Mushrooms!

Here in Western North Carolina it has been a wet summer. Lots of rain and damp morning fogs makes for a soggy environment. I’m in the Nantahala Forest and, according to Wikipedia,

The word “Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”. The name is appropriate as, in some spots, the sun only reaches the floors of the deep gorges of the forest when high overhead at midday.

Continue reading “Mushrooms!”

Buddy

Meet my new friend, Buddy. I’ve written about another Buddy, the Fawn Hill Buddy who belongs to my friend Bonnie and lives just above me here on Fawn Hill. He barks to scare the thunder away … it doesn’t work.

This is a new Buddy and he lives on Potts Branch Rd. which runs just below Fawn Hill. That’s him on the left. I’ve seen him before, running free with two or three of his buddies. Many dogs run free up here in Franklin. They become street and woods savvy. Usually they will steer clear of humans that aren’t their own. Continue reading “Buddy”

The Summer Retreat(s)

SW Wall Before
SW Wall Before

My summer retreat is a 30-year-old mobile home in the hills of Franklin, North Carolina.  Retreat is a very good word.  When I finally manage to get up here in the summer months the rest of the world melts away.

This year has been a joy. My sister has visited more often and during August she and her husband Wes were here for more than a week.  I’ve been writing almost non-stop and, in the last week, I finally saw the path for this book idea that has been clanging around in my head for months.  I’ve had numerous articles published at Cannabis Now and Huffington Post. Continue reading “The Summer Retreat(s)”

My Three Bro’s: Great Customer Service in the 21st Century

Frequent readers will remember my previous post about my Squirrel Buster bird feeder’s unfortunate encounter with a hungry bear.  It was fun to write and share.  I never expected much to come from it except some cute comments and sympathy.  So, imagine my surprise when I received a comment on my website from the Customer Service Department of Brome Bird Care, the manufacturer of the Squirrel Busters, asking if I needed a replacement tube.

Replacement tube on the left. Bear-mauled tube on the right.
Replacement tube on the left. Bear-mauled tube on the right.

It had been my plan to order a replacement tube but I had not yet gotten around to it.  I was still in shock that something could come along and so efficiently maul something so innocuous.

I replied that I had not yet done so and fully expected to receive an email with a direct link to their parts department. Instead I received this reply:

Alice,

Normally bear damage is not covered by your warranty. However, as a goodwill gesture, we will send a seed tube free of shipping/replacement charges.  Please provide us with your address. Thank you for your interest in  our product.

Well, hot dang, that is just a nice thing to do, don’t you think? In an age that seems to be spinning out of control with companies doing every last thing they possibly can to extract yet another few pennies from the consumer, here is a company that has a true Customer Care Department.

A few days later the tube arrived and it was a simple matter of swapping out the damaged tube for the new one.  Brome also sent a new top, which I would not of thought to order.  The old one looked fine but I discovered it would not attach properly because of a slight bend in the hanging rod.  Brome obviously has more experience with this than I.

The repaired Super Squirrel Buster on the left, Classic, and Standard.
The repaired Super Squirrel Buster on the left, Classic, and Standard.

So a heartfelt “Thank You” to Brome Bird Care.  I love your products.  I have had the Classic Squirrel Buster for at least five years, maybe more.  Here is a picture of My Three Bro’s, all filled and ready to go.  It is particularly nice to have the Super model back in business.  It is fledging season here and the feeders are packed with nervous young birds learning to make their way in the world.  They are eating like all children do…incessantly.  Having the Super Brome back in service means a little less work for me in terms of keeping up.

And also “Thank You” to Maureen McKinnon, Customer Care Manager at Brome, for reaching out to me with a little help from Google Alerts.  The 21st Century has given us so many new tools that can be used in so many ways — some good and some bad.  For those unfamiliar with Google Alerts, they allow an individual to set a specific phrase or topic of interest and receive notifications of any new activity on the Web that relate to the topic.  It is a great tool that I often use.

