It rained

We finally got a decent rain here in northwest Georgia. According to one of the Atlanta TV weather people, Rome received just under an inch. According to our rain gauge, we got exactly one inch.

I had bought a new rain gauge shortly after we moved in but never bothered to set it out. I figured there was no point since it was never going to rain again. But when the weather forecasters started getting excited about a real possibility of rain, I decided to install it on the railing of our front stairs. We recorded about a third of an inch before we went to bed and another two-thirds of an inch later in the night. This was exactly the kind of rain we needed, fairly gentle but sustained.

I think it’s possible we got slightly more than the gauge showed. It was very windy all day Monday and it stayed windy when the rain first started. It rained for a while before the gauge started registering. The collection port on the gauge is fairly small, and I think the wind could have prevented an accurate measure. However, the gauge is not calibrated yet, so it’s hard to know for sure. Given the widespread nature of the rain this time and the official measurement, I think an inch is a pretty good estimate. We’re still about a foot lower than average at this time of year.

According to the news reports, the rain gave firefighters some significant help in northern Georgia, although the fires are not completely contained. If you saw the national news, you know that fires a little north of us in Tennessee caused significant property damage and some loss of life near Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

The forecasters are pretty sure we’re going to get more rain Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The wind blew away most of the wheat straw I spread on Saturday, so we have lots of mud around the house. I can live with that.

Dusty sleeps over

Leah has been wanting Dusty to come inside like Chloe, Sylvester and Smokey for a long time. She has brought him in occasionally but he cries so pitifully that Leah always lets him go back outside. Saturday night she decided to try again. This is where he ended up.


He spent most of the night there at the foot of the bed with his mama, on Leah’s side, of course. He got up very early and wanted out, but while he was inside, he seemed not exactly happy but at least not exactly frantic to get out. He didn’t wander too much before he settled down, and he didn’t cry. He wasn’t sure he wanted me in the same bed but didn’t object too much as long as I kept to my own side.

On Sunday night Leah brought him in again. This time he did not like it. He wandered around meowing and craning his neck like he was trying to see over a fence. He went to the front door and stared out, then wandered a little more, and then back to the door. Leah finally gave up and let him out.

It’s not too bad for him outside. We have four cat houses on the front porch, two with soft bedding, and two with heated pads. He stays in the unheated houses most of the time. It hasn’t been particularly cold this fall, so I think he can be comfortable there. Since he won’t get in the heated houses (he got used to the other houses before we got the heated ones), we’re going to put the heating pads in the other houses.

The wind has been very strong all day Monday ahead of a cold front and Dusty is nowhere to be found. He’s probably hiding in the woods because the wind scares him. The cold front is supposed to bring some fairly heavy rain later tonight. We’re hoping he gets back on the porch before the rain arrives.

Rain on the horizon

The Atlanta TV weather forecasters are excited about the increasingly likely rain next week. In Atlanta, at least, the rain is supposed to start Monday evening and last potentially through Wednesday. At one time they showed rain contours that indicated up to three inches in the Rome area. I think that might be an optimistic estimate, but it sure looks like we’ll get some.

If we get an appreciable amount, it will be the first since we moved into our house in late July.

Given the probabilities, I decided I should spread some wheat straw around the house.


I got 25 bales. In this area wheat straw goes for around $6 a bale. I went to a local hardware store and got it for about a dollar a bale less than the big-box home store.

I got about a third of it on the ground Saturday afternoon.


Almost all of our yard looks like the red clay in this shot. I’ll spread the remaining bales Sunday.

If we get rain I hope it washes these little kittie tracks away.


These have been here since the light shower we got back in the middle of the summer. I think they’re Chloe’s. Leah asked me to sweep them off the drive, but they don’t sweep. It’s going to take water.

I hope we get some.

Berry College

On Sunday Leah and I drove out to Berry College for some sightseeing. I also wanted to use my new camera.

Berry College has about 27,000 acres, most of which is a wildlife reserve. It stretches from the Rome city limit on the south to beyond Lavender Mountain on the north. The college campus is almost entirely within the original 30 acres at the southern edge of the current campus. About three miles north there is another set of buildings called the Mountain Campus.

When I was growing up my family lived on Redmond Road., at the southern edge of the school. When summer came, we roamed the neighborhood on our bikes and occasionally followed a path through the woods onto the Berry College campus. Once there we roamed the campus like we owned it. We rode past the faculty and staff houses, through the classroom building areas, around Victory Lake and down what I believe was called the Three-Mile Road to the Mountain Campus. At the Mountain Campus, we biked past the swan pond, sometimes detoured out to see Frost Chapel, sometimes up the steep hill to the dairy buildings, and then out the gravel road to the Old Mill.

Much of this is the same, but much has changed. Campus access is controlled at a gate where you have to show your driver license. Of course the “guard” is a coed who is not very scary.

When we were kids, Victory Lake looked a lot like this.


This was an image on a sign at the lake. On the far edge of the lake there is a line of cypress trees. I remember Jimmy Carter talking about the northernmost cypress trees, which were considerably further south than these. Maybe he was talking about naturally-occurring cypress trees. I assume these were planted when the lake was formed by the dam that the cypress trees line.

The lake was originally made in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, sink holes formed in about 1986 and drained the lake. The college gave up on refilling the lake after trying for five years, so the lake now looks like this.


The Ford complex is visible from near the lake. That’s where we attended the school’s jazz concert.


Out at the Mountain Campus, the old dairy buildings have been taken over by the WinShape Retreats, an organization founded by S. Truett Cathy, the ostentatiously Christian founder of Chick-fil-A.



There is another set of buildings behind where I stood to take this picture. From this vantage, looking behind me, you can see Mount Alto, which appears in my sunrise photos.

The Old Mill is still like I remember it.


The overshot waterwheel wasn’t working, of course. It’s fed by a pipe from the Berry reservoir up on the mountain. I have seen it running on rare occasions, but the mill is no longer used for its original purpose of grinding corn for use at the campus.

You might have seen the Old Mill if you were one of the very few people who watched the one-season NBC television series “Constantine”. When the main character went to his secret hideout, he was shown approaching the locked door to the mill. Once he was inside, he descended into a large underground lair. I am pretty sure such a facility does not exist beneath the mill. I only watched the series a few times because I had heard it was filmed in Georgia. Once I saw a few recognizable landmarks, the show itself was not enough to keep me watching.

But back to school. When we left the Old Mill I noticed some bottlebrush-stage longleaf pines.


There was a thicket of young longleaf pines just beyond that. I think they are part of the Berry longleaf pine project.

Here is the Frost Chapel.


It would have been prettier in spring or early summer with green grass.

This is a small pond near the swan pond. There was one swan and a good number of Canada geese, who, according to some students I spoke to, are permanent residents.


We drove back to the main campus where I was confused about what was where. There are so many new buildings since I last saw it that I had some trouble orienting myself. Of course I had not seen some parts of the campus in more than 50 years.

Berry opens large parts of the campus to the public. There are about 80 miles of public-access trails for walking, biking or horseback riding. Maybe Leah and I will take our bikes out there someday.

The Berry College Wikipiedia page gives a reasonably-complete account of the school. There is also a class project called the Marthapedia, named for the school’s founder, Martha Berry. There is also the Berry College Website, of course.