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Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

Like New Cars

Was this a Precursor of Today’s Used Car Lots?

I was driving to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced “Standtin” by the locals) on what was once a major north-south highway now displaced by the Interstate.

This stretch of U.S. Route 11 (known as Lee Highway here) is a country road now that slows for thriving little towns and interesting stops along the way, with farms and barns and majestic mountain views.

But what I love most is to see the remnants of a bygone era – abandoned gas stations, diners, pre-chain motels, and other businesses I actually recall as they were in their “haydays” in the 1950’s.

There are crumbling buildings as timeworn as I sometimes feel.    

Surely they have stories to tell of lives and lifetimes.

Would that we could get close enough

and remain still long enough to hear the echoes of the past.

 

 

 

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There is something enchanting about the ethereal mists in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  I am still breathless for a moment when the world is quiet and serene.

Mountain Mist 1

View from Home The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

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Rhody in Bloom 2 Window

Thirty years ago we planted a baby Rhododendron at our new home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.   It was a house warming gift from our friends, Terry and Barbara.  Barbie did all the work too and she has a magic touch in the garden because our Rhody grew and grew, and her saucer sized flowers stunned all visitors.

Note:  I did prune her once and as if in protest there were no flowers for several years.  

But she grew and grew and grew some more.

And this year she bloomed again foor the first time in a long time (see photo above)!

But Rhody was suddenly enormous!

She reached the roof of the house and spread out to cover two windows.

That was when Bill said, “She needs to be pruned.”  “No,” I cried, “She will not flower again for years.”  Then Bill left it to me, but the seeds of doubt were planted.

I literally lost sleep over the decision but finally got enough courage to begin to cut.  “Just a little here and there,” I thought.

I think I cut too much.

I am so sad and so sorry.

Do you think I killed Rhody?

Rhody Pruned

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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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