Life

Hurricane Matthew

I’ve been a little quiet on the social media front but for a very good reason – I’ve been in Alaska! This trip was an absolute dream and trust me, there will be posts forthcoming about it.

My cousin watched over the house (and Jake/the chickens) while we were gone. Belle went to stay with my mom and had an awesome time playing with her puppy (and both dogs were exhausted come the end of my trip). But there is something very nerve-wracking about being so far away when bad weather hits your home, especially when that bad weather is a hurricane.

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Taken by my mom

Hurricane Matthew wrecked havoc from the Caribbean up to the East Coast of the United States while we were gone. This comes on top of above average rainfall already in my area just the week before the hurricane hit us. Though it was reduced to a category 1 by the time it hit us (I believe), it still caused devastating flooding in so many areas. Most people say that they’ve never seen the water as high as it rose during the hurricane.

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Taken by my cousin

The good news: We were very fortunate overall. The water never came into our house and the only real damage is that the wind blew our fence a bit crooked in areas (helped by the fact that all of the posts were in sopping wet ground).

The bad news: We lost 3 of our 5 chickens. This loss is nothing compared to what others have lost I know, but it still breaks my heart. The chickens were our 3 three egg producers. The creek flooded so quickly that it caught everyone off guard. My cousin stated that the water was up to her knees.

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from l-r: Emily, Iggy, Squeeta (Whitey in the background survived)

My boyfriend and I are debating whether or not we want to go ahead and get more chickens or just wait. We are wanting to find a house with acreage soon and 2 chickens are a lot easier to move than 5. Besides, I think we will have a better selection of chickens during the Spring (and our birds don’t lay in the winter anyway). On the other than, there is something so lonely looking about watching our 2 remaining birds putt around.

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Taken by my cousin

For more news coverage on Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina (including some images from a town near where I live) – check out CNN.

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Travel

Mini Roadtrip: Smithfield, VA

With my boyfriend being off-call this past weekend, I knew that I wanted to get out of town for a few short hours on Saturday. So we loaded my dog in the car (his stayed home) and we set off to Smithfield, VA which is about an hour and a half away. It might have taken us a *little* bit longer because we might have gotten a *little* bit lost but we eventually arrived.

Sidebar: We actually had quite a bit of excitement as we passed through the Dismal Swamp Canal. This HUGE black bear ran across the highway. We narrowly missed it. I had never seen a bear that close.

Our first, and pretty much only, stop was the Farmer’s Market. There were quite a lot of vendors. I wish that we lived closer or that the weather wasn’t quite so hot and that I had brought my cooler as there was so much local/organic/free range meat that I would have loved to stock my freezer up with – bison, pork, chicken, beef.

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I could have spent way more money that I did, but I ended up getting a few Japanese eggplants, and a couple of items from With Love (Maddie’s Magic calming salve, Misuli muscle salve, Restoration joint salve, Love Bug bug bite salve, and the Detox Pack bath powder).

For lunch, I stopped to the Granny’s Kitchen food truck and got the Coriander Dusted NC Shrimp (with quinoa, roasted corn, blistered chilies, cotija cheese, and a charred shallot/lemon vinaigrette). We found a quiet little shaded area to rest. This dish was absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend Granny’s Kitchen.

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It was a hot day and it wasn’t long before all three of us were panting and sweating so we shortened our trip. Smithfield is a cute little town so my boyfriend and I are planning to go back around Fall, when it has cooled off and the farmer’s market is still running. There are so many cute shops lining the street that I would love to check some of them out. One of the things I loved about Smithfield as well was the plethora of neat statues decorating the town.

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We ended up stopping to the Smithfield Chicken Swap as well, and though I wanted EVERYTHING there, we ended up leading empty handed. We did eventually purchase another chicken on Monday – a gorgeous Black Australorp. One of our Rhode Island Reds had passed away about a week prior.

After we returned home, we dressed and went to Planet Fitness for the first time. I had purchased a membership earlier in the week for us to get into shape. We worked hard for about an hour, then followed it up with a celebratory dinner at Ruby Tuesday – probably not the healthiest choice for us. 🙂

Travel

Day Trip to Manteo

I had a friend come up this weekend so we decided to head over to Manteo for the day. It had been years since I’ve been to Manteo, which is a shame since it’s maybe an hour and a half away. Our first stop was historic downtown Manteo, where we browsed the farmer’s market and walked the boardwalk.

