Sunday, May 24, 2020

Everything’s Growing

Trish and I just had our Sunday morning walk around the yard and are amazed that, after all the rain of the week, everything is growing like mad.

We scattered grass seed in the part of the yard where the old trees were recently cut, and, just four days later, baby grass is springing up everywhere!

Our huge red cedar tree tree is filled with wind chimes, bird feeders, and hanging ferns.  It is our visual and sound focus as we sit in the screen porch each morning with coffee, hot chocolate, and English muffins.  The ferns seem to have doubled in size this week.

We love our biggest cedar tree.
As we walk around the house, the climbing roses that screen our outdoor shower are beginning to burst into pink abundance.  They will really be climbing and blooming in the coming days.

With no freeze or frost this past winter, many annual plants lived and are having a glorious new season for free.  The nasturtiums kept blooming all winter, but now they are really showing us what they are meant to do in more tropical climates.

Nasturtiums bring free blooms for the second year.
The Asiatic Lily plants are partying off the back deck.  Their surprising colors and patterns joyfully last for weeks this time of year.

The Asiatic Lily colors are brilliant.

And...after looking like they were dead for sure, the banana trees are beginning to pop up the first of their fast-growing  leaves.  They will be eight to ten feet tall by the end of the summer.

We have four varieties if bananas.  If we have a frost free winter, we may even get bananas.
This week Ocracoke was selected as the number two beach in the United States (we can’t be number one again for ten years since being selected last time, but we have been number two for the second year in a row).  So many people come here just for the beach, but, our walk around our own yard shows us again that there is more than the beach to live for here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Beach Visit

With all the rain in the past week, Trish and I had  hardly left the house for several days.  Yesterday morning, when there was a very brief break in falling weather, we decided to ride out to the beach to see if the stormy weather had brought up any good shells.

We drove out to the Lifeguard Beach parking lot, but there were two cars there, so, we decided not to go there.  We drove on up to the Pony Pen lot, but there was one car there and we decided that would make the beach too crowded!   So, we drove on to one of our own favorite access points and parked there with no one  in sight.

When we crossed the dunes to the beach, the ocean was roaring and the tide was very high.  It was clear that it had been all the way up to the dunes in the night.  There were no shells to be found as the high tide was almost totally covering the beach.  We had a lovely walk watching and listening to the big  breakers and being again amazed at their ability to so totally wash clean the world of the beach.

Yesterday’s Stormy Ocean and Freshly Washed Beach...High Tide. 

On the dune crossing we looked at the wild Galardia blooming everywhere.  This is their beginning time of year.

Wild Galardia, locally called ‘Joe Bells’ after a long-ago frequent visitor, Joe Bell, whom legend describes as scattering there seeds all over the island.
As we drove back to our house, it started raining once again promising that the rest of this day would be spent once again indoors.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Back in the Kitchen

One of the things Trish and I missed most about being out of our house was our kitchen.  It had just been totally remodeled when the flood came and all of the new work, including new appliances, had to be torn out and started all over again.

The kitchen is all back in working order again.
Though we did have a little kitchen in the apartment where we were living during rebuilding, it was not the full scale kitchen.  Now...we are back in business.

I love Moroccan cooking and here is a beef and vegetable Tagine with apricots and preserved lemon.

I had not made bread (my usual regular habit) the entire time we were out.  Now bread is back on the cooking rotation and in our menu.  This week it has been French with Kalamata olives and then French with parmigiana.

We got breakfast in bed with coffee and Trish’s Orange-Apricot Scones.

Yesterday I got a whole beef tenderloin and made up the brine to cure it into corned beef.  It will take about ten days, but the corned beef made from this great cut of meat will be far better than anything we could buy anywhere.

Sunday night is our regular pizza night...our favorite with black and green olives and lots of mozzarella.

So, each day we are now eating well.  When we are on our normal travel schedule we have to eat out far too much.  It is so good to be home where we can properly feed ourselves.  Our stomachs love it too!

Last night Angel Hair Pasta with a fresh Puttsnesca sauce.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Springtime in Ocracoke

Why do we live where we live?  After all, we have no Walmart and no CVS, no McDonald‘s and no Home Depot.  We also have to ride a ferry nearly three hours just to get off the island and after that we are three more hours to a major city.  And, it is six hours from home to get to the airport.

We realized once again part of the answer when we saw people in California crowding the beach.  California, which many of the residents consider their paradise of a living space, with beaches so crowded it was hard to get six feet away from everyone else.

So, Trish and I went to the beach on Ocracoke yesterday.  Here is what we found there,  but maybe a picture shows it best.  I must warn you in the beginning that it was just after lunch time and the temperature was seventy-four degrees under a clear blue sky.

