Posts filed under ‘trees’

Anne Frank and Views While Nursing

For many of those early nursing sessions with my second son, my view was exactly the same. I would be sitting on the floor of our dimly lit bedroom. Next to me, there was small crack in the closed curtains which provided the slightest sliver of outside. During the daytime, I could see the my neighbor’s crepe myrtle blooming and above it, the blue sky. Often I would see clouds and sometimes a black vulture would silently glide through my view.

I was reminded of Anne Frank.

This is by no means to say that breastfeeding is as bad as the Holocaust. I find it to be quite the opposite, in fact.

In her diary, Anne Frank mentions a horse-chestnut tree (Fun fact– Horse-chestnuts are actually in the same family of trees as buckeyes and are not closely related to the American chestnuts) three separate times. One of those mentions:

Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs, from my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy.

In those hectic first weeks with a newborn where days and nights blur together, used diapers accumulate in little piles by the bed, and your own body doesn’t even feel like its your own anymore, my fatigued eyes found that little sliver of nature to be particularly peaceful. I could appreciate how meaningful and powerful a view of the outside can be, even if it is just a small glimpse. And if it meant that much to me, I can only imagine how very precious it was to Anne Frank.

Now that my son is older, we are getting out and about more. We are happily continuing our breastfeeding relationship and taking in a variety of views along the way. Last week, I started collecting shots of the things I see while nursing.


View while nursing.  (Leesylvania State Park)
August 25, 2013 – Potomac River, Leesylvania Park

Tonight's view while nursing (Rockledge Mansion)
August 27, 2013 – Rockledge Mansion, Occoquan, Virginia

8/29/2013's View While Nursing...Sagan and Ryan play while we wait in the examination room for Dyson's Two Month Checkup.
August 29, 2013 – In the Examination Room Waiting for the Pediatrician

8/30/2013's View While a Steak and Shake eating supper.
August 30, 2013 – Eating Supper at Steak and Shake, Fredericksburg, VA

8/31/2013 View While the seashore.  (The dark blue object at the bottom is a chair pad I propped up to provide just a tad more privacy)
August 31, 2013 – At the Seashore, Virginia Beach, VA

September 2, 2013 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Two “Babies” Meet

Dyson slept through the whole encounter, but when he was three weeks old he did get to meet one of my first “babies”.

Dyson, meet the American chestnut. American chestnut, meet Dyson.

Dyson - July 19th - First Visit to Chestnut
Dyson and our Restoration Chestnut from the American Chestnut Foundation – July 19, 2013

August 22, 2013 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

Happy 3rd Birthday, American Chestnuts!

Our Restoration Chestnuts from the American Chestnut Foundation were planted on June 17th and June 18th of 2010.  That means they celebrated their third birthday last month!  This year was particularly exciting because they got their first catkins this year. They are all grown up!

Like previous years, we celebrated with some photos.  Year 1, I was pregnant.  Year 2, my son Sagan posed with me.  Year 3, pregnant again.

American Chestnut - Birthday Tree and Vicky - Cropped
Year 1 – Pregnant
American Chestnut's 2nd Birthday - Sagan and Vicky
Year 2 – Not Pregnant

American Chestnut - Three Year Birthday
Year 3 – Pregnant Again
I look forward to posing for future photos with BOTH of my sons.  🙂


July 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Tree Sighting at the Breakfast Table

This morning, Ryan and I tag-teamed breakfast. Ryan got Sagan situated in his chair with a inventory of cereal and berries. Then when I got my groggy rear downstairs, Ryan ran back upstairs to shower.

I made myself some oatmeal and strawberries, grabbed some soy milk, and sat down next to the little boy who immediately put his spoon down and started to enthusiastically point.

“TREE! TREE!” he shouted proudly. He was very clearly pointing right at…ME!

Well, I may start the 3rd trimester tomorrow, but I’m not definitely not THAT big, at least not yet, so I was a little confused.

Then I looked down.

It turns out I had slept in a shirt from the American Chestnut Foundation. Only I had put it on backwards (Hey, I’m not superwoman. I can’t mother, work, and be bothered with frivolous details like what direction my clothes are on. Hehe). As a result, a beautiful botanical drawing by artist Bruce Lyndon Cunningham was on my chest.

American Chestnut Botanical Drawing By Bruce Lyndon Cunningham

I smiled. “You’re right, Sagan. That is a tree!!!”

“TREE!” Sagan agreed.

With that, we resumed our breakfasts and had a most delightful Friday morning.

April 19, 2013 at 9:23 am 1 comment

Trivia for “Trees on Mars – Microbes and Football”

I love reading the trivia on imdb.  When I’m watching movies at home, I typically have the trivia page open and I peruse it as the film plays.

In June, I had a short story “Trees on Mars: Microbes and Football” included in the 10th Issue of Luna Station Quarterly.  Trees are going to make or break the Mars terraforming efforts and this story is a short narrative from that crucial “tree-phrase”.  Although only 2000 words long, it drew on a myriad of influences from Carl Sagan to E.O. Wilson to The Oatmeal to even ESPN’s Kenny Mayne.  In case there are any me’s out there, a slideshow of related trivia is below.  : )


August 11, 2012 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Happy 2nd Birthday, American Chestnuts!

