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It is February and I just found this in my yard.

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Ernie Brown, Spokescat for Teakettle Junction Productions.

Lauren and I have a cat, Ernestine Brown The Chocolate Kitty. She’s a good cat – little, playful, likes to sit on my lap. If you’d like to see what my typical workday is like, check out The Oatmeal’s recent comic, Cat vs Internet.

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Snowy palm tree in my neighborhood.

I miss snow. Living at the beach, we don’t see it much and it’s an even when we do, everyone down here in Wilmington panics and they forget how to drive and they buy all the bread, milk and toilet paper at Harris Teeter. The road crews down here are always caught off guard by snow, they don’t really have much equipment or many supplies (or really much experience) dealing with it, so an inch of snow will shut down the county for a day. Usually the threat of an inch of snow is enough to have the school board declare a snow day.

Yesterday, Sunday, was one such day. At 3 p.m. a note appeared at the top of the screen. “School Canceled – New Hanover County.” I laughed. Lauren laughed. The forecast was for snow and a “wintery mix” and every time the weather man has made this same forecast, the school board closes school and the public panics.

This morning it was cold, but clear. About a half hour after I got up I noticed the first snowflakes. A few minutes later I looked again – the car had some snow on the top. Over the next two hours it snowed about three inches. Now there’s a nice layer of sloppy, sleety, icy crap under three inches of beautiful snow. Since I work from home and Lauren was too, we took a quick walk around the block. Here are some photos.

 

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Lauren in the snow.

Our house in the snow.

 

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Lauren and I, self portrait with Android phone.

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree welcomed visitors to my in-laws' house on the Southport Christmas Homes Tour.

I’m fortunate enough to live near and have a great relationship with my in-laws. They live in Southport, NC, only 30-odd miles south of Wilmingtong, and I worked for a few years with my father-in-law, Bob Dzubak. Bob taught me to build cabinets and some key design principles and introduced me to the world of woodworking. My mother-in-law, Kathy, or KD, has a great eye for design. A few years ago, Bob and KD were looking to move out of a gated community and into the town of Southport, so Bob and I built a house. Well, we didn’t exactly build it, he hired framers and painters and all that, but we refined the layout and look of the house, designed, built and installed the cabinetry and built a beautiful home. This year KD decided to decorate in her usual way but put their home on the Christmas Homes Tour. Here are a few pictures showing off the house and the cabinetry. Enjoy, and Merry Chistmas.

It was a rainy day, but the house's holiday spirit couldn't be dampened.

A table-filling poinsettia greeted visitors on the Christmas Homes Tour.

There was a giant Santa in the TV room. He freaked me out a little (sorry, Santa).

A table full of Santas. I hope they bring me lots of presents.

KD festooned the breakfast bar with live greens and fruit. The pomegranates were my favorite.

No detail was spared, even the shelves above the butcher-block cutting board were decorated.

The dining room table was carefully decorated.

KD sait it took forever to wrap all of the little presents on the table.

Two amaryllis (amaryllises, amarallisi?) that KD grew for the occasion.

The living room was filled with live greenery, flowers and even the Grinch.

Like I said, the Grinch.

KD's treatment of the mantle shelf was beautiful.

Down the hall is the master suite, where KD was showing off her green thumb with this table of plants.

The kitchen table looked so great, I thought you'd like to see it again.

As you may have read in an earlier post, Lauren and I have a pair of rain barrels we use to water the garden. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Rick Harris of Cape Fear Rain Water Harvesting, a Wilmington-based company that sells rain catchment systems. I wrote about it for Greater Wilmington Business Journal and you can read it here.

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