Friday, March 30, 2012


Thursday I had the honor and privilege of accompanying these two gentlemen on their crab route.

I'm reasonably sure they'd never--ever--refer to it as a crab route, but, hey, they might want to consider it.

The clear weather, abundant sunshine, aromatic breezes, and thrill of a new experience inspired me to take over 300 photos in the three or so hours we were out there.

There is much to tell about this trip.

If I do not win the 590 million dollar lottery for which I purchased seven tickets, I wish to pursue a way to earn a living as a tag-along amateur photographer on a crab route workboat.

If I do win the lottery, after making sure the local schools
and others in need were taken care of, I'll spend my days photographing the people of Mathews County.

And pay them for the honor.

I could have stayed out there all day long.

The captain (on the right) gave me a hug
and a kiss when it was all over.

That was as good as winning the lottery to me.

These two together are quite the team.

Johnny Pugh  

Captain AJ Hurst's reflection in the window

More to come next week but in the meantime a million thanks to Johnny and AJ for allowing me aboard and for being ever so patient as I took several hundred photographs.  I would have taken 600 except my camera started smoking and sputtering before drawing its last, long, labored breath.

My beloved camera is officially dead.
Funeral arrangements were not available at the time of this blog post.
Contact Foster-Faulkner for the particulars.

I'm grateful for these final photos, however.
Very, very grateful.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to come back Monday to learn more about the inner workings of a crab route crab boat operation
as seen through CBW's eyes.

That is, unless she goes belly up at Saturday's 10K.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Things

Once again Thursday is here at our doorstep, and that means it's time to be grateful to have survived another week.  

Also it's time to share three random thoughts. Or in my case, three blog posts in one.

1. Unless a major weather event sneaks up on us, I will go crabbing today, and I don't mean the sitting barefoot on the end of the dock with a chicken neck tied to a piece of twine chewing on a piece of clover wearing bib overalls and a straw hat sort of crabbing.

(The Misplaced Modifier/Run-On Sentence Police just arrived and are serving warrants for my arrest as we speak.)

No, this is Official Crabbing, folks. Although I've been out clamming before--from Hampton, circa 1981/82 on the Little Lisa.--this commercial crabbing thing will be a whole new experience which hopefully will not involve turning green, since a wee bit of wind is called for. But we're not focusing on that. We're just going to do the best we can. (We=me.)

2. Speaking of doing the best I can, Saturday is The Big 10K. My only goal is to finish without walking. Or falling. Or experiencing a major cardiovascular event.

Or crying.

3. The Mathews High School track team is in dire need of resources, both human and financial.

I'm trying to get up there once a week to provide a little guidance with the high jump and hurdles. However, they could also use help with some of the field events including discus, shot, long jump/triple jump, etc.

Approximately 65 kids and over 15 different events from sprinting to distance running means that one coach and one assistant are not nearly enough. In addition the school will not fund the expenses (room and board) for those who make it to the state championship; the coach must raise that money himself. They need a long jump pit. There weren't enough uniforms for everyone. They need so much.

They're running on the very same track my mother helped raise money for 30 years ago. Since we lack adequate facilities, all the meets are away.

If you have time or funds to donate, please contact me or the high school. There is so much talent and it pains me to see them struggling because of the dearth of resources.

I'm buying 7 (my lucky number) Power Ball tickets for this 400 kajillion dollar lottery this Friday. If I win, Mathews will never, ever have to worry about track being a Stepchild Sport again. We'll have Olympic quality training and facilities.

It's nice to daydream. But I assure you that's what I'd do with a very large portion of my money if I had it to spare.

Now it's your turn to share three things. Whatever is on your mind. Anything at all. No matter how lofty or potentially unrealistic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Foggy Morning

These trees border the dirt lane leading to Church Hill Plantation off Route 14 in Gloucester.  I took these after delivering Chesapeake Bay Daughter to school (which is directly across the road) during a particular spell when there was lots of fog each morning.

This mercifully brief blog post is brought to you by an extremely busy Tuesday that began at 5:30 a.m. and didn't end until after 11:00 p.m.

