Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 2020 - Covid 19 Hits Home

July 1, 2020                                                                 Most Recent Posts:
Greenfield Mountain Farm           A Birthday Brings a Road Trip Without Winnona
Virginia                                                                             Back to the Farm

Earl1The most difficult part of June this year was my father’s death from Covid 19.  He would have been 100 years old in October and Carrie, my brother, sister-in-law and I had planned to visit him then and celebrate.  He is one of the last WWII veterans and worked hard all his life to provide for his family.

But he hasn’t had much of a life in the past year or so.  His hearing is very weak so I have not been able to talk to him over the phone.  He has macular degeneration so he could not really see.  His memory declined as his dementia increased.  His loss has not been as difficult for me as David’s death since I know the quality of his life was not what he wanted.  I had been concerned about his getting covid as he lived in a Veteran’s Home. His was a very long long life though it was never the same after the death of my mother on whom he depended so greatly.   In all honesty, I believe he would be relieved and I hope I don’t live that long though I’m sorry he was so close to the century mark but didn’t make it.  He amazingly outlived his son-in-law though he only heard about his great grandchildren as he was never able to see them.

With life slowed down to a standstill, there isn’t much to blog about.  It’s good and bad that  Virginia is doing very well with its shut down in terms of # of Covid Cases and deaths.  It seems a safe place to be but there is nothing to do with so many rules.    Masks are required in public places.  Restaurants doing mainly or only take out. 

So here is my life in the slow lane.

Carrie sent a picture of Colin’s first haircut and of Celia’s 4 year check up.  They are the real bright spots in life at this point.

Lucky for Colin his babysitter is in cosmetology school and thus he can get a haircut in this time of quarantine.  Pretty sure you can distract Colin from anything with food.  Just like his GrandPapa David.

Celia seems pretty happy about the check up but this taken was before her immunizations though her mom said she didn’t cry.  That seems amazing.

Compare that picture of the smiling Celia to this one taken after her parents told her she could not go back in the pool as it was dinner time.  Isn’t she just a riot!  What an expression. 

Here at the farm, life goes on.  The fields need mowing but Shannon is too busy.  Yet this allows the wildflowers to grow.  Daisies begin to fill in the foreground of the overgrown pond.

Each day it seems there are more of them.

I love their smiling summer faces.

Star chickweed

Not a dandelion.  I believe it’s Common cat’s ear (Hypochaeris radicata)

The fields must be mown but when they are I lose the wildflowers and the wonderful sounds of the Whipoorwill who then moves on to other grasslands.

This was the full moon out the bedroom window when I was hearing the night sounds of the link below.


Here’s the link.  The video is black but turn up the sound to hear the whippoorwill and the frogs that are my sleeping sound track

A weekly routine has developed with my friend Laurie as we discuss books each Saturday on zoom.   We are really enjoying The Overstory by Richard Powers and are stretching it out over multiple sessions.  My last post talked about our previous books.   Another recurring event is a nearly weekly dinner with Pam.

Usually it is take out but this time we were able to actually eat in and have margaritas.  Hers is regular, mine was strawberry.


I’ve had some visits from the neighbors.

Visits including this narrow fellow in the grass who is kind enough to keep the mice under control.



Salamander or skink on the cinder block steps into the shop?


Have I mentioned the heat in Virginia?  Did I mention recurring 90’s IN JUNE not August and how I was supposed to be in Maine at Acadia National Park until things fell apart?  Well my much needed air conditioner also fell apart and had to have a new compressor.  Luckily, it was 9 years old and the warranty was 10 years so I only have to pay the not inconsequential labor costs but not the $1500 for the compressor itself. 

Even here in the country where it is admittedly 3 or 4 degrees cooler than Charlottesville, air conditioning is necessary in the late afternoon especially to deal with the humidity.


Other”business” things of note for me are that since I am the executor of my father’s estate I get to start the process of going through everything to get his will executed.   I guess it will give me more “business” to attend to in these slow quarantine days.

In the mean time, I am trying unsuccessfully to get the IRS to tell me where my stimulus payment and my Income Tax Refund are.  I have spent hours on this task using every on line tool I could find but not, of course being able to talk to anyone at the IRS because they apparently are not working from home.  SO I have instead complained to my senator in Virginia the wonderful Tim Kaine and his office is working on the problem for me.

I have done some hiking in the latter half of the month so that will be in my next post.

P.S.  I have been receiving a lot of spam comments so I have changed my comments settings.  If you find you are unable to comment as you have done in the past, let me know via the email at

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Birthday Brings A Road Trip Without Winnona

Posted:  June 11, 2020                                               Most Recent Posts:
About Late May 2020                                                Back to the Farm
Severn Maryland                                                        Quarantined in April

I would love to take Winnona up to see Carrie and her family but she lives in Maryland in the outer DC megapolis and there is no campground other than the $$$$$ Cherry Hill within almost an hour of her. 

So I break the stay at home order and take Ruby up to visit for a special day.

So cute that they are waiting for me when I arrive.  So heartwarming to be greeted with such smiles.


Actually they were on their way out for a walk so I just come along.  I wear one of David’s shirts to drive in and don’t take time to change it so I look like I’m swimming in it.



Enough walking, Celia has a two wheeler with training wheels and she zips around the cul-de-sac with other kids on the block.  Her mom doesn’t like her riding in the street but “everyone is doing it” and you have to pick your battles.


Back inside we play I Spy with our “magnifying glasses”.



Outside, Inside, Back outside it has cooled down but Colin doesn’t seem to need a jacket like the rest of us.


