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Bananas for Safari Park MonkeysIn the checkout line at the supermarket there was a fellow ahead of me who was buying a big pile of bananas.  The strange thing is I noticed the bananas before I did the guy. (Is this just another sign of aging?)

Anyway, I was thinking, “He must love bananas.

  • Maybe he has a big family.
  • Maybe he is a camp counselor buying snacks for the kiddies.
  • Maybe he wants to make banana bread?”

I was still lost in imagining what he would possibly do with all those bananas when he turned back toward me and smiled.

Safari Park Guy

Cute Safari Park Guy

And there was an emblem on his shirt that said, “Safari Park.”

Aha!  Mystery solved.  This was a representative of the Virginia Safari Park, a magical place near me and just a few miles north of Virginia’s Natural Bridge.  Safari Park is where my  grandgirls (all grown up now) still demand to go every time they visit.

“Are the bananas for the monkeys?” I boldly asked the Safari Park man.

“Yes, and the giraffes love them too.”

“Do you mind if I take a picture of all those bananas?  Oh, and a picture of you too? I want to write a blog post about the park.”

“Of course, he said, “And thank you.”

If you are interested in going to the Virginia Safari Park, my young friend told me they will be open until Thanksgiving.

Virginia Safari Park is a 180-acre drive-thru adventure featuring 1,000 free roaming animals. Drive along 3 miles of road in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, animals of all sizes, shapes and colors approach your vehicle in search of a tasty bucket of feed. Their website is http://www.virginiasafaripark.com .

Safari Park 07

My youngest grandgirl, Mackenzie, all grown up now but still loves the Virginia Safari Park.

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20161002_133225Autumn’s Arrival

No!

It  simply cannot be closing in on Halloween again.

For Heaven’s Sake, it was just summer!

Still, there have been unmistakable signs.

 How about falling leaves and a little nip in the air?

Or whole aisles of Halloween Candy at the supermarket?

Yes – Something is amiss.

Virginia’s had an unusually cool summer –

cooler than California I wager.

Oh, I do love Autumn in Virginia!

But is it really time to post Pumpkin Pictures

or my yearly Witch Warnings?

 

wandering-witch-off-course

The Perils of Texting and Driving

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Twin White Steeds

 

Equine News in the Neighborhood!  

On the bright side, rumor has it our neighbor will be renting his pasture to a horse (the owner will pay the rent of course)!  I had been missing daily stop-by visits with Rosa-the-mare (who sadly was lost due to some equine malady).  A new horsey neighbor will be a grand treat.

Two other horses at different homes developed abscessed feet.  I mean, each horse has one lame foot. They are both on antibiotics, have wrapped hooves, and both have cast off their wrappings and are healing nicely.

I can empathize….  me-of-the-gimpy-foot too.  It’s a neighborhood epidemic!

Bagging a Chicken!

Today I roasted a chicken that came bagged and fully seasoned.  Instructions were to cut a slit to allow for expansion and bake for 2 hours.

Talk about SIMPLE!  And the results were delicious.  I hate to admit that because the bag-less version is to rinse, pat dry, oil, season, and baste.  Maybe this bag thing is positive progress!

Tree Surgeon Mending

Our tree surgeon is also nicely recovering from having a tree fall on him some weeks ago.  Country living is fraught with unexpected danger.

He is the fellow our community hires to trim trees along our road and sometimes to remove trees entirely (those threatening to fall on homes, etc.).  He is always a wonder to watch traversing limbs at dizzying heights.  We are just happy he is on the mend.

New Life in Town

‘Tis a university town (Lexington, Virginia) and school is back!  Our downtown is alive and writhing again (I mean “thriving”).  The kids are back at Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University.  Why is it they look younger every year? And now the local restaurants are packed as families come in to help all the young’uns get settled.

Horrible Harvey

Sending thoughts to my Texas blogger friends who so eloquently describe their own experiences with the monster storm, Harvey.  I am so glad you are high and dry and thank you so much for your perspectives.

It has been an unendurable week for many in Texas but to see how millions are dealing with the aftermath is to understand the value of good neighbors, the ones who become heroes when they themselves least expect it.

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It’s the American “Eclipse Day” today!

I live on the edge of Totality.  Sounds romantic but that means we aren’t going to go totally dark.

And we are expecting 80% coverage of the sun by the moon.

The excitement is still catchy.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw two magnificent bucks with full antlers.  How handsome and stately they were nibbling the lower leaves of our River Birch tree (no river but the Birch is doing well anyway).  But how odd to see male deer on this sort of mystical morning.  We rarely see the Bucks in their full form.

Then there were others; a Momma and her spotted fawn and sister does that formed a mini herd.

And scattered across the lawns were a flock of small black birds happily feasting.

It was a full wildlife scene in our rural Virginia when usually (by that time of the morning) such creatures have all retreated into the forest to  hide from human predators.

And that has me with questions about the oncoming eclipse.

Do the animals know?

Is it much like a Tsunami?

Are the wild creatures sensisng something  preparing for the moments of darkness to come?

 

 

 

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blackbear-Credit-Ashley-Lohr-940

Image from http://wildlife.org  –  Virginia Black Bear and Cub

“What is THAT” said Bill, as he stood at the kitchen window.  “WHAT?” I asked.

“THAT black thing under the tree – down there by the tractor shed,” said Bill.

And then it moved (not the tractor shed)!

The black thing looked like it was rolling in the grass.

“Maybe it’s a big dog”, I thought.

And then the black thing got up and shook itself!