After work I headed to King William for a track meet, where so much happened I wouldn't know where to begin. The various stories, which I'll share when there's more time, were as full of twists and turns as the never ending two-lane Indian trail highway which leads from West Point to King William and back.

There are two Indian reservations along that road, so it's actually quite probable that it was an Indian trail at some point.  FYI, driving in the dark on a former Indian trail when you've been up since 5:30, worked all day, and just spent 3 hours standing alongside a track in bitterly cold weather is challenging at best.

The foreseeable future promises to be just as exhausting busy and exciting.  In addition to Saturday's 10K in Richmond, followed by CB Daughter's party that evening, I'll be going on a little excursion out onto the waters of Mathews in what is bound to be an adventure, if it all works out.

Getting back to the topic at hand which to be honest I didn't think where was a particular topic being focused on started off as Church Hill Plantation,  click here for a previous blog post that includes an overview of Church Hill's infamous ghost story.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Osprey Cam

Osprey nest on channel marker near Gwynns Island Bridge.

Coinciding with the ospreys' return from lavish winter vacations in places such as the Caribbean and South America, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point recently announced something very exciting: Osprey Cam!

Click here to view a real-time feed (during daylight hours) straight from an osprey nest along the York River at Gloucester Point.

Click here to read more about the project and these fish-eating birds; or here to read about their migration patterns--which mirror the exact flight path I'd choose to take during the winter months if I were able to escape.

(I'd select Bora Bora as the ideal destination but not if I have to fly there myself. As in fly by flapping wings.  Flying by myself on a plane doesn't deter me at all.  Flapping my wings all the way there, if I even had wings, has to be brutal. Not that I've ever done it. Of course. Let's return to the topic at hand which had absolutely nothing to do with humans flapping nonexistent wings or Bora Bora.)

Aside from having to catch and eat live fish, and maybe tending to eggs, and a nest, and then having to feed baby birds all day long, and not having access to the internet--I'm pretty sure I want to be an osprey, if only to take advantage of the southern migration in the winter months.

Last but not least, click here if you'd like to suggest names for the nesting pair.

How exciting!

Who says it's boring around here? CBW put your hand down.

This whole Osprey Cam thing will keep me entertained for months.

p.s. These photos are from previous years, however the ospreys on Queens Creek are back in full force and can be seen nesting on the channel marker at the mouth of the creek near Cow Point.

Osprey nest in Redart

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ware Church

Last week on my way home from neighboring Gloucester County, I stopped to check on Ware Episcopal Church, which I pass approximately 42 8-10 times per week.

Ware Church is one of those places where I could loiter linger for hours on end just absorbing the sights, the smells, and the Something Else.

The Something Else is a feeling I can't really explain. It's as if I have to slow down and absorb all of the energy of the past, all the people who have passed through here. The history. The place is thick with it.

(I'm truly not a weirdo; I just play one on the internet.)

From the church's website:

"In the first days of this parish, almost 350 years ago, people gathered not here, but on Ware Neck.  In 1680, while The Rev'd James Clack was Rector, the Colonial Court and Council in Williamsburg granted permission to construct a new church on the higher ground of the present site.The building was built between 1690 and 1723. The early church records recording such information were lost during the War Between the States in the burning of Richmond.

The solid brick rectangular building, laid in Flemish bond, was built by local craftsmen and artisans from England.  It is the only rectangular colonial church in Virginia with both North and South doors.  The classic pediment doors are the earliest of their kind.  The walls of the church are three feet thick and the foundations five feet thick.  The whole structure is imposing yet elegant in its simplicity.  Its architecture is based on the use of squares, golden rectangles, a pyramid triangle and a circle."

For a 2008 post I wrote on Ware, click here.

Happy Monday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Boat Collection

The Islander/Milford Haven

Queens Creek

Islander/Milford Haven


Yacht Club

Winter Harbor


Milford Haven

Horn Harbor (I think.)

