Country Roads

September 21

I took these photos in or near Harrisonburg. I was up that way taking a quilt top to be quilted and decided to go to an apple orchard. I couldn’t resist stopping and taking these photos.

Where Have I Been?!?!

Well, it’s been a busy summer with four sets of visitors over a five week period. I have been taking photos so I’ll finally share them here. These first several are from mid July.

We stopped mowing a wet section of the field (on the left) last summer. The section on the right we stopped mowing this summer. It is interesting to see the difference.

By the front porch. The lone daylily looks pretty with the beebalm.

In front of the sun room.

We noticed a volunteer sassafras tree under the mahonia last year. The japanese beetles have been hard on it but it’s hanging in there.

Zinnias from the garden. I love this little vase our daughter made for us last year. I told her I wanted it to mimic tree bark and she delivered.

The orange coneflowers in our native garden started blooming in mid July and the flowers still look beautiful six weeks later. These photos are from July.

Dave bringing in the onion harvest on July 21.

These bitter melon are ridiculous. We could pick this many each week. I still have some in the freezer from last year. I gave some of these away. Dave took another large basket full to a coworker last week. I’ve frozen some and might freeze more. We learned from our daughter that you can take some of the bitter taste out by blanching them in water with a tablespoon of salt and baking soda.

These photos are from July 27.

I went to Polyface Farm on July 28 to purchase some meat and took the above and below photos on my way home. Polyface is in Swoope – just west of us..

Poor Len. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I hope we are keeping him comfortable with meds.

The only photo we got of our visitors. I’m on the right with my sister Melissa and my niece Mary.

Such a pleasant surprise to find these volunteers on August 11 at the base of the spruce tree between the house and the shed – an impatiens and a coleus.

I harvested these peppers on August 14.

I think it was back in July when I took some bricks and defined the beds around the plants in front of the shed. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Joe Pye Weed in the native garden on the morning of August 15.

Making our yummy tomato sauce on August 19.

I’m so sad that we have to take down this beautiful ash tree (on the right). The emerald ash borer has gotten to it so it can’t be saved.

$3000 poorer and down one beautiful shade tree. I will probably spend most of the day they take it down elsewhere.

Don’t like ending on a sad note, but here we are. I hope I keep up my posts with my photos as we enter the fall. It has been a very wet spring and summer. A little on the cool side, too. I’m hoping the valley will have some spectacular color this fall. Hard to believe it is almost September!

Augusta Springs Wetlands Park

A couple of weeks ago we took a morning walk just a 20 minute drive from us in the George Washington National Forest. It was early enough on a hot day that we were comfortable even in the sun.

We started to go up this path which led into the woods. It soon got muddy so we turned back. We’ll do that loop another day.

Those are two red winged black birds on the cattails in the middle of the photo above.

Fun!

A Cool August

Catching up with the photos on my phone. We’ve had unseasonably cool weather. I’ve been wearing flannel!

We were excited to harvest our first watermelon a couple of weeks ago.

It wasn’t quite ripe. It was okay and will ask our neighbor about how to determine ripeness. We got the seeds for these Crimson Sweets from him a couple of years ago.

I bought this geranium from Elk Run Farm – a vendor at our Saturday Farmers Market. I think it is called apple blossom.

This is our first cantaloupe. We thought we were late harvesting it since the bugs had already gotten to it. We’ve found that the bugs are a good determination of ripeness. We’ve harvested others that have a strong scent but when we cut into them they aren’t quite ripe.

A Melon Petit Gris de Rennes – a sugar-sweet French favorite! We just have to be diligent and get them at peak ripeness before the bugs do!

Saving seeds – the cantaloupes (actually I think they are technically muskmelons though I’m not sure of the difference) and the large brown seeds are from bitter melons.

I love this African Violet. I was admiring the way the sun hit it a few mornings ago.

Our rain garden during a heavy rain.

Our harvest from yesterday. Lots of bitter melon. No one but me seems to go for it. More muskmelons, Doe Hill peppers (a small, yellow, sweet variety), green beans and apples. I made an apple pie and apples sauce earlier in the week and these went to Doris, our neighbor. She says she peels, slices and freezes them to use in the winter time.

Bitter melon on the vine.

The Staunton Historical Foundation holds noontime walking tours the first Friday of the month. Usually we are in the historical section of our downtown but today we went to Montgomery Hall Park which is about 4 minutes from our house. We took a hike in the woods during the rain. This is a wall from a bank barn. The barn burned down in a blaze many decades ago. The hike was led by an archaeologist. It was very interesting and fun to go tramping in the damp woods.

Just a pretty view.

 

Watering the Cows

And enjoying a half hour on our neighbors property. They went to the beach and asked Dave to make sure there was enough water in the troughs for their cows.

Prepare for lots of photos. A storm threatened us all evening and finally gave us a little light rain later on. Harrisonburg got 2 1/2 inches of rain in 35 minutes! We need rain but I’m glad we didn’t get that! I included so many photos because the light/sky kept changing. It was too hard to select out.

This is a view of our house from theirs.

The side of the barn

Looking at the field behind their house.

Across the street to the right of our house.

One of the dairy barns that used to be part of our property. The people that live there converted it into their home. They hold bluegrass and country dances there every Saturday night.

Sunflowers in the vegetable garden

Noting the eastern red cedar because I’m reading that book about trees.

Looking toward the house from the vegetable garden.

What we are here for!

Sky is darkening

The house has the original tin shingled roof.

I love this stair rail!

 

Douthat State Park

Took the afternoon off and went to Douthat State Park in Millboro – about an hour southwest of Staunton. It is in the Allegheny Mountains.

It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened in 1936.

Took a two mile hike.

I love trees and moss.

We ate dinner at the restaurant by the lake. They had really good homemade potato chips.

We’ve decided to visit all the Virginia State Parks.

 

Early Spring? Late Winter?

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Like much of the country we’ve been having crazy weather. I started bringing daffodils and jonquils in on nights when temperatures were expected to be in the teens and twenties.

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A Virginia Bluebell. This photo was taken before the snow and frigid temperatures returned. It doesn’t look too happy now. Hope more pop up.

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Freda next to the Lenten rose.

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Just a pretty little flower in the bed with the Lenten rose and Virginia bluebells.

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The table all set for a dinner party we hosted last Saturday night. I hope my guests had as much fun as I did.

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A couple weeks ago I took a walk in Thornrose Cemetery.

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Like most days that week it was a beautiful day.

End of Year Wrap Up

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

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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.

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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.

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Christmas cheer

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

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

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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.

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More Christmas cheer.

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

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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…

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

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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.

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