WPC: Edge

Sandy Bay, which frames one end of Jamestown Island, provides a home for many species of birds in its shallow waters. Bald cypress trees grow along its banks.

Sandy Bay, which frames one end of Jamestown Island, provides a home for many species of birds in its shallow waters. Bald cypress trees grow along its banks.


Edges and borders;

Boundaries or invitations

To enter elsewhere?




Alight from the known,

Venture into

What is not.




Borders frame,

But cannot contain

Curious awareness.




Where is happiness?

What waits

Beyond the edges?




For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Edge




Woodland Gnome 2016




Sunday Dinner: Consumption

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 024~

“Mindful consumption is the object of this precept.

We are what we consume.

If we look deeply into the items

that we consume every day,

we will come to know our own nature very well.

We have to eat, drink, consume,

but if we do it unmindfully, we may destroy

our bodies and our consciousness,

showing ingratitude toward our ancestors,

our parents, and future generations.”


Thich Nhat Hanh


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“I vow to ingest only items that preserve well-being,

peace, and joy in my body and my consciousness…

Practicing a diet is the essence of this precept.

Wars and bombs are the products of our consciousness

individually and collectively. Our collective consciousness

has so much violence, fear, craving, and hatred in it,

it can manifest in wars and bombs.

The bombs are the product of our fear…

Removing the bombs is not enough.

Even if we could transport all the bombs

to a distant planet, we would still not be safe,

because the roots of the wars and the bombs

are still intact in our collective consciousness.

Transforming the toxins in our collective consciousness

is the true way to uproot war .”


Thich Nhat Hanh


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“We convince ourselves that even our shameless waste,

our unchecked consumption and our appalling ignorance

of anyplace in the world except our own little corner

must continue–or they win!

No, when you become smarter and less gluttonous,

you win. We all win!”


Bill Maher


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016


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“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,

as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves –

slowly, evenly,

without rushing toward the future.”


Thich Nhat Hanh


June 3, 2016 Jamestown 034~

Wordless Wednesday


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016


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Wordless Wednesday


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“This inescapable duty to observe oneself:

if someone else is observing me,

naturally I have to observe myself too;

if none observe me,

I have to observe myself all the closer”


Franz Kafka


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“He alone is an acute observer,

who can observe minutely without being observed”


Johann Kaspar Lavater


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“Opportunities are often things you haven’t noticed the first time around.”

Catherine Deneuve


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Photo by Woodland Gnome 2015

WPC: Fray

A white egret wades in a pond along the Colonial Parkway this afternoon.

A white egret wades in a pond along the Colonial Parkway this afternoon.  A frayed fringe of grasses frames the pond.


“Frayed” is an excellent word to describe the end of August. 

After a long, hot, eventful summer, we may all feel a bit frayed around the edges.


Rose of Sharon flowers are still lovely, though the leaves are a bit frayed.

Rose of Sharon flowers are still lovely, though the leaves are a bit frayed.


The garden certainly looks a bit frayed after withstanding many weeks of heat and thunderstorms, hungry insects and hungry deer.

And the grasses blooming now along the roadsides offer a “frayed” fringe to all vistas.


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“Fray” itself is an interesting word.

Coming to us from middle English, it means that something is worn down, or worn out, to the point of beginning to come apart.

My jeans are nearly always frayed somewhere.

I was raised when it was fashionable to fray them in spots on purpose, which definitely frayed my mother’s nerves.

The first of the reblooming Iris sends up a bud against the old and frayed Comfrey foliage which has lasted the summer.

The first of the reblooming Iris sends up a bud against the old and frayed Comfrey foliage, which has lasted the summer.


But to become “frayed” implies that one has been in the thick of the action.

We might choose to “join the fray” as we add our voice to stand up for a good cause; or a bad one, as the case might be.


Losing the fray can mean ending up as someone else's dinner in the garden.

Losing the fray can mean ending up as someone else’s dinner in the garden.


In our garden, we are in the midst of an ongoing fray with hungry Bambis who steal in through the fences at night  to eat our “shrubberies.”


Frayed Oakleaf Hydrangea, grazed last night by the deer.

Frayed Oakleaf Hydrangea, grazed last night by the deer.


I found two “deer resistant” Oakleaf Hydrangeas “frayed” this morning; their beautiful leaves gone overnight into the maws of gourmet deer.


The other Hydrangea nibbled last night is also sadly frayed.

The other Hydrangea nibbled last night is also sadly frayed.


I’m often reminded that if I continue to plant, they will continue to come; which frays my expectations for a beautiful, lush garden.  But only a little…


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As we drove out to Jamestown this afternoon to visit our favorite vegetable stand for some of the last of this summer’s tomatoes, and some of the first of this year’s apple crop; we watched the frayed edges of storm clouds dip ever lower in the sky.

We waited, as for Gadot, for the promised thunderstorm which never came.


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But continuing on to the historic island itself, we noticed a creature running across the lawn near the causeway.

We had spotted it a few times before, always from a distance, and were happily surprised to find it out in the open today where we could photograph it.


The fox who came out near Jamestown  Island this afternoon.

The fox who came out near Jamestown Island this afternoon.


