March 30, 2006

March 29, 2006

Changed the name

squirrel buttYou may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog to "The View from Squirrel Ridge." I thought it sounded more interesting than "Cruising the Web with Webcroft." Actually, I don't know the name of our ridge but we have lots of squirrels and they are fun to watch.

Do-good links

Ben needs a haircut...

shaggy dog

Or maybe he likes looking shaggy.

Leaping squirrel

jumping squirrel
Nature in Motion

March 28, 2006

More links

  1. Change your world (a blog on ways to "do good")

  2. Bringing Health Information to the Community

  3. Treatment Efficacy for Conventional and Alternative Therapies Reported by Persons with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  4. Fluoride News Tracker

Making Your Searches do double duty

You're gonna search anyway, why not make it count?

Goodsearch will generate a donation to your selected cause every time you use it to search the web. It's powered by Yahoo search.

Organizations already participating include Environmental Defense and The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

March 27, 2006

Health Food Stores in Virginia

Update: many of these stores are no longer in existence. I am keeping this post for reference only. 
I stopped at Harvest Moon Natural Foods' new location in Winchester today. I'd say it's actually in Kernstown but that town has been swallowed up by Winchester's sprawl. It's a nice store, more spacious than their old location. I bought some brown rice pancake mix, water buffalo yogurt (yeah, seriously!), and some expensive goat butter. (I have food allergies so I hunt out substitutes for wheat products and cow dairy products. Wheat puts me to sleep and cow milk makes my tummy swell up and hurt.) Another new store location is Whole Foods in Alexandria. It's on Duke Street near the Metro Station and has underground parking. Like the former Annandale location, it features a lovely produce section. The new store is larger, of course, and has some additional items like yummy maple-covered cashews. Not long ago we were in Martinsburg WV so I checked out the Healthway location there. I found a wheat-free cookie mix that I hadn't seen before - you add your own sweetener and flavorings so it's versatile. (Oh, Martinsburg is not in Virginia - well, it was if you go back far enough!) I think I know where all the health food stores are in the northern half of Virginia. (I know where all the Popeye's restaurants are too! If I peel off the skin, I can eat their chicken without getting sick, which I can't say for most fast food. McDonald's, KFC, and Taco Bell have absolutely nothing I can eat. So I'm not an ideal traveling companion.) Harrisonburg has two health food stores, Kate's and Sue's. I don't count vitamin stores like GNC as health food stores; they carry very little food. Kroger's in Harrisonburg has a fair selection of allergy-free foods. For that matter, Ukrop's in Fredericksburg has a nice section of health foods including most of my favorites (goat yogurt, goat milk, wheat substitutes, Rice Dream frozen dessert, wheat-free granola, and the only frozen dinner I've found that doesn't have any of my allergens: Thai chicken with basil and rice. Wal-mart is planning on expanding their natural foods section but I don't know if they will carry my favorites. They already sell goat milk, and some of their stores stock buckwheat flour. You'd think with all my allergies, I'd lose weight but no. Rice and meat keep me well rounded. If anyone cares, here's the list of foods that I don't tolerate: cow milk products including butter, wheat, soy (except soy yogurt), yeast, black pepper, almonds, alcohol and most fermented foods, most fruits, tomato, caffeine, mushrooms, cucumbers, broccoli (unlessed well-cooked), ginger, black tea, and mint. Some other foods I can eat only in small amounts (pecans, walnuts, pork) and there are even a few that I tolerate well in the evening but not for breakfast, such as oats. I don't know why. Some of the foods on my list are due to allergies (ie, they show up on skin testing), and some are just intolerances (ie, I can't digest them).
Link: Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

March 26, 2006

A few environmental health stories

  1. EPA says New York and California have worst air followed by Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey. The air pollution in these states increases the risk of cancer.

  2. Couple Discovers High Levels Of Formaldehyde In FEMA Trailer -- two times the acceptable level.

  3. Wal-mart to sell more organic products

  4. Athlete sidelined by allergic reaction to perfume

Make a cartoon portrait of yourself

Now I had fun making little caricatures of myself at It takes a little experimenting but it's really neat once you get the hang of it.

For the avatar maker, a shortcut is

March 25, 2006

Windows are eyes

stone wall with two windows

Another look at Shrinemont

March 24, 2006

West Virginia Civil War Tour

teacher outdoors
Professor Poland sent me a notice on the West Virginia Field Trip which will be May 19-21, 2006. It will cover the southern half of the Union western invasion corridor into then-Virginia in 1861. Registration opens on March 28; see the website.

