26 Apr 2007


Blooming outside my gym.

24 Apr 2007

Washington DC , 5-8 April

We started our drive from C'lotte to DC around seven at night and it was past midnight by the time we settled into our hotel. We managed to do a lot of things the next day which was a Friday, despite the really cold weather! It even snowed the next day! We used the wonderful public transport system of DC (Metro) to travel.

List of things we did on Friday: Day 1

White House
Washington Monument
WWII Memorial
Vietnam war memorial
Lincoln memorial
Korean War memorial
Walk around the Tidal Basin enjoying the last of the Cherry Blossoms
Roosevelt memorial
Thomas Jefferson memorial
Chinatown - Chinese food (don't forget the lemon chicken!)
Capitol Hill
Arlington national cemetery
Iwo Jima Memorial

List of things we did on Saturday: Day 2

National Zoo (most animals had taken a cold day off!)
FBI Building
Navy Memorial
Supreme Court
Ethiopian lunch
Union Station
Longest escalator in the western hemisphere (Wheaton station)

Day 3

Checked out of the hotel and went to meet my friend K in her home.
We were meeting after four years and it felt wonderful to spend time with her family!

21 Apr 2007

More Phlox

While I'm on the subject of Phlox, thought I'd post two more pictures taken last year. I know these flowers belong to the genus Phlox, but I don't know what kind they are. I found both in the woods of NC in fall.

18 Apr 2007

Flower Fest - P for Phlox subulata

swallowtail butterfly feasts on the nectar

Phlox subulata is a low growing plant with tiny needle like leaves that stay green throughout the year. In spring, during the bloom period, the flowers take over and form a spectacular colorful carpet.

creeping all over the slope

It spreads wild if allowed space, thus earning the name creeping phlox. The plant comes in a few different colors and when planted next to each other it makes an attractive sight. They are native to the eastern United States.
I found it planted on a slope near a State Park on one of my Saturday morning hikes.

This is my entry for P at Flower Fest - The A - Z of Flowers

Tags: Flower Fest

16 Apr 2007

Backyard Birds

Some pictures of birds that visit my feeder regularly. All photos taken through the glass of the window in the living room, after a round of window cleaning!

Female Cardinal

Mourning Dove

Baby House Finch

Male House Finch

Female House Finch

There are many other birds that come, but I have not been very successful in capturing them on camera. Plus the windows are usually dusty from the outside, which results in unclear pictures!

13 Apr 2007

Tulips from the Tulip Library

Tulips of all shapes, sizes and colors - all found in one location. Photographed in the Tulip Library in Washington, DC maintained by the National Park Service.

12 Apr 2007

A Rattling Experience

Hiking in the deep woods has its share of dangers. I had a royal scare while hiking in the woods of NC last fall. It is still a surprise to me as to how I could have missed it. By inches. It was not just me; two other friends missed it too. We became aware of it only when the fourth person in the group managed to whisper in fear.

It was a huge long snake spread out on the side of the narrow hiking path. I was closest to it, maybe just a step or even half a step away from stepping on its rattler. I have had many encounters with these creepy crawlies before but this one really sends chills down my spine.

I don't want to scare myself silly ever time I open my blog, so I’m posting the link to the picture taken by my husband here. I wanted to write a brief note just to remember the incident.

I think the poor creature was more frightened than we were. I know that snakes are the most misunderstood creatures and I would never intentionally harm them in anyway. It's just that there is something about the way they look and slither about that terrifies me.

In the end, I'm glad that we both (the snake and the hikers) parted ways without anything unpleasant happening.

4 Apr 2007

Flower Fest - O for Oxalis stricta

I did not have to look very far for my entry to Flower Fest this time. I found this plant growing on the grass right outside my front door! This flower is called Oxalis stricta. The tiny yellow flowers occur in spring and are commonly described as an invasive yard weed.

The leaves of the plant are divided into three heart shaped leaflets which close at night and reopen in the morning. The leaves are edible and taste sour as they contain oxalic acid. It is fine when eaten in small quantities but can be harmful when ingested in large quantities. It has a number of common names of which the popular names are Yellow Wood Sorrel and Sour Grass. They belong to the family Oxalidaceae.

One look at this flower and it brought fond memories of my childhood and summer vacations. As a child, I remember picking the leaves of this plant and enjoying their tart taste. The seed pods of the plant looks like tiny bhindi (okra) and when bloated and ripe they explode scattering the seeds everywhere. I remember picking plump ones and bursting them for fun.

Oxalis stricta are hardy plants. They spring up in the strangest of places, even in cracks on the sidewalks. Serious gardeners have a tough time keeping them out of their lawns and potted plants.

This is my entry for O at Flower Fest.
Flower Fest - The A - Z of Flowers

Tags: Flower Fest

Crowders Mountain State Park - March 31

This is one park that we have hiked often in. The first time we went on a hike here was on our first weekend in this country, when we were still in the hotel.
This state park is close to us, convenient to reach, the hike itself is great - short but a decent climb in a green setting. Works when we want to do a hike but don't want to go too far.

We made a trip here last Saturday, March 31. This time too, as always, we took the pinnacle trail and reached the top in 45 minutes. We spent some time enjoying the view of Gaston county before starting on the decent. With this hike done now we have seen this park in every season. This being the beginning of spring, we saw some really pretty flowering trees. Dogwoods, Yellow Jessamine, Wild Azaleas were all in bloom and begging to be photographed.

A even took a small video of the little steam flowing, the sound is a delight to hear now. Have to figure out about uploading it on Youtube.

'Tis the season for Butterflies!

Monarch Butterfly on a Butterfly Bush