December 30, 2006

December draws to a close

It's been a nice Christmas week. I loved seeing my daughters and then we enjoyed having Allison and Dave visit.

Our house looks nice with the decorations. As Frank says, it is a "great Christmas House."

The weeks before Christmas are often a bit depressing for me. Thank goodness for the holiday lights; they help relieve the darkness of the shortest days of the year. Visits with family members always cheer me up.

Well, there's a new year just around the corner. May we make it a good one!

Two book reviews

I wrote two more book reviews on Amazon. The first is for an audiobook, John Muir, Spirit of the Wilderness. It is by John Muir and actor Lee Stetson, who portrays Muir at Yosemite events. I remember reading one of Muir's books in high school, and my mother reading it also. We agreed that it was exciting but Muir was a bit crazy. Climbing a tree during a thunderstorm is not a sane thing to do.

I also reviewed a slim book called Your Liver Your Lifeline. I only gave it 3 stars (out of 5) because part of it is a sales pitch for herbal remedies. However, some of it is interesting, and I appreciate the author's cautions that herbal medicine is meant to be taken on a temporary basis. Eventually it ceases to work or can even cause symptoms.

December 29, 2006

Charles L. Suiter's modular desk

When we moved we had to reassemble the old desk that belonged to my grandfather. It has three main modules; one is a desktop that is not shown here. On the back is handwritten the following:
Manufactured by Abram J. Townsend
March 1916
C L Suiter

Grandfather Suiter lived in Michigan. He died before I came along. I don't know anything about Mr. Townsend.

December 28, 2006

Sunset seen from the car

Conicville Road, Mt. Jackson, VA,
December 28, 2006

December 27, 2006

Disposable Camera

Whenever we go out in the car for more than a half-hour, I pack a snack bag which includes a bottle of water, an emergency snack, and a disposable camera. Although I often carry a digital camera, the disposable serves as a backup if I forget the "good" camera or if it has a problem such as low batteries.

I finally finished up the film in the disposable and got it printed and scanned. These pictures are among that batch. The camera was a Fuji outdoor model.

Deer beside the road - grab the camera!

The maintenance shed at Sky Bryce has a great view.

Farm scene near Mt. Jackson

From the same spot but opposite direction,
I saw this charming church.

Bows on the Gatepost

stone wall

Decorating and Photo by Frank

December 26, 2006

Messy? You say that like it's a bad thing...

The New York Times has a article called Saying Yes to Mess. As a person who likes a certain amount of clutter, I'm glad to see someone finally say that it's a good thing.

Messy desks are the "signatures of people with creative, limber minds." Yes!

December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas

two young ladies
Marie and Lynn

dogsBenny and Guppy

December 24, 2006

A Christmas Song Written 12/24/06

There are a lot of not-so-good songs being played just because they mention Christmas. So I'm joining them with a couple of holiday verses to be sung to the tune of MacArthur Park.

Christmas is not waiting for us girl
It's just one day ahead
The season's been a frantic dance
With gifts and social swirl.
I know I should be ready
But I haven't had a chance.

The candy canes are melting in the dark
All the sweet red stripes are flowing down
Someone left the sleigh out in the rain
I don't think that I can trust it
The runners are all rusted
And I'll never get them shiny new again
Oh, no!


December 23, 2006

Hatched Squirrel


Cross-hatched with Photoshop Filter

December 22, 2006

Prospect Cemetery

I've written about
Prospect Cemetery in Front Royal
before. We made a visit there on Sunday and I took some more photos on the hilltop site where there's a marker commemorating some of Mosby's rangers who were executed near there. I kinda liked the image of my shadow on the cannon.

December 21, 2006

December 20, 2006

Some pictures from 2005

Here's a few photos from last year that I didn't get around to posting (did I?). I found them in an old "To Do" folder on a CD.

The first picture was taken at Goshen Pass. The ones below were taken at the chalet when Austin and Justin were visiting.

