Frozen Gut on the White Oak

This morning I was up early to get ready for my drive to Wilmington. I had hoped to catch the Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars alignment, but either my eyes weren't functioning or somehow I missed it. What I did see was the gut or channel that is behind the house had frozen over night. That's not very surprising considering the temperature was 24 degrees Fahrenheit when I got up just before six am this morning. That's almost cold enough to be classified as mountain weather. I did not get home this afternoon in time to see if the water had thawed. It supposed to be warmer tomorrow, and there's supposed to be another chance to see the planetary alignment. My problem could be that we are only something like nine feet about sea level and have some very tall trees to the south and east of us.

I hope we have warmer weather tomorrow. In spite of the nippy weather this morning, the weather was great for our neighborhood Christmas party which was an appropriate ending to the coldest day of the year. It was certainly a lot of fun with plenty of great food and good company.

Mistletoe on the mind

Certainly the cool weather that came riding in on the winds last night should be wintery enough to put anyone in the holiday mood. I drove over to Emerald Isle this morning to fill up my car. As I crossed over the bridge I notice the temperature was 29 degrees Fahrenheit even by the water. I posted a nice picture of the water that I snapped at my Ocracokewaves blog.

It is starting to be time for Christmas parties. There is one scheduled here in our subdivision Saturday night. Since I am without my better half for a few days, I will be doing the cooking for my contribution to the party. I guess it is a good thing that I have kept my hand in the cooking all these years. I probably going to do sausage balls and a pimento cheese dip. My oldest daughter is a member of a book club in Northern Virginia. I once made pimento cheese for them. Since it was a hit for a bunch of particular young ladies, I have some confidence that I will be up to the task.

This morning's picture is of mistletoe that is visible from our upper deck. I have been eyeing that large clump of mistletoe for awhile. As a youngster in North Carolina back in the fifties and sixties, one of our jobs was to bring home some mistletoe for the holidays. As I remember we shot it out of the trees with our trusty twenty two calibre rifles. I am a little older and wiser these days. I might try to get some with my surf casting rod.

I did a little Internet research on mistletoe. The article that I found had some interesting information. According to the author, mistletoe is actually named after "bird droppings on a branch." Also the proper etiquette for kissing a girl that you should remove a white mistletoe berry with each kiss. It your mistletoe runs out of berries, you have to stop kissing.

According to the weather reports, this brief interlude of cold weather is not going to last long. We should start warming up by tomorrow and by the middle of next week, temperatures should be in the middle sixties. This morning it was 28 degrees when I checked our back of the house thermometer. I am ready for winter to be over.

December 6 Daily Record

Today was one of my favorite kind of day. My college roommate Gus, who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, made my day by telling me that they had their first snow storm of the season. In fact Cape Breton Island got slammed with twelve inches of snow. Fredericton, New Brunswick, the closest civilization to our old farm in the Canadian wilderness saw mid-afternoon temperatures of nineteen degrees Fahrenheit. Here in Carteret County it was cool (down to thirty) this morning, but it warmed up nicely. I worked outside trying to get some Christmas lights up before our neighborhood Christmas party scheduled for this weekend.

As is normal for me, I had to make a trip to the hardware for some things I had forgotten last night when I went shopping for decorations at Lowes in Morehead. You can get to Lowes from western Carteret County in less than twenty minutes. In a few months the trip will be even shorter since Lowes is building a new home improvement store at the intersection of Routes 24 and 58. That will be under ten minutes from our house. I am hoping that our four area hardware stores still manage to survive. Since they are all pretty unique, I think the odds are in their favor. We have one more day of weather in the sixties, then we have our winter where we might not make it into the fifties. Fortunately the sixties are predicted to return on Saturday.

December 5 Daily Record

This is definitely the coldest day that I have seen here on the Crystal Coast. This morning our thermometer was reading 30 degrees Fahrenheit. There was actually frost on the dock and on the ground leading down to canal and marsh. The frost was melting quickly as the sun came over the pines, but I had thought that I might not see frost down to the water until January. I guess that I was wrong.

A little cool weather gets us into the shopping mode. What I do not want to ever again is that Canadian cold when today's low temperature is tomorrow's high temperature. This afternoon we are up to 56 degrees and tomorrow is supposed to be in the low sixties so I guess I will have to do a little more Christmas decorating than just hanging a wreath on the door. My friends in Fredericton, New Brunswick are suffering through a temperature of 19 degrees Fahrenheit so I will not be complaining very loudly that we got slightly below freezing this morning. Our friends over at Mallard Gas installed some gas fireplace logs for us recently so I am looking forward to enjoying a fire in the fireplace this evening. I long ago gave up on the romance of heating with wood. Once you done three cords or so a year for several years as supplemental heating, propane, gas, and electricity look pretty good.

December 4 Daily Record

There is no doubt that cool weather has finally found the Crystal Coast. The weathermen are even calling for temperatures to fall into the upper twenties tonight. That is about as cold as I care to see it.

Still I have a hard time complaining. It was warm enough sitting in the sun in my upstairs office, that I opened the window for a few hours. Reports from the mountains around Roanoke, Virginia indicate that we should be thankful for the warmth that we have.

I still have not had to put a coat on to go get the newspaper yet. I also worked on some panorama pictures just after lunch today, and it was still shirt sleeves weather. I can still remember when we moved from northern New Brunswick in eastern Canada to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We found that we could wear tennis shoes for a good part of the winter. We were astonished. We had seen temperatures as low as minus forty degrees on our farm.

I was definitely a lot tougher in those days, but that was twenty five years ago. As one New Brunswicker who visited us in Virginia a few years ago asked, "Tell me again why you moved to Canada." Well we moved for cheap farm land. Fortunately today I can say that we moved to the Crystal Coast for quality of life and a great climate. So far it has been a great experience.

December 3 Daily Record

The skies got heavy this morning as I approached Wilmington. I would have to call the traffic on the by-pass light by Wilmington standards.

Late this afternoon when I drove back the skies had opened, and there was plenty of rain.

The temperatures today held in the fifties, but I think we are in for some cooler weather. The traffic in Wilmington is pretty impressive for this area.

Of course if you have lived in the DC area like I have, it is not too hard to take. All I have to go is close my eyes and remember Route 7 at Christmas time, and then I am no longer worried about Wilmington traffic. I think the skies are supposed to clear tomorrow so perhaps I will get some good photos.


December 2 Daily Record

I am back in real estate post licensing classes so all I am seeing is scenery flying by as I drive to Wilmington.

This morning I slowed long enough to snap this early morning picture of a White Oak River marsh.

As you can see, our blue skies have returned. The temperatures are cooler but definitely pleasant. The rumor is that the great weather is rapidly coming to an end.

Yet, I think good weather is all relative. It may get cooler here, but I do not expect to see cold weather that I used to experiencing in the Virginia mountains. Time will tell, but right now I am planning on keeping the shorts and sandals accessible.