April 19– a blustery day

A cool, blustery spring day, pleasant relief from recent heat.  I’ve been reading about morels and morel season, and am curious whether they grow around here.  I read that old apple orchards are one place to look for ’em, so Sami & I went to explore our own old apple orchard, in search of good trees to climb, and maybe mushrooms to eat.

The wind was quite intense this afternoon, the branches of the willow swishing around dramatically.Image


And the big old apple trees were covered with soft white blossoms.Image

Pink apple blossom petals on a spring day…feels like a cliche line from a bluegrass song, but my weren’t they purty.Image

Some of the flowers were just beginning to openImage

Sami found a good tree to climb, once I had ensured that all the vines climbing the tree were Virginia Creeper and not poison ivy (and pulled them down, just to be sure)Image

And I found some mushrooms, although not the morels I was looking for.  Still, it’s a nice sign of spring even to just come across these delicate little things.Image

Later in the afternoon, I wandered around in the woods a bit, thinking more about morels, and where one might begin looking for them on our property.  As I passed through the Tupelo yard, I saw these tulips in bloom, I think they’re the first tulips I’ve seen at Twin Oaks, and they look like they’ve been out for a while.Image

This red one was especially intense.Image

In the woods, I didn’t find much in the way of mushrooms, but was struck by how dramatically the appearance of the woods has changed just in the past 10 days.  As I walked around, the skies grew darker, the wind kicked up (blowing up throat-clogging quantities of dust and pollen) and the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance.Image

Just around dinnertime, the storm announced itself with a short but furious 30-second burst of wind, followed by a solid wall of water.  The most intense part of the storm lasted just about five minutes, but it was enough to blow over a few trees and briefly flood the ground with water falling faster than it could find a way to drain or run off.  As I attempted to drive to Richmond in the drizzly aftermath of the storm, I found the roads blocked with multiple blowdowns, including this one, just before the highway.  Fortunately, a VDOT guy showed up with his chainsaw moments after I arrived and cleared it away– government in action!Image


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