Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Journalist Scott Mason has the enviable job of traveling throughout our fine state and reporting on the local color.  In this segment, he highlights the jam session that Roger often attends (and Caleb occasionally attends).
You can see Caleb in a blue T-shirt very briefly between the 2:18 and 2:19 minute mark.  If you were to pause the video at that point, you might be able to look just to the right of Caleb and see part of Roger, who is sitting in a purple T-shirt with a leather guitar strap over his shoulder.
That reminds me--that strap was a gift I once gave Roger many moons ago.  At one point I think Roger had forgotten that I had given it to him.  (It would be nice if folks would remember the good stuff you do and not just the bad.)
At my sister-in-law's funeral, the pastor affectionately remembered her with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek observation:  she always thought the church services in which her children or grandchildren sang were great services--and the services in which they didn't sing would have been so much better if only they had been allowed to sing.  I kind of feel that way about this TV segment; it would have been so much better if it had featured Caleb's mandolin picking or Roger's guitar picking!
The guy in the white T-shirt (which reads "I'd wrap that in bacon") who says he loves to pick is our friend Brooks.  He is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  Joey Tedder, the man who hosts the jam, is also a very nice guy.  John Dudley, the banjo picker who was featured in the headless portrait plays with Damascus Ridge.  His wife, Julia played the fiddle at the pottery festival I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.
It's cool to be on TV in the internet age when one can go back and replay the video.
Jam on, guys!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Up Up and Awa-ay

I remember Daddy having a record with the iconic sunshine-pop song, "Up Up and Away."  I really don't remember which artist, but possibly it was Andy Williams.  I remember we liked to play the song "Impossible Dream" as well, which was also done by Andy Williams, so perhaps his rendition was the one we had.  Anyway, in my mind I hear the phrase "my beautiful, my beautiful balloon" whenever I see the hot air balloon go over.
Saturday evening I saw it at a distance as I stood and chatted with my neighbor.

This hot air balloon has even landed in the neighborhood a few times.  Here are some pictures from 3 years ago.  Just Saturday I was mentioning the burgundy foliage of the golden bell bushes and how good it looked with the yellow of the golden rod.  You can see in the first picture below that same combination from 3 years ago.

Hope you have a cheerful, carefree day!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Gorgeous weather

The weather today was wonderful.  I thought it was perfect for the pumpkin festival where one of the bands that Caleb plays in would be performing.  Alas, I was confused; the pumpkin festival is next week.
But the weather was perfect, nonetheless.  I sat on the porch and ate my cereal and noticed that the golden bell bushes are turning burgundy.  They look pretty with the goldenrods in front of them.  I pointed that out to Roger and he said the flowers seem brighter in fall.  He must be seeing this mum on the steps.

We took advantage of the nice day to take a walk at the nature preserve.

We saw lichens and mushrooms.
Here, if you look carefully, you will see the sun shining on the aerial roots of a large grapevine that is growing on a steep hillside.  They just captured my attention this time because of the lighting.

I always like to see the little waterfall.
 My favorite walking partner stands out in orange.
Watch out for the snake--oh, it's just a root painted black and studded with metal eyes.

There is one trail where we had seen some trees during the dormant season that I thought were sourwoods.  Then I started second guessing myself and wondering if they were sassafrass.  Today we were able to see them with the leaves.  They are sourwoods.  Most of the leaves on the trees throughout the preserve were still green, but there were some signs of early fall such as dropped acorns and red dogwood berries.
I love looking at the sunlight through a canopy of leaves.
Even though it was around noon, the dew droplets still clung to the fuzzy mullein leaves.
I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy the weather.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fruit fly trap

It's not unusual this time of year to have an abundance of fruit flies.  My parents called them drunkards. 
(Mama described their movements as "a'seining around."  I can't really find dictionary help on that word.  Maybe it was a drifting motion like a boat with a seine?  Any suggestions on the etymology would be appreciated.)
I have "fruit fly city" in my kitchen.  They are "seining" around the bananas, pears, and compost bowl.  But I have a strategy for dealing with them!
I take a jar and fill it with water and a little vinegar.  I drop in a piece of fruit scrap such as a bit of apple core or banana peel.  I put in a few drops of detergent and spray in more water to make the detergent foam.  I pour enough water to make the foam rise above the rim so the little critters can't crawl out.  They land in the foam and suffocate.
As you can see, from the ones which have sunk to the bottom of the jar, this little trap is rather effective. (It was just placed in the kitchen a few hours ago.)

When the foam has dissipated, I dump a little of the water out, and then spray more water in from the sink sprayer to agitate the water and make more foam.

