Cannas couldn’t

We planted canna lilies early in the spring in a flower bed next to the top of our driveway. They surprised us by growing much bigger than we expected from the packaging. They kept blooming for a long time. This is a shot from December 4, a few days before we got our surprise snow.

And then the following Friday we got snow. This is what they looked like then.

I wouldn’t say they liked it, but they looked OK. At least for a while. This is what they look like now.

Apparently wikipedia is correct when they say that canna lilies are a tropical or subtropical plant. They apparently are (or can be) native to this area, but obviously do not like to be frozen, which is what a coating of snow will do for you.

I assume (hope) that the cannas will come back next spring.

The green foliage to the right is some other type of lily, or, more correctly, an actual lily, since cannas are not true lilies. The bulbs for these lilies were given to us by a neighbor. They grew well but didn’t produce any flowers. In the background you can see some of the seed fronds of the ornamental grasses we planted on the slope at this side of our house. They were almost flattened by the snow but sprang back up well enough that I don’t plan to cut them until maybe early spring, just before the grass begins to turn green.

Surprise snow

We woke up Friday morning to this view out the bedroom window.

We were surprised because the Atlanta TV weathermen, who we rely on for some of our forecasts, were not tearing their hair out and running around in circles Thursday night. If there is a reasonable probability of an accumulation of snow, the Atlanta TV stations typically treat it like an invasion from Mars. Since they didn’t, we didn’t expect snow.

But we got it. It snowed all day Friday. By the time it stopped early Saturday morning, around eight inches had fallen, although not all actually accumulated on the ground.

The company I used to work for, and still do a little work for, had their Christmas party Friday night. We had planned to attend, but I was worried about two things: Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain. The highway to Huntsville, Al, crosses both mountains, and those mountains have steep grades. At least a couple of times when I was still working in Huntsville, snow on those grades forced me to detour through Chattanooga, for a trip that lasted about eight hours instead of the normal two and a half hours. The last thing I wanted was for Leah and me to end up trapped on one of those mountains with no way off.

I took the truck down our mountain to see what conditions would be like. I made a video of the drive back up.

It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t know what to expect over in Alabama. As the day passed, the Atlanta TV stations, which broadcasted nothing but snow news all day (making up for the lack of franticness the day before), showed an expected accumulation of almost nothing to our west, where we would have to go. So we chanced it, and everything was fine.

Saturday was a day for appreciating the snow.

“I want to go outside and build a snowman!”

I took Sam and Zeke on their usual walk Saturday morning. Sam was pretty enthusiastic about the snow. I made a video of him sniffing under and around the snow. Unfortunately, I had to hold the phone vertically, so the video is not properly oriented.

Any appreciable snow accumulation is rare for Rome in December. Eight inches is very unusual. In fact, this type of snow is very rare any time in Georgia. Accumulations in the Atlanta area were even greater in some places. Damage caused by the heavy snow resulted in more than 100,000 electrical outages in the Atlanta area. Fortunately, we had no problems up on the mountain. All we had was some additional beauty plus some cold weather.

Post stuffing

Leah and I had a modest Thanksgiving dinner at home on Thursday, with turkey and store-bought dressing and gravy. It sounds sad, but it’s just me and Leah here, so it’s kind of hard for us to justify the effort to make a real spread.

Then on Friday we drove up to Chattanooga to have real Thanksgiving dinner with my brother Henry and his wife Terry. Her son and daughter-in-law came along with their two small kids. My brother’s son Thomas came as well.

I don’t have pictures of the dinner. Terry started cooking Wednesday and was still at it when we got there around 1 pm. The pictures would have been great, but not nearly as great as the food. If you have frozen dressing and canned gravy in the absence of anything to compare it to, you can almost convince yourself that it’s just about as good as home-made. And then when you have the real thing, you realize that no, it’s not.

We had turkey, dressing and gravy again, along with green beans with bacon, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese and something else I’m sure I’m forgetting. And then a carrot cake for dessert. There was also pumpkin pie with home-made whipped cream but try as I might, I could not force myself to have pie. Curses!

Before we ate my brother showed me his newly finished garage/woodworking shop, all 600-plus square feet of it, almost all of which he did himself. That was after he showed me the sideboard he had made for Terry. My brother does some nice work. I was embarrassed to show him what I had been working on.

This is the stone stove surround I completed on Thursday. It’s real stone cut to regular sizes so it fits together easily. The edging is 12-inch slate tile cut to size. I had originally planned and started building a surround that was somewhat smaller, which is the recessed area you can see here. Leah asked if I thought it would look better if it were a little larger. I agreed, but said the addition had to look like it was done intentionally and wasn’t a mistake. That’s why the side and top borders extend somewhat proud of the original surround. That looks intentional, doesn’t it?

I think it turned out well enough, but it hardly compares to the things my brother does. At least it’s functional.

We came back home Friday night and woke up Saturday morning to a mild, dry cold front passing over.

I missed the peak of the color by about a minute.

More fall

Some time within the last 10 days the mountain finally arrived at fall. When I took the dogs for their walk on Sunday, there was actually some color. Not as much as in the best years, but at least enough to make me feel like it was actually fall.

The smaller maples had the best color.

There was a nice view down Fouche Gap Road towards the first hairpin curve going into Texas Valley.

It was hard to capture the slight haze in the shadows.

This is looking up from the second hairpin curve, near the bottom of the mountain.

The leaves seemed to glow from the backlighting.

When I went down to get some mortar (I’m making a stone fireplace surround), I thought about making a video as I drove down, but I decided not to; the color is nice compared to what it was a week ago, but it’s still drab compared to some of the past falls up on the mountain.