Posts Tagged ‘rural living’

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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Yesterday we spotted a Mommy/Doe and her triplets!  We passed them on our country road in a neighbor’s horse pasture.

I looked up and around and what did I see?

Three tiny rein-deer staring right back at me.*

And there they were, the Mom and her three fawns looking at us through the pasture fence.

They were startled by our car and quickly ran away, except for one.

A courageous baby remained to stare us down.

I call her Brave Bambi.

Bambi 2

She and her siblings are so tiny  (even though Bambi looks fairly large here), they actually resemble stuffed toy gifts for infant humans.

Note: The deer in Virginia are actually not “rein-deer.”  Ours are white-tailed deer who live in meadows and forests, and have poor adaptations for snow, whereas reindeer live in cold areas and have special split hooves for walking on ice and snow. Both male and female reindeer also have antlers.  In contrast, only the male of the species for White-tailed deer have antlers.

From: http://www.reference.com




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Here comes Spring again!

The Daffys were a happy crew,

until Forsythia chimed in

just in time

for the Red Buds’ promising debut.




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Startled Deer

It is deer hunting season here in Virginia but our little “reserve” is reserved for wildlife to keep on living.

I know this is controversial since deer populations are exploding and hunting is a way to exercise control.

But just look at  this sweet young buck I surprised on my way to town.    See his little antlers?

He seems to be asking, “Who are you?”

And, “What should I do?”

Stick around little guy.  You are safe here.


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Uh Oh – it’s Friday!



I started working with a mattock on a long narrow ex-flower bed now destined to be grass only.

A MATTOCK IS A VERY HEAVY TOOL.  I think huge men use that tool to build railroad tracks.

Anyway, the soil I was attacking was compacted into immovable iron.

And my goal was to fluff up the iron into rich loamy (is loamy a word?) stuff to welcome grass seed.

But after an hour of hefting, heaving, sweating, and finally broadcasting seeds and tamping them down, I staggered into the house and collapsed.

Bill stopped by my inelegantly posed body (complete with ice packs in pertinent places) and said, “Are you o.k.?”

Moan:  “Yes, but      having      chest       pains……….”

“Oh,” he said.  “I’m going to get a haircut.”


SittingLying still with ice packs helped and I started thinking about the poor grass seed dehydrating in all those parched clumps of soil.

Those seeds needed water and fortunately THE FORECAST WAS FOR RAIN.  There was already high humidity, overcast skies and even thunder in the distance.

“I will just sit here a little longer and let the rain do the work.”

And I promptly fell asleep.

No rain.

This is Day 4.   Tomorrow I will resort to the hose!  It is sure to rain after that.


I am the secretary of our landowner’s corporation.

All of a sudden there was a lot of busy work to be done re the sale of one of the properties.

Work?!   Me?  Wasn’t working with a mattock enough?

I would rather play on my blog!


Startled Young BuckA DEAR ENCOUNTER

On my way out, there was a deer.  I stopped.  He stopped.  We looked. Why is he staying glued to the spot?   I reached for the camera.

Turn on camera.

Wait until things don’t look too fuzzy.


No.  Too far away.

Aim again.

O.k. – Shoot Click!

We were frozen.  He still stood perfectly still looking right into my eyes.

How long could this last?

“I’m sorry but I have an appointment,” I explained and slowly moved forward.  And finally the young buck returned to the forest.

Such are the wonders of living in Brigadoon.


I had a tooth enlarged to fill in a gap that harbored leftover morsels of just about anything lodged there.


Well, maybe that is not the exact dental terminology.  But what else would you call the insertion of putty or enamel or whatever between two teeth to fill in a gaping void?  It doesn’t show by the way so I am still a ravishing beauty.

The process took an hour, required numbing, cost $200 and left the same gap eagerly awaiting future lodged in morsels.

I have a darling of a dentist though who says to come back.  He wants to try again.


Pete Laughing

Pete Begins the Laughing Fest

And tonight I laughed so hard I cried (and other things).  It was dinner out with friends and one of those times when everything is hilarious.

We were all beyond having a stable quiet evening but were into leaning over, close to falling over, screaming with laughter.

Bill tried to pry open the coke bottle salt shaker and missed seeing all the little pouring holes on top.  That sent us into fits of giggles and guffaws.

Pete ordered brown beans and he got about eight beans in a soupy mixture.  Talk about laughing tears!  I could hardly breathe.

The sign on the door left off pants in the dress code (see previous post “Pants Not Necessary.”)

And what better way to end a week than in laughing to the point of total collapse?


