In order to catch a glimpse of the Eclipse of the Sun within the band of Totality, many will be traveling with anticipation this weekend. I am fortunate to have relatives along the optimal viewing line, which makes the adventure even more enjoyable and interesting.
The Blue Ridge Mountains in West Virginia were gorgeous, layer upon layer of blue rolling peaks. Black Angus cows grazed in green hollows and valleys. Turkey vultures soared overhead. Memories of my 6 months in the wilds along the Appalachian Trail in 1980 came flooding back. Sometimes I really miss the woods, the mountain views, but it wasn't all fun and lofty vistas.
Traffic wasn't too bad except in the areas of highway construction. It was good to have started out a day earlier than originally planned instead of waiting for the weekend.
The heat did not seem oppressive until I reached North Carolina. And if I thought that was unbearable, it was even hotter in South Carolina, with a heat index of 105 on one of the days. When considering a meal at a buffet chain I was advised to try the "baby back ribs," which I never quite found. It must be a local favorite. (Should I admit to getting side-tracked by the dessert bar? Um....)
Other highlights included a stroll through an "outdoor flea market" with many vendors in long open buildings. One booth featured hand-made soaps, some were the size of building bricks. That's a lot of cleaning power! I was side-tracked at the rocks shop: polished semi-precious stones, geodes, crystals, and- FOSSILS!!!
A relative has raised several breeds of beautiful chickens: Buff, a caramel brown; black and white Speckled, and coppery Rhode Island reds. They like to eat fallen tomatoes from the garden.
One of the hens has been sitting on at least 15 eggs, brown, tan and white, not all her own. She is the only good "brooder" of the group. As the other hens lay their contributions in her nest, she has naturally assumed the responsibility. Yesterday two chicks appeared from underneath her fluffed-out feathers. Today there were six.
It amazed me to learn that, while a hen is laying many eggs, all of the eggs wait until she settles down to keep them warm, Then they all begin to develop at the same time so that the chicks will be hatched within 12 hours of each other. That way there are no scrawny chicks to be picked on by the older ones. To raise "tame" chickens, they have to be handled while young. I got to hold a new chick and it snuggled down into my hands for a nap. Sweet! (Pictures to follow)
The bugs here are so loud, they sound like someone is running a bandsaw. (Locusts?)
Stay tuned for more tales, all true...