Sky Meadows State Park

I met my sister at this park in Virginia which is about halfway between our homes.
It was November 9th, my sister’s birthday.
It was on a weekday so there weren’t many people there. This was taken after we had our lunch at a picnic table under some pine trees.
It was a beautiful day. Almost a little too warm for a hike. In the 70’s and breezy.

October 2020

We took out the elecampane from the front garden because it was taking over the space with it’s large leaves. I sliced a bunch of the roots – dried some in the dehydrator and made elecampane syrup with the rest. I just added honey and put it in the fridge. It is good for respiratory health. I was using it over the winter and it really did help with my breathing. With the cold dry air I wake in the morning feeling a bit thick in my chest. I started taking just a teaspoon of the honey in the morning back in November and sometimes chewing a piece of the root. It made a big difference – enough so that I stopped taking it in January and I’m still fine.
The little volunteer sassafras trees were ablaze last fall.
The kitchen garden after we took out the pepper plants that were in the foreground. We had a mild fall so things were quite green even though this is late October.

Wild Oak Hike Last Fall

I’m very behind in my blog writing so will attempt to catch up over the next few days.

I just couldn’t resist taking a photo of this farmer in Churchville when we were on our way to the Wild Oak Trail near Stokesville in the George Washington National Forest.

A friend told me about this trail so we took the first opportunity of a beautiful day to go.

The date was October 7. I find the muted tones of early fall to be just as beautiful as the intensity of peak color.

Darcy doesn’t like bridges but Dave was able to get her to proceed. She’d follow him anywhere.

Jack-o-lantern mushrooms
The view

It was the perfect hike for us. It took about an hour to get to the overlook and the return was just going back the way we came. Wild Oak has 27 miles of trail for us to explore. I’m surprised we haven’t been back yet. Something to look forward to.

Harvesting Black Walnuts

We harvested all these black walnuts from a friend’s place.
Dave put the bucket of walnuts in a large garbage can full of water. He agitated the mix using a dry wall mixing tool to remove the green hulls. I filled an old crock pot with some of the filtered sludge and cooked it down to make black walnut ink.
These are all nuts (minus the ones I used to make hermit cookies) after Dave dried them on a sheet all day on the driveway.


The white wood asters and blue stemmed goldenrod in bloom.
herbs and other potted plants
been seeing a lot of praying mantis
a closeup of the blue stemmed goldenrod
Bumper crop of peppers this year and the Moondurang tomatoes are still producing.
I’m extending the bed off the back patio. Moving columbine and white wood aster from the cracks of the patio brick.
The butternut did well, too. This photo was taken before we had a bit of frost.
The black locust tree and chestnut oak (smaller tree to right and behind) are doing very well. We planted them 4 years ago.
I love our meadow in September.
A closer look at the New York ironweed, jewelweed and boneset.
New York ironweed
blue cardinal flower in the meadow closer to the road
This little tree frog hitched a ride to the farmers market with me.
We cleaned out the mudroom and shed this month. These photos are of the shed.
purple stem aster down by the creek
Canada goldenrod also down by the creek
The aster and goldenrod down by the creek.
With Darcy’s help we harvested 56 butternut squash. We left many unripe ones in the field. They won’t ripen because we got such an early frost which made the vines die back.

Feeling Like Late Summer

We thought the cucumbers were slowing down. Wrong!

A female monarch on our blue foamflower. I wonder if we will finally see a monarch chrysalis this year. In the past, I’ve only seen males. Males have a black spot on their hindwings.


Our first big harvest of peppers. It includes Chinese Five Color, Serrano and Jasmyn Rissie. They are all hot peppers. We also got a few sweet Jimmy Nardello and Doe Hill. They aren’t in the photo because I only canned the hot peppers.
New York Ironweed growing in our meadow down by the creek.
Jewelweed grows down there as well.
We had heavy rain again this past Saturday night. It wasn’t as bad as two weeks ago but some of the same places downtown flooded AGAIN!
This photo shows our creek much higher than normal.

August 2020

We planted this about three years ago down by the spring house. This is the first year it bloomed. Only three blooms that I could see. Hopefully, more next year.
Meadow petunias in our native garden. This plant is starting to spread itself everywhere!
Our native garden was planted in 2017 – three years ago. It is between the house and the garage. This is the way we walk to enter the house via the back door.
We added a row of blocks on either side of the driveway so no one drives off the edge where the conduits are. The other areas are a slope of rocks.
Well it didn’t take long between getting the new driveway and having a gully washer of a storm – about four inches in two hours. Many homes and businesses in the downtown area were ruined. The newspaper reported about $3 million of damage. We just had a bunch of rock moved downstream. We’ve moved some of it. Billy Young stopped by a few nights ago and said they’d move the rest when it dried up. Hmmm, that could be months from now if we continue in this wet weather pattern.
Our second batch of sauerkraut. We have our second batch of sour pickles bubbling on the kitchen counter now.
We’ve been busy with our harvest. Planning to can more tomato sauce this weekend using a mix of our tomatoes and those from the farmers market. We’ve had cool weather this week – 58 degrees last night – so I don’t know how well they will continue to do.
These are elderberries. It’s hard to tell how big they are. These are smaller than a pea. They can be half this size. The rain has kept them plump. I’m making immune boosting syrup with them.

New Driveway

A different crew came on Sunday to erect the frame for the concrete.

Summer Heat

This is a photo from earlier this month of the kitchen garden. We had fairly moderate weather until last week when we hit 90 degrees. Yesterday was a scorcher.
Sometimes Darcy needs a little quiet time too.
Smokey and I have been meeting up on the back deck every morning for some loving. I’m allergic so I just stroke him with my one hand and try not to let him rub up against my legs. I largely fail at that. I always wash afterward.
Orange and purple coneflowers
Smokey has not trained Darcy like Frida has. He usually runs away from her whereas Frida will stand her ground.

More about the driveway soon!