Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


9 Comments

Devil’s Den, Fancy Gap, Va.

Last weekend, Chris and I decided to walk at Devil’s Den, a nature preserve in Fancy Gap, Va.

Chris had heard that warm weather grasses and flowers had been planted and was attracting a lot of butterflies. With camera in tow, we set out.

We saw black-eyed susans, purple monarda, milkweed, cone flowers and Queen Anne’s lace. Here’s some scenery shots and close-ups. I’ll spare you the many, many landscape shots I took: (All photos by E.A. Seagraves. Do not use without permission.)

My hubby and puppy. Do you see the storm clouds behind them?

Queen Anne’s lace

Milkweed

Black-eyed susans

We saw lots of yellow tiger swallowtails, red-spotted purples, buckeyes and black swallowtails.

Buckeye

Yellow tiger swallowtail on milkweed

Black butterfly on mondara

Yellow tiger swallowtail on a cone flower.

More black butterflies on mondara.

We also saw a couple of indigo buntings. It was an awesome nature viewing day.

We pulled into the preserve right after a storm was going down the mountain. We walked around about an 1 1/2 hours, taking pictures of the meadow and walking down the 0.43 mile trail to the cave, which gives the preserve its name.

The trail to the cave is pretty steep so it’s not for those who do not want to or cannot climb rocks and tree limbs.

The cave

As we walked back up the mountain side from the cave, mist started rising from the valley below. The valley must have gotten a good, cooling rain after the hot weather we’ve had. By the time we left, the preserve was covered in a thick fog.


Photos from New River Trail — Byllesby and Buck Dams

Before Chris had to cover the Hillsville 4th of July parade for The Gazette, we took a walk on the New River Trail State Park at Byllesby and Buck Dams. Here’s some photos I took during the walk

Chris sitting on a boat launch, waiting to snap photos of dragonflies
(Photos by E.A. Seagraves/Please do not use without permission)

Some type of pea

A honeybee on a pea blossom

I believe this is some type of yarrow

The New River

Blackberries

A fritillary butterfly on a bergamot, or something like that.

And here are some shots taken as I tried to be “creative.”

Buck Dam

A structure found at Buck Dam beside the New River Trail

Another shot of Buck Dam

Pine cones, obviously

Oh, look! More pine cones!

And, because I’m so proud, check out Chris’ dragonfly photos from the same walk. He has snapped thousands of butterfly and flower photos and he’s now branching out to include dragonflies and damselflies.

You can tell the difference between dragonflies and damselflies when they land. Dragonflies don’t fold up their wings; damselflies do.

I believe there are all dragonflies: (Photos by Christopher Brooke/Please do not use without permission)


Trips ahead

In the coming weeks, Chris and I will head south for a pre-anniversary get away. Our anniversary isn’t until April 26, but we’re heading to Florida the end of this month. It should still be cool(er) in Florida then.

On our list of must dos: Everglades, Salvador Dali Museum and Butterfly World. None of those selections should be a surprise to anyone. We love state and national parks, I am a big Dali fan and we both love butterflies, although Chris is the one you’ll find chasing the winged beauties with a camera. I swear he has thousands of butterfly photos on our Mac.

A coworker also suggested the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Houses in Fort Myers and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. If we have time and make it out that way, we’ll investigate.

Chris also has two cousins in Florida we hope to visit. So far we haven’t heard back from them. One lives near Tampa and the other near Miami.

To make traveling easier, we’re going to stop in Savannah, Ga., on the way down and back. So far we haven’t made any plans for this city. We’re planning on getting lost and exploring all we can with the little time we’ll have to spend there.

Sidney, unfortunately, won’t get to come along. She’ll hang out with her grandparents in North Carolina. Hopefully she’ll get along with their new puppy and share her water bowl and food dish if the puppy wants to stick her snout in.

I plan to take plenty of pictures and will share some of our adventures with you. If anyone has any suggestions of places to check out, let me know by posting a comment below or sending an email here.


Angry Chicken’s emailorder and flowers

It’s finally here! Amy Karol of Angry Chicken has posted eMailorder #11 — Potions and Concoctions — and it’s ready for downloading.

Amy had asked her blog readers if we wanted a compilation of all her various homemade remedies and goodies. I’ve been looking forward to it for a bit now, especially the lip balm, deodorant and the shampoo recipes.

In Amy’s description, here’s what you can find in this new download: Mullein Oil, Shampoo and Detangler, Facial Oil, Eye Compress, Herbal Toner, Vapor Rub, Facial Cleanser, Bugs Don’t Like Me Balm, Favorite Tea, Hair Spray, Lip Balm, Baby Bottom Spray, Plantain Poultice for Stings, Magic Tooth Cleaning Solution, Deodorant, and Elderflower Cough Syrup

I’ll report back as I give ’em a try.

You can find the eMailorder here. You can buy it using PayPal.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Also, check out this crocheted magnet Nannie made me. My grandma is one of the crafty ladies that retaught me how to crochet when I picked up the hook again a couple years ago.

Ain’t it cute? Spring’s on the way, folks!