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What is This




Hey- I am all alone here

Alone in a Big White World


I'm Taking Cover

Taking Cover


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The Hills are Alive

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Mail Boxes 3

The Case of the Vandalized Mail Box or Boxes

On my way out one morning this week I saw a dreadful thing.

There were two ruined mailboxes lying on the ground (in shambles) right next to our own mailbox!

I was astonished!   We had vandals in a peaceful rural community.

“What can be done about this horrible thing?”  I wondered, 

and as I drove by, I was thinking, “Tampering with the mail is a Federal offense!”

 “Maybe we should post hidden cameras around to detect the culprits.”

I was so alarmed that I reported the downed boxes to the President of our loosely knit association.

I also called a friend and neighbor to discuss possible solutions.

Both were lengthy conversations about the shock of such activity here in our quiet little enclave, and then about what could be done about it.

A Letter from the President

It was decided the President should write a note to alert everyone about the crime in Camelot (not to alarm anyone of course) and the possibility of other such incidents.

Call the Sheriff

It was also decided that each of us should contact the Sheriff to report the current problem.

Take Pictures

On the way home I stopped at the stricken mailboxes again.

My plan was to take a picture of the carnage (for the Sheriff’s records) and to circulate along with the President’s notice.

I was about to snap the photo when a car pulled up and a neighbor emerged.

I recognized her as one of the mail box marauders’ victims.

“Have you seen this mess?” I asked.  “ I am about to take a picture for the Sheriff.”

“Yes, ” she answered.  “I did it.  Did you think it was vandalism?”

“Uh – yes I did.”  

“I’m sorry!  We bought a new mailbox,” said she, “Something more modern and bigger.  All that remains is to dig the hole for the new post.”

I managed a weak smile and then a somewhat false hollow laugh, and trying to look poised and put together, I said something like,

“Well it’s a happy thing I ran into you, and if you will excuse me now, I have some phone calls to make!”

I’m sure my face was red from embarrassment.

Thus began another round of telephone calls.

To the President:   “It looked like 2 mailboxes because the old one had another one inside it, but both boxes belonged to Mr. and Mrs. X.  And the X’s got a new box to replace the old 2 boxes.  And we don’t need to write that notice after all, or to call the Sheriff now.”

Response:  “Would you please go through that again?”

To my Friend:  the same explanation as above.

Friend’s Response:  “Could you repeat that please?”

And To my Husband:  “Wanna hear a funny story?”

I did not take pictures of the downed boxes but will snap the new lineup before this goes out (just in case we need it for the Sheriff if there ever is vandalism in Camelot).



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Beautiful Noche Good One

My niece lives in the city.

“How does your dog get exercise?”  I asked.

“We walk together and she is always on a leash,” said Judi.

I live in rural Virginia – in a place where the land stretches unbothered by human clutter for many acres, first over a sunny hillside and then through a forest primeval.  Bill keeps a wide swath open by clearing fallen trees and limbs and even mowing with his big tractor, where mowing is possible.

We once shared our home with other beloved critters who roamed this path, and Bill even built a little bench where we could sit and listen to the birds sing.  The critters (all the dogs and horses) lived long but have long since gone.  The last was Rozie the rescue dog we lost in October.

We are without critters now and missing them all, sometimes still crying.

Then Judi called.

She asked if we would consider taking care of her German Shepherd, Noche, for two weeks.

Of course Noche is here now!  And her first day walk was free!

No leash.  No collar.  No restraints.

The land, the forest, and the hill top were all hers!

And she ran high speed, body outstretched, like a jaguar in full gear,

And sprinted just far enough ahead to keep us in sight, then stopped and waited.

“Is this o.k.?” she seemed to ask.  “Why aren’t you running too?”

And off she would go again dashing, leaping, almost flying with an observable exuberance, bounding across the hillside and through the woods.  My laughter covered a kind of swelling irrepressible joy in my heart.  Her leaping and sprinting shouted a doggie cry of “Look at me!  I’m running free!”

Tonight Noche is relaxed snuggled up on her bed at the foot of my bed.  She is mellow after a good dinner.

Noche Abed 2

 I hope she knows that here lies safety, warmth and love.

 I hope she is reliving her adventure running wildly unleashed in a dream come true.

And I hope she thinks this is a doggie spa where tomorrow she can once again run free.

Am I dog sitting?

What do you think?

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The last few days have been bright and sunny with clear blue skies and a bracing nip in the air.

But I have not forgotten the first bite of winter just before,

when the world turned misty and the wild grasses leaned and the trees crackled stiffly,

and my once so friendly landscape turned bitter and cold.

Icy World in the Mist

Chilly Road Out

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