Saturday, October 31, 2020

Late October in Nashville and Atlanta

 When I returned to Tennessee in mid October I was disappointed that my absentee ballot had not been in my P.O. Box in Georgia.  Back in Nashville it was sunny and warm.  I was surprised when I moved my big garbage bin to find some bright flowers behind it.  I was not sure what type they were but after some research found out they are called Spider Lily.  I had never seen them before against the wall behind the bin.  They were not in a nice area, I wonder if I could move them and when?

From my kitchen window I looked toward the backyard to see if there were more flowers, but no, just flowering weeds.  But as I looked I saw a strange bird at a distance.  It was medium in size but seemed different somehow.  I kept watching it and it flew to my neighbor's tree.  Then it landed and climbed up the tree - it was a squirrel.  I had heard of flying squirrels but never seen one before.  I found out that they are called Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomy volans) and are common in Tennessee.  They do not have wings but "patagium."  The patagium is an extended fold of skin from the wrist to the ankle that enables them to glide rather than fly.  They are usually nocturnal.  Another visitor to the backyard is an albino or white squirrel.  Kenton, a small city in Tennessee west of Nashville toward Kentucky, is home to a large population of albino or white squirrels, and so much so that they have a yearly White Squirrel Festival in July.  There is also a winery in the area that adopted the white squirrel name.

This would make an interesting road trip but with the virus around us I usually only drive to the grocery store.  On October 22, 2020, I did drive to the grocery store.  I noticed that as my road dead ends into Belmont Boulevard the street was closed toward the university, a couple of blocks away.  I parked the car and walked there to have a look.  This was the day of the presidential debates.  There were already some Trump and Biden supporters along the streets.  The shops and restaurants facing the side of the university were closed for security reasons.  A long wire wall had been erected all along a side of the street and policemen on bicycles kept riding back and forth along it. (Click on collage to enlarge.)

Belmont University is about 1/2 mile from my house.  Actually my house is equidistant between Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities.  I read that Belmont U had applied to host the debates back in 2018.  It was chosen out of six finalists that included the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame.  The Belmont mansion was built in 1853.  It later became Belmont University.  I had planned to visit the mansion on Belmont but now will have to wait.  When I can go back there I'll take more pictures and have a post on its history.  Belmont Mansion is shown on top left below.

Several days later it was time to drive back to Georgia to see if my ballot had arrived.  I left Nashville early last Wednesday October 28th.  It was raining during the whole trip.  Around the mountains the fog was so thick and rain so heavy that I could hardly see where I was driving.  I decided to follow a slow moving large fuel truck as it had numerous bright red tail lights; at time though I could hardly see them.  I followed it for at least a good hour, hoping it would not get off an exit to a small Tennessee hill town as I would have followed it there.  By the time I reached my usual traveler rest stop the fog had subsided somewhat.  I ate my lunch snack in the car as it was still raining. Behind the trees the lake looked sombre.

Reaching my house in Greater Atlanta by 3:00 pm I hurriedly unpacked the car so I could hasten to the post office.  Unfortunately my absentee ballot was not in my P. O. Box, still.  It had been mailed on September 18 and here we were October 28 or almost 6 weeks later, and it had not been delivered yet.  I drove then to the Voter Registration Office.  I had to fill an affidavit that I had not received my absentee ballot, and had to fill another authorization form to obtain an early voting ballot.  Then I could join the about 100 people waiting in line to vote.  Luckily in Georgia if you are an elder you can go to the front of the line ... so I did.  Finally I was able to vote after driving twice to Georgia, or 1000 miles.  I went home happy and ready to relax (not knowing that I would not ...)  The top photo is an earlier one from days ago when voters had to stand for hours, even in the parking lot. The bottom photo shows the way it was last Wednesday.

Wednesday evening I was looking forward to go and relax in bed with a good British mystery, which I did until midnight.  Then at about 4:00 am I was suddenly awaken by a loud noise.  I guess heavy branches were falling on the roof.  Debris was constantly hurled against the windows and walls.  The house was creaking and almost shaking.  But the worse was the wind.  It was not a wind but a violent storm unlike one I had ever heard.  It was howling as heard in some action films, with everything flying around. It lasted a good two hours, and it was frightful, indeed.  The next morning I had no television, no Wi-Fi or internet.  They came back on at 8:00 pm that evening.  Later I found out that Hurricane Zeta now a Post-tropical cyclone had crossed through Georgia with wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour for more than two hours along with sustained winds of 40 mph for five hours straight.  Below is a view of the weather program I never saw because I had no TV access.

