Tag Archives: snow

At the End of the Wardrobe


Perhaps you’ve seen The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or you’ve read the book by C. S. Lewis of the same title. In the story, some young English children find much more than they’ve bargained for inside of a wardrobe: they find a portal to Narnia. The first of the children to stumble through only to find herself in a snowy, frozen land is Lucy Pevensy. The land of Narnia has had a curse placed on it by the wicked queen. She finds herself in a clearing with a lampstand.

Not long after Christmas, we had a snowfall here at our home in Georgia. It wasn’t much of a snowfall if you’re from Maine or places in the northern United States, but we had about three inches of the powdery white stuff and it hung around in some places for 3-4 days because the temperatures stayed below or slightly above freezing.

On the morning after the snow first fell, I took my camera and went out to capture the fairly rare event. As I came around the west end of our home, the image in today’s post presented itself to me and it reminded me of the lampstand in the clearing of Narnia. Now I’m wondering: if I go into the walk-in closed tonight, might I wind up in a strange, exciting place that I didn’t know was there?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1943, Japanese forces on Guadalcanal Island, defeated by Marines, started to withdraw after the Japanese emperor finally gave them permission.

On July 6, 1942, the Japanese landed on Guadalcanal Island, part of the Solomon Islands chain, and began constructing an airfield. In response, the U.S. launched Operation Watchtower, in which American troops landed on five islands within the Solomon chain, including Guadalcanal. The landings on Florida, Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tananbogo met with much initial opposition from the Japanese defenders, despite the fact that the landings took the Japanese by surprise because bad weather had grounded their scouting aircraft. “I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting,” wrote one American major general on the scene. “These people refuse to surrender.”

The Americans who landed on Guadalcanal had an easier time of it, at least initially. More than 11,000 Marines landed, but 24 hours passed before the Japanese manning the garrison knew what had happened. The U.S. forces quickly met their main objective of taking the airfield, and the outnumbered Japanese troops temporarily retreated. Japanese reinforcements were landed, though, and fierce hand-to-hand jungle fighting ensued. The Americans were at a particular disadvantage because they were assaulted from both sea and air, but when the U.S. Navy supplied reinforcement troops, the Americans gained the advantage. By February 1943, the Japanese retreated on secret orders of their emperor. In fact, the Japanese retreat was so stealthy that the Americans did not even know it had taken place until they stumbled upon abandoned positions, empty boats, and discarded supplies.

In total, the Japanese lost more than 25,000 men compared with a loss of 1,600 by the Americans. Each side lost 24 warships.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: During WWII, the Japanese launched 9,000 “wind ship weapons” of paper and rubberized-silk balloons that carried incendiary and anti-personnel bombs to the U.S. More than 1,000 balloons hit their targets and they reached as far east as Michigan. The only deaths resulting from a balloon bomb were six Americans (including five children and a pregnant woman) on a picnic in Oregon.

Long Gone


Just a quick post today…I’ll be unavailable for about a week or so.  There PROBABLY won’t be any posts until the middle of next week at the earliest.

This picture was taken this winter here in Cumming, Georgia.  The dogs had such a good time in the snow (the white one is our dog, Lucy), playing, romping, jumping on each other.  It was hilarious!

But, the Georgia warmth and humidity is kicking in big time now and it is getting quite warm and muggy.

All things in due time, I guess.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  In 1863, Union General Ulysses S. Grant advanced toward the Mississippi capital of Jackson during his bold and daring drive to take Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. In April, Grant had moved his troops down the Mississippi River and around the Vicksburg defenses, landing south of the city before moving east into the interior of Mississippi. He intended to approach Vicksburg from the east to avoid the strong Confederate defenses on the riverfront.

Grant, however, had to contend with two Rebel forces. John C. Pemberton had an army defending Vicksburg, and Joseph Johnston was mustering troops in Jackson, 40 miles east of Vicksburg. Grant’s advance placed him between the two Southern commands. He planned to strike Johnston in Jackson, defeat him, and then focus on Vicksburg when the threat to his rear was eliminated.

