January 24, 2021

Church #400

 Inspired Sunday Meme

This is my 400th post with the label "Churches." Pleasant View Church of the Brethren is west of Mt. Jackson on Conicville Road

I was pleased to see that the date built was inscribed on a window over the door: 1876. 

The church is on beautiful and hilly farm country in Shenandoah County. 

The Barn Collective.

January 23, 2021

Geese and Goldfinch

These geese were captured by my trail cam. It is activated by movement.

The first picture shows Canada Geese. These are visitors , although we do have a small group of Canada Geese who live in our neighborhood year-round.

The white geese are descended from farm geese. They visit my yard every day. They are not strong fliers like the Canada Geese.
I took the goldfinch pictures using my aging Nikon camera. It has a zoom lens so I keep it near the back door for taking pictures of birds. 

Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin'

January 22, 2021

Winding Down on Willy Nilly Friday

We're only three weeks into 2021 and we've certainly seen some highs and lows! Our country made it through the attack on the Capitol and the Inauguration, but we are still in the throes of the pandemic. We have lost over 400,000 lives already to Covid-19. Two vaccines are available but there are not enough qualified personnel in our part of Virginia to keep up with the demand. So we wait. 

I haven't been to a restaurant in ages. I go into stores less often and very cautiously. Meetings are done online. Thank goodness we have the internet! 

Well, I can still go for rides and take walks in uncrowded places. It is easy to find them except on weekends when every family seems to be outdoors. 

Yesterday I found Seven Bends State Park to be very quiet. Here's one more picture from there,  more abstract than the others and in Black and White

The floral image is from my archives. There are three floral themes I'm linking to: Friday Bliss, Garden Affair, and Floral Friday

Looks like I inadvertently returned to the red, white and blue theme I used on Inauguration Day. Well, they are great colors! 

My skywatch shot has a similar color scheme, but with orange tones in the sunset.

The rest of today's pictures are from 1998 on Maryland Heights. This was a hike in the fog from Harpers Ferry to the Civil War fort on the mountain. I don't think I could do that steep hike now so I'm glad I went when I could.

I wanted to share these because Harpers Ferry is one of my favorite places. 

I posed at the overlook that is photographed by everyone who goes up there. You can see the bridges across the Potomac, and the town of Harpers Ferry. The river on the upper left is the Shenandoah and it meets the Potomac at a point that's out of the frame to the left. 

Originally I was going with a group from the NVCC Civil War class. It rained that morning and only two of us showed up. The rain had let up but we the found the heights shrouded in fog. 

I think my lens got fogged up too. The few pictures I took of the old stone walls are blurred by mist. This was 22 years ago and I did not own a digital camera, which would have been extremely expensive then.

The fort was built by Federal troops in 1862.  I think the sign in the final shot shows the 30-Pound Battery

My companion on this hike was a classmate and I think his name was John Campbell. In that class we typically knew each other by first name. It was pretty much a series of interpretive trips to Civil War sites and there was no roll call. Anyway, he hiked up the mountain with ease and I struggled to keep up.

January 21, 2021

There's Frustration but There's also Beauty.

First things first...

I couldn't let that go by! Something else I couldn't let go by was a chance to sign up for a Covid vaccine. Yesterday I learned that our health district would announce appointment slots at noon today. I was on their site at 11:59 and refreshed my browser at noon. There were slots available at two locations. My priority was to get an appointment for Frank, since he is older than me and also has diabetes. 

The nearest location available was at Shenandoah University so I filled out three pages of forms for Frank. I had done this same thing the other day but missed a slot while filling out insurance details, so this time I only filled out the fields marked with an asterisk, which were required in order to advance to the end. When I submitted the form I got a list of appointment times. All were full! 

I quickly chose a location in Luray, farther away but apparently still available. The software had remembered all data except the last page, which was checkboxes and a place to type his name. I did that and submitted. Drat! All those slots were gone too. It was only six minutes past noon. 

Tomorrow I will try again. I don't think it's possible to get appointments for both of us on the same day. Frustrating. If these were concert tickets, there'd be scalpers.

