Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Oatlands on April 21st (2019), the sky was glorious.  Just couldn't capture it all in a photo, but I gave it a good try.

"It is a very beautiful day. The woman looks around and thinks: 'there cannot ever have been a spring more beautiful than this. I did not know until now that clouds could be like this.  I did not know that the sky is the sea and that clouds are the souls of happy ships, sunk long ago. I did not know that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress. 
What did I know, until now?'"
~Unica Zürn~

 "Aren't the clouds beautiful?  They look like big balls of cotton.  I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by.  If you use your imaginations you can see lots of things in the cloud formations.  What do you think you see Linus?"  "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean.  That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor.  And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen...I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side..."  "Uh-huh, that's good.  What do you see in the clouds Charlie Brown?"  "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind."
~Charles M. Schulz from
The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960~

In the photo above you can see the Old Stone House, which is on part of the Manassas Civil War Battleground.  The photos below were taken in Leesburg (Virginia) after our visit to the plantation.  I found this website that tells its history.

I always enjoy looking at the old homes in historical areas.

I couldn't find out much about them...

but saw a very brief comment about the old log cabin built in 1763.

There is a museum that I would like to visit next time.  Maybe I can get more information.

Who walked through that door and looked out of the window I wonder?

The last photo is of one of the side streets leading down to the main road.

Enjoy the rest of the week and 
thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 29, 2019


Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas

This is for one serving but it would be easy to double or up.  It only takes about 15 minutes from preparation time to plate-time.

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup water
1 banana, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon of maple syrup for sautéing the bananas (you can also use 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to replace the syrup)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or brown sugar) for adding to your cooked oatmeal if you want it sweeter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Add oats and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, add the vanilla, also  the cinnamon if using.  Simmer until thickened.  The directions on the back of my box says this will take 5 minutes.

While the oatmeal is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or brown sugar) to a large sauté pan.  Once it is sizzling add the sliced bananas.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, then flip over gently and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.  They should be a nice golden brown by now.

When the oatmeal is done, and if you think you would like it a little sweeter, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of syrup (or brown sugar).  Top with the caramelized bananas.  Finish off with a few chopped walnuts and you may want to add 1/2 cup of milk (or not).

This was such a delicious way to serve oatmeal I am looking forward to trying it again.  

Friday, April 26, 2019


What I didn't mention in my previous post is that the 22-room Oatlands Plantation is listed on the National Register for Historic Places.  This home with its Corinthian columns wasn't completed until 1804, and is one of the best examples of Federal estate architecture in the country.  More information can be found here.
Above I tried a ground level view of the Wild Violets.   Below is one of the shots taken near the visitor center.
Below you can see one of the many water features that can be found throughout the garden.  This is Gregg's photo.
There are several benches if you want to rest and enjoy these pretty surroundings.
An original well in the Parterre Garden (Gregg took this also)...
and one of the old walls full of small outcrops of flowers.
I don't have any definite ID for these unfortunately.
I cropped the photo as close as possible for a better look, and thought perhaps a lighter colored wild violet, or lobelia?
More of those blooming Redbud trees.

In the photo below I found the plant called Solomon's Seal.  It was in the lower garden. They grow from underground rhizomes, and the fruit is a berry.  Both have been used medicinally for a variety of ailments.
A lovely planter filled with pretty flowers, but again not identified.

I have shared their Victorian-style birdhouse before.
I would have enjoyed seeing it being built, but could find no information after an extensive search online.
The trees are magnificent and they looked quite old.
"Trees are your best antiques.
~Alexander Smith~

I found a marker for this one, identified as a Yellow Buckeye.
It had pretty leaves, bright green and brand new for spring.  A very interesting read about this particular one can be found here.
There are many trees at Oatlands, which you can read about at this link.
There are several events held each year, one of which is equestrian.  
The old wall overlooks where those events take place.

