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Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

There is a tree I love.

Most of the year it is a little spindly tree,  hardly recognizable and often mistaken for a common weed.

Then Spring arrives and the flowers of this tree are like decorative trimming on a fantastical wedding cake.

The metamorphasis happens right after Forsythia blooms here in Virginia.  A cloud of pink begins to line the roadsides.  And suddenly there are sparkling pathways of brilliant pink for miles around.

I think this is a special time when nature is transformational and with its magic wand,  even a frog can become a prince.

Beauty and the Beast

Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Copious clusters of fabulous pink to fuchsia flowers hug bare branches in early spring giving way to heart-shaped leaves. This Pea family member often grows as an understory tree in mixed forests in the Mid-Atlantic Region* from southern Pennsylvania through Virginia. The Virginia Native Plant Society named Eastern Redbud as Wildflower of the Year for 2013.

Print Version: Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud

 

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Elsa

Our little dog, Elsa, is not as little as she was when we got her.

I knew she was chunkier.  I had a feeling you know.

And of course, some signs are clear.

It was a very stormy night here in Virginia, and Elsa is terrified of storms.

My first clue that she had gained weight was the “thunder shirt” I got her didn’t fit anymore.  I couldn’t get the velcro closure to close around her tummy.

Thunder shirts are supposed to feel like swaddling and hopefully calm the jitters.

When Elsa is really frightened she looks for a close covered shelter where she can go to shake and shiver.

During one previous storm I had to laugh when she literally flattened herself out and slithered under our bed.  That was when we first got her.  After the storm of course, she slithered herself back out.  I called that acrobatic maneuver The Return-Slither.

Well,  last night, when I was all tucked in and ready for a long sweet sleep, there was a thunderstorm. And this time, sans Thunder Shirt, she needed an escape cave – fast! 

Once again Elsa slithered under the bed.  Unfortunately, I never saw or heard her emerge, even when the storm was over.

There were subtle movements like maybe she was trying though, like the bed kind of heaved.  And then I thought I could feel her trying to turn around under there.

Was Our Dog Stuck Under the Bed?

  • Oh No!  Had Elsa gained so much weight she couldn’t slither back out?
  • I agonized over what to do.  
  • Would Elsa have to spend the night in the dark?
  • I lay there imagining.  Was she frightened?  Could she breathe under there?  Did she feel abandoned?
  • And I lay Sleepless in Virginia, imagining the worst,  and plagued by worry for hours and hours..
  • I couldn’t call to her or I would wake Bill.
  • I dozed and woke and dozed and woke.

Finally at 3AM I thought I heard a little cry so I jumped up, got a flashlight, and determined to wake Bill to help me lift the bed off our poor littlechubby Elsa.

But she was up and out.

Elsa had managed the Return-Slither.

It must have been a struggle though.

And Elsa is now on a diet.

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One Leaf

And so it went.  Day after day after day I waited.

At first, from my faraway post it might have been an injured red Virginia Cardinal fluttering on a barren branch in a forest now devoid of any leaves.

On closer inspection it was actually a lone leaf fluttering in the breeze.

“It may be the only leaf still clinging to life in the state of Virginia,” I thought.

Then we had 60 mile per hour wind gusts.

“Surely it will release its grasp though this,”

But there it stayed and stays still.

I never see a singular leaf like this even though I look along our roadsides.

Now it is snowing and raining and snowing with a sometimes stiff breeze making for peculiar weather.

And there she is, hanging on

as if dreaming.

She is to be admired – an Autumn leaf dreaming of turning green again for one more chance at life.

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Daffy Spring

It rained all day today.

It rained yesterday.

And there was snow and sleet the day before.

But when the sun came out for a second

there was another sign of Spring!

 

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night caps

It has been an unusual winter here in rural Virginia.  Everybody says that around the globe, but it may actually be true here.  One day it feels and looks like Spring with balmy breezes and sunshine.  And the next there may be snow or freezing rain or rain or flooding or wind.

With each ensuing event our family and friends (in warmer climes) would call and ask if we were o.k.  “No problem.  They simply exaggerate the weather here.  All is well,” we said.

But then for the last two days we got seriously punishing winds.  Gusts were up to 60 miles per hour which caused limbs and toppling trees to fall onto power lines and then massive outages.

Even so,

for a time we were spared any inconvenience and we smugly carried on.

But then there were the inevitable lights out.

It was our turn.

Ah well, no problem.  There is a trusty wood stove in our living room and a little generator only Bill knows how to operate.  And soon we were once again smugly carrying on.

And in a mere two hours our lights returned and we let the fire in the woodstove slowly burn itself out. 

I retired around 11PM and went into a warm cozy dreamy kind of sleep

when around midnight the lights went out again.

The house slowly turned stone cold.

So did the top of my head

and then my nose which woke me up at 3:15 A.M.

Have you ever tried to warm your nose and keep breathing?

I did manage to create a sort of blanket tent

around head and face but

the cold kept seeping in.

I got up to put on a wool cap

(not particularly becoming).

It kept slipping down over my eyes.

The forehead got warmer

but the nose re-froze.

This went on until 5 AM…. a rough night.

Bill finally got the wood stove going again at 6AM and the power returned about 10 AM this morning.

My nose is warm again.  So is the forehead.  But I had a lot of time to think about coping with a cold nose and other bodily parts and kept remembering “mama in her ‘kerchief” in the Twas The Night Before Christmas poem.  Surely she and my ancestors had the same problems with the fires going out and the cold creeping in.

Today my side of the bed is at the ready with

  • a wool cap nearby (forget romance forever),
  • an extra blanket for swaddling semi-exposed areas of face and body,
  • tightly closed windows (never mind allowing in fresh air for health),
  • and warm socks to avoid frostbite.

I wonder if “mama in her ‘kerchief” had a canopied curtained bed.

Not a bad idea.

Now if only Elsa-the-fuzzy-wuzzy-dog would recognize the value of cuddling, winter’s woes will disappear.

 

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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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