I know it is May now and I’m going to Zoom right through the rest of March and most of April in this blog. If you’d like to see how I got here, links to my previous posts are above under Most Recent Posts:
So here goes. Hang on to your hat. More than a month in one post.
Now that I’m back in Virginia the biggest thing to report in March is
I GOT THE COVID VACCINE!
I had registered with this local health department the first day I left Florida. I also had been checking on line with CVS every single day looking for a slot that didn’t require I drive more than an hour. I finally snagged one at CVS in Harrisonburg about an hour away.
And then don’t you know, the very next day, I got a call from the local health department telling me my number had come up, my ship had come in and I could come on down to the clinic they had created in an empty former Big Lots store at 3:30 on Saturday. This was much closer so I canceled CVS.
What a way to celebrate the Spring Equinox. Although fairly apropos for new beginnings. It was a not very springy 29 degrees overnight but it struggled all the way up to 54 by mid afternoon.
The whole thing took less than an hour and by the end, I was impressed with how organized everything was.
When I first walked in it looked like a big empty room with lots of people standing around and sitting chairs. I only had my crumby Motorola phone with me so the pictures are terrible but you get the gist.
First thing of course was to stand in line on the little floor stickers 6 feet apart.
The line moves reasonably quickly and when I reached the front, they sent me to a registration table where they made sure I was on the list for this time slot.
I was then told to vacate the chair and was sent to another numbered dot on the floor where I was next in line for the vaccine. I walked up to the table said hello to the nurse and she informed me that she’d just given out her last shot and was now waiting for more. Of course she was.
So we sat and chatted for a bit. Actually at least 15 minutes. I was glad I was sitting down. When the vaccine came, She put it in my arm while someone took my picture so I could prove that after all my efforts I had finally gotten it. I’m not a big fan of shots so I didn’t watch and didn’t feel a thing. Obviously this nurse has quite a bit of experience giving shots. Very well done!
My nurse posed for a picture with my vaccine card.
And thus I now have my official vaccine card with instructions to come back for second dose of Pfizer in two weeks. FINALLY!! 15 minutes waiting to make sure there were no side effects and I was out of there even with the wait in less than an hour. Well done Blue Ridge Health District.
I had no side effects at all with the first shot and had to look closely at these pictures to make sure I had gotten it. The second shot was the same experience although when I rolled over that night in bed, I had a sore area on my arm but it was gone by mid next day. I learned later that older folks often don’t have any side effects because their immune systems aren’t as good any more as younger people. Hmmm, not so great me thinks.
How did your vaccine experience go?
As usual, when I’m back in Virginia I try to see my friends, get cars and Winnona serviced, get medical appointments done and other “chores”.
I do try to get out walking or hiking every day. I do that in a variety of places.
One is the the Downtown Walking Mall in Charlottesville and sometimes that walk takes me to the Paramount Theater where they show older movies for $6.50 rather than more than twice that for new shows. Virginia has opened up enough that theaters are allowed to have 1/3 capacity so Paramount does.
Although I didn’t see Citizen Kane, advertised here on the marquee, one Wednesday afternoon I did see The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington. What a terrific movie. If you haven’t seen it, do. Very timely actually even though it takes place in the 30’s.
It was great being back in a theater even if every other row was empty as well as 6 seats on either side of a pair of occupied seats. Not sure how they can afford to run shows with such low capacity. That’s probably why the first run theaters are not open yet.
On a Sunday while walking from Mason Lane to the end of the Mall and back, I ran into a parade with music. Accordion music I thought. I only had my phone with me but here are poor pictures of what I saw.
The robed fellow must be the priest. I interrupted my walk to follow them down the mall and over two blocks to the Holy Comforter Catholic Church.
In this rather wobbly video as they approach the church, you hear the music that attracted my notice.
They gathered in front of the church for some sort of service and at that point I could see the statue they were carrying and figured out this must be St. Joseph’s Feast Day.
I headed back to the mall to resume my walk but didn’t get far before I had to stop and window shop.
New Dominion Bookshop is my favorite store and the oldest independent bookstore in Virginia. It’s now owned by a former high school classmate of Carrie’s and it is the quintessential old world bookstore. Tiny with shelves floor to ceiling. Want to see inside? Click the link above. If you are ever in Charlottesville it is a must see. And until then you can be part of their Virtual Book Club.
Their window displays always make me want to run right in and buy at least a half dozen books but of course I cannot do that since I’m in an RV and books are HEAVY.
I can always find space for books but weight really counts in an RV
Other fun things on the mall that day were this canine topiary and a busy artist.
A favorite hiking spot is Ivy Creek Natural Area which I’ve shown in many spring blogs but this time in late March – when I should not even be here – it is still winter though being among the trees and along the water on any of the 7 miles of trails here is wonderful at all times of year. But still winter is dark and drearyish. There’s not much green.
But there is the creek which gets bigger as it flows.
It’s the log line up. They are pretty much the only other folks I see on this chilly morning.
I am just a terrible selfie taker. I try to blame it on the camera but I think it’s me. This was supposed to show me by a very large tree. Somehow I could not get this right. But I do look like I’m trying very hard don’t I?
Lovely place to sit high up over the water which sometimes has waterfowl but not today.
