Saturday, April 30, 2022


"In all things in nature there is something of the marvelous."

Aristotle - 384–322 BC - was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period of Ancient Greece.   

Friday, April 29, 2022



I can feel the silence straining,
About to burst out from the seams,
To shout that no one should be hushed
When on the grand pursuit of dreams.
And for those who are not heard
We ought to raise our voices higher,
Everyone deserves the chance
To chase what sets their soul on fire.

~Erin Hanson~

(Erin Hanson is an Australian author/poet who was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia on June 22nd, 1995.) 

Thursday, April 28, 2022


On the 12th of this month we drove over to the Old Stone Bridge in Manassas. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day.  Our son and daughter-in-law inspired us as the day before they sent us photos from their own walk, and took some very nice shots of the bluebells.  It reminded me that we hadn't been to see ours and I asked Gregg what he thought of going over that morning.  This sign was new, designed specifically with children in mind, sowing those seeds early.
Virginia bluebells (botanical name Mertensia virginica) are also called Virginia cowslip, Blue and pink ladies, Chiming bells and Kentucky bluebells.  It blooms in the spring and is native to eastern North America.  They grow in wooded areas near river and lake banks, or in wetland areas. 

These were growing near Bull Run.  

We had just crossed over the Old Stone Bridge, which is part of the history of this area, relating to the Civil War.  If you are a history buff, you can click on the name to read more information.  I read it was built in 1886 and restored in 1959.
When I first moved here I was very curious about why a body of water like the one above, was called a 'run'.  I read that because our area was settled mostly by the English, back in their homeland the term 'creek' was used when referring to  'streams that were influenced by the tides'.  This was when the first settlers came across these bodies of water in 17th century America and they adopted the same name.  As they moved inland they very quickly encountered very fast-moving streams.  They didn't know what to call them.  There was no word for them, so they used the word 'run'.
The Bluebells were a bit passed their peak, some petals had dried up and some had fallen off, but were still beautiful!

We found an Eastern Bluebird.
Did you know an Eastern bluebird can fly 17 miles per hour?  They lay between 2 to 8 eggs in each clutch and lay two clutches per season.  They have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years.  Male bluebirds sing with their beaks closed. I found my information at this link, a website called World Birds Joy of Nature, with great photos.  If you scroll down a bit, there is a delightful video of one.
Other wildflowers I saw that day, firstly Marsh blue violets (Viola cucullata).  Also known as Hooded blue violet and purple violet.
Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens), also known as Downy Violet, Hairy Yellow Violet and Yellow Violet.
Yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum), also known as Yellow dog-tooth violet.  I wasn't sure what it was at first, and certainly didn't realize it was a trout lily.  I was looking at it from a different angle.
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), also known as Poor man's mustard, Hedge garlic, Jack-by-the-hedge, Sauce-alone.
Virginia springbeauty (Claytonia virginica), also known as Fairy spud, Good morning spring, Narrowleaf springbeauty.
Bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus), also called St. Anthony's turnip, Bulbous crowfoot, Frogwort and Crowfoot. 
Also seen in the photo above is my last wildflower.  It is Purple dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum).

And that's the end of our walkabout around the bluebells for now, until next year.  It was fun going back.  I have since found other trails that have them, so who knows where we will turn up next year.

Thanks for looking and I hope your day is a happy one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


 This is an old post when we were near the ocean.  I enjoy watching gulls every bit as much as I enjoy watching our own backyard birds at home.  These flying acrobats are noisy, and can be aggressive if there is food around.  I don't feed them for obvious reasons.All this aside, they are fun to observe, and so entertaining, comical.  "When you are alone, bless the solitude; when you are with someone, bless the togetherness! Think of the seagull: It flies alone happily; it flies with another happily too! Solitude is a food; togetherness is a food; man needs both and he must be happy with both."

~Mehmet Murat IIdan~You do not ask a tame seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea.  It goes, that's all.

~Bernard Moitessier~"You can't understand it until you experience the simple joy of the first time your son points at a seagull and says 'Duck'".

~Russell Crowe~
“As I watched the seagulls, I thought, That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.” 

~ Nikos Kazantzakis~
There are nails pounded into the posts to prevent birds from getting too comfortable, hoping they prevent them from landing no doubt.  This one  laughs and ignores them. 
I ignore them too!

Officially they are not called 'seagulls', just gulls. I am sure our bird blogging experts know.  I only found this fact out a few years ago. I read informative articles about this subject here, here and here.
Yes, I am very fond of gulls, and just like the birds back home, they speak to me.  I think the word has gotten round even this far south…and that blackbird at the bottom of the picture looks very familiar!
Nope! Sometimes you've got to say nope, for their sake and for ours.  That’s life!

Thanks for flying in and enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


"Extraordinary magic is woven through ordinary life.  Look around!"

~Author Unknown~

Do you see the tiny hearts all over those blooms?  Magical!  The photo has not been manipulated in any way and is as it was taken.   Gregg took these photos of a neighbor's Redbud tree.

Monday, April 25, 2022


I have been looking for different types of salads to the ones we usually have.  We both have very similar tastes with only a few exceptions and lately, have been having a lot of easy fix-it meals that we don't need a recipe for.  But today was the day to try something new (to us), and here it is.

I found this recipe at the Food Network, and the original is here.  The recipe is courtesy of David Lieberman.

