Saturday, 1 November 2014

Autumn Colour in the woods

Today is the 1st of November and it is exactly a year since I arrived in the US and indeed since I started this blog.  It has been fun!  Thanks to Karen for the original inspiration and thanks to you all for your interest and enthusiasm in following us in our US adventure.  I will try to keep on finding new and different things to write about in this second year - but I know that you won't be too surprised if I resort to photographing the garden birds on quiet days.,

Today we set off to walk in the woods this morning in a bid to improve our 'step' count for the day.  The cooler days and cold nights mean that the leaves are now turning, and falling, quite quickly so the path through the woods is now carpeted in some places.

The trail was fairly quiet - just a few walkers, joggers and cyclists wrapped up against the cold.   

Even without the benefit of sunshine the colours were beautiful.

The onset of Winter foretold in the stream..

We are forecast windy weather tomorrow so there will be even more leaves to deal with.  

Already along our road there are many leaves down but it is a very colourful sight.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

No, this is not me in fancy dress for the day.  This hideous hag was on sale a couple of weeks ago in Home Depot..

Fully automated, with swivelling head and evil cackle, you could take her home for a 'modest' price of $169!

I was in the Bargain Loft today, complete with black hat but no green make-up (no photos, sadly).  It was a fairly busy day and each customer wished us 'Happy Halloween' as they left.

We have been donated a number of original oil paintings by a local artist to sell, they are quite unusual but have been selling quite well...

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Garden Predator

This morning I glanced out of the window to see rather a gory scene unfolding on the fence of our neighbour's garden. 

A large hawk had chosen this spot to devour a freshly caught mouse - and he/she certainly made a thorough job of it.  After ten minutes or so there was very little left.

After consulting the bird books and the online Audubon guide,  our conclusion is that it was a juvenile Cooper's Hawk bit other suggestions/knowledge always welcome!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Historic Herndon

Yesterday I went to a lunch arranged by members of the Women's Club.  It was held at the Ice House cafe in Herndon.

The modern town of Herndon spreads over a large area, including the area adjacent to the airport where David works and the area where the Bargain Loft is situated which is where Herndon and the much newer town of Reston meet.

The original town of Herndon, of which  just a few historic buildings remain, grew up as a result of the building of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad in the mid 19th century.  The old station building, known as the Herndon depot, has been preserved and functions as a museum, only open on Sundays.

In the early days of the railway it provided a means for farmers in the Herndon area, mainly dairy farmers, to get milk and produce to market, as roads at that time were unpaved and could become impassable in wet or icy weather.  

The railway closed in 1968 and is now a cycle track which is very popular as it enables access from Washington into Virginia.  It seems ironic that the railroad, which passes through Reston as well as Herndon, should have been closed at the time when Reston was just being developed and it was fifty years before a rail link (via the metro) was re-established to Washington.

The Main Street through Herndon has a number of historic homes and buildings and, despite the fact that it is surrounded by very developed residential and business districts, it still has quite a small town feel to it.

It even had its own pumpkin patch..

The Ice House was exactly what it's name suggests..

Whether the ice was used by local businesses or to pack produce on trains for freshness I have not discovered.  It has been established as a cafe/restaurant for many years with a very traditional interior featuring stuffed heads of moose, wild boar, elk etc on the wall and a rather unusual notice just inside the door.,

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Changing Weather

This morning the dawn sky was very colourful.. David photographed it from his office window .. and I photographed it whilst waiting at traffic lights on the way home..

We have always thought (well in the UK anyway) that a red sky in the morning heralds rain later in the day but the weather today has been very warm and very clear, a day that really felt like summer.

However there is changeable weather ahead as this morning's mini forecast on my phone demonstrates..

A temperature drop of 27C between today and Sunday night may be quite noticeable....

Monday, 27 October 2014

'Holidays' are coming...

There were two reminders today that 'the holidays' are rapidly approaching.  David had received his invitation to the Airbus Holiday Party back in the summer when thoughts of Christmas were far from our minds.  The invitation, with its Christmas bell, has been hanging off the corner of a picture frame since then.

Today he received a gentle reminder in the shape of a card and a novelty jelly lollipop.  The event will be very different this year, instead of the Air and Space Museum it is being held at National Harbour at the Gaylord National Convention Centre and will include a visit to the ice sculptures which are created there each year.

The second reminder that Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming came at a Bargain Loft meeting this morning to prepare for the pre-holiday sale (from next Tuesday) and the Holiday Shop (three weeks later).

Throughout the year, donated Christmas items and items suitable for gifts are held back and stored, together with Christmas trees, ornaments, garlands etc.  There are some 100 boxes of items to be unpacked, priced and displayed in the two days between the end of the half-price sale on Saturday afternoon and the opening of the Holiday Shop on the following Tuesday morning.  All 'normal' stock left after the sale will either be put out into the 'free' box or taken upstairs.

This will be my first experience of the Bargain Loft Holiday Shop - I'm told it will be memorable!!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Autumn Tasks

When a tree was cut down last Autumn the wood was stashed between two trees, ready to be split in due course.  Now that we have used up more than half of the wood delivered last year, we were ready to go..

The wood has been covered with a tarpaulin which we removed rather gingerly in case anything had taken up residence in the pile.  In fact all that was there was a dead crow and, on the wood itself, some rather spectacular fungus.

David set about the task of splitting the logs with a vengeance while I raked some of the many leaves already covering the lawn.  Some of the oak leaves in particular are huge..,

When David took a breather I tried my hand at splitting logs too but I was not very good at it!!

After several hours work, the original pile was gone and a new pile of pieces ready for the fire was left.

'All' that remained was to get it moved and safely stacked for use..

And so this evening we nursed our aching muscles by a nice warm fire..