On to D.C.

Next we went to D.C.  D.C.  was a whirlwind.  There is SO MUCH to see there.  Let me repeat:  THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE IN D.C.  If you ever get the chance, go.  If you don’t, make a chance, then go.  It was wonderful.

Anyways, we arrived at our hotel on a Saturday night.  We were staying about 45 minutes outside of D.C., in Herndon, Virginia.  (Yay!  We were now in my home state!  For those of you who don’t know, I was born in VA.)  The next day (Sunday) we went to church, then we went in to D.C. “to see what we could see.”  We ended up walking around a good bit, then we went to The Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Mom and I went to the First Lady’s dresses exhibit.  So many gorgeous dresses!  The boys and Meiling went to the American President’s display while we were looking at the dresses.  Dad didn’t want to go through the First Ladies’ Dresses exhibit again.  (He had accompanied Mom through that exhibit years ago when they lived in VA.)  We took a break to get some refreshments, and then Dad, Drake, Noah, and I went back to the American History Museum, and Mom and Meiling went to the Smithsonian Castle.  Meiling wasn’t really enjoying the exhibits.  🙂 

The next day we spent walking around D.C., visiting several monuments and memorials, The Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  Lots of walking.  I’m not sure if I had a favorite part from Monday.  It was all pretty great.

On Sunday we got Thai food from a restaurant a few minutes down the road from our hotel.  It was great!  We ate there twice.  Their fried rice, garlic chicken – I need to learn to cook like that.  Oh. My.  Mmm….it was SO good.  And so very different from Chinese, which is really amazing.  It looks similar, and Thailand is so close to China.  But it’s totally different.  In a totally delicious way.

Anyways.  Now for the photos.  I split D.C.  into two posts, because there is so much to cover.


Going into D.C. – Drake, being Drake


The Capital




(Ha ha.)


The Jefferson Memorial


Washington Monument


The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (I think)




The Smithsonian Castle


The Capital


One of the inscriptions on the front of The Smithsonian Museum of American History


This exhibit was great!  I could have spent longer in there.  When I saw there was a food exhibit, I HAD to go see it!




Monday – the George Mason Monument




The Washington Monument – I LOVED photographing it.  And I took lots of photos of it.  So you’ll have to bear with me.


The following photos:  The Jefferson Memorial








Meiling gave me a dandelion…


…and I wore it in my hair for awhile.




At the Air and Space Museum


(Read the caption in the photo)  Somebody has WAY more patience than I do.






…and Noah


Oh look!  The Washington Monument!


The World War II Memorial, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background




On the Pacific side – I got a foot in my picture. 


This has to be my second favorite photo that I took of the Washington Monument.


Resting before going to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing – I’m not totally sure what’s happening in this photo


Drake, being his normal self


There!  A smile




We went out to Red Hot and Blue for dinner on Monday.  It was pretty good.


Next time…

Welcome, Spring!

I am excited to participate in Just Live It’s “Bloggers Like Us” challenge for this month.  I have wanted to for awhile, and when I saw this challenge, I knew I could take part!

One of the things that always says “Spring” to me is the new life.  The chicks and ducklings up at the feed store.  Our friend’s new baby goats.  And for us, the kittens.

Our cat has had a litter of kittens just about every year since we’ve had her.  Seeing those little kittens tells me that Spring is right around the corner.  Oh, the joys of new life!














Kitchen Herbs

This past Saturday we went to a very cute farm-themed baby shower.  For favors and place cards they used little flower pots and buckets filled with goodies.  Now that I had a flower pot, I needed to plant something in it.

So I started thinking.  A flower would be nice, but you can’t eat it.  The flower’s purpose would be just to look pretty.  Not that there is anything bad about that.  I just usually like to plant plants that produce something that we use.

When we were starting seeds for our garden, I decided that I would try to grow some cilantro and parsley, since we use those herbs often and a whole bunch from the store can be too much.  It would be so nice to have some cilantro here in the kitchen, since that doesn’t do all too well out in the heat.  I started some thyme seeds in a bag a few weeks ago and the little plantlets needed to be planted.  I decided to plant cilantro in two of the pots and thyme in the third.

I really wanted to get them planted today, but it was already getting late.  While I was making cookies, I decided it was the perfect time to plant.  The recipe has you mix the butter, eggs, and sugar together for 30 seconds, then let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, and you have to repeat this process for a total of 3 times (this makes for a most delicious dough).  During those three minutes, I would hurry outside to work on my plants.  I had to work on them some more after the cookies were done, but it didn’t take all that long and I was very satisfied with the result.


My inspiration


Filled with dirt


My cute watering can – it was found in a thrift store


All planted, except the top one – I still need to put a cilantro seed in it


Extra thyme plantlets that I need to do something with.  I’m not sure what that something is.


