July 22, 2016

Tomahawk Pond

This pretty pond is in George Washington National Forest between Orkney Springs and Broadway, Virginia. It's on Runions Creek Road and easy to miss since it's not well marked and is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

This looks like the sort of vacation spot that our mountains are famous for. People still come here to fish, but the recreation area here isn't maintained anymore, so if you want to spend more than an hour exploring a lake, you might want to check out nearby Bryce Resort or go across the mountain to Trout Pond in West Virginia.

Photo by Frank. Orange You Glad It's Friday?

I was disappointed to see the area in disrepair. The restrooms are closed, the bridge is damaged, and even the signs are neglected. The forest service website does not mention that they have cut back on services here but there is a sign on the now-locked restroom building.

The biggest disadvantage to hanging out at Tomahawk Pond is the ants! I believe they are Allegheny mound ants and they will bite!

I almost hate to tell you those negative things about this scenic pond. If I'd left off the narrative and the last two pictures, you'd be left with a nice impression of the pretty reflections.  But that wouldn't be fair to the folks who find this post by searching for information about Tomahawk Pond. 

July 21, 2016

Farm Gate, Late Afternoon

I took these images at the Bowman-Hite farm last week.  It's across Cedar Creek from Strasburg.

July 20, 2016

Miss Sparrow Takes a Bath

Trail Cam Monochromes

I don't check my trail camera very often because it hasn't captured anything great since a bear came through the yard last year. Mostly we get pictures of geese, a cat, and Frank cutting the grass.

When the light is low, the images switch to black and white.
This cat is a regular visitor.
Movement triggers the camera to take a picture. Sometimes a picture caused by wind or rain is worth saving.

I've got some unrecognizable critters like this one. It could be a possum or raccoon.

What do you think this is?
The next one is shaped like a small deer. I've cropped it for a closer look. The streak that obscures the head is caused by the infrared beam that the camera shoots out.

You may notice that the images say "Camera 1." I don't have a second trail cam, but if I were buying one now I'd probably look for one with a flash. (See this article.)

And finally, this one appears to be a fox. He's shown up on the camera before although I've never seen him in person.

July 19, 2016

Bales of Hay

Lecture at the Bowman-Hite Farmhouse

As mentioned in my previous post, we went to a presentation Friday on the history of the Bowman-Hite Farmstead. The now-vacant home was added to over the years. The park service plans to remove the 1970's addition and restore the facade of the 160-year-old brick structure. 

Addition from the 1970's
It's common for old homes in the Shenandoah Valley to be expanded over the years. Some additions blend in with the original architecture and some don't.
Signal Knob as seen from the Farmstead
Ranger Kyle Rothemich Addresses the Audience
Looking Toward Cedar Creek, with Strasburg in the Distance
The farm was one of several that were impacted by the Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864. Fortunately, the house was not destroyed and there is no record of the residents being injured.

July 18, 2016

The Bowman-Hite Barn

On Friday we went to a History at Sunset Program at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The setting was the Bowman-Hite Farm on Bowman's Mill Road. It is not usually open to the public. 

Ranger Kyle gave an interesting talk on the history of the farm and the plans for restoring it. This sturdy bank barn will be painted and maintained.

We were allowed to go inside. It's in good shape.

Strasburg's Third Mural

The bright colors are startling when you first come across this new mural in Strasburg. The historic town has an old-time feel which is changing as new art practically vibrates off the walls! A fourth mural is planned by the Staufferstadt Artist Residency, a local art project.

I took the picture above today and this vertical shot on July 9th.  Artist Nick D'Auria was still working on the painting, which is near the town hall on East King Street. He signs his work NDA.
The artist alluded to the town's history by picturing retired pastor Ralph Crabill and his late father Charles Crabill, who was once the town's police chief. Many families in Strasburg have been here for generations.
See also: Mural #1 in Strasburg.
To see mural #2, go to this post and scroll down.

For a linkup showing murals from around the world, see Monday Murals.

July 17, 2016

The Shepherdstown Station

The train still runs through Shepherdstown but the station has been converted to other uses.

Christ Church, Shepherdstown

This church on East German Street was founded in 1747 but the brick building we see here does not date back that far. According the church's website, the original church was a log building.  The oldest part of the present structure is the stone tower that supports the steeple. It faces the cemetery instead of the street. 

A plaque on the cemetery wall names "Revolutionary War Soldiers and Patriots" who were buried here. Their surnames (for those who are searching for their West Virginia ancestors) are Cookus, Haines, Haynes, Hensel, Hoffman, Schell, Seever, Staley, Walforth and Yeasley.

Across the street is another cemetery. A sign tells us it is the Lutheran Graveyard dating as far back as 1774. 

The Lutheran Cemetery also has a plaque listing "Revolutionary War Soldiers and Patriots" as named by the NSDAR. Surnames are Estler, Foulks, Link, Ronemous, and Sheetz. 

July 16, 2016

Critters: Avian, Reptilian, Mammalian

Muscovy Ducks (Feral)

Rat Snake on Garden Hose
I don't enjoy seeing snakes! This black one was stretched out in front of our door and I waited for him to slink away before I stepped outside. Then I took his picture!

Rat snakes are harmless unless you happen to be a rodent or bird. I learned that they are protected in Virginia, as are all snakes unless they present a threat. They can be very startling though! I scattered some snake repellent around our door. I don't know how effective it is.

Okay, enough about snakes! The little bird on a willow branch and some cows are more pleasant to see, at least for me.