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Skunk Cabbage

We (my wife and son Forrest) went on a hike near where we live at a place called Glen Alton Farm.  It is in Giles County near Pearisburg, VA on 635 which is where Big Stony Creek follows alongside the road.  The farm is about 13 miles from 460.  It has beautiful ponds, creeks, farmland, beaver dams, water lillies, and birds.  This picture is of the bloom of the Skunk Cabbage plant, also known as Polecat or Swamp Cabbage.  It blooms in March and almost looks like a large pitcher plant.  It is in the Arum Family and grows in swampy areas.  Another wildflower blooming was the yellow Coltsfoot which is in the Aster or Sunflower family.

A funny story about this plant is once I was hiking with my son with some Boy Scouts in the Mount Rogers Recreations Area and we were camping at the Wilson Creek Shelter on the Appalachian Trail.  A thru-hiker had come in and had eaten some Skunk Cabbage thinking he was eating Ramps (an onion like plant).  He was very sick, had diarrhea, and was vomiting with severe stomach pains.  Someone had to call the local rescue squad and they came and took him to the hospital.   The scouts stayed away from Skunk Cabbage that weekend.

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Home in Atlanta

This is a watercolor I recently finished of a home I lived in Atlanta Georgia.  This is the fourth of a series I started over the summer of 2009.  It is a collage of papers and stamps I found of my dad’s.  One is a return address envelope corner of the company that brought by family to Atlanta called Mundet Cork Corporation.  Two of the objects are protractors, one I did with watercolor and one a piece of vellum paper that indicates a packing service company.  I also drew a solar panel because my dad put one on the roof or our house.  He was an early believer in solar energy.  I also drew a view of a mechanical piping system which represents the business my dad started in Atlanta called Industrial Insulators Inc.   He had the business for over 20 years and I worked for him off and on over my teenage and college years insulating pipes and ductwork.  We worked at many Atlanta locations including The Governor’s Mansion, Georgia Pacific building, Hurt building, and the Omni.  This house was located on Stonecliff Court.

Watercolor of Atlanta Home

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Our Backyard

Ceramic Head in our backyard.

Ceramic head in our backyard.

Our first big storm of the season came on Friday.  This is a picture of our backyard and the large ceramic head Linda made in college.  It seems to be  content surrounded by the snow, already awaiting spring.

We got about 14 inches of snow.  The whole eastern seaboard was hit with this storm.  Linda had traveled to Bluefield for the day and got stranded there for one night.  She stayed at a friends house named Herb Lowe.  In fact, our car is still in Bluefield and I plan on getting it on Monday.  She borrowed Herb’s car, he has all wheel drive.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Mt. Rogers Hike

Mount Rogers Recreation Area

Mount Rogers Recreation Area

This past weekend I went on a hike with my Online Appalachian Trail class to Grayson Highlands State Park in the Mount Rogers recreation area in Southwest Virginia.  We had about 15 students come and we hiked 2 miles on Saturday and 5 miles on Sunday.  Saturday some of the students did some tree climbing with ropes with a guest tree climber named Joe.  They seemed to have fun doing that.  It got cold Saturday night and we had a nice campfire.  We stayed at the group campground in the park.  The temperature got down to 24 degrees and we woke to 2-3 inches of snow on the ground.

The park is at an elevation of 4800 feet so we were in the clouds.  Sunday’s hike started off in the fog and was a winter wonderland as seen by the photo.  A couple of times the fog lifted and we had some wondereful scenic views.  We hiked to Rhododendron Gap and when we got there it was foggy but soon it lifted for us and we could see for at least 30 miles.  The hike back was clear and sunny.

The wild ponies even came out to great us as we made it back down the Appalachian Trail.  We had a wonderful time!

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Chinese Visitors

Chinese visitors with our president David Olive

Chinese visitors with our president David Olive

We have a group of Chinese visitors on our campus.  There are 4 college students and 1 professor. The students will be here for 1 month and the professor is here for 2 months.  Today they joined our Appalachian Trail class on a hike in Bastian, Virginia on a short section of the Appalachian Trail.  It was a beautiful hike crossing Little Wolf Creek about 6 times and walking under a few tunnels of Rhododendron bushes.  In all we had 27 people on this hike.  We also saw lots of mushrooms and flowers and only got our feet a little wet.

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Mount Nittany

Graphite Draawing of Mount Nittany

Graphite Draawing of Mount Nittany

This is a graphite drawing I did in 1981 of Mount Nittany while I was in graduate school at Pennsylvania State University.   Linda and I lived in married housing and at the end of the parking lot was a large field.  This was the view from there.  In all, I did about 8 graphite drawings, 8 pastel drawings, and 6 oil paintings from this viewpoint.  The paper size is fairly large at 25 x 38 inches and all of them are different.   I remember one day it was raining so I parked my van at the edge of the field, opened the sliding door and drew this majestic mountain.

On a side note, I remember when we first moved in the apartment it was so small I felt like that cartoon where insects lived in a matchbox.  I guess seeing all those roaches running around added to that visualization.

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