Our New Home

on Halloween at Grace, after learning about and outfitted for Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama, which claims to be the original site of the now famous carnival.


Above: Crabtree Falls.  Below: Spy Rock and Three Ridges Mountain







Early spring was unseasonably cold this year, but fortunately that did not prevent the explosion of color in early April.  Our vegetable garden is well underway, with a large variety of lettuces and other greens coming along nicely.  New flowers appear almost daily; the pictures above show our flowering Crabapple, Weeping Cherry, red bud, and dogwood .




It was snowless, sunny and warm down in Roseland, but with friends Cate and Sue, it was a different world on the Crabtree Falls Trail just 20 minutes away!




Recently a friend and I hiked to a long-abandoned mountain farmstead in the heart of a national forest.  It was a foggy day, and the mist gave the site a mysterious and distant aura.  The outer buildings were all in a state of collapse, but the house still stood, filled with abandoned artifacts of a past way of life.

click here for more pictures

Here are a few pictures from the one-night stopover of Felix and his parents.   (Click on picture to see larger image.)









The spring and early summer rains seemed to have produced an unusually healthy diversity of flowering plants and trees, along with plantings of annuals along our front path.  For the first time, significant flower beds were added to the vegetable garden, producing a nice array of new colors and forms.  We also added some statuary to the shade garden, along with some new plants.  A Hisbiscus (Rose of Sharon) finally produced multiple blooms eight years after being brought down from Cherry Hill, NJ.   Holly found lots to work with in putting together the lovely bouquets throughout our home.

click here for pictures of the flower and shade gardens

Upgrading, Clearing Out, and Selling Holly’s House at Lake Monticello


This process dominated our lives between March and May.  We benefited from help from John and from our lawn cutter and friend, Joe, who donated his truck and labor to help us move the larger items.  The good news at the end was 1) that the house sold quickly once it was put on the market; and 2) Holly and her belongings are now fully ensconced in our mutual home in Roseland, Nelson County.  We’re relieved, happy, and loving life.

Exploring Crozet Tunnel

This railway tunnel, which was constructed at great financial and human cost, opened in 1858 and was the longest tunnel in the United States at that time.  After years of decay and vandalism, it is being reconstructed as a Rail to Trail Project.  We were lucky to be able to join a “Hops and Headlamps” occasion to explore the first 4/5 of a mile the dark and yet-to-be lightened tunnel.  The various tour groups collected and were transported from and back to the various participating Nelson County breweries and wineries.  A fascinating and sobering experience–and a nice day off from moving.

Crabtree Falls after a Wet Spring

I hiked this long-favored trail while Holly was away at a knitting retreat. The high water made for many new and unique vistas.

DSCN8146 DSCN8156 DSCN8152

Winter this year was relatively mild overall, although the temperature did get down to 4 degrees on one occasion.  I had to dig out our driveway on three occasions, but no snowstorms of particular note.  As the middle picture above suggests, our wood stove helped keep things warm and cozy inside.

DSCN8172  DSCN8173  DSCN8181

  DSCN8176  DSCN8182

Mid-March brought a visit from Lonni and Lyara and a hike up Crabtree Falls.

And April brought the most spectacular display of spring color I’ve ever seen:

DSCN8202  DSCN8236

DSCN8248  DSCN8227

DSCN8241 DSCN8194 DSCN8265 DSCN8281

DSCN8283 DSCN8260 DSCN8262 DSCN8261

DSCN8308 DSCN8301 DSCN8303 DSCN8290

DSCN6804 DSCN6822 IMG_5996

We stayed relatively close to home over the summer, but did take short trips to West Virginia (for Holly’s annual family reunion), to Richmond for three days, and to the relatively nearby James River State Park.  We were both impressed by how much Richmond has been changing (though celebrations of its confederate past remain very much in evidence, most notably along Monument Boulevard).  We enjoyed meeting a friend of Holly’s from early college days, walking the suspension foot bridge to Belle Isle, where Union prisoners were kept and where many died.  Earlier Holly and I toured the American Civil War Center which, quite correctly in my view, underlines the central role of slavery in virtually all the conflicts that led to the Civil War.  We walked and enjoyed the relatively new Canal Walk along the James River waterfront, with both historical signs and contemporary popular art, having a nice lunch on the patio of an old warehouse along the way.  We visited St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Patrick Henry made his famous speech and which is currently undergoing extensive renovation, looking quite like, apart from size, our local Grace Episcopal Church.  And we had a nice riverside dinner at the recently-developed area known as Rocketts Landing, down the River away.

click here for more Richmond pictures


In early August Holly and I drove over to the James River State Park, where we rented a canoe and drifted and paddled down the James River, to be picked up and returned from a landing aways down.  We also took a short hike to the Tye River Overlook, which faces out to the point where the Tye River comes down to the James.  It’s a bucolic scene, but a sign reminds one that during the 1969 Hurricane Camille and the subsequently flooding, the tremendous volume of water pouring down the Tye River resulted in the James River flowing back upward for eight miles or so.

click here for more James River State Park Pictures

DSCN6568 DSCN6566 DSCN6561

Earlier in the summer Holly and I drove up to the area where Holly’s mother’s family (the Molers) came from in West Virginia, where each summer Moler descendents gather to renew acquaintances and share lots of Southern food.  A welcoming experience, including the one Holly, Constance and I received sitting in the traditional Moler pew in church the next morning.

Next Page »