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Blueberry Lime popsicle from Zen Pops at the Manteo Farmer's Market - such a fabulous, fresh taste.
Blueberry Lime popsicle from Zen Pops at the Manteo Farmer’s Market – such a fabulous, fresh taste.
Manteo Farmer's Market - I purchased a small jar of 'Summer Crush'- a orange, carrot, and ginger marmalade.
Manteo Farmer’s Market – I purchased a small jar of ‘Summer Crush’- a orange, carrot, and ginger marmalade.
Though there was a chill in the air when the breeze blew, the water felt nice, we saw quite a few swimmers.
Though there was a chill in the air when the breeze blew, the water felt nice, we saw quite a few swimmers.

After a quick lunch at Ortega’z (delicious, I had the fish tacos with mahi mahi and my friend had the buffalo shrimp po’boy) and some ice cream, we headed over to the aquarium. We walked around for a bit, oohing and aahing at the different sea life that the aquarium had (and also trying to avoid getting eaten by a T-Rex).

Happy turtle at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; the otters are always my favorite part.
Happy turtle at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; the otters are always my favorite part.
T-Rex at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; he moved and roared at us!
T-Rex at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; he moved and roared at us!

We headed to the Elizabethan Gardens and I looked forward to just meandering through the grounds. There were so many paths that we could wonder down, it was fabulous. I really enjoyed looking at the herb garden near the front – I was thrilled to see a lot of the same herbs as I have in my own collection. I purchased a bottle of Mothervine Scuppernong Grape Juice, a Foxglove plant, and a St. John’s Wort plant for my collection.

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Elizabethan Gardens
Me posing at the Elizabethan Gardens; I could have spent hours here, especially if I had brought a picnic lunch.
Me posing at the Elizabethan Gardens; I could have spent hours here, especially if I had brought a picnic lunch.

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Our last stop, which was what I most looked forward to, was the Alligator River Refuge. We were there to take part in one of the Spring Red Wolf Howlings (you can read more about it in the June issue of ‘Our State’ magazine). Our guide was so informative and after an introduction to the red wolves, we all piled back into our vehicles and made our way down to the refuge. I was third in line and could see piles of dust being kicked up behind me. My car is still covered in dust!

Fortunately, I was at the front because the wolves had already started howling when we arrived at our destination. Those at the end of the caravan missed the howls, which is a shame but I hope that doesn’t deter them from trying again. However, I highly recommend adding this as a stop on your trip.

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Travel

Charleston Part II: Bits and Bobs

The Old City Jail - The tour was fabulous and even though we had no scary moments, when we arrived back at our hotel room afternoon, our key card no longer worked. Odd.
The Old City Jail – The tour was fabulous and even though we had no scary moments, when we arrived back at our hotel room afternoon, our key card no longer worked. Odd.
The Old City Jail - I took a  tour through here on evening thanks to Bulldog tours.
The Old City Jail – I took a tour through here one evening thanks to Bulldog tours.
BBQ Shrimp & Grits from 82 Queen for brunch - the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten. 82 Queen also has the best Bloody Mary in town in my mind.
BBQ Shrimp & Grits from 82 Queen for brunch – the best shrimp and grits I have ever eaten. 82 Queen also has the best Bloody Mary in town in my mind.
It was too late for us to explore the graveyard of this church, but I love the structure of the building.
It was too late for us to explore the graveyard of this church, but I love the structure of the building.
Me in front of the fountain.
Me in front of the fountain.
Just some silly boy I photographed doing silly things.
Just some silly boy I photographed doing silly things.

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Not pictured: breakfast at Another Broken Egg Café, lunch at The Griffon, our visit to the H.L. Hunley, more graveyards, and a trip to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

Travel

Charleston Part I: Unitarian Church Graveyard

I have a deep passion for graveyards and the Unitarian Church graveyard in Charleston may take the cake as my favorite graveyard thus far. Purposely overgrown (or as they say, “organized chaos”) – the graveyard boasts a welcoming atmosphere for floral and fauna. As I stepped foot in the graveyard, I noticed a gentle hum and looked down to see thousands of honeybees zipping about. Funny story – the previous night, I had watched ‘Hannibal’ on NBC in the hotel room, and the episode involved a lady who used human bodies as hives for honeybees. That, combined with my purchase of honey that same day, made me regard the bees here with a wary eye.

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