December 19, 2006

Cutting a Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Farm, December 19

Today we went to Mr. Harpine's tree farm on Flat Rock Road near New Market. It's cut-your-own nursery. We got our Christmas tree here two years ago.

Frank did the cutting and hauling. Below you can see me posing as if I did the work.

December 17, 2006

Lion with antlers

cement lion
This fellow has donned holiday antlers.

A little rain the other night left his face dark. And the lens cover on Frank's camera was not opening all the way thus... special effects!

December 16, 2006

Squirrel fitness

grey squirrel
Here a grey squirrel was the only user of the fitness trail at Orkney Springs.

A lesson in Aging

old dog

Old Gup likes a nice walk and especially a run.
Flying in circles is still lots of fun.

Curling up on the rug or basking in sunlight,
Though pretty much deaf and with softening eyesight,
If age is a hardship, my dog hasn't learned it.
He enjoys his peace and he's certainly earned it.

December 15, 2006

White tail

When the deer family visited us yesterday, Frank and I both grabbed our cameras. He got this view, with one deer facing away so that his white tail is clearly visible.

The underside of the tail is solid white, and sometimes that's all I see of a deer as he bounds away.

By the way, you can click on the photo to see it larger.

December 14, 2006

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Yesterday I hung a new bird feeder from a branch. I only filled it a quarter of the way with sunflower seed because I wanted to see how the squirrels reacted to it. Typically they hang on a feeder and may even find their way inside!

This morning the squirrels and birds were enjoying the seed, and indeed a pair of squirrels took turns hanging on it, spilling a fair amount of seed onto the ground. Later I looked out and was startled to see much larger mammals feeding on the spilled seed.
virginia deer

There were three deer, one obviously the mother with two adolescents. The squirrels and birds were still present. This deer seemed to be staring at us, perhaps waiting for some corn to be served.

I took this picture through the glass door and the rail of the deck. Eventually we slipped out the door but of course the deer left, but they walked off with dignity instead of running.

December 13, 2006

Old Christmas Card

christmas cardThis is a card that came down to me through my Aunt Clarice. On the right hand margin it is signed Georgia Bomwell or something similar. It was addressed to
Mrs. J. P. Suiter
Lapeer Co.

It is postmarked Dec. 22, 1908 from Grand Rapids.

postcard address side

The recipient would have been the wife of James P. Suiter, Susan Davenport Suiter. I have written about my great-grandparents before, including Dr. James P. Suiter Photographs, Lawrence County Suiters and a couple of posts in June about their family Bible.

Frank and his daughters

Frank showed me an old print of this picture and said it was a favorite. I offered to scan it for him - so here it is!

December 12, 2006

A Gluten-free pancake recipe

I like pancakes and I often use a wheat-free mix. But sometimes I make them from scratch. This is a simple recipe using corn meal and buckwheat flour. Buckwheat flour available in some grocery stores and most health food stores - I often buy it in a little market that caters to Mennonites.

Two-thirds cup buckwheat flour
One-third cup corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 cup of milk (I use goat milk)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Water to thin to desired consistency

As with most recipes, mix the dry ingredients together first. Stir the vegetable oil into the cup of milk. Mix it all together and pour a pancake-sized amount into a hot skillet (either a non-stick one or a seasoned cast-iron skillet with a light coating of oil.) When bubbles appear, turn with spatula and cook until brown.

I use the same recipe as a basis for waffles, adding either an egg yolk or a few tablespoons of applesauce to give the batter a bit more body.

Oh, and if you want to make corn bread, just use more corn meal than flour and add an egg or egg substitute.

December 11, 2006

Cereal Killers?

I'm finishing up another of the books on gluten sensitivity that Nancy loaned me: Dangerous Grains by Dr. James Braly and Ron Hoggan. I already read and returned a couple of the celiac books and I was surprised that this one had additional things to learn. It is carefully written from a doctor's viewpoint so it does not belong to the I could have written it myself category that I sometimes find in health books.