We looked long and hard to try to find a spot that was not already occupied by others.

We finally chose our spot and set up our chairs for a quiet time with our books.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

An Outstanding Day Indeed.

We are now sleeping in the house and beginning to move the kitchen back into place, but, yesterday more things happened than we could keep up with.

First thing in the morning the tree men came.  There were three large dead trees from the hurricane, one of which had been on the house and pulled off but not cut.  We have been waiting a long time for this.  It was remarkable to watch as they cut and ground up the three big trees plus two smaller ones that needed to go.  In the end even the stumps were ground up and gone. We kept the chips to fill in places that need them.

They make it look so easy!
Just as they finished, the Century Link service man arrived.  We had had internet service moved to the garage while we were living there and it was time to move it back to the house.  It was not an easy task for two reasons:  all the old wiring had been destroyed in the hurricane and had to be replaced, and, he was not allowed to come inside the house due to COVID-19 rules.  So, we spent the time with him outside and me inside.  Holes were drilled and wires were pushed back and forth and in the end we have internet again.

Dead trees gone, internet restored, only roofing and paint job to go.

We then unpacked the TV sets and found that, except for one drowned sound bar, they both actually still work.

Next the steel roofing fabricators arrived.  The brought rolls of finished but unshaped steel and a remarkable machine that starts with rolls of steel and shapes them on the spot into roofing panels.  Trish got to push the button to make it work! Now we have our garage filled with roofing panels waiting for skylight and roof installation starting next week.

Fabricating roof panels on the spot.
Finally Woody and Armando came to do all the final caulking inside the house.  When that cures a bit, we can begin to shower and completely make use of the bathrooms.

All day long I had had a big pot of pinto beans cooking slowly.  At the end of the day we watched a movie on our own television while we had our first meal cooked back in the house: pinto beans and cornbread.  We even got in the hot tub for a soak before really falling into bed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

At Last!

As of yesterday we had not slept in our house for 263 nights.  And then it happened!

At 11:45 the Hyde County Building Inspector arrived along with Woody, our builder.  It was at last time for the inspection that we hoped would lead to our Certificate of Occupancy and our permission to move back into living in the house.  We passed, and, now we are free to gradually move all our living from the garage back into the house.

So, we slept in our “new” bedroom in our new bed and had the finest night of sleep we can remember.
Our beautiful new bedroom is ready for our sleep.
All the work is not done.  When the hurricane flood was over, as the ServePro people emptied the house, everything was randomly and quickly put into boxes and stuffed either in the garage or the second floor.  We have had these two spaces that looked like a Hoarders TV episode since the flood.  Now they are beginning to be opened one box at a time.  We are finding a mixture of ruined and useful, trash to now be thrown away and treasures we are happy to rediscover.  This will be slow and take a long time.

But...we can be in the house while we do this.

Only three big jobs remain:  the roofers have to come and put on the new metal roof, the painters will come back and totally paint the exterior of the house, and the tree people come in Friday to take down several trees that are dead and still a danger after the hurricane.  How can so much destruction happen in a single hour?

So, COVID-19 aside, our world is very bright right now, and we are profoundly thankful!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Eduardo is Back!

One of the great losses that occurred during Hurricane Dorian was the destruction of Eduardo Chavez’ Taco Stand and everything around it.  Eduardo is a treasured member of the Ocracoke community and his wonderful taco stand food was loved by residents and tourists alike.

Eduardo received a great deal of focused support after this loss, much of which was dedicated to helping him reestablish  his business. In addition to individual support, there was a tee shirt sale fund raising drive that raised so much money Eduardo declared he did not need that much and directed that it be shared with others who had had devastating losses.

As time moved forward Eduardo set out the specifications for and ordered the new custom built food truck.  While it was being built in Florida he secured a new location beside Spencer’s Market, a location with better utility hookups than he had before.

Several weeks ago the beautiful new food truck arrived and on Saturday Eduardo opened with a limited menu to get things started.  Since his business is take-out only, he can operate totally during the COVID-19 quarantine period, much to the appreciation of the island community.

Eduardo’s is back!!

On Saturday we ordered breakfast tacos.  I ran down and picked them up and Trish and I had tacos in bed for a slow Saturday morning treat.  Yesterday we went back and got tacos for lunch, the first real meal we had not cooked for ourselves in the past five weeks.

The full menu will be coming soon! 

Eduardo’s food is always fresh and excellent, but, right new it is more delicious than ever.  We are glad for him and for ourselves that he is back in business and better than ever!

Everything’s Growing

Trish and I just had our Sunday morning walk around the yard and are amazed that, after all the rain of the week, everything is growing like...