Our Restoration Chestnuts from the American Chestnut Foundation were planted on June 17th and June 18th of 2010.  That means they celebrated their second birthday earlier this week! 

Like last year, we celebrated with some photos!  Due to the long approval and construction process with our new home, the trees had to winter another year in pots. Luckily, they had an extremely mild winter to contend with.

American Chestnut's 2nd Birthday - Sagan Smiles by Pot
Sagan with American Chestnut

In last year’s photo I was 5 1/2 months pregnant:

American Chestnut - Birthday Tree and Vicky - Cropped
June 18, 2011

This year, I have an 11 month old son!!!

American Chestnut's 2nd Birthday - Sagan and Vicky
June 18, 2012

The tree we are posing with is over my head this year, but it does have a little boost from the new pot it is in. : )

This should be the last birthday picture of the tree in a pot. I look forward to seeing how both the tree and my son grow in the coming years!

June 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm Leave a comment

Favorite Tree of 2011, Punctuation Category

On Christmas Day I met a retired park ranger and had a most delightful conversation with him.  I knew we were going to get along when I asked him what his favorite type of tree was and he broke his answer down in categories (Flowering tree, general use tree, shade tree, etc).

He’s a wise man.  I would have a similar issue trying to narrow down my favorite type of tree.  I would even be challenged to pick my single favorite tree of 2011.  But if I were to be asked, “What’s your favorite single tree in 2011 that resembled a punctuation mark?” well, then, that’s a question I could provide a definitive answer to!

Ryan, Sagan and I ran across this “Exclamation Point Tree” (or if you would prefer, “Bang Tree”) on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail between Bull Run Regional Park and Hemlock Overlook.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Exclamation Point Tree
Bang Tree

So there you go! My Favorite Tree of 2011, Punctuation Category.

January 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm Leave a comment

Hungry Tree – Hemlock Overlook

One of the parks the Bull Run Occoquan Trail passes through is Hemlock Overlook Regional Park which happens to be home to “Adventure Links“, an outdoor adventure program. While in the park, you’ll encounter rope courses and other neat obstacles affiliated with the program.  Adventure Links infrastructure isn’t the only interesting sight, however. Hemlock Overlook is also home to a Hungry Tree.  : )

Hemlock Overlook - Hungry Tree
Tree at Hemlock Overlook Eating a Fence

December 6, 2011 at 1:18 am 2 comments

Happy National Fig Week!

Today is the last day of National Fig Week! (Hat Tip @treeplanting). We had a pretty hearty fig tree in our front yard in Elizabeth City. It was the only planted tree that could survive the routine Hunter Street floodings.

Elizabeth City - Flood - Students Wade Home
Our Fig Tree in a Flood (Lower Left Hand)

I knew that fig tree was quite the survivor and I sure loved snacking on its handiwork whenever I let the dogs do their business. But until last week I had no idea the intricacies involved with how that species propagated itself and thrived.

Recently I was reading The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter by Colin Tudge. I’ve found it absolutely fascinating and filled with delightful tidbits of tree trivia. For example, I learned that figs are pollinated by fig wasps and that each species of fig has its very own brand of fig wasp.

“There were a lot of wasps around that tree,” Ryan noted when I told him. I had been completely oblivious. Some naturalist I am!

It gets better though! Those delicious figs I had been munching on– They were the final resting spots of female wasps who got trapped inside! All this time, I had been defiling wasp tombs! How fitting that National Fig Week is adjacent to Halloween!

Ephesus - fig tree
Future Wasp Coffins! Nom Nom Nom (Photo by epicuriosa)

There is no cause for disgust though– the fig breaks down the wasp’s corpse and digests it. By the time I got to it, the dead wasp was long gone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The whole relationship between the Fig and the Fig Wasp is quite amazing (including how the newly hatched males wasps’ only purpose in life is to fertilize the young females and then dig tunnels for them to escape). For further reading (assuming you don’t have Colin Tudge’s book handy), check out How Stuff Works – Are Figs Really Full of Baby Wasps?

November 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Mindful Momma: Maple Syrup Tasting

Over the weekend, my mother-in-law recommended the blog “Mindful Momma“. I pulled it up and right there on the first page was a post of interest:

Maple Syrup Tasting!

The author’s family did a Maple Syrup Tasting! MAPLE SYRUP!

A number of years ago, I attended the All Things Olive Festival at Villa Appalachia. There, I got to participate in a series of four tastings – wines, olive oils, olives and a balsamic vinegars. As delicious as those items were, I have a feeling I would fancy a “Maple Syrup Tasting” most of all. What a neat idea to accompany autumn!

Check out Mindful Momma’s full A Maple Syrup Tasting post to read about the syrups they tasted and their findings.

October 24, 2011 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

Flickr Photos

3D Printed Products