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.

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.

Deer season

It’s deer season in Georgia. I know that deer season for regular firearms starts sometime in ┬álate fall and lasts into early the next year. I checked online for the exact dates (Oct 21 through Jan 14), but that’s not how I figured it out.

We have heard one loud gunshot. I heard it when I was walking the dogs and Leah heard it at home. It came from the woods on the other side of Fouche Gap Road, where there is a large tract of land used for hunting, plus the Berry College campus, which also allows hunting. But it wasn’t gunfire that made me aware of deer season.

I have seen a couple of pickup trucks parked along Fouche Gap Road that had the look of a deer hunter’s truck. But that wasn’t what made me aware of deer season.

No, it wasn’t those things. It was the stink of rotting deer carcasses thrown off the side of the road. That unpleasant aroma has been strong at several places along the road for several weeks. The dogs are very interested in what’s causing that smell, but I don’t let them investigate. A few days ago Zeke escaped and ran immediately to one of the carcasses, where he rolled and rolled. When we found him he had an overcoat of something black and stinking. It was all around his neck. Of course he had to have a bath before he could come back inside.

Sometimes the carcass is not visible. Sometimes the remains have been stuffed into plastic bags. Sometimes you can see ribs where apparently some portion of the edible meat has been cut away. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. A couple of days ago I saw one deer where it was obvious what the hunter wanted. The entire, intact deer was lying in the leaves, minus the head.

I wonder what portion of deer hunters our carcass dumpers represent.

Advantages of hanging around

Leah and I were born in Rome. We have both lived in other places but ended up back “home”. Neither of us has any really strong connections to this area any more, but we have found a few advantages to staying put for a while. They fall more into the convenience category, but it’s kind of nice.

I have mentioned before about our regular Wednesday huevos rancheros lunch at the Los Portales Mexican restaurant. When we walk in, the person who seats us usually says, “You don’t need menus?” because she knows we’ll be having the regular. When we’re seated, if the server is one of the regulars, she’ll bring out exactly what we want: sweet tea for Leah and unsweetened for me, with extra lemon. Also, one or two bowls of regular salsa, a bowl of hot ranchera sauce, and a bowl of burrito sauce. Then she will ask if we want the regular. If it’s a new server, one of the regulars we know will usually walk by to make sure we get everything we need.

At the end of the meal, the servers bring one to-go box (for Leah’s left-over rice), an empty cup for Leah’s tea (fixed just the way she wants it), and a to-go cup of unsweetened tea for me. On one occasion when we ate there for dinner, the server didn’t bring our check, so at the cash register the guy there let us give him our orders from memory. “You’re regulars,” he said, “So I trust you.”

I have also mentioned that I have had hair my hair cut at the same barber shop for my entire life, save for once when my father got adventurous and took us to another shop. Even though I get only a couple of haircuts a year, the barbers know what I want. On Tuesday when I got my second (and last for the year) haircut, there was a new barber. I ended up in her chair. She asked me what I wanted, and I said, “A short cut.” She asked how short. I was going to tell her to ask the barber next to her, but before I could say anything that barber volunteered, “Number 3.” I don’t know exactly what Number 3 is, but it turns out to give me a short haircut like I want.

I sometimes wish we could move somewhere else, somewhere we didn’t have to suffer through the miserably hot and humid summers. But, since it doesn’t look like we’ll move any time soon, at least we can enjoy some of the benefits of staying put.