Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Rest of June-HOT!

July 16, 2020                                                Most Recent Posts:
Still in Virginia                                             June 2020 – Covid 19 Hits Home
                                                      A Birthday Brings a Road Trip Without Winnona

I’ll just start right off with the grumbling truth of my life at this point.

IMG_20200618_152026034_HDRI’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?  

IMG_20200617_142243028So 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.


     Hot and hazy even by the water.

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.


IMG_3771I’ve been waiting since I was forced back to Virginia in March for the Shenandoah National Park to open for hiking.

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!

IMG_3860But 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.



  1. is HOT, HOT, HOT!!! Not sure I can tell the difference once the temperature hits 90 or 95, it is all HOT!!! We too are out at dawn and done with outdoor stuff by 9:30. But, we are all healthy and able to stay that way...that's the big point right now!! So just take care, this too shall pass.... sweating in Florida:o)))

    1. I'm up at 6 and back by 8:15. I keep thinking this too shall pass but I fear not for quite a while.

  2. I really like the angle of the picture of the tiger lily. You got good shots of the monarch butterfly. Sometimes, when I try to take a close-up photo, it comes out blurry. I have never seen a deer pee. Love the picture of the deer peeking around the tree! The overgrown path at Shenandoah looks peaceful and cool. Was it actually muggy, buggy and hot? xxxooo

    1. Thank you Pam for the compliments. Shenandoah was wonderful. Cool, not hot, buggy or muggy. It's that altitude thing. Wish I could just go up and stay. But too much to do needing internet.

  3. I'm sorry for your hot, humid weather there. I'm also sorry to tell you it's cold and foggy here, typical central coast summer. I'm glad you are getting a bit of hiking in to help clear your head. I'm still trying to take care of one more thing in my mom's estate too. Not easy. Love the flora and fauna!

    1. Cold and foggy sounds great! Can't wait until I get down to only one more think. I'm a far distance from that now.

  4. Our last couple or three weeks have all been triple digits with a heat index roughly 10 degrees higher...We now have water restrictions. Glad you're still getting some hiking in. Too hot here to do anything but short walks before the sun gets too high.

    1. Oh good grief - TRIPLE DIGITS - I don't know how you do it. 95 and I think I'm melting.

  5. Glad you are staying sane in they trying times. That's a beautiful yard with the repaired fence. Hard to imagine it being hot as we are at 64 degrees this afternoon. Thankfully you can get higher and cooler in the close mountains.

    1. 64 sounds absolutely heavenly. Not sure how sane I'm staying. These are definitely trying times. So much I need to do, no motivation to do any of it.

  6. Well, many of these photos LOOK very cool and blue!
    I so wish you had been able to get out of sweltering Virginia to the Northeast this summer. But, despite your describing being stuck in Groundhog Day, and between the escapist novels and potato chip binges, you’re definitely seeking, and hopefully still finding/feeling the beauty out there. I LOVE the shot of the sweet deer peering out at you on the AT! And the flower photos at the top are lovely- I wonder what those two are, between the echinacea and the milkweed-?

    1. I have to stop looking at the temperatures in Maine. Do not mention potato chips. Luckily there is still some beauty to take pictures of but I'm not sure how the next blog will manage. Those two flowers are various thistle.

  7. A couple of my fav authors, Julia Keller (a sheriff in West virginia) CJ Box ( game warden in Wyoming, bitter roots) both mysteries...
    good to hear from you, always get excited when i see there is a new blog from you... Take Care

    1. Loree what a wonderful thing to say that you get excited. That just makes my day. Thanks for the author suggestions.

  8. It is hot! I do wish you be in the Finger lakes & Maine! Celia & I enjoyed the pictures in the blog, especially the flowers, butterflies, deer and you. I do hope all is taken care of soon with grandfather's estate so you can camp again at Shenandoah. The fence and pond work looks great! Thanks Shannon! So many frogs!!!

    1. Glad Celia is "reading" the blog with you and enjoying it. Yes SO MANY FROGS!!

  9. Once again I'm learning new things from you. I didn't know that milkweed was an important food source for fireflies and monarch butterflies. Your knowledge of nature is so outstanding and I enjoy all the work you put into your posts highlighting its beauty and wonders. Including your picture of the deer fertilizing the farm. Who knew deer poop in the wild? :cD

    BTW, you're really styling in your new hat!

    1. You flatter me Paul. My knowledge is minuscule but I do so love the nature world. That lady deer was actually watering the field. I really splurged and bought that hat in two colors so that when they stop making it and I've worn one out I'll still have another. Learned the hard way about that.