I may make my own copy and post the pattern here for y’all so you can make your own.

Nannie created this cutie using one a friend gave her many years ago as a copy. Her flower magnet has been on her frig for years and she thought she’d copy it and give some away.


More info on Beaver Dam Trail


A friend wrote and asked for more details about the Beaver Dam Trail, Hillsville, Va. This is the trail that Chris, Sidney and I frequent the most as it is in the middle of town.

The trail is about 2 miles long and runs from Beaver Dam Road to behind the Carroll County Governmental Complex on Pine Street. You can also continue your walk across Pine Street to stroll along Main Street and visit the downtown merchants.
Beginning at the Beaver Dam Road end of the trail, there is ample parking across the road from the trail head. The trail is mulch, so not that great for wheeled transportation such as bikes and wheelchairs.

The trail, unlike the other end of the trail which I’ll discuss next, is level and makes for a nice stroll along side the Beam Dam Creek, horse pastures and wooded lots.

If you are a nature lover, there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and plants. As mentioned in a previous post, Chris and I have spotted several type

s of birds, butterflies and plants. There have also been many sightings of deer, turkey and groundhogs. One Carroll County resident has also claimed he spotted a black bear a couple of years ago.

Among Chris and my favorite bird sights are king fishers, cedar waxwings, scarlet tanagers and blue herons.
There is an a

bundance of fritillary butterflies along the trail as well as whites and blues. Last summer was a wonderful year for yellow Eastern swallowtail. Once crossing one of the several red metal bridges that hang over the creek, we were surprised to see a knot of these yellow and black winged insects mudding, or soaking up nutrients, from the creek bank. You should have seen the butterflies fluttering around and crawling over each other. It was just beautiful!
Here is a picture of these butterflies mudding at a different location in the area earlier this year:
Plants include may apples, cardinal flowers, flame azaleas with gorgeous or
ange blooms, joe pye weed, rhododendron, sassafras trees (Chris’ favorite), ever
greens, cucumber trees and jewel weed.
Here is a picture of a flame azalea taken  earlier this year: 
After about a mile, the trail traverses the Hillsville Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Department’s shooting range and former Hillsville Sewer Plant property. The old holding tanks for sewage are still standing and now serve as staging grounds for straw used by the town.
Curving around this open area, the trail then becomes gravel and steep. It curves up and around Magnolia, a manufacturing facility. The trail is closed off from the plant and a horse pasture with chain link fences.

Not much wildlife save for the horses, birds and pine trees in this area. But there is a bench at the top of the first hill to rest and catch your breath before climbing the next hill.

The next stop and over the second hill, you’ll find yourself behind the Carroll County Wellness Center, the town’s local gym. The trail winds around the edge of the parking lot and once again becomes paved. It headsup a grassy hill overlooking the wellness center and heads toward what’s known as the Carter Pines, a stand of trees that was planted in the 1930s, and the Carter Pines Community Park, which is basically a picnic shelter and a granite Community Honor Wall.

Cutting through the stand of white pines, walkers can see a 1924 hydraulic water ram system (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and undergrowth that provides perfect shelter for birds. Alongside the water ram is a newly constructed deck for bird watchers to catch a glimpse of various winged creatures.

The trail begins a steep climb after leaving the Carter Pines. There’s a wet land area on the left and many blackberries and devil’s walk stick plants along the path. The trail comes to the back parking lot of the county governmental center and circles around to the left of the building and ends on the other side of Pine Street.


1 Comment

Beaver Dam Trail and New River Trail at Pulaski

Hubby Chris, pup Sidney and I usually take our daily walk along the Beaver Dam Trail off of Beaver Dam Road, Hillsville, Va. A joint project of the town and Carroll County, the trail is a little over 2 miles long.

The town’s portion runs from Beaver Dam Road along the banks of the Beaver Dam Creek, woods and a couple of horse pastures. We frequently see wildlife, such as turkey, deer, groundhog, butterflies and birds. Among our favorite birds that visit the trail are king fishers, blue heron and cedar waxwings. Here is a swallowtail we saw today:

There’s also an abundant of flowers to enjoy, such as this cardinal flower I took earlier today:

You can also find lamb’s ear, may apples, jewel weed, joe pye weed and flame azalea among the many flora in the area.

But sometimes we all need a change of scenery, so we’ve been exploring areas we haven’t been to before or haven’t visited in awhile.

Among those have been the Pulaski end of the New River Trail State Park in Pulaski, Va., and Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The New River Trail is 39 miles and runs from Fries, Va., to Pulaski. There’s also a trail extension that runs to Galax, Va. visitors can bike, hike or ride horses on this trail that runs along the New River. It’s built on a former railroad track bed.

Historic Bethabara Park is a National Historic Landmark and is the 1753 site of Moravians, a German-speaking, Protestant settlement. The park offers 183-acres of wildlife preserve with 26 species of birds. Besides the 20 miles of trails, museum, reconstructed village, archaelogical ruins visitors can explore, the park offers a varieties of activities like yesterday’s Apple Festival.