Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gypsy Kids and a Farewell Party

On Ocracoke Island this summer there are three college kids living behind Philip's cottage. They have the use of the old red gypsy wagon as well as hammocks.

They are nestled into the trees sleeping at night like birds or out on the town as wandering owls. I have grown to adore these kids. They make their own yoghurt, they hang out their laundry, and they are known to us at the Three Gypsies.

Last night they cooked dinner for us in the cottage as it was Ben's last night as he left for Raleigh this morning on the early morning ferry. He leaves for India in a few days.

We have spent countless hours with these kids, watching the sunset, drinking a bottle or two of wine, cooking together, sharing pot lucks and it is as if they will fly the nest one at a time.

Farewell to Ben, have a great yoga experience. As for Paige and Kyle, well, we will be honored by their presence for a short time yet!

Lou Ann

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pokagon State Park and other Politics by Governor Daniels

I love my blog site. I started it over five years ago and do my best to keep it up-to-do, full of pictures, trendy, upbeat and colorful.

Today I break all of my rules. Since I am on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina for the summer, my Internet is a bit fuzzy. I have to pack up my laptop and other office paraphernalia to walk through the sandy lanes to the small library. I love this library, always people to talk to and a cozy room that I share in the back as an office space. I usually share it with my friend James who is working on his PhD.

I check the local news every couple of days to keep up with my Angola, Indiana home town, my friends, community etc. I was not prepared for today's headline, however.

The gist of the headline was that the State Parks in Indiana would close on Monday if the state legislature could not come to a financial agreement. It was comforting to know (I say this with tongue in check) that the prisons would stay open, however.

Governor Daniels, we need to talk. It is all backwards, you know. If we spend the money for our state parks as we should and usually do with qualified staff for children and families to participate in and encourage them to learn about our environment, etc., the need for prisons might be smaller, could even be eliminated. Who knows?

The children in Indiana are currently under the umbrella of obesity, yet we close the state parks where they can run and play?

The children in Indiana spend much of their free time watching television and working on the computer which also leads to the above subject, and less interaction with the environment. How can we possibly save an environment that isn't used and/or appreciated by children and adults alike? Is that the old adage, out of site out of mind?

And Governor Daniels, in this economic downfall, and do not tell me that we are in a recovery, my neighbors are unemployed and doing whatever they can to keep hearth and home (which means digging up their yards for gardens, etc.), the state park is still an inexpensive outing for a family. Where I live in Angola, Pokagon State Park offers swimming, kayaking, hiking, the Nature Center, and the lovely Inn. It also offers families time to talk, walk, and be together as a family.

So, Mr. Daniels, what will you do? I have had little confidence in you and now I have even less.

Sincerely submitted,
Lou Ann Homan for my State Park

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Keeping the Lights Lit on Ocracoke Island

Inside the Ocracoke Lighthouse
Today was my training day to open the doors of the Ocracoke Lighthouse. I am enjoying volunteering in different areas all over the island...the museum, turtle patrol, and now the lighthouse. There were four of us in training and we met with Jessica, who is totally in charge of us, at the lighthouse around noon today. We had to fill out federal forms, inform them of next of kin in case....in case what, I wonder?
We also had to get fitted for those shirts, you know the ones I mean, the ones without pink or purple!! I get a hat, a badge, a name tag...well, just about everything.
We were taught how to unlock the old door, put the signs out...all the practical things.
Then Jessica told us we needed to climb to the top of the lighthouse. The Ocracoke light house is open only at the base, not to climb up due to the steepness of the steps, the rustiness of the steps, the tall steel ladder that goes through the hole in the top where the lanterns were lit. I was thrilled and scared all at the same time!! Only two of us went up, my friend James who is working on his PhD this summer. We are always at the same programs and events! The other two claimed knee problems or something.
I took a deep breath and up I went. By the time I was at the steel ladder, my hands were soaking wet from being nervous and the heat. But to the top I climbed. It was the most gorgeous site of seeing the village from this viewpoint. I could not help but think of the lighthouse keepers who carried whale oil and kerosene nightly up those steps and cleaned windows and kept the ships safe in the night. What powerful and wonderful men those were.
James had his camera and took photos which I will post at a later date!
We finally climbed down and had more training. I have been reading about the light house ever since I started coming here to spend summers with Philip. I can't wait to get my badge and start telling stories of this beautiful light house!!
Lou Ann

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunset on Ocracoke

Sunset over the Pamlico Sound

A random shot of kayakers scurrying home.

