I’ll just start right off with the grumbling truth of my life at this point.
I’m having a great deal of trouble with this pandemic. It’s bad enough not being able to safely travel and having reservations in state parks cancelled but the heat here in Virginia has been in the 90’s for all of June and now into July. By 90’s I mean as high as 95 with 98 predicted for this week. To make myself feel worse about this I frequently check the weather in my favorite spots in Florida and in towns where my friends are quarantined. In all cases it is cooler in Florida than here in Virginia. How can this be?
BUT the flowers the sunshine brings make me smile.
If you’ve been told that milkweed is a weed, do not believe it! They are important for so many insects including the firefly you might be able to see in the last of this triptych. And of course the beautiful Monarch butterfly cannot survive without it.
So what are my major grumbles about this heat? It makes it very difficult get any exercise. If I’m not out by 6:30am at the latest forget it.
Or I can drive 40 minutes up to Shenandoah National Park but obviously not every day.
Winnona is filthy and it’s too hot for me to get out with a ladder to wash her off and wax her. I’d love to pay someone to do this. But I cannot find one RV detailer within 2 hours of me. How can that be?
So what did I do for the last half of June? Pretty much nothing but walk at dawn, eat constantly and work on the details of trying to settle my father’s estate. Another very unpleasant chore.
This picture happens every day. Lunch and a cozy mystery on my kindle. That’s about all I’m reading, mindless escapist fiction.
There isn’t much to take pictures of if you aren’t doing anything. And there isn’t much to talk about. I’ve been here since March and it seems like I should have been able to get a lot of things done on the rig and have settled in to a comfortable routine. But no in both cases.
BUT I did go for a hike to the Ivy Creek Nature Center to mark the Summer Solstice as if the constant 93-98 degree temperatures weren’t making SUMMER quite evident enough.
BUT, Solstice is the longest day of the year which means every day after will be less sun. Right? Thus less heat??
Low water levels in the creek.
Water levels are down. The water is brown. Too hot, not enough rain.
Hope the Great Blue Heron can see his prey.
I manage to hike 5 miles by starting at the barn and walking the red trail, the purple, the orange, more red, then green, more red, then yellow, more red and back to the parking lot.
Trying to stay cool in the shade.
I pass numerous benches along the way but don’t stop. They’d be great for some pensive meditation time here but I’ve come for exercise.
More eating. . . Dinner on the picnic table in the yard.
Probably the most wonderful thing about evenings and nights at the farm are that it COOLS OFF and the sounds of the frogs and the wood thrush. I hope you can hear them with these links.
First the evening wood thrush. You may have to turn up the volume. His song is flute like.
Secondly the myriad of frogs. No need for volume for them. I had to learn to sleep with their “singing”.
Other things going on at the farm are some fence repair on three sections that will complete the work David started the last spring he was here. Thanks to the guys who work for Shannon.
Looks good all completed.
On that same day, the same guys took chain saws and cleaned out around the pond so that perhaps I can walk through the woods now. Not quite finished in this picture. Hoping sunlight might help clean up the green; although as you could hear earlier, the frogs like it just the way it is.
I got some pictures of a couple of my neighbors both large and small.
No, there is no privacy on a farm.
This past year I bought a brand new John Deer lawn tractor and this is what it’s doing to the grass. No matter how high up I have the deck, it’s gouging the yard. Obviously I need to take it in to have it fixed but I have no way to do that. I guess I just keep mowing until I can get Shannon out to see if he can do anything about it. I swear absolutely nothing is made as well as it used to be.
Finally, at the end of June, I escaped from the heat up to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. In the park, the AT is marked by cement posts with metal bands inscribed with the distances in all directions to places hikers might be headed for.
It’s always a thrill to see monarch butterfly. They are becoming more and more rare as their habitat, including the milkweed they depend upon, is destroyed.
The trail through the park is kept in good condition and cleared by volunteers from local chapters of the PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club).
I’m being watched.
This trail was lined all along with beautiful Mountain Laurel.
It was obvious in other sections that there have been seriously fewer through hikers this year since the quarantine shut down many sections of the trail starting in March. It’s amazing how fast the forest takes over the trail if boots don’t keep it open.
The white blaze on trees is the sign of the AT along all 2190 miles.
It’s always surprising to me to come upon these giant rocks in the middle of the woods. Where did they come from? How did they get here?
I also came upon a few backpackers out to do some sections of the trail now that they can. Not too long ago I hiked all 105 miles of the AT through Shenandoah and did a number of blogs on it. Maybe some of you were following me then.
Today I’m just out for the afternoon in my new hiking/sunhat in order to enjoy the cooler temperatures up here in the park. It has been a steady month of 90’s here starting in May and it hasn’t gotten any better better. I really don’t remember constant heat like his when we lived here year round. Makes Global Warming seem very real. If it weren’t for the pandemic, I’d be in the New York Finger Lakes now and on my way to Acadia National Park in Maine. SIGH!
But if I can’t be doing that, at least I’m close enough to enjoy Shenandoah, the rock walls of the Skyline Drive and views like these. It’s a great place to cool off. I hope once I get the phone calls and forms and mailings and everything else associated with settling my father’s estate completed, perhaps I can bring Winnona up here and stay for a while in this zone of weak cell phone and pretty much no internet.