THANKS TO SO MANY OF YOU who have emailed or otherwise been in touch asking about how we fared here with Tropical Storm Irene. I measured more than 7.5 inches of rain in my gauges from middle of the night Saturday through Sunday afternoon; up to 10 had been forecast. But somehow other than 6-plus inches in the basement, the storm went through without major damage–a fact I cannot explain except to say it’s all mere chance, as unpredictable as every day in every life. I’m grateful to remain perched on my hillside, with the frogs huddled high and dry in the pine boughs just as they were (above) while we waited Saturday for it all to begin. I am more than anything wishing for quick relief for those hit harder up and down the storm’s enormous path, including, I imagine, some of you.