The birds of the air may never sow or reap but manufacturers do and I think Brome will continue to reap goodwill and loyal customers because they 1) make great products, and 2) they care.  The only one who loses is the squirrel.  ❧

 

Squirrel Buster, Yes! Bear Buster, No!

 

 

IMG_0727Back in North Carolina, getting a late start on the summer season but better late than never.

This return to our summer place was made extra easy because my sister arrived the day before I did and had the house open, the refrigerator stocked, and my bed made.  How cool is that!

As I got settled into things I realized that the large Squirrel Buster bird feeder I had bought last summer was missing.  I also had a very bent hanging rod.  These two things were a mystery because I knew I had put away all my feeders.  And the I remembered getting a text from my neighbor who thought I was arriving in late April and told me she had checked the house and filled the bird feeder for me.

It occurred to me that something took the feeder…something big!

IMG_0726I found the feeder down the hill in the woods and if a squirrel did this to my feeder it may be time to head south again!  🙂

No, the answer is clearly a bear.  One that saw an opportunity and, literally, grabbed it.  With no people, lights or dogs the feeder was easy pickings, just pull it off that pesky hook and away he went.

The feeder is repairable and, yes, I will continue to feed my fine feathered friends.  But feeders will be locked up tight as long as the house is empty.  Sorry bears.  ❧

Apres le deluge – Images #308-310

Most people are aware of the horrific rains that we have endured here in the Carolinas.  I am in Western North Carolina at about 2,ooo feet elevation so most of what falls here heads downhill…towards South Carolina.  Poor South Carolina.  Anyone who has watched the news in recent days knows the heartache that is being endured in the Palmetto State after a flood of Biblical proportions.  But here in North Carolina things are drying out and the sun has shown for two days. It has been wonderful.

SAMSUNG CSC
Little Helmets

The return of the sun has encouraged my mushroom friends to emerge.  The first were these helmet-style little guys who popped up at the base of my hickory maple.

I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the photos and saw another little one emerging under the bark.

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Peek-a-boo!

 

Later in the day I climbed the ridge behind the house and found this soldier pushing its way up through the pine straw and perfectly lit in the setting light of the day. Things are drying out, life goes on. ❧

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At the end of a sunny day.

 

Get the buckets!

Weather map

One of my favorite weather pages is Mike’s Weather Page.  I stumbled on it several years ago when I was trying to find information on the “hurricane spaghetti models.”   Those are what they call the different projections that agencies put together when a hurricane develops.  They can be wildly divergent and often do look like spaghetti.

But Mike has a lot more than hurricane tracks.  He has an amazing number of weather maps posted from various agencies, like the one above which is from NOAA.  This is the “Next Five Day Rain Forecast” map and I have only included the east coast of the U.S.  Look closely and you’ll see a bright yellow section in the western hills of North Carolina with the notation 17.3.  Well, that’s 17.3 inches and is right over my house!!!  Well, not exactly, of course, but close enough.

I’m on high ground and not worried but there are many people in the Carolinas that could face some real hardships in the next few days.  And who knows where Joaquin will actually end up because the Spaghetti Models are still, pardon the expression, all over the map. ❦Spaghetti models

 

Image #307 – Blue Velvet Fungi

Blue Velvet Fungi
Blue Velvet Fungi

Still in the Carolina mountains but the days are slipping away. Summer officially ends tomorrow. The leaves are starting to change color and litter my yard.  Soon I will join the birds in heading south.

My pictures this season, like my posts, have been sketchy at best. Today’s offering is a photo that was taken a month ago and sat in the camera, patiently waiting. It is Blue Velvet Fungi that I unearthed while moving some branches. It was in full bloom, an absolutely delicious shade of blue that this photo barely captures.  The next shot gives you a close-up.

Blue Velvet Fungi - Closeup
Blue Velvet Fungi – Closeup

Amazing nature…it doesn’t care about pictures, blog posts, newsletters, speeches or meetings.  It simply does what it does best…astound. ❧

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