Cats in the house

Our menagerie seems to be settling into the new location. Smokey is his usual self, looking for food first, and then affection.


Leah has been worried about where Dusty and sometimes Chloe will go when it gets cold, assuming that it ever does. We put two cat houses on the front porch, where Leah feeds those two cats. One house is a store-bought dog/cat house. Since Chloe doesn’t want to be too close to Dusty, we thought we should have another house, so we made one by cutting a door into a plastic storage box. We were surprised on Thursday to find both cats sharing the dog/cat house.


I’m pretty sure this is as close to Heaven as Dusty gets these days. I’m pretty sure Chloe doesn’t feel the same.

How dry I am

The weather here on the mountain has been very pleasant for the last couple of weeks. It has been sunny, warm during the day, cool at night, and dry. Mostly dry. This part of northwest Georgia is in “exceptional drought” according to the US drought monitor. Here’s the map, followed by the scale.



Floyd County is roughly in the middle of the region; it’s the county that looks like of like a fist giving a thumbs up. Based on the official airport record, we have had exceptionally little rain on the mountain from July through October 26. This July was the seventh driest on record at 1.45 inches, far below the average of 4.71 inches. September was the driest on record; the airport recorded 0.24 official inches in September, although I don’t believe we had that up here. October at 0.01 inches so far is third behind 1963 and 1938, which had no rain in October; not much real difference there. I’ll come back to August.

Based on the precipitation record, we are on track to have the fourth driest four-month period since 1900. The only reason it’s not the driest period on record is that the airport recorded a huge amount of rain in August (6.42 inches) which we did not have up here on the mountain.

All the houses on the mountain rely on wells for water. So far we have not had any obvious problems with ours. However, when I took the dogs out to the street for a restroom break, some neighbors from up the street stopped on their way down to visit a friend and fill a large water tank on their trailer. They said that they had had a 400-gallon water tank installed in their basement for backup. In fairness, I think some other neighbors told us that  those neighbors had been having well problems earlier, so their current problem may not be entirely due to the drought.

On Tuesday there was a 160-acre wildfire on the other side of town from us. Other fires in the vicinity have been even larger. That might not sound like a large wildfire compared to those in the western US, but they are large for this area.

We have given up on the idea of planting anything in the yard until next spring; we simply cannot risk using well water to keep plants alive and maybe not having enough water for household use.

There is essentially no rain in the near-term forecast. The next few months are expected to be warmer and drier than normal. In addition to exceptionally little rain this summer, we have also had exceptionally hot weather. I expect to see a larger-than-normal number of trees dying in the next year or two as a result of the drought stress from this summer.

A few new shots

Last Tuesday when we went downtown for jazz night at a local bar, the moon was close to full. The only camera I had was, of course, the one in my iPhone. This is how the moonrise looked from Broad Street.


The City Clock is at center. I have mentioned that before. The First Baptist Church is on the right. The large brick building in the center is the old, old Post Office, which also housed the federal court at the time. My father worked for many years in that Post Office before the it moved about two blocks away. He retired from what was then the “new” Post Office. The Post Office moved yet again after he retired. I still like the old, old building.

Here’s a sunrise, this time from our driveway, featuring the twisted old maple tree we saved when we cleared the lot.


According to our Atlanta TV station, Saturday night was the coldest night since last April. It was not our coldest night, because of this:


What looks like a vast sea is the top of the temperature inversion from overnight. It got down to around 40F beneath that fog; however, since the winds had died down and it was clear, our low up on the mountain was 51F.

We voted

Early voting in Georgia opened last Monday, October 17. Leah and I voted on Thursday.


markvotedAccording to the Atlanta TV news, early voting locations in the Atlanta metro area had waits of up to three hours. We didn’t have to wait at all. I was surprised that our residence had been updated. I updated my address when I got a new driver’s license about a month ago. We updated Leah’s voting registration address when we changed her driver’s license address on the day before voter registration closed. Finally, something worked the way it’s supposed to.

There was a slow but steady stream of voters when we were there. They were all old. We did our civic duty and voted for the sane candidate for President. I regret to say that I strongly suspect that our votes were cancelled multiple times while we were there. For some reason that I cannot fathom, it seems that old, white people in Georgia support Trump, even those who are not wealthy.

I heard one of them when I took Lucy to the vet on Monday. An elderly white man was explaining to another old white man in a voice somewhat louder than conversational that Hillary Clinton should be in jail, and so should Bill. I don’t know whether the recipient of this sentiment agreed or was simply trying not to rile him, like you might act around a wild animal. I did not take the open seat beside the Trump supporter. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to engage him or not, but settled on not.

On Friday night we saw a pickup truck with a bumper sticker that said, “Gun owners support Trump.” Now the fact that Trump is a pathological liar does not necessarily indicate that Trump supporters are also liars, but, if you read that statement to mean that all gun owners support Trump, then that statement is demonstrably not true. We own guns, and we do not support Trump: QED. If it means that some gun owners support Trump, it is true, but only trivially so.

I also regret to say that it’s not only old, white people. Leah and I went to the Dark Side of the Moon bar again on Tuesday for jazz night. There were several open seats at the bar beside me. A youngish (to me) woman sat next to me. We generally ignored each other for a while, but she seemed interested in starting a conversation, so we did. We talked for a while, learning that she was not as young as she looked — 50, with grandchildren. After a while, she dared to venture into politics. She said she was a lifelong Republican, but just couldn’t decide who to vote for. She was concerned that Hillary Clinton would take her guns away from her. I assured her that she would not. She solicited my opinion, so I told her that she should do what she thought she should do, but that I recommended that she should vote for Hillary.

Despite that, we left on good terms.

I cannot conceive of any sane black person or Hispanic, or woman voting for Trump, and Georgia has a fair number of all of these. Of course, I cannot conceive of any sane person of any ethnicity voting for Trump, but that is probably a failure of my own imagination. Despite all that, I expect Georgia to go for Trump. If it does, I will be ashamed of my state.


It’s mostly quiet on the dog front, except for the mock growls when Sam and Zeke want to play, which is every time I take the dogs out.


Lucy doesn’t join in their doggie games. She just tries to keep out of their way.

It’s like this from early in the morning. Sam usually wakes up before us and comes into the bedroom to see whether we’re up. We can hear his nails clicking on the floor. Then I see his nose at the edge of the mattress. I usually reach over to scratch his ears a little bit.

Zeke comes in after we get up; he likes to sleep late, just like us. And then Sam starts chewing on Zeke’s cheek. They will continue a little mini-play-fight until I break it up.

I keep them apart on our walks until we reach the turnaround. Then I let them go at it for a while. The longer they play, the rougher and more excited they get. It’s usually Sam diving in to nip at Zeke, but occasionally Zeke runs after him with his jaws wide and teeth bared. I would not like to see that coming at me.

I have mentioned before that I think a dog’s world is different from ours. They have the additional dimension provided by a sense of smell much more sensitive than ours. It’s a minor struggle to keep them moving on our walk when they really want to stop and smell the roses, or whatever it is that attracts their attention.


The only real dog news is that Lucy scared us with an eye problem Tuesday. Right after lunch Leah noticed that one of Lucy’s eyes was cloudy.


It was odd because we were almost certain it was not that way Monday. I was pretty sure it wasn’t that way earlier on Tuesday. I took her to the vet Tuesday afternoon. The vet diagnosed it as an eye irritation, either from sticking something into her eye or possibly from dust, pollen or some other foreign object. She said two weeks of multiple daily applications of an eye ointment should do the trick.