A friend lost


Today I lost a friend, a fellow fiber lover, a playful, gentle soul who fought cancer for 9 years. Her loss is felt by many today, leaving her husband, an adult daughter and her husband, and many, many friends who loved her.

When attending retreats with her, a part of a small contingent that would go out to lunch together. To know her, you knew a true friend.

Through her failing health, she was always concerned about you, not herself. She was gracious and loving and fun to be around. She will be sorely missed by many.

Goodbye my sweet friend. Rest now that you are no longer suffering.

Oh, how fickle

Spring in the mountains is a fickle affair. Spring time one day, winter the next, then back to spring.

This was preceded by a 63f day, the snowy day, it fell to 14f, climbed to upper 40’s and windy yesterday and back into the 60’s today.

I checked the greenhouse tonight, I fear the greens didn’t survive 14f. It was too dark to see for sure, but it looked like most were burned off. The tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, and Komatsuma have sprouted indoors, but nothing has been sown under the greenhouse yet, just the transplants that were overwintered or planted out there a few weeks ago.

To confuse the schedule, as pasta was on the menu a couple nights ago, one of the bags of tomatoes was brought up and cooked down, run through the mill, and 4 pints of tomato sauce canned.

Not the usual time of year for canning, but the 8 gallons of tomatoes in the freezer need to be made stable. Tonight, a second 2 gallon bag was brought up and a few handfuls were thawed enough to skin, chop, and add to a pot of chili that was being prepared. The next rainy day, the remaining gallons will be cooked down and canned. Not as many tomatoes are being planted this year, but enough to add more to the shelves.

The spring flowers on our walk were recovering today, but the pussy willow that had begun to bloom are all burned and browned. Some of the catkins hadn’t opened yet, so hopefully they will open in the next couple of weeks.

The switch to daylight savings time means nothing to the chicken flock, but throws our senior bodies into disarray, bodies that disagree with the clock as they adjust.

In the midst of the storm on Saturday, our internet quit. Our router was 9 years old and after a cell phone chatline with tech support and a phone call from the local technician in our little rural coop phone service, we have DSL, we drove down and picked up a new router/modem programmed for us. It still didn’t work and no technicians are available on Sunday. They came out this morning and really couldn’t figure out why, but changed the filter on the line coming in the house and managed to get us back on. A couple hours later, it failed again and Son1 spent an hour on the phone with me troubleshooting. Thanks to him, we are back on again.

New Adventures

We walk for fitness and health daily, both too old to jog or run, and most days it is on one of two section of the Huckleberry Rails to Trails path that are fairly level. This path follows the old Huckleberry rail from the Library in Blacksburg to the Rec Center in Christiansburg, about 7 miles. A couple of years ago, it was extended from where it passes under the main highway bypass in the opposite direction from Christiansburg into and through the Heritage Community Park and Nature Area. We have wandered around in that park many times prior to the extension of the Huckleberry and have walked from a parking area in the park back toward Blacksburg a several times, but have never gone to the other parking area in the park, a mile farther away.

Today is cool and partly cloudy again, but calm wind and for variety, we drove down to the lower parking lot and started our walk at that terminus of the Huckleberry Trail, a very isolated area, but very pretty. The walk we did from the terminus to the road the trail crosses is a little over a mile, almost entirely uphill. Once we reached the road, we turned around and walked it back down to the car.

The first couple hundred yards are downhill to a creek and after crossing the bridge over the creek, there were at least a dozen small trees all gnawed down by beaver. We did not see any animals, just the remaining trunks mostly devoid of branches and couldn’t see where their dam was built, though there was evidence just beyond this of overwash of the trail from the rain night before last, so it must be just a bit upstream from the bridge.

It is a pretty section, probably will be prettier when the trees and shrubs leaf out. You can see the old silos from the Heritage Park section we used to walk. And this pretty glade of pines with a thick layer of needles below.

Though there are many benches to rest on and several picnic shelters near the two parking areas, this glade would be a great place to bring a picnic on a warm sunny day.

It took us several years to explore this end of the trail, but I’m glad we did as it gives us two other sections to walk.

When the weather warms up consistently, we will add back in the hike up in the Conservancy that we also love.