Searching for quotes about boats, I found these:

"Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew, but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting amongst themselves, or in pulling in different directions."
  - Henry George

"If you work on a lobster boat, sneaking up behind someone and pinching him is probably a joke that gets old fast." 
- Jack Handey 

"Let's devote our collective energy to propelling forward.  And also to pinching people who work on lobster boats. At least once. Maybe twice. Just for the fun of it. Also, I love Jack Handey."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three Things

It's Thursday once again, and that means it's time to share three things. 

1.  Last evening Chesapeake Bay Daughter asked if she could host her entire class for a party next weekend.  Of course she can.  Nothing makes me happier than for Daughter and/or Son to have friends over; I really do enjoy it.  Upon further reflection, however, I realized that would be the Friday before my very first and likely only 10K run in Richmond (an hour away), so Friday night was not good. Not wanting to disappoint, however, I agreed to that Saturday night.

1b.) To recap:  This 47-year-old (along with 40,000 others including an 80-year-old from Gwynn's Island) will struggle through a 10K at the crack of dawn on Saturday.  After that abuse, she will fight the throngs to locate her car, drive the hour home and host a party consisting of approximately 18 teenagers, which does include boys. Serenity now.

2.   My mother wrote a great post (complete with vintage 1970s photos) on Baby Sister.  Click here to read it.  She left out the part where I was a very caring, responsible babysitter with the exception of only a few unfortunate incidents.

3.  Speaking of my mother and Baby Sister, they and former Mathews/now Outer Banks resident Ann Marie, will also participate in next weekend's race.  Thanks to the magic of Facebook I've discovered several high school friends will be there too.  CB Mother will walk.  Baby Sis will run since doing a 10K is like breathing air to her.  Ann Marie and I, on the other hand, are new to all this (although AM recently completed an 8K).  We will be grateful to finish (a) alive; (b) without walking; (c) with crab hats intact. I have yet to run a race with Ann Marie that we were not wearing crab hats.  Any other way just wouldn't be civilized.

3b.  We seriously contemplated having shirts made that said, "We put the FUN in dysfunctional."  That is my new favorite slogan and actually would make a great title to a book.

OK, there you have it.  Still talking about the 10K and all the associated fears about finishing alive without walking.  

Now it's your turn to share three (more or less) things.

This beautiful barn lives in Onemo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Six Miles or Anatomy of a Run

My six-mile run begins and ends at beautiful Bethel Beach, which is acres upon acres of swamp marsh and vast expanses of  beautiful vistas. This one happens to be of dead trees, but trust me.  It's pretty.

In a fit of winter madness, I signed up for a 10K run at the end of March even though the farthest distance I'd ever previously run was 5K, otherwise known as half as far.

Oh, also, I am 47 years old and not exactly strutting around like some spring chicken, a term I seem to have grown fond of lately, no doubt due to my love/hate/mostly shock that there's no more spring chicken in my lifetime relationship with aging.

No matter, I gradually built up to barely running six miles.

My particular route begins and ends at Bethel Beach and takes me well over an hour, usually about an hour and nine-ish minutes.

Numbers, details, specifics and particulars are not my forte, which was made abundantly clear when I signed up for a 10K as opposed to a 5K.

My only goal for this 10K is to finish without walking.  Pace and speed are a worry for another year.* I was born a sprinter. Distance running is a foreign concept to me. 15 to 16 seconds for the hurdles, and that was it for me.  All done.

As such, this particular 47-year-old jogger is not used to tapping into endurance, which is really a clever word for patience when you were born a sprinter.

Distance running easily bores me, and that translates into my becoming completely unmotivated.

Which is why the Bethel Beach route is so wonderful.

There are many things to distract you from agony boredom.  These same things also distract you from wondering, about one mile into the thing, why you suddenly feel electric shocks shooting through your right leg, which quickly turns into your right foot feeling utterly and completely useless and numb even as you continue to plod along.

You wonder what would happen if you suddenly collapsed here in the Middle of Nowhere since you're dragging one foot like Quasimodo-- even if you're not entirely sure that Quasimodo actually dragged one foot.


Who would find you and how would they know who to contact?

This is what flashes through a disturbed person's mind when they're a hypochondriac 47 and running six miles.  In the Middle of Nowhere.

That's why I look forward to seeing these goats.

