Logan's Tail

Neighbor Bob came over for a road association meeting. I heard him say something to Logan (9) and thought it might have been “inside out”. I paid no attention to it until grandson David batted a balloon around the room with him while the meeting was going on. Logan seemed to have a tail flapping in the breeze.

A photo opp presented itself, and the camera couldn’t resist. Logan’s pajama bottoms were inside out. It tickled me, because I think he feels comfortable enough in our home to risk being teased.

Of course, what happens in the ‘hood stays in the ‘hood, and I’m sure you won’t tease him.

Snow and a Flat Rainbow

I have three photos that don’t belong to a story, so they are being lumped together. The first I’m calling Foot Traffic on the Deck. The bird feeder was hanging out of sight on the metal stand. I think there are squirrel prints there, too. Surely Sadie’s paw print is not that tiny.

That day I wrote down all the birds I saw for about half an hour. They included Downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, song sparrow, dove, chickadee, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, cardinal, Carolina wren, Eastern towhee, and white-throated sparrow.

Snow fell in Tennessee last week when John was at the train club. Hoping to plow snow, the fellows took out a train with boyish enthusiasm. There wasn’t enough to push around, but they had fun. John was sitting on the end of the work train filled with tools as he took this photo. I’m asking for a round of applause for John, because he rarely uses the camera in his cell phone.

I saw the flattest rainbow I’ve ever seen while sitting at my desk. The morning sun found a chink in the clouds to form this bow. It lasted just long enough for John to get up from his desk in the next room to see it. Our most brilliant, high-arching rainbows occur in the afternoon. Have you ever seen an almost flat one?

Barefoot in the Snow

Neighbor Logan’s visit was planned ahead, because his parents went to a dinner. He might have come over slightly before Shawn and Bob told him to. How do I know? They must not have seen him leave the house. The first thing I noticed when I opened the door was that he was barefooted.

“Where are your shoes?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t need shoes,” he replied airily.

Looking beyond him, I saw his footprints in the snow on the steps.

Seeing my eyes open in disbelief, he said he’d go back and get his shoes.

I whipped out the camera and got that one shot before he was streaking back across the street. Note that the arrow points to one print that has toes pointing toward the house, as well as toes pointing toward the steps going down. At least he reused the bare spots!

Sadie went wild, barking and jumping on Logan. I tried to control the violence, but both boy and dog wanted to careen about the house, defying gravity and solid walls. I cringed when bones hit the floor. Sadie earned her nickname of Whompers, and Logan matched her fall for fall. He is used to playing rough with Dolly, his boxer.

Business must have been slow at Burger King, because grandson David was let go early in his shift. He and Logan played some games in the house before going out to play with a tennis ball. Always inventive, Logan picked out a nice stick from the burn pile to use as a bat. Sadie and I watched from the deck. Sadie paced and barked, while I stood still to point the camera at the action.

Better than a Gun

Two squirrels were determined to cheat the birds out of their seeds. Seeds on the deck were fair game, but I didn’t want the animals to hang on the feeder. I got my exercise jumping up to run them off. One day Sadie saw a squirrel and lunged at it, pawing the glass door. The squirrel ran away and came right back on the deck, figuring he’d give it another try. This time I opened the door, and Sadie shot out. The squirrel easily escaped. That encounter must have scared the dickens out of him, because we haven’t seen him or his companion since.

Mountain Flooding

I thought you might like to see the extent of the flooding of our property after days of rain. There was one little pop-up stream of water that flowed behind our back porch and down the yard. A small drainage ditch between us and our neighbors carried a rushing stream to join the run-off. As you might be able to see, there was no danger to any of us during this deluge. Water collected in the pasture before going further downhill.

I could poke fun at the dire flood warnings, but there were people who were affected. According to local news, there were 10 students in Haywood County who could not be returned to their homes from school. A private bridge to one home had been destroyed, and water covered roads all around the county. The principals worked with the parents to arrange a meeting point to deliver the students.

David and I drove to Jonathan Creek as the rain let up. I took one photo from the bank where we usually stand to watch the stream.

I went upstream for another shot to show the clearance under the bridge. We watched sticks merrily riding the current, freely floating over the usual rocky obstacles. The sound was impressive, too. I know it would be dangerous to swim in a swollen stream, but part of me longed to jump in if the water had been warm. Note: there is no danger of warm water in a mountain stream. It’s always frigid.

David stopped the car near our home to let me take shots of Park Branch – two little streams that flow under the road. The first was near the large bend in the road, flowing from above the road.

The other photo shows Park Branch as it emerged from the pipe under the road closer to home, flowing below the road. I think a little footbridge was underwater. A day later there was debris on the bridge.

Snow clouds followed the rain. I never cease to be amazed that in the North Carolina mountains, snow drifts down from a blue sky. Obviously, the snow comes from clouds, but the clouds may have already blown over before the snow reaches the ground. I watched the mountains from my computer desk as they were blotted out by snow, only to reappear a few minutes later. We had nothing white on the ground after these flurries, but I loved watching the ever-changing landscape.

Twice-ironed Waffles

I’ll tell you from the outset that twice-ironed waffles were not the goal. I wanted breakfast on the table by 9, a compromise between John’s early rising and night-owl’s delayed struggle to wake. Waffles take time, even when you have a fairly hot iron, so I was doing other things in the kitchen while they baked. I put away clean dishes from yesterday, set the table, got out the syrup, put butter out, and prepped my coffee mug. John called David, John $pencer, and Rose to eat when I was cooking the penultimate waffle.

Returning to the iron, I was shocked that it was empty. There was no time to stress over old-age forgetfulness. I must have closed the iron without putting batter in it. I used four large spoonfuls of batter to fill the lower part, closed it, and watched with horror as most of the batter oozed out on all edges. The waffle I thought was not there, was very much there. It had stayed on the upper half where I hadn’t noticed it. With a fork, I pulled the already-cooked waffle onto the counter. It was a batter-covered mess, but it kept its shape. I cooked the last of the batter, and returned the soggy waffle to the iron, nudging the indentations into place. After it cooked, I couldn’t tell it from the normal ones.

Here is a photo of the waffle iron after it was cleaned up. I was too busy coping with the mess to get the camera out of my pocket.

The next meal was a community effort. I wanted to try making something like a Thai curry. I had rice, vegetables, green curry paste, coriander, a can of coconut milk, and cooked chicken. John $pencer and Rose were on their way to the supermarket, and they brought back ginger root and small peppers. They also had tumeric, garlic, hot sauce, vegetable broth, curry powder, and bottled coconut sauce. They were cutting and sauteing various things as David stirred the soupy part. John chose a bottle of wine, and we were set. At the table, we agreed we might not be able to recreate it, but we all enjoyed the meal. Only a few stray bits were left for Sadie to lick.

Logan's Accuracy

Neighbor Logan (9) came over to visit, and one of the things he and John did was toss a tennis ball. When I went onto the deck to watch, Logan was counting the number of times they threw and caught the ball without dropping it. He is much more accurate than he was five years ago when we first knew him, and maybe John hasn’t lost his ability, either. The count was in the high 40s. I cringed when Logan dropped to his knees to catch a ball. I’m not sure if I was more concerned with the damage to his jeans or the horror if my replaced knees saw it.

The fellows posed for me in the kitchen when Logan was on his way home. Shawn, Logan’s mother, had been house-sitting for a daughter, and I didn’t think she was home yet. I said I wanted to send her a picture, which was as good an excuse as any, don’t you think?

I sent her the photo and was thrilled to have it for myself, as well.