On May 12, Grant’s troops encountered a Rebel force at Raymond, Mississippi, which they easily defeated. The following day, he divided his force at Raymond, just 15 miles from Jackson, and sent two corps under William T. Sherman and James McPherson to drive the Confederates under Johnston out of Jackson, which they did by May 14. Grant also sent John McClernand’s corps west to close in on Pemberton in Vicksburg. A few days later, on May 16, Grant defeated Pemberton at Champion’s Hill and drove the Rebels back into Vicksburg. With the threat from the east neutralized, Grant sealed Vicksburg shut and laid siege to the city. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, and the Confederacy was severed in two.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The first written account of a shark attack is found in Herodotus’ (c. 484–425 B.C.) description of hordes of “monsters” devouring the shipwrecked sailors of the Persian fleet.



Meltdown. When you hear the term you may recall (if you are old enough) the movie China Syndrome. Or, for those a bit younger, you may recall Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, or for those who are still younger, the Fukushima reactor that went critical after the earthquake/tsunami.  Others may think of an emotional meltdown. No matter which of those images come to mind, it’s not a pleasant image.

Well, there are exceptions. A week ago Tuesday (2/19), we got hit here in Georgia with another snowstorm and as of today, we still have some snow on the ground, but not much and only in shady places. Believe me, people around here are hoping that they’ve seen the last of snow until at least next winter! Alas, such is not the case in much of the north and northeast where there is still a ton of snow and more is falling. However, even on the national news tonight, they were talking about how higher temps will hit the region causing rapid meltdown of the ice and snow…and they were talking about possible flooding!!!!

But, the meltdown has begun and is nearly over. As we were driving out of where we are staying, I noticed a small creek…probably mostly carved by rainwater or melting snow, that I thought looked intriguing. It presented a bit of a challenge because of the contrast between the shadowy areas which were darker and the patches of snow that were in the sunlight and shade, and the darkness of the shadows along the creek bed. As a result, I shot it as an HDR image and today’s photo is the result. 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1968, American officials in Saigon reported an all-time high (for the Vietnam war) weekly rate of U.S. casualties–543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in the previous seven days. These losses were a result of the heavy fighting during the communist Tet Offensive. What a terrible loss of promising young lives and potential. Those who have only known the wars in Iraq struggle to understand that kind of carnage.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Jeri Ryan, the actress who played Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager turned down the role four times.

Frolic in the Snow


Ah, what’s a poor dog to do that’s been cooped up in the house for a long time because of the nasty Georgia weather? Well, it depends. If the weather breaks, like it did this morning, you convince “mom and dad” to take you down the hill to your favorite playground by the lake.  Perhaps, if you get lucky, you’ll see some of your playmates there and you can convince “mom and dad” to let you off the leash so you can run and frolic in the snow!

Lucy, our yellow lab, just loves the snow! She leaps, twists, jumps, sticks her nose down into the cold white stuff and never seems to get cold! One of the things that surprised me is how “yellow” she is. Normally, when she’s not in the snow, she looks very white, but when she’s surrounded by the fluffy white stuff, she looks like she needs a bath (which she probably does anyway)!

She almost looks like she’s laughing at her playmate saying, “Catch me if you can!”

ON THIS DA Y IN HISTORY: in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating the Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.

Galileo, son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University planning to study medicine, but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.

His research led him to advocate of the work of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  A bat’s echolocation is so tuned that it can detect objects as thin as a human hair.

Snowmageddon 2

_MG_8957This is Snowdog. Actually, it’s the first time she has ever been in snow. She is visible (I’d wondered) and she loved it! She was so excited and jumping and leaping!  Doesn’t seem to mind the cold. Doesn’t seem to mind getting wet.