The shrimp boat pulling into the harbor.

Last evening Philip and I biked down to the harbor to watch the sunset. It was a great way to end the day as we had spent the morning watching the sun rise on the Atlantic.

Ocracoke is situated between the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, a very rare place where the sunrise and sunset are both over water.

As we were watching the sunset (as well as people watching, of course) thunder clouds began to roll in and rumble over the water. A couple in a kayak must have decided they needed to get in to the harbor before the storm. They were the unexpected camera shot as my Uncle Dean would always say.

We then followed the beautiful shrimp boat in to the harbor to the fish house to unload the catch of the day.

We stopped to chat with friends and then an extremely close bolt of lightning sent us all scurrying away to our cottages!

Enjoy the photos!

Lou Ann

Monday, June 22, 2009

Solstice Celebration on Ocracoke Island

Miss Katy as the Solstice Queen!

On Saturday evening (the eve of the Solstice) Philip and I hosted a Solstice pot luck! The guest list continued growing and if you were left out, please accept our apologies.

Philip's daughter, Amy, baked a traditional Island Fig cake in which I hid a small seashell. He or she who found the shell in the cake would become the Queen or King for the evening. There were several men who chose to eat other desserts until the Queen was crowned!

It was a delightful evening with new twinkle lights on the big screened in back porch and food spilling over two tables. Folks were still telling stories at the Midnight hour as we were all just too happy being friends, being together as the Earth begins its descent back toward winter.

Happy Solstice to all,

Lou Ann

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Volunteer Position

Today was my first day (well actual day) as a volunteer at the OPS museum. During the summer months volunteers are critically needed in two hour shifts. It is a great opportunity to meet visitors and chat with locals as it seems every one hangs out there at least once a day.

The museum is filled with local music, books, and crafts from all over the Island. It is such a pleasure to share stories with folks and point out interesting facts and places to go. The best part is that the harbor is in view and it is the first stop some folks make when they arrive!

I almost feel like a native!

Lou Ann

An Island Girl

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iggie from Ocracoke Island

Iggie is one of my favorite characters on Ocracoke Island. Every afternoon around 4:00 I bike or walk down to the Community Store to sit on the bench and hang out with Iggie. He is a born and raised island boy.

We gossip about the locals, make comments about the tourists, and drink coke. He smokes his cigarettes and asks me every day if the smoke bothers me. "Not at all," I say, "Not at all."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Rainbow

Last night we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm. It began brewing in the Sound late in the afternoon and by dusk the sky was rolling with dark clouds. The thunder was strong and shook this small island as we watched from the front porch. When it was over, we were treated to a fabulous double rainbow. This is a view from my sandy lane in front of Philip's house.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting Started on Ocracoke

So, after many travels to Oregon, Florida, ending my school year, and so on, I have made my journey back to the Island to spend the summer with Philip. I arrived late on Friday night and jumped right into this life as if I had never left.

Internet is always a little iffy for me here, but I found a great place. It is early morning and I am sitting on the library steps. Birds sing. Winds blow. Folks walk and bike by for their early morning excersize.

The week has already been eventful with performing at the Opry, ghost walk, unpacking, settling in, company, hanging my towel in the outside shower. Last night a PBS crew who is here with Donald Davis filming went with me on my ghost walk. It was very interesting. Who knows what will happen with that???

I will try to keep daily notes for you, and, of course, my column continues!!

Lou Ann