Away and back again

A few weeks ago, we lost our gentle giant of a dog. His lack of mobility had kept us from any travel without finding a farm sitter strong enough to help him to his feet and he weighed 200 lbs. It was very sad for us, but he was nearly 12 years old and had lived a good life. His partner in crime is a 95 lb German Shepherd who is 11 1/2, but still able to get into the back of the car with a running start and sometimes a human assist. We decided to board her and get away for a few days. Our travel had ceased with Covid then human health issues, and the big dog’s issues.

We reserved 3 nights at Big Meadows Lodge on the Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park and two days before we were to leave, we received a call that the electricity had been cut to the Lodge for the safety of the firefighters who were fighting a slow moving wildfire that started outside the park on the east side, but had encroached into the park, not threatening any building, but requiring the power cut and seriously impacting the air quality in that part of the park due to the smoke. We were offered a full refund, a change of reservation to next year, or change to Skyland 10 miles farther north. We chose that option but just for 2 nights. Hiked some, climbed Big Stony Man and looked down on the valley and also down on our cabin. It was pleasant, but not the same as our preferred Big Meadows where we have very fond memories with our children as they grew up. We hiked in shirt sleeves on Thursday.

And Friday, we awoke to snow and ice, but not more than an inch before we left and drove another hour plus to pick up Son 1 at work and let him drive us to Bethesda, Md were they live and to our hotel. The hotel, a high rise 4 star venue that was gorgeous until we found out our room was infested with cockroaches, a major turn off. The weather in Bethesda was very nice Friday night and until we left after breakfast today. We enjoyed a delightful dinner our with son, his gal and her son, a trip to the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy space museum on Saturday with all, then a lovely Tex Mex meal at their apartment afterward. This morning, breakfast at their apartment then the trip home.

It was so nice to get away for a few days. The boarded pup was retrieved, dinner prepped and enjoyed, and the laundry will wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, my left eye will get it’s cataract surgery to improve my eye health and vision.

As usual, I packed more non clothing items than I needed by far, too many snacks, too much fiber, knitting I never touched. It is all put away now. Tonight we sleep in our own bed.


After a very cool, wet June, we have had two hot sticky days with no rain. More rain and cooler days ahead, but it has allowed walks without umbrellas or raincoats and being able to inspect my hives for the first time since I installed them. This is a very different experience than last year. The two medium boxes for brood on each hive are bursting with honey, eggs, and brood. So many bees. I added a queen excluder to each hive and a honey super on each in hopes of some fall honey. The sourwood is just beginning to bloom so they will be busy, the fields are full of daisies and since we haven’t had a mower in over two weeks, the lawn is full of white and red clover.

The shelf unit I put on the front porch with houseplants has a Wren nest tucked between pots. I think is was a practice nest as it hasn’t been occupied. I will leave it for a few more days before I remove it.

Walks have had some wildlife to see, yesterday a box turtle who didn’t seem to like the attention it was getting and today a caterpillar that has been parasitized with several eggs on it’s back.

The garlic pulled was brought in to the garage and hung in bundles to cure for storage. The garage smells very garlicy now and will until the leaves dry and the skins dry.

Since we live in a log home, we have had annual problems with Carpenter Bees. They drill holes in the facia boards and lay their eggs. That is less of a problem than once they hatch, the woodpeckers peck at the wood to get the larvae. This year the woodpeckers have been relentless, so we purchased 4 owls with a bell and mylar strip and hung them in strategic places hoping that they will discourage any more early morning pecking and stop the damage they are doing.

The month is fading away, July and August bring harvest and processing, a busy time.

Poor Planning

Times 2. Yesterday while driving into town, the low tire pressure warning came on the fancy electronic dashboard of the newer CRV. The car did not come with a spare, just a tire pump that you plug into the outlet in the console. This was the second time in two days the warning had come on. Having pumped it up in a parking lot the first time. We again stopped in a lot and pumped up the tire and drove to the dealer repair shop to have it checked out/repaired. Unfortunately, we arrived just as the entire shop went on lunch break and the service advisor warned us it would be about two hours because they had all just gone on lunch and there were scheduled appointments to be done as well. We really had no choice as it was obvious that there was a problem with the front tire. The dealership is in a busy, basically industrial area, but we walked off between the industrial park and a small neighborhood and wandered up and down streets for 2 miles of our daily 4 mile walk then sat in the dealership waiting area for the duration, a total of 3.5 hours to pull a nail and plug the tire. Next time, I will try to better schedule our emergency.

This did allow me a lot of spinning time, as usual attracting much attention as to what I was doing and conversation about what I would do with the yarn.

We did continue our walk on a nicer trail to finish the remaining 2 miles once we were done and since it was now late afternoon, used a free pizza coupon to share a small pizza and salad for an early dinner.

Last night’s and today’s knitting has me within 1/4 of the last lace row of the Hap shawl on which my spinning is resting. Once that row is complete, there is only one plain knit row and the stretchy bind off, which adds a stitch for every two you bind off to give it the stretch, so that should take me a good bit of time. Hopefully, it will be finished by tomorrow evening and can be soaked and blocked to shape.

Today’s poor planning was to actually believe the weather app that indicated that it would be mostly sunny today and tomorrow, so I mixed up another gallon of soapy white vinegar and resprayed areas in the garden paths that the first spraying didn’t fully kill off and then around the outer perimeter of the garden to spray the Smartweed and Creeping Charlie to keep them from migrating back into the garden. We then left to run a couple of errands and take a wood’s walk only to run into light rain on the way home, so probably wasting a gallon of white vinegar this morning.

This wee one was so close to the house just before we left this morning.

We recently discovered a park across the road from the river park where we often walk along the trail on the river’s edge. The two parks are joined by a walking/biking tunnel under the road and the park is fully wooded with both a paved bike path and several unpaved walking paths crossing a creek on two wooden bridges. Walking this park gives us 2 miles and then we walk back to the river park and do the second 2. It makes a very pleasant walk.

Milkweed on the edge of the open meadow.

Virginia Day flower on the edge of the trail in the woods.

Virginia Day flowers on the edge of the trail in the woods.

One of the two tunnels, this one is the rail tunnel between the parks that allows cars into the river park. No photo of the corrugated metal walking tunnel under the road.

So, the moral is to plan our emergencies in order to not wait long hours, and to not trust the National Weather service app.