August 21, 2014

Ponies Behind a Fence

Next to the Days Inn on Chincoteague Island is a pen containing a couple of the famed Chincoteague Ponies. These ponies were born to wild horses on nearby Assateague Island and brought to Chincoteague to be tamed. Many our sold at auction to raise money for the fire department.

You may be thinking that they would prefer to run wild, but that creates a problem of overcrowding on Assateague and also threatens the other wildlife there. So on the Virginia portion of Assateague,  the fire department is allowed to round up a number of ponies from the herd.

I've posted pictures of Chincoteague Ponies and wild horses on Assateague previously.

Linking to: Good Fences

Signs: Steps to Wisdom?

Linking to: Signs, Signs

August 20, 2014

Gull and Grass

Linking to: Outdoor Wednesday

White Egret, Black and White Pictures

A great place to see egrets is Assateague Island. I took additional pictures during this session plus a bunch the next morning, so expect to see some color versions later.

Linking to: Wild Bird Wednesday

August 19, 2014

A Selfie from a Short Vacation

We made it home safely from our long weekend on the Eastern Shore. Or should I call it the Delmarva Peninsula? Anyway, the return trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge went smoothly; no delays this time. 

Here's a "selfie" I took in Maryland. I look a little goofy but I was concentrating on getting us both in the frame. When I enlarged this on the computer I could see the reflection in my glasses of my arm holding up the camera! And yes, I see that my glasses were askew!

After straightening and cropping, I shrunk the picture down to a smaller size so it will load quickly on your screen. Not as small as it looks here though! You can click the picture to see it larger.

I took plenty of more interesting (I hope) pictures and I'll share them over the next few days.

Linking to: Our World Tuesday

August 18, 2014

Murals Near the Beach

I saw these murals in Ocean City, Maryland. For the first image I "corrected" the perspective using Lens Correction in Photoshop. I also brightened and cropped the picture.

Linking to: Monday Murals 

Inching Up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

5 Miles
40 Minutes

We were stuck in traffic for two hours Saturday as we approached the Bay Bridge. An accident earlier in the day had already been cleared but the backup still persisted for many miles. The above sign was posted near Annapolis, and an average of 8 miles per hour was about what we experienced.

We finally reached the toll gates but there was still a delay as the 12 lanes at the gates funneled down to two lanes to cross the bridge. I had time to wonder about the "Wipers OFF" sign; that is, how many toll collectors got sprayed with water before these signs were posted?

Finally we reached normal traffic flow on the bridge. Poor Frank was getting tired from working the brake for two hours! (Stop, go, stop, go, stop, go...)

We were glad that our destination was Easton, which is not too far from the bridge. We were certainly ready to walk around and then rest for a while!

The bridge is 4.3 miles long and is officially called the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge.

Shadow Shots, Middletown

In Middletown, Virginia

Linking to: Shadow Shot Sunday
and Inspired Sunday

August 16, 2014

Animal Sculptures in Riley Park

In Woodstock, Virginia

Turtle (in Sepia Tones)
Stone Frog
Linking to: Sepia Saturday

History at Sunset on Thorndale Farm

Last night's history program took place on the bucolic grounds of Thorndale in Frederick County, Virginia. The property is peaceful now except for the distant roar of traffic on I-81, but back in 1864, it was the scene of cavalry activity as Sheridan's forces prepared to strike back against Jubal Early's army at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

Ranger Shannon Moeck

Busy Week for Lectures

At Samuels Library, Front Royal

Usually August is a quiet month, with few events except for county fairs. It's been different this year, partly because it's the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Valley Campaign.

This week we attended evening events three days in a row. On Wednesday we learned about wetlands and rain gardens at the library, on Thursday we heard an overview of Sheridan's Valley Campaign in Middletown,  and on Friday we attended an outdoor talk on Slavery in the Shenandoah at a farm not far from Middletown. All this was interesting and the weather was pleasant.

Linking to: Scenic Weekends

August 14, 2014

Page County Farmscape


This rural scene is typical of what you see along Route 340 in Page County, Virginia. In the background we see the Blue Ridge Mountains, home of Shenandoah National Park.

Linking to: Good Fences

August 13, 2014

This Must Be the Place

In Front Royal, VA
There is no place
Like this place
Anywhere near this place
So this must be
The Place.

Linking to: Signs, Signs

August 12, 2014

Roots, Log, Stump

Linking to: Nature Notes

On Depression

People are grieving the death of Robin Williams, comic genius and actor. His struggle with depression is being talked about, and many people are pleading on social media for more empathy for those who are depressed.

Depression can be overwhelming. I've been depressed but not in the crushing way that completely buries the spirit of some people. I'm fortunate in that I've been able to self-treat with sunshine, art and music, or a phone call to a family member. This picture is a poster I painted to cheer myself up many years ago, back when my first marriage was floundering. The words, of course, are from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

Sometimes I think depression represents a realistic view of the world. Perhaps instead of talking about depressive illness, we should wonder why everyone is not depressed! After all, there are plenty of things wrong with the world. Sea levels are rising, terrible diseases are spreading, and people are killing each other!

What if depression is normal and gladness is delusional? Are the brain chemicals that make us "happy" really salves that keep us out of touch with reality?

I suppose our minds need those chemicals or we would not have the courage to face and conquer the challenges of daily life, much less the audacity to reproduce!

Normal or not, depression can keep a person from finding happiness and can even kill. We all need to be kind to each other, and take time to find empathy for those who are suffering. And if you are feeling down, remember that "No less than the trees and the stars, YOU have a right to be here."

Linking to: Our World Tuesday

August 11, 2014

Good, Random, and Fun: Summertime

A blog called Randomosity challenges us to post something good, something random, and something fun. For the "good" category, here's the new Student Union building at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. I was at LFCC recently for a program on the Civil War in Shenandoah Valley in 1864. Like many of the community colleges in Virginia, LFCC has grown rapidly.

The superhero made of hay seems random to me because it's too special to leave out but it doesn't exactly fit into any of my usual topics. I spotted it along Route 7 between Berryville and the Shenandoah River.

I believe she's there to bring attention to a farm that's open to the public for picking pumpkins and such things. We'll have to check it out sometime.

The last picture represents good clean fun! Someone built these children a waterslide out of heavy plastic sheeting.  They were laughing and enjoying it's slipperiness. 

Linking to: Good, Random, Fun

Murals at a Farm Market

The Mt. Airy Farm Market doubles as a post office. It's at the intersection of US. Routes 50 and 340 near the town of Boyce, Virginia.

Linking to: Monday Murals