Our friends Tim and Wanda moved out to the country a few years ago, to a fixer-upper with a spectacular view and a small grove of fruit trees. When we saw them at dinner last month, they invited me out to pick peaches, an invitation I took them up on last week.
I am, I’m pretty sure, the last person on the face of the earth to not have a smart phone. This means that when I set out to a new destination, I don’t have an electronic guide – I will look up the directions on my computer before I leave the house, scribble down what I think is the pertinent information and head out. Inevitably, I skip some crucial piece of information and find myself driving all over the countryside, slightly lost but discovering some wonderful sites along the way. On this particular journey, it was a winery that I will have to go back and check out more thoroughly (Who’s up for a mommy playdate?). Thankfully, there’s not much I enjoy more than wandering down a picturesque country road on a beautiful summer day. I really need to remember to pack a point and shoot for these trips, as shooting manually on a DSLR while driving is a bit tricky. Still, these shots did sort of turn out okay, didn’t they?
I mean, considering I was driving with one hand and shooting without being able to adjust my focus with the other. All just part of the adventure as I see it.
Eventually though, I found my way to Tim and Wanda’s sweet little oasis. Set on top of a hill (mountain really), the views were amazing – in every direction were mountains, with Shenandoah National Park filling the skyline in several of those directions.
The house, the old rec center of an adjacent wayward boys home, is very much a labor of love, a work in progress, warm, welcoming and quite stunning even in it’s not-entirely-finished state.
I can’t quite do justice to the landscape of the place, suffice to say, it was utterly gorgeous and charming all at once.
Surrounding the house were flowerbeds filled with native plantings that attracted scores of butterflies and birds. The wrap around porch hosted several hummingbird feeders that were absolutely hopping with activity – I couldn’t capture the scene, but each feeder had several hummingbirds flying in and out the entire time I was there, although Wanda mentioned it was “not a good time of day to see hummingbirds”. I can only imagine what it’s like when it is a good time of day.
Eventually, I got around to what I was there for, peaches. Because they don’t spray, the peaches had a few bugs that were thoroughly enjoying the harvest, particularly this bee.
Also quite content were the chickens, who run free in the orchard (which is surrounded by an electric fence to keep away the deer and the bears and other wildlife that wander down from the adjacent mountains).
It was in short, a completely picturesque afternoon spent doing some of my absolute favorite things – driving down country roads, visiting friends, communing with chickens while snagging some great shots of bugs and flowers AND I got to take home a box of peaches.
Beautiful, local, completely organic peaches that Edie girl helped me pickle on Sunday afternoon. Thanks again Tim and Wanda for having me out and for sharing your crop with me. I’ve got a few jars with your name on them next time I see you.