Saturday, 8 February 2014

Day 100 - Shopping for Dinner

This evening we had invited our opposite neighbours for dinner.  We made the mistake of deciding on the menu without checking how easily we might get hold of all the ingredients..

Hence we found ourselves visiting several supermarkets and at Wholefoods we were particularly impressed with their vegetable displays.

Everything is kept fresh with a fine spray of water which rains down from the top of the display at regular intervals.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Day 99 - Washington, D.C

It was great to set off with a purpose this morning and under a bright blue , if chilly, sky, I caught the Park and Ride bus to the metro station and headed to DC to the headquarters of the American Red Cross.

The purpose was to attend volunteer training to participate in 'blood drives' in Virginia and in Washington itself.

I arrived rather early and so wandered along Pennsylvania Ave to the White House.

After the training I passed by again, this time on the other side of the building.  As ever it was busy with police and secret service personnel everywhere (I knew they were secret service as it said so on the side of their cars...).

I then walked on to the National Mall and spent some time in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, before returning home.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Day 98 - Winter Cardinal

Today has been a quiet day, all the ice has melted and the weather is cold and dry.  Despite the above image there is no snow, although it is forecast again for the weekend.

This rather wintry photograph of a female Cardinal was taken by David on the day a couple of weeks ago when it snowed heavily and we were leaving for the UK. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Day 97 - Ice Storm 2

Rain overnight turned into freezing rain in the early hours and when we got up this morning it was to find that everything was again glazed with ice.

There are two camellias in bud in the garden, one is beginning to show some colour but they were both encased in heavy ice again today and bowed over.

The birds made the best of their frozen feeders and surroundings.

This afternoon as the air warmed up the ice and large drips of water fell very noisily from the trees.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Day 96 - Canada Geese

Out for a walk this afternoon and a flock of Canada Geese - around eighty or so of them - have once again colonised the recreation field at the top of our road.

The ground is quite waterlogged after the snow melt and recent very heavy rain and the baseball diamond has been turned into a virtual mud bath.

Just across the road from where the geese have settled in is this rather original postbox which I would think may have confused more than a few birds !  In the background you can see our postman delivering letters into a neighbouring postbox through the window of his van.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Day 95 - Another 6 weeks of winter?

Yesterday, February 2nd, as well as being the Super Bowl, was Groundhog Day - see picture above which I have borrowed from the web (you will find it and much more on a YouTube clip if you search for Groundhog Day).

The tradition of Groundhog Day is apparently based around a German superstition that on February 2nd - Candlemas - observing the behaviour of badgers was the key to knowing when to plant Spring crops .

Groundhog Day has been observed in the US since the early 1800's and when Punxsutawney  Phil - the 'official' groundhog/woodchuck/marmot pictured above - emerges from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania, if he sees his shadow and returns to his burrow  it is said that the winter will continue for a further six weeks.  

Yesterday apparently he did see his shadow and so we can expect some further wintry weather.  Today it has poured with rain all day..

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Day 94 - Wheelbarrows & Aerial Views

We arrived at Heathrow quite early for our flight this morning and so had a quick look around Terminal 5, including these rather brightly coloured wheelbarrows - a tribute to British Gardening!

Once in the air, with a sunny and clear sky we had good views over the countryside, including many flooded fields.

Much further in in the flight, over the Labrador Sea, we had a spectacular view of the ice floes far below us.

As we made our final approach to Dulles we could see that the snow has mostly gone but that lakes are still frozen.

On the ground the temperature was around 12C and quite pleasant, though further winter storms are said to be on their way.