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.

Ragged clouds

We had rain last Saturday night, but it had stopped by Sunday morning, leaving behind ragged clouds high and low over town.

We had some rain Monday, too. It was foggy that night.

This was taken out our bedroom window. That’s our pet maple tree. This was a two-second exposure that I took holding the camera against the window frame.

Contrails and a sundog

Saturday morning just after 10 the eastern sky seemed to be full of contrails. There was also a faint parhelion, or sundog.

Shooting into the sun is not a great way to get much detail, but this worked fairly well. The sundog is a little to the left of the sun (about 22°, exactly where it should be). The small, bright blue dot further to the left and down a little is apparently an artifact of the lens of my iPhone.

I haven’t seen quite this many contrails at one time around here. We are close to some flight paths to the Atlanta airport, so airliners often fly overhead. Delta flies almost directly over our house on the Huntsville-Atlanta route; I once actually saw our old house from a Huntsville-Atlanta leg on my way out to California. Contrails usually dissipate before many more planes fly over, but not Saturday morning.

This sundog was a little higher in the sky than one usually sees. They are fairly common if you know when and where to look, usually seen in early morning or late afternoon, fairly close to the horizon. They are usually formed by plate-shaped ice crystals, which tend to orient themselves horizontally as they fall through the atmosphere. The sun’s rays have to pass through them edgewise to form the partial 22° halo, of which the sundog is a part. In order to see them at higher sun elevations, the crystals have to be column-shaped so that they have random orientations as they fall. If the ice crystals are randomly oriented at least some fraction will be at the right orientation to let sunlight pass through them so that a sundog will be visible. And so it was last Saturday.

I love looking out our windows.

Cold and fog

Wednesday morning, the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter, was cold but clear. There was a strong inversion down in the lower areas. The view to the east was almost whited out, except for the top of the mountain.


When I took the dogs out for their walk, we went down into the fog you can see lapping up into the valley just behind the near treeline. It got noticeably colder as we went into the fog, but the sun was trying to stream through the trees.


The sunbeams always fascinate me.

On the way back up, we saw an armadillo. The dogs were very interested.


The armadillo is above Sam’s head about midway up the bank.


I had some second thoughts about taking this picture. In the past, Zeke would probably have gone wild and I would have needed both hands to hold the leash. If that had happened, I would have probably dropped my phone. Fortunately, Zeke maintained his cool. I guess he’s getting old.

The inversion was long lasting. It persisted through noon, when we went down for our regular Wednesday huevos rancheros. By the time I went to Lowes for some material around 4:30, the fog was gone and a cloud bank had moved in.


Some waves were visible near the sun (on the left side of the image) as well as further to the north, but they are nearly impossible to see in this image.

Sunrise at caniconfidimus

Sunrise on Sunday from our bed:


The sun is edging south as the season progresses. It has been rising just out of view to the left of the window from our bed, but it’s now almost visible. We don’t have any window treatments, so it’s going to serve as our alarm clock soon.

We don’t have curtains, but at last we have cabinets. This was our kitchen on Tuesday.


I had already cleared out the boxes that had been sitting on the floor, the bifold door for the master bath, and the shelves you can see just inside our dining/living area.

This was our kitchen on Thursday, after a day of work by cabinet installers.


Zeke is thoughtfully searching for spilled food.

The dishwasher hasn’t been installed. At the time of this photo, neither had the range. The countertop installers are supposed to do a final measurement of the base cabinets soon, and then, after around two weeks, we should have quartz countertops. That will be nice — a completed kitchen. Well, complete except for window trim, base moldings and crown molding.

To bookend things, this was the sunset on Sunday.


This was shot with my iPhone, as usual, cropped down so you can get at least a hint of what the sunset really looked like. And, as usual, it was shot on a city street, the only place we have now where we can actually see the sunset.