Monthly Archives: May 2022

Dot, Steve, and Iris

Dot, Steve, and Iris

Dot, Steve, and Iris

We had a family get together today, outside in the big tent that’s set up where mom lives. It was quite warm when we got there so it was nice to be in the shade of the tent. Then a storm rolled through and it came down in buckets so it was even nicer to be under cover. The little ones enjoyed getting wet in the rain. In this photo, Iris (right) is trying to convince Steve (center) that he should be a contestant on Survivor. As you might be able to tell from his expression, he’s not convinced. And Dot (left) is amused by the whole thing.

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Carolyn and Paul

Carolyn and Paul

Carolyn and Paul

I visited Paul and Carolyn last June (see Wednesday, June 23, 2021) and Dorothy and I went to see them again this afternoon. It was a lovely visit, including having their eldest and youngest children (who are adults, of course) there with us. If you know the Ks then chances are you love the Ks. I know I certainly do. They mean so much to me and have meant a lot to a lot of folks over the years. Dorothy is now (quite a bit) older than I was when I first met them, which was back in 1974. We talked quite a bit about what Dorothy is doing and what her plans are for the future. It was a great time and something we should do more often.

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Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinxsterbloom Azalea)

Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinxsterbloom Azalea)

Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pinxsterbloom Azalea)

After work Cathy and I went for a walk on the northwest branch of Rock Creek. The wild pinxsterbloom azaleas (Rhododendron periclymenoides) are in bloom. That’s what’s shown here. Unlike the Glenn Dale hybrid azaleas, which is what most people think of in terms of Azaleas, at least in our area, none of our native azaleas are evergreen. The flowers are also a bit different, but that’s not a bad thing, either. I think native as well as other non-evergreen azaleas should be used more than they are. I’ve got two Exbury azaleas and if I had more space, I’d have more.

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Nerodia sipedon (Northern Watersnake)

Nerodia sipedon (Northern Watersnake)

Nerodia sipedon (Northern Watersnake)

A little further along Rock Creek from where we saw the azaleas in bloom, we happened to go down onto a stony area along the creek. Cathy was turning over rocks looking for interesting colors (and she’s hoping to find garnets). She turned over a rock that looked promising, started screaming, and ran past me jumping up and down. There was a snake under the rock, enjoying the residual warmth that the stone had collected during the warmer part of the day. This is a northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon). Kind of cool, actually, but Cathy wasn’t convinced.

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Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent)

Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent)

Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent)

Dorothy, Cathy, and I went to Great Falls today. The river was quite high and the bridges to Olmsted Island were closed but we enjoyed seeing the raging rapids anyway. We walked down the canal to widewater. There were more herons about that we’ve seen on a single outing any time we could remember. We saw a black snake, a few ducks and a family of geese. We saw a fairly large snapping turtle, as well. This butterfly, a pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos) was on a leaf by the side of the tow path and I was able to get quite close before it flew off.

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My Office

My Office

My Office

Like many folks whose work is mostly on a computer, starting in March of 2020 and for about a year I worked entirely from home. Then I started going back into the office a little. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been in more often but still generally only two days a week. If the situation were different at home I’d probably go in more, possibly even going back to full time in the office. Instead, I connect to up to three different workstations from my home computer, switching back and forth between them to get various things done. I’ve had two of them for a long time but the third I just recently got to do some benchmarking on. I won’t have that long term. Anyway. I took a picture of the set up, which also shows some of the photographs I have up on the walls. At the top is Nick Weber’s rose garden, then a nearly 360° panorama taken late in the day at White Sands, New Mexico. Below that is Great Falls of the Potomac.

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Dorothy, Justin, Sara, and Cathy

Dorothy, Justin, Sara, and Cathy

Dorothy, Justin, Sara, and Cathy

Washington Christian Academy was having a event today that combined a few events they’ve had separately in more normal years. In addition to the standard was the fact that this is WCA’s 60th anniversary year, so there were activities celebrating that fact. We were later getting there than we had planned because we stopped to put air in a partially flat tire of a semi-stranded motorist. We also didn’t really stay all that long, but it was sure good to see a few friends. Bill, the former headmaster, was there and seeing him and chatting briefly was a real treat. We also ran into Justin and Sara as we were about to leave, which is when this photo was taken.

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Flower Arrangement

Flower Arrangement

Flower Arrangement

Margaret had a visitor today who brought her this lovely flower arrangement. Writing this now over a month after the fact, the arrangement is gone, of course, but it lasted a surprisingly long time and was on the table next to Margaret for all that time. It was such a thoughtful thing to bring and of course, the visit was a blessing, as well. If anyone wants to visit her, don’t hesitate to give her a call. You don’t have to bring flowers, naturally, but we’re not going to turn them down if you do.

Sometimes Margaret will tell us to put them in the kitchen or dining room where we can see them but lately we’ve been ignoring her and leaving them in her room. They were brought for her, after all, and she really should get the benefit of them. We’re in that part of the year when things are blooming in the yard, so we’re not short of flowers ourselves, anyway. I have three new roses this year and the first of those is starting to bloom, which is really nice.

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Peony

Peony

Peony

Cathy and I went up to Seneca Creek State Park this evening to see the Schwartz Peony Garden. It’s perhaps not quite at peak as of today but there were plenty of blooms. There’s a bit of variety in peony flowers and lately I’ve been drawn to the simpler, single flowers, particularly the pale colors. Of course I also like some of the extremely dark and vibrant colors, so it’s not just one or the other. This one, especially in the light we saw it, really caught my eye. The petals look to me as though they were expertly fashioned out of porcelain. It’s just absolutely lovely. Lovely and fleeting.

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Patio Garden

Patio Garden

Patio Garden

This is the corner of our patio, looking pretty good, if I say so myself. In the barrel is a David Austin rose called ‘Gabriel Oak’ that should have its first flush of blooms in the next week or two. In front of that is a Portland rose called ‘Rose de Rescht’ that I thought had died but which was hanging on. I repotted it and it seems to be thriving. I’m going to try to take better care of it, now. Both of these roses have really strong fragrance. In another half-barrel I planted another David Austin rose called ‘Lady of Shalott’ which is growing taller but with fewer buds, so far. Of course these are new and will be much better next year, but even in their first year, they should be nice. And they are supposed to repeat very well.

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Hosta Garden

Hosta Garden

Hosta Garden

This basin has been outside our front door since we moved here. Up until a couple weeks ago it has an hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’) in it. I recently took that out and put it in the ground out front and we reused the container for some small plants. As you can see, there are two varieties of miniature Hosta (one of them is ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ but I’m not sure what the other is), some mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), and a few other things. I think the green malachite stones go very well with it.

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