Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 100
We arrived back home from Florida last night and many of the daffodils were in bloom along the driveway, but several others were just coming up, so we will get to see them also. Not much in the way of leaves growing on the trees, as they were in the states to the south of us that we passed through. The redbud trees along the highway in Virginia were the prettiest I had ever seen all along Route 81 and not much construction yet. Some of the azaleas along the road were already in bloom and some of the songbirds were singing in the trees at the rest areas. With my new hearing aids, I could even hear them, which was nice.
The first day, going from Sanibel Island on the west coast of Florida to Walterboro, South Carolina, was a trip I will soon not forget. There was a warning of strong storms with possible tornados, hail the size of baseballs and fifty mile an hour winds and we hit them all, but you couldn’t see the bad stuff in the blinding rain. At the upper end of 301 in Florida, not far from getting on interstate 95, it hit extremely hard. The sky was black ahead of us and soon we were in it, thunder and lighting, heavy rain and wind. The hail was good size and bouncing off the road and the windshield. We pulled over into a parking lot and let the worst of it pass, though, then back on the road. The rain never did stop all the way to Walterboro, it rained right through supper and was still raining when my head hit the pillow.
Just after we got on 75 north to start the trip, we could see black smoke billowing up from the highway ahead of us, but luckily it was in the south bound lane. Not so lucky for the guy who was taking photos or video of his vehicle completely in flames. There were some fender benders in the stop and go traffic at a couple of the on ramps and we got by these also. Then there was a big pickup pulling a trailer full of stuff all off into the woods, but still upright, needing a tow truck for sure.
The second day, things had cleared up, but there were several cars just pulled off the side of the road which must have problems with a wet engine the day before and just left the car where it quit. Lots of traffic moving both north and south. Going over the mountains in North Carolina on 77, a tractor trailer carrying a load of sod, side swiped a small white car; both were off the road, but there seemed to be no injuries; just not much left to the driver’s side of the car. Then the third day, there were a couple fender benders in construction slow ups on 81 north where they didn’t slow up.
It’s nice to be home and the only thing we left there was a coffee cup and a few dollars, of course. I did get a nice succulent plant from a fellow’s yard opposite, where I had planted one of the night blooming cereus plants that had bloomed before we got there. He had taken a picture of the flower and showed me around his garden to see some of his other cactus and flowering plants and bushes. He had a picture of the big white star shaped flower that was from this small plant in his garden. It looked like a cactus, but it had no spines, so it was easy to handle, and I got a couple pieces from it the night before we left. I’m going to grow this in a pot just like my orchid cactus, which by the way is in bloom already. Normally it doesn’t bloom until we put it outside on the porch. I hope I can get this new plant to bloom and find out just what it is. It is in soil already, along with some pieces of the night blooming cereus, in big pots.
Many of my indoor plants are in bloom and my new American chestnut trees are all doing well, just waiting for no more frosts before they go outside. They got good care from my son, Mitch, while we were gone, so maybe he has a green thumb after all. My white streptocarpus, which I originally got from Mary Diamond, is really putting out the flowers. I’ve given out several pieces of this plant to my daughter and several other friends. So far, most of them are doing well and adding some beauty to their homes.
Another form of streptocarpus that I have has smaller leaves and little blue flowers, which has lots of greenery, but no flowers right now. When it does, however, it will be covered.
My son also kept the birds fed and they are still coming. I’m sure they enjoyed the food during the colder, snowy times while we were gone.
Time to look for trailing arbutus flowers, as they are one of the first wildflowers to bloom, but that another story. See ya.
Photo Above: azaleas