Bumbles Bounce!

bumbleIt’s official. A mere eight days after being laid off completely out of the blue — knocked off a cliff, so to speak — I was offered an even cooler job. I start on Monday, October 17.

It’s crazy how things work, no? I was confident I’d find a job relatively quickly, but even I didn’t think I’d bounce back THAT fast. I mean, really. The interview and hiring process usually takes longer than that. And, no, I hadn’t been looking before being laid off.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I am very excited. So excited, in fact, that I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will be my last employer EVER. I’ll retire from this company.

The last couple of weeks have really been like a roller coaster ride. So I am taking off to find some Fall color today and enjoy my last full day of unemployment.

If you want to follow along, CLICK HERE.

Sprucing Things Up

I have a love/hate thing going on with Spring. I love that all of the trees and flowers are blooming, and that the grass seems to be waking from hibernation, but I hate that the weeds are growing, too. (Many weeds have been growing since Fall!)

Messy Yard
Messy Yard

The older and more out-of-shape I get, the less I enjoy gardening. It takes a toll on this aging body. Hubby feels the same way. He’s older than me, remember. Or, as he likes to say, I am younger than him, by slightly more than a decade.

Our yard is small, but it is full of flower beds. In 2013, after he and I spent an entire weekend weeding, schlepping around and applying 65 two-cubic-foot bags of mulch, and a whole week recovering from the resultant aches and pains, we told each other, “Never again.”

So, in Spring of 2014, it became my task to hire a landscaper. Long-story-short, they were terribly expensive, asking for much more than we were willing to spend. I decided it would be much more cost-effective if we, really I, bought mulch and found a local kid or two to come spread it around for us.

As I was leaving the garden center, having just paid for a mulch delivery, our favorite waiter was walking into the garden center, wearing that establishment’s uniform. He’s a very nice young man in his late 20s who I know has a couple of children and routinely works three to four jobs at a time.

I asked if he’d like to help with our yard. He agreed. He did such a fabulous job, he’s been doing it every year since.

Messy Yard
Messy Yard

That first year, I didn’t have high expectations. I just wanted him to spread the mulch. He did that, of course, but first he weeded and cleaned out all the old leaves and such. He filled about 15 large trash bags with debris! Then he spread the mulch.

He worked around his own schedule, doing it in a few shorter blocks of time. Between every shift, he cleaned, so the yard was spotless when he left. Of course, he cleaned when he had finished the job, too. The yard was spotless. He really does an amazing job.

Attention to Detail
Attention to Detail

 

Clean Yard
Clean Yard

 

Clean Yard
Clean Yard

 

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Clean Yard

 

A little help from a friend.
A little help from a friend.

 

Clean Yard
Clean Yard

 

QA Inspectors
QA Inspectors

 

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Clean Yard

 

"Muy bien, Mama!" (They say he passed inspection.)
“Muy bien, Mama!” (They say he passed inspection.)

I do not know this young man very well personally, but he always provides top-notch services. He’s a good guy, a very hard worker, and is also very conscientious and takes pride in his work. Plus, he loves doing this type of thing. To quote him, mulch smells “like freedom” to him (meaning he’s outdoors working rather than indoors).

If you live in or around the Warrenton area and have a project for which you could use some assistance, let me know and I’ll put you in touch. It will be up to you to meet and negotiate an agreement with this young man for whatever project you have in mind. He’s very good AND very reasonable.

Snowpocalypsemageddon Part 2, Pictures

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We Survived the Blizzard of 2016

As promised, I sorted through the gazillion pictures I took over the weekend — what else was I supposed to do? — and selected a few to share with you. Okay, maybe more than a few. So I created a handy-dandy slideshow for you. With music.

Be sure to mute your speakers if you’re viewing on the sly instead of doing what you should be doing.

Here’s the slideshow. I hope you enjoy.

For the record, neighbors, I have no control over the image YouTube selects as the cover.

I look at it as a happy coincidence. 🙂

Out and About

IMG_0065I’ve been sticking pretty close to the home front lately.

Well, “close” is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been staying inside. A lot. No special reason other than it being winter and my having some craft projects to complete.

All is well otherwise.

I actually got out and walked the dogs during the day on Sunday. I took my camera along and thought I’d share some of the pics I captured.

