Of sails, frogs, and hurricanes

The outer rain bands of Hurricane Irene are here.  Our weather station in the garden is reporting a rain rate of 1.55 inches per hour.  It also presents a text interpretation of the current weather and now has the text at the bottom of the display saying “It is raining cats and dogs”.  Funny, but unfortunately, it is predicted that we may get up to 10 inches of cats and dogs during the course of the hurricane.  The storm itself is south of here but is predicted to make landfall on Connecticut between Greenwich and Stamford.  Our home is DIRECTLY in the path of the eye of the storm.  For some weird reason, I have never wanted to be in the eye of a hurricane.  Storm winds are supposed to start picking up shortly after midnight.  I predict not much sleep tonight!

So, while we are listening to TV track the storm — currently CL&P is in the process of advance covering of a certain part of their body – I’m going to do a blog update with vacation and yard photos while there is still power.

To start with — a photo of Mini-Phinni this year’s youngest frog.


Mini-Phinni on the back side of the pond


The view from our room at Malbone House in Newport, RI


Courtyard at Francis Malbone House


We went for a sail in Newport harbor.  Laying down on the deck looking up at the rigging of our boat as the sails went up:


Sailboat rigging

And while we were out in the harbor we saw a sailing sight that many would have been envious of.   Two J Class Yachts were racing – perhaps not an “official” race – but two sailboats on the same tack are racing.  And these guys were racing!  The boat on the left, J5 (Ranger), was built in 2004 and is a replica of a 1937 America’s Cup defender.  An interesting item about the original boat — it had bakelite deck inserts.  The boat on the right, JK7 (Velsheda) was refitted in 1997 with a large carbon fiber mast.  Each boat requires a crew of 16 to sail, 30 for racing.



J boats racing


We continued to sail straight at their path and tacked to get out of the way just after the photo below was taken.  Note that the main sails look dirty — but it is because they are made of carbon fiber.  They are sailing downwind — spinnakers filled to the max.


J Boats - Up close and personal


Unfortunately, the brief two-day birthday trip came to an end and we drove back to Connecticut.  It was time to make preparations for the hurricane.  We stopped halfway home to try to find some flashlight batteries as the word was there was nothing to be had in our town.  Turns out, there was also almost nothing to be had in Middletown either.

So, the work of moving lawn and deck furniture, plants, flags, etc began on Friday and continued into Saturday.  I did take time out to visit the pond and found Phyllis sitting on her favorite rock.   I hadn’t seen her in a long time.  I believe I saw her smile and think she was happy to see me.  She, at least was totally unafraid as I took her closeup.


Phyllis on her favorite rock -- across the pond from the fish feeding rock
"I'm ready for my closeup" -- notice her shadow in the late afternoon sun


And the peach lily was still open


Peach lily - love that macro lens


And everything outside has been moved in.  The title of this photo is “fake frogs in foyer”


Fake frogs in foyer


Look at the deck!  Nothing there.  From the looks of the outside of the house and yard, it looks like we have moved out.  Guess we have, moved in, that is.


Clear the decks for Hurricane Irene




As we batten down the hatches

Batten down the hatches — That’s all we’ve been doing since we got home from our brief respite (to celebrate my birthday) in Newport, RI.

No time to edit the beautiful photos I took of the J-Boats racing in Newport Harbor as our boat sailed near, then tacked to get out of the way.

No time to upload the beautiful photos of the courtyard outside our room with the fountain, flowers, and flowering trees.

No opportunity to even download from the camera the photo I took of Phyllis the frog beside the pond tonight.

Instead, we’ve been battening the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Irene — expected to landfall  Connecticut sometime after midnight Saturday night, but near “lunchtime” on Sunday according to the latest.  Bridgeport is “her” current target, but it’s only about 15 miles east of here.  The eye of the hurricane is supposed to be wider than that, so for a while we will be in the eye of a hurricane, literally. I have NEVER wanted to be in the eye of a hurricane.

Much work remains tomorrow — lawn furniture and giant plant pots need to be moved into the garage.  Apparently 85-100 mph winds can move almost anything and would definitely destroy my summer plants at the height of the beauty right now.

Then, we’ll sit, and pray, and watch the storm from safe inside our home, which I’m hoping will keep us safe and dry.  We’re high up on a hill, so won’t be affected by any flooding.  But our 3 acres are covered with giant oak, maple, ash, and hickory trees. We don’t hold much hope that our lovely property will go totally unscathed.

Power is expect to go out and stay out for days, so it will be quiet around here except for the sound of the generator!  So, photos of the lovely 2-day vacation, almost totally forgotten already, will just have to wait.

Summer Saturday with Spitty by the pond

It is so beautiful here.

Our little bit of God’s creation is at its full splendor this summer Saturday.

After working in the pond trimming and fertilizing the water lilies with my BFFs swimming around my legs keeping an eye on what I was doing, I gave them an early dinner.  Also at the pond today was a baby frog (one of this year’s crop) that we’ve named Mini-Phini.  Hubby took a photo but the macro lens seized on a stalk of a plant for its focus and the baby frog was nothing but a blur.  So, this will be a mission going forward — catch the young one out on the back rock and get a good photo.   So, instead of a real frog — here is a photo of “Spitty”.

Spittin' into the pond

And my BFFs (Best Fish Friends)

Feeding time August 20, 2011