After getting my first daylight look at the little corner of Virginia that my Uncle and Aunt live in, we returned home, and I went out to roam the property alone. ( Latecommers: The adventure begins here.)
I walked down my Uncle's private dirt road, and the first two pictures, in this post, show what it's like, and just how far from the main road he lives. It had rained, often hard, that morning, but had stopped by 5pm, however the temperature was in the 30's, and a brisk wind had been blowing for an hour, howling through the trees of the forest all around me.
I found an old wood post to set my camera up for one shot, using my small mini-tripod with its flexable legs tightly gripping the post.
My Uncle and Aunts have several Dogs, and Cats, and even a bird, and when I returned to the house I set about taking pictures.
Through out my journey I took pictures of not just the pets, but wild animals in their natural environment.
Nikita took on the responsibility of sharing those pics, and writing about them, and you can check out his report on the birds, and squirrel, outside the window, Lucky The Cockateal, and the Dogs who live in a pen, his report about the family Dogs who live indoors, including Samantha the Rottweiler, and meet the 4 family Cats, which he wrote about when he hosted the Carnival of the Cats.
What was special for me was reacquainting myself with Poco, the 8 yr. old Chihuahua, gray of face these days, but just as playful as I remembered him, and Samantha, the Rottie with the Heart of Gold, and the brains of, well, um, let's just say that this gal is SMART! (Yodeling, and playing dead, are just her most favorite tricks!) ;-D
Sam is actually the 2nd Rott that the family Cats have raised from birth, and while the cats are far too old to romp and play with these days, she loves them all the same.
In the past, people unfamiliar with the animals would freak out when they saw them chasing, and wrassling, around the house, and Sam never hurt a hair on the little kitties heads. ;-D
My Uncle says that when raised, and trained right, this breed is the best, and most loyal, that there is.
My bedroom during my stay, by the way, was shared with the little Dogs. ;-D
After the pictures we settled down to a hearty dinner of ribs, corn on the cob, bean, and macaroni salad, then settled down to watch TV for a few hours, before calling it a night.
Before heading to bed my Aunt has one more set of chores to do, though...
Take the 4 indoor Dogs out for one last, um, Constitutional. ;-D
It's 29 degrees, and the wind is howling through the forest...
It's a sound unlike any I've heard from the big winds in Southern California.
By watching the lake, day, or night, when it rains, you can actually detect the direction that the wind is blowing by the way the rain moves on the water, including if the drafts move in circles, and it is very cool to watch.
What is even cooler, at night, is what I witnessed on this one: A clear sky, after a day of rain...
A clear sky, without the interference of city lights, so clear you could see all the stars, and pick out the constelations.
To stand in this yard in the dark, the wind howling all around me, the baby bullfrogs chirping almost like birds around the lake, and staring up into the night sky at the Big, and Little, Dippers, and all the other stars, was a truly awesome experience that I will never forget.
March, 9, 2008
The clocks were moved ahead and we all got a good 7 hours sleep as the temperature reached as low as 26 degrees, by early morning, and the sky is clear by dawn.
Awake, and perky, as we get ready to eat breakfast, the Suday Go-to-Meeting Crowd slowly begins to gather at the newly stocked Bird feeder outside, and a Squirrel is driven up a nearby wall by all this idealic country living.
As I watch, the small bird in the feeder turns, leaps off the feeder, and gracefully hauls ass, at low altitude, across the lake to a tree on the other side.
Finally, the Squirrel takes his turn in the feeder, as the birds spread out on the ground, and two otehr Squirrels make an appearance on two nearby trees.
After breakfast, and taking the Dogs out, we head out, along Highways 15, 122, and 460, for the Bedford, Thaxton, and Buchanan area, about 40 miles away, to visit one cousin not seen in a decade, and an Aunt, and 2 other cousins unseen since 1971, when I was 11 years old, and the cousins were in Middle, and High School.
My Uncle had 5 kids with wife #1, between 1956 and 1962, and they divorced in 1973.
My Uncle then thad a brief 2nd marriage, lasting 2 years, in which there were 2 more kids.
He then met wife #3, my wonderful Aunt Eileen, in 1975, and they have been happily hitched together since 1977.
Over the years the first two wives led new lives, and the kids spent time between their respective parents before becoming adults, and building their own lives.
Life works in mysterious ways, they say.
Over the years, at times, my Uncles relationship with his kids has been comples, shall we say, with lots of ups, and downs, but as everyone got older, and his kids had their own kids, a funny things happened as the 80's gave way to the 90's, and the new century:
Everyone started talking to each other, pictures were shared, visits made, "issues" talked about, and relationships began to re-develope, including one between my Uncle, and his 1st wife, and between her, and his 3rd wife.
Older makes wiser, they say, and the shared memories of good times, the shared blood, children, and grandchildren, led my Uncle and Aunt to move back to Virginia to be close to his family in their retirement.
I so looked forward to this reunion, and thought I knew how I would react, but I was wrong...
First, however, we had to get there...
That is where this advernture will begin in Chapter 5. ;-D