about a sunrise with fog over a cotton field. Since, as I mentioned, we were traveling west, Motor Man made a u-turn so I could get these pictures.


We dipped below the state line for a quick visit to Reidsville, North Carolina for their annual classic car show and street festival.


Then we crossed back over the state line and went to Martinsville, VA to get our credentials for The Valley Star 300, the “Super Bowl of Late Model racing”, which took place Sunday.  Two of Motor Man’s engine customers were entered in the race as well as several other drivers that we know.

We stayed overnight in the area, and returned to the track Sunday morning.  Our seats for the race were high in the grandstands with a great view of the track.


We sat with friends of ours who live not far from Martinsville (one of Motor Man’s engine building buddies and his family). Their son-in-law took a picture for us.


Noise-muffling headset: check.  Pit pass wrist band: check.  Sunglasses: check. Motor Man’s hat….huh?


It was a beautiful weekend: sunny and temps in the 70’s.  One of Motor Man’s customers finished 25th after having some difficulties. The other ran in the top ten all day, and was about to take third place on the last lap…..and ran out of fuel. So disappointing for his team, but we were proud of the great job they did to have a good run in such a competitive field .

After the race, we drove home, arriving just before midnight.  We had the Full Harvest Moon as our view all the way. And although this isn’t a great picture (moon pictures are tricky for me even when taken with a tripod, much especially from a car window at 60 mph), I liked the softness of it.


It was a fast-paced weekend, but nice to enjoy such pretty scenery, “root on” our engine customers and spend time with friends.

~These Days Of Mine~

Random Five Friday

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Random Five Friday, so today’s the day, and my thoughts are REALLY random.

1.)  This is what caught-in-the-act looks like.  Guilty of eating what’s left of my poor hydrangea. (That’s a trellis in the background.)


2.) A couple of weeks ago, Marshall attended his first ever “horror movie convention” (Monster Mania). That’s one interest he certainly didn’t get from his mom. He had a great time, met several celebrities, got their autographs and had photos taken with them.  But, this picture tops them all.  This is Robert Englund, best known for his role as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies.  He had just autographed a “Freddy” razor glove for Marshall’s buddy. When Marshall stepped up for a photo, Robert donned the glove, placed it up against Marshall’s beard and said (in his Freddy voice): “Just a little trim…..!”


3.) Motor Man and I took a drive out in the country last week and passed an alpaca farm.  I spotted this tiny little one and just had to get a picture, albeit not a very good one. They remind me so much of stuffed animals.


4.)  Our town held its annual Bacon, Bourbon and Beach Music festival the weekend before Hurricane Matthew. The portable “Virginia is for Lovers LOVE sign” was on location.  That’s historic Windsor Castle in the background.


Motor Man and I didn’t have an opportunity to have our picture taken the day of the festival, but since the sign was still there a few days later, we had our chance.


5.)  The Outer Banks sustained major damage during Hurricane Matthew.  We took a trip earlier this week to check on our place (thankfully, it was unscathed), but a section of the roadway nearby known as the “beach road” washed away once again. I’ve shared photos of previous storms’ damage (a nor’easter and Hurricane Joaquin) to this area.  The Carova area, several miles north and home to “my” wild horses, had extreme flooding.  Although driving on the beach is possible now, we don’t know when we’ll be able to access the areas on the other side of the dunes where we most often see the horses.


Note:  next week, I’ll be blogging on Tuesday and Thursday.

Happy weekend!

~These Days Of Mine~

One October Evening

Late yesterday afternoon (early evening), Motor Man and I started out on an errand. And something in the sky caught my eye.

As a mother, I love it when my child teaches me something. A few years ago, Marshall taught me about sun dogs, and I shared that newly learned information in this post. Here’s a scientific explanation: Sun dogs are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere.  My personal description is that it looks like a little prism in the sky.

We actually saw two sun dogs yesterday. This was the first, located to the right of the sun. I didn’t have my regular camera with me at the time, so this was taken with my cell phone.


We went back to get my camera, and by then, the sky looked quite different. And the sun dog was even more vivid.


A few miles later, we spotted a second sun dog – this one to the left of the sun.


Of course, I immediately texted the first picture to Marshall.  After his “Awesome!!” reply, he also texted that, whenever there’s a sun dog, there’s always one to either side of the sun, one above it and one below it, the latter of which is blocked by the earth. (Marshall’s always had an interest in science, astronomy, etc.)

By then, Motor Man and I were passing the old (abandoned) Jordan House, which I’ve shared photos of here before.


Our errand took us across the James River Bridge to Newport News. This picture was taken as we passed Newport News Shipbuilding and a nearby marina.


 (Lesson learned, ALWAYS take the camera. If not, you will definitely see something photo worthy. I believe it’s some unwritten law.)

~These Days Of Mine~

A Weekend With Matthew

Hurricane Matthew was one to keep the meteorologists guessing. A week or so ago, the forecast was dire for our area: Matthew would most likely make landfall along the North Carolina or Virginia coast as a major hurricane.  Then, that all changed, and Matthew was expected to skirt the Florida coast, then make a sharp turn to the east and our area was taken out of the “cone” of possibility.

Well, Matthew had other plans, and came ashore in South Carolina on Saturday, then moved just off the coast to near Cape Hatteras, N.C. As the speed of the storm slowed, the size increased, causing our area to have strong winds and heavy rain for an extended length of time.

Although we had effects from the storm, we consider ourselves very fortunate: the tide in our yard wasn’t as high as recent storms, and we never lost electricity, nor any trees. Saturday night was an anxious one for us, as we listened to heavy rain (nearly 10 inches, we’ve learned) and strong winds.

Matthew caused many problems for our county.  In some areas, trees fell across highways.


In other places, the roads flooded, and although some cars were lost in high water, to our knowledge, there were no injuries or deaths.


This bridge flooded to the point that all that remained visible was the top of the guardrails.


And it appears that this roadway was close to being washed away.


Motor Man and I have a police scanner and listened Saturday night, for several hours during the worst of the storm. We heard law enforcement officers,  and (mostly) volunteer fire department and rescue squad members as they braved horrible weather conditions to keep the roadways as safe as possible and help citizens who were in need. They deserve (but oftentimes receive little) respect and appreciation for the jobs they do.

By late yesterday afternoon, the sun was shining, and what a welcome sight that was.


It’s always interesting to see what washes up in our yard with the tide trash. This time, in addition to the usual plastic water and beverage bottles, there was also an empty peanut butter jar, a huge vinyl glove, the lid from a plastic tackle box and a 4-foot long log (or trunk of a small tree?).

Yes, our visit from Matthew wasn’t nearly as tragic as it was for so many folks to our south.  And for that, we are grateful.

~These Days Of Mine~

My Hurricane History

We are feeling very relieved and thankful that the forecast for the track of Hurricane Matthew now does not include our area.  But, as promised, today I’m sharing some memories I have of past hurricanes that have affected southeast Virginia.

The first hurricane that 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 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.


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.


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.

Here’s our side yard just after Isabel:

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



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 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.

Just last year, 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 storm. I cannot even begin to imagine a Cat 4 (or 5) hurricane.  We are keeping our neighbors to the south close in thought.  And although major damage seems imminent, we’re praying for a miracle to take Matthew out to sea.

~These Days Of Mine~