It was a fox.  A somewhat old and painfully thin fox, with a frayed tail and dull looking coat.


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And it had found something lying in the grass it  could eat.  It’s hunger must have fed its courage, and it stayed out in the open, despite our company and the passing traffic.

We are sorry to find the fox looking so thin with autumn coming quickly on.


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But that is the way of things in the wild.  Things remain a bit frayed around the edges year round, especially here at the last gasp of summer.


Osprey Eagle on the James River today.

Osprey Eagle on the James River today.


The elements of sun and wind, rain and lightening work their will on forest, field, and garden alike.

But what is frayed today, is often renewed with fresh growth of leaves and flowers soon enough.

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Whether its own new growth, or that of a conquering vine; it matters little.

Nature always wins, in the end.


Autumn Clematis scrambles over shrubs and trees on the river bank.  Its sweet fragrance fills the air with perfume.

Autumn Clematis scrambles over shrubs and trees on the river bank. Its sweet fragrance fills the air with perfume.


Getting “frayed” is only a stop along the path of re-newal. 

It is the way of things….


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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Fray


With love, to a favorite aunt who let me know she cares enough to follow my ramblings here…..


Sweet Autumn Clematis, awash in sweet perfume.

Sweet Autumn Clematis, awash in sweet perfume.

Independence Day

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

A Bald Eagle nest near Jamestown Island, Virginia.

Have you noticed that “Independence Day” has devolved into displays of shiny red, white, and blue Mylar decorations across much of our suburban landscape?

It is a time for car sales, summer vacations, huge picnics, and fireworks.

Please don’t misunderstand-  it is a great holiday!  I especially love watching fireworks on a summer sultry summer evening.

I’m just suggesting that it would be wise for us to contemplate the deeper meaning of “independence,” and what it means for us in 2014.


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What does “Independence” mean to us today? 

Just something to think about,  this weekend, as we put up our red, white, and blue bunting, hang our flags,  and prepare our picnic dinners.


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Here are a few thoughts from Americans who devoted their lives to building our nation.

They are words worth remembering, and perhaps offer an insight into where we go from here in our national journey towards our destiny as a free people.


“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


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“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.

Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

John F. Kennedy


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“America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision,

to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men.”

Woodrow Wilson


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“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it.

You have to catch up with it yourself.”

Benjamin Franklin


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“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,

signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,

those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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“I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature

and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping,

and like the grave, cries, ‘Give, give.’ ”

Abigail Adams

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“You are not here merely to make a living.

You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply,

with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.

You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Woodrow Wilson

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“I hope we shall crush in its birth

the aristocracy of our monied corporations

which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength,

and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Thomas Jefferson

I hope that you will have that picnic with loved ones, and that you’ll enjoy the fireworks display on Saturday evening if not Friday.  
It is good to remember exactly what it is we celebrate each July. 


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Our nation was founded on ideals and principles.  We keep them alive as we contemplate them, and share them with those who share our journey.
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

The Birds Don’t Mind….

Great Blue Heron on the bank of Halfway Creek

Great Blue Heron on the bank of Halfway Creek

Some might call today “a grey day,”  but the birds don’t mind.

And neither do we.

We’ve enjoyed this cool rainy day.

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A lovely break after the heat earlier this week.  We had hot sunshine and temps over 100 just a few days ago.

But today we have enjoyed the fog and mist.

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The sky is sculpture in motion with great dark clouds, but our garden looks vibrant.

And the birds are loving it!

We took a drive down the Parkway after running some errands this morning.

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And to our surprise we found three swans in Halfway Creek.  They appear to be the same three who were hanging out in College Creek on Sunday afternoon.

My friends believe this is a family of parents and cygnet, who has not yet gone out on her own.

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The three are harmonious together, whatever their relationship might be.

And we were happy to find them again.

The Parkway is alive today with eagles and herons, red winged blackbirds, ravens, and a hawk high up in a pine.

We couldn’t stop for all, but we managed to photograph a few.

And we still made it home before the skies opened up again to give us another delicious shower.

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What a beautiful day.


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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College Creek, A Little Bit of Heaven

The view of college Creek from our friends' deck.  This is their little bit of heaven.

The view of College Creek from our friends’ deck. This is their little bit of heaven.  Do you see the Great Blue Heron standing on the pier?

Friends invited us to sit with them on their deck overlooking College Creek yesterday afternoon.

They see all sorts of beautiful creatures in the shallows of the creek behind their home.  I’ve been hearing about swans and wild turkeys, eagles, herons, turtles, and other  four leggeds who snack on their garden.

So we sat in the shade and enjoyed the breeze blowing in from the water as we visited.

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I went despite  a sting on my right hand earned earlier in the day while  trying to plant a Lantana in the wrong spot.

There was a nest of ground dwelling stinging insects right where I tried to dig.  Probably yellow jackets, there was no apparent warning before the sharp pain in my hand.  One stung, right through my gardening glove.

I’m never afraid of bees or wasps.  In fact, I kept bees for several years once upon a time.

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Always respectful of them, we generally coexist peacefully.  And would have yesterday had I known of their nest in advance.

