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Archive for the ‘The Land’ Category

Foggy Barn 2

Little Elsa, the rescue dog, has been with us for five months.  And even with wide open spaces and acres where she can run, we have been walking her on a leash.  It was our fear since we did not know her background, that she would run away or disappear into the woods and be hurt or lost.  We love her now too much to risk losing her to a taste for freedom.

But we have had dogs here before.  Two Golden Retrievers (Peaches and Carrie), Rudy (a misunderstood Pit Bull) and Rozie, our other mixed breed love, who all lived to old age. None of them ever required leash control on home ground since we have ample space right here for long country walks and little traffic to worry about.

One day Bill and I knew it was time to finally set Elsa free to stretch her legs and run with the wind.  Removing Elsa’s leash was a terrifying move for all three of us.

Elsa could not believe her luck when the door opened and there was nothing holding her back.

And out she went – running and running and sniffing and sniffing.  Oh no!  Will she love freedom too much to return?

Out of sight she went with us

calling and calling

and so worried for her safety.

And suddenly,

THERE SHE WAS!

And suddenly

she tore off again, running and running and free!

And THERE SHE WAS

walking in sight of us without a leash!

And again, running and running

and exploring the world.

And finally she was walking with us

and met us at our door.

Home!

All three of our hearts are swelling with pride and love.  We have all seen and felt the utter joy of freedom in the shape of a little rescue dog who has probably never felt it before.

 

 

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Sunrise Blue Ridge

 

In a moment like this

I think there is no finer place to be

than in my own back yard

viewing

the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

 

 

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blue ridge jan snow 1

I never tire of the views from this little house in rural Virginia.

And even now, after so many years and so many pictures, there are still moments when I feel compelled once again to try to capture the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Blue Ridge is sometimes shrouded in mist or covered in snow, or blue against the sky, or blanketed in fog, and always stunning.

The snow was clearing a few days ago here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

And it was one of those days when I simply had to get one more picture.  

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I have never been able to take a credible photo of the moon.  This little cell phone camera doesn’t have the capacity (or maybe I don’t know what I’m doing?).

But one silvery night when the fog lay in low Virginia hollows and there was a shimmer on surfaces left wet from a creeping mist, I had to try again.

Deck in Moonlight 3

Deck in Moonlight 4

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I love to roam around my “backyard” with its wonderful long-range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Summer still hangs on but there are little clues to the coming of Autumn.

Shades of Summer

Shades of Summer

Field of Goldenrod

Fields of Goldenrod

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Rainbow Ridge 3

This has been the strangest summer in Virginia.  It has been cool, then verging on hot and dry, then overcast, and lots of rain more often than not.  Such weird changes have marked summertime until on this day it feels like Fall and friends are airing their expectations for Christmas on FaceBook.

Well, yesterday the Blue Ridge Mountains were shrouded in mist.  Then the sun magnified our ever-green surroundings, and Ahhhhh, just look at that fat happy rainbow too!

I am now calling the view from my kitchen window The Rainbow Ridge.

 

 

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Hogweed 1

Hogweed in Northern Michigan

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

Oh how we rejoice in the beauty of nature!  And summertime in rural Virginia couldn’t be more invitingly lush and green.

Then my brother called from California to warn us about an invasive weed recently found in Virginia.

Beware HOGWEED!

It grows exceedingly tall and some might say, “pretty”,  but you don’t want to cut Hog Weed for indoor  arrangements.  Even if you just brush against as you pass by, your skin may suddenly become sunlight sensitive to the point of third degree burns!

And if you get some of the sap in your eyes, you could literally go permanently blind.

Read about Hogweed  here!  It is in a number of states now and Virginia is the latest.

Now if Hogweed wasn’t enough (and forgeddabout Stink Bug infestations) but have you ever heard of SLIME MOLD?

Slime Mold

Slime Mold – Nickname “Dog Vomit.” Ewwwwww!

This weekend I looked around the mulched beds in our front yard and saw a giant spread of a horrifyingly ugly mold.

It was a sickly white globby thing!

I expected it to ooze out bigger and bigger and to eventually smother every living thing in its path.  Yes, you would definitely see SLIME MOLD in a very scary horror movie.

I was terrified.  I didn’t want to touch it.  I didn’t want to move it.  “Well, maybe I will water it,” I thought.  A hard spray to the monolithic gooey mass created a copper colored cloud of deadly dust.

  • Am I inhaling this?
  • Will I die of an alien fungus and who would know?

My fearless friend Amy was here but even she was intimidated by the ugly slime.  She agreed to turn a pot over on it so we wouldn’t have to see it.  I had nightmares that night though.

  • What if it seeped out the sides of the upside-down pot?
  • What if it could figure out how to get inside the house?
  • There was a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage but the hole was now “up” and was I feeding The THING with oxygen and enabling it to grow?
  • Would it crawl out the drainage hole?

Thank Goodness for “Hey Google!”

Turns out that SLIME MOLD (affectionately nicknamed “DOG VOMIT”due to the similarity in appearance) is not dangerous to humans or pets or even plants if it doesn’t smother them with love.

Slime Mold is only horrifyingly ugly, which demonstrates that sometimes Mother Nature is indeed, benevolent and even compassionate.

Watering will cause Slime Mold to float around in the air (in that big copper cloud I unleashed) and spread (the result of my watering efforts).

And so my friends, my own personal ugly Slime Mold took up new residence on top of an Impatiens flower in the same bed.

According to my panicked research, the way to remove it (the Slime Thing) is to dig it up with a shovel, put it in a plastic bag (like you would dog doo) and discard the whole thing in the trash.

Bill grinned and bore it and just pitched the one celled organism into the woods where it will surely find some new decaying vegetation on which to build a life.  We are not killers after all.

Such are the gifts of nature to be found in the Virginia countryside!

I did see a mama turkey and her six young-uns running for the woods yesterday.  Maybe they heard about the Slime Mold Invasion.

So, what’s new in your neck-o-the-woods?

 

 

 

 

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