We arrived back in Virginia on November 3rd for a long awaited visit with Chelsea, Damon and especially Duncan, our grandson. We were able to stay at the Forestry Center in Providence Forge again, it is becoming our second home since we are often in the Richmond area. We had the volunteer campground to ourselves and really enjoyed the quiet, peaceful setting surrounded by Eastern Virginia’s peak fall foliage.
It was great to see Jeff and everyone else at the Forestry Center again and we helped out a little to earn our keep. I did the last lawn cutting of the year around the office and Mary Ann did some cleaning and some filing for Lisa at the office.
I also had the chance to help out at a deer hunt for disabled veterans which the Forestry Center has hosted since 1994. The day started at 6 a.m. with breakfast as the hunters arrived. There was a drawing to assign hunters to their deer stands and the vets all moved out to their deer stands around 8. Deer hunting with dogs is allowed in Virginia so the dog handlers kept the deer stirred up and moving to give the vets a better chance.
It was only twenty minutes or so before we heard the first shots and one of the guys bagged a nice 9 point buck. That first one ended up being the biggest deer of the day.
I ended up helping out with gutting, skinning and quartering all of the deer that were brought in through the day. I worked all day with Mac, a retired biologist from the Virginia Division of Game and Fish. He was a real character and it was a fun day listening to his stories from years of studying deer in the field. He had done this a few times before and said his record time for fully skinning out a deer was 58 seconds.
Everyone took a break for lunch. One of the local churches volunteered their time and served up pulled pork, barbecued chicken and lots of delicious side dishes. They even put together gift bags and hand made pillows for all of the vets to take home.
There was a lull in the action right after lunch but several deer were brought in towards the end of the day. It was a successful day, the guys ended up taking ten deer and one coyote. They really seemed to have a great time spending the day outdoors and some were lucky enough to go home with some fresh venison. They were really appreciative of everyone helping out and it felt great to do this for them.
We had the chance to bring Duncan down to spend the night with us so Chelsea and Damon could go out for the night. It was fun to have some one on one time with him and he was a lot of fun. He has changed do much since we last saw him in May with lots of new words and personality.
We did our job as grandparents giving him cookies for breakfast. We went for a ride and he got to see the trains going by and look at all the big trucks and equipment. Trains and trucks are Duncan’s current passion. He even got to play on a real caboose that is on display up by the office at the Forestry Center.
We spent a lot of time up at Chelsea and Damon’s house helping them with their kitchen remodel project They finally have a useful functional kitchen in time for the holidays but there are still a lot of final touches to finish up.
We ended our visit spending Thanksgiving with the Jeffries family up in Fairfax, Virginia. Damon’s aunt and uncle, Jeff and Lisa, are wonderful hosts and treat us like we are part of the family. It’s so nice to spend the holiday with friends and family even though we are away from home.
We were planning to move on the day after Thanksgiving and that’s a good thing since temperatures plummeted down to 26 degrees, our last night was a chilly one even with all of our heaters running. With temperatures like that, it’s time to go and we started our slow meander down to Florida in search of warmer weather and new things to see.