Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away.....

This is the view from my driveway. Our house side is on the right and you can see how close the giant pond is. It extends back a block and covers the street on the other side of our neighbors to the left. They sustained a bit of wind damage and he had to move his car to higher ground mid-afternoon yesterday. I think I mentioned in my last post that they were predicting some rain for this week but I did have my doubts. Oh, My....

Who would have thought! For the first four weeks we were here, we had the most beautiful weather you could imagine! It never occurred to me that this area was like Rochester in that you pay.... We have had over 20 inches of rain in the past few days, breaking all records for this area for the last 130 years. Now just to spice things up, the wind is probably 40-50 mph with gusts of 60. It took three screens on the Weather Channel to display all the warnings for the area which included, flooding, tornadoes and gale force winds!! I finally got up after getting very little sleep last night with all the noise.
The local Wilmington newspaper (StarNews) yesterday in their forecast for the day actually said "mind boggling amounts of rain". We figured it was a new weather phrase like grapple which is used in Rochester!

This is our next door neighbor's house really surrounded by water as is the house behind him and the one across the street. Shortly after this photo was taken, the town came in with a pump and pumped most of the afternoon and took it down to a more modest level (and away from our house at least.) Of course it is pouring again so hopefully they won't have to come back. We heard in the car going while going shopping that River Road in the heart of Wilmington is now flooded over and closed because of the exceptionally high tide. Methinks they need to redefine what a tropical storm and hurricane are!! This "event" is neither but when your house is shaking from the wind and you have 20+ inches of rain in a few days.....

This was Warren and Cheney caught in a more relaxed moment before all the excitement. Hopefully, I will be in that same position when we are promised that this should be ending!
At least the wind has died down to a respectable level.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shine On, Harvest Moon....

The days are going by quickly now and the perfect weather is sticking around although they are predicting much needed rain this week. We shall see... This is our Harvest Moon from the other night.

One of the projects I had assigned myself for down here was to darken the lines of the rendering of the lions. With a lot of help from George, I did manage to get this task accomplished. Now to glue the tracing paper to white paper and get on over to Staples to have each section blown up. There will have to be some more drafting at that point on the much larger image as I am going for 5 feet by 8 feet. This may take forever to put together as well!

Again from the third floor looking into my neighbor's yard, a view of the Cloudless Sulphur. They move like crazy, never sitting still so this is midflight. They appear a lot greener in person.

I had to try a shot of our everpresent Brown Pelicans which fly parallel to the beach. They were quite a distance but thought it was pretty good anyway!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Destination - Murrells Inlet, SC

We finally scheduled a day to head south and visit my younger daughter's inlaws Ann and Ed who moved to Murrells Inlet about the same time we got the house in Kure so we are now the closest we have ever been! They have moved a number of times in the years we have known them but have finally settled just south of Myrtle Beach in a lovely rural area with all the amenities! After a tour of their new home and a mid morning snack, we managed to squeeze in walks through two state parks as well as a walk along the marsh in Murrell's Inlet. The parks were Huntington Beach State Park and Myrtle Beach State Park. Of course I got to play with the new camera! It was my first chance to see how it would capture my favorite Florida birds and it did just fine!

There were wonderful marsh walks at Huntington Beach and the above is one of the many Snowy Egrets we saw. The Great Egrets were a little more shy and very noisy.

The Snowy was perched on the railing along the walk.

Warren and Ed were walking well ahead of Ann and I while we stayed back and watched the birds and fish.

Ann was peering over the edge trying to get a better glimpse of the fish.

Our next walk was along a boardwalk at a marina in Murrells Inlet. There was a little island and these goats and many peacocks lived there. It wa a strange sight!

Our third trek was to Myrtle Beach State Park and the fishing pier. Instead of pelicans on their pier as we have, the pier was covered with pigeons! Ugh... However, amongst the pigeons were three of these sandpipers which I belive are Ruddy Turnstones. They were a treat amongst the pigeons.
Another view of what I think is a Ruddy Turnstone.

Warren is posing with what he would like to catch. This was at the marina in Murrells Inlet.

We managed to catch the last ferry back from Southport to Ft. Fisher and the light was just perfect for pictures. This was just as we were leaving on the Southport side. The ferry ride is a great bargain at $5 for a 30 minute ride with people and car included!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bird and Butterfly...

