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We liberated a small shadbush from the side of a dirt road up above Pickens (between there and Holly River) last weekend. Also a rose bush from a different place along the road – old homeplace, no house left – there were lots of them growing in the ditch. And a bloodroot. I want a redbud (we have a very old one, but it is behind the hemlocks at the far end of the property and only the downhill neighbors can see it) and a dogwood. Yesterday coming back from Flatwoods, we took Route 5 up to Burnsville (which is looking very sad – melting away but my great-grandparent’s house is still there and kept up) and finally found a place where we could get a branch of the snow-ball-looking shrubs or small trees which were blooming everywhere.

They are blackhaw viburnum (cultivated snowballs are Viburnum, but European imports) and have edible fruit good for wildlife and form thickets. Now I want some for along the driveway wall to block the view of cars coming around that curve (and some of the sound would be good).  Also trilliums and all those other wildflowers – ooh – trout lilies, which carpeted the entire picnic area at Kumbrabow State Forest – just starting to bloom.

Yes, I got up this morning to rain (thank goodness we went ahead and mowed last night after we got back – it was just dry enough – and I rooted up most of the largest dandelions – a wheelbarrow full) – but the valley and distant hills were misty and there are all those shades of green which look even bright against gray – we are so lucky to have found this – it is like being in the country, the woods, and town all at once. We had a pileated woodpecker in our yard early one morning this week – we were on the patio and watched it for about 5 minutes.

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman.

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