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Posts Tagged ‘Shenandoah Valley’

Being Florida born and bred I have never quite adjusted to snow events. A world transformed by white was out of the realm of my imagination and the first snow I ever saw I was 21 years old in Big Bear City, California. That snow was called Tapioca for its tapioca-like pellets, and I have never seen the likes of it since.

And then we had a whopper of an event a day or so ago here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. That storm named Izzy dumped seven inches that froze in place and dredged up lots of memories of other winters right here in rural Virginia.

In the early days years ago such a snow created magnificent excitement for those of us young enough to enjoy prepping and shoveling or just going outside to experience raw nature.

That was when my mother was living with us and I would call the power company and whine about having an elderly woman here who could not take the cold. Mom has been gone a long time and guess who is elderly here now!

In the old days we had to keep stocked up on wood for the woodstove, and I saved water in bathtubs, washing machines, and in any containers I could find, candles too, and lots and lots of comforters and blankets to cozy up in. I made stew that could be reheated on the wood stove. Never mind that it might take six hours to be heated to a palatable stage. And we got out the shovels too.

This latest storm has been a vastly different story.

The power stayed on but even if it went out the difference is we installed a whole house generator!

And because we have this remarkable new technology I should be happy to exclaim, “Let it snow.”

Because now:

There will be running water no matter what.

The microwave will work.

The toaster too.

The heat never goes off.

The freezer keeps on running.

Lights only go out for 10 seconds before the generator kicks in.

No candles necessary.

Progress! A better life. A safer future.

Then why do I feel sad? Maybe it is like people felt when the automobile replaced the horse and carriage. This first real winter storm since we got the generator has left me with a sort of wrung out memory. It was a ghost snowstorm that brought up all my old memories of bustling around preparing for a worst scenario.

I still keep a few jarred candles in a secret cupboard just in case. They are lonely reminders of more eventful days when I placed candles in every room and flashlights too.

I still filled two pitchers with water just in case. They are reminders that the need for water was paramount. Filling tanks and tubs and containers was a busy job indeed.

The wood stove has not been lit with a real fire in a long time. It once kept us so warm at times I had to open windows. There is still plenty in the woodpile but waiting for a forgotten necessity.

Yes, I did go through the motions of all the preparations I used to do, but eventually realized I could just sit back and watch the snow. There was that little glimmer of excitement as I watched the first flakes come floating down, but I actually longed to be in survival mode with all the old frantic preparations. I missed working to make my home ready to combat nature and then to bundle up in Aunt Millie’s crocheted afghan, enjoying reheated stew warmed for six hours on the woodstove.

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I never tire of the sweeping view, especially whilst cooking and standing at the kitchen window.

How blessed we are to have found this place and recognized it as home.

Thirty-two years ago I would hum happily en route to this 20 acre plot where there was no home yet . It was a place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where we could imagine a future.

The land stayed unspoiled. The house Bill designed sustained us.

And “the future is now.”

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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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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.

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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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Piney Perspectives

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The Barn Across the Hill

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Foggy Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

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Nice View Here

It was 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit outside when I opened my eyes this morning. I was looking at the ceiling where we can immediately know the time and the temp all lit up like a starry sky above.  It was 6:00 AM and who needs to know the time and temp that early anyway?  In fact, knowing made me want to go back to sleep.

But I had to get up to put chicken in the crock pot.

I was thinking,

“How can I arise, dress in something warm and cozy,  and then head out to the kitchen with nary a sound?

“Should I just go back to sleep and forget the crock pot?”

“No, I answered.  You have to stay on plan.  So, it’s cold.  You will survive.”

Now I am aware it is colder elsewhere in the country.  And wetter.  And snowier.  Feeling sorry for myself and broadcasting that “woe is me” attitude is definitely self serving.

“Stay in bed, I thought, You are entitled to selfish self-serving pampering.”

“No, get up!”

“Get going.”

“Bill will love not having to cook dinner!”

“Just a little snooze huh?

This  internal struggle continued and jumped to other concerns about the cold temperatures.

Do the lights go out just because it’s cold?

Why then, do I have the urge to hoard water and bread and why am I wanting to stock up for a surprise power outage?

Lucky us!  There is no wetness in this part of Virginia.  Not even any humidity.  It’s just well, COLD!  My youngest grandgirl was supposed to be here yesterday but she was stranded in Charleston, South Carolina! They had 6 to 7 inches of snow that melted a little and then froze.  Bah Humbug!

The sun is up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  And by golly it looks warm out there.

Never mind the ceiling flashing 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit at 7:30 AM.

The chicken dish is in the crock pot and if you are interested, here’s the complicated recipe:

DOR’S CROCK POT YUMMY CHICKEN

GOOD ON A WINTER COLD DAY NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE

WORTH GETTING OUT OF A WARM BED FOR

Ingredients:  Chicken, a can of black beans, and a jar of salsa.

Directions:

Put however many pieces of chicken in the crock pot

Dump in a can of black beans and a jar of salsa.

Put on “Low” for about 8 or 9 hours and plan to serve over noodles or rice.

And go back to bed!

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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 .

Safari Park 07

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

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