April 8, 2020

Goldfinches in April

The American Goldfinch sheds its dull yellow feathers for breeding season and shows off stunning yellow colors.

Unfortunately, it is time to stop feeding them because the bears are wondering through the countryside in Virginia. They are more active now that the weather is nice and they are seeking food. They can smell bird seed and will destroy feeders to get it.

Bears don't truly hibernate in our climate, although they den up and sleep for weeks at a time, coming out on warmer days to browse for food.
Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday and My Corner of the World

Farm Scenes from my 2017 Archives

Sharing with The Barn Collective

April 7, 2020

Yellow Food Truck.

Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday.

I Wrote a Guest Post.

My friend Dawn asked me to write a post on Fishers Hill for "On the Streets Where We Live." I've done a number of posts on this blog on Fishers Hill, partly because the village by that name is charming but also because the nearby battlefield is a nice place to walk.

Tuesday Treasures.  Historical preservation groups have preserved 362 acres of this Civil War battlefield. It was farmland before they acquired it but it was in a likely location for development, since Interstate 81 actually crosses part of it, and it is only an hour from the DC Metropolitan Area. The battlefield park is still used for grazing cattle, but it is open to visitors and features interpretive signs.

I first visited Fishers Hill with a history class from Northern Virginia Community College. This was before blogging and I was developing a site called Civil War Field Trips.

If you find yourself in the northern Shenandoah Valley, consider a visit to Fishers Hill. Tumbling Run flows through the battlefield and provides water to a lovely mill in the village. The peacefulness of the area today stands in contrast to the battle that raged here in 1864.

April 6, 2020

Spring Colors and a Masked Selfie.

The Good: It's spring in Virginia and that is a beautiful thing! 

Mosaic Monday
The Random: Unfortunately, we are in a time of contagion. In order to visit a shop on Saturday, I put on a mask to make less the chance of catching or spreading the virus. I realize this only helps a little, but I did not get very close to anyone.

We are trying to avoid going in stores but it is difficult. For several weeks, they have been out of so many things that it has been impossible to stock up.

The Fun: Strasburg has some new butterfly murals by local artist Barbara Plitt. The green wall is the back of Pot Town Organics.

Monday Murals: The aqua wall is at the Town Park. I used the timer on my iPhone camera to take a selfie with the butterfly. I propped up the phone against my purse on the grass.

April 5, 2020

On Stone Church Road.

Markham, Virginia.

Last month I took these pictures of Markham United Methodist Church. 

When the church was built in 1819, the town was known as Farrowsville. The church was built as a Union Church, meaning it could serve all denominations. I found this information in the nomination form for Marshall Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. Behind the church is the old Markham School, which dates to 1918. 

This sign indicates that the old stone building is now the Methodist Church, with the road to the right leading to Goose Creek Primitive Baptist Church. I assume that the Primitive Baptist congregation meets in  the old school, but I was unable to confirm this.

April 4, 2020

Bird Feeders, Great Blue Heron

Let's start off with a pair of cardinals at a feeder. The female is not as brightly colored, an advantage when she is on the nest and does not want to be spotted by predators. 

From my window, I can see across the lake but if I want to be certain that a large bird is a Great Blue Heron, I have to look through binoculars or, more likely, through the zoom on my Nikon. 

I like to watch him and he likes to watch for fish.

This red feeder and the first one in this post are both supposed to be squirrel-proof. The first one has done well so far.

This squirrel figured out how to get some seed. Looking closely at these two pictures, I see that the squirrel had apparently loosened a wire that acts as a spring to close the feeder when a certain amount of weight was on it. This afternoon I found a little more damage. The long screw on the lower right of the picture with the gold finch has now fallen inside the feeder. That will be a nuisance to fix.

It's almost time to stop feeding the birds anyway. Bears are likely to come through the yard in the spring and they are even harder on feeders than squirrels are.

My final image today is a Photoshopped goose. I used layers and filters to make it look artsy.
Sharing with Caturday Art, I'd Rather Be Birdin' and Saturday Critters.

April 3, 2020

More from Strasburg's Town Park.

1. Yesterday I shared some "social distancing" examples, but I did not mention the reason I stopped by the park. I wanted to get out in the sunshine, and in particular I wanted to photograph Virginia Bluebells. I only found one of them in bloom, but I guess it is still early so they have not reached their peak.

2. When Governor Northam issued the Stay at Home Order, he specifically exempted outdoor exercise as well as shopping for necessities. My exercise yesterday was walking at the park; others were riding bikes. 

Black and White Weekend.
3. The North Fork of the Shenandoah looked peaceful. There are plenty of signs of spring in the valley, but up on the mountain the trees were still mostly bare except for the brown oak leaves that cling to the branches until new buds push them off.

The North Fork flows on to Front Royal where it joins the South Fork and becomes the Shenandoah River.

Friday Bliss and Floral Friday.

4. Yellow mustard flowers are blooming. At least, that's what I call this. I admit it could be winter cress, which looks similar.

5.  The Weekend Reflection blog hop has inspired me to watch for reflections. This one is in a parking lot at the Town Park.

I'm also linking this image to Skywatch Friday. Have a pleasant weekend and stay safe!

April 2, 2020

Town Park, Social Distancing.

Strasburg, Virginia.

Virginia's governor has stated that exercise is encouraged, but not in large groups. Also, unless someone is a member of your household, you are to stay at least six feet away from them. I read today that six feet is not enough to prevent contagion, so try to stay 10 feet away.

I took the cloudy day pictures a few days ago and the sunny pictures today. Strasburg's Town Park lies between Queen Street and the North Fork of the Shenandoah.

At the Riverwalk, a sign provides further instruction. Mostly this is common sense, like "Wash your hands frequently."

Up the hill we find that the childrens' playground is closed. This is sad for children who don't have a yard to play in, but of course it is not practical to keep play equipment virus-free.

The tot lot is named Signal Knob Playground. From here you have a fine view of Signal Knob, the north end of the Massanutten Range. Here the  mountain slopes down to the river.
Sharing with Fences and Signs, Signs. 

April 1, 2020

Sperryville's Red Schoolhouse

The old schoolhouse in Sperryville has seen various uses since the school closed. I remember it as the home of several shops including an antique store. When we were there last month, the only one of the old shops still there was a stained glass lamp shop. Headmaster's Pub was also still there, and a golf course has been adjacent to it for a few years. Between the lamp shop and the pub is now a huge game room.

I was surprised to see that part of the building is being used for education again. A sign on the side door said it is the Rapp Center for Education, Rapp being short for Rappahannock County. I see by the RappCE site that they facilitate lifelong learning and workforce training. Right now classes are postponed because all schools are closed until the threat of epidemic is under control. 

A Farm in East Rockingham County

Sharing with Wordless Wednesday
and The Barn Collective.