Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer lingers on

It's continued to be hot and dry here (although the last few days the temperatures have finally become more season-appropriate). I finally ate enough delicious fresh tomatoes that i was willing to cook a few, as in this okra-corn-tomato dish.

My own garden is nonexistent this year...just have catnip and mint that came back from last year. Even my compost heap shows signs of neglect...i don't think i've adequately turned it and moistened it so it can get hot and decompose efficiently. I went out the other day and found an avocado tree sprouting in the middle of the heap!

A few weeks ago, my father and i went to the wonderful, family-owned and -operated Hartland Orchard, where I picked two pecks of Redskin peaches in about 15 minutes...and a pint of raspberries in an hour (it was the end of a long Saturday and they had been very thoroughly picked over). My father scored all sorts of points with friends in his retirement community to whom he took back peaches. I didn't give nearly as many away...saved quite a few to make a peach pie for my father the following week and also to make peach liqueur following Sylvie Rowand's recipe (i have to pour off the liquid this weekend and i am really looking forward to tasting the tipsy peaches that result!).

The week after we picked peaches, i drove my father down to Waynesboro to visit the Wildlife Center of Virginia which is mostly a hospital for treating native wildlife, but offers tours to the public a few times a year. My pictures didn't come out very well...most of the raptors were in wooden-sided cages outside and were quite dark inside. However, this lovely kestrel was close to the front so i was able to get a good picture of her.

Edie, the American Kestrel, was found as an orphan when her nest tree was damaged in a storm. She imprinted on humans after being rescued, so she can not be released to lead a normal life in the wild.
The Wildlife Center does everything they can to heal their patients to the point where they can be released back to the wild. Some animals however have injuries that they recover from but which make them unable to fend for themselves in the wild. One of these is the cute little Screech Owl named Pignoli, shown below with education specialist Kelly. He is blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other (it's possible that he was struck by a train while pursuing insects), so he wouldn't be able to hunt for food. He has a very sweet personality and has taken easily to a role as an Education Animal.

Education Specialist Kelly and Education Animal Pignoli

After our tour of the hospital and its grounds, we came back to my house to go out to dinner and then back to my house for peach pie for dessert and for my father to have a chance to spend some time with his grandcats. They all greeted him affectionately but we were disappointed that nobody hopped up on his lap (we probably weren't sitting long enough). He took home a funny souvenier of his visit....his navy blue shorts were covered with Fuzzy's fur from the couch!

Speaking of Fuzzy, here he is sprawled out on his back on the couch...summertime cat nap!


  1. I'm thinking the kitties might have sensed you went to see the big birds and didn't take them and that is why they didn't jump in laps for attention.

  2. You and your Dad are having good times together. Treasure them!

  3. so... did you like it?

    and the sunchokes have survived too, I bet - there are blooming here (I know I should not let them do that, but I never take the time to cut them down to fatten the roots)