Back in 2011 there was another snow storm in the Atlanta area and it has been dubbed “Snowmageddon”.  Now to those of you who live in Alaska, Minnesota, and other frozen parts of the country where snow is common, you probably laugh at the idea of a snowfall of 3 inches or so gumming up the works.  But that’s what’s happened here today.

The Metro Atlanta area has 50 plows (that’s what I heard on the news), but Atlanta is spread out over 23 counties, so it’s about 2 buses per county. No salt to put on the roads, or apparently no sand, either. Several schools have hundreds of kids who can’t get home – and they’re talking about kids staying overnight at the schools. Parents can’t get home from work to get their kids. People can’t get home to take care of their pets.

Lesson: two-to-three inches of snow in a major metropolitan area that isn’t used to snow is DEBILITATING. Tomorrow is not supposed to break freezing, so this will last a while. I bet that all the schools are shut down tomorrow (once they can get the kids out and home) and that most offices and businesses will be, too.  Businesses started shutting down about 1 this afternoon so people could get home, but it only made the traffic worse.

But, Lucy loves the snow.  It is beautiful!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1917, American forces were recalled from Mexico after nearly 11 months of fruitless searching for Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, accused of leading a bloody raid against Columbus, New Mexico.

In 1914, following the resignation of Mexican leader Victoriano Huerta, Pancho Villa and his former revolutionary ally Venustiano Carranza battled each other in a struggle for succession. By the end of 1915, Villa had been driven north into the mountains, and the U.S. government recognized General Carranza as the president of Mexico.

In January 1916, to protest President Woodrow Wilson’s support for Carranza, Villa executed 16 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel in northern Mexico. Then, on March 9, 1916, Villa led a band of several hundred guerrillas across the border and raided the town of Columbus, killing 17 Americans. U.S. troops pursued the Mexicans, killing 50 on U.S. soil and 70 more in Mexico.

On March 15, under orders from President Wilson, U.S. Brigadier General John J. Pershing launched a punitive expedition into Mexico to capture Villa dead or alive. For the next 11 months, Pershing, like Carranza, failed to capture the elusive revolutionary and Mexican resentment over the U.S. intrusion into their territory led to a diplomatic crisis. On June 21, the crisis escalated into violence when Mexican government troops attacked Pershing’s forces at Carrizal, Mexico, leaving 17 Americans killed or wounded, and 38 Mexicans dead. In late January 1917, having failed in their mission to capture Villa and under pressure from the Mexican government, the Americans were ordered home.

Villa continued his guerrilla activities in northern Mexico until Adolfo de la Huerta took power over the government and drafted a reformist constitution. Villa entered into an amicable agreement with Huerta and agreed to retire from politics. In 1920, the government pardoned Villa, but three years later he was assassinated at Parral.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  If one identical twin is diagnosed with autism, the other twin has about a 90% chance of developing an autistic disorder. Why? Don’t ask me…I’ve not got a clue as it would seem that if they are identical, they both would have it.

Now Ain’t That Cool!!!

OK.  It’s been hot.  It is customary to complain about the air temperature here in the summer.  In fact, if you don’t complain about it, most of us would have nothing to talk about.  People would think you’re “tetched” in the head or something.

So, I’m hot.  Just this afternoon, an old high school friend who lives in Alaska posted a picture on Facebook that was taken in the Brooks Range up in her state.  It looked for all the world like old man Winter had arrived!  It looked so luciously cool!

So, today, I’m posting a picture that I took from our house in Maine when we lived there, looking westward toward that part of our woods and property.  Just looking at it makes me feel a bit cooler.  Hope it helps you, too!

Here’s to snow…and Old Man Winter!!!

SnowWesternViewON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1883, the trial of Frank James began in Gallatin, Missouri.  It was held in the city opera house in order to accommodate the crowds of spectators.

After having robbed dozens of banks and trains over nearly two decades, Frank James finally turned himself in October 1882. Discouraged by the murder of his brother Jesse the previous spring, Frank feared it was only a matter of time before someone also shot him in the back for reward money. He decided to try his chances with the courts, hoping that his considerably public popularity would win him a short sentence.

