Sarah's Garden Social, Catoctin Furnace, UUCF Art exhibit, Cherry Smash, Trilliums Galore, backyard nature


Sadly this blog entry has taken many weeks longer to post than we had originally planned so it runs somewhat long. Between needing a breather from the lunacy of digital bombardment with all of the ads being pushed at us to the ever increasing problems with a certain cable company service in the application of the digital world to digesting the money grab that Adobe is promoting and their unwavering belief in the panacea effect of the imaginary “Cloud” as computing’s future to just plain physical aches and pains of encroaching age...

Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum
A Great White Trillium blooming in the mountains of Virginia.


As an aside, for anyone else thinking tech is becoming the proof of the inmates running the asylum you might want to visit the library and find a copy of
Too Much Magic - Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech by Jason Benlevi. It’s an interesting read and probably even available digitally for those who are controlled by “the Cloud” - which actually doesn’t exist and is really just a server farm in Virginia or Idaho or in some other country... The other Too Much Magic by Kunstler is not as light a read and more of a “gloom & doom” book... On the flip side modern tech is here to stay and changing by leaps and bounds so we need to learn to take control of it for our best interests. No, we’re not suggesting the machines will take over but it is unfortunate the more technology becomes intertwined with day to day life the more we have to sort through so much chaff to find the few usable kernels...


Having said that we’re back on track and here are some of the happenings from the real world that have occurred over the last few weeks.

hanging baskets, flowers, red, orange, yellow,






We began the day with a brief trip to Catoctin Mountain Growers to pick up some plants for the house & yard and to enjoy the incredible visual stimulation from their fifteen acres of colorful greenhouses. This wonderful location seems to fly beneath the radar of many folks living in the area, though a visit before any major holiday (Mothers Day in particular) will find an over flowing parking lot!






From there the road led us to....

Sarah’s Garden Social event

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social

On Saturday May, 11, 2013 Harriet Chapel Catoctin Episcopal Parish, located in the historic village of Catoctin Furnace near Thurmont MD, was the site of the annual Sarah’s Garden Social event and spring fundraiser. Despite the occasional rain shower and the threat of more severe weather the turnout was quite impressive while we were there. Along with the festivities and a group of musicians providing entertainment there was a native plant sale, great food and local baked goods, and for the first time, an art contest/exhibit which was held in the sanctuary area of the beautiful church building.

Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen, Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social

The Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen was present everywhere it would seem as she made sure the day went smoothly, spoke with people about the art contest and stopped frequently to speak with parishioners and visitors both young and old. Elsewhere friends & neighbors stopped to chat and enjoy the event.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen greets visitors to the art show in the chapel.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Visitors check out the diverse collection of items in the art show.


Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Volunteers helped to judge the art show.


Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Friends & neighbors chat while others take a moment to sit down
and enjoy some of the great food items from the concession area.


Collier's House, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
A little further down the road we pass an old country store, now vacant for many years, and continue on to the restored Collier’s House. Collier is an early English word and one definition refers to a person involved in the production of coal. Since there was no active coal seam in the area and Catoctin Furnace was powered with charcoal it more likely referred to the second definition which means a person who creates charcoal from the trees of the surrounding forests.

Collier's House, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
A restored room in the Collier’s House


PATC Cabin, craft sale, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest

At the center of the village the
Catoctin Furnace Historical Society holds their annual Spring in the Village event featuring local crafts and tours of a few of the historic buildings. Some of the Society members were on hand to tell visitors about daily life in the late 1700s.

Visitors look over crafts for sale in the restored PATC Cabin.


PATC Cabin, craft sale, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
Upstairs sleeping area of the PATC Cabin.


Gallery Exhibit opening

Other news from recent weeks finds the opening reception for an exhibit by the Frederick en plein air group at The Blanche Ames Gallery of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Frederick. The event had a very nice turnout of viewers and Artists.

