27 April 2017

Historic Virginia Garden Week and Our Fairy Garden

An event I look forward to every spring is called Historic Virginia Garden Week.  It's when historic homes throughout the entire state open their homes and gardens for tours during the last week of April. I try to get to at least two locations every year. 
This first one I attended were homes around the town of Warrenton.
The spring blooms were out in force and the weather was lovely.

It seems like most of the properties I toured this year had waterfront views.
Photos inside the homes weren't allowed, so I have lots of garden pictures.
These are the lovely ladies from my Bible Study group that went with me to tour the homes around Warrenton.
I thought this was a cool man-made waterfall.
I thought this arbor of greenery was pretty.
The blossoms on this tree look like handkerchiefs.
The gardener who cared for this property told us to be sure to look for the handkerchief tree, so we did!
On Saturday Kent and I went with Jim and Bonnie Jeo to visit the homes in the town of Washington, Virginia.
The town is generally called "Little Washington."
Bonnie and me at the entrance to the first home we went to see.
This was it, and again, a pond on the property.
This was a spring house from the late 1700's that was still standing.
I took this picture for the lovely hydrangeas in the vases on either side of the path.
A close up of the hydrangeas--I haven't seen that dark pink color very often!
One of the homes had a large natural garden with several water features, like the waterfall above.
It's a shame photos aren't allowed inside the homes, because there are some amazing floral arrangements using native flowers in every home, made by local garden clubs. The arrangement above was out on the porch so I was able to take a picture of it.
If you look closely at this picture you can see some fairy garden items. This was the inspiration for us to start putting some little fairy garden features in our yard.
 Here are a few shots from our own fairy garden. Kent painted the mushrooms to be colorful.
 The fairies are placed on the side of the house where the piano students come down to the basement.
This waterfall has given Kent lots of trouble because the blue stones keep falling off.
 Kent changes things up frequently so the students have something new to look when they come.
 Kent made these little windows out of wood and painted them himself, but the door was bought at a store.
Kent used some colorful flowers on the outside of this fairy house. He's had lots of fun creating the little fairy vignettes!

22 April 2017

PERU--Part Four--Visiting a School, Puno and Lake Titicaca

 On one of the last days of our tour, the bus drove us from Cusco to Puno, on the banks of Lake Titicaca.
Here's what some of the scenery looked like along the way.
This was a field of quinoa growing in the Andes.
 We stopped at a school that Gate 1 Travel has been helping out.
 Different grades come to greet the tourists, and the 4th and 5th graders greeted us by singing a song and giving us flowers.
 People on the bus had brought school supplies to distribute to the children, which we handed out after the singing.
 Gate 1 Travel has built a pottery workshop and hired a potter to show the children how to make pottery. They're trying to give the children a trade they can use in the future.
 A couple of the sweet little girls in their school uniforms.
 I snapped a picture of what the classroom looked like.
This boy took a fancy to Kent and showed him around the school grounds.
Kent and his little buddy at the front gate of the school just before we got back onto the bus.
 I took this picture because those snow covered mountains in the background were in the country of Bolivia. I didn't realize we'd be that close to Bolivia!
 We spent two nights in Puno. It was here that I had the best meal of our trip. I didn't take a picture of it because I didn't know it would be my favorite!
It was something called king fish with a delicious sauce over the top of it. The picture above is of a mural that was on the wall of the restaurant.
We saw LDS churches in most of the cities we drove through, but this is the only one I got a picture of because we passed by it several times in Puno on our way to and from places outside of town.
This hotel is where we stayed, just outside of Puno but on the edge of Lake Titcaca.
 First thing in the morning we boarded a boat that took us out to the floating islands of Uros.
These boats are made of reeds and are used to give rides to the tourists.
Some of the local women in their colorful clothing were waving to us as we rode to the islands.
The ground felt spongy but was sturdy enough to walk on.
The leader of the island we visited gave a demonstration of how they built the islands. You can see the thick layer of roots that is underneath the layers of reed mats. The islands are tied to each other with ropes and also secured to the bottom of the lake.
This woman invited us into her home to see how she lives. There are solar panels on the islands that provide enough electricity for lights and a small television. She had some costumes for us to wear.
These are the trinkets she was selling to earn money. I bought one of the reed mobiles. I planned to take it apart and use the pieces for Christmas ornaments.
Another view of the islands, the homes, and boats.
This was the boat that Kent and I took a ride on.
You can see that it was another lovely day in Peru!
The locals generously allowed the tourists to take a turn rowing the boat, so Kent gave it a try.
We didn't go too far, just to another island where we were picked up by the motorboat that took us back to the mainland. One thing I thought was interesting that our tour guide pointed out--there are three churches that are on the Uros Islands, and one of them is LDS!
Later that afternoon Kent and I took an optional tour to see the Sillustani tombs.
They were of interest because they pre-dated the Incas.
Kent taking a rest as we walked around to see the tombs.
There was a herd of llamas wandering around the site, too. The floating islands and Lake Titcaca was definitely one of the highlights of our fantastic trip to Peru!