Teacher Charles Poland Jr. wrote a detailed book covering the 1861 struggles for West Virginia called The Glories of War: Small Battles And Early Heroes Of 1861 so he's an expert on the action there. He's also an enthusiastic and skilled tour leader.

Robots on Camelback

Be sure to see Marie's photos of the camel races in Kuwait. The Kuwaitis use small robots as jockeys - and they don't look much like R2D2 either.

March 23, 2006

Another picture

I've changed the picture on my profile again. It's a black and white version of a portrait from about three years ago. The right-hand image is an earlier version of the same photo. I can't seem to leave those filters alone.

This replaces the glass-filtered picture that I used for a while. I'll probably change it again one of these days.

Michael Miley, Lee's Photographer

I got an interesting book from the library on 19th century photographer Michael Miley: General Lee's Photographer. It was published in 1954 and is out of print.
pages in book

Photos of Lexington from the book

I looked on Amazon and learned that author Marshall William Fishwick has written many books since then including a few on popular culture which sound interesting.

General Lee on horseSpeaking of Amazon, I link to various books on their site in hopes of generating some referral fees, but so far I haven't earned enough to get a check. All the books that folks bought were fairly inexpensive. They were linked from my Civil War Field Trips website and were all guides to Civil War sites.

A little snow to end the season

grey squirrelWe had about an inch of snow the other day - enough to have to sweep the steps but not enough to make driving difficult. (I almost said hazardous, but driving is always hazardous as long as there are other drivers out there.)

The birds and squirrels have been good about posing for my camera since I've been putting seed out for them. I played with Photoshop with these pictures, using the cross-hatch filter for one thing. Photoshop's filters are addictive - I always create a layer to experiment on so that I can delete it if I mess it up. Also layers can be turned on and off so you can compare effects, plus they can be applied with different settings and amounts of transparency.


March 21, 2006

Getting rid of old tech devices

What to do with old electronic devices? GreenDisk will accept your old PC and other techtrash, wipe out the memory, and recycle the parts.

Of course, some retail stores will accept certain items for recycling, such as cell phones, ink cartridges, and batteries.

March 20, 2006

Cross on the Mountain

white cross
At Shrinemont you can take a trail to the "Stations of the Cross" which winds up the ridge. There are periodic signs to tell the story of the crucification. I thought it would be an easy trail, a little lesson for Sunday schoolers, but it is actually quite steep and should not be attempted in your Sunday shoes. At the top is this huge wooden cross. And yes, there's a nice view.

There's a mystical website about the "Basye Vortex" and it has an interesting page on Orkney Springs.

March 19, 2006


rock wall with windows

stone crosses
Shrinemont is a lovely little place at Orkney Springs. There's a little chapel that's partly open to the elements, an enchanting old amphitheatre, a fish pond with stone bridge... well, you should come see it. Come through town and turn left up the hill... it's a magical spot.

The photo above is altered in Photoshop. The image on the right was taken on a rainy day.

Tiresome spam

I changed the Spiritual Singles page for submitting an event of another organization to make it clear to spammers that we would not post their ads. That is, "Your announcement will not appear automatically. If approved, it will be pasted into our next announcement of events. Spam will be deleted and will not appear online."

I maintain the website for Spiritual Singles including the forms (which are hosted by Formsite. We were getting a lot of forms submitting by gambling sites which someone thought would give them a free ad. We never posted those ads, but it was tiresome to have to delete them. I had a similar problem with guestbooks on some other sites, except that the guestbooks posted the ads automatically and I had to go into the HTML code to get rid of them. Finally I closed down the guestbooks - it was too much trouble dealing with all that spam.

floral design

March 17, 2006

Frank on the Air

tv screen
Frank's public service announcement aired today on Shentel's local channel. If you compare the final film with the studio appearance below, you can see that a nice background was added showing the Massanutten range.
Shentel shows several announcements at one time on a divided screen, so his interview is competing with the local weather, another upcoming event, and a classified ad.

The interview was filmed in Edinburg, Virginia, a cute town with a view of the mountains. Frank is publicizing a series of talks sponsored by the local library.

Books: Dogs and Dik-diks

buff colored spanielI read a good book on dog training called Dogs on the Couch. The authors don't believe in cruel or rough training methods - and they present good alternatives.

Speaking of books, the upcoming book by Marie Javins is already listed on Amazon. She is finishing it up and it's called Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik. It's about her adventures in Africa in 2001 when she traveled around the world.

