Monthly Archives: September 2016

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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


Then it was dinner at Lone Cedar Cafe near Manteo.


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


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.


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~

Random Five Friday

How about some randoms to end the week?

1.) After many trials and tribulations, I have a sunflower. Apparently, sunflowers are so delectable to deer that the deer will climb up steps just to get a taste. So, out of about a dozen seeds planted, I have one. This is a small sunflower and it isn’t one of the exotic varieties, but it makes me happy.


2.) Last weekend, Motor Man and I took a day trip to the Outer Banks to have a look-see at the after effects of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine.  Of course, we had to also drive up on the four-wheel drive area to look for horses. (We only saw one; perhaps they were still hunkered down from the storm?)  This cottage, named Laughing Gull, sits closer to the ocean than any others. Normally the beach is wide enough in front of it for several cars to pass easily. Sunday,  for awhile, it was one lane only.


3.)  We also saw this dog frolicking in the surf. (His owners were just out of camera range.)  One word to describe this picture:  carefree.


4.) Saw this item in a country catalog this week, and it made me chuckle. Pretty sure that’s supposed to be “up and at ’em”. Who’s Adam?


 5.) The next few days, including next week, are shaping up to be rather busy. Just a tease: the wild horses are involved in one adventure, and there are also plans to meet some online friends in person (one is a VERY distant cousin that found me by way of this blog). You know I’ll share details.

~These Days Of Mine~

One Night, Once A Year

About three years ago, I purchased a cutting of a Night Blooming Cactus (Cereus) from a little greenhouse in a neighboring county. (For my local friends, it was Farmer Joe’s in Surry.)

I planted it in a special cactus soil, recommended by “Mrs. Farmer Joe”, and placed it in our upstairs sun room. This tiny plant has grown and grown and grown. That one stalk is nearly 6 feet long.

cactus 8-25-2016 2-50-20 PM

Although Motor Man and I don’t spend much time upstairs, this room is one of Sundae’s very favorite spots.

sundae and cactus 8-25-2016 2-51-13 PM

Whenever I go upstairs, she lies down and stretches out on the rug and waits to have her tummy rubbed. On August 25, she did just that.  She was so cute, I sat down on the rug beside her, and while indulging her in her request, I happened to glance at the cactus and noticed this. It was on the back side of one of the leaves and nearly on the floor. It would have been very easy to miss. (Thanks, Sundae!)

first look at bloom 8-25-2016 2-50-40 PM

Now, here’s a little info on this plant. It grows wild in the desert, but can be grown as a houseplant. It blooms once a year for only one night.  The following morning, the bloom is wilted. From the desertUSA web-site: “… for one midsummer’s night each year, its exquisitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.”  Folks have been known to host parties for their friends to witness the blooming of this cactus.

After discovering the bud on August 25, I made numerous trips upstairs to keep watch on it. It was like waiting for a baby to be born.

Motor Man brought home a security camera system and aimed two cameras on it – just in case we weren’t home when the big event took place. This picture was taken this past  Saturday.

sept 3 9-3-2016 8-48-53 PM

Early in the evening Sunday, by the looks of the bud, I just had a feeling that night would be “it”. Sure enough, this next picture was taken around 9 pm. The scent of the blooms is so sweet, they are used to make perfume.

db with cactus 9-4-2016 8-58-43 PM

A little later in the evening…the bloom was continuing to open.

db cactus 9-4-2016 9-18-43 PM

I must admit, I was a little sad to leave it at bedtime, knowing that the next morning, the bloom would be gone. This was around 11 pm and what I’m guessing is full bloom.

full bloom 9-4-2016 11-06-43 PM

Sure enough, Monday morning.

wilted cactus 9-5-2016 6-31-57 AM

Without knowing it, I’d actually been doing everything right for this cactus to thrive: it was in a dark place at night with indirect sunlight during the day, and I certainly hadn’t  over-watered it.  I’m just hoping that I can refrain from giving it too much attention in the future – now that I know the beauty and magic of its blooms.

~These Days Of Mine!

Our Weekend Visitor

As you’ve all probably heard, Hermine visited our area this weekend. I’m not sure of her official status by the time she got to us – tropical storm, sub-tropical storm?

I must admit that I’d never heard the name Hermine until the past couple of weeks when meteorologists began talking about the storm.  I like it; it sounds old-fashioned.

And, as storms go, Hermine wasn’t too unkind to us.

Oh, we had wind Friday night and all day Saturday, probably highest gusts of around 40 mph, and we had rain, but not a lot….maybe an inch. But, we definitely had high tides. This is a little “dock” that Motor Man built for me several years ago. When the swans were here (and actually IN the water), I’d walk out on it to feed them.

db swans ducks 8-24-2013 4-09-28 PM

Saturday,during Hermine, the ducks were surfing on it.

ducks on walkway 9-3-2016 1-10-48 PM

Here’s another view.

high tide 9-3-2016 1-11-07 PM

The hummingbirds were also out during the storm. Landing on the feeder, however, was a little more challenging than usual.

hummy and blowing feeder 9-3-2016 11-02-46 AM


hummie feeding 9-3-2016 11-23-25 AM

Hermine left us with tideline trash, but it’s a smaller amount in comparison to other storms.

tideline trash 9-4-2016 6-58-38 PM

And last night, once Hermine had left town, we had a beautiful evening and gorgeous sunset.

sunset 9-4-2016 7-21-13 PM

(Now, if we can just get through the remainder of hurricane season with no other visitors.)

~These Days Of Mine~

Meeting A Mermaid

Yesterday, while Motor Man and I were on the beach at the Outer Banks, something special caught our eye.

Someone with amazing talent (and plenty of free time) had sculpted a mermaid in the sand..

mermaid front 9-1-2016 11-28-21 AM

She was a brown-eyed girl and wore a seashell tiara. We were there late morning, so obviously, she had been created the day before. Some of her features weren’t quite as sharp as they most likely were originally.

mermaid face 9-1-2016 11-28-26 AM

Here she is from the back.

mermaid back 9-1-2016 11-27-34 AM

Written in the sand in front was the letter “A”, perhaps the initial of the artist?

mermaid with a 9-1-2016 11-28-32 AM

Just to get an idea of the size of the sculpture, Motor Man had me pose beside her. (Yes, I was a bit intimidated; what human female poses beside a mermaid?)

db and mermaid 9-1-2016 11-29-55 AM

I texted Marshall a picture of our find with this note: “And the storm (Hermine) will probably take her back to the sea”.

Marshall’s reply: “Probably, but the artist knew that – that’s part of the beauty”.

~These Days Of Mine~