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Moody Winter Sky

 

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Cool Reflection

 

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Another Cool Reflection

 

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That dog looks like a horse! Oh wait, it IS a horse.

 

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Red Truck Bakery

 

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Horse-dog

 

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Gotta love that ‘do!

 

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Cute!

 

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Heart!

 

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More cuteness.

 

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Cool sky.

 

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Yet another cool reflection.

 

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Dramatic Sky

 

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K on the Hunt

 

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View from the Old Courthouse steps.

 

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Another view from the Old Courthouse.

That’s all. I hope you enjoyed the virtual visit.

Fringes of the ‘hood

A week ago was the three-day Labor Day weekend here in the US.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

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Overview Map

If you’re curious about the history of that holiday, which has been officially observed since 1894, go to this page (the source of my quote).

Three-day weekends are always nice. Saturday, Hubby and I went for a nice little ride on our bikes (Loving Virginia’s Diversity). On Sunday, I drove my car to Roanoke for a “package” pick-up. By Monday, I was a bit tired. It was hot and humid, too. Hubby was working on a home project, so I decided to take a quick little ride close to home.

The route wasn’t super-exciting, I just wanted y’all to be able to see just how close to home I stayed. So, once you see the pics, you’ll have a better appreciation for my neighborhood.

The previous weekend, when Hubby and I were riding on the Snickersville Turnpike, something had caught my eye.  That something was a largish patch of sunflowers. I chose not to stop for two reasons: there were already cars pulled off the road with people gawking and Hubby doesn’t always enjoy my photo stops. But I thought about that dang patch of flowers all week. So that’s where I headed on Monday.

Rather than taking a direct or known route — what fun would THAT be? — I decided to explore VA-629 / Bull Run Mountain Road, a path I’d never traveled and had been curious about. I knew where it went, but had wondered whether or not it was gravel. I figured it was probably gravel, based on what I knew of the area. But, knowing it led from Prince William County (twelfth richest county in the US in terms of median household income) into Loudoun County (the #1 richest county in the US — see stats here), I had hopes that it might be paved.

The road wasn’t paved, but it was reasonably well-maintained.

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Looking north on Bull Run Mountain Road

 

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Selfie, looking south on Bull Run Mountain Road.

On one hand, I was surprised at the road surface. One would think a road leading to high-value real estate would be paved for the convenience of the obviously wealthy landowners. (I saw few houses along the road, most of which looked exactly like the bits captured in the two photos shared above, but I saw quite a few ornate, barred entrances.) Then again, a paved road would be more-convenient for outsiders, too, and might attract gawkers. It would certainly mean more traffic. So I bet it will always be a gravel road, which sort of lends to the remote feel of the place, too.

I was sort of amazed just how remote it felt. I could’ve been in a national forest. If you follow this link to the Google map and zoom out a bit, you’ll see just how close VA-629 / Bull Run Mountain Road is to Northern Virginia (NoVA) and DC. You might be amazed, too, especially if you switch to satellite or Earth view.

As interesting as the road was, it was hot. So, curiosity satisfied, when I reached the paved VA-776 / Landmark School Road, I decided to take that route and pick up the pace.

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VA-776 / Landmark School Road

 

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Red Barn along VA-776 / Landmark School Road

I absolutely love the stone fences that are far more common than you’d expect in this area. A lovely reminder of old times. I’m never sure if they were meant to serve as fences, keeping things in or out, or simply to mark land boundaries. One day I might actually look that up.

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Turnpike Sign

I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d seen the flowers, but thought it hadn’t been long after we’d gotten on the turnpike near Aldie.

As it turns out, I was right. I came across the flower patch even sooner than I’d expected. But it was kind of disappointing. There were fewer flowers than I remembered (I’d only glanced at them previously as we’d zipped past) and they were rather wilted.

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Sunflowers, well past their peak.

It was a pretty spot nonetheless.

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Snickersville Turnpike

 

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Close look at the stone wall/fence.

 

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Stone wall/fence.

 

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Nice spot for a break.

 

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Lovely view.

I know I’ve said this before… I wish we’d moved to Virginia YEARS ago. It’s such a great place for motorcyclists.

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This picturesque barn is mere minutes from Warrenton (#3 on my Spotwalla map) on VA-672/Blackwell Road.

