Saturday, 4 March 2017

Flowers in DC


We visited Washington today and headed for the Enid Haupt garden by Smithsonian Castle to see the magnolia trees in bloom.  On the way there were some quite colourful flowerbeds.



The magnolia trees are usually beautiful but this year, although they have only just come into flower, they have been caught by the frost (last night the temperature dropped to -8)....




We walked on to the National Mall where some early cherry trees are in bloom..



As well as a beautiful witch hazel..



Friday, 3 March 2017

Bargain Loft Friday

Today is the first day this week that I have really felt like being out and about so of course I headed to the Bargain Loft to check on the jewelery cabinets and fill any gaps.


We receive some beautiful jewellery items each week and it is great to work on researching them and seeing the sales figures roll in.  February was a particularly good month for jewellery sales but now it is March so the challenge is on again!


It is quite helpful to take photos of the cabinets from time to time and it also helps to advertise  what we have on sale on our Facebook page.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Fruit & Veg


Most of the fruit and veg section of the supermarket is much the same here than at home, but occasionally you come across something different, such as these large aloe vera leaves.


There is some scope for confusion in this collection - although the relative sizes and skin textures give most of them away.  In the centre are star fruit.  Top right papaya with paw-paw below.  Green avocados on the bottom left and a small type of yellow mango at the top left.


This fruit was new to me - it was named 'kiwi berry' and its size was somewhere between a gooseberry and a regular kiwi.


This plant is sold under the name yucca root but is also known as cassava.  I have seen it here in frozen form and I know that it is used in South American cooking.  In many parts of the world it is an important, if very basic, food crop.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Over-sized Visitor


Sitting in the kitchen and on the phone trying to make an appointment, it was a surprise to look up to find this rather large bird strutting along the top of the decking rail.


This is an American Black Vulture - by no means an attractive bird!

These birds are known to fly with or to follow Turkey Vultures - the even uglier red-headed vultures of similar size.  They follow them as the Turkey Vulture has a better sense of smell and hence ability to find carcasses such as roadkill.  When this bird flew away a Turkey Vulture was there too, but I don't know what had attracted them to the decking in the first place.


When it was about to fly it started to open its wings and crouched very low.  Then the wings were up and he was taking off..


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Against a Blue Sky


This tree, just beginning to burst into life in the warm weather, is growing just outside the house.


Against the blue sky the opening flowers are very pretty.


I confess, I don't know what it is, but it was looking very good this morning!


Monday, 27 February 2017

Early Flowering Trees and Shrubs


It may only be February but David photographed this flowering cherry on his lunchtime walk today.

In Washington DC the predictions will soon begin for when the cherry blossom will reach 'peak bloom' - it is likely to be early this year, due to the mild winter,  and may be mid-late March.


In Manassas yesterday we saw this magnolia in bloom..


There was another flowering shrub alongside the magnolia which we did not recognize..


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Manassas National Battlefield Memorial


In search of some fresh air today we drove to Manassas - just half an hour from here to visit the site of two major battles of the American Civil War - the first in the summer of 1861 and the second in 1862.


We started in the Visitor Centre with a view over a main part of Henry Hill, one of the battle sites.  We watched an interpretative film and visited the museum.


Outside it was sunny but with a very cold wind.


During the course of the two battles - known as the first and second battles of Manassas or Bull Run -  close to 30,000 men - some of them very young and inexperienced volunteer soldiers - were lost either on the field or of injuries sustained and subsequent infection. 

 This monument, erected in 1865 at the end of the Civil War remembers those who died on the Union side.


On Henry Hill there was a single house at the time of the battle.  It was destroyed and the occupant - an 85 year old woman -  was killed.  Her name was Judith Henry and her grave and those of her son and daughter (who died many years later) are close to the site of the original wooden house.



There is a huge statue on the battlefield of General 'Stonewall' Jackson, the leader of the southern, Confederate, soldiers who were fighting the northern, Unionist, troops.



The inscription reads 'There stands Jackson, like a stone wall', said to be the words of another general, encouraging his scattered troops to rally behind General Jackson and the Virginian soldiers, hence giving him his famous nickname.