  10. So sorry that the heat is making lockdown even worse than it has to be. The flower pictures are great. Is the monarch butterfly the one that migrates to Mexico? I would love to see that. My planted a lot of allium in my garden this year, which the butterflies are loving. We don't get Monarch butterflies, but we do get Comma butterflies and Peacock butterflies which are equally lovely. I found when my depression was at its worst, that burying myself in a book that was an easy read was a wonderful way of escaping. For months my Kindle never left my side! I recommend the thrillers by Peter May which are set in the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. Also, a really interesting way of finding books is the website It describes itself as a literary travel agency. You enter a place into its search engine and it finds books set in that area. Great if you like to read about places you know! I have found that it pays if you are not too specific in the place name, souse a county rather than a town, for example.

    1. No worries at all about typos Michele. I never notice them unless they are mine and I sure didn't see yours. Thank you SO much for the link to book trail. Sounds like a great source. My kindle is never far away though the one thing about quarantine that isn't so bad is that the library has opened up for reserve and pick up so I can now have real books which I love most.

  11. So glad to have found you again. So I am trying to get caught up.. What I want to know is when you are coming out West... There is that Glacier trip I know you have been wanting to finish and the whole State of Washington that you have not explored.. Karen

    1. I'd sure love to come Karen but I can't take a chance until they open the country up more.

  12. I sure hope we can come visit you soon...from a safe distance, live in such a beautiful part of the country. Yes, it might be cooler in Florida, but every day it's "feels like 105" the humidity is awful. Love your photos....

    1. You better stay where you are. Heat index here today was 106.

  13. A purple sunhat! You look great. :-)) We're trying to adjust to the heat and humidity here in Florida, too (as you know). It's hard! You are better at getting out first thing in the morning than I am. I often don't get out until 8:00 and it's really too hot even then. I'm soaking wet by the time I get home an hour and a half later.

    So glad you got up to beautiful Shenandoah for a hike. That sounds wonderfully cool. Your monarchs are beautiful...we're raising a handful of black swallowtail caterpillars that I found on my parsley. We were saving them from being eaten by the birds. It's a fun little science project to help pass the time. I'm ready to get back to our travels, though, and I know you are too!! Hang in there...

    1. When I bought that how I thought boy this would be perfect for Laurel. Yes I am just about to jump out of my skin with this quarantine I SO want to get back to traveling.

    2. Come visit and we can wear our purple sun hats together on the beach!! :-)

  14. I think the weather is weird in many locations. Sacramento's summers have always been brutally hot, but it gets chilly in early evening and overnight and has stayed cool up until noon. Now it is hot from morning until dark. I hope this isn't a sign of the coming years' weather patterns. No humidity but hot is hot!

  15. I agree that the weather is very weird and I fear that this is just the beginning of things to come in terms of the heat in the summer. This is the hottest summer ever on record in Virginia the entire month of July so far has been in the 90s. Today it was 98 and the heat index was 106. It's totally completely miserable.

  16. I didn't know fireflies also liked milkweed. I guess we need to plant some. I'm sorry it's so hot there. Don't feel too bad that it's cooler in Florida, because with the humidity I am sure it feels much hotter. It's been hot here the past two weeks as well, but not as hot as you. I'm dreaming of fall.
    Is your John Deere still under warranty? We bought one two years ago and it's been fine so far. They will come get it for service. Of course they will charge to pick it up, but if it's under warranty it might be worth it. Love your pictures. I don't think we still have any mountain laurel blooming but I did see some rhododendrons, which was a surprise. Take care and stay cool. Fall is coming...

  17. I love seeing photos of the farm. You are doing an amazing job of carrying on what David started....and loved. Lots of history and memories in that place. Seems as David got older, he loved the farm even more. I must echo the sentiments of the heat heard from others who have commented on your blog. Still remembering the time we went to Acadia ....and met you and Bar Harbor? and ate at that lovely spot overlooking the water. Aren't memories wonderful! No one can take them from us. We also need to get "out of Dodge"....but the Rona is slowing us down quite a bit. I stay inside most of the time during the summer here...would love to escape to Maine...or Vermont...or ?? where normally the summer temps are delightful! A friend of mine recently posted this poem by Wendell Berry....and I pass it along to you...because of your love of nature. My guess is that you are already familiar with it. "The Peace of Wild Things." When despair for the world grows in me..and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives might be (and grandchildren..and great grandchildren)....I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

  18. It's hot here too in AZ, triple digits since June...but it is so dry. We are getting used to it.
    Lucky for you, you are surrounded by lush and green scenery and you r wild neighbors are keeping you company.

  19. Loved the did my cat. He is an elderly gentleman, but he perked up when he heard the frogs. Of course, he can hear a lot of that here at home. Thank you for sharing pictures taken in beautiful Shenandoah National Park, my home away from home. Stay cool!

  20. I'm sure you have more humidity, but your big green trees and grass are lovely!! We have green but no trees or pretty grass. Our temps are about the same as you?? Thanks for taking me along on your beautiful hikes, you feel more like you out there :-)) I'm obviously once again having to get caught up with my friends. It always makes me smile.


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