December 17, 2014

Floating Duck

Signs: History, Humor, and Healthy Air

These are not as clear as I'd like because the first one was in a glass case in a museum, the second was taken with a cell phone on my way out of a store, and the third sign is weather-worn. But I was intrigued by them and wanted to share them.

I don't see how we could have an army without music.
Robert E. Lee

Complaint Dept. [at Exit Door]

signHealthy Air Zone
Help Us Keep Our Shenandoah Valley Beautiful
Please Turn Your Engine off
Posted at a Gas Station
Sharing with: Signs, Signs

December 16, 2014

The Finest Reindeer in Rippon

A Barn and a Farm

white barnThe first barn is along Strasburg Road near the North Fork. A sign says Retreat Center so it's not just a regular farm.

Next we have a nice looking farm I photographed a month ago. I hate to admit it but I don't remember the exact location. It's here in the Shenandoah Valley.

December 15, 2014

Birthday Thoughts

My parents said I looked like Ike when I was a baby! It was the tall forehead. Well, I have to admit I was not the prettiest baby. (For you young folks, Ike was the nickname for  President Eisenhower.)

I grew up thinking I was ordinary looking so I made an effort to smile a lot to make my face look pleasing. It seemed to work.

Once you start to feel old, birthdays make you feel even older. I practically had to drag myself out of bed to face the morning. That may be partly because my aching back sent unusually painful spasms through me yesterday.

For years I kept pretty quiet about my birthday. But you can't really hide from it, and I decided to enjoy getting greetings from friends.

One thing that makes my birthday feel depressing is that it falls during the week of shortest days of the year. I require sunlight in order to feel optimistic. Fortunately, today was warm and fairly sunny, so we took a walk and then had a really good dinner.

Now that my birthday is over, I can entertain myself with Christmas preparations for the next 10 days.

Bottling Works Mural

cola bottling building

building with Coca Cola signThe old bottling plant in Winchester (Virginia) has been for sale for a long time. A huge picture shows potential buyers and others what it might look like with some refinements, I guess.

Over the door is carved "Coca Cola Bottling Works 1940." I've seen old bottling plants in other towns, sometimes as vacant as this one.

Sharing with: Monday Murals

December 14, 2014

Today in Winchester

Frank, Parking Lot
Sharing with: Weekend Reflections

Cedar Grove Church, New Market

white church

Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren stands on a hill between New Market and Mt. Jackson, Virginia. It was the site of the final stage of the Battle of New Market in 1864.

Federal forces under Major General Franz Sigel had not fared well in this battle and retreated to this hill. Here's a quote from a National Park Service page about the New Market Battlefield.
Capt. Henry DuPont (US) brought up his battery to cover the retreat. He unlimbered first near the Harshburger House, then withdrew his pieces rearward en echelon as the Confederates advanced. Sigel fell back to his supports at the Cedar Grove Dunker Church and cemetery and organized a holding action, while his confused troops reorganized. DuPont's artillery continued to slow the pursuit. About 1630 hours, Breckinridge ordered a halt to regroup confronting the US line at Cedar Grove Church. Imboden's cavalry returned from their fruitless effort to get in rear of Sigel's army to burn the Meem's Bottom Bridge across the North Fork (the creeks were swollen with rainfall). An artillery duel continued until about 1700 hours. Breckinridge was unable to organize another attack and, by 1900 hours, the Union army escaped across the North Fork and burned the bridge. Sigel retreated down the Valley Pike rapidly, leaving his badly wounded at Mt. Jackson. He arrived at Strasburg on the following day.
Cemetery (on Rt. 11) Viewed from the Church Road
Sharing with: InSPIREd Sunday 

December 13, 2014

Innocent Looking Squirrel

You can't tell from these pictures but this cute squirrel had just finished raiding one of my bird feeders. 

Sharing with: Sepia Saturday and Camera Critters

Deer the Color of the Forest

deer in forestWhen I drove on Skyline Drive Wednesday, I saw some small deer beside the road. They quickly melted into the forest, but I did get a few snapshots. As you can see, their light brown color serves as camouflage. I increased the contrast in Photoshop and cropped the images so you can see them more clearly.