Frank’s trial went even better than he had hoped. Although Frank and Jesse James and their gang of desperados had killed many people, the majority of Missourians saw them as heroes who took money from ruthless bank and railroad companies and redistributed it to the poor. The state prosecutor had a difficult time finding jurors who were not prejudiced in Frank’s favor. Looking at the panel of potential jurors, he concluded, “The verdict of the jury that is being selected is already written.”

After the trial began, several prominent witnesses testified to Frank’s character. General Joseph O. Shelby, who had known him during his days as a Civil War guerilla, encouraged the jurors to see Frank James as a defender of the South against corrupt big businesses from the North. When asked to identify Frank in the courtroom, the distinguished general exclaimed: “Where is my old friend and comrade in arms? Ah, there I see him! Allow me, I wish to shake hands with my fellow soldier who fought by my side for Southern rights!”

Rural Missourians were unwilling to convict the legendary Frank James. The jury found him not guilty. The states of Alabama and Missouri tried to convict him twice more, on charges of armed robbery, with no success. In late 1883, Frank James became a free man. He lived quietly for 32 more years. The only shots he ever fired again were from starter pistols at county racetracks, one of the handful of odd jobs he took to earn a living. He died at his family home in Missouri in 1915 at the age of 72.

(By the way, my wife’s great-grandmother sat on Frank James’ lap once when she was a girl.  Yep, Laurel rocks….again!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Americans consume about 138 billion cups of coffee a year.  Yuck.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It was cold outside tonight!  The weatherman says that cold weather is on the way, but I think its leading edge has already arrived!  I don’t mind it too much when I can stay inside.  I used to love the cold, but now that I’m an old geezer I find that it’s nicer to be warm!!!  Besides, the cold makes me ache more!  (Wow…do I sound old or what?!?!?!)

I was up at a camp outside of Pinecrest, CA from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.  On Saturday and Sunday, northern California got whacked pretty good with some heavy, persistent rain.  What that means for the Sierra is snow…and they had quite a bit.

On the way up, they started by saying that chains were required long before one got to Pinecrest, but by the time we got there, the chains weren’t necessary until after you passed Pinecrest.  We were glad we didn’t have to get out and wallow around in the cold, frozen white stuff while putting chains on the tires!

Anyway, here’s a picture I shot while at the camp.  I have always loved snow on pine trees and I liked how this one turned out.  Makes me almost shiver just to look at it!

_MG_0476_7_8_tonemappedON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1806, Lord Nelson was laid to rest in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  He had led the British fleet to victory against the Frenchies in 1805 in the Battle of Trafalgar, but was mortally wounded in the hour of victory.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: disorders in the brain can distort odors.  It is one reason that those who suffer from epilepsy may get auras of strange odors just prior to a seizure.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Here we are, snuggled in the heart of the deep south.  What do you think of when you think of the south?  You could probably envision many things: Spanish moss on the trees, the home of the civil rights  movement, warm and sunny days, heat and humidity, mosquitos, and maybe, during the right time of the year, hurricanes and tornadoes.

I can understand that.  But let you tell you that if you were in our yard today, you’d be thinking about how to find a warmer coat.  Baby, it’s cold outside!  Tonight it’s supposed to be about 21, and tomorrow night 20.  The high tomorrow is projected at 40.   Not what you think of when you think of the deep south!  At least, I sure didn’t!

But, that’s nothing, right?  I have a friend from high school, Carla, who lives in Anchorage.  I don’t now what the temperature is there today, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s colder than 20.

Here’s a photo I took back in 2003 when we lived in Maine.  This was our new house on 6 acres out in the woods.  It was well insulated.  Do you know how you could tell?  Look at all the snow on the roof!  The houses that weren’t well insulated didn’t have nearly as much snow on the roof because the heat escaping through the roof would melt it down.