Millions were without power.  Habersham County, north of us, had 498 down trees, 249 of them were on the roadways and the other 249 were embedded within power lines.  Marietta City had advised people not to drive, but since I had no television or internet I was unaware of this and did drive to Toyota to get my car serviced.  First I had to move large branches out of the driveway.  I was surprised to see few motorists.  The traffic lights were not working and the roads and sidewalks looked like they had been mulched with pine straw and leaves.  My Toyota associate told me that he had lost 8 large pine tres in his backyard.  His little street in his subdivision had lost 27 trees.  He was from Kansas and told me he had lived through many tornadoes there but never heard a wind as violent as this sub-tropical cyclone.  Three miles away, in Acworth, a man had been killed.  It seems I find myself often in Georgia when there is inclement and dangerous weather condition.

By the time my car was ready it was still a bit windy but the weather had improved considerably and the sunset was lovely.

It is still sunny and a bit cooler today but safer for kids to go trick or treating tonight.  It will not be a usual Halloween though with the coronavirus hovering over us.

This Halloween night will be lighted by a full moon, and a rare blue moon at that.  There has not been a full moon on Halloween night since 1944!

Now for the sake of cultural diversity, I offer below various spooky skeleton specimen from all walks of life.


Elephant's Child said...

I am so very glad that you were finally able to vote. It really wasn't made easy for you and thank you for persevering.
Love the culturally diverse skeletons.
Stay well, stay safe.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Congratulations Voting! I am glad you made it through the storm, and the horrid weather on the roads!
Your photos of the storm are shocking to see so much in the streets like that. Stay Safe!

Kay G. said...

It was cloudy last night and we didn't see that full moon!
The wind was terrible for us too during that storm. At least, I thought it was until I heard from our son who lives in Cobb County and my cousin who lives in Canton. It was much worse north of Atlanta.
Spider lilies! I saw them years ago in September as we were driving to Stephens County for a family reunion. They were blooming in so many yards that I felt they must be native. They are not but were obviously "pass along bulbs" that must have been enjoyed for years. They are also called "Bare Naked Ladies". Sorry, but they are, just don't put that into a search engine! LOL!
We also saw some blooming beside the trail at Arabia Mountain, but we know there used to be an old house there, you see...just something else to make folks think they are native when they are not! They are very pretty and what a surprise for you to find them!
Also, flying squirrel...we had one once IN OUR HOME! It had somehow gotten in (we had huge oak trees in front) and we heard it during the night as we were sound asleep. It jumped to our bedroom door and we turned on the light we were met by a creature with huge dark eyes and lustrous fur. Then, it made another giant leap and went straight into the toilet! (I told my husband to cover the lid!!) Anyway, my husband rescued it with a sock and then, put it in a box and put it outside on the porch. It gnawed a hole in the cardboard box and away it went! There, gotta have something to tell the grandkids!
You are a doll to go to such trouble to vote. Most folks would have given up. I got mine by mail and voted!!

Thérèse said...

J'aime beaucoup tes messages toujours si vivants et si plein de détails intéressants. On apprend tout de la vie ailleurs ce qui me change personnellement de notre confinement ici. Nous nous sommes même faits avoir aujourd'hui dans notre promenade autorisée d'une heure dans un périmètre de 1km. Nous avons un peu débordé sans le vouloir. Les gens sortent, pour la majorité, ici à Toulouse, sans masque! Rien à faire, personne ne veut obéir. Il y a seulement des gens qui râlent et grognent tout haut. De plus avec des règles qui changent souvent sous la pression.
On attend le résultat de vos élections avec impatience...

David said...

