Thursday, June 30, 2022

SKYLINE DRIVE 5-17-22 and 9-9-21

We can reach Skyline Drive under an hour and have often taken a picnic with us.  We don't use any of the designated picnic areas (which are further inland with no view and can be quite busy). Instead, we find a wall to sit on at one of the overlooks, where we have these magnificent views.  The times we go we have, more often than not, had these places to ourselves, avoiding weekends and busy holiday times.  
We didn't take many photos on this trip.
This is one of the parking areas (overlooks). 
We are approaching Mary's Tunnel.  You can read about it here.  This website gives information on all the overlooks found on Skyline Drive.
The tunnel was constructed in 1932, is 610 feet long and 12 feet 8 inches high.  
The mountain that the tunnel goes through is actually called Mary's Rock.  It is 3514 feet high.  It is the 8th highest peak in Shenandoah National Park.
You can read a few stories of how Mary's Rock was named here.  Scroll down a little until you come to Legends of Mary's Rock.

I found the rest of the photos a few days ago. They were in draft folder from September 2021.  I couldn't see them from any other posts when I checked, so I don’t think I published them before.  The Queen Anne's Lace were seen on a walk at Big Meadows   

I won't go into detail about them today.

The bug below is a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle.  Though they feed on nectar and pollen, the goldenrod soldier beetles do not chew the flower petals or damage them. These harmless beetles neither sting nor bite.

On the other hand, the bug below is a Japanese Beetle and is a species of scarab beetle.  It is not a gardener's friend as they are very destructive and can completely defoliate plants.
This is the Oxe Eye Daisy.  I actually like this plant very much and was thinking of putting it in the garden.
The Soapwort was growing wild.  I have been leaving links in all my posts, usually on the name.  If you click on these links, they will take you to more information.  
A misty view on one of the overlooks we stopped at (this being in September of 2021 as mentioned above).
Next is a marker pointing to the Appalachian Trail.  The trail is approximately 2,178 miles long and is the longest 'marked footpath' in the United States.  If you are an adventurous hiker, this trail stretches from the summit of Springer Mountain in Georgia, all the way to the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine.  
If you hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, you would pass through 14 states and take around 5 million steps.  About 500 people hike the whole trail each year.  
Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which is more miles than any other state. 
We found part of the trail at the back of Big Meadow's Lodge and walked a couple of miles, which was great.  I remember the beautiful wildflowers in bloom, but the most memorable happening was when I saw this beautiful deer standing on the incline above us.  She was quite close, not more than 15 feet away.  I took this photo with my cell phone.  She didn't move and we slowly walked on as she continued to munch on the grasses.
Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and takes about three hours to drive along its entire length.  The speed is 35 miles per hour in most places.  It is a very winding road and there are often steep drops.   (You also have to pay attention to any wild animals, as in our time there we have seen deer and bear.  They appear as if suddenly out of nowhere crossing the road in front of us.)  The map shows you its route.
Cell coverage is not reliable throughout most areas of Shenandoah National Park. However, I read that it is generally available at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and at some west-facing overlooks. Free, public WiFi is available at Byrd Visitor Center, Big Meadows Lodge, and Skyland Resort.
We didn't get to Big Meadows Lodge on this trip.  Above is a postcard I bought, a reproduction of one of the earlier ones.  There are rustic rooms and cabins you can rent here, and we stayed two nights in the main lodge.  It was a very nice experience, and there is a gift shop where I have treated myself to souvenirs every now and again, local honey or jam, a bear ornament, greeting cards or postcards.  We were able to get down to Big Meadows to see the sun rise on that stay, and it was wonderful.  Hopefully we will be able to do this again one day.

That's all of Skyline Drive for now.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2022


 Last month we decided to point our car in the direction of Skyline Drive, and these bucolic rural scenes were on the way.

There was also a lot of farmland.

According to a website I found at this link:

 There are 43,225 farms in Virginia.  

The typical Virginia farmer is 58.5 years old.  

The average farm size is 181 acres.

Farms cover 7.8 million acres.

Approximately 36 percent of Virginia's primary farm operators are female.

Less than 15 cents of every consumer dollar spent on food actually goes to the farmer.

The website sources are from the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, 2016 survey data from National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the Economic Reserarch Service (ERS).

"Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.

~George Washington~

"We have neglected the truth, that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist."

~Wendell Berry~

I am once again thanking and remembering our farmers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Since writing this in 2013 we have been to the museum several times.  It is a great place to take family and friends when they visit, a marvelous museum.  Except for the one or two, these photos show the biplanes that were on display that year.  I haven't been there for quite a while, so am not sure if displays are the same.

Unfortunately, I can't remember the program I used to turn my photos into art, as I no longer have it.  Back then I was just learning how to catalogue.  With a few exceptions, I am better at naming programs I use now.

The following writings are from my 2013 post: I am still in my 'turning photos into cartoon phase', so I hope you will indulge me a little longer until I get it out of my system.

My original photos were taken at The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center not too far from Washington-Dulles International Airport.  We may have to put up with a lot of traffic in this area, but we have several interesting places to go to, and this isn't too far from home.  If you click on their names, you will be taken to their home pages.

We went there a few weeks ago with our son and it is a great place to visit.  (We have visited several times since its opening).  This center is described as the companion facility to The Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.  Construction began in October 2000, and the center opened in December 2003.

You look up at those small airplanes hanging from the ceiling, and wonder how on earth they ever got off the ground.  The people who flew them must have been very brave.
The history of the Biplane can be found at this link.

Monday, June 27, 2022


Easy Asian Noodles  -  Serves 3 to 4

Another delicious meal on the table this evening, thanks to the hosts of 'Show Me The Yummy", Trevor and Jennifer.  You can read through the original recipe and see all their photos of this meal here.

For the sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sriracha
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Red pepper flakes, to taste (they put in 1/2 teaspoon in their recipe)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Other ingredients:

1 (12 oz) box whole wheat linguine
3-4 eggs, over easy
Chopped cilantro (optional - for garnishing)
Chopped salted cashews (for garnishing)

To make the sauce, whisk together sauce ingredients until well combined.

Cook the linguine according to package directions and drain.

Cook the eggs*

In the large pot you cooked your pasta in, pour pasta back in with the sauce.

Put pasta on your plates and top with the fried egg, chopped cilantro and salted cashews.

Serve immediately.

Notes from original recipe:

*If you're not sure how to make an over easy egg, heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Melt about 1 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons butter.  Once butter has melted and starts to bubble (just a bit) crack in egg (I work with 1 - 2 eggs at a time).  Cook for about 2 minutes, flip and cook for another 2 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending on how runny you like your yolks. Season with a touch of salt.

What did we think?  Every dish that I put on here is a keeper, and this one joins that list.  It was another delicious meal.

I did make a few changes though.  For a start my egg was poached. I just prefer it cooked this way.  It's what I grew up with.

I didn't buy any linguine as I had one more box of Angel Hair Pasta.  It saved us a trip to the supermarket on a rainy day. 

You'll see in my photo that there are a lot more extras added than the original.  I had veggies in the fridge that I wanted to use up and first we cooked the thinly sliced cabbage, sliced green onions, sliced celery, peas and Gregg threw in a can of sliced lotus shoots for good measure.  We both loved the crunchiness of the vegetables. 

I forgot about the cashews and the cilantro, that will be for next time.

And thank you Trevor and Jennifer for another wonderful meal added to our make-again folder.  

Thank you for looking and have a great week. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022



“A child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like them.” 

~ Pablo Casals~

Friday, June 24, 2022


 The Cloud

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,

And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;

And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.

Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,

Lightning, my pilot, sits;

In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,

It struggles and howls at fits;

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,

Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;

Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,

Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The Spirit he loves remains;

And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread,

Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead;

As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,

An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.

And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea


Its ardors of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of Heaven above,

With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,

As still as a brooding dove.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the Moon,

Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;

And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer;

And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,

When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,

Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;

The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.

From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,

Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--

The mountains its columns be.

The triumphal arch through which I march

With hurricane, fire, and snow,

When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-colored bow;

The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,

While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky;

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain when with never a stain

The pavilion of Heaven is bare,

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex


Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,

Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the


I arise and unbuild it again.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley~

This poem is a little longer than I usually share but I enjoyed it very much and I hope you will too. 

Have a great day and weekend!