Washington: Winter landscapes, and news of spring

Fine flakes of snow filled the air on Saturday, and the thermometer registered 22 degrees as I made sure that all the bird feeders and squirrel feeders were filled. The little creatures were busy eating as fast as they could while the snow was coming down.

Harris Hollow at sunrise. Staff photo/Jan Clatterbuck.

What a beautiful sight to see while it was snowing.

Every year at this time some of us turn our attention to another forest creature’s weather-related actions: the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog. At sunrise on Feb. 2, Phil emerges from his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob, Pa., and his handlers announce whether or not Phil has seen his shadow. If Phil sees his shadow, legend has it that we can expect six more weeks of winter weather. Well, it looks like we are in for six more weeks of bad weather.

After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers, Phil (according to the web site punxsutawneyphil.com), proclaimed: “If you want to know what’s next, you must read my text. As the sky shines bright above me, my shadow I see beside me. So six more weeks of winter it will be.”

Valentine’s doings
Soon it will be that time of the year for a little romance in the air celebrated on Feb. 14. Who can quarrel with that? Wouldn’t we all like to be loved? After all, Valentine’s Day is about love and sometimes it is good to have a symbolic way of showing it.

Why not take that special person to The Inn at Little Washington? According to Inn marketing director Rachel Hayden, The Inn is looking forward to a busy Valentine’s Day weekend. There’s a special tasting menu on Sunday, Feb. 14, with strolling musicians and handmade chocolates to end the night. Dinner on Sunday is $265 per person, excluding tax, gratuity and beverage. On Saturday, Feb. 13, The Inn will offer its full menu (at $178 per person before tax, gratuity and beverage) as well as the Valentine’s Day Tasting menu (for the same price as Sunday night).

R.H. Ballard will start selling Red Truck Bakery goods on a regular basis starting Saturday, and every weekend the shop will feature freshly baked goodies like boxed cranberry orange muffins, Meyer lemon and cranberry orange tea cakes, rum cakes, granola and a limited supply of Brian’s fresh breads.

For its Valentine’s Weekend event, Ballard will have free Red Truck mini-samples and will feature specially baked goods such as Red Truck’s flourless chocolate truffle cakes, red-velvet cupcakes, muffins, rum cakes and other items. Of course, with such goodies you have to try out the Ballards’ coffee. (Our editor likes it better than my coffee here at the office.)

While enjoying the delicious treats, you can shop at the store for that special person in your life.

Each Friday you can go to the www.rhballard.com web site to see what Red Truck items the store will be selling that Saturday, as the menu will change. Ballard’s sold Red Truck goods at several events last year, like St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas in Little Washington Parade Day. “Many customers asked if we could carry it regularly,” said Joanie Ballard, who worked with Red Truck owner Brian Noyes to make this happen. First-come, first served, and no phone orders just yet.

Finally, Angel — the beagle mix who works here at the office — told me Monday that she is hoping to get a Valentine’s card and a treat from that special person in her life.

There is still plenty of time to plan a special getaway. Remember, no matter what you choose to do (a simple gift, card or something more elaborate), it’s the thought that counts. After all, love is the greatest gift.

Birthday wishes
Happy birthday to Rock Smoot, son of Charles and Mae Smoot in Harris Hollow, who will celebrate his day on Sunday, and to Frank Moffett, Washington who has a birthday on Monday,

Free movie, if you dare
Flint Hill United Methodist Church invites everyone to a free movie, Saturday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. The movie is called “Fireproof,” the story of a firefighter who uses a 40-day experiment known as ‟The Love Dare” to try to save his marriage.