Saturday, 28 November 2015

Fearless Fox

We have got used to seeing foxes trotting through the garden fairly regularly.

As we don't have any pets or chickens to worry about - and the birds seem to keep their distance, quite understandably, we just enjoy watching them (and seeing how fast the squirrels run up the trees when they appear).

This particular fox is a little bit different.  We think that he is a young male - he certainly likes to mark his territory - but he appears to have no fear of humans at all.   He will stand outside the garage when we take the car out or watch from the lawn when visitors come to the door.

He will curl up and sleep in the leaves on the flower bed without any concerns, sometimes even in the middle of the grass..

Several people have suggested that his lack of fear is an indication of infection with rabies but we are hoping that this is an urban myth. 

He looks healthy enough, apart from the fact that he falls asleep the minute that he stops moving.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Tufted Titmouse

Just one photo today - a rather fluffed up Tufted Titmouse enjoying some morning sunshine in the tree near the bird feeders.

We don't seem to be seeing as many birds as we would expect in late November - the feeders are all full but there are few visitors.

Today the daytime temperature was quite high at 18C, so perhaps there is still plenty of natural food around.


Thursday, 26 November 2015


Today we were invited to have a Thanksgiving meal with friends in Sterling and so I thought that I should make something to contribute to the meal and I decided on some shortbread mince pies.

This is a recipe from BBC Good Food which I have made before - it is branded as 'very easy' but I must admit I found it quite stressful trying to get it right.  I doubled the recipe which meant rather a lot of rubbing in and then kneading of the dough to make it workable.

In the end today's batch seemed to come out reasonably well and they were well received by our hosts and other guests, none of whom had tried one before.

It was lovely to sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with twelve other people and sample two types of turkey - one roasted in the oven and one cooked outdoors in a barbecue smoker, together with traditional accompaniments of cornmeal stuffing, cooked Brussels sprout salad; roasted sweet potato; candied sweet potato casserole; mashed potatoes and spiced cranberry relish.  All very good.  In addition there were plantains and a spinach dish.

Desserts included Banana Cream Pie; Chocolate Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie (we didn't sample them all!) and of course the Mince Pies.

We have now returned home for a little rest by the fire..

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Meadowlark Walk of Lights

We have visited Meadowlark Botanical Garden several times during this year - usually in very warm weather.  It is a beautiful garden in any season but from now until early January the garden is open and illuminated in the evenings and very busy with visitors following the annual 'walk of lights'.

Some of the scenes depicted in lights reflect the life of the garden, such as the bees and the wildlife..

Many of the trees were lit up from top to bottom..

Many of the displays were animated, set to music and with colour-changing lights.. all rather difficult to show in these photos!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Blue Skies in DC

In Washington last Saturday it was cool and very dry and the skies were quite blue.  The weather seemed just right for the skating rink which is in place at the side of the National Mall.  

There were some very competent skaters whizzing around, others hugged the edge.  I always think that skating looks so elegant and have never tried it.  I may have left it a bit late perhaps.

Also in the park between the Smithsonian buildings were a number of modern sculptures, including this life-size steel tree..

At the Capitol building there is even more scaffolding over the dome and main building than last time we visited.  

The roses are still flowering well so I focused on them instead.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Holiday Shop

Tomorrow the Bargain Loft's 'holiday shop' opens, after two very full days of preparation - all the normal stock has been sold off or stored and 500 boxes of Christmas and holiday items have filled the store.

There are baubles and decorations galore..

As well as snowmen, angels, nativity scenes, snow globes and stockings..

Under the counter, the jewellery shelves are full..

Tomorrow will be a very busy day indeed..

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Panda Mania

As we passed through Wiehle-Reston metro station yesterday on our way to Washington we were surprised to see that some rather large pieces of public art had appeared.

They are apparently on loan to the station and were originally from a collection of 50  pandas which were individually decorated by artists and organizations, in 2004.  The collection was known as Panda Mania.

David posed with 'Pandela Anderson' - probably the most incongruous of the three 'pandas'...

From the local press comments on the pandas it would appear that views are mixed as to whether or not they enhance the area of the metro station!