31 Days of October, Day 19


We had the first fire of the season in the woodstove yesterday even as Mr. Mitchell continued to split firewood. Today he finished the entire two cords of seasoned hardwood, split and stacked and ready for winter. Once a large dump of wood (above) …


… by today the pile was finished.


With temps in the mid-60s (after an overnight low of 33 degrees) and a blustery wind, it was comfortable working in the yard this afternoon as we dug and separated plants to share with a friend. Tonight will be mild, tomorrow will be low 60s over 30s, and Sunday will be the coldest day with daytime highs in the 40s and overnight lows possibly in the upper 20s.

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 18

Brrr. We woke this morning to a brisk 38 degrees in the Shenandoah Valley, the coldest morning so far which led to the first fire of the season in the woodstove. What a cheerful sight! What is it about woodstoves that makes the house extra cozy?


As of today, the leaves around Staunton are still pretty green. There are a few splashes of color here and there, and the dogwoods have a burgundy blush.


There are cold overnight temps coming up during the next week so perhaps another week will get the full autumn show going for those of us who live here, and for the many tourists who come to the mountains looking for the leaf show.

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 17

Halloween 13

Date: Halloween 1982.
Location: Midlothian, Va, in the Richmond suburbs
Event: Costume Halloween party

Tonight I had the most delightful phone conversation with my mom who brought up a Halloween party that Mr. Mitchell and I hosted at our house in Midlothian oh-so-many years ago.

It was our pre-kids years and we often hosted parties for friends. That year we had invited everyone over for Halloween, and costumes were, of course, required. You can’t celebrate Halloween in your street clothes.

The music was blaring (we had very understanding neighbors), there was a spread of good eats on the dining room table, adult beverages were flowing, and all kinds of costumed characters were dancing in the living room.

For some reason — and all these years later I’m not sure what prompted it — we decided at 10:00 at night to call my parents, who lived about 10 minutes away in Salisbury, to come join us. Many of my friends knew my folks and we took turns on the phone trying to talk them into coming to party with us. They had already gone to bed and begged off. We hung up and went back to our party.

Not long afterward the doorbell rang and when I answered, an M&M and a lady walked in the door. Mom was in a colorful M&M outfit and Mr. Lucy walked in wearing a wig and one of my mother’s older outfits. We howled with laughter.

They stayed and danced and partied with us. I asked Mom tonight, “How many grown kids want their parents joining them for a party?” Kind of neat and a fun memory of our younger years, and theirs.

Halloween is on a Wednesday night this year and only two weeks away. We will be looking forward to treating the little goblins.

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

IMG_5573 (2)

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 16

 

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 15


A favorite pastime is driving the back roads of western Virginia. In October 2015 we found these stunning views from Jack Mountain in Highland County, Virginia.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 14

It’s apple season in Virginia….


Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posed at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 13


The redbud leaves are beginning to turn….


Today was the perfect Virginia October day. After an overnight low in the 40s, temps topped out during the day in the low 60s with bright sunshine, low humidity, and deep blue skies. That meant we could finish the yard work we had begun the day before. My goal: finish the flower garden.


What a jumbled, overgrown mess it was after a season of rain rain rain. It was time to cut back the spent flowers and put them to bed for the winter with a layer of mulch, so that was my task.


A layer of mulch and it was done.


One down … several more to do.


I worked in the shadow of Albert, our huge spruce tree that is dying from a fungal disease that is affecting many spruces across the country. He was only about four feet tall when we moved here over 20 years ago, and I would decorate him for Christmas, share pictures of him, and even wrote about him.

His lower branches began to die a few years ago so I went looking for cures, checking to see what could be done to make him well. Sadly, I was told there was no cure, and so we have watched as his branches have slowly died from the bottom up. This winter will be hard on him and I think we’ll end up taking him down next spring. For someone who grew up in Richmond where cooler weather trees such as spruce could not survive, Albert was my mountain tree living at 1,300 feet in the Shenandoah Valley.

