June 30, 2005

Simple poetry

I am taking a beginning poetry course online at Virtual University (vu.org). We had to write a Haiku and a Tanka. They don't have to rhyme and are short.

My haiku has the classic 5-7-5 syllable pattern and is about a June day:

Breath deeply, long a-a-a-h.
Mouth open. Gentle summer air -
Think cold waterfall.

I was not familiar with Tanka, but in it's classic form it has a syllables per line pattern of 5-7-5-7-7. So here's my homework assignment entitled Old Papers:

Buried in clutter
Scraps of unanswered dreams
Unfinished projects.
Secret gems among rough rocks.
Procrastination mocks me.

June 29, 2005

Photography site is ready

I finally got my VirginiaPhoto.com site switched to it's own domain name. I had been using a redirect to a portfolio page on AOL (which was free) but I switched to my Catalog.com hosting club account, which is reasonable.

I own a number of domain names which I am not using yet. Hope to develop some of them soon. In the meantime I have a few listed for sale at Afternic including Colinda.com which I think is a good name.

June 27, 2005

Exploring John Singleton Mosby sites

I got an email from a dad who saw my Mosby's Rangers tour pages and wanted some recommendations on Mosby sites to show his young sons while visiting Northern Virginia. Here's my advice:

The railroad station at Herndon, site of a Mosby raid. Drive slowly through Herndon and watch for the Civil War Trails sign.

Aldie Mill ( http://www.aldiemill.org/ ) is a nice place to visit; you might want to arrive there early to find a good parking space since they are having an art show. The Mosby story that takes place there is a good one.

If you are going to Aldie, you may as well stop at the Mt. Zion Church on the way. It's on Route 50 and according to mosbyheritagearea.org they are offering interpretation on Saturdays. You can contact that organization through their site for audio tour info. A site with directions to the church and other info is www.loudoun.gov/prcs/otherfac/mount.htm.

June 25, 2005

Sightseeing in the Shenandoah

We've been busy for the past week entertaining two sets of houseguests plus celebrating an anniversary. When Allison and Dave visited we took them to the Deauville Fallow Deer Farm (near Basye, Virginia) and the Silver Phoenix store (Native American crafts) near Mt. Jackson, plus we enjoyed a tasty lunch at Johnny Appleseed Restaurant in New Market. Then for our anniversary we visited Luray Caverns and car museum and had a yummy dinner at the Outback in Harrisonburg. Yesterday Bill and Mary arrived and we showed them the wonderful outdoor church at Shrinemont (Orkney Springs) and went to dinner at Coleman's in Bryce Resort. Today we took them shopping at the Dayton Farmer's Market and Harper's Lawn Ornaments near Harrisonburg.

I hear from Marie Javins that she has arrived safely in Kampala, Africa. She will be working on a book and finishing up some comic book coloring. (Have you seen her Wall of Cows?)

Meanwhile my own websites (including javins.com and walcroft.com) and not getting updated and I hope to get around to them soon. I'm planning to start another site and I'm looking at Virtual Avenue and Catalog.com to see which is the better host for what I need. I have used both in the past and they have been reliable.

June 22, 2005

Good causes

I just read about http://www.grahamtastic.org. They donate laptops to children who are hospitalized with serious illnesses. Seems like a good idea.

Modest Needs is another small organization helping people in small but not inconsequential ways. They help people "who suddenly find themselves faced with small, emergency expenses that they have no way to afford on their own."

If you shop online, try iGive.com as your shopping portal and contribute to charity at no cost to you. If you can't find a suitable store there, try www.care2.com/shopping.

I maintain a website for Spiritual Singles which serves single adults in the Washington DC area. I also post a page for the Chemical Sensitivity Disorders Association which includes meeting notices and links regarding environmental illness and less-toxic living.

Those of us who find inspiration at American Civil War Battlefields will want to support the Civil War Preservation Trust. Here in Virginia many history-rich locales are being gobbled up by development. I am also a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

A leader in environmental preservation is Environmental Defense. If you are looking for a local human service organization to support, try the search tool at United Way of America.

June 19, 2005

Clicking to save the Rain Forest

Visitors and sponsors of the therainforestsite.com are saving around 600 acres of rainforest a month. You can help and it only takes a minute. Go to therainforestsite.com every day and click the button. The clicks are counted and used by the site to get donations from sponsors.

Another no-cost place to generate a donation to save the rain forest is rainforest.care2.com. It works the same way: one click per computer per day, sponsors pay for the number of clicks and the money goes to conserve land.

June 18, 2005

Shelby Foote Interviews

I'm reading Conversations with Shelby Foote edited by William C. Carter. It's a collection of interviews with the writer, who makes it clear he's a novelist, even though he is well-known for his history of the Civil War.

In a 1970 interview, Foote talked about the high casualty rate in Civil War battles. He spoke of the casualties at the most famous attack at Gettysburg: "at Pickett's charge, they suffer 60 per cent and it's inconceivable to us... the stupidity of it, again. The stupid courage is inconceivable."

The courage that seems foolhardy in retrospect is one of the things that fascinates us today. So many men died in the American Civil War; many others were maimed. And so much of it was wasteful: doomed assaults, inconclusive battles, victories that did not end the war. And even now there is disagreement on what they were fighting for.

June 17, 2005

Brief trip to Pennsylvania and New Jersey

We just got back from a short visit to the Brandywine Valley and New Jersey. We spent time in West Chester and Chadd's Ford, where we toured the Brandywine Museum. Frank was particularly interested in seeing Andrew Wyeth's paintings. We also went up to Jersey City to see Marie Javins who is getting ready to travel to Africa to work on a book. Her book Tent Camping in New Jersey was published recently.

On the way back today we made a stop in Shartlesville, PA to visit Roadside America. I've been there several times but Frank hadn't seen it so I wanted him to have the experience. If you have never been there, picture a model train layout with handcrafted houses, farms, churches, mills... and on and on like someone just kept adding and adding for years that turned into decades, which is just about what happened. Children love it but everyone who was touring it this morning was an adult. And no doubt most of them were feeling like children in a toy store, making the trolley go, making the bell ring, and just having a nice time.

June 14, 2005

Audio book by James McPherson

I'm listening to Hallowed Ground on audio tape, in which noted historian James McPherson narrates a walking tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. I'm a little over a quarter of the way through and it is interesting and easy to follow. The Battle of Gettysburg is a bit complicated, so I appreciate the clarity of this book.

This audio book is published by Books on Tape (2003). I checked it out of the library. Audio books are great because they make car travel much more interesting.

A few months ago I posted my photos of the Gettysburg battlefield at www.civilwarfieldtrips.com/gettysburg/tourphotos.html.
You are invited to take a look. Gettysburg is a great place to visit.

June 13, 2005


Hi! I'm a webmaster and photographer with strong interests in American History and environmental health. I'll share with you some comments on websites, some photos, and who-knows-what else.

I'll be posting some links that may interest you as they come to my attention. First, let me invite you to my site on Civil War battlefields in the eastern U.S., www.CivilWarFieldTrips.com. It includes hundreds of photographs, field trip guidelines for teachers, and brief battle summaries.