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Monday, September 26, 2005

Greetings from NE Arkansas.

after leaving houston with the cats (3) and dogs (2) at 9 p.m. thursday, i arrived at my dad and stepmother's house in batesville, arkansas, at ~12:30 a.m. saturday. what is normally about a ten hour drive (including generous refueling/dogwalking/restroom breaks) took almost 28 hours as we evacuated. but it was the first 120 miles to nacogdoches that took the longest--19 and a half hours. at that point i realized i still had at least seven hours ahead of me, so i took my dad and stepmother up on their offer to meet me in texarkana. from there, my dad drove my equinox full of animals and i slept in my stepmother's vehicle.

i spoke to darin later saturday--he and the house are fine. power was briefly out, but back on by the time i called. minor tree debris scattered about the yard, but nothing too large. the greatest inconvenience was that the cable (and internet) was out until sunday.

the cats and dogs were real troopers for the ride to arkansas. i wasn't too surprised about the dogs because they love going for rides and have gone to arkansas with us before. i can't say the cats enjoyed the trip, but they did stop yowling after the first two hours and from then on only occasionally piped up to remind me of their displeasure. getting them into their carriers for the return trip tomorrow might be a bit challenging.

Pines20050922as i told my sister at around hour 15, "someday i'll be able to laugh when i tell my kids about taking part in the largest mass evacuation in u.s. history. just not today." i'm not sorry to have gone; if i'd waited until we were certain where the hurricane would make landfall it would have been too late to go. and i'm pretty frustrated with the whole "if you aren't in danger of flooding, shelter in place" line (which started shortly after i got on the road). sheltering in place would have been fine if i had an underground concrete bunker. but i have a 65 year old house surrounded by 60+ year old pine trees. if those things come down, they're taking the house too.

lessons i learned: don't leave home without a full tank of gas (thankfully, i had a full tank); get a car charger for the cell phone (my battery didn't run out, but i had to be very frugal); take advantage of every possible bathroom break.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Weather | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Obligatory Update.

woke up this morning to disturbing hurricane projections. the latest noaa projection has rita heading straight for houston.

the cats, dogs and i are preparing to leave late this afternoon or tonight to head to my dad's in arkansas. darin is (currently) planning to stay to keep an eye on the house, but he'll go to the nearby hospital for shelter during the storm. the dogs travel very well (they love even loooong drives); the cats, not so well although they do typically stop yowling after an hour or two. i'll be sure to have lots of aspirin for myself.

we've moved all possible outdoor projectiles into the garage; the equinox is gassed and ready for departure. the digital camera batteries are charging so i can photograph house and contents for insurance purposes.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Weather | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Obligatory Hurricane Post.

at present, we're planning to stay put in our house, which is about seven miles northwest of downtown houston. that plan is, of course, subject to change depending on what track hurricane rita takes over the next 24 hours. we aren't worried about flooding; we are worried about wind, particularly tree, damage.

we've stocked up on bottled water and non-perishable food. tomorrow i need to venture out and get more dry cat and dog food.

for good coverage of the hurricane and its effect on houston, check out the houston chronicle's sciguy blog.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Weather | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, September 19, 2005

Pineapple Inspector.


here is faust, inspecting darin's just-harvested-from-the-backyard pineapple. i can't find any entry indicating when we (darin) planted the two pineapple tops, but it might have been spring 2004. i wasn't surprised that the pineapple tops grew, after all, everyone knows that. i was surprised when they actually bloomed and began producing tiny pineapples.

at long last, after months and months of mostly just sitting there, getting imperceptibly larger, this one looked ripe enough to pick. (maybe even a little too ripe.) don't know how it will taste, but it certainly smells like a pineapple.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Edibles | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Quarterly Update.

i really need to get back into the habit of regularly updating the blog, but for now i'll aim for monthly posts.

things are currently hot and dry, not unusual for this time of year. the oxblood lilies (rhodophiala bifida) bloomed on two scapes about ten days ago; a third scape bloomed this week. and it looks like there may be two more to come. this pleases me greatly since i started with just two bulbs in december 2002.

callicarpa americana

the american beautyberry (callicarpa americana) is looking beautiful. i haven't bothered taking pictures, but the berries really are as richly colored as they appear in the photos on the usda plants site, and here's a picture of my own to prove it.

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Gardening in General | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack