Food for thought

July 31, 2006

Old Town Alexandria isn’t just a tourist paradise of quaint, photogenic old houses and beautiful patios and gardens. People live there, and they have to eat. Sure, there’s a Balducci’s (some of us will remember it by its old name of Sutton Place Gourmet, which gives you a good idea of the kind of food carried there and the prices). But tucked in among the old row houses, catering for more prosaic culinary needs, is a plain old Safeway.

Black-eyed Susan

July 30, 2006

The Black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta) is the Maryland state flower. In fact, the Black-eyed Susan will grow just about anywhere, making it one of the most common wildflowers in the United States. Many gardeners grow it because it’s great for attracting butterflies.

Iron steps

July 29, 2006

Iron steps like these are to be found leading to the front entrances of many older houses in the Washington metropolitan area. These are cast iron, not wrought iron. Wrought iron is more delicate, but cast iron tended to be used where detail was repeated.

My morning mourning dove

July 28, 2006

The mourning dove (tourterelle triste in French) is so called because of its sad-sounding call, which you can hear at All About Birds if you scroll about halfway down the page. It’s a common bird in North America, and small as it is (86 – 170 grams or 3 – 6 oz), it is hunted.

Yesterday morning, I wandered, bleary eyed, across my living room and caught sight of this mourning dove sitting on my balcony rail, apparently contemplating the view. She obligingly stayed until I had taken her picture. I hope she’ll be back.

Two blue doors

July 27, 2006

A brick and wood house in Old Town Alexandria. The brick sidewalks are picturesque, but they’re also uneven and easy to trip on. Be sure to take care if you’re visiting.

Close, but no cigar

July 26, 2006

Disappointed again in my quest for a tricouleur. If I’d had the nerve (and the strength) I’d have moved the white newspaper container between the blue and the red to have a picture ready for Bastille Day 2007.

Capitol Living

July 25, 2006

Capitol Hill is one of the oldest of Washington, D.C.’s residential neighborhoods. It begins behind the U.S. Capitol building and covers 150 square miles. This quiet street is typical of the area. Capitol Hill is also the home of a number of places of interest, including the Folger Shakespeare Library.