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Going Bananas

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 .

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

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Virginia Signs of Change

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?

 

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The Perils of Texting and Driving

Rambling Ramblings

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.

Do the Animals Know?

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?

 

 

 

BigBruno

If you are weary of hearing about my bear visitors here in rural Virginia, I do understand.  I hope you are able to “grin and bear it.”

But I must recount the latest episode.  This time I was away from home with a friend.

We were out for lunch at a general store (and diner) in Natural Bridge Station, Virginia.  That is only a few miles from the actual Natural Bridge (an awesome sight indeed).

The Natural Bridge  is also now a Virginia State Park.

Anyway, we pulled into the driveway of the little general store and there he was – Bruno’s father! BIGBruno!

He was crossing the parking lot right in front of us.  And he went loping down an embankment to a little stream, and up the other side to cross the road into the woods.

Could I get out of othe car without fear of bodily harm?  No.

I was on the bear’s side!

Could I outrun the bear?  No.

Still having trouble hobbling around on a bad foot, but even if it was normal……. well, you get the picture.

Was I stupid enough to get out of the car (on BigBruno’s side) and slowly make my way to the diner entrance?

Yes.

And so it was.  Lunch was a breathless affair recounting the story to the hostess.  She said they had been frying bacon all morning.  Well, no wonder BigBruno was enamoured of the place!

And on the wall was this frightening image!

It looked just like him.

I still don’t know if it was a photograph or a painting, but BigBruno loomed out of the canvas as big and wild and beautiful as I could ever conjure up in a dream/nightmare.

Lunch was delicious by the way.  A very informal setting with all natural all fresh salads and sans – everything to a bear’s liking!

Another adventure in Virginia country living.

Fun(ny) Friends

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Some friends are fun,

and some are funny.

Meet our friend Pete,

a combination of both.

We had dinner with our friends, Pete and Phebe last week.  We see them often and look forward each time to hilarious conversations that leave us literally doubled over with laughter.

I am always concerned there will be nothing to say

since we have probably said it all by now.

But no story gets left untold and nothing escapes our howling laughter.  

Pete is wearing Phebe’s hat in this photo and you an see he is cracking himself up and the silliness is oddly catchy.

We are supposed to be among the distinguished elderly now, behaving with quiet maturity and an air of pride and elegance to make our families proud.

It may be fortunate that our families are not around to witness actual behavior!

We even make political arguments insanely funny (maybe because things are so insane in that realm anyway).

And what young folks would want to listen to those zany memories of  our younger selves?  We relive ridiculous moments with humongous chuckles.

Teasing the young wait staff at our local restaurants is part of the unplanned plan too. They may be secretly snickering at those old folks who are having such a great time, but I think they know we love them.

On this last visit to The Sheridan Livery Inn, in Lexington, Virginia, an old favorite restaurant, a familiar waitress greeted us with, “Oh No!  It’s those crazy people again!”  

I took that as a fabulous compliment and so did the others.  Besides, it started us off laughing and we laughed right through the meal.  Surely all that laughing is beneficial for digestion.

How lucky we are to have such people in our lives who are fun, funny and always funnier – they are the catalysts for life’s comic relief.  And just think of all the new memories we are creating to laugh about later.

Bruno Returns

We have had four visits in a week from Bruno the Bear.  He is beginning to resemble an old friend who drops in now and then.

On his last foray Bruno discovered the lower branches of our little pear tree were plundered by marauding deer.  We watched him standing on his back legs craning his neck looking up, up, up into that tree.

Then Bill and I watched the bear’s agile ascent.   Bruno literally “went out on a limb” and we could see the tree waving around a bit, and then he dropped to the ground to begin the harvest of shaken down pears.

I am always stunned into inactivity at the sight of a bear in my back yard.  It’s like watching a live National Geographic film only we are right here in rural Virginia!

Can you see Bruno in this photo as he was heading home to his forest?

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Making Human Friends

Have I told you I am “aquasizing?”  It’s a whole lot of jumping around in a pool and supposed to be easy on the joints.

Most of my fellow attendees quietly and even grimly follow the instructor.  There is one lady who cracks jokes at just the right moments to make us all laugh.  It’s Pauline!  She is alert, animated, beautiful, active, kind, and most of all – funny!  I have decided I have found a new friend and mentor.

Pauline even led me up a secret grassy hillside to get to the class faster from the parking lot.   A shortcut you know.  And she looked back to inquire, “Are you all right?”, as I followed her up.

And was I amazed when I learned that Pauline is 90 years old!

I love it that I have a 90 year old human friend I admire so.

Donkeys or Mules?

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There are two new additions to the neighborhood.  I think they are donkeys.  Maybe they are mules.

One is splotched colors like some horses they call “Paint” and the other is almost universally black.  Both have very big pointed ears.  They almost look like horses but you know right away they aren’t horses.  I wonder if they are mules.  Never did know the difference really.

These two are always together in the cow pasture and I believe they are there to guard the cows against coyotes (and maybe bears?).

At any rate, they look lonely even though they have each other.  I stopped to get a picture but did not capture the full effect of those big sad eyes and only got the rump of the black one.

O.K., I know I am stretching it to seek friendship from two mules.

Times like this I am grateful for those of you who stick with me in cyberspace. 

“Good friends are hard to find”.

 

 

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