Spinach Salad with Sweet Roasted Pecans and Gorgonzola with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette - serves 4

It goes quickly from prep to table, though we take longer than the time stated, but not by much.  

1 package baby spinach

3 to 4 handfuls pecan halves

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (we used avocado oil)

Few pinches of salt

Few pinches of sugar

½ cup olive oil (we used avocado oil again)

¼ cup sherry vinegar

2 small shallots, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small wedge Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

After washing and preparing the spinach, put in serving bowl.  (I always take the stringy part off the leaves, not necessary but my preference.)

Toss pecans with vegetable or avocado oil, sugar and salt. Lay out on baking sheet. Roast until a little more golden and fragrant, about 7 to 8 minutes. They burn easily so check on them before time is up and give them a bit of a stir.  Set aside. 

Make dressing by combining oil choice, vinegar, shallots and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Whisk together.  If you are making ahead place in sealable container, put in the fridge and shake before putting on the salad.  I use an old glass peanut butter jar with a screw top lid just for this purpose, and it has been in the dishwasher many times with everything else.  

Toss spinach with dressing, Gorgonzola and pecans.

Serve and enjoy!

As far as salads go, it's right up there and we will be making this again and again.  We served them with Jumbo Coconut Shrimp. These were frozen in a box (SeaPak brand) and you may have had them before.  They are excellent but just to mix it up, next time we will try fresh and steam the shrimp.  This salad lends itself to any favorite protein you may prefer.  

We used walnuts but will try pecans next time.  

I am not one for a lot of dressing and didn’t toss the whole salad.  I added a tablespoon on top of my own bowl, stirred a little and put the shrimp on top and on the side.  

There was leftover dressing which I refrigerated, and we still have spinach and Gorgonzola left, so will have that again at our next meal, also toasted pecans.  

Thanks for looking and have a great week.

Saturday, April 23, 2022


 you get an interesting photo on the trail cam (in this case, my squirrel cam).

This is actually a screen shot from a video.  The first few frames were of the squirrel's legs as they disappeared up the pole where I attach my trail cam.  It made me laugh out loud.

Thanks for putting up with those legs, and I hope your day brings you a good chuckle.

(squirrel photo on signature is from

Friday, April 22, 2022


Preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known."

~Carl Sagan~

November 9th, 1934 – December 20th, 1996

Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


It was a beautiful day as you can see by the sky.

We are looking at National Harbor across the Potomac River.
We have had a few storms passing through these last few months.  A branch had broken off this tree...
and landed on the old picnic table.
Another photo of one of the pair of ducks included in yesterday's post...
and also the Osprey tending its nest. Gregg took these photos from a different angle showing the bridge in the background.
and a collage of both our photos.  The Osprey was once known as the fish hawk as they live on fish that it catches by snatching them in a shallow dive from the surface of the water.  Fish is their main diet but they also have been known to eat a wide variety of other prey, including birds, reptiles and crustaceans.  Ospreys are one of the world's most widely distributed bird, and can be found through much of North America, Northern Europe and Asia, and around the coast of Australia.  I found these facts and many more at this website.
There is no trail by this part of the river.  We walked along the grass to a marina which we explored for half-an-hour.
Always fun being around boats, and it's been a while since we did this.
We have known people with them.  In fact, when we lived in the area all those years ago, a friend introduced us to a relative who had invited us all for a weekend ride on his boat.  Our friend steered and I will never forget being stopped by the river police because he was driving too fast.  I was wide-eyed when I saw and heard the sirens of that police boat. 
 He was told by the officer that our speed was causing a wake that affected yachts participating in a race some distance away, was given a warning and not a ticket.  Our friend's reasoning was that he wanted to put distance between us and that race.  His heart was in the right place, and that was the first and only time I have been or will ever be stopped on the Potomac for speeding!  
And on we walked along the river where all these memories came flooding back... 
as they seem to do these days.
Reagan National Airport isn't too far away and the plane was coming in to land.
This large building with the high rise was across the river at the National Harbor.  The last time we were there it had not been built.  It is the MGM National Harbor Casino and Resort.  I read that it has 23 stories, 308-rooms and a 135,000-square-foot casino floor, a 3,000-seat theater, seven restaurants, a spa, plus other retain and event spaces, and let's not forget the 4,800-car parking garage. 
Below you can see the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.  We have taken that many times on our trips into Maryland. You can read about it here for more information.  In part it read that it was named for the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), a native of Staunton, Virginia.  While he was president, Wilson reportedly spent an average of two hours a day riding in his automobile to relax.  President Wilson was an advocate of automobile and highway improvements in the United States.  You can read more at the link I provided.
We were now on our way home.  (There is a marsh wildlife preserve nearby but we decided to leave that for a future walk.)  We passed by Mount Vernon and saw the tavern (Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant) we have visited often over the years.  We have lived in this area for 32 years.  You can see one of those visits if you click here.  There is also another link within that post, from yet another visit when a relative was visiting us.  It is lovely inside and the meals have been excellent.  When you go to the gift shop and to the tavern, you don't have to pay for the ticket that allows you to go into George Washington's home, and also the grounds which has a very pretty garden.  We have been there many times when taking relatives and friends over the years, and I daresay we will be taking others on future visits.  But I do enjoy going to the tavern and gift shop, especially when looking for those birthday and Christmas presents.
And that's it for today's post.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing a little more of our area.

Thanks for visiting and take good care of yourselves.