Monthly Archives: September 2019

To “Tide” Us Over

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, although the Outer Banks wasn’t hit directly by Hurricane Dorian, they still had lots of rain, strong winds and high tides. Friends of ours who live in the area have posted pictures of the roads in the 4-wheel-drive area.  Motor Man and I have decided that we will wait a while before we go back to visit.

So, I’m looking back on recent photos of “my” wild horses to pass the time until we can return.

And today, I’m featuring Raymond, the mule.  Yes, among the herd of between 75 and 100 wild horses, there’s one mule.  Raymond.  And everyone loves him.

His exact age isn’t known, but he’s been there a LONG time. Raymond’s the one on the far right.  Can you see his ears?

Here’s a close-up:

As far as everyone can tell, Raymond is a happy mule.  He’ll have a harem of mares, then lose them to a stallion, then steal another harem.  He’s quite the scrapper when it comes to fighting with those stallions. We’ve witnessed that in person.

So I suppose you could say that he blends right in with the herd.

We were happy to see photos posted of Raymond taken after the hurricane and know that he survived just fine, as did the horses.

Hang on, Raymond, we’ll be back to see you and your buddies as soon as possible.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

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Poetic Thursday: Pedal Car

Once again this week, I’m participating in Poetic Thursday with Pam and her two “boys” over at Two Spoiled Cats.

Each Thursday, they provide a photo as inspiration and invite their readers to write a poem, based on the photo, and share it in comments on the blog post the following Thursday.

Here is today’s photo:

And here’s my poem. (The ending makes better sense if you know that my hubby (Motor Man) is a performance engine builder.)

Pedal Car

So this is a bike that looks like a car,
If you’re outta shape, you won’t get far.

And when you pedal down the street,
You get strange looks from folks you meet.

My little legs couldn’t handle the work,
though not buying gas would be a great perk.

Horsepower’s our game, ‘footpower’ is slower,
so for my ride, I’ll take a motor.

If you’d like to see “Angel Sammy’s” poem, as well as those submitted by Pam’s readers, you can visit her blog here.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Calm After The Storm

In last Friday’s post, I shared that we were preparing for whatever effects of Hurricane Dorian happened to come our way.

Thankfully, we were spared.  We only had about an inch and a half of rain,  some gusty winds Thursday night and part of Friday, and a minimal high tide. To give you an idea, you’re just seeing the top of the marsh grass in this picture; the water is usually out past the grass.  And our old boat and cedar tree survived just fine. We’ve seen MUCH worse.

Friday evening, the storm was over, and we had a gorgeous sunset.

Hardest hit by Dorian was the area including Ocracoke and Hatteras, NC. Ocracoke is about 150 miles south of us, as the crow flies, and  miles south of the Carova area, home to “my” wild horses. The Carova area got quite a bit of rainfall and some storm damage. But, thankfully, no loss of life in the Outer Banks. And the horses are fine.

As is usually the case following a storm, our weather over the weekend was beautiful.

And, once again, we went hot air balloon chasing both Saturday and Sunday mornings. (*Chasing the balloon refers to being there for the launch,  watching as much of the flight as you can, then going to the landing site {wherever that may be} to help retrieve the balloon, pilot and passengers. Some pilots use cell phones to let their crew know where they’re landing, some have two-way radios. Motor Man and I don’t drive the chase vehicle, but we usually try to help out if we’re needed.)  Saturday morning, two balloons launched from the same area at the same time.  Keeping up with two is quite a challenge. Although they launched from the same site, they didn’t land at the same location.

This gives you an idea of balloon chasing: you drive over a rise in the highway, heading in the direction you think the balloon should be….and there it is.

One of the balloons landed in Windsor Castle Park in our little town of Smithfield. A cross country team from a nearby college was at the park that morning, and cheered at the smooth landing. That’s historic Windsor Castle in the background, home of Arthur Smith, founder of Smithfield.

Sunday, there was only one balloon flight, but what a perfect morning. The pilots enjoy flying over our many tributaries. And I enjoy catching pictures of the reflections.

They flew over Smithfield Station Restaurant/Hotel/Marina. The structure in this picture is part of that establishment and is known as “The Lighthouse”. It’s a replica of The Hooper Strait Lighthouse in Maryland.

This flight took the passengers out in the country on a quiet Sunday morning.

And, once again, they enjoyed a smooth landing. After the flight, the crew,  passengers and Motor Man and I returned to Smithfield Station for brunch and to discuss their flight.

With the flooding in Carova and the condition of the roads in that area, we’re not sure when we’ll get back there to see the wild horses. So in the meantime….we’re content to chase balloons.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

In  our area

Special Gathering, Special Place, Special Person

Yesterday, Motor Man and I attended a gathering for current and former staff members at Bacon’s Castle .

You all know how special that old house is to me. (If you’re new to the blog, click on the Bacon’s Castle category to the right to read previous posts.)

I was an interpreter (tour guide) at the Castle for one season in 2000. But, my connections to the house go back much further than that.

And my son, Marshall, was a guide there for ten years, beginning in 2000.

When he and I worked there, the site director was a wonderful lady named Frances.  When Marshall first joined the staff, he was the only guy, and many of the ladies there treated him as a grandson.

