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Showing posts from January, 2019

US East Coast 2018: Of Bushels & Pecks - An Adventure with Apples

We got up bright and early and headed over to Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse. It was a bright sunny weekend morning, and a great time for apple picking! When we got to the orchard we were delighted to see rows upon rows of apple trees, each one laden with large, juicy apples. We hurried to get our little bags and decided to pick one peck of apples. Pecks and bushels are apparently imperial units of measurement for dry volume measurement and used especially for apples and other fruits - 1 peck is approximately 10-12 pounds (5 kilograms), or 32 medium apples, or 3-4 9 inch pies. As for 1 bushel, it is equal to 4 pecks. It was Golden Delicious and Stayman that were available for picking today, and we headed straight to the apple trees, picking and tasting the apples before choosing the really delicious ones from the trees. We learnt that there is a specific way to pick apples. You do not simply yank them off the tree with brute force, but instead hold each apple in the palm of y

Edelweiss: Trauma & Resilience in Fostering

Edelweiss, Edelweiss Every morning you greet me Small and white, clean and bright You look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow Bloom and grow forever Edelweiss, Edelweiss Bless my homeland forever. This is a song that I sing to my little foster girl on a regular basis. In many ways, the song has become a metaphor for little R - the small, pure and innocent girl who is  oblivious to the cares of the world. It is also a metaphor of  our relationship with R - each morning, as she wakes us up with her gentle cries for milk. Yet I see in her bright eyes the look of deep peace and contentment as we feed her; and the gurgling sounds and squeals of excitement when we engage in play with her tell us that she is deeply secure and happy in her attachment with us. It's precious the moments we share with our little R! But we know that little R will not remain with us forever. Unlike adopted children, who become "forever family", foster children remain

US East Coast 2018: Just the Way Things Were

We were sad to leave our lovely accommodation in the High Country of North Carolina and we set off for a new adventure in a new state. But we still couldn’t get enough of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and took a slight detour to the Linn Cove Viaduct, supposedly a spectacular architectural marvel completing the final construction of the Parkway, and also boasting breathtaking views. But the fog settled in almost immediately after we arrived, and the views from the Viaduct were as spectacular as if we were surrounding in nothing but white space. The gorgeous Linn Cove Viaduct. An Emperor's New Clothes Experience! Disappointed, we headed back north, through the Volunteer State of Tennessee, and into Virginia, also called “The Old Dominion”. Traditionally, we would always find a location to visit to break the long journey (this trip took 5 hours in total drive time). However, because of our wifi problems over the past few days, we were unable to find a place that was open by the tim

US East Coast 2018: How Towns Are Created

We had a quiet day to give us all some downtime in our travel schedule, particularly after the exhilaration of Grandfather Mountain the previous day, and in anticipation of the long drive ahead tomorrow. We headed to the Banner House Museum in Banner Elk, a few minutes from our accommodation, after a breakfast at Bojangles in the morning, having to forego our plans for raspberry picking as a thunderstorm was heading our way. It was a blessing in disguise as we got to experience what life was like for the founding family of the town we’d been living in this past week. The Banners were an extremely influential and wealthy entrepreneurial family, one of the first to migrate to the area. This particular house was the second Sam Banner had built, and the amazing thing was how much of it had been preserved over the years, down to some of the flooring and banisters, and the rounded Boxwood bushes out front. In fact, the town gets its name from their family last name, and the Elk River th