Sunday, November 27, 2022

My Little Pumpkin

Do you remember my little pumpkin that grew in our compost area?  When it was evident that the pumpkin would not mature enough to eat I picked it and placed it on our table on the patio.  There it sat for many days and eventually turned orange.  I noticed it was being eaten, but only at night.  We never could capture an animal or bird pecking into it, but was obviously being enjoyed by someone.

Our mystery was solved last week!  I wanted to keep the pumpkin on the table to feed whoever wanted it even though it was beginning to rot.

Our squirrels have clearly enjoyed this little pumpkin.

 Yesterday Grayden scooped it all up and took it back to the compost pile.  Maybe in a couple years we will receive a gift of a pumpkin from our compost again!

Our Thanksgiving plans changed quite a bit this year.  We were planning to fly up to New England to be with our daughter and son-in-law.  Our plans changed when they both became ill.  We decided it would be wise not to travel under these circumstances.  It was quite a disappointment for all of us, especially to Samuel.  We then asked our son and his boys up for Thanksgiving dinner.  The day before he called to say he was sick.  Oh no!  Our two youngest grands called us back and asked if we would like for them to join us.  Of course we would!!!  

Though our plans changed several times we were so happy to have our grands seated at our Thanksgiving table!

Our sweet neighbor surprised us with flowers for the table.  We served roast beef as it was too late to thaw a turkey.  We enjoyed a lovely day in spite of plans changing almost hourly!  It was the first time the younger grands have traveled to see us without their Dad in the car.  They both said it was fun!  We really missed our children but still had a good Thanksgiving with our grands.  I hope you enjoyed your day as well! 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Birds That Thrilled Me

 We have been busy raking, mulching, and gathering up the many leaves that fall around our home.  I always say I love our trees, but when Autumn comes and the leaves begin to fall all of our free time turns to work!  Our morning walks are sometimes traded for yard duty.  We are thankful that our grandson works diligently with us as we work on our tasks.  

The leaves have been so beautiful this year.  Our Red Oak trees have been particularly lovely as the sun shines through their branches.  First the leaves from our Black Gums fall then the White Oaks, then the Maples, then the Dogwoods, then the Red Oaks.  Sometimes when we are outside doing our chores we are gifted with sights that thrill us!

We could hear the crows as they were flying around this hawk trying to chase him away!  I believe he is a red shouldered hawk, but I'm not positive.  Crows will do this when a hawk is threatening them for some reason or another.

They successfully chased him off, but not before we could watch him and retrieve the camera off the table inside.  

Hawks are easier to see when the leaves begin to fall.  Watch for them as you are out and about in your area.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this smaller hawk on my neighbor's fence.

He may be a juvenile red shouldered hawk, again I'm not sure.  I am pretty sure he was hunting for his dinner.

Every afternoon as I am relaxing I see this male cardinal in the Nellie Stevens holly outside of our Florida room windows.  Little did I know when I took this photo that he had a friend nearby.  Can you spot the white-throated sparrow on the branch behind him?  

During this season of Thanksgiving I am grateful for the many blessings that our home brings, even endless hours of leaf raking.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, my friends!

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. 
William Arthur Ward


Monday, November 14, 2022

A Little Day Trip from Williamsburg

When we were in Williamsburg a fellow told us about a new to us restaurant we might want to consider trying.  It's always nice to have good seafood while in the Tidewater area.  Grayden suggested we give it a try.  Going to this restaurant we would need to take the free Jamestown to Scotland Ferry across the James River to Surry county.  It's always fun to do that!

Light rain was falling as we headed to the car ferry that would carry us to Scotland, Surry County.  The Virginia Department of Transportation operates this ferry.  There is a lot of talk about ending this service and building a bridge to take its place.  The gentleman we were talking to told us that the folks in Surry do not want this at all.  I can understand this would really change the rural area that is here.

The gulls and the cormorants sat perched on the pilings as we drove onto the ferry.  

To the left of the ferry entrance is the Jamestown Settlement.  The recreated ships of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery are visible from our car.  If you visit Jamestown Settlement you can come aboard these recreated vessels that sailed from England in December 1606 and arrived in Jamestown in May of 1607.

We passed the other ferry that was returning from Surry County.  Virginia Department of Transportation owns four ferries that run back and forth.  The Pocahontas and The Powhatan can carry 70 vehicles.  The Surry and The Williamsburg can carry 50 vehicles.  The ferries were running on their Fall schedule ---every half hour.

After exiting the ferry we drive a short distance to have lunch at Surry Seafood Company.

We were happy to see patrons enjoying their meals.  It's always a good sign to frequent a place that has local police officers eating there in our opinion.  My Daddy always said that and included truck drivers as well in the mix.  