March 14, 2006

Looking back

distorted picture of children in forest

The Clarity of Recollection

A website on Freedom to buy Supplements

Dr. Plumlee sent me this link: Protect Health Freedom - Read about Codex.

That site is by Rima Laibow, MD. She writes that "Health freedom means the freedom to choose your own health products, treatments, and practitioners... Health freedom means access to supplements (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.), herbs, homeopathic remedies, nutritional medicine and clean food (untainted by pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics), without corporations (through the use of government coercion) dictating to you what dosages and treatments you are allowed to use."

March 29 Lecture

deer group
The first evening talk will be Wednesday, March 29 at the Orkney Basye Rescue Squad on Orkney Grade Road. The speaker will be Gail Rose, owner of Deauville Deer Farm, who will discuss organic gardening and heirloom vegetables.

Taping a PSA

Frank is organizing a series of talks for the Basye Orkney Library and today he taped an announcement for Shentel cable TV.
two men

Hank Zimmerman interviews Frank Walcroft in Edinburg, VA

March 13, 2006

Virginia Homes

Today I updated Find a Home Virginia so that it links to the current page for HUD foreclosure sales in Virginia.

We purchased our chalet from a foreclosure listing in 2001.

My sites and are hosted through VirtualAvenue which offers yearly hosting for under $70.

Sleeping frog

frog floating
We saw a couple of frogs floating in a spring-fed pond today. I believe they are hibernating. Some frogs spend the winter in water and absorb oxygen through the skin.
This fellow did not move when I took his picture so I assume he was hibernating or at least still drowsy. Frogs are normally too shy to pose for more than a moment.
When I downloaded the image, the skincolor had this purple cast, but it was not so bright in the shady pool. Actually, it was raining lightly at the time and I used flash for this frame, which probably brought out this color.

March 12, 2006

Wind Festival

people with kites
Today was a lovely day for the Wind Festival sponsored by the Basye Community Library. The temperature was about 70 F. People flew kites along the airstrip, children got their faces "painted" and girl scouts sold cookies.
little girls
Not far away, golfers were enjoying the lovely weather. In contrast, there were still skiiers on the slopes just across the creek.
pair of SUVs

March 10, 2006

Shenandoah Real Estate

In spite of rising interest rate, real estate sales in the Shenandoah Valley area remain strong. Harrisonburg reports that sales for January and February 2006 were higher than sales for those months last year.

Bryce Resort is also seeing a strong market.
Lake Laura in Basye

Lake Laura, Bryce Mountain Resort

March 9, 2006

Marie writes about Daniel Johnston

marie javins

Marie Javins has posted an interesting piece about songwriter Daniel Johnston. Daniel is the subject of a movie and Marie contributed some video to it. She also designed a website for him.

March 7, 2006

Lone Dog on a Bridge in the Snow

This photo is from last year. We stopped to take pictures of the golf course in the snow and I spotted this brave dog all alone in the storm. I hope he was heading home and didn't have far to go.lone dog in snow
Today we had snow flurries but no accumulation. I think winter is pretty much over.

March 6, 2006

Check out cosmetic safety & fruit drink hazard

The Environmental Working Group has a feature where you can check out the safety of your cosmetics and personal care products. See

They also have a list of soft drinks that could contain benzene because they combine sodium benzoate and vitamin C.

March 5, 2006

Marie's Bahrain Pictures

man with puppets
Marie Javins recently went to Bahrain, an archipelago in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia. She posted some interesting photos and said I could reprint this one. It looks like this gentleman is putting on a puppet show - imagine the dialogue! Actually, she says the shopkeeper was trying to sell her these puppets.

See her blog at

March 4, 2006

Dangerous dog treats?

moving dogOur dogs love Greenies, a fancy dog biscuit. I finally stopped feeding them to Guppy because he didn't chew them much and sometimes threw up afterwards. Now I read that dogs have chocked on these snacks. The founder of the product defends them, saying that their beneficial effects on teeth and gums outweighs any danger. I am not convinced though.

Guard Llamas

farmAn article in the local paper discussed coyotes here in Virginia. They sometimes attack sheep. A number of farmers keep a llama as a guard animal for their flock, and the llama protects the sheep from coyotes. Read about guard llamas at

March 2, 2006

Dogs at Play

dogs running

Yesterday we took the dogs to Orkney Springs for some playtime. Guppy made it his job to patrol the fence. Ben joined him briefly and then went to play tennis.

happy dog

Guppy Dog

spaniel with ball

Ben loves to play ball

two short dogs

man and dogs

Orkney Springs Pond