“Maybe it’s a calf from across the hill from us,” I surmised.

“No,” said Bill.  It’s a BEAR CUB.”  And that indeed is what THAT was.

It looked like a big dog.  But then it loped off into the woods.

If we had any doubts before, there was no doubt as it did the loping.  It was a healthy looking robust bear cub hurrying to catch up with Mom!

But where was Mom anyway?

Our home is close by to a virtual forest primeval.

We think of it as our private Paradise incorporating a wildlife refuge filled with deer, fox, bobcats, squirrels, racoons, ground hogs, possums, all avian varieties including a resident hawk, and of course, bears.

We have seen the Virginia Black Bear more in the last two years than in the whole 27 previous years living here.

And no, we do not leave leftovers in any outside garbage.  Warning to those of you who are not bear-familiar, “Do not feed!”  Either purposely or innocently!

Once our neighbors left fish in an outdoor garbage bin.  The bear knocked it over, had a feast, and then wanted more.  He tried banging on their house to get in and our friends had to hole up in a locked interior bathroom overnight.  So no, we do not leave garbage around.

You can be sure I will not be taking long solitary walks either because where there is a cub, there is usually a mother bear who may be the over protective variety.

I am looking for a siren app on my cell phone though.

Do you think that would help?

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Year of Wonders

Water World

I just started an aquasize class offered by our local YMCA!  The other aging ladies in the group call it “water aerobics.”  This may be wishful thinking but we do jumping jacks midstream in the pool and even cross country skiing (or at least we make motions to that effect).

Sometimes I feel like I am Esther Williams though.  You may not remember her – a film star who was once the center of synchronized swimming.  If I squint a little, I think of my current “aerobics” group as my mininons and I am Esther in all her glory.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Social Media for the AgedAging

A charming and dedicated fellow high school graduate from my early days (those days celebrated in history books now) has initiated a new FaceBook page by-invitation-only,  a private group just for us graduates of our particular year.  I was so excited about participating that I immediately heaped a boatload of photos and stories onto the page.  It dawns on me now there are only 21 of us participating.  I think there were 600 in our class.

Rain, Floods, and Vitamin D

It keeps on raining around here in rural Virginia.  Sometimes it even floods and our local Alert System is always warning that soccer team and other sports events have been cancelled.  Bill and I are “hill toppers” so we are not too worried about being flooded.

I do get concerned about a Vitamin D deficiency!  They say, “Twenty minutes of natural sunlight on two thirds of your unprotected body parts is all you need to self-generate enough Vitamin D for good health.”  So in those brief periods of sunshine we now enjoy, I head for the deck with bare legs and arms, and with no SPF protection.

Down with a Cold or is it The Plague?

All that sunbathing didn’t help after all.  I developed a nasty cold the day after water aerobics!  Tylenol worked for a low grade fever, but I am left with a deep gutteral cough, light headedness, and the occcasional sweats.

I have however, found the ultimate cure-all, feel-better-right-away solution.   I am reading “Year of Wonders” – a story about the Plague!

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streetview

Lee Highway

This morning I had an appointment in Staunton, Virginia and took the serene Lee Highway.  It is normally a 45+ minute ride but I like driving through serenity with views of a tranquil rural Virginia.  And on this bright, sunny day it felt like I was driving the only car on the road.

That was until the traffic jam caused by an accident up ahead.  First a 20 minute wait with the engine off and then a forced U-turn to start over on the Interstate.   Arghhh!

Lost – Time 

Being a woman of  iron will and firm determination I got on that hated truck-dominated freeway chewing on my cheek from nervous anxiety and made it to the appointment just in time to find the doors to my destination were locked.  Arghhh!

Found –  Destination

Lost – Nobody There

A strange looking fellow dressed in raggedy clothing came up to my car and said, “Can I help you?”  Putting on a nothing-scares-me demeanor, I said,  ” I have an appointment at this place but noone is there.”

And he said:  “No, you don’t have an appointment.  We are closed.”  Turns out the scruffy fellow was the one I had an appointment with.

It is possible I had the wrong date but not likely.

Nevertheless, after some not-so-polite words with the person I was supposed to have the appointment with, I moved on.

Lost – Time and Temper

I next wanted to find Milmont Greenhouses in Stuarts Draft, VA.  I don’t have a GPS but managed to muddle my way to this bastion of millions of blooming and budding things.

 I was on a search for Cat Mint!

Cat Mint is supposedly critter proof (deer and rabbits hate it).  It is also drought resistant, blooms almost all summer, looks a lot like Lavender, and “if you can’t grow Cat Mint you should stay out of the garden.”

O.K., so I miraculously found the place!

milmont-1

Found – Milmont Greenhouses

But then I couldn’t find the Cat Mint.

Lost – Energy (Staggering Around a Giant Nursery)

Milmont

Cat Mint is listed under Nepeta.  Who knew? 

nepeta_cats_meow_cjw14-23

Nepeta – Cat Mint

After wandering around the greenhouses among crowds of manic gardeners I managed to look on the good side and said to myself, “At least you are getting some Vitamin D3 with all this sunshine!”

Found – A Positive Outlook on Life

And finally there it was – the Nepeta.

Found – Nepeta (or YES – CAT MINT)

But my sunglasses managed to disappear.

Lost – Sunglasses

I thought I lost my cell phone too but it was in the car all along.

Tension does this sometimes – causes you to lose your mind.

Lost – Mind

I did find my cell phone though.  It was tucked in the creases of the passenger seat.

Found – Cell phone

It was a very strange Lost and Found kind of day.

 

 

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