Bonnie Sydnor, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF,

Artists Bonnie Sydnor (l) and
Deborah Lovelace Richardson (r)


Among those exhibiting works were our friends Bonnie Sydnor, Deb Richardson, Peter Plant, and Glenn Souders. The exhibit was outstanding in the quality of the work and the scope of the imagery. Congratulations to all of the Artists who participated!

Peter Plant, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF, Glenn Souders, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF,

Artists Peter Plant (l) and
Glenn Souders (r)


Bobby Flurie & Cherry Smash

Bobby Flurie, Brent Woodall, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013
We hope everyone had a chance to visit this year’s Frederick Festival of the Arts held along the Carroll Creek Promenade in downtown Frederick, MD. One of the highlights of the event was seeing a performance by Cherry Smash - house band for the famous Bayou Club in D.C. during the late 1960s - which includes our friend and guitarist extraordinaire/songwriter Bobby Flurie along with one of our high school classmates - drummer, singer, & songwriter Brent Woodall. Rounding out the group are two talented and versatile musicians - Mike Kelly on keyboards, and Ken Johnson on bass.

Mike Kelly, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013 Ken Johnson, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013
Keyboardist Mike Kelly (l) and Bassist Ken Johnson (r) of Cherry Smash.



A Carpet of Trilliums


Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Early May is a time we normally head to the mountains of north central Virginia along the Shenandoah River Valley for a leisurely stroll through the millions of annual blooming Great White Trillium (Trillium Grandiflorum) that grow there. About eleven years ago I wrote an article for Virginia Wildlife Magazine about the incredible expanse of Trillium located at the Thompson W.M.A. near Paris, VA. During my research I located a professor from the Mount Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora who confirmed this was indeed the largest stand of native Great White Trillium in the United States - numbering over 12 million plants & blooms!! Interestingly this area holds a number of natural variations of color and flower shape, something not as likely to be seen in a smaller population.



Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Because we were unable to make this year’s journey we have included images from last year along with some scanned from slides over a decade ago. NOTE : The Trillium Grandiflorum is a very slow growing plant (up to 7 years to flowering) and is in a designated wildflower preserve. Please DO NOT pick the flowers or dig up the plants if you venture out to see them. Enjoy the sensory experience and take some photographs to remember your visit instead...

Yellow Lady Slippers, Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Yellow Lady Slipper Orchids grow among a group of Great White Trilliums.
Note some of the Trilliums display natural color variations.




Pink Lady Slipper, Frederick Watershed, Maryland








Back at the home front we’ve encountered a number of Pink Lady Slippers, including some “twin” plants, blooming in a recently clear cut area of the Frederick Watershed. Not far from that site we found one that has reliably bloomed in the same spot for over 12 years still hanging on.


Pink Lady Slipper, Frederick Watershed, Maryland
Pink Lady Slipper still blooming after 12 years.


Bicyclist, High Wheeler, Boneshaker, Thurmont, Maryland,





We recently encountered a bicyclist riding a “Boneshaker” 1800s style bike near Loys Station covered bridge and we have been inundated with an over abundance of wildlife - some welcome some not - in the back yard over the last few weeks.



Black Rat Snake, young, Thurmont, Maryland, Eastern Box Turtle, (Terrapene carolina), Thurmont, Maryland, Our “welcome” guests....

....and one less welcome. Ground Hog, (Marmota monax), Woodchuck, Whistle Pig, burrowing rodent, destructive, Thurmont, Maryland,



Peony, Family Paeoniaceae, flower, rain, water droplets, pink, Thurmont, Maryland

It has been a delight these past few weeks to finally see the gardens and yard beginning to come alive with a variety of brightly colored flowers in bloom after a long and strange winter and early spring.



Peony flowers after a spring shower.
Peony, Family Paeoniaceae, flower, rain, water droplets, white, Thurmont, Maryland

Bleeding Heart, genus Dicentra, red, Thurmont, Maryland
The last of the Bleeding Heart blooms of the season.



All content © Russell C. Poole