March 22, 2018

It Snowed, It Melted.

Virginia is in a "temperate zone" as far as climate. This doesn't mean our weather lacks extremes, though. We had a warm sunny day on Monday, a wintry mix on Tuesday, snow all day Wednesday, and a mild day Thursday (today). Most of the snow melted. 
This Morning.
This Afternoon.
Yes, we are looking at the same mountains in pictures 2 and 3. Picture 3 is taken from farther away, along Gaffia Lodge Road.

After running some errands this afternoon, I wanted to take a few more wintry pictures. I made a stop at Catlett's Ford on the North Fork of the Shenandoah. It's not a ford any more, but was used as one many years ago when people crossed the river on horses. They would have engineered the crossing place with rocks but most of those have moved in spring floods since then. The river changes constantly. There is now a fishing area here.

Eventually I found my way to Long Meadow Road, wound around a bit and ran another errand before coming home.

Sharing with Fences and My Town Shoot Out

March 21, 2018

Finally It Snowed.

Yesterday was the spring equinox and we had snow. Then we had more snow last night and for the first time since last winter, it amounted to more than an inch. But the temperature rose above freezing so the accumulation only amounted to about 4 inches because the snow was melting even as it fell this afternoon.

The photo of the black vulture is from yesterday morning. It's a companion to a picture of a couple that I posted yesterday. Vultures are large and can be startling, but I find them very interesting.

Next up is a grackle who doesn't look thrilled with the weather.

I think the junco is hoping to grab a seed as soon as it's dropped.

This morning the snow covered the branches on our trees. I took the picture of the cardinal with my cell phone.

I like squirrels but sometimes I get irritated with them because they gobble up an awful lot of bird seed! This one was managing to get seed from my "squirrel-proof" feeder. I wondered why it was out feeding as the snow fell, getting very wet. Usually the squirrels come to my feeders in more pleasant weather, and even leave well before dark. This one must have been extra hungry.

It wasn't until I brought up the next picture on my laptop screen that I realized she appears to be a momma squirrel who has babies to feed.

American Robin
This last picture surprised me. Birds don't hold still for long and I miss quite a few shots because of it. Sometimes I catch one in flight but this time several were darting about. Perhaps it's a goldfinch party?

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

March 20, 2018

The Little Office at Belle Grove

For at least 20 years I've been coming to Belle Grove in Middletown, but I'd never been inside the little stone house that you see as you come up the lane. On Saturday it was open to the public for the first time as part of the plantation's opening day of the season, so I made it a point to go.

In the 18th century, this building had an office on one side and a store on the other side. Later it saw other uses and eventually became a residence. Over the past two years it underwent remodeling, and the upstairs is now ready as sleeping quarters for guests.
See other posts about Belle Grove.

Sharing with Tuesday Treasures.

I Opened the Blinds this Morning and Saw...

Sharing with Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday and Through My Lens

March 19, 2018

End of Winter Randoms, Woodstock.


The Good: I enjoy outdoor art! This utility box was designed by Liam Shell. Cacti are not native to Virginia but the colors are delightful.

Sharing with Monday Murals.
The Random: After I ran some errands in Woodstock today, I drove down a country road to check out the scenery. This poor old barn has lost it's roof!

There were other barns in much better shape. I collected some for Tom's linkup and put them in a collage (or mosaic if you prefer), along with a view from Sheetz Mill Road.

The Fun: This guy saw me taking photos and came over to greet me. He seemed  like a friendly donkey and did not mind my taking his picture.

By the way, there are signs of spring here in the Shenandoah, but the weather forecast says we may get a snow storm. It doesn't feel likely because temperatures were quite warm today.

Sharing with Seasons.

March 18, 2018

Mt. Hope Presbyterian Church

This church on Coal Mine Road has a Strasburg address, although it's over 6 miles away in the foothills of Little North Mountain. It was established in 1904.

Sharing with Shadow Shot and Inspired Sunday.

March 17, 2018

Preferred Bird Settings.

I take a fair number of photos of birds and I have preferences when choosing which ones to share. Generally the most desirable setting is the natural environment. 

It was a bonus that these ducks were interacting.

If I can't catch the bird in his natural setting, capturing him perching on a manmade item can be good. It helps if the item is attractive, so that's something to consider when buying feeder poles and other items for your yard. 

Of course, keeping the feeders full will help bring birds around! I have several feeders at the same distance from my window so that I can focus quickly when shooting from indoors.

I've read that photo editors don't want pictures of birds at feeders. Bloggers have more artistic freedom, but I try to avoid pictures of birds with their beaks buried in feeders. I like to see their little faces!  This goldfinch obliged by looking in my direction.

Rules are made to be broken, at least in photography. I like the pattern on this woodpecker's back, so I'm including it's rearview picture.

Sharing with Saturday's Critters and I'd Rather Be Birding.
One other thing: my rules for squirrels are different. They are funniest when stealing from bird feeders! I have more pictures of funny squirrels than I'll ever publish, but I throw one in here once in a while.

March 16, 2018

Mid-March Quintet

1. This image of a stairway started off as a cell phone picture. I cropped off the sides a little bit and converted it to black and white. 

2. I zoomed way in and cropped this goose photo to emphasize the bright orange beak. Not many bloggers are participating in the Orange linkup these days but it's challenging. Sometimes the camera doesn't render orange correctly and it comes out yellow or red.

3. My younger daughter just returned from a trip to Tunisia. Be sure to visit her blog and see her incredible pictures. They will strike a chord with Star Wars fans.
Photo by Marie Javins
4. This is another cell phone shot. Parts of the reflection are wavy and other lines are pretty straight. I wonder if the glass has a plastic coating or something. 

I took this picture, as well as the stairway in #1, when I was in Baltimore. I considered converting it to black and white but I like the blue sky.

5. Saturday is St. Patrick's Day, and I'm prepared because I have a picture of a green display that I saw in Kroger. The beads looks suspiciously like Mardi Gras beads, don't they?

Enjoy your weekend!

March 15, 2018

Rural Strasburg Scenes

Shenandoah County, Virginia.
There are actually farms within the town limits of Strasburg. Here a horse grazes with Riverview Cemetery in the background.

Next we see fence rails casting long shadows in the town park.

If you enter Strasburg from exit 298 on I-81, you'll probably notice the mountain views. You can pull into the parking lot for Burger King or Denny's and take a good look.

I took the final photo outside of town although the area still has a Strasburg address. I am fortunate to live in a pretty area!

Sharing with Fences Around the World and Thankful Thursday.

March 14, 2018

March 13, 2018

Pine Grove School and More

On Saturday there was a small crafts show at this schoolhouse in Clary, which is west of Strasburg. This is the Pine Grove School, built in 1885 and recently relocated to private land nearby. 

Even in winter, the view from the school is pretty.

After we left there, we took a ride out Coal Mine Road and circled back to Route 55 via Wardensville Grade. Here's one of the farms we passed.

Since a cow posed for me, it seems right to show you a closer view of this.