Over the River

Over the River

and through the woods. KBJ has 2 drones that he uses for work and he occasionally takes it up in the air around our house to test one thing or another before he does his filming for his documentary work. Well, he ended up getting some pretty cool shots from above our home and I thought it would be fun to share a few with you. I thought seeing these might also give you some perspective of our outdoor property and gardens, so when I post about something regarding the gardens you might remember these shots. Also, the 3 official wedding photos of Harry and Meghan’s wedding taken by Alexi Lubomirski were just released. This photographer can really capture the moment as you will see. Also a few photos of my favorite moments from the wedding.

KBJ ready to launch his new drone. It has a better GPS and camera. This was in the fall, but the drone he used to take the below photos.

This is the screen he uses to fly the drone. He has to take a test to get a pilot’s license in order to fly it. The photo on the screen is above our home and you can see the Lake reservoir in the park at the end of our street that flows into the James River.

Taken from about rooftop height, you can see one of the pocket gardens in late autumn. We refer to this as the island.

From a bit lower, looking at the path and winds down to the back of the property and the creek that feeds into the river. Remember these photos and that there is actually “lawn” and gardens.

It’s late fall and the gardens are pretty well spent, especially after record heat. KBJ took lots of photos from this level and higher up and It really was nice to be able to see them from high up, and to use them to plan future gardening efforts as well.

This is directly above the house, taken April 27th. You can kind of see some “lawn” area and the teeny tiny shrub border along the tree line. In front of the house is the long u shaped drive. In front of my van is the garden house. There are some large pocket gardens out of the frame. Below you will see what 3 weeks and a whole ton of rain did.

Taken May 20, 2018, this is what KBJ and I refer to as Broccoli land. When I said we have trees, lots of oak trees I wasn’t kidding. There are gardens down there, really! Every one of those trees dropped acorns or seeds in overabundance this year.


This looks south from over our home, towards the river. You can barely see the river because of the clouds.

I thought gardening in the woods would be easier. Well, it depends on the makeup of the woods.

April 27, 2018 To the left of the house is the pea gravel play yard for the pups. We recently did new fencing and I will share it in a post.

Here you can see the river much better towards the top. The drone is up over our property but from the back of the house. You can also see the garden house.

The drone is moving westward and you will begin to see the mountains. Our house is towards the bottom right.

Full Blue Ridge Mountains view. Takes nice photos doesn’t it?

OK, and this year those darn trees left record acorns. In the fall KBJ and I raked and raked, and he moved wheelbarrows full to the compost area. Despite our efforts they literally rained down on us as we tried to stay ahead. Let me tell you, when acorns fall from a 65 to 75 foot tree and with the help of a breeze, it hurts when they hit your face and head.

This is illustrative of the density of acorns everywhere in the garden beds and “lawn”. It was like walking on marbles. Like I mentioned above, we raked a lot, but they kept coming and then it got too rainy and cold in winter, and we were sick of doing it.

And then came spring, and baby oaks by the thousands. Here the nuts have sprouted the beginnings of a tree. At this point they are hard to pull up because the nut and stem are soft and break easily.

KBJ and I have spent what would be normal planting times doing almost nothing else except pulling these out by the root, systematically one by one, moving from one pocket garden to the next. Thousands, yes thousands. The ones in the “lawn” I am mowing or weed wacking. The tap roots shown here are about 6 inches long. At this stage the nut provides nourishment to the tree. So when the root does not come up in one piece, or breaks, we at least pull off the nut, the source of the nutrition, and hope it will not return. My hands are so sore from pulling, as they are firmly in the clay soil, that I have had to skip days, and of course, more root in that time. We had loads of rain for 5 days straight so more will sprout, and I will be after them. The most difficult to pull are the oaks and maples that get under the roses (with thorns of course), and the barberry.

As miraculous as it is, I am so over oak trees. Remember that ditty 100 bottles of beer in a row” That moves through my head, only it now goes, a thousand oaks in a row, a thousand oaks in a row, pull one out, put it down, a thousand one oaks in a row.

This tree in a rock is how I view trying to pull those dang oak and maple saplings out of the ground…….it really does feel like the tree is trying to win, but I mutter back, “take that you damn seedling” as a swift yank yields the entire root about 80% of the time.

OK, on to wedding photos. I bet a bunch of you scrolled down to see these first. That’s fine, I would have done it as well! I have to say that I pretty well nailed in my post what I thought her dress would look like. I was thinking that maybe she might wear the Spencer family tiara, but although she didn’t, what she wore was lighter and more refined looking, an art deco look that fit her petite face and that gorgeous gown, meticulously designed and executed.

And here are the three official photos, just released an hour ago by Meghan and Harry, who are back  working today instead of honeymooning. That will come soon enough. The official three photos by  Alexi Lubomirski / Kensington Palace immediately below……

and here are my favorites………

My favorite wedding photo of Meghan    source

Sweet of Mother and daughter. source

I adored it when he lifted so tenderly her veil, then fixed it perfectly. He was said to say to her when she arrived at the altar, I’m so lucky” and that she looked amazing.  source

That veil was so beautifully thought out and was stunning as it floated over her train. source

We Do. They just appeared so happy and in love that one couldn’t help but feel their joy. source

The greenery was made up of branches of birch, beech and hornbeam. They supported white roses, Diana’s favorite, foxglove, and peonies, said to be Meghan’s favorites. The day before Harry picked some flowers and they were a part of her bouquet. After the wedding, all the greenery was dismantled into individual bouquets and taken to St. Joseph’s Hospice in London among others.




A second stunning dress. It had a low back and a short train. They both looked so lovely as they walked down to the vintage Jaguar convertible, retro fitted as an electric car that took them the two miles to Frogmore House for the dinner. source


The wedding cake was made by Claire Ptak, an American of the London-based bakery Violet Cakes.The cake was a lemon elderberry confection decorated with live flowers.  source

This couple will continue to make a difference in the world. You can count on it. Thanks for stopping by.        laters, charisse














  1. Laurie S Smith

    Wonderful! I had no idea you were so close to the river and mountains. Thanks for the feel- good day starter. Can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan.

    • Yes, the river is literally in our back yard. We go to the mountains often, to the garden shops, antique and gift shops. On a clear winter night we can see the lights of Wintergreen Resort from our main road. We have a pass, so we often drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and just drive from overlook to overlook. We go when we need to clear our head, or sooth our souls. That is also why we love northern California and how the mountains slide right into the ocean with breathtaking views along the way. I agree, the Harry and Meghan story is compelling.

  2. I love drone videos and photos! Now we have perspective when you share home and garden stories, indeed. One of our neighbors sends videos taken by his recently purchased drone. He is a professional photographer.
    Great pics, KBJ! Have fun! Thanks for sharing!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding! Robert set the DVR for me- 6 hours of fairytale fun on Saturday
    while indulging in Swedish coffee and cookies
    on British floral China.
    Such a beautiful couple! Amazing weather for the UK! So many gorgeous hats and outfits.
    Love the photos you chose, Charisse. I hoped you would share photos and comments on the historical event. You never disappoint. Thank you for your research. You have such a good eye for
    details. That veil was breathtaking, especially when I learned of the story behind it. The children were precious.
    Another beautiful blog!


    • I am having a bit of post wedding withdrawal. I could not eat anything while watching, between tears of happiness for them, and trying to catch all the tiny details, the event passed by in a flash. All the decisions and details for the event were all done by the couple. That veil is an heirloom for any daughter. They even embroidered the California state flower onto it as well,so more can be added by future brides. It will most likely end up in a museum. I agree, the children were too adorable, and considering how young they are, very well behaved!

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