We got back from our trip yesterday evening, and I must say, it is good to be home again. We will use today to recover from the trip, and there is plenty of recovery needed! This trip was pretty hard on our equipment. Not only did my camera finally give up the ghost, but the motherboard in Va’s laptop bit the dust too. Because of that, we had to share my laptop, which is why I didn’t do a lot of blogging during the trip. I need to get her a new computer. Our washing machine spins only when it feels like it, so I need to look into that as well. Hopefully it will feel like it today so we can get some much needed laundry done.

But all of that is boring stuff that. Let’s take a look at the photographic haul from the trip.

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)


This is Virginia buttonweed. It does not grow in New Hampshire, so the only time I ever see it is when we travel to the South. With the heat wave, it was not easy to find any open blossoms, but I did find a few. Here’s another.
Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana)


This one seems to have caught the morning dew.

We set out for home Sunday morning, and mad our way through Tennessee. Va likes to stop at an outlet mall in Crossville. I stayed outside with Penny so she could get some exercise, which is when I saw this killdeer.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


This one is in the middle of its “broken wing act,” a ruse it employs to distract a predator from its nest. I was not fooled, and Penny didn’t even notice (there were sticks to be chased!)

As we travelled, we saw plenty of electric utility trucks headed into Virginia. There was a convoy of about a hundred of them from Mississippi, and among them was this gigantic truck with Mexican plates.

Behemoth Spark Plugs

Behemoth Spark Plugs


Presumably, they were on their way to help restore power to the 3 million or so who lost it during the derecho that swept through the area.

So now we all know a new word.

We were worried that we’d have a hard time finding a place to buy gas, and that the combination of heat wave, power outage, and utility worker influx would make it hard to find a hotel. We usually just show up with a coupon book, but this time we called ahead. I’m glad we did too, because when we checked in in Wythville, VA, they were full. Breakfast was a mad house, but the scenery was not bad at all.

Hayfield in Wythville, VA

Hayfield in Wythville, VA


I especially like the lack of camera sensor dust in this photo.😉

I also found a plant I had never seen before, but thought I knew what it was.

Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria)

Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria)


Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) is very similar to Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). I had read about it in the past, but had never seen it until Monday. I just now looked it up and compared it to my photos, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve got here. According to the USDA, it grows in NH, but I have never seen it here. I guess I should count myself lucky, as it is an invasive alien and has been declared a noxious weed by the state of Colorado.

After breakfast and repacking, we headed to Mt Crawford, VA so we could go to the Green Valley Book Fair. This is the highlight of the trip for Va. They have a huge warehouse full of books (mostly remainders) that they sell for 50-90% off. We bought about three dozen. I was hoping to pick up about a dozen copies of a field guide for the Pathfinders, but they didn’t have any that would be good for teaching an honor. I could have settled for ferns, edible wild plants, wild flowers, reptiles, or just about anything. But all they had was flowers in the western US, mammals (don’t really need a field guide for that), and one on the atmosphere. Maybe next time.

Next stop was in Pine Grove, PA where we spent the night. They have rabbits.

Rabbit

Rabbit


We’ve stayed at this place before, and they always have about half a dozen rabbits in the hotel yard. They were very concerned about Penny, but Penny was interested in sticks (so they were safe). I think the new camera takes better zoom shots than the old one. There’s still some noise in the photo, but not as much as with the 110.

We wended our way northward to NY, then to VT. We drove through Wilmington, VT and I stopped so we could see the park the Pathfinders worked on back in September after Irene rolled through. What a difference!

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT - After

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT – After


If you don’t remember, here’s what it looked like in September when we mucked it out.
Municipal park in Wilmington, VT - Before

Municipal park in Wilmington, VT – Before


Can you see the difference? I thought you could!

We finally rolled into our driveway around 7:30pm. I unloaded the trunk, but that was about it. I was too tired to do much of anything else. Sitting on your duff for three days straight takes it out of you!