Fall is here and so is a Hurricane

Fall has arrived and with it it is bringing a lot of rain and maybe a visit from Hurricane Joaquin. For the last week we have had endless rain and the ground is now saturated. If Hurricane Joaquin passes nearby, we are assured of 10+ more inches of rain and tropical force winds. Heavily saturated ground with high winds equals trees and power lines down. Not anticipating a fun weekend. Being that I have been through many hurricanes in my life this is nothing new and we are as prepared as we can be. At least I hope to get some interesting photos and videos of the storm which I will post as soon as I can.

As for the other aspects of Fall, the weather is cooling, the leaves are changing colors and falling, and there have been lots of festivals. I am looking forward to all things pumpkin, along with lots of hot cocoa. Our church is having its Fall Bazaar this Sunday and as a part of that we cook and prepare over 400 quarts of Brunswick stew for sale. It is a LOT of work but we always manage to pull it off and everyone enjoys the fellowship. While I can’t give you the exact recipe for the stew (Top Secret), I can give you a list of the ingredients, except for the spices used. (Top Secret).

  • Chicken
  • White Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chicken Stock
  • Bullion cubes
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Water
  • Fatback
  • Butter
  • Top Secret spices

We cook it outside in large pots with wooden paddles over propane burners. It takes 6-7 hours to cook enough batches to fill all the orders. That does not count the pre-cooking of the chicken, peeling and chopping of vegetable, etc. At $7.00 a quart it is a great deal. Wish you could stop by and try some. Now if only Hurricane Joaquin will go away…

Nor’easter and more

The last two days have been exciting around here. What I thought would be a little rain and wind from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida turned into the worst Nor’easter I have ever experienced. As I write this the storm is still not quite over. But at least the high winds, heavy rain, and flooding are done. It seems there were two systems, one offshore, that came together to create an unexpected, at least by me, nor’easter. Winds in the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay reached 70 mph with flooding 7-8 feet above mean tides. Large parts of Portsmouth and Norfolk were under 3 or more feet of water. As of last night, 174,000 residents were without power. The Virginia Emergency Management Services likened the storm to a Category 1 hurricane.

In Chesapeake where we live, winds hit 50 mph but thankfully there was little damage and streets near us were not flooded. But large parts of Chesapeake were flooded, making travel anywhere almost impossible. This morning the winds are still pretty substantial but the rains have died down. It will probably be Saturday before we see any sunshine. I only took a few photos and a short video of the storm because I wasn’t dumb enough to wander far from the house. All in all it will be a storm to remember and I am thankful that we got off without anyone hurt or any substantial damage.

The only other news for now is that I was able to get to the range to try my new scope on my m4 carbine. I had a really hard time getting the scope zeroed as my first shots were so far off I could not see where they were hitting. It turns out they were very low and to the right. But after about 60 rounds I finally had the scope zeroed. It shoots about 2 MOA at 100 yards right now but I think if I get to the range again I can tweak it a little better. That is it for now.

Checking our emergency supplies

I woke up this morning and turned the TV to the Weather channel to see what was happening with Hurricane Gustov. Gustov made landfall as predicted west of New Orleans but fortunately was only a category 3. From what I have seen on the Weather channel coverage New Orleans is faring much better than it did with Hurricane Katrina three years ago. What has me worried is that TS Hanna is now a hurricane and is threatening the East coast. It is not likely to directly influence us as early predictions show it making landfall in Georgia. But you never know with hurricanes so I have been checking our emergency supplies. While I was doing that TS Ike has formed in the middle Atlantic and another potential storm is off the coast of Africa. So as the peak of the hurricane season fast approaches things are really heating up in the Atlantic.

As far as supplies go we are pretty well prepared. I have emergency MRE’s enough for 4 days and other emergency supplies like water, first aid, weather radio, batteries, etc. that should see us through all but the worst hurricane. I bought a backpack a couple of years ago that is packed with emergency supplies that will supplement the existing supplies. If it appears that a hurricane is really going to hit our area I will buy additional supplies from the grocery store so we should be well prepared. I just hope that we will not have to use any of this stuff.

I also hope that no hurricanes impact the Kennedy Space Center as I already have hotel reservations and a plane ticket to go there for the October 8 launch of STS-125. I am really excited about going down there and seeing the shuttle launch. I bought a ticket package that will allow me to tour the KSC facilities and observe the night launch from the Visitor Center there.

TS Hanna
TS Hanna

Chopping barbecue for our church

Amid some blustery weather from Hurricane Noel, which was passing by us off the coast, I spent a good part of Saturday at my church chopping barbecue for our annual Fall barbecue sale. The church rented a cooker and bought 400 pounds of pork to cook. The cooker could cook about 200 pounds at a time, taking about 5 1/2 hours to properly cook the pork. So I reported for duty at midnight to help with the chopping of the pork. Luckily there were a lot of volunteers to help with the chopping so it only took about 2 1/2 hours to chop the first 200 pounds. So I went home for a couple of hours sleep before I had to go back at 6 am to chop the last 200 pounds of pork. This time there were fewer choppers so it took us twice as long as before. The second pig was also not as lean and required a lot of trimming before we could chop it. So I finally got home about 10:30 am with a sore wrist and forearm from all the chopping. Teresa went back to the church at about 2 pm and bought two barbecue dinners complete with coleslaw, hush puppies, pound cake for dessert, and beans. So I got to eat some of the barbecue I had chopped all night. It was pretty good and the church was selling lots of it. I hope they will be able to sell it all. Even Hurricane Noel cooperated and quickly passed us by, with the sun coming out and the winds subsiding. The rest of the day I will be taking it easy and reading or listening to a book. I deserve a rest.