Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Sleepwalking Burnettes, Part I

I come from a long line of sleepwalkers. My Daddy, my Grandpa, and my Uncle Lindell were all world class sleepwalker. Here are some stories.

During the Great Depression, my grandfather was building a new house with the help of his brother, Tommy Burnett. Grandpa, Grandma, Daddy, & Lindell moved into the house before everything was completed. One of the things that was not finished was the front porch.  The porch was a good seven feet off of the ground and the only thing that needed to be completed about it was the flooring. In the middle of the night, Grandma heard Grandpa get up and go downstairs. She hollered at him "John Ettered, where are you going?" (His name was John Edward Burnett, but many people called him John Ettered, Dettered, or J.E.)  He did not respond to her. She heard him opening the front door and she ran down the steps just in time to see him step out onto the front porch. Naturally, Grandpa fell through since the flooring was not down. He didn't even wake up!  Grandma got him back in the house and in the bed.  The next day, he discovered that he had several broken ribs and he did not remember a thing about it.  Grandpa was also quite a snorer!

Grandpa Burnette

My Uncle Lindell was also mightly bad to sleepwalk. In the wee hours of the morning, Grandma heard the wooden backporch screen door slap closed.  She got up to see who was up at that time of night. Even though they had an outhouse, most everyone would use the slop jar rather than going outside in the middle of the night so it was strange for someone to go out.  When she got outside, Lindell was thrashing around up in the woods, yelling and carrying on something awful. He thought that he was at war! She tried to get him to come into the house, but he just kept on yelling and threatened to hit Grandma if she got near him. Grandpa came outside and he couldn't get Lindell to do anything either, so they both just watched him to make sure they he didn't hurt himself.  He eventually calmed down and just walked back into the house and went to bed.

Uncle Lindell Burnette

My dad, Bobby, was also quite the sleepwalker. When he was younger and still living at home, Grandma said that he was always getting up in the middle of the night and talking in his sleep. If anyone tried to touch him when he was sleepwalking, he would punch them!  When I was just a small child, I can remember that he would get up in the middle of the night, cook food and then eat it.  The scariest thing that I ever remember him doing was one night, my mom was working third shift, so it was just me and Daddy at the house. Daddy woke up 6 miles from the house sitting in his car!  He had driven that far from the house in his sleep. It terrified him because he knew that he had left me at home alone and I was always so scared to be alone.


Another incident happened one night when we were all at home. Mom caught Daddy going out the back door around 2:00 AM. He was fully dressed and was walking with his cane. He was heading into the backyard where a creek bordered our property. Mom was afraid that he was going to fall into the creek and hurt himself because he was headed right to the creek. (My dad was very unsteady on his feet because he had multiple sclerosis.) She asked him what he was doing and he said that Jim Dalton, the mail carrier for Laurel Fork, had come by and asked my dad to deliver the mail for him!  Mom tried to reason with Daddy and he was just getting more angry and more insistent that Jim had came by the house. This was all happening in the wee hours of the morning and there was a considerable amount of yelling going on, so I'm sure that the neighbors wondered what was going on. Mom finally got Daddy back in the house after a good hour, but he was still convinced that he needed to deliver the mail. The next morning, Daddy was STILL swearing that Jim had come by and ask for his help!  Okay, so maybe there was something weird going on that we were unaware of, so Mom did get in touch with Jim and ask him if he came by the house.  Of course he did not, but my Daddy still swore that he did days after the incident!

This is the end of Part I. Watch for Part II and learn about some of MY sleepwalking adventures!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Picture A Spring Sunday

** Click photos to see enlargement
Chinese Cherry




I have never noticed the little curls on the bloom before!

A miniature forest of moss

Snake Berry Bloom

White Violet


All photos taken by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. Images may not be used without permission.
Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wildlife Encounter

This morning on my way to work, I suddenly could not remember whether I had removed Ozzy's collar.  I knew that I would worry about it all day, so even though I was already a couple of miles from home, I turned around and went back. Of course, I had taken the collar off, but I can be a bit OCD about things, so to avoid worrying, I had to check!

Leaving home for the second time this morning, I heard a big commotion in the pine trees beside our driveway. While I was trying to see what was going on, a scream pierced the quiet morning and a Red-tailed Hawk swooped over my head in the direction of the pine trees. There was another mad scramble in the pine trees and a crow vacated the pines in a hurry, cawing.  The hawk and crow continued creating quite a ruckus, swooping back and forth, fighting and crying out. 

I ran back in the house to get my camera and then I walked underneath the pine trees to see if I could figure out what was creating the stir. I had thought that maybe there was a nest that they were fighting over.  Fortunately, I was wearing my new glasses, so I could actually see!

This is what I saw in the tree.

Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

For a few seconds, I could not figure out what I was seeing. Then it hit me:  It was one of the many owls that I hear hooting at night!  I made a noise to try to get it to look at me.

Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Isn't it a beauty?  I'm not sure if this Barred Owl is a male or female because unless you see them together, it is difficult to distinguish the difference. The females are about a 1/3 bigger than males.

While I was looking at it and taking bunches of photos, the crow and hawk continued to fight with each other.  After the hawk flew directly at the crow and almost hit him, the crow cawed a couple more times and flew away. I think that the hawk then lost interest, because he left too. He probably didn't go far because we do have several red-tail hawks that I think live in the woods behind our house because I hear and see them often. I don't know if the owl was involved in the whole scene or if it was just an innocent bystander. The crow and hawk both were flying pretty close to the owl and the owl would get all ruffled up.

I wanted to watch longer, but I was already running a bit late for work and I just barely made it on time.  Even though I live in Roanoke City, I am so fortunate to have acres of National Park Service/Blue Ridge Parkway woods behind my house because I sure do get to see lots of wildlife.  I see more living here than I did when I lived in the country in Meadows of Dan!

Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Friday, April 5, 2013


Just when you think that old man winter has packed his bags and headed south, you look out the window and see this:

It started blowing snow in Vinton around 3:00 PM.  I really didn't think that it would amount to much.  There was no mention of it in the weather forecast. Before long, the grass was starting to get covered with a sleet/snow mixture and it was beginning to stick on the sidewalk.

I had been nursing a serious headache all afternoon.  Maybe it was a harbinger of the crazy weather that was headed our way. A co-worker got to work early because of the weather and decided to do her nails sitting in the break room.  Ordinarily, nail polish would not bother me, but those fumes wafting through the work room and to the desk felt like ice picks stabbing into my temples and I was starting to feel sick to my stomach.  When I have a headache, I am very sensitive to light and smells.  Needless to say, I had to leave work early.

As it turns out, I am very glad that the fumes drove me out of the building, because by the time that I got home, my driveway was covered with a thick coating of sleet/snow slush and I spun all the way up.  I believe that if I had arrived a bit later, I would not have been able to get up that driveway.

A bit earlier, I had heard a woman saying that she had KNOWN that it was still going to snow again, so she was not surprised by this storm. She said that the dogwoods will not bloom until they know that there will not be anymore snow.  Well, I don't know about that because I think that I have seen snow on dogwood blooms before and I may even have photos somewhere!  Have you ever hear this said about dogwoods?