A gooey chocolate chip cookie (yes, that is chocolate smeared on the counter, and no, I didn’t lick it off)

The Creek

Next to our home runs a private road.  Part of it has gravel, but the majority of it is just a mix of rocks, dirt, and plants.  The trees grow over it, so most of the way is shaded.  The wildflowers are blooming next to it.  After about a ten or fifteen minute walk down this road, you reach the creek.

When you first reach the creek, you walk out under the open sky into full sun.  On the right the creek is shallow and shaded with tall trees arching over it, giving the water underneath a dappled look.  On the left there are lots of rocks, with the creek getting narrower and deeper, with trees hanging over it from the farther bank.

We walked down to the creek this past Sunday.  I took my camera (surprise, surprise).  We also brought our black lab Shadow, who loves to swim.  Noah and Meiling played fetch with her, and Dad threw the ball occasionally.  I took pictures of the whole thing.

Here are some of the photos.  I was quite unhappy as there were all these lovely wildflowers and I hadn’t brought my macro lens, since I was trying to reduce baggage. 🙂




The road to the creek


This looks fairytale-like to me


To the right


I love water, ripples…


…and sun sparkles!




Throwing the ball for the dog


Playing in the water


I found this plant interesting


Sloshin’ around


To the left


When you get wet, you have to shake all that water off.


Sometimes your lips look weird.


But it always feels good


Oh yeah




This is going to be a new tradition – a lens cap picture wherever I go


More dog shaking off pictures – sorry, they’re just so fun


That feels good.


Just lovin’ those yellow boots


Foot pictures…also very fun




Flowers without a macro lens


I like how this one turned out


Where we took a little stroll – an even older road

So what did you do for Resurrection Sunday?  We didn’t do a whole lot.  Since some of us have been sick, we stayed home from church so not to infect everyone.  Nothing to fancy – we went to the creek, read Bible, played badminton, and had dinner.  Do you have a Resurrection Sunday tradition?

Happy Friday!


Spring, Books, Scarf

It was a beautiful day yesterday.  The sun was shining, the sky was very blue, and everything was so very green.  What a perfect day for pictures!  I finally did my ironing the other day, so I had one of my favorite shirts that was all ready to wear.  Something about it and the faded denim skirt I chose made me want to take pictures.  So I headed out and had a blast.  Just to warn you, this will probably be a long post with lots of pictures.

I took my scarf with me as well as a few old books.  If you are curious, the books in the photos are “The Five Little Peppers Grown Up” and “Pilgrim and Pluck: Dogs of the Mayflower.”  They are both very good.

Don’t say you weren’t warned!


I love how these pictures with the scarf turned out with the scarf “frozen.”



This is my favorite with the scarf


I don’t know why I like this one so much, but I do


Walking and reading


This rock is great for pictures


The grass is so green



Still walking and reading




This part of an old fence looks so…country 🙂
Right after I took that picture, I found a bunch of moss.  It was so soft and springy that I was walking all over it with my bare feet and jumping on it.  While I was jumping on it, I said rather loudly “It’s so soft and springy-y-y!” I noticed not too much later that our neighbor was out not too far from where I was (within hearing distance).  Oops.




Love this one too 🙂


There have been a few things recently that have been getting me excited.  As none of them are long enough for there own post, I am going to post them all together.  How does that sound?  O.K.?

Well, last week we purchased half of a grass fed cow.  Our friends had an extra half, and they offered it to us.  I am so glad that we got some grass fed meat.  There were a lot of steaks and roasts.  Now I have to read Tender Grassfed Meat, which my mom bought awhile ago, and we’ll be all ready to go!  We also got some more lard, so I can make some more pies.  Mmmmm!

Some friends of ours dropped off our herb order from Mountain Rose Herbs this week!  So far, I have already made more Echinacea tincture and Elderberry syrup.  This should help us feel better, because Mom, Dad, and I have all been sick.  I am getting better, but my parents are still feeling pretty yucky.  I also purchased some essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, and was very pleased to find out that they are therapeutic grade oils!  And plus, it is always fun to get more smelly oils.  🙂

You know that book I have posted about several times, titled Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it?  Well, the author wrote another one, titled Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!  I AM SO EXCITED!  That didn’t convey all the excitement.  I AM SO SO VERY EXCITED!!!!!!  O.K., that was better.  I am hoping to get it here soon.

A bunch of our trees bloomed!  So did the tulips!  And the azalea bush!  And the rosebush did, too!  Since I have been sick, I have been unable to take many pictures, but I am hoping to get some today.

Well, I think that is all for now.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings.  It was good to get all that pent-up excitement out.  (I’ve used forms of the word excitement lots in this post, haven’t I?)


A tulip that bloomed


It was raining ever so lightly while I was taking pictures.  The sun was out, too!

Today’s Adventures–3/24/2012

Mom woke me up slightly earlier than usual this morning.  We were going to a friends’ home to drop off some of our chickens, as our flock was getting too big.  Some of our chickens (who are currently free ranging) were scratching/dust bathing in our neighbor’s flower garden and garden.  Not good.  The decision we made was that we needed to pen up our flock. With the size of fencing that we have, though, we couldn’t pen up our 29 chickens.  It was decided that we needed to get rid of some, and since our friends have been buying eggs from us, and wanting some chickens for awhile, they agreed to take some of our excess.