These are the very same goats that sprung loose and jumped directly in front of my car one time.

(Click here for that story and photo).

Now, though, the goats and I are BFFs.  They call out to me whenever they see me, jolting me out of my Quasimodo-like foot deformity/death is nigh thoughts.

The little shed below is near the goats.  I compliment it every time I go by, but not out loud.

The goats might think I'm crazy.

Eventually I get to around the two-mile mark and remember there is a very legitimate reason why my right foot feels numb and electricity is shooting through that leg.

A couple of years ago I actually did lose some use of my foot attributed to nerve damage caused by......wait for it.....sitting at the computer too long with my legs crossed.

A nerve conduction test (also known as Modern Day Torture condoned and performed by doctors nationwide on a daily basis) confirmed there was significant damage. A year later, though, everything was just about back to normal, like the doctor said.

Click here for my 2008 post on that delightful experience.

Anyway, it starts to talk back to me on these six-mile runs, that cheeky little nerve.

Daffodils  are barely visible to the right and left of this house if you squint. 
Or pull out a magnifying glass.

After the goats, I pass some boisterous chickens who always make it clear they're the boss of their territory. The chickens mean I am close to this gorgeous house, which always beckons me to pay her a little attention. I'm very happy to oblige even if around this point I'm not feeling so great.

The goats, shed, chickens, and this house do a good job of distracting me from all that though.

There. That's a little better.  That sea of yellow on the right = daffodils.

My favorite part of the run is when I see a red barn off in the distance.  The red barn means I'm nearing this lonely horse, who always says hello even if I do look like Quasimodo a little distressed.

This horse tells me I'm nearing the halfway mark, the turning around point.

Poor baby is for sale. He always looks so forlorn.

And I am all about turning around and heading back.

Here's what the turning around point looks like in summer.
(This was taken a while back.)

This is almost 3 miles from Bethel Beach, where the car is. So even if I can't run back I am forced to at least walk.

However, I've not been forced to walk yet, electrical shocks, numb feet, and  absolutely ridiculous thoughts notwithstanding.

Usually the run back feels better than the first half, and I get to see the horse, the chickens, the house, the shed and the goats all over again.

They really do a very good job of keeping me motivated, even as I wonder how many teeth would be chipped (or lost) by falling face first on the pavement when my foot finally gives out.

That last mile in to the car can be brutal, even without the irrational thoughts. Actually, irrational thoughts make way for mind games at this point.  I have to convince myself that if I just keep going to the end, I'll win the lottery and be able to make ends meet and perhaps take a trip to Bora Bora.

I end having overcome certain negative thoughts by focusing on wholly unrealistic, yet positive, thoughts. And it works.

For some reason, however, my time gets worse each time I do this.


Thankfully, I'm not doing it for the time.

I'm doing it for the goats, the chickens, the house, the horse.

But most of all for me.


*This week's Gazette Journal features a story about an 80-year-old man on Gwynn's Island who runs six miles every single day, even in winter, unless it's raining.  80 years old!  Also, he's running the same 10K at the end of the month.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

This lovely tree lives at the end of my lane.

With those horrible months of January and February safely behind us, Spring now sees fit to make an appearance, however brief that appearance may be.

We've had 80-degree weather already.  The ants are back (inside the house).  The fiddler crabs are out and about. The grass already needs cutting.  Eighty-degree weather, ants, fiddler crabs, and overgrown grass are more indicative of summer, which no doubt we'll launch right into after these two, perhaps three, days of spring.

For today, though, let's enjoy some photos that show Mother Nature is hard at work breathing life back into me her domain.

Green! I took this Saturday from the car on my way to Deltaville, where I enjoyed
a wonderful lunch with  Deltaville Jamie, Nora and Big Hair Envy.

This was on the ride home from Deltaville.  

Waverly Lane. On the left daffodils are barely visible;
on the right is another blossoming tree.

Blurry daffodils out in our field.  I took better shots but for some reason forgot to download them.

These daffodils are admiring their reflection in the water which is actually a ditch down near Onemo.

Same flowers.

Same tree as the first one but taken on a different day.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?