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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’

Bill and I live on top of a hill with a grand view of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a steep 15 acre slope down which I call The South 40. The South 40 requires “bush hogging.” And when I began to see the forest primeval slowly encroaching I realized we were facing an upkeep challenge.

In the beginning we had two horses (Lucy and Martini). There was also Martini’s friend, Rossi, but he was too wild for us equestrian novices. We were told grazing horses would take care of keeping the grass/weeds down but that was “fake news.”

The horses did love grazing but the grass grew faster than they could chew and soon everything became weeds and trees in an overgrown pasture.

We decided to hire a bush hogger person to keep things trim. That was only successful off and on since not too many people have their own equipment who are willing to risk life and limb to clear our formidable hillside.

Finally Bill bought a John Deere – a big but not the biggest John Deere – so he could mow the slope himself. He had to go straight down to the bottom and then straight back up (no sideways trimming due to the danger of tipping over).

I had visions of Bill lying on the slope with the bush hogger machine on top! Twice a year Bill would do the slope and it would take him four or five days each time to complete the job and that long for me to worriedly chew my nails down too.

Note of interest: Bill was halfway up/down the slope when I ran out to tell him about the 9-11 Disaster. This should give you an idea of how long he has been dedicated to bushhogging our slope.

As Bill grew older – and older, and less interested in risking his own life and limb, a Miracle Man arrived. Dennis came from Texas and said he noticed many folks around here have steep slopes that need trimming. He then bought a special mower that allows him to mow across slopes instead of up and down.

Dennis named his new company Slope Goat!

Dennis the Slope Goat finishes mowing our South 40 in three to four hours instead of days. Now we are duly impressed and looking forward to retiring the big John Deere.

Lest I sound too cynical about our steep incline/decline, the slope has some desirable attributes:

  • There is an old forest and a gurgling stream at the bottom. This is great for horses since they must go down to the bottom to drink and come back up for food (lots of great exercise). The problem is, we outlived our horses who were 28 and 32 and had become longtime lawn ornaments grazing on our parklike slope. Our urge to ride slowly receded when it was too hot, too cold, too buggy or we didn’t feel quite like it.
  • The horses did look beautiful grazing though and our three grandgirls loved pony rides.
  • I used to take walks down to the bottom of the slope (but not for long since it’s a killer huffing and puffing back up).
  • When Elsa-the-dog was new and we turned her loose for the first time, she ran down to the bottom, back up, and down and up again. That was the first and last time she ever tried to make a break for it.

And here we sit, atop our hill. It is 30+ years later as we admire the ever-changing mountain view. But if we look down for a moment at the land, we can see all the way to where we know the stream is. And though we may be a bit too rickety to make our way down there nowadays, the memory is fond.

We smile because we are so happy to have found Slope Goat and hope that Dennis keeps at it through 2021.

Blue Ridge Beautiful

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View from the warm interior of my home December 17, 2020

An icey foggy strange and wonderfully different day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are always a viewing pleasure, but today they are a distant and magical kingdom right out of a Disney film.

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Many steps from house to pool.

Thirty years ago, when we built our little house in the country, we had an in-ground pool installed at the same time.

I insisted we live by water and Bill insisted on a woodstove instead of a fireplace.  It was a compromise.

The end result was a heavy-duty woodstove in the middle of the living room and a swimming pool!

As it turned out, that woodstove grew on me, maybe because it saved our lives through many a frigid winter.

And the pool meant happy memories with our son and the grandgirls, friends who visited, and our two golden retrievers who loved anything water.  Swimming in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has always seemed to me to be the ultimate luxury.

Oh, and I forgot – there was once a horse in our pool, but that is another story.

But now (due to sheltering in place from Covid-19)  we are pretty much the only swimmers.  We invite Elsa-the-dog to join in but she is suspicious of so much water.

On July 3rd I was determined to get into the old pool and paddle around as a prelude to celebrating Independence Day 2020.  A swim would also be good for Old BigFoot.

But as enticing as it is, getting to the pool is now an enormous challenge.  Navigating all those steps is out of the question since there are many steps down, and the only other way (I thought) was walking down over uneven terrain.

Then there were the endless preparations… What to take…

  •  A water dish for Elsa.  Treats for Elsa.  A leash for Elsa.
  • Towells, walking stick (cane), suntan oil, bug repellent, sunglasses, first aid supplies.
  • How to get down there.  The pool is not far if you can walk.  May as well be to the moon for BigFoot.
  • Bill to the rescue!   “We will take the car!” said he.  And Elsa jumped into the backseat thinking it was another ride.
  • And off we went for a one minute drive around the house to wind up at the pool.

It was an unceremonious but successful arrival. 

Elsa would not even consider getting near the water.

Instead she began tentative explorations and found shady spots (to shelter in place).  In fact she found a cave under one of the big evergreen bushes where she was cool, hidden from danger, and could watch for bears in case the peeps needed protection.

BigFoot loved the swim and was already plotting how to get down there again without the mortification of being driven! 

The only concern is that Bruno-the-Bear or his sister would decide to join in, but there is always Elsa for protection.

Do you think she would emerge from her new private dog-cave-digs to scare off another bear? 

 

 

 

 

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Layers Sunrise

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

 Just another miracle here – the dawning of a new day.

The sun is rising over lingering storm clouds over the Blue Ridge Mountain range and finally over the foothills and hollows of home.

 

 

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A Virginia sky over the Blue Ridge Mountains

offers a scenic route to Heaven,

and clouds to guide the way.

Sky Scape 1

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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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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 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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cheese shop candy

What do dogs, health food and beer have in common?

A day in the outside world with son and youngest grandgirl.   (Two more grandgirls are also  expected here this week).

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Knowing how much Bill and I wish for a four-legged friend, our son and grandgirl took us on a dog search at PetSmart in Waynesboro, Virginia.  Every Saturday from 10AM to 2:00PM various foster people bring available rescue dogs there for open air viewing and visitations.

How exciting and sometimes sad it was to meet and greet all the homeless canines available.  Many were being adopted quickly and of course I fell in love with one.

“Paddy” is a big dog in a 20 pound body – an Aussie/Sheltie mix with the most intelligent adorable face.  He seemed as calm as could be in the face of maniacal barking all around him and sat by my feet allowing me to stroke his sweet head.

Even so, I was advised that Australian Shepherds are extremely high energy and difficult and I took the handler at her word. The message was that Paddy needs a young family to take him home and of course he was snatched up immediately.

I still have regrets and miss Paddy even though I only knew him for a few minutes.  I hope he is happy in his new digs.

Healthy Eating?

Next Stop:  The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia.  This is where you can get old fashioned candies (healthy?), magnificent cheeses, and all sorts of nuts, jams, jellies, and spices!

The Cheese Shop has been on my favorites list for over 20 years and it just keeps getting better as well as more and more expensive than it was way back then.  We wound up with peanut butter pretzel pillows, several varieties of candies like caramel creams, chocolate covered coffee beans, elderberry jam, beef sticks, muenster and farmer cheese, and more!

Bound for Beer

Next was the Devil’s Backbone Outpost for dinner.

It’s a brewery just north of Lexington, Virginia that has recently opened a “kitchen” in addition to their well established beer bar/tap room.  A great big dining area was bustling when we arrived and there was even musical entertainment brought in from Lynchburg, Virginia.

We wound up sitting outside with a stellar view of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a cool, delicious evening of beer tasting, happy talk and uniquely tasty grub.

It was a grand day.

And even though we returned home with no dog to cuddle, I am grateful for a grand family, good times, and all that candy on my “no/no” list.

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