It is May and the babies have hatched! Four pairs of chimney swifts are busily feeding their young ones in our chimneys. Their hungry cries for more are audible in several of our rooms. Cardinals have nested in the boxwoods, and the blue jays are raising their young in the nearby trees. We suspect the pileated woodpecker must have offspring nearby – he certainly is noisily proud of something!
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The winter nears its end – it was really quite mild. Here at Chester our thoughts have turned to the greening lawns and the gardens. Warm temperatures and sunny days are luring us outside. It won’t be long now!
Our last post was a sad one… we continue to miss Suzy and her quirky presence in our midst. Lucy has stepped up to fill in the gap… yes, guests are still being properly greeted! Winter is a come and go event this year – so far! We still have a ways to go.Warm evenings by the fire are continuing – a romantic dinner still awaits at Chester.
Today, we lost one of our beloved dogs as we helped her into a better place, away from her pain. Suzy was a fixture at the inn, beloved by so many, and most of all by us. She will be greatly missed. One of our dearest friends once said she believed that when you go to heaven, all the dogs run out to greet you. Today, we find some solace in believing that Suzy got just as warm a welcome. We love you, Suzy. Thank you for coming into our lives.
The lawn was aglow with the gentle light from lanterns and campfires last night. It was a quiet ending to a hectic day. Twice the Yankees attacked the camp – only to be repelled by the Rebs – just a couple of casualties occurred. An afternoon speaker discussed the role of Albemarle County during the war. After dining on pork, beans, apples and cornbread, all were treated to an excellent concert of fife and drum music.
As the days shorten activity at Chester is increasing. The final fall leaves are being gathered and piled for mulch. Wreaths and ribbons are waiting to be hung; the Christmas tree is hanging in the garage awaiting it’s turn to be decorated with our collection of birds. The migrating birds have gone, and the winter residents are settling in for the winter. Firewood has been gathered. We are ready for the arrival of the Confederate troops on December 9th.
As the days grow shorter, we are settling in for the calm of late fall and early winter. The leaves are still falling – gathering them is nearly a daily chore. Firewood is in store and we are looking toward Thanksgiving with family. The preparations for the Civil War Christmas are continuing – it promises to be an engaging weekend.
We will be hosting A Civil War Christmas at Chester! December 9th, 10th and 11th and our grounds will be the camp for re-enactors as they recreate a holiday scene during the Civil War. There will be drills, demonstrations,a guest speaker and, of course, a skirmish. The Valley Fife and Drum Corps will give a concert in the evening. Period food will be served. We’re already stacking firewood in the yard for the campfires.
Fall is well underway. The wet days have made our lawns blossom with fungi of all colors and sizes. Raggedy Ann would have enjoyed the “fairy ring” that completely encircled one of our trees recently. The leaves are yellowing and carpeting the ground, firewood is arriving, and birds are departing. The world is slowly quieting for a needed rest.
A genuine taste of autumn has arrived. The hummingbirds have left, and firewood is on order. The lawn is filled with wonderful mushrooms of all colors and sizes – we’re waiting for a fairy ring to appear. The full moon on a cool night has Lucy ready to stroll the grounds in the wee small hours. Duvets are appearing on the beds. Summer should return next week, but in the meantime preparation for the fall is well underway.