Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fun on the Slides


After all the sitting that long distance travel involves, it was great to be able to get out this afternoon for a walk with James and Theo.


Theo loves to be outdoors and, although it was a grey afternoon and a little chilly, he was keen to try out every single piece of equipment in the local park - even the big slides intended for older children!


Even the muddy slope alongside had to be tried out..


As well as lots of other equipment..




Muddy times but happy times! ❤

Friday, 17 February 2017

To buy or not to buy...


A rather large but handsome rolltop desk has recently arrived at the Bargain Loft.


I have always rather liked the idea of writing at such a desk, storing stationary in all those little compartments and drawers.


On the down side, this is a very heavy desk which comes only into two parts so would be very heavy to move.

In the end, I decided against it, but it will be a lovely find for someone.

This evening we travelled back to the UK, our early morning arrival was cloudy but beautiful in the early morning light (the half moon still visible in the sky!).


David and I were sitting together and so I had the benefit of a running commentary on the various movements of the wing flaps prior to landing!


Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Founding of Reston


I went to the monthly meeting of the Women's Club at Lake Anne today, where the speaker was Reston resident Kristina Alcorn, author of the above book about Reston's Founder.

Robert Simon came from New York where his family owned and ran Carnegie Hall - Robert himself took over the running of this famous venue at the age of 23 when his father died suddenly.  In 1960 it was sold to the city of New York and Robert Simon - who was interested in planning a new community - was offered 6,750 acres of farmland and woodland in Northern Virginia.  He purchased the land with financial backing and built Reston - named after him, starting with Lake Anne.

It was an interesting talk and looks to be a good book.  Many of those at the meeting remembered Bob Simon - he died in September 2015 at the age of 101 - and had their own stories to tell about his life and achievements.

A quick PS - this bronze statue of Bob Simon at Lake Anne is often decorated with flowers.  At the moment it is decorated with Mardi Gras beads (photo borrowed from a post by Small Change Consignment at Lake Anne - a wonderful, friendly shop selling children's clothes, toys and equipment).


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wildlife in the Woods


When we visited the woodlands and pond the other weekend, we called in to the Visitor Centre before we began our walk.   There we encountered some specimens of local wildlife - some more animated than others!  This poor stuffed thing is a Coyote - larger than a fox, smaller than a German Shepherd dog.  They do, apparently, frequent the park and woodlands but as their sense of smell enables them to detect the presence of a human from one mile away (and as they are shy) we don't ever expect to see one.


Very much alive and in a tank, jostling for space under a heat lamp, these painted turtles are relatively common in the lakes and ponds and we have seen them in the wild.


These rather larger Snapper turtles are also fairly common in lakes and ponds - we have seen them occasionally at Meadowlark.  More precisely we have seen their noses poking out of the water - as below!


This American Bull Frog has to be one of the largest frogs I have ever seen..


And of course the inevitable reptiles (you may want to look away now..)


Copperheads are mercifully shy and rare..


This rather large black snake is very similar to one that crossed our path at Great Falls last spring.  Thankfully he was also shy and slithered off into the undergrowth.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Just Desserts


We didn't go out to celebrate Valentines Day but we did make a special dinner (Diet Coke Chicken - except we used pork - it was good!). 

And for dessert these almost heart shaped strawberries dipped in white chocolate and hundreds and thousands.  We haven't got these quite right - think some more practice may be needed..

Monday, 13 February 2017

Patches of Green


In the woods at this time of year there is very little colour to be seen, other than the occasional outcrop of moss in the damper areas growing on old wood or stones..


When viewed close up there are a surprising number of different types of moss,  some of which are truly vibrant..



There is of course a down side to peering at mossy patches on the ground as I was to discover..


Whilst taking these photos I almost walked on these little plants growing up through the leaves..


I wasn't at all sure what they were - an American friend suggests a tulip in the middle and perhaps two 'Jack in the Pulpit' on either side.  The leaves were very unusual.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Patterns and Textures


This surface eminded me of a rock formation, but it isn't a cliff face.

The texture of this surface below also has the appearance of rock - at least to my eyes, especially turned on its side, as here.


In fact both of these photos are close ups of part of this old and rotting tree stump that we came across in Walney Woods yesterday.


Another dead tree showed a different texture and we wondered if ants or even termites had moved in to this fallen trunk.


This tree was living but the bark had been damaged badly either by birds or small mammals - perhaps looking for insects, judging by the bore holes..


Also in the woods yesterday were a number of living trees which had been marked by human passers-by...


The (formerly) smooth barked beech trees, which are not common in this area, seem to have been very attractive to the would-be tree graffiti 'artists'..


Interestingly the larger, older trees, seemed to have 'healed' their bark a little, blurring the carvings..