First Snow of the Season

Yesterday afternoon was warm rain and a walk in the woods in shirt sleeves. Overnight we got a foot of snow, so this afternoon was winter coats and skis.

Lots of trees down, roads blocked, power out, etc., but it’s lovely. I stayed out well after dark, coming home in snow fog under the stars.

Lichen and Fungus After Rain

Woods all wet after an all night rain, which we needed. And warm again.

It will drop over thirty by morning, with snow expected tomorrow.


Snow coming tonight. Maybe 7”.

T cooked up a batch of homemade biscuits (made with homemade lard).

Slat country ham and Tillamook chili pepper cheddar.

We’ll be fine.

Stormy and Still – Marshes of Mathews

direct youtube link


This is some video shot before Thanksgiving, a week spent on a barrier island in the Chesapeake off the coast of Mathews County.

The trip started with storms and high winds and coastal flooding. A really rough crossing. Within a few days, it blew itself out and left behind sunshine and impossible stillness.

Once you get about 40 seconds into the video, the wind noise dissipates. Then you can hear birds in the marsh, waves, a crackling fire, and Great Horned Owls.

One quiet evening after a beach bonfire, T and I were out staring up at the stars. The peaceful silence was broken by the screams of a rabbit caught in the talons of an owl. The sound was so frightening T grabbed my arm and left a bruise. 🙂

By mid-week we could take the new kayaks out into the tidal creeks. T has the blue Chuckanut 12s, and I have the larger white Chuckanut 15, both designed by good friend Dave Gentry of Gentry Custom Boats. (Plans available through Duckworks.)

A few years ago, I brought one of the Melonseeds here, and had some marvelous sailing. But the inlets have filled in even more since then. At the south end, where steamboats once came into the harbor, you can now wade across the inlet and not get your knees wet. The island is shorter by a hundred yards.

With the creeks silting in, and the weather looking iffy, I was glad to have the new kayaks to bring along. I was often paddling over the mud in less than 3 inches of water.


You can read about the island in previous posts starting here:

Winter Harbor ~ Crossing Over


Not Like Winter

December on the James


Christmas Day and today both warmed above 70 degrees. Another coming midweek. I’ve lost count, but that’s more than I remember in my lifetime.

While T napped and read on the porch swing, Doug and Jenn and I took the kayaks to Hatton Ferry and floated down the James for a few hours.



Saw one jonboat in the distance, briefly; otherwise, we had the river to ourselves all day long.



Not natural, but glorious even so.


Sycamores above

Sycamores below





December Paddle

Only a few days before Christmas, the second weekend in a row of 70 degrees. The rain ended just in time for Doug and I to get a short paddle in before dark, before winter returns.