Monday, April 19, 2010

Open for the season

Continuing the weekend's theme of history, I made a quick visit to the Colvin Mill on Sunday. Many special events were happening there designed to entice visitors for the opening weekend of the season.

The Mill was operating with the water wheel turning.

The day was a pretty spring one but I felt quite glad that I did not have to dress like these ladies. They were part of the group who were on site creating a Civil War encampment.
In trying to take photographs it was very challenging to try and avoid the obvious signs of the current century. Here the ladies of the encampment go about their business.

A visit with history in the Piedmont

On Saturday we decided to take a day trip down the Piedmont to visit Montpelier, the home of James Madison, the fourth President of the USA. It was a beautiful spring day; the air was full of pollen and we had Rolo, the wonder dog, with us so the outing was not without challenge. But we did enjoy our trip.

James Madison spent almost all his life living in this beautiful part of Virginia. Below you can see his home; as a nine year old child he moved into the newly built central portion. Over the years he added to the home and today's visitors see this view which is a restoration of the property to how it would have looked at the time of Madison's later years (he died here in 1836). Today the property is a National Trust Historic Site administered by the Montpelier foundation. The estate was donated to the National Trust by the DuPont family and after a remarkable five year renovation, the home was opened to the public in 2008.

Who wouldn't like this to be the view from their front entrance porch? Casey and Rolo take in the view to the west of the Blue Ridge mountains, some 20 miles distant.
This structure was referred to as Mr Madison's Temple - it was built over the ice house about 1810. Couldn't we all do with a refrigerator that looked like this one?
And I couldn't resist taking this photo (for obvious reasons to those who know us) on the road outside the estate. That green and white paint color scheme seemed to be on many of the estate buildings - aside that is from the main residence.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wild flowers on a spring walk

This morning Casey and I took a quick stroll along the side of the Potomac River in Riverbend Park. Our reason was to look for the display of Virginia bluebells that I had heard were at their peak. And we were not disappointed. What a stunning display of the beauty of nature.

The wildflowers are growing in profusion along the rivers edge.

Both sides of the trail have the flowers. The morning was brilliantly sunny - perhaps a little too bright to capture the exquisite blue color of the flowers.
We saw more than bluebells. But if I wait to identify these other ones I'll never get this posting done.
It wasn't until I got home and looked at my photos on the computer that I noticed the redbud tree in full bloom in the background of the photo above. And those are the beautiful bluebells in the foreground.
We needed to keep a careful eye out so we did not inadvertently stand on such little treasures as these violets.
And these flowers are really dainty. There are not so many of them but they did have the bonus of being right by the parking lot and were easy to find.

I wish we had had the entire morning to spend enjoying this display.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An all together better S word

This post is to say Happy Easter. The winter weather has finally left and I wanted to share some of my spring photos with you. And firstly, the zero calorie Easter Bunny!

The forsythia does not look as overflowing as many I see around here but it was the first spring bloom in my garden this year. And this clump of daffodils were the first bulbs to bloom.
A spring shot in my front garden. The lawn had it's first cut of the season yesterday and with the blue sky the landscape is looking satisfyingly spectacular.
Compare these two photos of the same location. Below, was how things looked on February 11. Those are very feisty pansies; planted back in October they survived the winter burial of snow.