Calm before the Storm

As summer draws to an end, the number of intense, sporadic storms seems to increase. The dark clouds roll in, and the last rays of late afternoon sun are quickly extinguished.

But on last week’s occasion, the clouds were a thin enough veil to project the warm evening sun across the entire sky and farm.

The house glowed bright orange, a slight fog hung in the air, and a feeling deep in my gut left no doubt that something big was about to happen.


Update: it wasn’t until I uploaded the photo and updated the site that I noticed the little orbs of light throughout the picture from that evening. It only further expresses the energy that was in the air during that fleeting moment. 

Dog Days of Summer


Heralded by the running of Sirius the dogstar as it chases Lepus the hare across the sky, the dog days of summer were documented with sweltering heat and pestilence in the ancient mediterranean.

Thankfully, the dog days of summer in Virginia have been less difficult with cool evenings and whispers on the wind that promise an impending new season.

“Wet your lungs with wine: the dogstar, Seirios, is coming round, the season is harsh, everything is thirsty under the heat, the cicada sings sweetly from the leaves .. the artichoke is in flower; now are women most pesilential, but men are feeble, since Sirios parches their heads and knees.” Alcaeus, Fragment 347 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C7th to 6th B.C.)

Summer - White Plains

Wildlife – White Plains

The wildlife on property here in Virginia is a bit out of control, and I don’t mean the house occupants! When we first moved here, we assumed that being close to a main road would be a deterrent for most animals, both large and small. We have certainly found that to be untrue, but it has been a welcomed experience. It is a chance to remember that we are surrounded by more than paved roads, retail stores, and plastic food.

My absurd wildlife encounters have become so prolific over the past six months, that I finally decided to log them for my own amusement. I’m sure there are many more that have presently escaped my memory, but these are the top ten:

1. I have been yelled at by a beaver the size of a small car (Mr. Beaver was very grumpy that day),

2. I almost had my face bitten off by a snapping turtle (they really can jump about 2 feet!),

IMG_79393. I have encountered more snakes than is appropriate,

4. I had a Red-Spotted Purple butterfly hang out on my shoulder and eventually on my finger for almost 5 minutes (I think he just wanted to chat – to learn more, check out Gardens with Wings),

IMG_7930 (1)5. Herds of deer have come within feet of hitting my car while sitting in my own driveway,

6. I have relocated two huge moles that have attempted destruction of every garden plot (and no, I didn’t throw them into the neighbors yard),

IMG_73737. I have contemplated becoming a hunting man to put one of those beautifully plumed old toms on my Thanksgiving dinner plate,

8. I have had the amazing and surreal opportunity to view a two-foot pileated woodpecker that lives in the wetlands, (they really do look like Woody the Woodpecker!),

9. I have seen the red fox in all her glory, standing starkly against the perfect white snow, and

number 10: Thankfully, my domesticated wildlife, Mango, does his part in keeping the mice, moles, and small creatures away from the house!

As you drive down even the busiest road in any part of the world, think about the habitats and possible encounters just feet away from you, perhaps lurking in the underbrush. What wildlife do you encounter where you live?