Archive for May, 2012



Over Memorial Day weekend, Monika and I got to see all our kids and their respective wives and families in a single circuit from home, starting with the arrival on Friday of Nic and Alison along with two friends to take care of our chickens.  Early Saturday we drove to Tim and Megan in Maryland, then on to Dan and Gina in New Jersey.  Sunday we continued on to Dave and Sue and Paityn and Cody in upstate Pennsylvania, and then to John and Calista and Cally and Sylvia in the Washington area.  Traffic miraculously was not bad at all, and we got to see the new homes of Tim and Megan and of Dan and Gina.  It took 815 miles to see the family, with great visiting, catching up, celebrating (Tim and Megan’s official Ph.D’s, Sylvia’s track triumphs, Alison’s job renewal, and more) and, of course, eating along the way.  Back home, Nic and Alison did a great job of chicken-sitting (pictures courtesy of their Facebook posting):


Click here for family pictures  along the way (with particular focus on the two newest family members, Paityn and Cody)



With over sixty trellis feet of snap and snow peas planted in early March, we’re now reaping an overflowing harvest, along with the other spring vegetables we planted.  The sugar snap peas are over six feet high!  The lower right picture shows our harvest on May 28th, which included baskets of snap and snow peas, kohlrabi, turnips, swiss chard, multiple varieties of lettuce, basil, and garlic scapes.   We spent a good chunk of the day parboiling and freezing the peas.   So far (knock on me) this is the best vegetable garden I’ve ever had, and we even have tomatoes coming along on many of the plants.  Potato plants are in bloom and taller than I’ve ever seen.  Here’s hoping the rains keep coming…

A new waterfall for me, that is.  By now I’ve hiked a good proportion of the trails around here, but the Mau Har Trail in the Three Ridges Wilderness Area was a new one for me.  Departing from the AT about two miles in, it leads one up and down until it reaches a series of Waterfalls on Campbell Creek, on the western side of Three Ridges Mountain, one of the two highest in the region.  At about 6 1/2 miles round trip, it’s a nice short day hike.  The mountain laurel and rhododendron were past their prime at the lower elevations, but there was a nice array of wildflowers to enjoy along the way.

some more pictures here



I had to climb up on our roof the other day to clean out the gutters, and took these pictures from the rooftop.

After three and one-half weeks without a drop of rain from late March to mid-April, spring rains finally came, much to everyone’s relief.  (While not all Nelson County folks are directly engaged in agriculture, all understand the importance of rain.)  The following weekend we had a delightful visit from my cousin Fred Brack, whom I hadn’t seen in 30 or so years, his wife Kathy, and Kathy’s seeing-eye dog, Wilda.  Our next get-together will happen sooner.  Below: Fred, Kathy and Wilda at Crabtree Falls, and with Monika at a local winery.


Due to the mild winter and warm spring, flowers continue to bloom several weeks earlier than normal.  Especially striking this spring have been the roses Monika planted two years ago in front and back of our house, and the three different clematis which were already in the front when we bought the place.  Monika’s inspiration also led us to reconfigure the pond area in the back with two little “zen” rock gardens.


Despite the dry spell which slowed things down for a while, we’re reaping the benefits of early spring plantings: lettuce, chard, spinach and turnips are ready to eat, and snap peas are now a good three feet up their trellis and blooming.  And we have plenty of basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and thyme.  Potato plants are ready for hilling.  I put out a dozen varieties of heirloom tomatoes, which I’d started under grow lights in March, in the last week of April.  Still planting various types of beans, squash and, for the first time: peanuts! (a mild addiction of mine)


click here for more flower and veggie garden pictures

Our various projects have kept us pretty busy around our home, but I did bike the rails-to-trails route along the Piney and Tye Rivers, which has recently been extended, making for a 14 mile round trip.  A lovely path, with lots of spring wildflowers in bloom.