SSDW – Same Stuff, Different Week

3 September, 2017            SSDW – Same Stuff, Different Week

No birthdays or triathlons this week, although I did have my second flying lesson Thursday morning (8/31) at 7:00. I’m not even officially a student yet, although I’ve scheduled lessons well into the future. I hope I can figure it out!

I‘ll take photographs connected to my flying lessons, but for now my focus is riveted on my instructor and the airplane. I’m sure when you first learned to drive a car, you were a little  nervous and a little excited and a little anxious but after you drove for a few years, you were more used to it. I suspect flying will be like that. However – this is what the airport looked when I was parked outside waiting for it to open; I took this through my car windshield:

Hanover Airport (KOFP) at 6:57 AM on Friday, 8/31/2017:

Now, of course, the “SSDW” – Red-tails and gardenias, of course. My “best” Red-tail this week (I’ve seen a lot) appeared a block away from my house Monday morning (8/28) when I was driving home from work. A large female, and she was standing on the ground looking under a bush, something I don’t often see Red-tails do. When I rolled to a stop she hopped onto a low branch and looked back and forth at the bush and at me:

Adult female Red-tailed hawk, Monday morning ~9:30, almost in sight of my house, about 6′ above the ground:

I was gratified – that hardly begins to describe it – to see (and of course smell) two gardenias blooming in our front bed Friday morning (9/1) when I left for work a few minutes after dawn. Gardenias are always a treat; it’s even better to see them (and smell them) in September. Evelyn has these plants putting up a lot of buds, some are opening up. This is this week’s “Gardenia of the Week”:

September gardenia – look at that. Feast your eyes. Thanks Ev!

Evelyn has our nasturtiums gleaming everywhere:

I think about my Mom a lot. But orange always makes me think of Dad.

I neglected to open with – but I’ll include here – something that is not “SSDW.” It was raining yesterday morning (9/2) and Evelyn and I paid our first visit (I cannot imagine why we waited so long) to the Lakeside Farmer’s Market (LFM) at 6110 Lakeside Ave. Richmond VA 23228. If you live in Richmond and you’ve already been, I’m sure you’re a regular. If you live in Richmond and haven’t been, please go – it’s a guaranteed hit. Wherever I go – to work or to the Y or to a grocery store or to a triathlon or a flying lesson or a restaurant or a park – the quality of the experience is determined as much by the people I encounter there as it is the reason my for my visit. Like a restaurant can have outstanding food, but if I find the people insufferable (or, more likely, they find me insufferable), I won’t enjoy the experience. But if the people are engaging and friendly and warm and outgoing, I’m going to have an excellent time regardless of almost any other factor. The places that have both (a great experience and great people, like Pony Pasture and the Y, etc.) are the places I treasure and visit over and over. LFM has great people and it’s a great experience – I already know I’ll be a regular. Give it a try! I could have taken a better picture, but if you know me, you’ll know why I find this appealing – maybe you’ll like it too:

The Great Bicycle Pyramid of Lakeside

Since it’s a farmer’s market, check out these watermelons and corn on the cob and grapes. We had some of that corn for dinner tonight:

Think that looks spectacular? It does. But you should taste it! OMG

These grapes were just begging to be photographed: 

Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

This morning when Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I went to Pony Pasture, the weather was the nicest it’s been since April. There is no such thing as an unenjoyable visit to Pony Pasture, but weather like today’s makes it even better than usual – though I admit that’s hard to imagine:

Just like the seasons – every day is different, every day is perfect.

No shortage of insects today either – but we’ll see less of them as the days shorten and cool. In mid-June, the sun was above the horizon each day for nearly fifteen hours. Today it was above the horizon for less than thirteen hours, and that downward trend will continue for more than three months. A great reason to enjoy today! As if we needed one! Here’s a damselfly on the riverbank this morning:

Damselfly takes the morning sun on the riverbank

Insects and flowers go together – neither are fond of the shortening, cooling days, and it won’t be long before they’ve vanished for the year. But they’re still on bright display – limited time only! They look different when you can smell the fresh morning air, but this is a reasonable approximation:

Delicate and graceful

Delicate and graceful too, but with a passenger who makes me happy for a long lens

The pawpaws continue in full swing – the fallen fruits will squish under your feet if you walk in certain spots – but their time is drawing to a close. For 2017. The seasons at Pony Pasture are just like the river – they never stop changing and they’re always perfect. Pawpaw leaves are huge and there are hundreds of trees at the river and they keep a lot of sunlight from reaching the ground. They’ll begin to fall in a month or two and the forest and the river bank will get brighter every day. This won’t be the last pawpaw I see in 2017 (I hope) but they’re slowing down:

A ripe pawpaw near the river’s edge in early September

Mackey and Turner and Yuki are as enthusiastic – often more enthusiastic – as I am about everything and everybody we encounter at the river. I missed taking a picture of the boys when they were in better light, but this is a fun image. You can barely even see Mackey and Turner, they fade into the background so much behind Yuki’s glow. But see Mackey there on the left, the last dog? His mouth is open and his tongue is out. He was being a silly boy. I think Turner (center) was looking at a squirrel. His gaze takes on a faint but unmistakable tinge of obsessiveness when it finds a squirrel:

Three handsome boys (but two are hard to see!)

Have a great week! All best,


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 Birds, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, Gardenias, Insects, James River, koans, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s