Sunday, November 15, 2020

Let's be safe for one another, wear a mask

 Let's be safe for one another. 

Little hikers not bothered by face masks

Yesterday I took my mother to Ivy Creek Natural area. She expected no one to be in the park and a mask to not be needed as it was getting late in the day. She was pleasantly surprised to see many hikers and families enjoying the untypical mid-November pleasant weather. The parking lot was overflowing and masks were being worn outdoors even with a fairly wide area surrounding each family group. The message that cases across our country are dangerously spiking has gotten through.

In general, safety among residents and businesses is taken seriously in the Charlottesville area. It's very much frowned upon to not respect one another and wear a mask and keep your distance. I intentionally shop at Trader Joes because they have taken the virus seriously since day one. I was not finding the same degree of mask wearing, and cleaning protocols in the larger stores. The way to keep stores open is to wear a mask and not cause an explosion of cases which leads to a lock down.

Weather so warm, bluebird explores his nest box
I was pretty amazed to see so many masks in an open park. I've heard some complaining as to how difficult it is to get a child to wear a mask. I saw no sign of this in the park and if the adults are doing something the children tend to want to do what they are doing. It's no wonder that the Thomas Jefferson Health District that includes Charlottesville and Albemarle county in Virginia has the lowest positivity rate in the state.

When I went to China in the 1980's some citizens were wearing masks. Pollution and close quarters have taught the Chinese the value of wearing a mask. It's no big deal for them, and it's becoming no big deal for us. Honestly I'm not sure I want to ever be in close proximity to strangers without wearing a mask. May be our cold and flu season won't be as severe because of the mask wearing.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

What to see Halloween in Charlottesville Virginia, check out this Scary Creepy Halloween Display

Creep yourself out by driving past this scary Halloween Art Display just outside of Charlottesville in neighboring Free Union, Virginia. It's actually not too far from my house so it was a must see for me.

Please Mr. Postman reach in for a Halloween Treat! Know someone who gets creeped out by clowns? Might be a nice surprise.

This collection of creepy clowns is the creation of Cheryl Schultheis and family members. Apparently this is a yearly event.  I can't wait until next year.

When you get to the end of Free Union Rd, turn left and you can't miss it, on Millington Rd.

At end of Wyngate Rd off Woodlands Rd.

Driving down Woodlands Rd, there are a few tamer side shows to check out. Keep your eyes peeled.




Saturday, June 27, 2020

Annual 2020 Virginia Herpetological Society count of Amphibians and Reptiles

Turtle from Ivy Creek
Today my husband and I participated in the Virginia Herpetological Society annual count. Because of the coronavirus, the normal group teams were not organized and citizens were asked to sign up to count amphibians and reptiles for one day.

Fowler's Toad from our pool
We began our day by rescuing an American Toad and Fowler's Toad from our swimming pool. I also saw a baby toad nearby. Waking early to drive a few miles to Ivy Creek Natural Area to take a short hike down to the reservoir area. We were delighted to see several types of turtles and a lovely blue Heron as we made our way through the forest.

In the very back most remote area of Ivy Creek
After getting lost and accidentally hiking the entire length of Ivy Creek Natural Area, we finally arrived home several hours later exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. We were totally unprepared for a long hike, thinking we knew the trails we had hiked many times. Only 1/2 bottle water, no food, no sunscreen. At least we were deep in the shaded woods and had brought homemade insect repellent and hats!

Anthony said this was the money shot. The Great Blue Heron
But all ended well as we heard and saw many more creatures than expected. We didn't find any snakes, which is what I anticipated. I've only seen one painted turtle at our house in 10 years so were so was thrilled to see so many and different types of turtles, some massive.

Can you find the turtle?
We will end the day listening for frog calls from our deck as we have a pond located in our backyard at the bottom of our hill on Forsythia Hill. This time of year we heard the Gray Tree Frog around our house and hope to hear pond frogs or toads tonight.

Little Hackberry Emperior Butterfly (thanks Terri K for id)
We were fortunate to take a Toad and Frog class at Ivy Creek Natural Area many years ago which helps us identify. I go to the Virginia Herpetological Society website often to try and look up something I've heard or seen. It's a great site with calls and many photos to help you identify. Today so far we've identified 10 species.

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