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.

Chickens Out and About



Cats, too. I wonder if they miss Eartha like we do. Eartha was the tortie, daughter of Freda (left) and sister to Smokey (right). We haven’t seen her for about a month. I like to think she found another family but the reality is she probably was found by a coyote.


I love the coloring of this hen. Probably a mix of the colored and black dorkings.







Taking lots of photos of our remaining rooster. We sold Leo last fall and processed, sold or gave away all his male offspring but this one. I hope to find someone on Craigslist willing to trade him for another heirloom dual purpose breed roo. He is at least a half brother to most of our hens. Not a good idea to keep inbreeding.


I took the kitten I shared in my last post to the animal shelter. They have a 95% save rate and make it very easy to bring in a stray animal.

End of Year Wrap Up


A Super Moon (whatever that is!) in November. Too bad the street light is there.


Can you see the icicle on the elm tree? It is the sap from the tree.  We had a quick and steep drop in temperature the night before.


Dave was bothered by the absence of globes on the dining room chandelier. Me, not so much. The weekend after Thanksgiving he said let’s go to The Antique Factory and see if we can find some. I was very doubtful we’d find what we needed. Couldn’t believe he found some right away and they were 50% off! It does look much better with the globes.


Christmas cheer



Many photos of our Christmas Day hike in nearby Montgomery Hall Park.



The dogs had a great time being off leash. Not many people about.















We had a new visitor over Christmas weekend. A black and white kitten. I’m surprised our 3 cats didn’t chase it away. Hope we can find a new home for it. We certainly don’t need another cat.


More Christmas cheer.



More time for quilting in the winter. I’m basting my ocean waves quilt.


A couple days ago it was near 60 so Dave got out the chain saw and shredder and Damian and I helped him take down and shred some of the trees growing into the meadow…


and around the spring house. It seems to be some sort of invasive that keeps spreading into our native meadow.


Our daughters’ friend, Soupy, built these stairs for our tool shed. We are doing an hour exchange for her. Dave is doing computer work for her and I’m doing some mending.


Another photo of kitty. Uh, oh! We are all getting too comfortable!

Winter Blast


Not the first time we’ve woken up to very low temps this winter. And it is forecasted to be below zero tomorrow morning.


Our sensor is right by the house. says it is even colder. And look at those daytime temps. Yikes! A winter blast has hit Virginia!


Looking out my sewing room window.


I read about people spending days like this planning their summer gardens. I’ve been dreaming about it but so far haven’t done much in the way of real planning. We measured the barn garden and you can see here Dave did a drawing on graph paper. He seemed excited to pull out his engineering rulers. What a geek gem. Last winter I read a lot of gardening and hobby farming books and I’m not even into doing that. So much of it is science and rules and I find that kind of thing overwhelming and in some ways taking the fun out of the process. As far as planning on graph paper, I can see me doing it and ordering the seeds and then one day I’ll go out to the garden and Dave will have planted everything according to a plan he just made up on the spur of the moment. We already have a lot of seeds so maybe I’ll just order a few things we don’t have that are on my wish list – like yarrow – things I know we ran out of – like spinach – and sweet potatoes slips. Is this a plan?