To vary our retirement routine today, we went up the mountain instead of down. The top of the mountain is Mountain Lake Conservancy and Lodge. The lodge property is the site of the filming of most of the original “Dirty Dancing” movie. Signage abounds identifying what occurred where, including one that says they spray painted the grass and trees green because it was autumn. We had a very nice lunch on the porch (where Baby first saw Johnny) looking out at where the lake used to be. Unfortunately, within a couple of years of us moving here, it disappeared through a fissure in the bottom of the lake. It has done that before and refilled, but it probably won’t happen in the rest of our lifetime. We were fortunate to have visited when there was a large, full, deep lake. The feeder streams still flow down, but the water disappears into the fissure. A few years ago, attempts were made to plug the hole, the lake partially refilled then failed.
After lunch, we took off on trails through the woods. The Conservancy is about 2,000 feet higher elevation than our house and spring time is just beginning. Flora and fauna abound.
Lots of fiddlehead ferns, violets, tiny white wild flowers. A cool breeze and lots of sunshine.
Once home, it was back to the garden planting.
Sweet corn and Bloody Butcher dent corn fill this bed, then topped with a sheet of fence wire to deter the crows until the corn is 6″ high. Pumpkins will be planted in that bed too, but the third sister was a purchase error and the Pinto beans are a bush bean, so they were planted in a separate bed nearby. The tomatoes were caged, the peppers staked, cucumbers and sunflowers planted, and the sprinkler started on it all. Once sweet potato starts can be purchased, they will be planted between the blueberries or above the potato and asparagus beds. There are a few more peppers to plant out when the starts are large enough and some basils that are in the hydroponic to intersperse between the tomatoes. Hoops were installed over the blueberry bed to support netting which will be purchased on the next Tractor Supply run, maybe tomorrow. The garden is now in maintenance mode until time to begin harvest. Late season beans will go in after peas are done, and garlic and fall greens when the time comes. So far, only spinach and asparagus are being harvested.
Last weekend’s rains are a storm that is boomeranging back to hit us again this weekend with the same storm. That really is a thing according to the local weather blogger for the newpaper. The garden won’t need watering again after today for a while.
Last week, my spinning friends that were visiting went out to the garden with me to see if they could identify this:
It has a matt of copper colored roots with below ground runners that can go a couple of feet from one plant to the next. It was overtaking the blueberry bed and beginning to take over the adjacent bed that is slated to be the three sister’s bed. After our glorious walk on a beautiful day yesterday, an attack on the weed was tackled. When done, the above bed was clear (for now).
My experience with it is that if you don’t get all of the roots, which is impossible, it just comes back, so I will have to keep at it. The blueberries are full of tiny berries. Bird net may be in order this year as it looks like it could finally be a good harvest if I beat the birds to them.
The two nights of potential frost didn’t get cold enough to freeze and the forecast looks like spring nights have finally arrived, so the tomatoes and peppers that have been in and out of the house for a while, were planted out today after that bed was weeded. The tomatoes spaced out nicely for the number I had and there is room for the Thai and Serrano peppers once they have achieved enough size to transplant them into the garden. The bed is getting a good watering in right now. Maybe later, the second planting of peas and the first planting of beans will be sown. The three sister’s garden will be a day in itself. My garden plan has been altered somewhat so the cucumbers need to find a place to be planted.
Yesterday’s walk was an extension of the walk we do from the end of the Huckleberry Trail. About 3/4 of a mile into that walk, another trail that travels through the Heritage Park, also known as Brown Farm. The farm was a dairy and beef farm and was purchased by the town of Blacksburg under the New River Trust. It has a large pond and trails through the fields and old farm buildings.
Wonderful old buildings and silos. The shot up through the silo was taken by holding the camera through a hole in the side from outside.
Interesting nature finds, a nut shell, an all white daisy like wildflower, and just look at that tree. Hubby is 6’1.5″ tall to give you reference to it’s size. We finished the rest of the usual walk with this side trip.
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.