Even Daddy comes along.


Back inside again we take a short rest.  Very short.


Celia and Nana are both big book lovers so we have to share some.

celianana2 (2)

A little dancing is in order.


Is she teaching him the waltz??


I arrived on a Sunday and on Monday Carrie takes us to Patapsco State Park for some hiking.  My cup of tea for sure.


Celia goes on ahead, Mommy waits for Colin.

Just a little support to get over the tree.

A much bigger deal for Colin.

Feet on one side, hands on the other.


Feet and hands on the top.


Getting into position for standing up.


Almost up.


and here we go.   Whew - Hard to remember how much of a big deal it was to go hiking when you are just a little guy.



A fork in the trail….hmmmm


What a face!  Boy do I love it!!


Nana’s girls.


We head back down to the river.



A nice spot for sitting except children aren’t much for that sort of inactivity.




Off we go again.


Back home in the afternoon it’s bubbles in the backyard.


Then time for another walk.  Nice to have a big sister to provide the horsepower.



celiasign1resizedAt bedtime, Celia had said she wanted a “sign”.  Not sure where she got that idea.  Carrie did have a sign when she was younger than Celia.  We bought it for her and put  up in the house every year for all the years she was at home.  But I don’t think Celia knew that.   Still,  at 10:00 at night it’s too late to go looking for a sign like we had or to order one on line so her mommy makes her one.

We hung it up over the dining area window with presents on the table from Mommy and Daddy for her to find in the morning.  Nana’s  presents come later.


Here it is close up.  The stickers idea was Matthew’s.  Good one!!  I think it’s still hanging there.  Hope it will be OK to take it down by Colin’s birthday in September.  HA!


It’s Tuesday, it’s Celia’s birthday.  There is opening of the presents and then breakfast of course in that order.  Where are the pictures?  Beats me?


Then it was time to go to Celia’s preschool for the goodbye.  Preschool has been closed for at least a month or more so she hasn’t seen her friends and misses them.  She didn’t get to be with them here either since we stayed in our cars except for getting out and standing by our cars for the “Freeze Dance” at appropriate social distances.  All my pictures of that fun turned out blurry since everyone was moving.   Celia got a special birthday hat since today was her actual birthday and she showed me how she had written her name.  Clever girl!!

I did take a video of the “Freeze Dance” but OLW won’t let me post it.  I can’t log into Youtube with the id and password I used last time before the latest OLW upheaval in 2019.  It’s too bad since it is so cute.  If anyone knows why my youtube email and working password – since it’s all google – won’t work from the Video tab in OLW, would you please let me know.   I LOVE MY COMMENTERS.  Bob explained what was going on and told me how to get the video to post. THANK YOU BOB!!

So if you’d like to spend less than a minute total seeing the circle round freeze dance, here are two videos.   Hope they make you smile.

         video 1          video2

Unfortunately for some reason the upload of videos was fine when I looked at them but after being published, the beginning was almost too dark to see.  I tried deleting and uploading again and the same thing happened.  Hope it only happens to me.  Perhaps it’s because they are such short videos. Still, they give an idea of how cute it all was.  If you know what happened here, let me know.

IMG_3659Each student then got their picture taken with their family and then with their teacher next to the Croften Preschool sign.  Took me WAY BACK to when Carrie was just a little shy girl at the Mollie Michie Co-op Preschool in Charlottesville.  How can time fly by so fast??

The wind was blowing and poor Matthew hasn’t had a haircut since the lock down began.  With his thick hair, it ended up in his face.  But it’s still a sweet family picture.

Celia and her teacher Mrs Johnson.

Back home we made THE CAKE for her birthday.  We almost forgot to put the butter in the batter  but TRAGEDY averted.

While we’re waiting for it to bake, we have to decorate ourselves with some of Celia’s hairbows provided by her fashionable babysitter Nicole.  How do we look?


Mother and daughter hairbow selfie.


Celia’s trying out her table top easel birthday present from Mommy and Daddy.


Then a little puppet playing.


After lunch it’s time to open Nana’s presents.

There’s only one box but it’s heavy.


So funny that Colin, unlike most siblings, isn’t trying to get in on this present stuff.


She gets it open and finds there are more presents inside.

And more presents.  That’s what Nanas do.




Celia and I love books.  She got several from me.  This one is called How to Babysit a Grandma.


Another book she got from me was a one on backyard birds geared for her age and a great pair of toddler binoculars.  Here she’s gone out in the backyard with Daddy to try out the binoculars.


It’s a 3rd generation birder in the making!


Colin wants to come out too

So Mommy brings him out.  He’s too wily to allow him to run because of the open pool they are getting ready for swimming.  Now, in June, I’m sure they are glad given that it’s been in the 90’s.

The birthday girl thinks they might need a little adjustment?


She seems to like them.  Look at that smile.


The last fun birthday thing is eating THE birthday cake after dinner.  Carrie cuts it. It is DELICIOUS!!! 

And with that the 4th birthday for my darling granddaughter is over.   It’s back to work for Carrie tomorrow.  She’s taken both Monday and Tuesday off to be with me and the kids.

We do have cake for breakfast on Wednesday just before I leave and they kindly send some slices home with me.  Nicole comes to take care of the children and Carrie and Matthew go up to their offices to work.

It really is such a different world than when I had a sweet 4 year old at home

With this post I’m pretty much caught up and so far June is proving to be VERY HOT, as in the 90’s, and boring so I’ll post again when I have something worth saying and showing.  Sure wish I was on the road again.

Stay Tuned, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.