Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What I've Been Reading

Just back from walking to the library and back.  I had a book on hold, it was a beautiful day, and walking is good for me.  It's about a 2 mile round trip through the woods on a nice paved pathway. then along the lake, past some restaurants and Whole Foods and then along the short stretch of street to the library.

The woods were filled with different wildflowers from the last time I took pictures.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit


I call these Spring Beauties.


Skunk Cabbage.


The leaves are almost translucent.


Outside the library the May apples were blooming below the dogwood trees.




I picked up the book on hold, Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd, another in the series featuring WWI vet Ian Rutledge.  I am really hooked on this series as you can see from my list of books read this year.  I didn't start out reading them in order because the library here at Vantage House didn't have the first several.  Now I keep a list to check off as I go through them in order.  The mysteries are as good as Louise Penny writes with her Inspector Gamache series.

I also saw a book by John Pavlovitz whose blog I read.  You can find the blog in my blog listing in the sidebar.  I checked it out Hope and Other Super Powers. 


Finally I just updated my Books Read List with 11 books!  While I was in Arizona I did a lot of reading, almost a book a day.  Of the 11 books I just added, my favorite was Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield.

 So now I need to decide what book I should read next as I have three to choose from. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is another I had on my stack to read.


From the File - 11

This is an occasional posting to savor the moments from past travels.

China 2010 to visit daughter Sarah who was working there.

Excursion to the Great Wall.






The stuffed bird above was from the elementary school where I taught.  I took photos of Freddy the Falcon all through China and made a book for the media center.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Spring Walk

After lunch today,  Dan and I headed out to walk to see what we could see at the heron rookery.

It's a delightful Spring day, raining pink petals from the flowering cherry trees.




The redbud trees are also in full bloom.


Last summer this route was washed out by heavy rains that flooded many places.  Now the crossing has been reinforced with rocks.

Looking downstream.


Looking upstream.


Some trees are in fuller leaf than others.


We spotted two trees with heron nests. These didn't appear occupied now.  They probably were earlier in March.


The light green and blue make such a nice contrast.


Under foot was a small leaf plant.


It was everywhere which means its likely to be an invasive carpeting the forest floor.


Walking back here's the old road bed now a service road to underground pipelines.


It's lined on either side with old locust trees which are very slow to green each spring.

Locust wood is very hard and was used for fence posts.


The old road would have been from Columbia Pike (now U.S. route 29) to this old home: Oakland Manor, built in 1811.  Columbia Pike got its name for the turnpike company that once owned it.  My city, Columbia, took its name from the road that bisects the city.


This once stately home is now owned by the Town Center Village of Columbia.  Their offices are there and its rented frequently for weddings and other fancy occasions.  It sits directly behind Vantage House where I live.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Desert Botanical Gardens

If you've ever been to Arizona you know its the perfect climate for succulents especially cacti.  Did you know cactus is a succulent but not every succulent is a cactus?

On my visit earlier this month to my brother's home, one outing was to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale.  Spring was just starting in Arizona visible in the light green of the new leaves above us.



Our first stop was to see the butterflies but there was so much to see on our way there.  Cacti and wildflowers in bloom.



















Inside the butterfly garden the butterflies were everywhere.


One landed on my bag.














From there we wandered the trails marveling at all the varieties of cacti.





Spotted a lizard and a snake though didn't get the snake's picture taken.











We went in the late afternoon so the shadows were long and temps were moderate.


A beautiful spot to enjoy the wonders of the desert.

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