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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

 

Elsa on the Sidelines

Elsa on the Sidelines – Note: Lovage Herb still growing mid-November!

 

Today is chilly and wet here in rural Virginia.  When we go outside, our new dog, Elsa, confines herself to exploring under the eves of the house where it is still dry.

I too confine myself to the interior to keep warm with wooly socks and comfort foods.

I am contemplating the arrival of Thanksgiving.

However – the stores are already playing Christmas music!

And whole aisles are devoted to holiday trimmings and diabetic inducing holiday sweets.

Time seems evermore meaningless.

Commerce demands earlier and earlier displays.

Maybe it would be a good idea to have Christmas in August for Bill’s birthday.  Why not?

Tree and all.

My friends and I are becoming cynical about the charms of winter.

But then I discovered  a magical snow globe.

Snowglobe

  • It plays holiday music.
  • Turn it upside down and of course there is a gentle snow storm.
  • And flip a switch for barn illumination and little colored lights that twinkle in the trees.
  • I am transported in time to the sweet charms of Winter.

The little globe has done what no store display could do.

It has inspired me to look forward to a joyful winter season with much to be thankful for.

So no matter what holiday you celebrate, my wish for you is joy

and

warm socks.

 

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I have never been able to take a credible photo of the moon.  This little cell phone camera doesn’t have the capacity (or maybe I don’t know what I’m doing?).

But one silvery night when the fog lay in low Virginia hollows and there was a shimmer on surfaces left wet from a creeping mist, I had to try again.

Deck in Moonlight 3

Deck in Moonlight 4

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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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If I hide my head in these leaves, maybe she won’t see me?

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Day Dreaming in the Sunshine

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aunty acid sleep

My compliments to the Virginia hospital sleep clinic  and kudos to the technician who conducted the study.  The attendant was efficient and kindly and I had a clean room with a double bed, a television and my own bathroom.

HOWEVER………

Following is an accurate account of the night I spent entrapped by wires that are designed to detect oxygen deprivation and other sundry unidentified maladies.

But, of course, if I could do it, you can too!  And this post, although accurate, is actually an attempt to make you laugh – not to scare you off.

And so it all began.  Arrival time: 9 PM

Firstly I expressed doubt about sleeping the requisite time.  That resulted in a bedtime story about why people do not sleep well in strange paces. 

Picture this:  It is the caveman days and humans are nomadic.  Every time they arrive at a new cave they are compelled to stay awake.  Who knows what predators are waiting to eat them?  So, staying wide-eyed when we find ourselves in new digs (even today) is a trait passed down through our DNA.  A perfectly understandable tale though not particularly comforting.

Bedtime story aside, it was not yet time to bed down because we had to do the real prep work!

 It took 40 minutes to attach 40,000 wires glued to head, face, neck, chest and legs, and another contraption attached to a finger (Well, maybe not 40,000 really but a huge mass)!

After hookups, some test runs, checks and rechecks I was tucked in and then visually monitored to record sleep positions!

I could not go to the bathroom without announcing the need out loud.  Then the technician would magically appear and unplug the wires.  That meant carrying 40,000 wires in a glob strapped over my shoulder and taking the glob into the bathroom.

While trying to wash one wireless globless hand, I got a glimpse of my face in the mirror.  Perfect reflection of a science fiction monster!

O.K., Blessed sleep time.  And there I lay for another hour or two, eyes wide open, hands in fists, and muscles tensed (primitive posture to deter an ancient mammoth attack).

The Turning Over Challenge.  Try rolling around and dragging 40,000 wires!  Barely making it to one side I stayed stiff for an hour or so until the body insisted on turning to the other side.

Oh, I forgot to mention they put a belt around my waist and another belt around my chest.

I prefer sleeping in the dark but the room was not dark even after the technician turned off the lamp and the overheads.  Didn’t she know killer bears can see into a lit room?

