Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just the facts, man. Just the facts.


We’ve moved from severe drought to extreme drought to the dreaded “exceptional drought”. It’s the worst case in history. Restrictions will get tighter through December. So long, green! Hello, brown! Two hours ago it spit rain for ten minutes and I was thrilled even though I was hand watering under it and the hairspray and root boost I used this morning turned my hair into a blonde helmet.

My hoity-toity neighbors in their McMansion across the street are going to get nailed soon. Twice this week during the evening hours, I heard their irrigation running and I’m close to calling the authorities. Water conservation is important now and I’m making a great effort every time I use water. We still flush toilets. I turn the shower off when I’m shampooing my head in the morning and they’re wasting water on a lawn and gardens perfectly planted by a professional.

I want this miserable post to brief from here on. I'll try. October is a beautiful month that gave us an exhilarating three days of Autumn. We opened windows and let the chilly night air inside put us to sleep. Now the air conditioners are humming again.


Earlier this week, the morning temperature was a cool 75!


I saw another one.

Good day for a walk on campus during lunch hour. It’s been three long months since the weather cooled enough for me to risk just a little brow sweat vs. the dripping type - very unattractive in an office atmosphere.

My walking trail is petrified.

It rained dry pine needles and the only sounds I heard were my heart beating, crunch under my feet, and of course, the sounds of construction nearby. The latter is destroying the beautiful equilibrium of nature that so many humans don't notice...sigh.


This is the only color I saw on the trail. I remembered the exact spot on a tree that I found a Ruby Crowned Kinglet and the places I saw Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebes, and Warblers. Areas where I saw a variety of Sparrows were bare and brown. Other than a sweet chirp of a Cardinal and some Chickadee warnings, there were no bird sounds, no bugs, no butterflies. I did find a shirtless man.


Approaching a shirtless man adjusting his athletic shorts made me feel a bit uneasy… We were the only two people on the public recreational part of my trail and when I saw him, I realized that my only out was to run through 100 yards of heavy brush to the main road. It was odd, I thought, to see a shirtless man. He was walking – not running. It was a cool morning. We did, however exchange polite greetings. My police officer friend is going to give me some pepper spray. Am I too paranoid?

To sum this up, my long awaited walk was disappointing but good for my heart and body. For now, there is more to see at home.



The Gardenias are blooming again. The fragrance is so intoxicating.


Does anyone have a camera that can zoom and focus in 1.5 seconds for little flitty birds? Too much time is wasted while waiting for my camera to make up its mind. It's annoying me. The low-light photos are dismal but it's a great sunny day camera.


Cute little nutty butt.

I call them the “Nutty Cuties”.


The staff at Wild Bird Unlimited loves me. I added a new feeder station last week and bought a new nut feeder today. I learned that Rufous Hummingbirds have taken up residence about thirty minutes north of me at Lake Norman. Odd, but very cool!

I'm thinking it will be good for me to wait for some refreshment before I post again. Ideas and words are difficult lately and I'm wanting to say something happy and uplifting. It won't be long, I hope, because right now, I hear a real rain shower out there. Rain? Are you kidding?


~Red Tin Heart~ said...

You are not too paranoid. In this day and age there are creeps out in abundance. Please be careful when walking alone and take the pepper spray. Your pictures are lovely. Thanks for your sweet comments. xoxo Nita

possumlady said...

Parts of our area are going through a drought too. Nothing as severe as your area though. One of the counties south of here has just put in water restrictions. They interviewed folks and most people said "I spent too much money on landscaping. If my yard starts going brown I'm going to water it!" No thought about anyone or anything else. The county will have the last laugh though. First time offense will be a $1,000 fine! If they continue to water after that, the county will cut off their water!! (I would be a bit nervous too walking by myself with a shirtless man for company. I hate to think that way but there it is...)

JeanMac said...

Mary, don't walk out there alone. Period.(That's my Mom voice in action:)

Bill said...

Love coming over to your blog. Great shots!

Anonymous said...

So glad you got a little rain . . . . even if it was for a short time! I can't believe how warm it has been in your area! BTW: I am glad a wild-birds unlimited isn't anywhere near where i live, I might be in your situation in buying many of their feeders.

Unknown said...

Yes Mary be careful walking. I feel so bad for you because of this drought. Some people are just so ignorant when it comes to thinking of others. Speaking of your neighbors.

Love your photos of your garden.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I splurged on WBU's starter pole system last week. (How long can I stretch out my birthday?!) All of the accessories are 20% off this month- I'll have to go back!

Jayne said...

Love your new feeding station Mary... looks a bit familiar. ;c) Beautiful gardenia... mine are also blooming like crazy now.

RuthieJ said...

Pepper spray is a definite must, Mary, but I hope you never have to use it.

I love all your little nuthatches! And here's the only good thing about no rain--you won't have to worry about your peanuts getting moldy from being excessively wet!

KGMom said...

I find myself watching the nightly weather forecasts, and looking to see what's going on in NC!
Your comment, about destroying the balance of nature, gets at part of the problem. We uproot native plants, then plant grass--a waterhog if ever--and sprinkle it to get it going, then wonder why we have droughts! I have a similar neighbor--even when we are under water restrictions, I can walk by his place and see the sprinklers going. It drives me NUTS.

dmmgmfm said...

We have passed from drought into fall. There was no real warning, one day it was warm and dry, now it's cold and damp. As much as I will miss the heat of summer, it IS nice to get some moisture.

