|Welcome to my kitchen|
I spent almost the entire weekend outdoors. Saturday I gardened, digging up those 79 pounds of sweet potatoes, clearing the watermelon bed, and taking in the late season tomatoes. Today I'll harvest all the tea herbs and hang them on my CD shelf rack turned herb drying rack in the garage (talk about frugal gardening!). Saturday afternoon, we worked outside doing fall cleanup around the house, scrubbing some algae off the siding and sweeping the porches and walkways.
I thought that the hummingbirds had finished migrating, but on Saturday evening I sat out on the back deck with a good book, and as I was reading, a female hummingbird buzzed down to alight on the big tubs of geraniums I have there. I quickly ran to the front porch and refilled their feeder; if they're migrating they need all the food they can get.
On Sunday afternoon, we went for a hike at Featherfin Wildlife Management Area. We parked at a small entrance and hiked down an old farm lane. The hillsides were ablaze with crimson sumac, and a touch of ochre and gold along the treeline and among the birches hinted that autumn was here at last. Featherfin is a wildlife management area, used mostly for hunting.
I wish the Virginia Department of Wildlife website had more information on the land because the old farm lane led to some absolutely fascinating buildings. The VDW site said that the park once hosted 'Virginia's most prominent citizens' but it doesn't say who lived there, or when! I did not have my camera with me but I will describe them as best as I can. The old farm lane led uphill, past fields overgrown with golden rod, but not yet overtaken by small scrub trees and woodland trees. Shadow flushed birds out of the fields; I tried to identify them but couldn't, and I'm wondering if they were migratory birds.
At the top of the hill stood a homestead consisting of several old farm houses, what we took to be root cellar doorways, a spring house, and a big barn. There were two homes connected by a sort of dog trot or breezeway; both homes were covered with wood plank siding, which was falling off in spots revealing log cabins chinked with mud underneath. An old well out back had been fitted with an electric pump, but the mechanism was exposed. The doors were open on the house but the "Safety Zone" signs indicated it wasn't safe to explore, so we peeked in. The main room of the bigger cabin had a stone fireplace; we counted three visible fireplaces and chimneys in all. The house must have been inhabited until fairly recently because there was a small, newer-type satellite dish mounted on a small, functioning chimney.
Throughout our hike, we came across ruins of old buildings but one thing stands out; no matter where we go, houses fall into ruins, but a lot of the time the barns are still standing. I think half the time our ancestors built the barns sturdier than the house!
We did a second hike down another old farm lane. This time there were no intriguing buildings, just lovely hills decorated with rustling autumn leaves, black vultures circling overhead, and a terminus at the rushing waters of the Appomattox River, where we sat for a while to catch our breath and watch leaves swirl among the light rapids.
Shadow loved her walk around the wildlife preserve. It was her third birthday, by the way. She celebrated with some of my homemade apple pie, which I made when I came home.
Talk about the perfect autumn weekend! Here are some random photos taken around our farm over the weekend - enjoy!
|Mums near my back deck|