You can read highlights of the chapter on Psychiatric Issues in Celiac Disease on the Dangerous Grains website. While the authors do not say that wheat and rye are the main causes of mental illness, they make a case that these grains can contribute to mental distress, partly by decreasing blood flow to the brain in people who are sensitive to gluten.

Schizophrenia incidence during WW-II substantially decreased among European populations suffering grain shortages. Peptides derived from gluten grains have been implicated in schizophrenia, epileptic seizures, and vascular illnesses and are sometimes found to occur among patients who also have celiac disease. Like ergot, these peptides have recently been shown to affect blood flow within the brain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

Depression is said to be one of the most common conditions suffered by the gluten-sensitive. Interesting - my personal reaction to wheat is grogginess. It makes sense that decreased blood flow to the brain would cause you to feel sleepy or depressed. Actually, I find that consuming yeast makes me depressed. (I tested allergic to both baker's yeast and brewer's yeast.) Same thing with molds, including small amounts of cheese and mushrooms. Within a few minutes of exposure, my mood drops drastically. There doesn't have to be anything sad going on, but it feels an awful lot like there is.

December 10, 2006

The Face-Off

Circa 1968
Bath County, VA.

December 8, 2006

Navigating this blog

lake If you are new to this blog, note that there are links down the left-hand side including Previous [Recent] Posts and Monthly Archives. For instance, click November 2006 to see all my posts for last month including Lynn's squirrel story, two posts about my great aunt Emarel Freshel, and lists of places to see in the Shenandoah Valley.
October 2006 includes pictures of children in Halloween costumers and autumn scenery, among other things.

And of course you can use the search box at the top of the page to look for names mentioned in this blog.

I've been posting since June 2005 and I hope you get something out of it. I tend to jump from topic to topic, as I have varied interests. I publish quite a few photos and this blog helps me to keep up on my digital photography. Most of them need at least some improvement in Photoshop, usually a little brightening. When I fix them for the blog, I also save a larger copy in my "to print" folder, and when I get a few dozen I upload them to Photoworks and order prints.

December 7, 2006

Errands and scenery

deerOne disadvantage of living in Bryce Resort is that mail is not delivered to our home. We drive to the post office to pick it up, which isn't too bad because it's a short drive, and usually a scenic one.

Yesterday I reached the bottom of our driveway and there were two deer right across the road. In this picture one is behind the other so they almost look like a two-headed animal.

I drove down the hill and stopped at the library to return a book. I took this photo showing snow on the ski slopes, but it's man-made -- the snow-making machines have been hard at work, getting ready for ski season. Mother Nature is cooperating by providing very cold weather.
plane and snow

My other grandmother

I believe my dad took this one, circa 1951. Grandmother Suiter was visiting.
children and grandmother

Carol, Rick, Linda, with Grandmother holding Peggy.

Photo from 5 decades ago

child and womanI received a request from a woman who knew my mother's family for a picture of my grandmother, who she calls Nell. I dug out this picture of my sister and our grandmother - it happens to be the first photograph I took with my first camera!

We called my grandmother Tai-Tai.

December 5, 2006

More pictures from S. Carolina


Above: Kate and Rusty's house
Right: Austin and Justin had a rehearsal for the Christmas play at church followed by a party. We didn't stay for the whole event though. We went to lunch at the Lizard Thicket and came back in time to see Santa.
child with ballLeft: Justin
boy and dogLeft: Austin and the dog

Below: FCW and LSW


December 4, 2006

Pics from Austin and Justin's backyard

boy with ballRight: Austin tosses the ball.

Below: Justin, Frank, and dog Sidney.

man and boy

Visit to South Carolina

We drove down to Columbia, SC on Friday to visit Kate and her family. Sunday we drove back in time to pick up the dogs at the kennel.

It's a 7-hour long drive but a simple one. Once we reach I-81, we follow it almost to Wytheville, then take I-77 southeast all the way to Columbia.


Frank, Kate, and the Boys