After Florence

We wound up on the left side of Hurricane Florence as it moved into Eastern North Carolina.  Better than a direct hit which was in the cards for a while, but not a good place to be in a Hurricane. Still, we were blessed.  Had the storm made landfall at 140 miles an hour, I can’t imagine the damage it would have done to the farm.  As it was, we were blessed.  Winds never topped 60 miles an hour.  The rain though was biblical. We figure over the course of the storm, we got upwards of 25 inches of it.  At the height of the storm, it was coming down at the rate of 2 inches an hour.  The ditches and canals did what they’re supposed to do and there was no flooding of houses here on the farm compound, but the cotton crop took a big hit.  Yield will be way down.

These shots were taken the day before Florence came ashore.  If a photograph can predict what’s coming, perhaps these did.

If the string of sunny days since Florence holds, I’ll finish clearing up all the debris from the storm this coming week.  I have no idea when I might be able to get down to the beaches though.  The major rivers in Eastern North Carolina; the Cape Fear, Neuse, Trent, and Lumber, are all out of their banks now and any roads and highways that weren’t washed out are cut by floodwater.  Only property owners are being allowed on the Bogue Banks which took a major hit from Florence.  I have a lot of friends down there and I feel for their loss.  Thanks for the visit.  See you next time.

Does “Goat’s Foot” have anything to do with it?

I think it was Bob Dylan who said “If I had known how long I was going to be around, I’d have taken better care of myself.”  Amen to that! If you’re going to roam around with cameras and camera bags around your neck, it sorta helps if you are in shape.  And at 73, I’m quickly finding out I am not.  Arthritis is loudly proclaiming itself to be in control  to the point of preventing me from straightening my right leg.  I’d been hobbling around popping ibuprofen tablets for a month or so when I finally decided it would be a good idea to finally find out if something was structurally wrong or if it was just arthritis.  A raft of X-rays confirmed arthritis to be in control of my knee joint.  A shot of cortisone got me back in the game. “Might fix it or it might not,” my doctor said, “But for now, you’re good to go.”  I’ll take what I can get.

I’d been wanting to get out into the field to grab a few shots of the sunrise now that the annual invasion of wild, reddish sour grass has taken over the fields.  It provides a smidgen of foreground interest in what would otherwise be a pretty empty scene. 

Nikon D750 Camera. Nikkor 24-120mm lens set at 24mm.

Somebody told me that the red grass is a variety of Bermuda Sorrel which supposedly is edible. An acid provides the sour taste.  Perhaps that’s why goats like to graze on it which tagged the grass with the name,  “Goat’s Foot.”   Not too appetizing, huh.  But given my state of mobility, I wondered if old goats develop arthritic knees.  And if not, does grazing on sour grass have something to do with it?   I’ll take my chances with the cortisone.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The Cotton Field

 

 

Time was, the crop dusters would fly in to spray the crop  in order to defoliate it.  Now, most growers just let nature take its course and that was the case here. The cold nights have taken care of the cotton foliage without chemicals being applied,  and the cotton is ready for harvest.

Harvest time comes with its own drama.  The Autumn along with the cooler temperatures ushers in spectacular cloud formations and they change quickly.  These shots were all taken on the same morning within a 15 minute span.  Thanks for the look and have a good week.  See you next time.

Late Summer Sunflowers

These were planted in late July instead of late June which had been the normal practice here.  Other than extending the blooming season, it probably made little difference.  There’s no maintenance involved.  You plant the seeds and Mother Nature does the rest.  These Van Goghs lasted right on into September.  A nice lead-in to fall!  Thanks for looking and have a good week.  See you next time.

Sunrise In The Tobacco Field.

Dawn was rubbing against the windshield of my ancient RAV 4 as I negotiated a seldom used, overgrown path next to a corn field.  A very angry thunderstorm had slowly snailed across the area overnight dumping biblical amounts of rain.  I had stopped just short of an almost washed out causeway over a drainage ditch that had not drained.  I decided not to chance it.  Getting old slowly robs you of your confidence.  I grabbed my cameras and legged it the rest of the way. I was sure that just around the corner of the treeline on the left was the goose that laid the golden egg, or, in this case, a golden sunrise amidst a cloudy sky over a large tobacco field.  I was not disappointed.

I’ve always dreamed about living within driving distance of Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons,  but one plays the cards they are dealt.  My hand, such as it is,  “ain’t” too bad.  The picturesque North Carolina Coast is nearby, but on this particular day, tobacco fields were on the to-do list.  I’ve had good luck licensing shots to various tobacco foundations and branding firms over the years, the great majority of which are overseas. Smoking, I suppose, is still very much in vogue there.  Mind you, I’m no great fan of tobacco. One of the hardest things I ever did was kick the smoking addiction.  My wife grew up on a small tobacco farm and says you would be hard pressed to find a more miserable way to earn a living.  Having said that, I submit that tobacco has a certain artistic quality to it.  The huge green leaves which slowly morph to a golden brown as the plant ripens along with the pink flowers make for a very pleasing scene.

FAA

I donned a long sleeved shirt before venturing down the row.   Skin coming in contact with tobacco, particularly when it is wet after rain, is a must to avoid.  My wife has many stories about nicotine poisoning when she was a young girl. Those memories led us to get out of the tobacco growing business more than a decade ago when I retired from broadcast news.   Our crop this year will be cotton; to my mind, one of the more picturesque of farm crops.  There is just something about a field covered in white at sunrise. Stay tuned.

I apologize for being AWOL last week.  I suffer from Pudendal Neuralgia. I’ll spare you the details.  Suffice to say, there are good days and bad days.  Last weekend was not good. As I’ve learned in my old age, learn to enjoy your struggles.  As always, thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

Photo Of The Week: Winter Harvest

Harvesting soybeans in late January or early February is not uncommon in Eastern North Carolina, particularly when it has been such a wet growing season. Planted in the late Spring and early Summer, the beans usually ripen by December but the relentless rain soaked the soil so thoroughly, it could not support the big harvesting machines.  The area finally got a week with no rain which flashed the green light for the long delayed harvest.

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Being based in Eastern North Carolina, I freelance a lot of rural and farm shots to argicultural concerns, Getty Images and the like.  As the old timers say, you dance with what brung ya, even if it’s a couple of months late.

Nikon D750, 24-120mm f/4 lens.

Thanks for dropping by and have a good week ahead.

Photo Of The Week: Christmas Eve Sunrise

Blogged December 25, 2016

Sunrise December 24, 2016

 

For several years running,  the Christmas day sunrise has been nothing short of spectacular here, to the point of becoming an almost spiritual thing. Not This year.  We were greeted this morning with an overcast sky and patches of misty rain, the result of a warm front that marched through late yesterday and overnight.  But the Christmas weekend was not a total washout.. Christmas Eve morning  was a keeper. With the colder air, the scene could be from October.  There were  just enough clouds to reflect the warm morning light. I had seen the clouds moving in over the tall lob lolly pines from my kitchen window and grabbed my camera.  No filters. Nikon D750 fitted with a 24-120mm f/4 lens. Iso 400, custom white balance, though Automatic on the 750 is quite good. Manual exposure. Spot metering. 1/125th of a second at f/22 which explains the slight flare to the sun. Best wishes to all for a great holiday and a safe and prosperous 2017.