Saturday, 1 March 2014

St David's - first day of Spring?

This morning, after a very cold night, the sun was shining and we spent the morning outside, splitting logs for the fire and clearing leaves.  As long as we stayed in the sun it was quite pleasant and most of the residual snow in the garden has now melted away.

Although it is St David's Day, no daffodils are in sight as yet and there are now winter storm warnings in force once again for 'Winter Storm Titan' tomorrow night and Monday, as shown on the Weather Channel this evening...

On the basis that we may have up to 12 inches of snow, my book club meeting for Monday morning has been cancelled and we are moving on to the April book, which is 'Defending Jacob' by William Landay.  Only problem is that when the April meeting takes place we will be in the UK, but as it looks as if we may be having a 'Snow Day' on Monday, I shall probably download it to the Kindle anyway.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Culinary Delight - Cronuts & Wieners

I spent today at the Bargain Loft, learning the ropes and helping to sort out, clean and arrange an eclectic mix of household items.

The day was fairly busy and the time passed quickly.  It is evidently a Friday tradition to have cakes and one volunteer brought in a box of 'Cronuts'...

I had heard of these but not tried them.  They are a hybrid of doughnuts (donuts here) and croissants, so although they look like regular doughnuts they taste quite different (and good!).

At lunchtime another first.  There is a cafe just around the corner from the Bargain Loft called Wieners Circle ('all wieners, no losers' is their strap line).  They sell an amazing variety of hot dogs, I had no idea there were so many variants.  I asked them to recommend one for my first 'American' hot dog and was given the house speciality, somewhat hidden under various toppings..

I was ready to be critical but I have to admit that it was surprisingly good.  

Perhaps all that dusting at the Bargain Loft had given me an appetite! 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Flying Solo!

This photo (taken, I hasten to add, when the car was stationary in traffic) marks my first solo driving today.  David drove to  the office, pointing out things for me to remember along the return route, and I drove back home.  Later I used the car to get to my first US Pilates session and back and then drove back to collect David this evening.  It was good to drive, but I was very grateful to have the satnav, as there are few real landmarks to navigate by and direction signs are almost non-existent.

I arrived early for Pilates and so went for a little walk around.  At the end of the block was a little water garden and, quite surprisingly given the very cold temperatures, the water was running over the rocks.

Some amazing effects were being created by the water droplets freezing on the surrounding stones.

The Pilates session was good - I certainly knew that I had been there - just wonder how my neglected but now stretched and worked muscles will feel in the morning.

When we got home this evening, my new Virginia driving (driver's) license had arrived in the post.  

Do you know this woman??  Would you even consider getting in a car with her??

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

... And a little more snow

Another snow fall overnight, which continued well into this morning.

The birds were busy at the feeders and eating the additional seed along the decking rail..

Of course the squirrels quickly caught on to the fact that there was some seed under the snow and set about finding it ..

This afternoon the sun melted much of the snow again and the next few days are due to be dry, but very cold and windy.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

More of the white stuff

David sent me this picture of the view from his office window over Dulles airport.  It was taken early this morning but by 9am it was snowing steadily.

The flakes were large and there was soon an inch or so of very fluffy wet snow covering the garden and confounding the long-suffering birds.

At around midday the sun came out and by mid afternoon much of this fresh snow had melted, leaving fluffy clumps like cotton wool on the trees and bushes.

Tomorrow the forecast is for more snow, followed by strong winds and overnight temperatures for the next few nights of -9 to -11C.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Book Club

There are several book clubs run by the Women's Club but I opted to join the Monday morning one - which meets on the first Monday of the month.  Hence I need to read this book which has in fact been on our shelves for years.  

I am hoping that reading with a book club will encourage me to absorb a little more of the content of the books that I read, rather than chasing through them to get to the end and then forgetting everything!

In the back garden we have a number of large trees with grassy or mossy patches beneath them which look as if they would be good places to sit and read. 

This afternoon I have been raking (more) leaves to uncover the grass around the trees.

Sitting under the trees at this time of year would be cold and damp.  Once the warm weather comes it could be a different story  - but it may be that being nibbled by passing insects could then be the problem.  We shall see..

PS (Tues morning) - in the last hour things have changed a little from the way they looked yesterday when the tree photo was taken..

(The tree in yesterday's photo is the one in the foreground..)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hunter's Wood

In need of some fresh air and exercise this afternoon after a late-ish night entertaining our neighbours to dinner, we set off for a walk through Hunter's Wood, our nearest community woodland.

Reston is divided into a number of community areas and each has an outdoor swimming pool as well as woodland trails with recreation areas and nature houses.  At present it is hard to imagine using the Hunter's Wood pool, which will be open from May to September.  No doubt when summer comes it will be hard to believe that it was ever cold enough to snow!

The outdoor pools are currently frozen and the snowdrift in front of the entrance has yet to melt.

Further into the woods we disturbed two or three deer who were foraging amongst the leaves under the trees, one made a dash for cover..

There are not many signs of Spring to report in the woods - some snowdrops, a few ferns and this plant which I did not recognise, and did not photograph very well.  It looked like mini- trees but with a spike of flower at the top.

The trees in the woods grow very tall, partly because they are competing for light.  The fact that they grow so close together also means that a higher proportion become diseased and there are quite a few that are obviously dead but quite beautiful with bleached white branches against the blue sky.

It will be good to see the trees and undergrowth start to become greener again in the coming months.