Every few months I send out my newsletter update for the Crystal Coast. Mostly I talk about living here and visiting our area. My updates are rarely without an update on the recent weather. You can read the newsletter at this link.
We have spent fourteen years here along Raymond’s Gut just off the White Oak River north of Swansboro. I managed to learn enough about the White Oak River from my kayaking and boating to know Ed was right. Many times, I fished a cove just off the river when the main River had whitecaps on it. Then there were times you could be in the middle of the river with hardly a ripple. Sometimes it is blowing on the river but quiet on the backside of Bear Island.
Ed, a good friend of mine who died a few years ago, used to say that if you were willing to look a little, most of the time you could find a place on the water in Carteret County where the wind wasn’t blowing. Ed grew up here and knew the area’s waters better than anyone I have ever known.
It turns out Ed’s wisdom also applies to our house. If you look a little, you can almost always find a cozy spot out of the wind. It is one of the reasons we love our home. The side of our house with the most windows faces the South. That and the protection provided by pines just across the water from us makes our home a delightful place as the air turns cooler in the fall. It also creates a great microclimate for gardening. Living on Raymond’s Gut just off the White Oak River turned out to be a lucky decision for us. Read the full article
Electronic communications were not always as easy as tapping an app on your Smartphone. For years most electronic communications were stove-piped with almost all communication limited to internal emails to people who worked for the same company. Even once the Internet made it possible to communicate between companies and organizations, getting hooked up and communicating was an evolving challenge. Read more at this link.
The COVID-19 crisis has undermined my optimism, broken some of my connections with others, and altered my view of our country. All that has happened and the crisis is far from over. In spite of the advice to stay home, the last couple of weekends we have seen the first significant wave of beach people with license plates from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Florida. We also know that we have plenty of North Carolina visitors and likely most of them come from some of our state’s own hot spots. Things could get much worse in our coastal paradise.
I feel like the pandemic is peeling away layers of my psyche like the layers of an onion. Things have changed and what ends up as our new normal is still an open question. Read more
It seems that I have finally lost even those places that I could retreat to in my imagination. The COVID19 crisis and the mass shooting in Nova Scotia have stripped away those places that have anchored my psyche for most of my adult life. Now there is no place to run. Read more here.
I recently wrote a post, Success from Working at Home. As I have seen people struggling with their first efforts at working from home, it occurred to me that people might need more suggestions, particularly with the things that I take for granted and the habits that I have developed over my thirty-five plus years of mostly working from home. Many of these things do not seem special to me. They are just the way that I have learned to accomplish tasks for decades.
Once you take the step of working from home, the back end system that provides services to your office will become very important.
VPNs allow us to access file servers on the corporate network. If you do not have a VPN that gives you file access, you will need some cloud services.
In order to get to those files on the servers or in the cloud, you need a good, fast, reliable Internet connection. DSL usually just does not work well enough to be useful. The fastest cable connections are okay but if you are uploading large files, you are probably going to wish you had a fiber connection.
A good phone that provides clear sound is essential and if you are getting your phone from your Internet service provider and have a flakey Internet, remember to not count on your phone.
If you do a lot of conference calls, a good microphone will help.
A good collaboration tool which let you talk, text, and share files is essential.
Of course you also need the right software, the knowledge to use it, and the discipline to use the cloud tools or VPN so that people can collaborate with you.
Read more detailed information on how to be successful working from home at the following link. [Read More Here].
This is definitely not the spring that we hoped for here on the Southern Outer Banks. Just after my birthday in early March the world seemed to enter a new more dangerous era. In spite of our location where the sand meets the sea, we are not immune. There have already been five cases identified in Carteret County, four of them from international travel.
By now we have usually kicked off the countdown to the beach season by having the Emerald Isle Saint Patrick’s Day Festival followed by the Swansboro Oyster Roast. Both events were cancelled this year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We can be thankful that our area leaders understood the gravity of the situation.
Our streets and stores have been steadily emptying out over the last week as people began to practice social distancing. People seem to be getting the message that staying home is the best thing that you can do.
Saturday, March 21, 2020, was the kind of day that makes you want to work in your yard with temperatures well into the seventies. We did that and enjoyed immensely. Our beds are now ready for beans and tomatoes which we will plant the first week of April. Even though we enjoyed our first salad from the garden on Sunday, colder air embraced our area and it almost seemed like mother nature had figured out that things were not right and changed the weather to match the mood of seriousness.
Sunday also brought the first time we attended church by using chromecast to stream a YouTube sermon to our den television. With public access parking to the beaches closed and all restaurants either doing takeout or closing down, life remains out of sync with the seasons as trees bloom and yards begin to green up.
Fortunately, our gardens are doing well. At least we will not lack for lettuce or other green stuff for the next six weeks. In spite of the gardens, life is just not the same. Certainly, this is the first time other than hurricane season that I am telling people to stay home and not come to visit our beautiful coast. While I miss the beach, I know that our absence from the sands will help this crisis end sooner rather than later. I continue to enjoy the memories of better times through photo albums like this one from a hike on the Point at Emerald Isle in May 2017. I will continue to post pictures to keep the memories of sand and surf fresh.
We should all remain hopeful that there will be a summer beach season, but a lot depends on how well we do at staying away from each other. The alternatives as this simulation show are not encouraging. It is imperative that we stay away from each other until this crisis slows.
My newsletter from Sunday, March 22, with some additional details is at this link.
Our journey to a home by the water involved a lot of learning and more than a few surprises
Finding your spot on the water is not as simple as it might first appear but it is not really difficult. You just need to understand that are a lot of different kinds of water. Read more about where and how we found our piece of waterfront paradise.
Many people start to panic when they have yet to sneak away for a beach vacation as the end of July approaches. The truth is that you are better off if you missed that July baking in the sun. The best time to visit North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is later in the season. Read more here
I posted this yesterday to my friends. The message resonated well with many people so it has now made it to my soapbox for all.
I love my country of birth, but having lived in two countries, I also feel great pride when I hear “Oh Canada.” Having visited many countries, I feel great respect for a number of them and understand that there are other paths to happiness besides just ours.
Today the Fourth of July, I salute the vision of our country’s founders and hope that we can live up to their thoughts and ideals which have helped us evolve to a better but far from perfect place. We will eventually emerge from this nightmare of children caged along our borders.
Any student of our battle for independence will attest to our founding fathers great fear of standing armies. Changing times have resulted in the need for a professional US military. There is little doubt that we have the best armed forces in the world but why brag about it?
Our founding fathers would be appalled at a Four of July celebration of military power. There is a big difference between honoring those who have served in the defense of freedom and celebrating military power.
Celebrating military power is no more a part of the American tradition than separating children from their parents and holding them in intolerable conditions. We will overcome this at the ballot box.