Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Baby

One of the things that was instilled in me from an early age is my duty to take care of all of God's creatures and adopt any stray wild ones that may cross my porch as my own. While I wasn't homeschooled, a love for nature is an essential part of Who I Am. And although we lived in the suburbs, I learned valuable lessons about wildlife at an early age.

I learned that sometimes your mother is fast and furious at making peanut butter sandwiches at 11PM because raccoons are scratching at the back door. Often this entails watching the raccoons pull the edges off the peanut butter sandwiches because "we don't liiii-iiike the ed-ges," and as a result you must stand firm in your resolve to love them nonetheless. As a homeschooling mom, that duty has been expanded to actively be aware of any and all opportunities for learning and to jump on them as "teachable moments."

If it means getting the girls out of bed in the middle of the night to have a field trip at the living room window for an impromptu lesson on nocturnal creatures, this, too, must be borne:

If it means not banging on the window when the nocturnal creature with a prehensile tail and more teeth than any other land animal (I didn't know that!) is using those sharp teeth to chew at the gourd you so carefully hollowed out to feed the pretty little wrens, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and such, then so be it.

If it means being glared at because there are no peanut butter sandwiches on hand and the handmade suet balls are secured tightly in a cage overhead, then it means you must kindly but firmly say good night and rustle your little girls into bed because, after all, then they don't need to be challenged by a pointy-nosed marsupial who was once a staple of southern cookery. This what its all about: Passing down treasured family traditions of feeding wild animals on the porch and teaching your girls essential knowledge like, for instance, that their night-time visitor gets her name from the Algonquian (Indian) word for "white dog." Sigh.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Save the Dates!

Two upcoming events in the Alleghany Highlands:

The C&O Historical Society is sponsoring a train show at the Clifton Forge Armory on Saturday, February 20, all day. For more information, call (540) 862-2210. We went last year and there were model layouts of various sizes, loads of train items for sale, railroad antiques, books and more. This year there will be an appraiser on hand as well as a consignment table. Admission is $4 adults/$2 children and includes the C&O Heritage Center. Dunno if the steam engine will be available for rides; I guess it just depends if we STILL have snow on the ground or not! Click here for the website for more details. Come on out!

If you can't make it to that, put the Highland Maple Festival on your to-do list. We've been 3 years and enjoy it immensely. Its over two weekends: March 13/4 and March 20/21 in Highland County. Most of the action is in Monterey, but there are special events in Blue Grass, Hightown, McDowell and down (up?) on 220. You can go to the Highland County Chamber of Commerce's website here for more information. Stay in Covington, and its a beautiful 1-hour drive north to the festivities.

Snow Pictures

" Somebody help me up, Mama!"
"Mama, come under the trees!"

The Look.
She's not really up to her neck in snow; she's sitting on the back sidewalk that was shovelled out the other day and looking across the snow. Its really that deep, though...

Romping through almost-knee-deep snow...

Backyard...the square thing in the left foreground is our fire pit with the benches to sit on.
Our house - taken from our neighbors' (Heidi & Joe)(isn't it a riot that there are Heidis on either side of Johnson Creek Road??) porch across the street.

The Girl Who Does Not Get Cold. Also: The Girl Who Lost Another Tooth Yesterday.
The Girl Who Does Not Wear a Hat. There will be 2 hats found in the spring thaw.
Cows in the pasture at the end of the block. I stopped the truck and said, "HEY COWS!!" and the (red) bull turned around to glare at me.

The house again as seen from Heidi & Joe's house.

Perspective as to how much snow is on the ground. We got another 4" today. As of noon, it had stopped snowing, but we're forecast for more today, Wednesday, and - rumor has it - Friday!

Standing by the picnic table in the back yard looking north....through my neighbor's yard.

Standing in the road looking southeast. The roads were completely clear yesterday except for a few icy pactches!

And the driveway was COMPLETEly clear :(