I don’t remember what the temperature was on the day I took this picture, but it was cold.  The thing about Maine was that you dressed for the cold.  Here, people seem to be nuts when it comes to cold days.  They just don’t dress warmly enough!

Well, I think I’ll go crawl in the oven for a little while to warm up!

A cold February day in Maine, 2003

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1573, Sir Francis Drake first laid eyes on the Pacific Ocean.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: approximately 40% of the underdeveloped world is under 15 years old.

Whither the Weather

It was just a week ago when I was posting pictures that looked like springtime, remember?  Well, guess what?  It’s not springtime anymore…at least not starting today!  When I went into town today (that makes me sound like some sort of cowboy who gets on a horse and rides it into the general store!) there was snow all over the hills around the Alexander Valley.  I knew it got cold last night, but because of the rain and the cold, voila! – snow!

I love the beauty of snow-covered mountains and hills.  I’ve always liked the snow.  I think I always will.  I do recall that it was a pain to have to shovel it when we lived in Maine, but even then, I enjoyed it.

Here’s a picture I took today that shows a bit of the contrast – trees with green leaves, yellow mustard growing wild in the vineyard in the foreground, and the hills on the northeastern part of Alexander Valley peeking out from under the rain clouds, letting us have a peek at their snowy hats.


Contrasts and Changes


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered and cannibalized young men that he lured to his home, was sentenced to 15 life terms in prison.  He committed the first murder in 1978 and he murdered the last of his 17 known victims in 1991.  Dahmer was beaten to death in the prison where he was serving his sentences in November of 1994.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Pennsylvania has the largest rural population of any state in the United States.


Global Warming…Yeah, Right

I must say, when it comes to global warming, I’m a SKEPTIC on a huge scale.  I have this basic prejudice that mankind thinks we are smarter than we really are.  We think we known things when we really don’t.  We have hunches, and often leap from hunch to conclusion.  We all do it in different ways and about different topics.  I, too, have done it on more than one occasion.

So, when the scientists declared that we were in the middle of very serious global warming that caused by mankind’s use of fossil fuels, I was a skeptic from the get-go.  Others were very quick to accept it because the credentials of the scientists sounded so impressive.  Since then, of course, we learned that vast amounts of the data were fabricated and published as fact when many knew it wasn’t fact at all.  And, for each scientist that was an advocate of global warming, another scientist with equally good credentials pooh-pooed the idea that it was caused by human activities.  They held that if the data was correct, it was simply part of a naturally occurring cycle that we are now observing and documenting in new ways.

Plus, bear in mind that scientists once were absolutely positive that the sun revolved around the earth, that the world was flat and that it was good to cut open the veins in the arm or neck to “bleed” someone to make them better.  Wow…I’m convinced, aren’t you?!?!?!

If you’ve been following the news the past 36 hours, there have been more serious snow and ice storms in the south and in many other places in the United States.  Here in Cloverdale, nearly everyone tells me that this is one of the coldest winters they can remember – significantly colder than last year (the size of my wood pile and how it has gotten smaller is all the evidence I need to prove it to myself!).  So today, Atlanta is again under siege by snow and ice.  It snowed when we were there on Christmas day, and that was the first time in many years that had happened.  And now, it’s happened again.  Global warming, I’m sure.  It doesn’t seem to matter to some – whether it is blazing hot, or unusually cold – they’ll blame it on global warming.  Yeah…right.  I don’t know the truth of it, but I’m tired of hearing it as an explanation for every single weather related phenomenon this side of Jupiter.

I shot this picture down the street from our son’s home in Atlanta on Christmas night.  Clear evidence of the rising temps in Atlanta…


Effects of Global Warming in Atlanta

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1770, Benjamin Franklin, the famous flier of kites and American statesman, sent the first shipment of rhubarb to the United States from London, England as a gift to his friend, John Bartram, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The mistral wind of southern France once blew a string of locomotive cares from Arles to Port-St.-Louis, 25 miles away, before the cars could be stopped.