Lots of plants, a few animals, a Special Delivery from Amazon:

I got a package from Amazon a day or two ago; imagine my surprise and delight when I opened it and found this handsome boy inside:

Special Delivery

Perhaps it was sent to the wrong address but I’m not sending him back!

Later that day Alex asked if she could bring Sinatra (a.k.a. “Old Blue Eyes”) home from work. I trust her judgment; Alex knows great pets. Look at this handsome guy!:

"Old Blue Eyes"

The lilacs are blooming extravagantly in the yard. These pictures are not too bad. But if you’ve ever smelled a big, lush lilac, you know something as mundane as a photograph leaves a great deal to be desired. This is one of my big white ones. This is also a day or two before full, glorious bloom. I’ll post one later in its full majesty:

White lilac

This is (forgive my stating the obvious) a purple lilac. They’re in a little more sun than my white ones so they’re farther along. I don’t love this shot either; I may put up another one in a future post:

Purple lilac

My dogwoods are a little shaky, but they’re always nice to see as Easter draws near. When it comes to understated, elegant beauty, dogwoods have few rivals:


Another spring favorite is a redbud (Cercis canadensis). I took this picture last week at Pony Pasture. I wish I’d done this lovely tree more justice. I’ll put up a better one in a future post. One fun thing about redbuds is you can eat those pink flowers right off the branch. They don’t have much more flavor than iceberg lettuce. And they’ve probably got about ten calories per pound. But it’s cool to be able to eat them. I think it’s about as organic as you can get. There’s nothing like this at Whole Foods or Fresh Market or Martin’s. No packaging, no shipping, no advertising. See food. You see it, you eat it. Of course if everyone did this there would be no redbuds left, so perhaps they are better appreciated with the eyes than with the tastebuds or the stomach.

Years ago – every year from 1995 until last spring, in fact – Ivory and whatever other dogs I had would camp on the Appalachian Trail west and a little south of Charlottesville. We did it in the snow a number of times. And in the rain more times than I care to recall. But in April the redbuds always bloom on the trail. I’d grab big handfuls off the trees and gobble them up as we hiked along. If I live to be a hundred I’ll always think about camping on the Appalachian Trail with my pals every time I see a redbud.


Speaking of my buddies and hiking, a kind fellow hiker snapped this picture of the four of us at Pony Pasture Sunday morning. Notice Ivory up there in the left hand corner? He’s tired of posing. He came to hike. Max has some strange swelling on the right side of his chest. My excellent veterinarians [Springfield Veterinary Center] cleaned it up and he’s on antibiotics while we wait for it to clear up. It’s my distinct sense it causes me a great deal more anxiety than it causes him.

Pony Pasture hike (again!)

Also earlier this week I planted two cherry tomatoes (my sister calls them “garden candy”) and two big tomatoes. Plus a cantaloupe and a pumpkin. I’ll get some pictures up when they (hopefully) bear fruit. I’m also going to get a few sunflowers in. And we’ve got basil and of course mint. I started some lavender from seeds in mid-February. They’re struggling a little but a few of them look good. I’ll keep them indoors until they really assert themselves. If they haven’t begun to thrive by early or mid-May, I’ll just go up to Southern States and buy some already growing in a pot.

Has everyone heard of this simple and knee-buckling-ly delicious summer salad? Four ingredients? Slices of fresh tomato, whole fresh basil leaves, slices of mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar. In July, when it’s sunny and sweltering and humid. The weather that humans loathe and tomatoes love. Leave a ceramic bowl in your refrigerator. And some fresh mozzarella. Take the bowl out and slice some of the mozzarella into it. Pick a few of your tomatoes and a few leaves of basil and rinse the dust off. Slice the tomatoes and put them in the bowl with the cold mozzarella while the tomatoes are still warm. Throw a few basil leaves on top. Pour some balsamic vinegar on top. Sit on your front steps in the sun and be okay with a little sweat on your forehead while you savor that treasure one astonishing bite at a time. The worn out expression “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” will not be on your mind. Nothing will be on your mind but the flavor. I wish this hadn’t come to mind. I don’t know how I’m going to wait three months to experience this. But the anticipation will only make it better.

I’ve been slow getting this post up. I’ll do another one soon. I always enjoy this so much. Maybe I’ll do a pure chocolate post some time. Wow. Maybe I’ll start the research right away. Anyway, something to consider. Have a great day,


White lilac 2

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, People, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lots of plants, a few animals, a Special Delivery from Amazon:

  1. Grace says:

    There is NOTHING better to eat in this world than homegrown tomatoes in the summertime. Not even delicious chocolate. 😉

  2. Right now, since “all I have” is chocolate, I settle for that. It’s a struggle, but I’m tough. When those tomatoes turn red out there and you rinse the dust off and eat them while they’re still warm, whoa. I need to stop thinking about that. I think I’ll go eat about a pound of chocolate.

  3. Pingback: I dress to match Evelyn’s flowers:  | NEWFAZE

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