For now, fall has definitely set in with cold nights and we’re on leaf alert for surrounding areas. It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

Why a Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. How ironic … one of the most beautiful months of the year is used to promote awareness of one of the most aggressive and oppressive acts between two people.

Forty years ago domestic violence was rarely mentioned. Today there are places to go and people to talk with about physical, mental, and emotional abuse, but many still keep it hidden away … tamped down, but never forgotten.

One in four women and one in seven men have been the victims of severe physical violence from a partner in their lifetime and even more shockingly, one in five children are exposed to domestic violence each year with 90% of these children witnessing the violence themselves, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Those who experience abuse may suffer from a loss of self esteem, depression, inability to trust, questioning spiritual faith, hopelessness, lack of motivation. Some turn to drugs and alcohol. In severe cases those who are abused may contemplate suicide.

Some may walk away. Leave. Find a new life.

The video above is of a 62-year-old woman who endured 23 years of abuse married to a pastor.  She discovered there was life after that abusive marriage.

For help: 800-799-SAFE / thehotline.org

31 Days of October, Day 12

Today felt like fall. Low, cool temps, low humidity, breezy … sweater weather. It was perfect for outdoor yard work preparing for winter. Until our first frost, the garden will continue to produce but cold weather is on tap for the next week with overnight temps in the 30s.


Jalapenos


A renegade limb on the maple tree beside the deck is turning burgundy while everything else is still green.


Serviceberries


Leafless aspen tree


“Gentle Heat”


Herbs, chives


Late season bloom … it will never make a pumpkin.

Fall tomatoes

The autumn garden, played out and ready to be put to bed for winter

Almost the last of the jalapenos

This afternoon I tackled this flower garden while Mr. Mitchell mowed….

… and got it halfway finished before we stopped for the day.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 11


West of Staunton we had rain today so I dug into the archives and pulled out more pics from Highland County, the nearest thing we have to New England with its bright reds and burgundies and golds. It doesn’t look like this yet but temps in the 30s this weekend should help speed up the process.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

Rain

Rain 5 (2)

Dark is coming earlier and earlier these days. Tonight it’s even sooner because of the clouds and rain, presumably outer bands from Hurricane Michael. The outdoors lights are on and I’m sitting on the front porch rocking with my laptop, feet propped on the railing, and listening as raindrops fall on tree leaves and shrubs and splat onto the fallen leaves on the ground.

It’s even a little chilly as the slight wind whooshes across the porch. It’s dusky, not quite dark yet, and quiet.

Ever since I was a little girl rainy days have been a favorite, something I’ve written about in the past, and I’m not really sure why but there’s something cozy about listening to the sound. As I look out the leaves on the redbuds and ash trees are beginning to turn golden. Some are already on the ground. Beside them the maples are still green, waiting their turn to show off with reds and burgundies.

The crickets are humming, their sound mixed in with the rain and the slight sound of wind. Bullfrogs in the nearby pond are calling with their deep-sounding croaks … the bark of a far-off dog can be heard in the distance. If I stay here much longer there will also be the sound of my teeth chattering since I’m barefooted and have no sweater.

This weekend promises to finally usher in the cooler weather we’ve been waiting for to help the fall colors pop. Forecasts hint that we may even see some temps in the 30s, the first of the season. Cold weather is late this year … no first frost yet, no hard freeze.

Think I’ll go grab my jacket and some shoes and then just sit and listen for a while. It’s peaceful, and that’s something I’d like to hang on to a bit longer.

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

31 Days of October, Day 10


It’s autumn and the spiders have been extra busy. The past two mornings we’ve noticed their half-moon webs in the coreopsis and on shrubs.


We left in the morning to take a drive to Highland County to check on how the fall leaves were coming along (slowly), and then continued on into West Virginia to check our some other favorite leaf peeping areas (no big changes yet). Taking the back roads that made a big block from Staunton, we ended up at Green Bank, Cass Railroad, and Snowshoe Mountain.