Playing with my camera yesterday to see if I could get better closeups from a distance, I stumbled upon another butterfly. I was up on the third floor and it was only about 2 inches across but finally got a reasonably decent picture. This is the Common Buckeye as can be seen from the prominent eyes on the back of its wings. I continue to be amazed by the number of butterflies down here. Common birds have been pretty much absent although mockingbirds have started their serenades the last couple of days.
There have been a number of gulls, terns and sandpipers on the beach but generally I don't take my new camera down there. This is the very common willet. It is surprising that when there are people on the beach that the birds totally disappear. During the week, we are many times the only ones and delight at the skittering of the sanderlings and sandpipers at the tide line. Warren has taken his kayak to a veritable bird sanctuary which is not accessible by foot and has seen large groups of herons, ibis and oystercatchers. Maybe I can convince him to bring our little rubber boat and engine next time we come down!
I have been sewing in the evenings and have finished the blocks for two more one block wonder quilts -- now just to find a design wall to put them together on... Sitting on the porch watching the waves and reading books has been my primary occupation though! What a slug I have been!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's Just Too Beautiful!

The weather has been just too good to do anything but spend our afternoons outside in the sun and surf which does limit productivity!

We had the pleasure of guests this last weekend -- my best friend from high school and her youngest son! The last time I saw her was at my wedding 38 years ago! We finally reconnected via the internet about two months ago -- I had been looking for her for close to 20 years and had feared she was dead.

Voices and looks sure do change but I could see the Vicki that I spent so much time with as a teen -- still the same dry sense of humor. She is very much the self made woman who has what my husband calls "the knack". This is about the highest complement my dear husband can pay -- it means she is fearless with anything technical and good at it both at the same time. Our engineering friends use it to describe someone who is a natural engineer.
It was really fun to catch up to date on what happened with her and all her siblings and kids!

This immature brown pelican was just wondering around in the surf on the beach, riding the waves. Not a very usual sighting around here. He seemed quite fearless -- hope this doesn't get him into trouble!

So far the hurricanes are passing by and only causing some rip currents and big waves. My oldest daughter tells me that merely mentioning all the beautiful weather is enough to incite the "hurricane gods" to unleash a "4" on us especially when the next named storm will be Lisa (her name).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finally All Settled! Butterflies Galore!

The weather and the ocean have been too gorgeous to do anything but be on the beach or on the porch! Like last year, every flower has a butterfly of some kind on it. As I am inhibited by my ankle from taking long walks, I took out the camera this morning to see what I could hunt up just around the house and maybe next door. I was not disappointed! Lisa is relaxing on the porch in the comfy chair!

I have actually gotten myself set up for sewing and this is my view out the window of the second floor. Sewing is relegated right now to nighttime only as it is so nice outside! Earl really didn't do anything but stir up the waters quite a bit here. The renourished beaches are pretty intact and it is wonderful! Water is 84 degrees with air temps about the same and lovely breezes from about 11 in the morning on!
There have been a ton of butterflies flittering about, mostly the Cloudless Sulphurs (you will see one below). They have proved to be less than anxious to have their pictures taken. The Gulf Fritillaries were happy to pose for me in many positions this morning. This is the back and side of one. Until yesterday, I hadn't seen any but the population has exploded and their are hundreds of them and they are really as pretty as the Monarchs and in the same family as most of the butterflies I saw today are (Brush Footed Butterflies).

This is another view of the Gulf Fritillary. They look much different on the back and front.

This was a small butterfly which I have identified as a Crescent Phaon. It was finding small flowers amongst the ragweed. Their wingspan isn't much over an inch. It is also in the same family as the Gulf Fritillary.

I only saw one of these across the street so this is from quite a distance but I knew it was a different one. It is a Diana, dark with the white spots around the edges. Hopefully I will get a better picture at some point.

This I believe is a Silvery Checkerspot. This is also a very small butterfly.

The oleander are blooming in back and pretty against the green foliage and the bright blue sky.

This is the very elusive Cloudless Sulphur who is in the Whites and Sulphur family. I had one heck of a time getting any pictures of this fellow and he is quite a distance away. The sky has been lit with these bright yellow-green butterflies.

I finally finished quilting the second of my sunset quilts. I have had this and another top finished for a few years but was never confident enough to do the machine quilting. I did a lot of staring over time. I used Margaret Millers Easy Pieces block but of course did my own colorings and interpretation. The colors were at the request of my daughter (pictured above) who now says that was two houses ago! I was very pleased with the quilting I did but decided after it was done that it should be vertical rather than horizontal which I had originally pictured. This one was done with the leftover blocks from the first one which hasn't been machine quited yet (except to stabilize the top).

This is a closeup of the above on which hopefully you can see some of the stitching. You can double click to m ake it bigger.