Dusty napping

The front porch is Dusty’s domain, at least when Sylvester and Smokey aren’t trying to stare him down. One of his favorite things is napping.

Sometimes he lies on top of his house. He have a cat house with a heated pad, enclosed by this foam insulation board to keep the rain and wind out.

He needs a pillow.

Sometimes sometimes the sun is too bright.

 

Spring walk

The woods on the mountain are beautiful in the spring. I like the brilliant, yellowish-green of the new leaves. They are especially beautiful against a deep blue sky.

This was down near the bottom of the mountain. Even with the few hundred feet difference in elevation from the top of the mountain, the trees at the bottom are deeper into spring.

One thing I noticed on my dog walk Sunday morning was that a few trees seem not to have recovered from the drought of last summer. This one seems to have lost a major branch.

Some of the upper branches on this tree are leafing out.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was afraid some of the dogwoods on the mountain had died from what I presume was drought stress. Their leaves had turned brown on the trees, and the dogwoods did not shed those leaves as usual. Most of the dogwoods are now blooming or leafing out, but I am noticing a few that remain brown. The dogwoods down off the mountain seem to be in pretty good shape. I see quite a few in the woods along Technology Parkway as we drive into town. I see very few blooming dogwoods higher on the mountain. This is one of the few. It’s near the corner of our property.

I identified several dogwoods near the house last summer. I can’t find any of them that show any signs of life now.

I have also mentioned that some of the pines on the mountain, including quite a few on our property, seemed to be dying. Most of those are showing no sign of life, but a few seem to be sprouting new needles. The one that seems most likely to survive is a loblolly. The shortleaf pines don’t seem to be recovering. Maybe later in the spring they will.

I am sad to have to report that it looks like the little longleaf pine I planted at our old house seems to have died. All the needles have turned brown. I suppose it’s possible it could recover, but it doesn’t look good. It was just reaching the bottlebrush stages

The full moon will be April 11. (Since this will be the first full moon of spring, next Sunday will be Easter.) It seemed pretty full Sunday as it rose. I thought it looked nice through the bare limbs of our pet maple.

This was a time exposure with my Olympus mounted on a tripod. The exposure was long enough that the floodlights on the front of the house illuminated the tree. This is more like what my eye saw.

I like both images, but I prefer the darker silhouette. Unfortunately, when I zoomed out with the camera on AUTO, the camera extended the exposure enough that the maple was no longer just a black silhouette.

Although the maple looks like it’s also dead, it has the red tips that show first on maples.

Stormy weather

The dogs don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky. Seems like it keeps raining all of the time. Stormy weather.

The dogs agree: stormy weather is bad. Stormy weather, and especially thunder, necessitates seeking refuge, usually in a closet or at the feet of one of the humans.

Mama will keep us safe

This shot was from a few days ago when severe storms came through Georgia, causing at least one tornado. Fortunately the really bad weather missed us.

This shot was from Wednesday when another round of storms hit.

Under the table, between Mama and Daddy’s feet. Safest place around.

The storms on Wednesday were worse than those of a few days ago. We heard a report of another tornado south of us, which was where most of the really bad weather hit. The storms came through in the form of isolated thunderstorms rather than as a uniform wave of bad weather along a front. Here was one pretty severe storm that passed just north of us.

The red pushpin is our house. We got a light sprinkle from this storm, along with some lightning and thunder. The storm that passed south of us was also bad, but it gave us only distant thunder.

I have been working for a few days on channeling the runoff from the yard so that heavy rain won’t wash away what little topsoil remains. This is a partially-finished channel from one downspout of our newly-installed gutters.

It’s a little hard to tell, but there are ripples in the water. It was a fairly strong stream. I will eventually line both sides with stone from around the mountain and put commercial rocks in the actual stream bed. I will probably get some tennis-ball to softball-sized stone from a landscape company to make a bed further down the yard.

This shot doesn’t show the other canyons being dug in other places in the yard. They will get their own treatment soon.

I’m not sure how much rain we got, because our fancy tipping bucket rain gauge seems not to be tipping reliably. I guess I’ll just have to get one of the old-fashioned glass tube rain gauges.

As I write this there are still storm cells tracking towards us and the rest of Georgia, and Sam is under the table at my feet. I keep hearing thunder and Leah sees lightning. We may still get severe weather right here on top of the mountain.

The storm that passed north of us was producing hail around three-quarters of an inch in size. One of the Atlanta TV stations reported that the storm had a BTI of 2.5. Now you may be wondering, as I was, exactly what in the heck a BTI is. So I looked it up. It turns out that it is a commercially-produced index indicating likelihood of tornado production. It means Baron Tornado Index.

As it happens, I know where BTI came from. A Huntsville, Al, TV weatherman named Bob Baron decided to leave TV weather forecasting and form a company to sell weather visualization and analysis software, mainly to TV stations. I remember watching him when I lived in Huntsville. After searching for BTI, I went to the Baron company’s website. I was a little surprised to see how much the company has grown. I looked at their “leadership” listing, and was not surprised to find that everyone they list was basically in sales. They claim to have developed some pretty sophisticated software to forecast hurricane tracks, among other things. That kind of software development and meteorological capability requires a very good development team, but they were nowhere to be seen on the company website. That figures. The ones who do the work get no recognition. The ones who do the selling get all the glory. And, I suspect, most of the money.

They did mention their “chief scientist” in one news release. However, it would have been nice to see at least some mention of the rest of the staff that does all the work behind the glitzy products the company sells, rather than just the salesmen. Maybe they are mentioned somewhere on the company site. They are probably just hidden away so they won’t embarrass the salesmen.

When is a blade of grass not a blade of grass

I have been happy to learn that we have lizards around our new house, just like the old one. I have been unhappy to learn that the cats still kill them. I saved what might have been an eastern fence lizard from Sylvester on Wednesday. Sly was casually lying in the driveway, not showing any real interest in the lizard lying equally motionless about 18 inches away. I wasn’t sure it was still alive, but I scooped it up in a plastic container and dropped it near a pile of rocks on the other side of the driveway. The lizard disappeared very quickly under the rocks. One lizard saved, but since I didn’t have a camera or my phone with me during the rescue, I don’t have any documentation.

After the rescue, I took the dogs down the driveway. At the bottom I noticed a blade of grass at the edge of the pavement. It wasn’t a surprise, since there is a fair bit of tall grass that has sprouted from the wheat straw I scattered all over the yard. When I got closer I realized it wasn’t a blade of grass at all, just a green anole pretending to be one.

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.