Graham randomly snapped this photo sitting by the fire pit at a friend’s house a couple of weekends ago, and was surprised at how nice it turned out. He says that if I were ever to make a country music album, which is so unlikely as to be ridiculous but still fun to ponder, this should be the album cover.
I agree. Nothing like a good pair of boots, is there?
We had a really nice mini-vacation. We mostly stayed home – we hung out and watched movies, spent time with friends, and generally just relaxed – but we also decided to head down to Charlottesville for a couple of days. Graham had picked out some cideries for us to try, and he booked a really cute inn for a night. And then, on Monday, we took Skyline Drive home.
What is Skyline Drive? Glad you (maybe) asked! It’s part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and of Shenandoah National Park. It snakes through some of Virginia’s beautiful mountain terrain, and it boasts some of the very best views in the state. Like this one:
And this one:
And this one, too:
We took it slow and just enjoyed driving and chatting. We don’t often get the privilege of uninterrupted, distraction-free time together.
And then, at the highest point on the route, we ran into some fog.
Some very dense fog.
But you know, it was fine. The fog actually made the fall colors pop, and it’s kind of magical, feeling like you’re up in the clouds.
All in all, Skyline Drive was a really lovely experience, and I think we’re planning to do it again in the spring. It’ll be fun to see how the vistas change with the seasons.
It’s been raining on and off today, and it’s nice and cool outside, and the sky is pink and purple, and the trees are starting to turn gold, and I just really think September in Virginia might be one of my very favorite things in the entire world.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly squeamish about bugs and other creepy crawlies. (Except snakes.) I find them pretty fascinating, actually. (Except snakes.) So when Graham snapped a shot of this colorful lady while he was out doing some work on the house yesterday, my first thought was, “What a pretty spider!”
And she is, isn’t she?
I did some research today, and it turns out, this giantess is an Argiope aurantia, sometimes called the writing spider. They’re known for the patterns they weave into their webs, which often look like X’s and Z’s. They’re not aggressive, but they will bite if provoked, and they tend to stay in one place throughout their lifetimes. And an interesting bit of folklore: It’s been said that if you tear down a writing spider’s web or try to harm it, the spider will build a new web the next day with your name written in silk, thereby cursing you with bad luck.
So, I’ll leave her alone, then. Which is my general rule of thumb anyway, when it comes to spiders.
But it does feel sort of appropriate to have a writing spider close by. I certainly don’t plan to bother her, but I think it’s pretty likely that I’ll check on her every now and again, if only to see what new patterns she’s created.
The fox kits that live under our barn have been extra active this week. Look at them!
They’re almost grown! They’re so big, you guys. And their little tails are so fluffy! I’ll be sad to see them leave their den, but red foxes tend to stick to the same area their whole lives, so hopefully we’ll still see them around from time to time.
“What lovely flowers,” I say, and what I mean is: “I see how much work it took to create this blissful space. It’s something I could never do, at least, not without significant difficulty. I appreciate the beautiful things you’ve planted and nurtured. I can see the love in your heart, because you’ve poured it into these little pink sunbursts, and all of the others around us, too. I’m grateful for this time with you in your garden.” But that’s a mouthful and a half, and we’ve got limited time this visit. So what I say is simply, “What lovely flowers.” And I trust that you’ll get the message.
Graham has entered his busy season at work, and the last two weeks have been really exhausting for him. I don’t generally encourage overwork, but I’m proud of him for hanging in there. He’s smart and talented at his job. But I know he’s tired. And so this week, I wanted to do something special for him, and feature some of the photos he’s taken lately of the birds we’ve been seeing this spring.
He’s a good photographer, and he’s always trying to get better, and I’m proud of him for that, too.
We see cardinals around the property all the time. They are the state bird of Virginia, so it’s not surprising, but they’re really lovely, and fun to watch.
This little guy hangs out on our power line almost every day. I wonder what he’s thinking about.
Just, you know, sitting down to lunch together.
I hope Graham has more time in the not too distant future to get outside and snap some pictures, and just to relax and do the things he likes to do, generally. But in the meantime, I’ll be here, cheering him on. And bragging on him a little. 😉