But, I heard their buzzing after the shooting pain; and dropped my spade and skedaddled into the house to assess what had happened.

June 8, 2014 swans 008

The puncture was small, and the immediate pain mostly washed away under cold water and a poultice of baking soda, which draws out the venom.

I went out to finish what was in progress (well away from where I had been working) and to clean up.  But, unlike with most stings, this pain just kept spreading.

It has been an interesting time since. 

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Our friends gave me ice for the hand, and Merlot for the spirit.  An excellent prescription.

We had a good  visit catching up with one another, while watching swans, lizards, fishing Osprey eagles and a beautiful Great Blue Heron.

They shared their little bit of heaven with me.

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But my hand is still reacting to whatever venom chased me away from the  underground nest of stinging creatures.  It is swollen and sore.  Not much good for typing at the moment.

And Benadryl, while helping the swelling in my hand, leaves the rest of me a bit foggy. Summer here often feels like an endless succession of bites and stings.

I was happy to hear the rain this morning, which meant the entire garden was watered nicely without any participation from me.  And more is on the way.

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I hope you enjoy these photos from Sunday afternoon along College Creek.  And I hope your weekend was also spent with friends and loved ones doing the things you most enjoy.

Osprey Eagle seen yesterday on the James River

Osprey Eagle seen yesterday on the James River

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Growing Greener

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It is such a joy to notice the landscape growing greener, day by day.

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Our cold weather has lasted several weeks longer than usual.  Everything has been delayed in sending out new green leaves.

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Lawns, marshes, shrubs, trees, perennials, and ferns have all waited a bit longer than usual to begin growth for the season.

And this gardener has waited a lot longer than usual to work on renovating beds, bringing plants out of the garage, and planting summer pots and baskets.

This "volunteer" Japanese Maple has finally leafed out this week in the front of a shrub border.

This “volunteer” Japanese Maple has finally leafed out this week in the front of a shrub border.

But today was another long day setting out new plants, moving perennials, pulling weeds, and digging fresh compost into the soil.

The leaves and frozen stalks of ginger lilies, which have mulched their roots and the roots of roses growing nearby, are finally all swept away and composted.

Blackberries in bloom along the Colonial Parkway.

Blackberries in bloom along the Colonial Parkway.

I spent the afternoon moving some of the ginger lily roots to new areas where I want them to grow, and digging compost back into the bed.

I have added two new roses and some Goodwin’s Creek Lavender, some scented geraniums, and a few white sage while pulling out handfuls of Vinca which were  beginning to claim the rose bed.

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It was a blessedly cool day.  A beautiful day to work outside.  Now that new leaves are beginning to pierce the Earth around the Canna tubers a friend gave me last fall, and around the ginger lilies,  I can see what is coming up where, and plant around them accordingly.

There was really no point in trying to do much of anything until the garden decided to respond to spring with new growth.

My partner saw the first hummingbirds exploring the pots on the patio this morning.

Later, I watched bluebirds scavenging for seeds in the tops of a few Rose of Sharon shrubs which I haven’t yet pruned.

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A swallowtail butterfly flew circles around me as I was planting on hands and knees this afternoon.  We have blue tailed skinks scuttering across the windows now, and a found a painted turtle nestled under the Rosemary shrub I was pruning back to the ground.

How I hope those Rosemary shrubs, tended and grown for three seasons now, sprout some new growth from their roots.   They are still sad and brown, but I expect them to survive with a little care and a lot of patience.

There are no photos of the garden today.  I was too focused and busy to stop for photos, and my hands were a bit soil covered to handle electronics, anyway.

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But just before 5 PM, my partner appeared with that quiet insistence I’ve learned to respect.

Frozen yogurt was mentioned, along with a drive on the Colonial Parkway.  So he lured me inside, with a new slate border around the rose bed not quite completed.

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The garden cart still sits in the front yard, full of geraniums and herbs ready for action in the morning.

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I cleaned up and off we went in search of birds.

We found a pair of cardinals feeding each other while perched on a bench at our ice cream shop.

A male cardinal in a marsh along the Parkway.

A male cardinal in a marsh along the Parkway.

And all along the Parkway we found pairs of eagles, ducks and herons.

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These devoted parents and mates are keeping company all along the greening marshes and waterways  here in Williamsburg.

As the Redbud trees fade, the Dogwoods still glisten in bright white against the greening woodlands and shrub lines.

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The forests’ silhouette has filled out again, hiding the trees’ bare branches.

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Late April is always beautiful in Virginia.  This year, it is especially joyful to watch our world growing greener yet again.


All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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W P C: On Top


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A nesting pair of Osprey Eagles has built its  nest in an ancient pine tree along the Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, Virginia.

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The sculptural form of this tree always grabs my attention as we drive past.   I’ve photographed it many times in different seasons and in different light.

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We were  delighted to find the eagles and their nest today, in the top of the tree.

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Both eagles came and went as we watched, always returning with something clutched in their beak.

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Sometimes returning with a wiggling fish, other times with a branch to expand the nest.

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They are a busy young parents, on top of the world, with a hungry family to care for.


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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Weekly Photo Challenge:  On Top

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