January 15, 2018

Around Luray

The Good: Luray is situated in fertile Page County, Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and the Massanutten Mountains. Much of the county is rural, with productive farms.

Sharing with The Barn Collective and Mosaic Monday.

The Random: Near the old Massanutten School in Luray is preserved this auction block. The sign explains:
Legend and narrative testimonies describe this stone as A Slave Auction Block. 
From the Page News & Courier, August 31, 1961: “This native sandstone block . . . which stood at the corner of Main and Court Streets at the Chamber of Commerce building . . . was used as a perch for slaves about to be sold at auction . . . The stone is said to be one of the few now in existence.” It is similar to many which existed in the South prior to the Civil War.
As a part of everyday life, black men, women and children would be displayed and examined on slave blocks and sold for the highest bid. Family groups were frequently sold apart; husbands from wives, mothers from children, etc.
This block is an historic symbol of a dark past of man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man. It is also a symbol of how far we have come in learning to respect its victims and in resolving to go forward into the future with mutual respect and understanding.
(Recommended Reading: The Narrative of Bethany Veney, A Slave Woman.)

The Fun:  Across the street from that sad reminder of the past is a town park. Here citizens can gather and children can play.

January 14, 2018

Historic Zion Reformed Church in Hagerstown


In 1775, while the church was being built, a heavy beam fell and crushed Capt. Jonathan Hager, the founder of Hagerstown. The metal plaque tells us he was "Buried west of main building."

Nearby is a sign entitled "Retreat from Gettysburg."
"Zion Reformed Church was a stronghold for the Confederates on their retreat from Gettysburg on July 6, 1863. General Robert E. Lee passed through Hagerstown during the Confederate occupation following the Battle of Gettysburg. General George Armstrong Custer observed Confederate movements from the church's bell tower on July 12th, after his Michigan cavalry brigade forced the occupying Confederates to the western edge of town. A Confederate sniper fired at Custer in the bell tower, but missed him and hit one of the tower's bells."

That's Custer in the right-hand photo.

This is the oldest church building in Washington County, Maryland that has been in continuous use as a church.

January 13, 2018

Backyard Birds and a Wildlife Center

Today we went to an open house at a wildlife rescue center. I'll share a few pictures from there but first I've got three pictures of backyard birds, starting with a chickadee in black and white.

I was pleased to see the sapsucker again. I guess she has taken up residence around here.

Next we have a junco and a tufted titmouse sitting on a branch. They visit my feeders frequently.


Now for the visit to Blue Ridge Wildlife Center near Millwood. Their Open House this afternoon drew many visitors. There were a few live animals but I did not press through the crowd to take pictures because only one, a small owl, was a critter that I don't have tons of pictures of already, and he was in a cage surrounded by curious children.

Volunteers were giving talks and answering questions. The facility is larger than I expected. People bring injured wild animals here to be treated and (with luck) released back into the wild.

Stuffed animals were placed around to demonstrate how real ones are rehabilitated.

There are outdoor cages too but they were not open to the public.


January 12, 2018

Five for a Rainy Friday

It's Friday night so I'm using the Willy Nilly Friday format to post five miscellaneous pictures. I'm also linking to some other blog hops. 

1. It's pouring rain outside. We had unseasonably warm temperatures today, quite a change from the deep freeze we felt early this week. But I understand temperatures are about to drop again. 

Crooked Run Plaza at 5 PM today.
Sharing above with Weekend Reflections and below with Orange You Glad It's Friday.

2. I spotted this horse near Woodstock late one afternoon. 


3. Lynn is still dealing with health issues. She consulted with a new doctor who feels she needs another surgery. He does not do this rather extensive procedure and recommended another surgeon who is several hours away.

4. The next image is one I assembled for a local photo challenge to illustrate "glitter." I took this using my iPad.

Weekend Green.
5. I took this final picture while waiting for a traffic signal to change in Woodstock.
Skywatch Friday.
Have a good weekend!

January 11, 2018

Yesterday, Skyline Drive.


The cold spell finally broke so yesterday when we went to Front Royal to shop. I suggested a brief visit to Shenandoah National Park. There were scattered clouds in the sky so a nice sunset seemed likely.

We saw a family of deer just past the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center.




Looking West toward Signal Knob, Massanutten Range

January 10, 2018

Some January Visitors to My Yard

If you feed them, they will come.
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Blue Jays
Mockingbird (I think).

Wordless Wednesday: Express Wash


January 9, 2018

I-81 and the Shirley House, New Market


(Built in 1875.) 



Blog Post #6200

Yes, I have posted well over six thousand blog entries. I began blogging in 2005. Sometimes I think I spend too much time on it. But more likely, I spend too much time browsing Facebook!

I did not make specific New Year's Resolutions this year. I rarely do. I suppose it is good to think about such things, and the start of a new year is a good reminder to consider what you'd like to change.

And I would like to change some things. In addition to spending less time on Facebook, I'd like to spend more time being active. It is difficult because I get tired easily and my feet hurt. The physical therapist gave me exercises to do and I really should spend more time on them. I know why I procrastinate on this: exercise is uncomfortable. It not only brings on pain, it forces my attention on physical weaknesses, and I'd rather think about something else, almost anything else!

It's been over a year since foot surgery and I do have less pain. But my ankles are not strong, and when they wobble I am reminded that I have loose ligaments and may never be able to hike more than a short distance. I fear another injury and this protective fear is probably a good thing. The podiatrist said that it was the frequent twisting of my ankles that caused scar tissue and that awful bone spur that made surgery necessary.

On a more hopeful note, I changed my health insurance so that I can see a doctor who may be able to help. The podiatrist is sending my records over to him. Fingers crossed.


January 8, 2018

Look Up, Look Around.



The Good: Here's another artsy utility box in Woodstock. "Look UP" is the message.

Monday Mural
The Random: Like Tom the Backroads Traveler,  I delight in collecting rural scenes. I spent my early years in the DC suburbs and my young adult years in the city of Alexandria, VA. Now that I live in the Shenandoah Valley, I want to see as much of it as I can.

Created Using PhotoCollage for Mosaic Monday
The Fun: This young lady was enjoying the scenery at Eastham Park in Front Royal. A friend was with her taking photos of the icy Shenandoah River.
Sharing with Seasons

January 7, 2018

Otterbein UMC in Hagerstown


This Methodist Church was founded in 1790 as a Brethren Church. I neglected to take an exterior shot because we parked right next to the building and frankly, I was too cold to feel like walking far enough away to frame a photo of the handsome brick building. But here is a clipping from the Historic Houses of Worship Tour brochure.
Moller Organ, Reflected in a Grand Piano.


January 6, 2018

A Good Week for Seeing Birds


This past week was one of the coldest I remember. I don't think the temperature ever got up to the freezing point. At least the big snow did not reach us!

It's rare that I spot a bluebird in our yard, but I saw one from our family room window and managed to get some pictures. Robins are not rare here, but usually I only see one at a time. A flock of robins visited the other day. I suspect they came here to escape the snow that hit the coast.

Speaking of flocks, a huge flock of starlings came through. 


When I drove out to go to the store today, I saw this pair of Muscovy ducks at the school bus stop. I guess they were escaping from the cold winds. We've seen cats in there too. 


This sapsucker rarely visits our feeders. I guess the frigid temperatures made her hungry.

Next we have the great blue heron. I doubt if he caught any fish. Most of the lake was frozen.


Last of all, here's a pair of squirrels.  I don't really mind them taking some of the bird seed when it's this cold. They need to eat too!