So Frances became very special to our family. She granted Motor Man and me permission to be married at Bacon’s Castle and presided over the guest book at our ceremony.

Frances retired from the Castle several years ago, but Marshall and I keep in touch with her and frequently take her out for breakfast.

And yesterday, Frances was at the staff members’ gathering.  Her birthday is Tuesday, so we surprised her with a cake. She will be 91 years young.

The cake was decorated with a photo of the Castle (the one at the beginning of this blog post), and Frances was tickled and more than a little amazed that this could be done.

At the end of the cookout, the employees and their families posed for a photo on the front steps.

And, of course, I had to have my picture taken with the birthday girl.

She has plans on her actual birthday, so Marshall and I are looking forward to celebrating with her in the near future.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

Here We Go Again

We’re expecting a very unwelcome visitor intruder today.  Yes, Hurricane Dorian began knocking on our southeast door last night. He kept us awake quite a bit.

I’ve shared several posts in the past about hurricanes, some recent ones that we’ve experienced just in the years that I’ve been blogging. In no particular order: Irene, Hermine, Florence, Sandy, Joaqun, Harvey, Julia and Matthew. Of course, all of those weren’t major storms by the time they reached us.  And some affected the Outer Banks much more than where we live in southeast Virginia.

So, in anticipation of Dorian’s arrival, yesterday afternoon, Motor Man and I battened down the hatches, made sure we had plenty of water, food, etc, took down the bird feeders and hanging plants. AND…

We ratcheted our old boat to the even older cedar tree in our side yard.

We were given that old boat a little over ten years ago and placed it by that old cedar.  It’s seen a couple of weddings, several family reunions and a couple of “poker run parties”.  And, it’s also seen its share of hurricanes, snowfalls and nor’easters.

This picture was taken in the aftermath of one of those storms, in which we lost a good portion of the cedar. It’s a good thing Motor Man had secured the boat: during the storm, the wind and high tide moved it perpendicular to its original location.

So, Dorian, please hang a right VERY  soon.

We hope the old boat (and the cedar) are around for many more years.

*After writing this, it occurred to me that it’s rather frivolous of me to be writing about a boat and a tree after so much devastation in the Bahamas and the states south of us.  We’re definitely keeping all those affected by Dorian close in thought.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

Poetic Thursday: The Hitchhiker

Once again this week, I’m participating in Poetic Thursday with Pam and her two “boys” over at Two Spoiled Cats.

Each Thursday, they provide a photo as inspiration and invite their readers to write a poem, based on the photo, and share it in comments on the blog post the following Thursday.

This is the photo for today’s poem:

And here is my poem:

The Hitchhiker

We look at this picture and feel sadness and fear
and can’t help but wonder how you came to be here.

Bad people, bad choices, or no fault of your own?
Family? Friends? Do they know you’re alone?

Your pile of belongings there by your side;
will you trust anyone who offers a ride?

Or….maybe the scene is about to start,
And you’re just an actress playing the part?

If you’d like to see “Angel Sammy’s” poem, as well as those submitted by Pam’s readers, you can visit her blog here.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

Early Morning Ballooning

Motor Man and I first met Mark, our friend who has a hot air balloon business, back in 2013. Since that time, we’ve gone for three balloon rides and been at many launches and landings.

We enjoy meeting Mark’s passengers, most of whom have never been in a hot air balloon.  I take pictures of them in the basket before their flight and sometimes after the landing.  And, of course, I take pictures during the flight.  I usually get their email address and send the best photos to them. And Motor Man usually helps with the launch. (It’s rather involved.)

Although Mark has flown many times in our area, most people have never seen the balloon in flight.  Perhaps that’s because he prefers to fly early in the morning, just around or a little after sunrise. So it’s always fun to see folks stopping, sometimes pulling over on the shoulder of the road, to watch.

I thought I’d share some pictures from recent balloon flights.

This is one of Mark’s balloons; he named it “Spectrum”. It’s a beautiful balloon, or “envelope”, as it’s called.

One of the most fun experiences we’ve had was a few weeks ago, early in the morning. Mark was flying the balloon very low.  If you’ve never seen a hot air balloon in flight, you may not realize that it is SO quiet, except for the occasional few seconds when the burner is activated. This was an overpass on a country road, with thankfully, no traffic. (The white van is Mark’s “chase vehicle”, being driven by a ground crew member, and it was stopped, as were we.)

It doesn’t happen with every flight, but it’s always fun when the  balloon flies directly over us.

With so many of the flights being at sunrise, it’s easy to get really pretty photos.

And water reflections are always nice.

There are opportunities when the balloon is low enough that you can actually see and talk with (and wave to) the passengers.

What we do is called “chasing the balloon”… we’re watching for it  and driving in the direction we think it will land.  That isn’t always easy: we often lose sight of it,  and the roads don’t always go in the direction we need.

And as much as everyone loves a balloon flight, there’s one aspect that similar to a plane flight: it’s always good to have a nice, smooth landing.

Here’s a short video I took of a recent launch.  That’s Motor Man’s voice you hear at the beginning. (Make sure your speakers are on.)

I know hot air ballooning isn’t for everyone, but if you ever have the chance to go….

~These Days Of Mine~