All through the hot summer, the wisteria we planted ten years ago shades the front porch in cool filtered light. You can nap on the swing in a wide tunnel of green. Every Spring it squeezes out a few more blooms, with scent sweet as honeysuckle.

Can’t wait for that first nap.



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Hiking in the New Year


Some time ago, we fell into a tradition of taking a hike on New Years Day, if the weather is good. We skip the whole drunken party deal, opting for sore muscles instead of a sore head. Seems to work out better.

This year Apple Orchard Mountain got the nod, and by noon we were hiking down from the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Apple Orchard falls, one of the nicest in Virginia. You hike downhill along the stream, following cascades all the way, and about 1000 feet below you get to the main falls. It’s hard to capture scale in photos, but the main section drops over 200 feet.

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Remembering Ocracoke

Ocracoke Lighthouse


From a trip to Ocracoke Island back in 2007.


Might be time to go back, but with a pair of little sailboats. Sailing around the harbor, Silver Lake, and in the lee of the island along the sound, would be nice indeed.


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Water Over Stone

Virginia Creeper


There’s a place nearby where the Rockfish River winds through a ripple of hills. The hills are small, just a faint echo of the mountain ridge to the west. The river is, too; never more than a stream really. In most places you can wade across without getting your knees wet. A good sized tree falling over will span the banks. But It cut itself a narrow cliff-lined canyon through these hills. The steep stone walls, old and grey, seal it off from the outside world. Indirect light filters in softly most of the day through a clerestory of trees along the rim.

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Deer Moss

Albemarle County, Virginia ~ October 28, 2009


More accurately, Deer Lichen. A northern variety grows on the tundra, called Reindeer or Caribou Moss. Things with antlers like to eat it. It’s rich in carbs – more than potatoes – but too tough and acidic for humans to eat directly. When the Inuit killed a caribou they could eat the partially digested contents of the stomach, which was mostly moss and lichen, and this was the only vegetable in the Inuit diet. In Scandinavian countries they make a distilled spirit with it called Akavit. The Gaelic term for the same elixir became whisky.

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