Monday, June 17, 2019

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019

East Window

I recently had reason to be at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., so I thought maybe some of you might come along with me to see that wonderful building. As you may recall, it was damaged by an earthquake in August 2011. It's still undergoing repairs, but is in a lot better condition than it was.

Friday, June 14, 2019


River Trail
C&O Canal NHP

According to Rob Zimmer in an article in USA Today, "butterflies gather to puddle, or absorb minerals and salts from the soil. Sandy lanes and lakeside beaches attract large numbers of butterflies on these hot summer days."

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Monday, June 10, 2019

Black Caterpillar Beetle

Discovered this little creature on the River Trail in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. I found this information on Wikipedia:

"Calosoma is a genus of large ground beetles that occur primarily throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and are referred to as caterpillar hunters or searchers. Many of the 167 species are largely or entirely black, but some have bright metallic coloration. They produce a foul-smelling spray from glands near the tip of the abdomen. They are recognizable due to their large thorax, which is almost the size of their abdomen and much wider than their head.

In 1905, Calosoma sycophanta was imported to New England for control of the gypsy moth. The species is a voracious consumer of caterpillars during both its larval stage and as an adult, as are other species in the genus. For this reason, they are generally considered beneficial insects. Several species of this beetle, most notably the black calosoma (Calosoma semilaeve) are especially common in the California area.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Colonial Gardens

Forgive me for bouncing back and forth from Williamsburg to northern Virginia and back to Williamsburg. That's what I do these days, but not for long. Soon I'll be more or less permanently ensconced in what was the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1780. Here's just another example of the wonderful gardens maintained there.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Monday, June 3, 2019


My admiration for this plant has only grown with time and familiarity.

Golden Ragwort
C&O Canal NHP

Friday, May 31, 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Live Oak

Live oaks are fairly widespread in warmer areas along the Atlantic coast from southeast Virginia to Florida. This grand old beauty is growing next to a house on the Duke of Gloucester Street a block or so from the house I featured in yesterday's post. According to Wikipedia, live oak was widely used in early American shipbuilding:

"Because of the trees' short height and low-hanging branches, lumber from live oak was specifically used to make curved structural members of the hull, such as knee braces (single-piece, inverted L-shaped braces that spring inward from the side and support a ship's deck). In such cuts of lumber, the line of the grain would fall perpendicularly to lines of stress, creating structures of exceptional strength. Live oaks were not generally used for planking because the curved and often convoluted shape of the tree did not lend itself to be milled to planking of any length. Red oak or white oak was generally used for planking on vessels, as those trees tended to grow straight and tall and thus would yield straight trunk sections of length suitable for milling into plank lengths."

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


There is some controversy surrounding this house. It's on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg along with all the other buildings haling from the colonial period, only it's not itself from that period. It's of a later vintage. Still, I've always admired it's stately columns and inviting benches. Actually, they would be a lot more inviting if it were not for that "spiky" fence. :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Colonial Williamsburg is rather well-known regionally for its beautiful gardens and there really is no better time to visit them than now. Having said that, I do think the gardeners make a special effort to have something blooming all through the summer and fall.

Monday, May 27, 2019


I visited the Williamsburg Farmers Market again on a wonderfully sunny day. Lots of people and lots of vendors. It just keeps growing and growing as summer approaches.

Sunday, May 26, 2019


No, I didn't get a chance to attend this concert at the Governor's Palace. Maybe another one is in my future, though. :-)

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Spotted this azalea blooming while strolling through the College of William & Mary's campus a few weeks ago. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Lookout Tower

The prettiest view in the park as far as I'm concerned. I could have spent the afternoon just watching the reflections of the clouds scud across the reservoir's surface.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Stairs to Bridge

So after the Bayberry Loop Trail leaves the shores of the reservoir, it turns back through the woods toward the boardwalk where I began. I look forward to taking this walk again maybe in the fall when the colors of all these hardwood trees begin to turn. By then I expect to have become a full-time denizen of the Virginia peninsula, having moved away from northern Virginia where I've lived for the past eleven years.

But there was just one more thing I wanted to see before I left Waller Mill Park, and that will be the subject of tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


About two thirds of the Bayberry Trail borders the Waller Mill Reservoir. According to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries:

"This 360-acre water supply reservoir is owned by the City of Williamsburg and is located within the boundaries of Waller Mill Park, York County. The reservoir was originally constructed in 1942 with the intention of providing water to Camp Peary, but was sold three years later to the City of Williamsburg in 1945. The reservoir is divided into two sections by the crossing of Airport Road. A navigable tunnel connects the upper and lower portions of the reservoir. The upper basin accounts for roughly a third of the reservoir’s acreage. The lower basin provides greater fishing access to deeper water and larger creek arms. The heavily wooded shoreline and the many branches and coves of the reservoir provide a very pleasing environment in which to hike, bike, fish and pleasure boat."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


It's quite possible the mockernut hickory was here on the peninsula when the colonists landed at Jamestown in 1607. According to the The Appalachian Voice:

"Perhaps the most familiar use of hickory, even in modern times, is for smoking meat. Although opinions vary as to the best species, mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) is frequently mentioned as the choice wood for smoking hams. The mockernut, so named because the small kernels are encased in disproportionately large husks, can reach an age up to 500 years (one of the longest-lived hickories) though almost all hickories can survive several hundred years, with bitternut being the shortest-lived at 200 years. Intentionally planting a hickory tree in order to harvest the nuts is definitely an exercise in patience, and perhaps only for posterity, as the trees do not begin bearing nuts for at least 20 years; with some not bearing significant crops for 30-40 years.

Hickory firewood is legendary for producing a long burn, maximum heat, and minimum ash. Colonial naturalist Mark Catesby observed, 'For the fire no wood in the northern parts of America is in so much request.' A cord generates heat equivalent to 175 gallons of fuel oil, or a little over a ton of coal. Hickory also burns with an exceptional luminous flame, an added appeal in pre-electric days."

Monday, May 20, 2019


Almost the very first thing you notice when setting out on the Bayberry Trail in spring is the vast number of toads. The forest here, bordering the Waller Mill reservoir, is crawling with them.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bayberry Nature Trail

Waller Mill Park
Williamsburg, Virginia

I'm reading a history now entitled Love & Hate in Jamestown by David Price in which the author notes how in 1607 this area was occupied by the Paspahegh tribe. Although I'm sure the landscape is much different now than it was then, it was still interesting to travel down these sandy paths while thinking about how the Jamestown settlers interacted with the native population. By the way, the Paspahegh most definitely were not on good terms with those settlers. :-)