Praying for oblivion, I finally did fall into a dreamless sleep (on one of the stiff sides) that lasted 4 hours.

And finally, at 6 AM a cheery “Good Morning!” sounded over the speaker.

All the hookups were removed with instructions on how to wash off the goo.  My hair was all stuck to my head with gel stuff.

Did I look bad with all the wires attached?

That was nothing compared to the final unplugged version.

Thankfully I returned home, showered, removed goo, and slept on and off all day in a recliner.

My body was shaky and in screaming revolt.

 It may still be revolting, if not screaming.

But the test was meant to determine if I stop breathing during sleep.  A lack of oxygen to the organs is dangerous, and especially dangerous to the heart.  I trust my doctor.

So again, please don’t let this blog post deter you from doing a Sleep Study too.  Ha!

But, it you do go, please don’t tell me if you breeze right through the whole thing.  It would be too embarrassing to discover I am a colossal wimp!

 

 

 

 

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Hogweed 1

Hogweed in Northern Michigan

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

Oh how we rejoice in the beauty of nature!  And summertime in rural Virginia couldn’t be more invitingly lush and green.

Then my brother called from California to warn us about an invasive weed recently found in Virginia.

Beware HOGWEED!

It grows exceedingly tall and some might say, “pretty”,  but you don’t want to cut Hog Weed for indoor  arrangements.  Even if you just brush against as you pass by, your skin may suddenly become sunlight sensitive to the point of third degree burns!

And if you get some of the sap in your eyes, you could literally go permanently blind.

Read about Hogweed  here!  It is in a number of states now and Virginia is the latest.

Now if Hogweed wasn’t enough (and forgeddabout Stink Bug infestations) but have you ever heard of SLIME MOLD?

Slime Mold

Slime Mold – Nickname “Dog Vomit.” Ewwwwww!

This weekend I looked around the mulched beds in our front yard and saw a giant spread of a horrifyingly ugly mold.

It was a sickly white globby thing!

I expected it to ooze out bigger and bigger and to eventually smother every living thing in its path.  Yes, you would definitely see SLIME MOLD in a very scary horror movie.

I was terrified.  I didn’t want to touch it.  I didn’t want to move it.  “Well, maybe I will water it,” I thought.  A hard spray to the monolithic gooey mass created a copper colored cloud of deadly dust.

  • Am I inhaling this?
  • Will I die of an alien fungus and who would know?

My fearless friend Amy was here but even she was intimidated by the ugly slime.  She agreed to turn a pot over on it so we wouldn’t have to see it.  I had nightmares that night though.

  • What if it seeped out the sides of the upside-down pot?
  • What if it could figure out how to get inside the house?
  • There was a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage but the hole was now “up” and was I feeding The THING with oxygen and enabling it to grow?
  • Would it crawl out the drainage hole?

Thank Goodness for “Hey Google!”

Turns out that SLIME MOLD (affectionately nicknamed “DOG VOMIT”due to the similarity in appearance) is not dangerous to humans or pets or even plants if it doesn’t smother them with love.

Slime Mold is only horrifyingly ugly, which demonstrates that sometimes Mother Nature is indeed, benevolent and even compassionate.

Watering will cause Slime Mold to float around in the air (in that big copper cloud I unleashed) and spread (the result of my watering efforts).

And so my friends, my own personal ugly Slime Mold took up new residence on top of an Impatiens flower in the same bed.

According to my panicked research, the way to remove it (the Slime Thing) is to dig it up with a shovel, put it in a plastic bag (like you would dog doo) and discard the whole thing in the trash.

Bill grinned and bore it and just pitched the one celled organism into the woods where it will surely find some new decaying vegetation on which to build a life.  We are not killers after all.

Such are the gifts of nature to be found in the Virginia countryside!

I did see a mama turkey and her six young-uns running for the woods yesterday.  Maybe they heard about the Slime Mold Invasion.

So, what’s new in your neck-o-the-woods?

 

 

 

 

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