Time to leave and we drive toward the gate.
We will be back.  I really want to take a tour of the house.  Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photographs inside.  I already checked and will have to keep my hands firmly planted in my pockets.
It has been very nice sharing Oatlands with you.  Thanks for keeping me company, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


My post today is from Oatlands Plantation. The last time we visited was in May 2016.  As we wanted to go for a ride in the countryside and go for a walk at the same time, we stopped at the plantation.  The grounds are ideal for getting our exercise. If you would like to learn more, you can click on its name in red lettering above.  (Any red lettering throughout any of my posts is a link to more information.)
We had intended to go on a tour of the house, but the last tour of the day had already started.  No matter, we had a lovely time in the open air, which was our intended purpose anyhow.  The weather was glorious!  The first photo of the house is the front view.  It is hard to get a good photo head on as it has a very large tree obstructing the view.  The second photo is taken of the back, and the third is a side view as we walk along the narrow, pebbly road back to our car. 
The first few lines on its history says: "In 1798 a young bachelor named George Carter inherited 3,408 acres of prime Loudoun County, Virginia farmland.  Carter was a descendant of one of Virginia's first families."  More of the Carter history at Oatlands can be found here.  

In 1903 it was bought by William Corcoran Eustis and his wife Edith Livingston Morton.  Their history can be found here.
I have been looking forward to Spring for many reasons.  One is to see the Dogwoods bloom again.  This beauty is the State Flower of Virginia.  I enjoyed reading about it at this link, and I enjoyed taking photos.
Wild Violets are everywhere you walk.  It looked like the grass was blooming purple.
They made a pretty carpet effect on the lawn but not everyone wants them in their garden, from what I read.  The wild ones spread through underground rhizomes. Here is a link you can read about them.
We stopped off at the Visitor Center first.  It is called the Carriage House.

Below, if you enlarge the photo, you will be able to read a few things about the Eustis family.

The pathway leading up to the center is made of bricks engraved with people's names and sometimes organizations.
You enter and exit out of the gift shop.  Clever people, they know how to throw out that hook.  The lady behind the counter was very friendly and started chatting immediately.  She answered our questions about the plantation and gave us an information flyer.  We had arrived later in the day and the place was very quiet.  We felt we had the whole grounds to ourselves, apart from a very small group of well-behaved teenagers who were already heading out.  There was also one other couple around our age who headed in the opposite direction, no doubt enjoying their alone time feeling just as we were.

I do love browsing around these gift shops, and they often sell items I don't see in other stores.   I did see this small vase, very simple in design.  In the shop I hummed and hawed in front of it, imagining the colorful flowers that would set it off beautifully.  The place for its new setting already chosen, in my head, on the kitchen table.  After browsing around other corners - it wasn't a large gift shop - I knew the vase would be going home, along with a couple of other trinkets intended for birthday people.  Gregg popped back to the car parked a short distance away, deposited the package in the trunk, and we continued our walk.
The Bleeding Hearts were planted in a flower bed in front of the Carriage House.
The Redbud Trees were also blooming.
"There's nothing more beautiful than watching trees getting dressed up for Spring and Summer."
~Charmain J. Forde~
 I love looking at those pretty blooms.  I read that early settlers found the blossoms of the redbud a delicious addition to their salads.  Early folk healers used the bark to treat common maladies and sometimes even leukemia.  Many Native Americans chose the wood of the California redbud for their bows.  I won't be trying redbuds in my salad any time soon, or trying their healing properties, or making any bows, but I did find this all very interesting.  Those old-age cures seem to be making a come-back don't they and ingenuity is the mother of invention, especially so in those days?  I am always impressed how our forefathers made-do with what little they had, and shake my head in wonderment.
This is where I will end today's post.  Just like every time we visit anywhere, I have at least one more post to share but will leave that until next time.

Good to be up and running.  I truly was surprised, and grateful, getting my computer fixed so quickly.  Once again, thank you so much for the support and for visiting my blog.  Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.