Since we were already going to be up that direction, Mom decided that we were going to go pick up our chicken feed at a farm store and pick up some honey at an Amish store.

First things first – we had penned up the chickens that we were moving last night, so they just had to be put in the van this morning.  Well, when you put 10 chickens in a cage in the back of your van, and then proceed to take a 25 minute drive, things get interesting.  Let’s just be honest.  Chickens stink.  Especially when they are in confined spaces.  Mom and I ended up driving all of that time with the windows open (it was 55 degrees out).  I only brought with my jean jacket, so I was chilly.

After we dropped off the odorous passengers at our friends’ home, it was off to get honey.  It took about 25 minutes in a much warmer, quieter, and less smelly car to get to the Amish store.  Once we got out on the country road and around the Amish homes,  it was absolutely beautiful.  The morning sun was touching everything, bathing it all in a golden light.  The fields were green, except for some, which were purple with some little flowers that are blooming right now.  I hadn’t brought my camera, which I was rather unhappy about at the moment, but was probably a good thing, because if I had had it, I probably would have wanted to jump out of the car every 2 minutes to take a picture of something.  Yes, it really was that beautiful.

We saw a few horses and buggies, which was quite fun.  It also provided a new learning experience for me, since I was driving.  When we were leaving, there were three young men riding horses down the gravel road.  It made me wonder – why did we ever give up horses for cars?  Sure, cars are faster, but horses are so much more beautiful and, I don’t know quite how to articulate it, personal.  They have a personality.  They’re alive.

After that it was back to the town to pick up our chicken feed and a few bales of hay for our friends.  We then got back on the highway (after a quick stop at a grocery store and a chocolate shop :)) to head back to our friends’ home to drop off the hay and some feed.  The back of our car now held hay, five 50 lb. bags of chicken feed, and a large rock with which we had wedged the chicken’s cage.  Quite and interesting assortment, eh?

On our way home, we stopped at a meat processor’s to pick up some pork lard.  Yay!  Now I can make  apple pies again.

That was the extent of our morning travels.  We are going to a Republican Party dinner in our area this evening.  It should be very interesting.

Oh, and as a side note, a friend (the same one who took our chickens) loaned me The Pioneer Woman Cooks yesterday.  I have been enjoying it quite a bit.  Between reading that book and driving by those Amish homes in the lovely country, it is making me want to live somewhere REALLY country.  I love the country.  The Pioneer Woman also has a website, which you can visit here.  As with all things, please use discretion.  I have only been on her site once, and that rather briefly.

Almost 6

My little sister Meiling is almost six.  Her birthday is next week.  Today I dressed her up, and we went outside and took pictures.  There were plenty of flowers – some on bushes to use as a backdrop, and some to pick.  We had fun!

This was my first time doing portraits with props.  We collected some different items – some that Meiling liked or that matched her outfit – and threw them in a big plastic bag so they wouldn’t get dirty.  I carried that around while we were taking pictures.






The wind was blowing, and Meiling was joking that she would let go of her parasol


“Tut, tut, it looks like rain!”


Meiling and her puppy dog Jake







These were both so cute that I couldn’t take one out!


Picking flowers


The tulip bloomed!






Meiling showing me how high she can climb






A Walk in the Woods

Across the road from our house is our neighbor’s pasture, and on the other side of the pasture are the woods.  The woods are very lovely – there is a little creek running through them, and not many people go back there, so it has an untouched feel.  We went back there for the first time two years or so ago, and we never made it back, until now.

Yesterday my brother and I went for a walk in those woods.  We had talked about going back for a walk/photography outing, and it took us 2 years to finally go.  He came to me a couple times yesterday to ask me about going, but I didn’t think that it would be able to happen yesterday.  It turned out well, and we were able to go out for 45 minutes.  It was very nice.  Everything is looking green again, and the flowers are blooming.  We are hoping to go back sometime soon when there are more leaves on the trees.


An old, mossy log



Isn’t the veining on this leaf so interesting?


The little creek – I am hoping that we can go back when it is a bit fuller


Some violets are starting to bloom!


There are all kinds of lovely places like this – wouldn’t it be fun to have a picnic under these trees?


“Look, Ma, no hands!” My fun-loving brother


Can you see the little trail?


There was a patch of these flowers.  Some were in the shade…


…and some were in the sun




Nutmeg found us about 15 minutes or so into our little jaunt, and he followed us until we left the pasture


My brother, who carried my other lens in the bag, and was so sweet about my constant dropping to my knees and saying,”O.K., I need the other lens.”


Another good place for a picnic


As we were leaving, I saw this rock jutting out over the creek.  I’ll have to spend more time the next time we go for a walk photographing it.


I love how the sun is shining on these things


Little flowers hiding in the grass




…and grazing


“Hi there!”