Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Hopes were high for a few more plant posts before we leave VA, but in the middle of shooting my pond flowers, I dropped the camera into the pond. *sigh*

So, no more plants, no more pictures and no more camera. I won't get to shopping 'til we're home, but I'd love to hear camera recommendations in the meantime.

Also in the meantime, please go have a look at another blog... International Political Will has quickly become one of my favorites, and above you'll find a link to his very last post. A moving and terribly important reminder...

We're plugging away here - packing and baking and hoping like mad that Chris's visa will come through sometime, ever.

Looking forward to getting on the road, dipping my toes in Lake Mendota, and catching up with all my Madison peeps! But already missing everyone and everything we've come to love here in the Blue Ridge... so it goes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

*Insert Clever Title Here*

So much going on, so much to do, and so little time. Yet in the midst of all of this running around and doing I realize I actually enjoy this sort of season in our lives. Normally there are so many opportunities and choices - things we could or should be doing. Now though, they all just fall away - truly there is very little else that I can do in addition to the many and large tasks in front of me for the next 10 days. I like the simplicity and single-mindedness this allows - the freedom to say no and to skip feeling guilty. Not that I'd want to live like this forever - just enjoying it for the time being. I'm more present to the tasks at hand, and (surprisingly?) finding I have more time for tickle fights with Ben or good chats with Caitlin. Nice.

Among the tasks at hand lately, our last Girl Scout meeting of the year and an end-of-term party for Chris's class.
The Girl Scouts went geo-caching and we found our first cache at good ol' Stonewall's tomb. Dixie was whistled, lemons were counted, and 5 more girls are hooked on geo-caching. (For the curious - our troop is made up of all homeschooled girls, with every age group from Daisies to Cadettes represented. The mix works well for us, especially since our oldest girls seem to thrive in leadership roles. The little brothers and sisters dig it too - the boys have declared themselves "Lava Scouts" and Tuesday afternoons usually turn into a great big kid party.)

And then Caitlin made her first ever cake from scratch - a red velvet cake, no less. Ben tested the frosting, declared it delicious and turned into the Joker. Chris taught Buddhist Meditation this term so Caitlin got in the spirit and frosted an "Om" on the cake in honor of their efforts this spring.

And then to top it all off, we learned that today was Morgan's birthday so we added candles, sang, and, um, well, meditated.
Up next: picking up a new car and an Indian visa, another BIG party, and a whole lotta packing. Pond flowers and honey suckle are in bloom, and my roses are phenomenal, so I'd really like to get a couple more plant posts in before we leave town too!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A banner day...

Would a husband by another name (DR. Haskett!!!) smell as sweet?

Unknownae plantus

My yard is a veritable Eden, and I lack the luxury Adam had - naming everything whatever he wanted.... And I've yet to find a good way to figure out what all of these plants are. I ask everyone who comes over to look at the latest oddball to pop up or burst into bloom, but I'm still stumped on a few.

Any ideas anyone?





Calycanthus floridus

Sweet Shurb, Strawberry Bush, Carolina Allspice, Bubby Bush, Sweet Betsy and Florida Spice Bush... would a plant by any other name smell so sweet?

This has got to be my favorite new plant discovery. When warm, the flowers of calycanthus smell absolutely divine - like strawberries, bubble gum, peach yogurt - anything and everything delicious! We have one of these gems along our eastern edge, right along side the porch swing, and boy is it a delight to sit and rock, reading to Ben and enveloped in the sweet wonderfulness of calycanthus.

I asked the ladies of my knitting group about calycanthus and the Southern drawls really stated to drip and lilt as they told stories of picking the blossoms on the way to church, clandestinely enjoying the sweet smells during long sermons or of rubbing the blossoms behind their youthful ears for perfume. I love my knitting group for many many reasons, but listening to the matriarchs of the group tell tales about their girlhood in and around Lexington has been an extra special gift.

Two little-known facts (at least to me) are that the seeds (contained in that lumpy pod below) are poisonous, and that the bark, when scratched smells like camphor. The camphor scent can last for years when twigs are cut and stored in a dry place. Off to scratch the calycanthus and smell for myself!