March 21, 2019

Around Front Royal in March.

Eastham Park is along the South Fork of the Shenandoah. We've been going there since the trail was first paved in 2011

This brick gateway is beside Luray Avenue on the way to the park. I was trying to get a blooming forsythia bush in the picture but it is a bit in the distance. It's behind the gate to the right.

Front Royal has a nice library on Criser Road. This groundhog seems to live between the library and the school. I saw him previously in December.

Groundhogs have other names including woodchuck.

I am thankful that it is officially Spring! Today was not as nice as the last few days because it rained all day, and up in the mountains there was snow. But a few flowers are blooming and more will follow soon.

March 20, 2019

A Raptor in Middletown

Cedar Creek Battlefield, Virginia.

This could be a red-tailed hawk but I didn't see much more than a silhouette. I was glad to get a picture because usually I see hawks while I'm driving on the highway so I cannot get a photo. This one was in a tree next to the upper parking lot for the Morning Attack Trails and Vermont Monument.

Hawks like to sit in trees next to roads because they watch for small animals that come to the roadside to feed on items that humans throw out of cars.

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday.

First Blooms in March

March 19, 2019

Walker's Cash Store and Some Nearby Farms

This general store served the small town of St. Luke for over a century. It closed in 2015 and is currently being fixed up to reopen as the St. Luke Co-op. There is an apartment upstairs that is rented as an Air BnB.

The term "cash store" was popular during the early 20th century. I've seen it used before for general stores or groceries.
Tuesday's Treasures.
At one time, St. Luke was a thriving town with two churches, a school, post office, sawmill, and two general stores. Over the years there were various businesses including a blacksmith shop, a saddlery, a gas station, lime plant, and even a distillery. [Source: Shenandoah County Library.] The churches and this store remain, plus a former schoolhouse that is apparently owned by one of the churches.

The community is in a pretty rural area. Here are some farm buildings along St. Luke's Road.

Sharing with the Barn Collective.

March 18, 2019

End of Winter Randoms

The Good: I read about this mural a year ago and finally made it to Culpeper to see it. It depicts young George Washington as a surveyor in 1749. The artist is Thomas Mullany of Flint Hill. 

For more murals, see Colourful World.
The Random: I met Lynn for lunch today in Harrisonburg. (This could also fall under the "Good" and "Fun" categories.) She showed me her new phone.

The Fun: Strasburg held a St. Patrick's Day Festival on Saturday.

Mosaic Monday.

March 17, 2019

The Oldest Church Building in Culpeper

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church was built in 1821. During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital. In the winter of 1863, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and his staff attended church here.

On a matter unrelated except for the word Saint, today happens to be St. Patrick's Day. I hope you had a nice day, whether you identify as Irish or not.

I don't think of myself as Irish, but DNA shows I am 61% from the British Isles, so I probably have some Irish blood. Here is a traditional wish from Ireland for you:
May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love. 

March 16, 2019

A Lucky Shot, Some Birds, and a Cat.

Let me start off with a picture I almost didn't get. I was in Shenandoah National Park when only the first five miles of Skyline Drive were open. A winter storm had made higher elevations icy and had also felled numerous trees, so only the portion from Front Royal to Dickey Ridge was clear, not uncommon in the winter. I saw some movement over one of the stone walls, just the ears of a couple of deer. I slowed down, opened the window and stopped. (No one was behind me because the park was basically deserted that afternoon.) I raised the camera just as this deer raised her head. I only clicked the shutter once before she disappeared. 

This lady cardinal was at one of my feeders this morning. How nice that she was lit by a sunbeam! I think the females are quite beautiful when the light brings out their colors.

The male cardinals are more famous because they are bright red. Usually you see one every time you see a female. They are devoted guardians.

Today is Caturday so here's a kitty picture. I filtered the background but not the cat, using a duplicate layer in Photoshop. (Layers are awesome once you get used to using them.)

This goldfinch posed nicely for me. Finches are easily bribed into being photographed. I keep a couple of feeders filled and they are in my yard all winter.

A housefinch and a junco are sharing a seed bell. I hope they ate their fill before a squirrel took over and decimated the seed.

There's another junco in the next picture.

And for today's finale, a Canada Goose. 
Saturday's Critters and I'd Rather Be Birdin'. 

March 15, 2019

Ides of March Willy Nilly

1. The Romans determined the "Ides" by the full moon. Now the only time we say "Ides" is referring to the 15th of March, due to the reference in "Julius Caesar."

I played with a moon photo in Photoshop because I wanted something unique.

2. I appreciate Black and White Weekend choosing my "Striped Roads" to publish. Today's black and white image shows part of a dam.

3. Reflection of trees and sky in a car window.

4. Cloudia always has some great quotes on her blog. I copied this one. Writers take note!

5. Last and perhaps least, is an odd little selfie I made today using my iPad and a dollar-store scarf.

Have a good weekend!

March 14, 2019

Near the Culpeper Station

This is the boyhood home of Eppa Rixey, a Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher. If you haven't heard of him, it's probably because his last game was in 1933.

The complete text of the sign can be read at the Historical Marker Database.

The big red "O" is part of something I'll show you in a moment.

The red caboose is an old one that stands in front of the railroad station, which serves Amtrak but is now used mostly as a Visitors Center and museum.

A passenger train arrived at the station while I was there.

The final image today is one of the many LOVE signs that are displayed around Virginia. The state's tourism slogan is "Virginia is for Lovers."

I'm sharing this post with Fences Around the World and Signs, Signs.

March 13, 2019

Red Barns, Red Birds

Today's post is brought to you by the color red.
The barns are near Woodstock, Virginia.

The birds are in my back yard.
  • Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • Pileated Woodpecker.

Detail of Blue Mural (Shenandoah River)

Wordless Wednesday.

March 12, 2019