Monday, September 26, 2011

17 Years Ago Today....

I gave birth to the world's most beautiful baby girl who has blossomed into the world's best teenage daughter. 
She has truly been a blessing in my life and is steadily growing into a beautiful, confident and intelligent young woman.
Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vampire Birds

Don't worry, there's no new species of bird out there ready to suck your blood.
Unless you count the mosquitoes that have been recorded
to be the size of a pterodactyl micro bus VW Beetle small bird.
I'm referring to Cormorants.

These are Cormorants.
If you spend any time near the water, I'm sure you've seen them sunning themselves on pilings.

Cormorants are fish eaters and they catch their meal by diving under the water.
Some have been recorded diving up to 45 meters.
After fishing, cormorants appear to dry themselves by holding their wings out to dry in the sun.
However, cormorants' feathers are extremely waterproof.
It's thought that they are actually forcing nearby birds to move away to give them enough space to take off in a hurry.
They remind me of vampires when they do that.
Which is why I titled the post as I did.

In Asia, cormorants are used by fishermen to, well, catch fish. 
They place a collar on the leashed birds to prevent them from swallowing the catch.
Cormorants can actually kill trees.
When they nest in a tree, the accumulating cormorant poop can actually poison the tree and kill it.
Recently, cormorants have been listed as a nuisance bird and blamed for declining fish numbers.
Funny, I'd think commercial overfishing and the use of GPS and radar more of a nuisance and cause for decline, but I guess since you can't shoot people legally....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Healing Fields

I wrote an entire 9-11 anniversary blog entry and had it saved to post in the morning. 
 I wasn't pleased with the end result because it seemed a little too soap boxish and didn't really hold the message I wanted to convey.  Declaring it good enough, I got ready to run to the local Wal Mart to pick up a couple (20) flags to put out in the yard (nothing like the last minute).  As I walked out the door, I grabbed my camera- something I rarely remember to do- and headed into Hanover. 
 I knew there was some sort of memorial going on up the road from the Wal Mart and I thought I might drive by it.

In the fields in front of a local elementary school stood 3,000 flags.

Each flag had the name, age and biographical information of someone who lost their life on 9-11

You'd think that at 10:00pm there wouldn't be many people out looking at flags, but there was a steady flow of traffic into the parking area.  Cars were driving by slowly as they tried to videotape the scene. 
People of all ages and all walks of life were there. 
Kids who weren't born at the time of the tragedy played in the rows giving a little brightness
 to the otherwise somber scene with their giggles. 
Life goes on. 
Rough looking bikers with scruffy beards and pony tails wiped away tears. 
Strangers smiled and nodded at each other between the rows. 

I left and headed to get my flags.
In line with my flag bouquet, a man struck up a conversation with me.
We talked about the Healing Field down the road.
We both agreed that it didn't feel like 10 years had passed.
We shared our personal experiences of the events that unfolded in 2011.

So this evening I went from feeling like people have forgotten the togetherness that came out of such tragedy
 to having my faith renewed that we haven't completely forgotten.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Totally Tubular!!

What better way to spend a gorgeous holiday weekend than relaxing on the water. 
Midge had been pestering my dad to take her tubing on the creek, but we weren't certain our tube had survived the tornado. 
Shockingly, the tube (that had been stored- inflated- in the shed at the time of the tornado) had no leaks and was fine. 
So we loaded up the boat to go tubing.
Midge went first.

She looks like she's modeling

Even my mom joined in the fun.

And despite how this photo looks, she didn't fall off.

Then the Brat Child rode- with his sister of course.

Eventually we were all done.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Easily Amused

Am I the only one that thinks the description "hard dinghies" is amusing?

I also love the word dinghy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Photos of weather taken in PA
 The clouds began moving in as Irene made her way up the coast.

Many prepared by boarding up their windows to prevent damage from the expected high winds and debris.

And removing any loose items from the yard to prevent them from blowing around in the wind.

 The Jackson Family prepared too.
Like putting a cinder block on the rowboat.
(There were apparently two cinder blocks on the boat so Irene must have done something with the other one.)

And safely tying down our high quality grill.
Because after being tossed around by the tornado, smashed by a tree and thrown off the deck,
it still might work.

All in all, Irene didn't cause much damage in Deltaville.
We had the usual flotsam near the rip rap- items that probably were remnants of the tornado.
And there was evidence that the water covered the pier in a couple of feet of water, came over the rip rap
and came about 3 feet onto shore.

Sadly the Redneck Diving Board did not make it through the storm.
It floated off somewhere to litter someone else's waterfront.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hughlett Point Nature Preserve

Located along the Chesapeake Bay and Dividing Creek, Hughlett Point Nature Preserve is one of the most beautiful natural beaches in the area.  The preserve is a nesting site for rare shore birds and offers habitat for Bald Eagles and Osprey.  It is also habitat for the federally threatened Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle. 

From the parking area, a boardwalk leads you into the woods towards the water winding through loblolly pines.  It's quiet (except for the musings of the Brat Child about what various monsters mutant spiders animals could be living in tree holes).
The beach is strewn with driftwood trees. 
The sky was gorgeous.
The water was gorgeous.
But the temperatures were hot, so we didn't stay too long.

Looking forward to exploring Hughlett Point more in depth this fall.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wolf Trap Light

It's the 1600's and piracy and smuggling are rampant on the Chesapeake.  So the British decided to deploy a 350 ton vessel, the HMS Wolf, to help control the piracy and smuggling and to enforce the Navigation Act (to learn about the Navigation Act go here because I don't want to get too deep into a colonial history lesson).  In 1691, the Wolf ran aground on some shoals located in the Chesapeake Bay and her captain immediately called for help.  Virginia colonists came to the Wolf's aid removing ammunition and heavy guns and pumping out the seawater that had breached the hull.  The vessel was then towed to safety.  The Captain refused to compensate the colonists for their help.  His debt was eventually paid by the ship's owners.  However, the colonists of Virginia were so angered by the whole affair that the shoals became forever known as Wolf Trap.

In 1821, it was decided that a lightship needed to be placed at Wolf Trap in order to warn ships of the dangerous shoals.
This is an example of a Light ship
In 1861, the light ship was destroyed by Confederate raiders after the start of the Civil War.  Eventually, it was replaced by a screwpile lighthouse that was more economical but not sturdy.  In 1891, heavy ice floes severed the lighthouse from its foundation and it was found floating with only its light and roof above water.  It was replaced by what is now the current lighthouse. 

In 1919, the lighthouse keeper and his assistant aided in a water rescue of a family of 6.  Their schooner sank in a storm four miles from the light and managed to get in a dinghy and travel to the lighthouse.  The keeper was nearly swept away twice while trying to get the family on board.  He managed to hang on and all were saved.  The youngest child, who was 2, was hoisted onto the light in a bag.

Eventually, the Wolf Trap Light was offered at auction under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.  It was purchased by a man from Seattle, WA who intended to convert it into a Bed & Breakfast.  Unable to obtain financing for a B&B, he offered it for sale on Ebay.  The Ebay auction ended without a sale.  It was later purchased by a man from South Carolina who is the current owner.  Though privately owned, it is still a Coast Guard maintained aid to navigation.