This barn is a bit further from town, but not far by any stretch of the imagination.

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Yellow barn on Blantyre Road (#8 on map).

I passed the yellow barn and had to turn around to go back for a picture. But I got distracted at my chosen turnaround spot.

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Heflin’s Store (#6 on the Spotwalla map)

 

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I’ve stopped here before, but think it’s a lovely spot.

 

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Random barn capture.

I didn’t mark the location of that white barn because it’s in Loudoun County, but it’s pretty and deserved to be captured.

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White Barn at Buckland Farm (#32 on Spotwalla map)

Buckland Farm is just inside the Fauquier County boundary on US-29. At the edge of the property, closer to the road, is the Buckland Farm Market.

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Looking like Fall!

I’ve shared pics from there before, too. The market sells plants (it’s where I bought my tomato plants), produce, meats, snack items, home decor, baked goods, baking products, etc. It’s a cool place.

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Tractor at Buckland Farm

They have goats and smalls equine critters, too.

Temps were close to 90 by then, and I was really hot. So I bought some corn-on-the-cob and locally made sausage for dinner. I got a drink, too, and about a half pound of bulk dehydrated, colored marshmallows (like the charms in Lucky Charms cereal). 🙂

That was my day. It wasn’t super-exciting, and I didn’t go far, but it was nice.

I hope you enjoyed traveling along. My interactive Spotwalla route map is here if you’re interested.

Exciting Times

As July is winding down, I’m struggling to keep up with all the news I want to share here.

Who knew July would be so exciting? I knew about the family visit in advance, but there are two pretty cool things I didn’t know about much ahead of time.

First, my town was in the spotlight on Friday, July 20th. In a big way. The FOX affiliate in Washington is doing a series of “Zip Trips” this summer, featuring locales that are close enough to DC for residents to zip out and back in a day.

It was a huge deal for the town. LOTS of free publicity. The Old Town merchants came out in force, opening their shopping, putting on special displays, doing demonstrations, offering samples, etc.

It was like a mini, impromptu street fair, and it was all accomplished with about a week’s noticed. Residents came out in droves to show their support, too. The Fox5 crew said it was the biggest turnout they’d ever seen for a ZipTrip segment. Yes, Warrenton is just as awesome as I have repeatedly proclaimed it to be.

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A good number of residents came out to show their support.

 

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Merchants and town officials rolled out the proverbial welcome mat.

 

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Angie and Kelly Ann at the Quilts of Honor East table.

 

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Local artist Palmer Smith painting the scene.

 

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Merchants had special displays and demonstrations to tout their wares.

 

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Decoupage at The Empty Nest

 

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Great Harvest was packed to the gills with people.

 

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A live segment.

We looked pretty darn good in the news, if I do say so myself.

Merchants and residents alike did an amazing job supporting the town. And Fox5 did very well to capture it all and show everyone what a fun place this is to live, work, and play.

Here’s a link to the story and videos on the Fox5 web site.

As for the second bit of news…

I am currently unemployed. My previous job had been wearing on me for quite some time. So, while off on my solo adventure back in late-June, with lots of time to think about stuff like job satisfaction, among other things, I decided it was time for a change.

As it happens, a woman I’d met in 2005 had reached out to me back in May about coming to work for her at her current employer. Initially, I said I wasn’t interested. But she was persistent. So, after my return, I started really exploring the opportunity and ultimately decided it would be a better fit for me.

Tuesday, July 21, was my last day at the old firm (Texas company). I would’ve liked to take some time off between postings, especially since my new company has a policy that you can’t take vacation for the first six months, but they need me pretty badly. I start my new job (Maryland company) on Monday, July 27.

I’m trying to cram as much fun in as possible between now and Monday. Which means I’m behind on blog reading, commenting, and writing again. Sorry, y’all. I love you, I really do. And I truly appreciate the fact that you take time to read my posts AND leave comments.

I’ll try to catch up soon. I’ll actually be in Rockville, Maryland most of next week for training, so should have plenty of down time in the evenings. Until then, I’ve got places to go, things to see, etc.

I am very excited about my new work adventure, but have to squeeze some fun in while I can. Keep your eyes on those Instagram pics. If you’re not on Instagram, you can follow at the bottom of my home page, if you’re so inclined.