Usually I "celebrate" summer's passing by taking a lot of fall pictures; the leaves changing, the water level in the rivers dropping, but this year I was too busy getting daddy moved into the nursing home to take many photos.

I seem to get a bit blue this time of year...the gray skies dampen my enthusiasm considerably. I have to constantly remind myself that most of our moisture comes during this time of's what sustains us and it is vital to our economy and existence, so I can understand , to a certain extent, how difficult it is for right now.

I'm thinking of you Mary, and sending thoughts of clouds full of rain your way.


dguzman said...

That fear is what keeps you safe; trust it. I learned that from Gavin DeBecker's The Gift of Fear, a book EVERY woman should read. And carry the pepper spray, though I hope you'll never need it.

We're not getting much rain here either, but nowhere near as bad as your area. Report those jerks across the street!

Beautiful and thoughtful post as usual. How DO you do it? We'll all miss meeting you in person at Cape May...

thailandchani said...

You are definitely not paranoid. I walk a lot too and pepper spray is always with me. :)

Rain? What's that? Indeed!



Anonymous said...

Mary! That calla is of exceptional beauty! You are always amazing me with the clarity of your bird photos. They almost look like you've trained them to pose for you.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I so hope you did have real rain!
Love the new feeding station and your birds will too!
Nuthatches are so very cute...
Rufus just north of you???
Wow! That would be very cool if they found your feeders on their way south.
It warmed up here again too. Climate change is so unpredictable.
The loss of habitate is so upsetting.
No worries on telling it as it is!
Just the facts is right!

NatureWoman said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the water situation, Mary! Ohhhh, the people living in the McMansion are very naughty.
I love your photos, as always. I carry pepper spray with me everywhere, hikes included.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

We're hot again, too--near ninety through Monday, and no rain, though we did have a couple days last week. I hear ya with the "rules don't apply to me" neighbors. Are you comfortable saying something to them--maybe they think no one notices? I'd feel guilty having the only green lawn on the street!

David said...

I think you ought to bust the neighbors, Mary. It's not only stupid to be wasting water, it's arrogant. Book'em Danno!

Susie said...

When I saw the dark clouds in the first picture, I thought that perhaps you had a good rainstorm. That shirtless guy would have given me pause too. The pepper spray sounds like a plan.
Sounds like you ended on a positive note. Sending lots of rainy thoughts your way!! (none of this old CA sunshine for you!)

Larry said...

Not too uncomfortable to catch a photo of the shirtless amn though!
That top photo looks like a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.Looks like a nice area to walk!

Jess Riley said...

I'm really concerned about the drought...and what jerks your neighbors are, watering their lawns while everyone else is rationing water!!!

Be careful, be smart while out walking alone...

(And how cute are your chickadees and nuthatches? I love 'em!!!)

Chrissie said...

Great post, Mary, so many lovely pics. Not paranoid, you can never be too careful! I really love the pic of the lily (?). Hope you get some rain soon!

Mary said...

Mary take care when you are walking alone. i will do my rain dance for you!Now picture this a dumpy, little 60 year old with arthritis dancing round my totaaly disrupted home, no running water today as new radiators and heating system goes in, in my best pink crocs dancing specially for you. I hope I have made you smile!Please keep the photos coming they are so lovely Mary

cat59 said...

I laughed out loud about our "three exhilarating days of autumn." (For those who don't know, I'm also in NC.) Did you hear it's supposed to go back up to 90 next week! Is it global warming? The last time it was this hot in October was somtime in the 1940's I think the weatherman said. So, maybe it's not global warming.

Your gardenias are blooming again! Mine are not. At least you have some color in your yard. Always enjoy the photos of the birds. That hawk is amazing!

smilnsigh said...

NO you are not too paranoid. In fact, I'd never even consider taking that walk alone. No matter how lovely it is. And of course, it is lovely.

Mmmmm, you are allowed to carry pepper spray where you live? I ask because... in today's weirdly P.C. world, I could see an attacker suing someone he attacked, for hurting his eyes with pepper spray. :-(

Yeah. Today, the victim is the last one to be worried about. Grrr... Seems they want to take TLC of the perpatrator of a crime though! 'Cause the weird prevailing wisdom is... criminals are just misunderstood people who had a bad childhood and need counseling... not jail punishment. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!


Carol Michel said...

I hope that was real rain that you got, it would be a good start. I'd turn in the neighbors. I think they probably don't know how to turn off their irrigation system; they'd have to call the company that installed it back out to do it, no doubt!

Annie in Austin said...

You know how some of us look at the scary scenes in movies by peeking through our fingers at the screen? Well that's how I'm looking at the screen now! The shirtless guy is not as scary as the drought - guess the poor guy was flustered when you suddenly appeared as he was answering a call of nature?

Our wet summer is long gone and it's hot and dry here, but not on your level, Mary. I sure hope real rain comes to you soon.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

LostRoses said...

Nutty butts, how cute! And you have the best digital bird pics of any blogger I visit, outside Julie of course. No one can touch her camera! So, no complaining!

It's too bad we have to be so paranoid, but yes, we do. Have you ever thought how men have totally different experiences when they're out walking? They don't think the things we do, that's for sure!

Oh, your gardenia. I am so envious. The one I got at the garage sale is still alive but barely so.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Diggin' the immature yellow-bellied sapsucker!
I think your next purchase should be a Canon Digital Rebel XTi with a 300 mm. zoom lens. Oh, the fun we'd have with your camera!
And hey--nooo digital delay. You'd get spoiled REAL fast.