Cathy and I decided to go to Meadowside for a walk this afternoon. We walked back along the entrance road because we heard a barred owl (Strix varia) hoot. We didn’t find it and it stopped calling. I got a few photos of a northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and then we walked down to the creak and back downstream to where the eagle’s nest is. One of the adult bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was perched on a tree near the nest and I got quite a few photos of it, although they were at a fairly steep angle up, so not as good as I’d like. Still, it’s nice to have a bald eagle in our neighborhood.
Monthly Archives: March 2023
We went to the Agricultural History Farm Park briefly today. There are bulbs coming up and some Lenten rose in bloom. The photo I’m posting is of a spring ephemeral commonly called Glory of the Snow. The genus name, Chionodoxa, comes from the Greek words chion meaning snow and doxa meaning glory. It’s definitely one of my favorites and I have a fair number of these around the garden at home, including C. forbesii and C. luciliae (which I think this probably is, but I’m not sure).
I spent the day working with Dorothy today. She’s been clearing a tree/fence line that’s about a quarter mile long. She has finished cutting out the brush and small trees and I came today with my chain saw to cut some stumps down to the ground so they wouldn’t be a problem when driving a tractor over them. Meanwhile she pulled out old fence wire and piled that up It was tiring work but we got quite a bit done and she’s nearing completion. Before I left for the day, she gave me 30 eggs. Egg prices have been crazy lately, although they have come down a little since their high a few months ago. Regardless, I’m always happy to get free food.
It was a busy day today. Dorothy and a friend of hers came and we helped Yvette move two things out of her parents’ condo. We got a sleep sofa into the van and put a bookcase on the roof rack. Getting the sofa through the doors was a tight fit but we managed. Then I went to the office for a few meetings and for the retirement party for my boss’s boss, Marsha. I took pictures there but thought I’d post this one, instead, taken in the evening of Dorothy and Dodgy. I’m not actually sure how they spell the dog’s name. It’s really ‘doggy’ as mispronounced by their young daughter.
Dorothy’s friend Tony got five tickets to the Glenstone Museum (https://www.glenstone.org/) for today asked Dorothy if she wanted to be one of the five. She said she did and asked if I could be the fifth. They’ve both been a few times before but this was my first trip to the museum. It’s on a 51.9 acre property on Glen Road in Potomac, Maryland. As art goes, I can’t say that I was particularly impressed. The landscape is very nice, even now, before spring has come, it’s quite lovely. The ‘Pavilions’ (sic) is an interesting building but not at all my style, except for the water-filled courtyard, which I like quite a lot. This room, however, room 7, appropriately called the Viewing Gallery, is very nice. Not so much for the room itself but for the view. The front wall and a portion of the wall on the left is filled with a single, very clean pane of glass. In the room is a lovely, curved wooden bench that is wonderful. I could sit there for a long while. Overall, the landscaping is fairly young but nice and it will improve as it ages. I’d love to go in summer and see how different it is. Again, not so much for the art, which I can take or leave (and would probably leave). But for the outdoor areas. Regardless, I enjoyed myself and I’m quite thankful for being included.
As mentioned, we’ve been doing puzzles recently. We started one with a photo of succulent plants while at the beach last summer and finally got around to unrolling it and finishing it early this year. The next one, the 1,000 piece Dahlia Puzzle (Friday, January 20, 2023) was considerably harder. Then we did the larger, 1,500 piece Mandala Stone Puzzle (Monday, February 6, 2023). We didn’t exactly plan for each puzzle to be harder than the one before but this one, although only 1,000 pieces, was considerably harder than any of the preceding three. It’s a photo of a tapestry called “Garden of Delight” made by William Morris (March 24, 1834 – October 3, 1896). He was, according to the bio on the box, “a British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist.” There were times when we despaired of ever finishing it, but, eventually we did. There were times when I basically picked up every piece and tried it in every available spot until I found where it went or put it aside and went on to the next piece, starting over once I had been through all the pieces. In that way, eventually, it came together.