Ivy Creek Natural Area is an official site on the Virginia African American Heritage Trail in recognition of its rich social and agricultural history dating back to 1870 when former slave Hugh Carr purchased the land as a family farm. Known as River View Farm, the land was in the Carr and Greer family for a century before becoming the Ivy Creek Natural Area. These rock walls were created on the farm long before it became a natural area.
Finally the Final 4 NCAA college basketball games were shown on CBS, a station I can get here, so I celebrated with popcorn one night and home made corn chips with Cherry Salsa from the Cherry Republic in the UP of Michigan. Do not miss it if you go to Michigan or the Traverse City Pie Company either. (Another pitiful selfie, crooked and only half the popcorn bowl. No wonder I”m laughing)
On my walks through the neighborhoods around Rugby Avenue with my friend Mary of the loose change collection, there are several really sweet looking homes with the ideal picket fence and spring flowers just beginning.
On the end of this hike we can slip down to the edge of the Rivanna River where one day I found a Great Blue Heron. Quite a surprise in this weather.
Not sure you can see him on the rock slab, look closely.
I was surprised he didn’t fly away. They are quite common where I usually am during the winter but it seems a bit chilly for him here.
I’ve mentioned my Wednesday book club in previous blogs. No matter where I am, on Wednesday evenings I have a zoom meeting with my friend Laurie to discuss whatever book we are reading. I thought I had a picture of the zoom screen with us both but if I do, I can’t find it. So here’s the book we were reading in March. If you like the Victorian Period, you like fiction and time travel, I recommend it.
We finished it in and in April moved on to Margaret Renkl’s Late Migrations which won the Southern Environment Law Center’s Reed award. The organization’s headquarters is here in Charlottesville. It’s a wonderful series of essays subtitled “A Natural History of Love and Loss”. We literally savored this book. The writing is beautiful and very moving. It’s one we think everyone should read. The stunning illustration on the cover is by her brother as are the others in the book. We’ll start something new in May.
My friend Pam likes to walk along the Rivanna Trail in Riverview Park so that is another place I pick up my 10,000 steps. My selfie skills are evident here as well since I cut off half of my face. HA! But I did get a decent shot of the lip smacking good Holy Shitake mushroom pizza we picked up from Mellow Mushroom as our just reward.
In April the redbuds and dogwoods started to bloom and things seemed cheerier even when driving down the highway between Charlottesville and the farm.
Dogwoods and redbuds are in bloom at the farm too. I just love spring but clearly I could easily have waited to come back until Mid April and not missed any of this.
I did have some unusual visitors at the farm. I’ve seen Turkey Vultures flying in the sky over the fields but never until now have they come down to the trees in the yard or the fence. Wonder what they are looking for?
Found this beautiful Luna moth in the grass late in the afternoon and was amazed he didn’t move when I took his picture. I feared he was dead but he didn’t look damaged. He was gone in the morning so I’m not sure if he was someone’s dinner or he flew away after dark.
I don’t always go somewhere to hike. Often I hike right here on the farm and one of those places is to what we call the “lower field” which is actually the end of the farm road, nearly a mile from the county road where the mailbox is. The field is becoming covered with ragwort. No wonder my allergies are acting up. It’s lovely though
The good news is Carrie and Colin are coming for a visit next weekend. The bad news is that I came home on Thursday and found that the furnace was blowing but there was no heat. I go outside to check the propane tank and find that I’ve run out of propane. Totally O-U-T. That has never ever happened in all the years we’ve been on the road. We are on an automatic fill plan so that the pipes don’t freeze in the winter. I am not a happy camper.
After many many phone calls, one with someone in Indonesia whom I could hardly understand that took an hour, I call back again and manage to talk to some who promises to solve my problem. They send a driver out at 9:30 at night with a “temporary tank” which will get me through Carrie’s visit and the delivery driver tells me I’d better keep calling or no one will come to fill up the main tank.
It seems they have a new company president at Amerigas and he has decided to “consolidate”. Thus there is now no live person actually in charge in my area and the drivers are being dispatched from North Carolina which has no idea how close the places they are asked to go to are. This of course, as is the way with big business, is in order to save money but I don’t see how driving your big trucks with no concern for the route won’t use up way more gasoline.
In total I make 7 phone calls and send 3 emails to the “manager” who is now 90 miles from me. She does manage to get my regular driver to come and fill my tank. He understands that the farm lane is gated and he has to call ahead to get it unlocked and also how narrow the road is and that you must back your truck up into the barnyard or you will never get out. Thank goodness they sent him.
Can’t imagine what will happen this winter when I’m not here to constantly check the tank. Another worry for me. I’m now making more calls to negotiate the ridiculous bill they sent me much faster than they got me the oil of course. I expect to be compensated not only for running out but also for 5 days of phone calls. Sorry for the rant but it was terrible service and took a ridiculous amount of my time. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Today as I sat in the office overlooking the back yard writing this, I saw him scurry in and try to run up this tree. He got about this far up, gave up backed down and headed out toward the front of the house where I saw him slink under the porch. Hope you can see him in the shadows in this picture.
We have had many G’hogs over the years. They were terrors to the garden and had to be eliminated. I guess I’m going to have to find the trap again if he insists on going under the house. His diggings and holes there could invite skunks and others that I surely don’t want. He’s very well fed obviously.
See you next time for a post on my visit with Carrie and Colin.