Winter Red, Green Panda, Blue Trout

Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’

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Garden Trout

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Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’

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Fargesia rufa ‘Green Panda’; Aspidistra elatior ‘Alahi’; Danae racemosa

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Confused forsythia bloom

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Country Time

Like many of you, every once in awhile I fantasize about living in the country.  I’m pretty sure that if I actually lived in the country, I might turn into a version of Jack Torrance from The Shining and after a couple months of winter start chasing my family around with an ax for lack of nearby amenities. 

But thankfully, every now and then it’s possible to get a taste of the country life without actually committing to it.  Such was the case a couple of weeks ago, when my mother’s friend Bobbi invited us out to her farm near Harrisonburg, VA for the day. 

She has a charming turn of the century farmhouse, adorned inside and out with the coolest old farm equipment and tools….(pics by my sister Karen)Bobbie's house at the Busy B Farm

My son and I played hide and seek in her awesome barn, which is packed with rustic farm paraphernalia…

Tools in the barn

Baskets strung up for the Barn Sale

Cool sign with old bicycle in the barn

Lanterns in the barn

Jars in the barn

and as for garden ornament, how about a wheel wall?  I didn’t know I wanted one of these until I saw Bobbi’s…

Fence of wheels

Wouldn’t it be great to have the kind of property where an antique Ford pick up looks right at home in the front yard?

The Old Ford

everywhere you turn, you are reminded of simpler times, of the days before texting, tweeting, and twerking…

Farm equipment

Bicycle leaning against the shed

Sign taking you into the Busy B Farm

There is even a delightful stream running through her property, where we skipped stones and looked for interesting rocks…

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More wheels…Bobbi was kind enough to let me take a couple of wheels home with me!

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One of the wheels Bobbi gave me, at home in my suburban garden…

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Yes indeed…for me, full time country life = mental illness.  But one beautiful May day in the country = mental health.

View from the end of lane and the house at Busy B

Gardens & Sights of Waterford, VA

Waterford, VA, is a tiny historical town in western Loudoun County, about 90 minutes from Washington, DC.  The town consists of just a few streets, a post office, an old mill, schoolhouse, and a few dozen houses built in the 18th and 19th century, now lovingly cared for by their current owners.

This weekend I was lucky enough to have access to some of the houses and gardens in a photography class I took with my sister for a birthday present.  I still don’t know what 90% of the functions do on my camera, but here are some of my better shots:

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Crispy Fried Water Gardens

Yesterday my sister and I visited the beautiful  Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in northeast DC for a photo class.  Even though we got there at 6:45am to get the best light, the air still felt like a wet diaper. 

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Fun With Holga

For Christmas I received a set of Holga lenses and filters that I played with today down on the Mall.  The Holga camera was a cheap plastic camera developed in China in the early 1980’s.  Many photographers grew fond of the grainy, imperfect images that the Holgas took and started creating a whole bunch of Holga accessories.  Today you can buy Holga lens kits for DSLR cameras to achieve that signature grainy, halo-y look.  This was my first experiment with the Holga lens.

Wisteria on wall near American History Museum:

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Decorating Your Decapitated Crape Myrtle This Holiday Season: An Illustrated Guide

‘Tis the season for making boxwood wreaths, garlands of fresh pine, and of course donning the mangled remains of your professionally landscaped front yard with holiday fairy lights and other whimsical decor.

Are you a traditionalist?  Why not adorn the hacked-off stubs of your once majestic crape myrtle with strings of white lights?  Really put a lot of them on there and wrap them tightly (think: binding severed limbs with tournequets) then sit back and enjoy the show.  Once the sun sets, those twinkly lights will really set off the freakishly stubby quality of your tree, and admiring neighbors will understand that you are a homeowner who is definitely in charge of his landscape, by god!  Why, you have the power to transform a beautiful vase-shaped tree into a ridiculous parody of itself!

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My First Post! or “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours”

We all know the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  As a person who loves to write, I’ve always taken exception to that saying.  I mean, it depends on the words and the picture, right?  If I were to weigh one of my 8th grade art projects against, say, ten of Shakespeare’s sonnets, well… you can see where I’m going with this.

However, I have a feeling that most blog-readers don’t have much patience for long-winded writing.  Short and sweet is where it’s at.  Therefore, my blog is going to emphasize pictures rather than text.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll ramble on plenty at times, but I’m officially declaring that imagery will carry at least as much emphasis as words here.

Apparently, some historians credit the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” to Napoleon, who originally said:  Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours  or  “A good sketch is better than a long speech.”  Since Napoleon wasn’t really known for art or speeches, I’m not sure why we should listen to him, but I figure including a quote – especially one in French – lends a certain, um, gravitas to my first posting.

Anyway, welcome to my blog!