It is spring, and my tomatoes are in the ground

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If you are living in the South and not taking advantage of the great gardening weather, you are missing a big part of what makes life here so special.

Just a little gardening can make you feel like a native Southerner.

There are few things that I enjoy more than a tomato sandwich made with one of my own homegrown tomatoes. 

I grew up with my mother growing unbelievably tasty tomatoes around our house near Lewisville, North Carolina.  Mother was still growing tomatoes well into her eighties when she lived on Pine Street in Mount Airy, NC.

I have faced some really challenging tomato climates in my life.  The north shore of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley barely had enough heat to produce tomatoes by September.  read more »


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Coastal Winter on the Down Slope

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While some areas of the country have to endure cold dreary days during winter, at least here on the Southern Outer Banks, we often have clear blue skies with our cool temperatures.  Sunshine makes a huge difference.

Even more important is that we can count on the sun really warming us as we near the end of February.  In general this has been a nice winter with few shots of really cold weather. Our daily temperatures don't have to rebound nearly as much to escape winter as they did last year.

With few exceptions, Alaska being one, winter has not been nearly the fierce beast in North American that it was last year when the media declared it the coldest winter in 100 years on the Carolina Coast.  It was a serious winter, and I am glad we did not get another one like it this year.
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Why is Beaufort, NC a great place to visit?

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I have updated and re-written this article as of April 27, 2014.  You will find it at Beaufort, NC, A Great Place To Visit.
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Budget Travel is running a contest about America's Coolest Small Towns in 2012.  If you live in eastern North Carolina and are on any social network, there has been plenty of encouragement for people to vote for Beaufort in the contest which ends January 31, 2012.

While most of us along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks and particularly the Crystal Coast portion of it are well aware of why Beaufort is such a great place to visit, there are people who know little about the town and why we would like to see Beaufort win the contest.
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Summer Images Save A Rainy Day

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Saturday January 21, 2012 was a damp, gloomy day with fortunately not a lot of winter attached to it.

However, it was just rainy and windy enough to keep me from my afternoon exercise of walking around the marshes here in Bluewater Cove.

My walk isn't a very long one.  Unless I do a lot of doubling back and a few laps on the road which isn't visible in the old Google aerial photo, it is hard to even get in two miles of walking.

Still a few minutes out in the fresh air under what is usually a brilliant blue sky is a great antidote for the winter blues.

Keeping winter out of my head gets more difficult when I miss a few days of walking.  This Thursday I was busy catching up on some correspondence, and Friday we went to Morehead City and Beaufort.  The highlight of the trip was a barbecue lunch at Smithfield's and seeing some Mergansers in the Beaufort Harbor.
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Where the herons go to hide

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One of the amazing things about the Crystal Coast of North Carolina is that we have enough space and water to have some really big feathered friends living nearby.

Our home which borders Raymond's Gut is just off the White Oak River.  It is a very sheltered spot, and I often measure the nastiness of storms by the number of egrets or herons seeking shelter.  We had a great egret stake out some ground not far from our kitchen window during Hurricane Irene.

When it is really cold, the competition for the fishing grounds behind our home can become fierce with blue herons and great egrets vying for positions in the nooks and crannies of the marshes.

Most mornings I will go for a walk along the boardwalk which surrounds our neighborhood's clubhouse.  It is a great vantage point for watching our big birds.  Tuesday morning, January 10, a great blue surprised me by flying from one of the pine trees along the dock.
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A Stellar Day over on the Beach

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Usually once we get past the end of November, you can count on the the air over at the beach being a little cooler during the middle of the day than it is here on the mainland.

With that thought in mind, on Friday, December 16, I headed out for a hike at the Point on Emerald Isle wearing blue jeans and a long-sleeved tee shirt.  It was certainly a miscalculation.  I should have stuck to my earlier-in-the-week thoughts that this was shorts weather.

I was fairly certainly that I had detected some signs that the season was changing, but apparently the warm weather is proving harder to dislodge than I guessed.

It is normal when I park and get out of my truck at the Station Street Parking lot near the Point for it to be warmer than it is when I actually walk onto to the beach.  read more »


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A Little Nova Scotia Fog for Variety

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It is sometimes funny how we use weather to meet our own needs. All fall it seems like I have been writing about the wonderful weather.

We have had so much wonderful weather that you almost feel guilty if you don't get outside and enjoy it.  Of course for much of the fall, I did exactly that.  I was out in the boat, in my kayak, on my bike or walking the beaches of Emerald Isle.

I had a great time fishing and spent some wonderful afternoons on or near the water.  The trouble is that if you do all that neat stuff everyday, you eventually get worn out.  The fresh air, physical exertion, and warm sunshine all conspire to sap  your energy.

I would come home from my adventures with the best intentions.  I always planned to work on my writing after dinner.  Of course a warm home cooked meal just added to the problem.  I would go up to my office and start work only to find my face falling into the keyboard.  read more »


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