Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service

In 2020 there was not Easter Sunrise Service, cancelled because of the lockdowns in response to the Wohan Flu. In 2021 we went to an outdoor service but not at sunrise. This year, things have progressed to something approximating how it was in the past. The sunrise service was at the regular 6:00 AM time and we had a breakfast afterward in the Upper Room. It was a wonderfully beautiful day (although Cathy was a bit cold when we first arrived). I had really missed this the last two years and it was great to be back. As usual, I took a few pictures, which I try to do unobtrusively toward the end of the service.

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Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers

In September of 2019 we bought and planted a hawthorn, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ in the bed that used to have a Colorado blue spruce. Then in April of 2020, we added a Viburnum carlesii to the same bed. Over the years I’ve also planted quite a few daffodils in that bad. The hawthorn isn’t shown in this photo but the viburnum is, to Cathy’s right (left in the photo). The daffodils in the foreground are called ‘Lemon Beauty’. And the ‘stone’ rabbit came from Cathy’s parents’ yard when their house was sold.

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Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily)

Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily)

Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily)

On our bluebell walk, we also saw a few trout lilies (Erythronium americanum). They are easy to miss but once you start seeing them, you see them everywhere. The leaves are a sort of mottled green and it’s common to find large patches of them. The flowers are, as you can see here, bright yellow. However, they look downward and the backs of the petals are not so bright, which camouflage them a bit. To get good pictures of them you have to be willing to get down on the ground, which has never been a problem for me.

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Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)

Cathy and I went out to Seneca Creek to see the bluebells today. I think they were a few days from their peak but it was still pretty amazing. We walked quite a while and it was a wonderfully beautiful day. We also saw a pair of bald eagles flying overhead and a few common merganser on the creek. One of the cool things about bluebells is the way their color changes from the pink of the buds to the pale blue of the open flowers. The crisp, clear green of their leaves really sets off both colors.

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Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’

Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’

Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’

Last year’s cicada swarm did some serious damage to two of my camellias as well as to the two dwarf apple trees. They all survived, but I wouldn’t say any of them are thriving yet. There are a few flowers on this plant, Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’, which was planted in the spring of 2010. It’s still only about three feet high, which is disappointing, but at least it’s still alive. ‘Dad’s Pink’, planted two years later, has even fewer blooms and I’m not 100% sure it’s going to survive. The healthiest camellia I have at this point is ‘Hokkaido Red’, planted only two years ago and in a spot well protected from both the cold wind and from deer.

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An Empty Storage Locker

An Empty Storage Locker

An Empty Storage Locker

I have been working on getting things out of one of our two storage lockers for quite a while now. We started with just one in the spring of 2018 but it became clear that wasn’t going to be enough. By the end of the year, those two were both pretty well filled up. We’ve been slowly moving things out and dealing with them, some going to family, others being dealt with in different ways. Today I loaded a few things into the van and moved a few more from this storage unit to the other, which is as full as ever and was able to shut this one down. It will be even better when we get rid of the first one, but today was a day of triumph.

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Johnny and Stephanie

Johnny and Stephanie

Johnny and Stephanie

Johnny and Stephanie came to see D.C. this weekend. They stayed with Dorothy but she stopped by with them after she picked them up at the airport. It’s nice to have visitors and especially nice as we’ve been so isolated the last couple years. Dorothy met Stephanie when she was in college (Dorothy was in college, Stephanie had just graduated) and they got to know each other. Then it turns out Stephanie’s family actually knew Dorothy’s grandma (Cathy’s mom). And the organization Stephanie’s dad helps run is named for the pastor that married Cathy and me. Small world.

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Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

We walked in Meadowside Nature Center this afternoon and saw more bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) as seen in yesterday’s photo. We also saw quite a few mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) coming up. They come out of the ground as cones and then the leaves spread like an opening umbrella. Apparently plants with a single leaf will not flower but those with two will produce a flower stem from the leaf axil (where the two leaf stems branch). While the leaves and roots are poisonous, the fruit, when ripe, can be made into preserves and jellies. I never have, though.

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Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

We went for a walk near Rock Creek today and enjoyed the spring flowers. The spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) which are in great profusion. We also saw a few bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) as seen here. The flower petals are the purest white with bright yellow stamens. Although they don’t last long, they are quite lovely for the little time they are blooming each spring. The roots have a red sap, which is where they get both their common name and their genus name. The leaves are palmate and deeply-scalloped and attractive in their own right.

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Steve, Maya, and Danna

Steve, Maya, and Danna

Steve, Maya, and Danna

We got together for Tsai-Hong’s birthday this evening and as always I took pictures of the family. Usually I get a lot more of the kids than of the adults but I try to include everyone at least now and then. I think this one of Steve, Maya, and Danna turned out well so here you are. It’s been a hard few years with the restrictions, both official and self-imposed and I’m really glad we’re getting together in person again. I’m happy for the technology that lets us talk to and even see each over remotely but it’s not remotely the same.

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Deviled Eggs and Veggies

Deviled Eggs and Vegetables

Deviled Eggs and Vegetables

I was asked to take photos at the missions banquet at Fourth Pres. this evening. I took quite a few photos of people but they won’t be all that interesting to those who don’t know them and of course picking on out of so many that’s representative of the evening is nearly impossible. So, instead, I’ve decided to punt and post a photo of some of the food prepared for the evening. These trays have deviled eggs and vegetables and are, I think you’ll admit, quite festive looking. And who doesn’t like deviled eggs? Although I do wonder about the propriety of serving deviled eggs at a church dinner.

