Saturday, 10 May 2014

In the Garden

With the warm, humid weather, everything in the garden is growing quickly, including these flag iris in the drainage channel between our 'yard' and next door.  Our neighbour's back garden is full of azaleas, mostly white, and there are many colourful azalea bushes along the road.

We have a few flowers in the garden, some familiar and some less so.

I do not know what these little purple flowers are - they are about 5 or 6 inches tall and the colour is less vibrantly purple than it seems in the picture.

This solitary hellebore looks a little forlorn!

I think this is Solomon's Seal - which, along with hostas seems to grow well, perhaps there are not so many slugs and snails as in the UK!

Our azaleas are a little sparse in terms if flower still.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Warm Evening in Reston

Another very warm day today at 28 degrees and as humid as a steamy shower room.  At the Bargain Loft, where I spent the day today, thankfully, it was very cool.  I may be offering to work more shifts as the summer goes on.  

We decided to make the most of the weather this evening and headed into Reston  for dinner.  The fountain in the rather originally named Fountain Square is fully operational now having been iced up or empty throughout the winter.

We settled on Clydes for dinner and chose an outside table in the square where there was an ice rink in operation until just a few weeks ago.

In the interest of furthering my culinary experience, I ordered 'Fried Green Tomatoes' as a starter.  I didn't know quite what to expect, probably not this, but it was good!  (If you can't spot the green tomatoes it is because they are sliced and fried in breadcrumbs).  I also had Catfish, which was also very good.

We pottered around a few shops after dinner - many are open until 9pm - and by the time we headed for home the fountain was illuminated.

As we passed the door of a cake and chocolate shop on the way to the car park we saw this extraordinary  and huge (taller than us) cake, made of brightly coloured marshmallow characters called 'Peeps' which were in the shops at Easter.  It was a competition to count the Peeps characters but I think I may have cheated by taking a photo!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Catbird Antics

The catbird who appeared just a few days ago has become an almost constant presence on the decking, where he sits and gazes at his reflection in the glass doors..

After a certain amount of passive gazing he flies to the top of the window and pecks at it, flapping his wings.  He will do this time after time, particularly in the evening.

It is not easy to catch him on camera..

The windows do have a mirror effect to them and so perhaps he is either attracted to his reflection or chasing it off.. either way it is costing him a great deal of energy, especially today with the temperature at 30 degrees.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Richmond, Virginia

David travelled to Richmond this afternoon for a meeting and sent a few pictures of the area around his hotel.

Richmond is about two hours drive south from here and is the capital of Virginia, it has a number of historical buildings and sites.

Tomorrow the temperature in Richmond is due to reach 32 degrees - here it will be rather less but still very warm at 28 or 29!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Collard Greens

At Wegman's supermarket I was impressed, as usual, with the displays of fresh produce.  In this case, all you could want in the way of green vegetables.

I had seen 'Collard Greens' on a number of restaurant menus and it was also the recommended vegetable to accompany corned beef and potatoes for a St Patrucks Day meal.  This is the first time I have seen them on sale.

Immediately below in the display were these handsome bunches of very tall (about 10 inch high) dandelion leaves.  I assume that these are for salads but they did seem to be rather large.

The most colourful 'greens' were, as always, the Swiss Chard.

Monday, 5 May 2014


A new visitor to the feeders this afternoon - a catbird.  Apparently, this bird - which is about the size of a blackbird but with a rather small head and long tail - makes a noise like the mewing of a young cat.

The perfect bird for us, you might say!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Secrets of the Woods

Yesterday afternoon we walked into the woods near us to see how everything is growing.  It is all certainly looking much greener than earlier in the year, although not all the trees are fully in leaf as yet.

We saw a bush honeysuckle with a very pretty pink flower as well as the tree that we now know is a dogwood.

Another shrub growing in the woods was very familiar.

We also saw, suspended between tree branches, some quite large web and tent-like structures.  More details and a photo at the end of this blog so you can avoid if you wish!

The deer must be a little happier now that there is some food for them.

This evening we were visited by the grey cat who wanders along very occasionally.  After a few minutes of having his ears scratched he moved on.

So, back to the tent-like webs in the woods..

These extraordinary structures are the communal home of a moth caterpillar.  The eggs are laid before the winter on the tree branch and when they hatch the caterpillars spin a protective nest which they share, increasing its size as necessary until they pupate.