Cathy and I went out to Poolesville to drop off a publication that we’ve had since I was in college. I had forgotten that the person we were taking it to was a classmate of mine since elementary school. From there we went to the C&O Canal at Riley’s Lock, where Seneca Creek empties into the Potomac River. We parked on the other side of the creek from the lock and lock house, near the old, ruined stone mill. It’s a shame it’s defaced by so much graffiti, but I suppose that’s something that’s just going to happen. When we got onto the towpath we walked west for a little over a mile. We didn’t expect to see much but I brought my long lens, just in case. Towards the end of the walk we spotted that particular green of the leaves of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). It’s a little early for them to be in full bloom but they were starting to open and I got a few nice photos. We love bluebells.
In addition to the bluebells, there were spring beauties (Claytonia virginica), cutleaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), and Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). There were Trillium leaves but they were not in bloom yet. In the turning basin there was a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) on the far shore and two pairs of hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus). These are lovely birds and I never get tired of seeing them. The females are a bit less noticeable but are also pretty birds. The turtles were also out in numbers, at least in a few spots. What a beautiful day for a walk.
We met our good friend Jean today and went to the Virginia side of Great Falls (which are in Maryland, because the state boundary is the Virginia shore line). It was a chilly day but beautifully clear. Most photos were taken with my long lens, including one of a heron across the river and an immature bald eagle flying overhead. I almost got a good photo of a turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) fairly close overhead but it’s only about 60% in the frame. Tracking and focusing such a large, heavy lens on a moving subject is still more than I can do reliably. I switched to my 100mm, which I carried in a pouch on my belt, for two sets of images that I stitched into panoramas. This is one of those two, which I’ve also cropped down and will use as my site’s banner image for a while. The previous banner, of Portland Head Light in Maine has been the banner since late 2015 so I thought it was time for a change.
Cathy and I were out in Poolesville today, to drop something off for someone. After that we decided to see if the bluebells have started blooming along Seneca Creek. It is definitely a bit early for the full show, but there was enough to see that we were glad we went. In addition to bluebells, which I’d say were somewhere around 5% open, there were trout lilies (Erythronium americanum), spring beauties (Claytonia virginica), and possibly my favorite spring ephemeral, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). They bloom very briefly and the flowers are very delicate, so seeing them at their peak is a real treat. Outside their short blooming period they are easily identified by their deeply-scalloped, palmate leaves, but you have to keep your eyes open, because they aren’t very flashy. The flowers are pure white, as you can see here, with beautiful, yellow stamens.
Dorothy had some friends in town for the weekend. Meg and Jackson arrived on Thursday evening and Dorothy brought them to our house to spend the night. Then on Friday they picked up Bobby and Grace and did some things downtown before heading out to some friends’ house on the bay. Friday and Saturday were cool and quite web, but then Sunday the weather turned sunny and beautiful (not that rain isn’t nice in its own way). They returned to our house late Sunday afternoon (today) and I fixed dinner for them. Before we ate, they posed as a group for a few pictures with the forsythia as a back drop.
The building my office is in has a somewhat dated look. It’s exterior is red brick and glass and is even referred to at my company as ‘RB’, which stands for ‘Red Brick’. The lobby had a red brick floor and built-in red brick planters along the front windows and on the interior walls. It wasn’t beautiful but the large plants were pretty nice, as that sort of thing goes. With a two storey height, the fiddle-leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) were especially impressive. For what seems like an eternity, it’s been undergoing a makeover. The new, modern lobby is nearing completion and I can’t say I’m overly impressed. As you can see, there are some plants in containers against the far windows. I assume those will be placed around the lobby once it’s done. But it’s fairly stark, in my view.
Uptate: They added some furniture, so it isn’t quite so empty now. But it feels very artificial and not somewhere I’d go to sit and chat. Time will tell, I suppose.