Sunday, August 15, 2010

Late summer in small town Virginia

We've had an amazingly hot and dry summer this year. I think we had the hottest and driest June on record, quite a counterpoint to the snowy and cold winter! I believe we had something like 40 days in a row of above-90 degrees temperature. Thankfully, i have central air conditioning...i got it years ago because Lesley had feline asthma and her vet said she'd be much better off if the windows could be kept closed--and the only way it would be bearable to have the windows closed would be to have air conditioning. The cats have been feeling warm but pretty comfortable.
Fuzzy laying on the 3rd desk's book shelf, keeping me company while i telecommute

Sylvie checcking out Farmers Market bounty: peppers, Napa cabbage, corn, 2 different mixes of cherry tomatoes, new potatoes (in bag), radishes

Sylvie staking out my desk chair, which the cats have pretty thoroughly trashed. Why buy a new one if that'll get all shredded, too?

Louie snuggled into his "Hairy Blankie"

Gingy relazing on the kitchen doormat (yes, she's the one who has peed repeatedly on the back door)
Another fine part of summer here is my town's tradition of offering outdoor concerts every Saturday evening in a joint partnership with Bluemont Concerts. The musicians set up on the sidewalk across the street and everyone sets up blankets and lawn chairs on the lawn of the Warren Green building, a Civil War era building that now houses some County offices, next to the County courthouse complex. It's wonderful listening to all kinds of great musicians in such a family-friendly atmosphere. Different community groups provide the refreshments each week and get to keep the's like having a bake sale with a musical accompaniment!

Last week my quilt group provided the refreshments. We lucked was a gorgeous clear warm evening, not dreadfully hot and humid as so many other Saturday nights had been, and the music was fantastic--the Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra, a group of about 8 guys (from an ensemble of 16) playing swing and big band music.

Here's what it looked like from the back of the crowd, as the lights just started coming on.

Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra entertains as night falls
One thing that doesn't show in the picture are the bats and swallows flittering around overhead catching the bugs who are attracted to the lights.

Here are two of my friends from the quilt group with our table of goodies. In addition to the usual homemade cookies and brownies, bottled water, iced tea, and lemonade, we also had trail mix, pretzels, homemade caramel corn, spiced nuts and spicy popcorn both custom made by one of the group, and a peck of peaches picked that very day by a member who hadn't had time to bake. By the end of the evening we only had a few peaches and a few bags of trail mix and cookies left...a very successful evening for us. And so much fun, too!
Quilters and goodies for sale at the Bluemont concert

There are naked ladies in my garden!

Did i get your attention? *lol* Nope, not human ladies, but these interesting pink lily-like blooms that suddenly appear on long naked stems in late summer around here. They're otherwise known as Lycoris squamigera...and have other wonderful nicknames like "magic lilies," "surprise lilies," and "resurrection lilies" which all refer to the fact that they suddenly seem to appear out of nowhere. In spring, a huge clump of big green strap-like leaves appears, much like daffodils, except there are no flowers, and the leaves go dormant and disappear as soon as the weather starts to warm up. And then in late July, early August, suddenly stems appear and rapidly produce clusters of pink blooms.

They are a wonderful pass-along plant, since they are easy to dig up after blooming (big clumps of bulbs) and transplant to wherever the garden soil is halfway decent and they will get at least half a day of sun. I'd never seen them before i moved to Virginia. In fact, the first place i saw them was along a vanished fenceline in Turnbull, an historically Black community not far from here. I thought people had stuck hundreds of silk flowers in a line along the road in front of an old church. Then i saw them in people's yards. And then the summer after i bought my house, they popped up in my own yard, from where i thought a disappointing clump of daffodils had disappeared!

(Did you notice that they're surrounded by a mass of English ivy, poison ivy, and some other sort of wild viney groundcover thing? And then on the other side there's a nice neat bed of mulch? The mulch is my nextdoor neighbor's yard!)