Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree

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I am a midwesterner at heart- loving the seasonal changes in woodland forests.  Last week I led a group of women from Chevy Chase, MD on a hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.  We were enveloped in the fall colors against Sugarloaf’s quartzite rocks.  Her trees are in the early stages of the fall burst of color.  Tupelo, Black Birch, Tulip Tree, Red Maple and Persimmon were glorious shades gold, crimson, citron and tangerine.

These women get their hands dirty working with soil, they are attuned to plant diversity and microhabitats.  So I shared tree ID clues and various habitat preferences, knowing they would be interested in how these plants adapt to their specific part of the forest.  Every time I lead a hike I learn something new about the mountain.  This time I was struck by the number of persimmons on the summit, we all got a chance to see and taste those amazing berries.  And for many on the hike their previous experiece with persimmon was the cultivated varieties in the grocery store.  I encouraged them to taste the ripe fruit and I think I have a few more converts to my favorite tree.

It was a wonderful day to be on Sugarloaf with kindred spirits.  Maybe if I finish work on a deadline in time today I can get back on the trail to my Persimmon Tree.

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We are almost done spackling, painting, and cleaning up the Studio, after a big construction project.  These long awaited improvements have finally come to fruition.

A couple of years ago, an industrious groundhog tunneled his way into my studio, through the brick floor.  After cleaning up the mess, I knew the studio needed a solid, groundhog-proof floor.  Or as my brother describes it, I need an Animal Barrier.

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This summer I started planning a new floor and I realized the building had a lot more openings
for insects and moisture.  So we plugged and patched gaps in the outer walls, installed drain tile, and a gutter.  After a few more bids I realized my studio savings account would not cover all the different contractors required to fix this.  So I called my little brother Steve and asked him if he would fly up from St. Louis, to pour the concrete ‘Animal Barrier’ we talked about when the groundhog visited the studio.

Steve arrived, my sweet husband took a week off and we went to work.  Amazing how many trips to Lowes and how much work involved in this project.  My brother can do just about anything involved in building, so he and Jim were cutting drywall for my new walls and ceiling in the 10 x 20 side of the studio and we went through a 25 pound bucket of drywall mud!  Then the new light fixtures and fan arrived, Steve installed them.  The big day was the concrete truck arrival.

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Wheel barrows of heavy concrete passed from the driveway down the hill to the studio courtesy of Josh and J  and Steve was the finisher.  I had no idea concrete could be so complicated, after the initial pour and smoothing out, he waited and then very carefully created this beautiful smooth surface.

My little brother returned home and my husband and I are trying to finish the job before Studio Tour this Friday.  Artists dream about studio spaces, I have a dream work space thanks to my little brother Steve.

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