Vagabonde, Your issues with voting and the ballot you never received are just crazy! It looks like its a problem in a few different states across the country...GA, IA and PA among them. Its just a sad state of affairs, whichever side of the political spectrum one is on. Zeta was a very strange and unusual storm, that's for sure. Here in East Tennessee, all we had was a couple inches of rain and some moderate winds. The Atlanta area really got hammered with even the HLN weatherman losing power and then doing his reports via phone. Glad you didn't have any damage! Lucky to have seen a flying squirrel... I've never had the pleasure. Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Vagabonde,
What a trip out of hell you made...!
October 28 was not a good day, we too had the night before severe winds!
But it was the day that we had to let our Barty boy of 16 years + 7 months go. I've had him in a kitty-hospice, downstairs in our Rose Suite for two weeks so he would feel comforted and safe and not being bothered by his siblings by adoption. It was sad for having the female vet come to our home, held him in my arms as he peaceful went...
As for your Spider lilies, you can dig them up after blooming stops and plant them any spot where you prefer. They will show their greens in the spring, stalks with blooms only appear in the fall. So this is the right time to move them.
I've held such a flying squirrel once in my hand, they are oh so soft and super light, a lot tinier than a real squirrel. One of our kitties had him and he got saved by me. Wish my husband who was sound asleep could have felt his silky fur! Placed him on our planter box behind the house and he was gone next day.
White albino squirrels are an easy target for birds of prey I'm afraid. Their eyes are also without any expression... poor mutation.
Hope all was well with you home and that you made it safely back to Tennessee. What a coincidence that the Presidential debate was within walking distance of your home!

Marja said...

Hilarious that last picture. Sorry to hear about the cyclone that must have been very scary and all these trees on road jeez.
I find the elections a bit scary too as there are a lot of emotions running wild. We just had elections as well and I feel very blessed with our Jacinda as PM.I only had to stand in a line of 5. As we could pre vote and there are not many people living here anyway.
Never hear about a flying squirrel. Nature is amazing. Although it was a bit foggy, I can see that the area is beautiful.
Take care

DJan said...

As usual, your post is full of interesting information. I am so glad to know you escaped any harm during that awful storm. And thanks for the information about those white squirrels. Your diverse collection of skeletons sure made me smile! Fingers crossed that we will get through this election intact as a nation. Sending you much love, VB. :-)

Kay said...

I loved your diversity skeletons too. It's perfect. And wow! I've never seen a perfectly white squirrel. How very beautiful! Congratulations on getting your vote in. I voted very early. My fingers are crossed for Tuesday.

Rhodesia said...

Wow getting your vote in was quite something but glad you succeeded. Every one counts.

I have never seen red spider lilies they are beautiful, we only had white ones in South Africa.

Zeta sounds powerful, glad you survived with no major damage to your house or garden. My boss in Rhodesian days had a Sparrowhawk (for falconry means) called Zeta, she was vicious!!!

Have a good week and stay safe, Diane

Granny Annie said...

It is definitely called dedication.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Glad you were finally able to vote. What an ordeal! I don't think I've ever seen a flying squirrel. Or if I have, I didn't know what I was looking at. And definitely haven't seen an albino squirrel! How cute! When we lived north of NYC we once had a skunk family that would visit our yard sometimes, and one of the babies was an albino skunk (white body, black strip). Cute, but not an animal one wanted to really get to know. :-)

Jeanie said...

Love that last photo!

I'm glad you didn't have much damage to your property with Zeta -- talk about timing! That would be harrowing. And equally so, the ballot situation. I remain on pins and needles with all this.

And I loved the white squirrel -- I've never seen one like that before.

Vicki Lane said...

What a beautiful sunset picture! Your travels are always interesting--sometime maybe more interesting than you'd like.

Waiting for actual election results now and it is NERVE WRACKING!

Joared said...

Voting presented quite a challenge but glad to managed. Fascinating photos and topics here as always. Enjoyed the point of your skeletons.

Mae Travels said...

You are a hero for being so persistent about voting! Now (I write on Nov. 6) as the news from Georgia shows that it will be one of the states that saves the nation from another 4 years of declining democracy and rule by a traitor, you are even more a hero. Also a hero of the storm!!!

be safe... mae at

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde,
The red spider lily is beautiful, I have an orange spider lily. You can of course move them. Please dig as deep as possible because their bulbs are in depth. Then make a deep hole and place the bulb there, water and cover the soil, press and water again. It's all.
I believe you voted the way you wanted and you are happy with the result. I saw on TV that people are happy on the streets.
I am very sorry that you are caught in this terrible Zeta storm. Fortunately, you are safe, and so is your home.
Never seen white squirrels before, they are lovely animals.
Take care!

rhymeswithplague said...

We had the same gusty winds of Tropical Storm Zeta in Canton and East Cherokee County that you experienced in Marietta. I found it very scary. My wife slept through it all. Our neighbor lost a Bradford pear tree that blocked the sidewalk and partially blocked our street, but the rest of our subdivision lost no trees. Our power company (Sawnee EMC) reported that it was the most tree and power line damage they have had in their 82-year history. I think we personally dodged a bullet. So glad you were finally able to vote.

Lady Fi said...

So glad you voted! Lovely autumnal colours.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...