I tired myself out yesterday mowing my front yard and part of the neighbor's yard.  This rain is forcing me to break from the outdoor work, so I'm on an indoor vermin campaign.  Besides the fruit fly trap, I've smashed three spiders with newspaper.  (There are more!)  I will also set out some (store bought) roach traps.
I know this is a bit of a departure from a post of flower blossoms or scenic beauty, but now we've covered the gamut--the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you have vermin and can take consolation that you are not alone, remember this verse: Proverbs 30:28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Afternoon at the lake

I hadn't been swimming all summer, so I went out to the lake this afternoon a got a little swimming in (by myself--that's just how it worked out).
a little blue sky in the east

an osprey or bald eagle?

a good supper in the insulated bag my sister-in-law gave me

There was a little more cloud cover than I had anticipated, but, all in all, it wasn't so bad.  There were lots of minnows along the edge of the lake.  Some kids were trying to catch them in nets.  The kids were just packing up to leave as I settled in.  There were a couple of kayakers and one fisherman with a small electric motor.  I did see lots of fish jumping.  After everyone was out of the water, a flock of geese swam from the middle of the lake to the edge where I had been.  There were 23 geese.  I wondered why they didn't just fly over to the edge.  It was a peaceful afternoon.
Goodbye summer. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The scoliid wasps: natural enemies of Japanese beetles

In a previous post, I had a question about the identification of a wasp my son had photographed.  I spent a little time looking for it.  I found something called a blue-winged wasp (scolia dubia) that seemed close (except for the color of the abdomen).  I became interested in the blue-winged wasp when I found out it is a natural predator of Japanese beetle grubs.  Good news there! 
My older sister tracked down the answer to our mystery insect.  The critter we had seen was a double-banded scoliid (scolia bicincta).
I thought I had seen some blue-winged wasps on my hoary mountain mint.  I went out with my camera, and, sure enough, there were both scolia dubia and scolia bicincta on my mint.  Here are some pics from this afternoon.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A walk with my guys

I always find a large chasm between my ideal and my reality.  In my ideal world, my family would be a lot more physically active (and I would have more energy), we would manage our time and finances well, and we would eat healthy food.  (I saw a card that said, "They recommend eating WHOLE foods, so I ate the WHOLE cheesecake.")  Of course, in the ideal world a husband is attentive and spends time with his wife. 
Anyway, after expressing my wishes, darling husband and darling son capitulated and went for a walk with me Saturday evening at the local nature preserve.  Darling husband had to coax darling son since darling son had been standing and playing music for a few hours that afternoon, but once darling son got to the nature preserve, he was quite the interested companion, and he snapped several photos with his phone.  Here are some of ds's photos.

A pickerel frog by the base of a tree.

Double-banded scoliid on white snakeroot flower.

Virginia meadow beauty (rhexia virginica) by the edge of the lake.

Jewelweed by the woodland stream.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pottery festival (the band)

My "favorite band" is the one Caleb is playing in.  He plays with various groups, so whichever he is playing with at a particular time becomes my favorite for the moment.  Saturday, he was with Melody Brown and High Strung (also known affectionately as Carvel's Marvels).  Melody is a cool lady, and if I could be as cool as I wanted, I would be as cool as she is.  Here she is warming up behind the pottery shed.
Caleb and Chris warm up on guitar and mandolin.

The band:
Caleb is passing a cord out to Steve, Melody's husband.  Steve works hard to get the equipment set up and tested.  The band was on a classy gray and white porch that was fronted by a profusion of flowers.  I must say it was one of the prettiest venues I've seen in a while.  There were chairs (including the white porch rockers) under the tent for the spectators.  Thankfully the rain held off.

They look serious about their music, but some of their songs are anything but serious.


Good job, Melody Brown and High Strung!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pottery festival (the pottery)

There was lots of wonderful art at the pottery festival yesterday.  It was hosted by Under the Oaks, but there were many area potters participating.  There were rows of display tents, and Caleb and I enjoyed browsing and taking pictures.  Caleb still remembers his chemistry (thanks to Dr. Frank Louws), and he asked some interesting questions.
Here, potter Jasper Moore talks about copper brown glaze, oxidation, reduction, carbon monoxide, etc.  Caleb was taking it all in.

                 Fiberglass balls hold the wicks in oil lamps.
There were vases in various shapes and sizes.
Here are three lovely rustic vases ranging from large to tiny. The large vase sports a textured finish.  (I believe the clay had been pressed onto canvas to obtain the texture.)

There were vases of striking elegance


and vases that were captivatingly colorful.
(Caleb's photo)
Each piece was a unique work of art, whether innovative or traditional.

(Caleb's photo)

There were plates with flowers...


... and plates that were flowers.
There was a goodly assortment of critters--
from perching birds,


to sea turtles,
                                                                                   to more birds,
(Caleb's photo)
to a raptor who looked quite at home displayed in front of a tree.
For the fairies and elves, there were toadstools and doors.

A few pieces I was quite taken with include a singer and a couple of boxes.  The more I look at them, the more I like them.

(Caleb's photo, my garden-stained thumbnail)

Lots and lots of art; stay tuned for the band.