Wednesday, October 19, 2016


1) We have had some beautiful days lately.  On Sunday we decided to drive to Skyline Drive.  

It was an impulse decision as it was later when we started out, and we got there at around 3.30 p.m., almost 4 o'clock. 

 The light was getting longer, perfect for photos we said.  

We hadn't even gotten onto Skyline Drive when we saw a bear running across the road, right in front of us, at a full gallop.  I have never seen a bear run that fast and have never seen one that big.  Fortunately we weren't going very fast ourselves, as the roads become narrow and winding.  Gregg was able to break so that the bear could make its way across safely.  Again, just like our last bear sighting up here, there was no chance for a photo but what a great memory.  Gregg, of course, said that he didn't know which was more fun, seeing the bear or watching my reaction as I shouted, "Bear! Bear! Bear!"  I was spluttering and pointing, and could barely get the words out, and reenacting he said the time we were in the north west several years ago when a Moose crossed the road.

What I was really trying to say was "Stop! Stop! Stop!"  I was so glad that big, beautiful animal got across safely, that there was no traffic behind or in front of us before he reached the safety of the trees and disappeared into the woods.  To see a wild animal in its natural habitat is an awesome feeling of joy.  However, I just wouldn't want to be walking down one of the trails and come across one.  I know you're supposed to make a lot of noise and that they are kind of skittish of people and would normally stay well clear, but know....and I can be a nervous nelly about such things.  And here's me wanting to go to Kodiak Island one day and be one with the grizzly.  Yes, I know!   This big boy was close enough when we saw him, 50-60 feet in front of us, and with us safely in our car.  A fleeting look of a magnificent animal.  We have seen more bears up here over the last couple of years than we have in all the years we have lived in Virginia.  Incredible but yes, at a distance.  Nope, wasn't going to go chasing into the woods for a photo.  It's one of those memories that will stay with us always, one of those priceless gifts worth far more than material things.

2) When we reached Big Meadows Lodge, we had not eaten all day and had wanted to have dinner in the dining room.  We were told it would be closing soon but that the Tap Room was open.  We made our way downstairs.  There was loud music and  when we got there, a lady with a great voice and a microphone accompanying instrumental music of popular songs, some country and western, some Janice Joplin, some jazz.  We picked a table on the edge of the dining area and settled down to listen.  The menu is limited but we decided on a Margarita Pizza.  It was delicious.  

So, we ate our pizza, I drank a coffee and Gregg had a coke.  

By the time we had finished we listened to several songs and when we left we told Racine (the singer) how much we had enjoyed her performance.  She was a professional and we could see her on stage with a big audience.  If you ever stop by the tap room and she is performing, don't let the loudness of the speakers put you off.  I am normally in my comfort zone with low decibels but after a while I started enjoying myself, more than I ever thought I would.  It took this visit to remind me how much I love live music.  The high energy sets your toes tapping.

3) Just before we walked into the Lodge I found one bird to photograph.  Yay!  He was a White Breasted Nuthatch.  I could just about make out wood bark flying.  It was a fine wood bark, almost like bits of sawdust.  That Nuthatch had quite a technique and I enjoyed watching him for a little while. A more cropped version of the above photo.

I bought a couple of things to commemorate our bear sighting.  Big Meadows has a great gift shop by the way.  I'm getting together with friends again this weekend, and will be divvying up the chocolate paw print.  Not sure who will be getting the birthday card yet.

3) Although we didn't do a lot of hiking today, we stopped at a couple of the overlooks.  Today was a busy day and all the parking spots at Big Meadows were overflowing, and a lot of places were the same in between.  This was the day to get out and enjoy Skyline Drive, for a whole lot of people.  I feel fortunate we can come back another day, maybe during the week next time and stay longer.  We knew that by the time we got back it would be dark, and we decided to make our way home.

4) We saw no deer and they have been scarce on our previous visits too.....

but we did see this cute little pup making his way along the wall.  We only got him as he was retreating fast, kissing the stone with his nose, sniffing all those wonderful smells that our canine friends like to do.

Can't wait to get up there again, and we will start out early in the morning next time.  Maybe take a picnic if the weather is kind.  It will be colder of course but car picnics with a view like that can be wonderful!

5) Finishing off with a link to great wildlife photos, that I hope will bring a smile.  You can see them here.  On this page there are links to other news articles, so if you don't want to see them, don't go any further than the last cute animal.

 I am supporting the following memes as they become available, with many thanks to all our hosts.

Theresa at Good Fences
Tanya at Willy-Nilly Friday Five
The team at SkyWatch Friday
Eileen at Saturday's Critters


This was taken earlier in the year, on our way to Skyline Drive. We took a minor detour through the town of Sperryville.

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise,
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor 
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone.

~Robert Frost~

Sunday, October 16, 2016


I saw these at one of the supermarkets.

I am fascinated by the 'bumpy' pumpkins that look like there are peanut shells growing all over them.  They are actually called Peanut Pumpkins and have been in France since 1883.  They were introduced to the United States commercially in 2010.  The bumpy-looking skin appears on the surface of a seemingly regular pumpkin when sugar extrudes through the skin.  It begins to crackle and form the peanut shell-like shapes even after the pumpkin has been harvested.

So, no Monday Recipe Post today but here is a video on how to use one of these Peanut Pumpkins.  If you can't open the video you can look at it here.

I am supporting the following memes as they become available, with many thanks to all our hosts.

Maggie at Mosaic Monday

Jesh at Seasons