Saturday, 11 July 2015

Northern Flicker 'Baby'

We have always enjoyed watching the birds outside our window but in the last few weeks we have been visited by many bird families - bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, wrens, tufted titmice and downy woodpeckers, amongst others.

As in the case of these Northern Flickers, the 'baby' birds are usually the same size as their parents and are quite capable of feeding themselves, but when the parent bird is present they expect to be fed!

And they usually get what they want!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Summer Evening in Reston

This evening we went into Reston town centre for dinner. 

The weather has been very warm today and there were many people out and about enjoying the late sunshine and visiting the shops and restaurants.

In the town square, children were playing in the fountain.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Taste of Home?

Our local 'Giant' supermarket has revamped its collection of British food (with a few other European items at the edges).

It is an interesting mixture and I hope that non-British customers at the store do not draw too many conclusions about the quality and variety of British food on the basis of studying these items!

There are a few things which are a little un-seasonal, given that temperatures here are currently in the 80's or 90's with humidity levels to match.  So three types of steamed pudding, several types of rice pudding and Bird's custard don't seem very summery to me.

As you will see if you zoom in a little there are some items that we would not find in the UK (jars of Devonshire cream, for example).  There are also a few that seem a little dear.. Homepride shepherd's pie sauce (top shelf) for $8.49 anyone??  Salad cream for $6.59?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Birthday Celebrations

Today was a special birthday for Claire, who volunteers with me at the Bargain Loft, so we headed for L'Auberge chez Francois - a French (Alsacien) restaurant at Great Falls - for lunch.

After our lunch, including a birthday surprise dessert, we headed outside to enjoy our coffee and visit the gardens.

The garden terrace is lovely and would be a great place to eat on a less humid day! (Thunderstorms were forecast for today and these did arrive - but fortunately only as we were driving home).

The waiter kindly took a photo for us and then we explored the gardens..

The vegetable garden - fenced to keep out the deer (or customers?) provides much of the summer produce and flowers for the restaurant.

Presumably the stork is the Alsacien version of a scarecrow!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Virginia Historical Markers

When I went to Lake Anne in Reston yesterday, I saw this newly erected Virginia Historical Marker.

Normally these are to be seen by historic homes or by the side of the road at the site of Civil War battles or other important events.

This one was put up last year, the 50th anniversary of the building of Reston, commemorating the building of Lake Anne as the start of the building of the new town of Reston.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Native Virginian Wetland Plants

One of the lakes at Meadowlark is surrounded by plants native to Virginia.

The lake is shaded by cypress trees which have very soft needles and fruit as well as cones.

Under the trees are cypress 'knees' - upright nodules growing up from the roots which help the tree to survive when the water level rises.

This area of the garden also has a collection of native pitcher plants, which are not the most attractive plants but interesting to observe..

And finally, the native white water lily is very prolific across the surface of the lake, providing excellent cover for wildlife, including the painted turtles.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Bees at Meadowlark

In the garden at Meadowlark there were lots of plantings to attract bees and bee houses of various kinds throughout the flower beds.

There were many bees of different types to be seen, busy in the flowers.

In the Korean Garden was a hibiscus 'Rose of Sharron' which is the Korean national flower.  The amount of pollen in each flower meant that the bees were covered with it ..