Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ladybug, Ladybug .................

Ladybug, Ladybug ....
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire
And your children all gone.

I went outside this afternoon and the ladybugs were swarming. They were everywhere and on everything. Evidently the warm weather (in the 70's) made them all come out.

I was only outside for a minute or two before I was covered with ladybugs. The little things can bite too! I had to retreat back inside.

However, once I got inside, I found that they had also invaded the house! This little fellow had landed on my cooktop.
This happens several times a year. I have some neighbors who claim that they are so bad in their homes that they have to literally sweep up piles of them and throw them outside. Hope they never get that bad here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our Sunday ride ............

I talked Hubbie into going for a ride up to the mountains of Virginia last Sunday. It was a beautiful day and the trees were spectacular. We left home around 8AM and headed west on 460. We stopped in Farmville and had breakfast. We had planned on going to Peaks of Otter, but somehow we missed our turn in Bedford, so we went on toward Roanoke and got on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You must visit the Blue Ridge Parkway in October. The leaves are so colorful and the views from the lookouts are breathtaking. I am not a photographer and all my pictures were taken through the car window while we were moving, so they do not do justice to the scenery. Snappy Di has some beautiful pictures on her blog at The Blue Ridge Gal. Check them out.

Unfortunately, Hubbie's back started to bother him, so we exited the Parkway on 43 North, went to 81 North, then to 60 East and headed back home. While the trees in the mountains were beautiful, I think they were even more colorful as we got closer to home.

This last picture is about 5 miles from home. (Please ignore the squashed bug in the middle of the picture.) It was nice to view the scenery across the state. I consider myself lucky to live in a state with a seashore, a piedmont area of gently rolling hills, and mountains.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

The maple and the well ..............

This red maple is still the only tree in my yard that has any color. You may notice that it looks more like a shrub than a tree. There is a story behind that......

In the late 1800s a family had a home in the same general area as my house. Of course, they had a well. When the house was torn down, someone had placed a large piece of metal over the well opening. When we built our house, we did not want the old well in our front yard. We had the builders remove the cover and asked them to fill the well with dirt and other debris from the construction.

The first few years we were here, the area over the well settled a bit, so we filled it in with more soil. When it appeared that there would be no further settling, we purchased two maple trees and planted them in the front yard - planting one where the well had been.

The trees grew to 10 to 12 feet and were thriving. One day I looked out the front window and the tree over the well was gone. When I went outside to investigate, I discovered the tree sitting in a hole with the top of the tree at ground level. Evidently, there was some drastic settling and the tree descended with the soil.

Surprisingly, the tree survived and continued to grow. The part that is now visable are the upper limbs of the tree. As it grew out of the hole, we filled the hole with soil. There hasn't been any more settling and it has turned out to be a rather pretty and unusual tree.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cooler weather arrived ...............

This has been a cool, cloudy day in Southside Virginia, It actually feels like fall outside. I decided it was time to get out my cooler weather clothes, so I spent the whole day going through closets and drawers. I have three bags of things to take to Goodwill. I've always loved clothes and find it hard to get rid of things. I don't have much closet space, so I'm forced to pare down. I'm hoping I can finish up tomorrow.

I got another picking of collards from the garden. The groundhog has been in the back yard every day, but thankfully has not come back to the garden. He's been munching on the grass instead. I had the collards with pork chops, navy beans, and hush puppies for supper (my hubbies' favorite meal). The next few days are going to be cool and rainy, so I'm going to make a big pot of soup tomorrow. I haven't had homemade soup since last winter, so I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Foliage # 2 ...........

The red maple in my front yard is just beginning to get some colorful leaves. Our trees are still mostly green, but it shouldn't be long before the woods turn all the shades of fall.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cats and snakes ...............

Maggie May did not go outside at all the first two years of her life. However, when Mazie Grace moved in with us, Maggie May didn't understand why Mazie Grace got to go outside and she didn't. Maggie May has her Daddy wrapped around her paw, so he gave in to her crying and let her go outside. Now she wants to be outside all the time. She chases grasshoppers and butterflies, and she actually chased the neighbor's dog off the deck. I'm hoping all the exercise will take a few pounds off her, since she has gotten quite chubby. I prop open the door to the garage just enough so she can run inside if she needs to.

Mazie Grace enjoys having Maggie May outside to play with. They will chase each other and play hide and seek in the flowers. In the picture above Mazie Grace is watching a mole hole, waiting for the poor critter to come out and get eaten. She still hunts but not as much as she did when she first came here. There's always food in the dish, so she doesn't have to catch prey in order to survive.

I have been occupied for the last week with problems at my Dad's house. One of the aides saw a black snake in the basement when she went down to wash clothes. Of course, everyone was then afraid to go in the basement and were also uneasy in the house. I got an exterminator out to remove the snake. The exterminator seemed to think there were possibly more snakes in the insulation on the ceiling of the basement. They came back and removed all the insulation and did find another snake.

We then had to clean a lot of junk out of the basement. I took away seven pickup truck loads. The exterminators came back today and sprayed the basement and all around the house for pests and put down mouse bait. I'll go back tomorrow and take a few more things out and give it a good sweeping. Hopefully that will take care of the problem.

After working all weekend at Dad's house, I came home with a renewed determination to tackle the junk around here. It's so easy for things to accumulate in a garage or in closets. I'm going to go through and donate to Goodwill or freecycle everything we don't use.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

That darn groundhog ............

My cabbage and collards were looking so good. The picture above was taken on September 22nd. I was looking forward to coleslaw, boiled cabbage, and pots of collard greens.

Tuesday, I looked at the garden and this is what I saw. All my cabbage had been eaten. I didn't know who had been feasting on my garden, but they evidently like cabbage. Yesterday I saw the groundhog in the back yard. I watched as he crept up to the garden and began chewing. I ran outside screaming like a crazy woman and chased him away. I thought he had gone to groundhog heaven, because I hadn't seen him all summer. Maybe he has been feasting in the neighbor's garden which is across the road from his den. Unfortunately, he had discovered my garden.

Today I checked the garden again, and it looked like this. He must have come back when I wasn't looking. After finishing off the cabbage, he ate at least half the collards. I rescued what I could and we had a big pot of collards for supper. They sure were good. That groundhog has good taste, but I'm afraid he's going to be disappointed when he comes back for the rest of the collards. They're in a pot on my stove.