You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Regular checks on the incremental greening at the Augusta Springs Wetlands
We've been galumphing round this wetland nearly weekly all winter -- it's had its own kind of seasonal attractions, but it was very bleak.
So, logged in at 12:54 p.m., 11 April 2022, the Augusta Springs Wetlands are well on their way to greenness.
Not the forests roundabout, unfortunately
Emily and Kristin lead the way up the 'Uplands Trail' and now off onto the 'crossover trail'.
Extremely ungreen. Are these slower-greening trees, or just all dead?
Most of the healthy vegetation we're seeing here appears to be parasitical.
The crossing of the Very Small River between the up and down sections of the Uplands Trail
The Augusta Springs Uplands Trail is virtually festooned with ex-cars of a certain vintage.
This one is one of our favorites.
We've been over the 'crossover trail' and wended a little ways up what we consider the 'down' section of the Uplands Trail. Kristin is pointing out the fairly steep path up onto the ridge that is, according to AllTrails, considered to be walked preferably down than up.
Continuing back out the down section of the Uplands Trail, and . . .
. . . back to the wetland loop, where we will sit quietly for a little while, sunning ourselves and progressing in our books.
A wetland photograph
Choupette in a mood
Choupette can often be extremely insistent.
Kristin's decorations in the hall outside our flat, something to do with Easter, probably, and a Mexican artform or something; made with paper, it seems.
Everyone who's transitioned from a fading old laptop to a shiny new one knows what a nightmare that can be, but a new one with Windows 11, with all of its unwelcome improvements, writes a whole new chapter of woe.
Winter's back, briefly
Our search for a proper springtime has taken a big step backward. It's 18 April, after all. In the South!
Even our 'Old Y' building looks cold and unhappy.
But we fans of snow will have to hurry out and speed around town -- this will likely all be gone in a few hours.
See? The snow was a teaser, and we've just stopped in to the Saturday Farmers' Market, 23 April, to admire all the healthy goods on display.
Staunton has a varied population, and there are plenty of forward-thinking citizens here who will appreciate a rollicking good Earth Day. And others who've never heard of it. Diversity is always good!
Twenty years of writing press and news releases about invasive species, but this, to be honest, is a new one for our list.
Nice red dogwood trees brightening up the back end of the city hall and police station
Back for a greener wetland
24 April, and the greenness appears to be progressing fairly well.
Even these 800-year-old monsters are trying to participate. The Augusta Springs Wetlands are probably doing their best.
High waters in the swamp
A distinctly ungreen tree; give it another week.
That looks like a quiet pool in the photo, but it's actually a wide sheet of water racing past all along its length.
A splash of color . . . against a nearly barren hillside
We've brought our books and iced water bottles and intend to pass a few quiet chapters in La Nature.
A tree that has passed its prime
There's one of our reading benches. There are only two here with backs on them, and we move with the sun and shadows.
We've been noticing that there's been a helicopter buzzing all round us overhead.
We choose to ignore the buzzing helicopter, and admire all the dismal swampiness.
However, before we got through half a chapter, a couple passed by and remarked that the forest up the mountain a little ways, apparently about where our usual Uplands Trails crosses over the ridge, is producing a large plume of smoke over the countryside.
No fools we, it's time to move a little closer to the carpark. Large plumes of smoke above a tinderbox forest of mostly dead trees and fallen branches cannot be a good thing.
Something's definitely amiss up there.
That's just over our Uplands Trail, one would have thought.
And apparently coming this way.
Exercising the Better Part of Valor, we proceeding northward up the Little Calf Pasture Highway towards Buffalo Gap, and the maleficent plumes of smoke appear to be following us.
Apropos, here's a unassuming former residence on the outskirts of Buffalo Gap that qualified for fire insurance payouts a few months ago.
We continued north towards Churchville to see whether the horrible forest fire was still pursuing us, but it was not.
In fact, we subsequently heard that it was a 'controlled burn' -- the forest adjacent to the Augusta wetlands is the training area of the Hotshots, 'a venerable elite organization of forest firefighting crews, operated by the Forest Service with the Bureaux of Indian Affairs and of Land Management, and the National Park Service'. Maybe they were behind it all.
So we were probably pretty safe.
Melvin has settled into what is usually Choupette's saucer, waiting for Season 8 of Endeavour to appear on the screen.
To Melvin's irritation, we've chosen to remind ourselves of Season 7 before settling down to see whatever Season 8 will bestow upon us.
The mezzanine in the evening
Watching HVAC burglars in the very act