Oh, well. The sun was shining so I did some chores and then drove up to Seven Bends State Park to take pictures and walk along the river. 

Signs and Thankful Thursday.

I walked past the white barn that was once a pony barn back when this area was a youth camp. The Gokotta Trail goes along the North Fork of the Shenandoah. I did not explore very far because it was late in the day and I wanted to be back on the main road before dark.

Thank goodness for our parks and the beauty of nature! 

I'm including a picture of a trash can because it is a bear-proof style that we see in the parks here. In order to open it, you have to fit your fingers in a metal tunnel in order to grasp the release. Bear paws won't fit in there. 

January 20, 2021

Red, White and Blue.

 Today was Inauguration Day and flags were flying. I was so glad it took place with dignity and beauty and no violence. It was strange to see the audience spread out with everyone masked because of Covid-19.  The crowd was also limited in size for security reasons. The riot at the Capitol on January 6th was on everyone's mind, so we were relieved that the safety measures were successful.

Today's birds are cardinals (male and female), a red-bellied woodpecker, a bluejay, and a nuthatch, I think. 

Nature is refreshing. It has beauty and rhythm. It has pain too, and the violence of predators against prey. But it seems to make sense in ways that human interactions do not. 

Double Masked.

January 19, 2021

The Old Hudson House

Hudson's Crossroads, Shenandoah County.
Sharing with Tuesday Treasures and Our World Tuesday.

 This sturdy stone structure was built around 1790. It is said to have been built to withstand an Indian attack, or may have replaced an older building from the era of the French and Indian War, which ended in 1763. 

This house is no longer occupied. It can be seen from Senedo Road, Route 42. 

See Thomas Hudson House on Shenandoah Stories.

January 18, 2021

Blue Monday / Peaceful Heart.

Random-osity / Blue Monday

I found a mural to post today but first I want to acknowledge the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. Daily Word published a page which included a quote from him so I'm am basing the first part of today's post on that, starting with their affirmation. 

Looking at the world today, it is tempting to feel discouraged or even angry at the discord and disagreement that seem to surround me. I pause to remember that no matter what is going on in my environment, peace begins with me. I breathe deeply and relax, softening my heart, calming my emotions, and easing my mind. I heed the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but … a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

Here are some peaceful scenes from Shenandoah River State Park for Mosaic Monday. 

Monday Murals: This is a restaurant in Front Royal. The location was once a gas station but the owners have put much effort into making it into a place to eat and drink. 
I hope we have a peaceful week.

January 17, 2021

Meanwhile, Back at the Resort..

Bryce Mountain, Basye, VA

Our Lady of the ShenandoahInspired Sunday

Our Lady of the Shenandoah is a Roman Catholic Church in Bryce Resort.  It overlooks the ski slopes, which are currently covered in mechanically produced snow. 

It's probably been a year since I went to Bryce. We used to live there.  I loved the area, but we felt like we needed to be closer to town as we got older. 

I was surprised to see the Post Office there is now painted bright blue. It was brown before, in keeping with the rustic look of the resort. I used to drive there every day to get our mail. The postal service provided each resident with a P.O. Box rather than deliver mail up and down the narrow mountain roads.

January 16, 2021

Geese and Friends.

It's been cold enough for ice to form on the lake. Canada Geese like to hang out around an unfrozen pond in the middle of the ice. I imagine it offers safety if a predator should appear. 

Some mallard ducks were out there too. 

At least two families of mostly white geese live near us.  One group visits our back yard every day. They seem to think they own the place. 

I saw some visiting ducks. These are not mallards. (What are they? Buffleheads?)

Goldfinches visit our yard just about every day, probably because I feed them. 

Yesterday I looked out and saw a couple of young squirrels who did not know that the geese own the yard. At first the geese were curious about the furry intruders. Then the gray goose, who often watches over the others, decided to intimidate the squirrels. 

The squirrels did not react immediately but then they moved away. The lead goose strutted off with his head held high. 

I've noticed that geese often do that: stretch their necks up after behaving aggressively. Some people do this too.