We were seated at a window overlooking Gray's Creek.  We ordered the seafood platter that was quite delicious!  I'm sorry to say I didn't take a photo of our crab cakes, scallops, shrimp, and fish.  I guess I was too hungry!

After lunch we decided to take a walk along the dock behind Surry Seafood Company.  

As we walked down to the floating docks Knockout Red Roses were in bloom.

The floating docks gave us a good view of the Surry Seafood Company and Inn.  Gray's Creek is obviously navigable as we see sailboats along with other small boats.

We both enjoyed seeing the mooring ropes so neatly positioned by very good sailors.

As we walked back to the parking lot we spotted a large Purple Martin House.

Purple Martins are swallows that rely solely on bird houses to nest and are dependent on them for survival. They prefer nesting in colonies so that is why you see the many houses in one spot offered.  If you have spent any time around water you have hopefully seen their acrobatic antics and their sweet chattering.  This particular house was installed and monitored weekly for citizen science study by the Virginia Master Naturalist Historic Southside Chapter. 

Taking a little day trip from Williamsburg added to our celebration.  Thank you for joining us!


Saturday, November 5, 2022

Williamsburg Groundhog

 During our time in Williamsburg, Grayden and I stayed in a condo next to a golf course.  We had a patio that we enjoyed in the afternoons after touring around the colonial area.  The weather was so lovely and warm we would enjoy a snack and a tea or coffee while relaxing.

The view just beyond the golf course was a lovely habitat for birds and I'm sure critters that we didn't see.  What we did see on most all of the days there was a groundhog!  I know--Did you see the Caddyshack movie about a groundhog on a golf course?

Well here is our friend the groundhog!  There was a line of oak trees and tons of acorns under them!  After reading about groundhogs I've learned they gorge themselves all summer and stop eating after the first frost before retreating to their underground burrow until spring.

It was fun to watch this fellow getting his fill.  Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks and whistle pigs.  The term woodchuck was derived from the Algonquian name "wuchak", "wejak", "otchek."  These terms mean fishers.  The term whistle pigs is used in Appalachia.  It comes from the fact that they use a high pitch whistle sound to warn other groundhogs of danger nearby.

Groundhogs are actually members of the same family as squirrels.  These marmots are in the same family as chipmunks and prairie dogs.  Groundhogs can weigh up to 15 pounds.

We guess that our little friend weighed near that weight.  Their burrows are often used by other animals.  Foxes, skunks, opossums, rabbits, and raccoons make themselves at home in their burrows if given the opportunity.

Groundhogs are mainly herbivores but have been known to eat insects and grubs.  

Groundhogs are truly among a small group of true hibernators.  Our Groundhog Day started because of a German tradition of watching the badger emerge in spring, but  the badger is totally unrelated to the groundhog.  


We enjoyed our daily viewing of this little fellow.  Thank you for taking a look at him.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Bicentennial Park in Williamsburg, Virginia

While we were in Colonial Williamsburg we parked next to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.  Both of these wonderful museums are under one roof.  We did not tour the museums this time, but if you get a chance it is quite wonderful.  There is a lovely cafe' that we did enjoy lunch a couple of our days on this visit.

The sign was interesting.  All Kinds of One-of-a-Kind!

I wanted to share a little park that sits a street over from the museum.  We've seen it before but were always on our way to the Duke of Gloucester Street in the colonial area. 

This small park has bronze sculptures dotted along the brick lined path that covers the area.  We have seen folks walking their dogs and children playing along the paths.  On this day it was very quiet and we enjoyed it all to ourselves.

This Cedar Waxwing by David Turner is so lovely with the sun lighting up its details!  Turner is an alumnus of William and Mary and lives on the Eastern Shore.  Many of his works are located on the W&M campus.

The above piece is called A Slice in Time by Kristen Visbal.  After doing some research I've learned it was based on the young George Washington and his cutting down of the cherry tree.  This piece is said to be like all of Colonial Williamsburg's nods to the past, and the fleetingness of the present.

The next sculpture along the path is quite different and so unique.

This piece is called Fraga Magna Rotabila---Latin for "large strawberry with wheels!"  Merrilee Cleveland is a local artist that fashioned this darling piece.

I hope you will read more about it here:

Girl Chasing Butterflies is the last sculpture in the Bicentennial Park.

She is another sculpture by Kristen Visbal.  She really is a darling piece that I really enjoyed seeing. 

Blue Star Memorial markers are allowed in parks, gardens, veteran facilities, and National cemeteries.  It was nice to see the marker here.

Near the marker we noticed a very large tree!!

This very large tree is the Eastern Cottonwood.  The last measurements I could find about it said the tree was 123 feet tall and 303 feet in circumference!  The Virginia Big Tree Program named it the largest Cottonwood in 2020.

The Bicentennial Park is quite a gem that has been overlooked by us until our last visit.  Thanks for visiting with us!