At the time I thought there were three deer, but looking closely at the second Photoshopped image, I see four of them.(The one at the right rear is still hard to spot.) As you can see from the one who has turned to run off, they are whitetail deer.


Sharing with: Saturday's Critters

December 12, 2014

The View from Dickey Ridge

Early this week we had cold and cloudy days and even a night of freezing rain. On Wednesday afternoon I drove toward Front Royal to do a little shopping. Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and I saw a golden glow on the mountains. Since I was just about to drive past the entrance to Skyline Drive, I decided to go up there for a short time to see if I could get a few good pictures while the light was special.

At the entrance station, the ranger told me that the drive was only open as far as Dickey Ridge because of ice. That was less than five miles away and the gates were closing in an hour but since I get free admission with my Senior Pass, I didn't mind. And it was too cold to spend more than a few minutes outside the car anyway.

I only saw two other vehicles while there.

Sharing with: Skywatch Friday

Raised Bed Garden

If you tend a garden, you are probably familiar with the advantages of a raised bed, not the least of which is less bending or kneeling on the ground to take care of it. This one in Sperryville was the first I've seen that takes the term raised bed quite so literally!

December 10, 2014

A Walk in the Woods, November 9th

trail in forest

A month ago I took our cocker spaniel up to Shenandoah National Park. It's always a treat for me to see the autumn colors along Skyline Drive and Benny loves to ride in the car!

We took a short walk on a narrow fire road that winds through the forest. The trees were pretty but I felt anxious when I saw a couple with two dogs approach us. The dogs were excited and the people had difficulty controlling them. Fortunately they did not attack Benny, who politely looked away as he usually does when he sees a strange dog.

Sharing with: Outdoor Wednesday

Benny in the Woods

Sharing with: Wednesday Blog Paws

December 9, 2014

A Farm on the South Fork

farm seen from a bridge

Sharing with: The Barn Collective

Good, Random and Fun: Cell Phone Snapshots

I still carry a camera with me most of the time so I don't take many pictures with my cell phone. And since I don't have the top-of-the-line phone yet, my cell phone pictures aren't the highest quality. However, when my camera isn't handy or the cell phone happens to be in my hand anyway, it will do for capturing a scene or just playing around while I wait.

The Good

This is the new Metro station in Reston. That area has been waiting for years to be served by the train, and the location just off the Wiehle Avenue exit to the Dulles Airport Road means that getting to the airport from Washington and Northern Virginia just got easier.

I was there to pick up Marie and she had texted to say the train had just left McLean. (That's also a brand new station. And that area has a traffic problem so the Metro will be very helpful.)  Since I had my cell phone in my hand, taking a picture was a logical thing to do. 

The Random

Our washing machine at home is not large enough to launder a king-size comforter, and having it dry-cleaned costs as much as buying a new one. So there I was in a laundromat, waiting for an extra-large washing machine to finish washing the item. I checked my email and then took a picture to pass the time.

The Fun

My ophthalmologist has some humorous signs in his office. One of his patients created this special eye chart for him.

I had left my camera in the car so I used the cell phone. It would have gotten a clearer image but at least the phone's small size meant it was not distracting to other patients.

December 8, 2014

What is a Mural?

Some sources define a mural as a painting applied directly on a wall or ceiling. Other sources provide a broader definition: A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a large permanent surface.

Can a glass wall be a mural? Yes, VMI's website calls this a "stained glass mural wall." It's the creation of abstract artist Ami Shamir.

cut out painting of woman The beautiful stained glass wall section is in the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market. It includes the names of the ten young cadets who died in the 1864 battle at that site. One was related to Thomas Jefferson and shared his name. By the way, the museum will close for renovations starting December 13th so if you want to see this you have to hurry up or else wait until mid-January.

I have to admit that the picture on the right is probably not a mural by the definition of being "applied directly" to the wall. It appears to be a painted cut-out that was fastened over the wall and it does not follow the contours of the siding. I like it though! This is in Strasburg, Virginia and the plaque above it says the building dates from circa 1874.

Sharing with: Monday Murals