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Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

It’s been a good year for bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) sightings. A little under a month ago (see Sunday, February 27, 2022) I got a photo of one of the nesting eagles flying over the nest. Today one of them flew right over our heads and then landed in a tree on our side of Lake Frank. I wasn’t able to get an unimpeded view but I was able to get relatively close. I’d still be happy to have a longer lens but I think this is pretty nice. Of course we’d see these on a daily basis in Juneau, but around hear, this sort of sighting is still somewhat rare and exciting.

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Lenten Rose ‘Rose Quartz’

Lenten Rose ‘Rose Quartz’

Lenten Rose ‘Rose Quartz’

Mostly because I’ve stopped taking a photograph every day, I haven’t photographed our spring blooms as thoroughly as in the ten years when it was an easy way to get a photo for any day in the spring. Nevertheless, I took my camera out into the yard today and took a few photos of things blooming, including this Lenten rose called ‘Rose Quartz’. It was planted in the fall of 2014 and took a few years to get established, putting out just a few blooms in it’s early years. Now it’s doing really well and is absolutely covered with flowers and I really like it. Definitely worth the wait.

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Craftsman Radial Arm Saw

Craftsman Radial Arm Saw

Craftsman Radial Arm Saw

I bought this Craftsman radial arm saw yesterday off of Craig’s list. I already actually have the radial arm saw my dad bought in the 1960s but we had a small plumbing problem which caused rain to fall in our basement, soaking the saw. Unfortunately I didn’t tend to it in time and two parts of it seized up. One was the column which no longer lets me raise or lower the saw, which is pretty significant. The other is the motor itself, which is even more significant. So, I bought another. While my dad’s was a 10″ saw, this is a 12″, which is a nice upgrade. The downside is that it runs on 220 volts, so I need to have a little electrical work done, but I’m planning to put the kiln near this and they can run on the same circuit, although not at the same time. I’m looking forward to having it working.

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Just Hanging Out

Thea, Elizabeth, and Grant

Thea, Elizabeth, and Grant

We stopped at Dorothy’s this evening and some of her housemates and other friends were just hanging out in the family room. I happened to have my camera with me, as I often do, and Elizabeth asked if I had taken any pictures today. I had not, so I got out my camera and flash and took a few of them lounging on the sofa. It’s not exactly a formal portrait but it’s a day in the life. After that, Dorothy, Lydia, Donna, Cathy, and I went to Bethesda to get some dinner.

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Raccoon

Raccoon

Raccoon

We went to the C&O Canal today, walking southeast from Pennyfield Lock. We took a detour out to the river and saw quite a few different songbirds, enjoying them flitting about in the trees. Shortly after we returned to the towpath I spotted this raccoon at the top of a hollow tree. It went up the tree and into the hole and we didn’t expect to see it again. Then it popped its head back out and looked around before climbing around and generally putting on a nice show for us. I’ve seen raccoons before but this is the first I’ve seen on the canal. What fun.

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Late Snow

Snow on Maple Flowers

Snow on Maple Flowers

March can be very spring like but can and usually does return to winter conditions again before it’s done. We’ve had some wonderful weather but then we just got a pretty decent snowfall and blustery conditions. Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood and enjoyed the blowing snow and I took a few pictures, including this one of the snow on maple flowers around the corner from our house. It won’t do the tree any harm and it’s actually quite pretty. Within a few days the snow will very likely be gone and we’ll could be back into spring like temperatures.

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Dorothy and Cathy at Dumbarton Oaks

Dorothy and Cathy at Dumbarton Oaks

Dorothy and Cathy at Dumbarton Oaks

We haven’t been to Dumbarton Oaks in a long time but we decided to take a trip now, before everything is out, to see how it looks out of season. It’s not nearly as spectacular this time of year, of course, but there were some things in bloom. It’s also really nice to see the bones on which the garden rests. I took quite a few photos and really like this one of Dorothy and Cathy siting on a bench. You have to make reservations and book a time but out of season it’s free. Even in season it’s only $7, which isn’t bad value.

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C&O Canal, near White’s Ford

C&O Canal, near White's Ford

C&O Canal, near White’s Ford

We took an outing to a new stretch of the C&O Canal today. Not that it’s really new and we’ve actually been there before but it’s been a long time. White’s Ford is a little ways upstream from White’s Ferry. We found out way to the parking area and walked downstream on the tow path, stopping to enjoy the large, old maple tree growing at Lock 26. We also ran into a coworker (and her husband) that Cathy knows. We headed off of the towpath and down to the river shortly after passing the marker for White’s Ford. We saw two barred owls (Strix varia), one of whom flew from tree to tree and gave us a really nice view. This photo is the view of the C&O Canal looking upstream from the bridge near the parking area.

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Early Cherry Blossoms, McCrillis Garden

Early Cherry Blossoms, McCrillis Garden

Early Cherry Blossoms, McCrillis Garden

We picked up Dorothy today and went to McCrillis Garden on Greentree Road this afternoon. It’s a wonderful little garden (five lots totaling about 4.8 acres) that’s especially lovely when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom. But it’s worth a visit at other times of the year, as well, to see the sometimes less spectacular but still lovely plants. At the north end of the property there were a few cherry trees beginning to bloom. We also enjoyed seeing some of the ‘bones’ of the garden, including trees that have interesting shapes and structure even when they don’t have leaves. But seeing the blossoms was particularly nice.

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