hours on Beverly Street
Thursday, August 18 2011
location: Creekside doublewide, Stingy Hollow Road, five miles south of Staunton, rural Augusta County, Virginia
On a walk this morning with the three dogs, we encountered a pair of copulating Box Tortoises in the trail. Eleanor, who has been known to freak out at the sight of roots having a snakelike appearance, did a doubletake and steered past them with a good four feet of distance. (Box tortoises are rare in the ecological desert of our forest back home in the foothills of the Catskills, though I did recently see a small one in our yard.) I thought the tortoises might get trampled by the horses if they stayed in the trail, so I tried to pick them up. But they were still stuck together like mating dogs, which made moving them more logistically complicated. So I left them where they were.
We encounted a large family group of turkeys at the top of Muellers' Mountain. They spread out in front of us, though we kept re-encountering them because they kept hiding further down the trail and seemed reluctant to fly. So turned around it went home so as not to disturb them further.
Today, after an uneventful visit with my father, Gretchen and I caught up with the cybersphere at Coffee on the Corner, the coffee shop I mostly patronized back in April and a year ago. We sat outside, and at some point Gretchen read an email from her father strongly encouraging her to attend a birthday lunch on Saturday for a family friend who was turning either 87 or 88. We thought about it and decided we could actually do it; we'd had plans of breaking the trip back to Hurley into two legs anyway, so a stop in Silver Spring actually made a certain amount of sense.
When visiting Staunton, one could do worse than killing large parts of a typical afternoon at the restaurants along Beverly Street. It's a beautiful city with a tacky veneer imprisoned in a backwards hayseed political context, but somehow its downtown has managed to develop a reasonable café culture. At Café on the Corner, they stock a number of beers in addition to their coffee options, so this afternoon, I decided to sample one. We had to relocate to the back beergarden for me to drink it, and it wasn't actually all that good (it was an unremarkable IPA with an actual Indian name), plus the WiFi was kind of sketchy after having to travel through so much masonry. So we eventually relocated to Baja Bean, where I got another delicious Union Jack IPA and we ordered a plate of jalapeño fries. Heaven!
Back home, it was my job to cook dinner, so I made a pot of beans with whatever vegetables I could find (including spinach) and then made burritos for Gretchen, my mother Hoagie, and my brother Don.
Sally on this morning's walk.
Sally, this time in the old corn field atop Muellers' Mountain. She's 16 years old yet she just scaled a 120 foot-tall "mountain."
Gretchen and Sally in the old corn field atop Muellers' Mountain.
Gretchen on the the logging road above the swamp.
My mother's horse training ring, also visible from space.
Gretchen with Eleanor (left) and Sally in Folly Mills Creek after our walk this morning.
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