Highland County west of Monterey.


A high valley bog in western Highland County.


Rt. 250 entering West Virginia.


A favorite leaf peeping spot along Rt. 28 north of Thornwood in West Virginia.

Deep in the West Virginia mountains off a gravel road on the edge of a forest with a roof covered in moss and sprouting trees, do you think we found a troll’s house? #MonongahelaNationalForest


Green Bank … the whispering place … home of the huge satellite dishes that listen to the universe, plainly visible against the West Virginia mountains.

“The trailblazers of American radio astronomy called Green Bank Observatory home over 60 years ago. Today, their legacy is alive and well. Nestled in the mountain ranges and farmland of West Virginia, within the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ), radio astronomers are listening to the remote whispers of the universe, in order to discover answers to our most astounding astronomical questions.”

Wonder if anyone is out there listening back….? 🙂

https://greenbankobservatory.org/


Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is a reminder of West Virginia’s logging days. In addition to the town’s lumber history, in 1955 the Cass General Store was the largest in the U.S.

“Take a trip back to an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of every day life. Trips to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park are filled with rich history, unparalleled views and the sights and sounds of an original lumbering town.

“The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged since its founding in 1901 by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. Cass was built as a company town for the loggers who worked in the nearby mountains. Construction of the railroad started in 1901. It was used to haul lumber to the mill at Cass.

“The railroad track was eventually extended to the top of Bald Knob, the third highest mountain peak in West Virginia. In June 1942, the Cass operation was sold to Mower Lumber Company, which operated the town until July 1960, when the mill and railroad were shut down due to rapid decline of the timber industry in the region.

“In 1961, Cass was brought into the state parks system. In 1977, the company town also was made part of the parks system. Over the years, the railroad was turned into a tourist line and the town was repaired and restored. Today, the railroad is still in full operation, but is managed by the Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad.”

https://wvstateparks.com/p…/cass-scenic-railroad-state-park/

Sorry about the raindrops on the windshield as I took a pic of the historic sign. Rain and fog moved in while we were there.

One of the snow ski resorts Mr. Mitchell and I skied in our younger days, I hadn’t been to Snowshoe Mountain since having kids.

Since we were meandering the back roads in that area today, we drove up the mountain but, sadly, rain and thick fog moved in. Unfortunately, from a mountain where the views are outstanding, we saw … nothing. Guess we’ll just have to go back.

P.S. Opening day is November 21.

https://www.snowshoemtn.com/

Back in Highland County where sheep outnumber people.

This goat cracked me up. I don’t know what he was doing … he seemed to be communing with the building.

Route 84 in Highland heading toward Vanderpool.

I found love in Monterey with their colorful “Virginia Is For Lovers” sign that celebrates the rural landscape and heritage of the scenic community. Each location’s love sign is individual to the area.

In recognition of the many barn quilts located throughout the county, the LOVE letters used traditional quilt block patterns to highlight the many special features in Highland.

“L” uses Maple Block to celebrate the maple products and popular festival in March, “O” uses the Double Wedding Ring to recognize family heritage and sense of community, “V” is painted in Flying Geese to show a love of wildlife and farm animals, and the “E” uses the Log Cabin block to represent a country style and love of home.

#HighlandCountyVA #LOVEworks #VirginiaIsForLovers

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

 

31 Days of October, Day 9

About six years ago while visiting Blacksburg, we took a drive to Mountain Lake located in Giles County, west of Blacksburg. The leaves were at peak as we drove up the mountain with lots of bright golds and splashes of red. It was gorgeous.

In another week or two the mountain will again look like these pictures. Enjoy!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

31 Days of October, Day 8


Trees decked out for fall: a few of the tree pics I’ve taken over the years. It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

31 Days of October, Day 7


Here are some pics I took in Botetourt County several years ago of early autumn. The view overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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