May 31, 2006

The Professor in West VA

man with picture
Like many photographers, I love unusual lighting effects. Here's Professor Poland in the crisp sunlight on our West Virginia Field Trip.
man wearing straw hat

Events page updated for June

peonyI updated the calendar page for Spiritual Singles, as I do every month. I see there is only one classified ad this month, and that's from EMDR therapist Nancy Brutsche. Nancy is one of the founders of Spiritual Singles and was the president of the group when I first started working for them about a decade ago.

May 30, 2006

West Virginia Photos Online

I've posted a basic page for the Kanawha Valley Campaign Civil War Tour. Later I'll add more photos and descriptions of the military actions.

We were fortunate to have as our tour leader Professor Charles Poland, author of The Glories of War, which deals with the West Virginia campaign in detail.

May 29, 2006

Lily Haiku

The lily scattered
pollen across the table
before it faded.

Squirrel of the Month

squirrelSince I'm calling this blog "The View from Squirrel Ridge," I feel I need to show a picture of a squirrel every month or so. It's not hard finding squirrels to photograph because they visit our deck to eat bird seed.

May 27, 2006

Relative blogs

Thanks to Sitemeter I see that my nephew Elias Fallon has a blog and he links to mine. And I see on his that his dad Larry also has a blog.

Kanawha Falls

Kanawha Falls can be seen from Route 60 at Gauley Bridge, WV. During the Civil War, high swift water here prevented the Union Army from trapping General Floyd's troops.

Today the scenic area is popular with tourists. I noticed the Glen Ferris Inn nearby.

An old power plant interrupts the view but this spot is still worth a visit. The pounding of the water is impressive.
Kanawha Falls

people at waterfall
Nearby is Cathedral Falls. Frank and I stopped here for a few minutes and a young couple pulled in and asked if we would take their picture. We did, and they took ours in return.

Carnifex/fax/fix Ferry

The proper spelling of Carnefex Ferry is open to debate. The original spelling was Carnifix, the state park is spelled Carnifex, and it's sometimes spelled Carnifax.sign

No matter how you spell it, this park is worth a visit. Not only was a Civil War battle fought there, but the scenery is lovely.

Carnifex Ferry State Park is not far from West Virginia's Hawk's Nest State Park, Babcock State Park, the New River Gorge, Summersville Lake, and Gauley Bridge.
West VA State Parks Map

A spectacular view is just a short walk from the parking lot.

May 26, 2006

Bryce Mountain News

Our library here at Bryce Resort is having a book sale tomorrow (May 27). On July 1 we will hold another book sale in connection with BryceFest 2006.

houseOur neighbor Don's house is for sale and Coldwell Banker Four Seasons Realty is holding an open house tomorrow.

Oh, and on Wednesday May 31, local editor and internationally-known photographer Bernie Boston will speak on Photojournalism. Bernie placed second for the Pulitzer Prize in Photography on two occasions, first in 1968 for the Vietnam-era "Flower Child" and later in 1987 for an image of Coretta Scott King at the unveiling of a bust of her husband in the Capital Rotunda. The program will be held at the Basye-Orkney Springs Rescue Squad at 7 PM.

May 25, 2006

Signs Seen on Our Trip

Here are some signs from our Kanawha Campaign Field Trip. Some of these are historical and some (like the first) are more indicative of today's culture.

On the left, Hooters, Karma Salon, Dirtbusters, and a martial arts school were among the businesses next to the site of the Battle of Mud River, also known as the Battle of Barboursville.


Battle of Barboursville, July 13, 1861
Site of early Civil War battle fought July 23, 1861. Border Rangers and local citizens met on "Fortifications Hill" to repel an advance by five companies of the 2nd Kentucky Inf...

For this battle lecture, we parked next to Scary Creek Paintball Games.

Battle of Scary Creek, July 17, 1861
First Confederate victory in Kanawha Valley fought here July 17, 1861. Charge of the Rangers under Captain (later General) Jenkins won the day. Whitelaw Reid described the event as a war correspondent with Gen. Cox's Union forces.

Between Hawk's Nest and Carnefix Ferry we passed this billboard warning of the "World's Largest Speed Trap."

Carnefix Ferry
The Civil War battle fought here on September 10, 1861 was named by the Union army after a nearby river ferry. Even though it was over a mile downstream, the ferry was the closest well-known landmark. Constructed by William Carnefix in the early 1800's, the ferry provided an important link between the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, now Rt. 60, and the Gauley & Weston Turnpike, now part of Rts. 39 & 19. The spelling of the name Carnifex has varied over the years. The heading above is the spelling found on the gravestone of Mr. Carnefix who died in 1856.
Book on The Battle of Scary Creek

May 24, 2006

Our Route: Kanawha Campaign Tour

Here's the route we took through West Virginia as we followed the Kanawha Valley Campaign of 1861. Even those who are not interested in history will find many of these places well worth a visit just for the gorgeous scenery.

Main Union Invasions Into Virginia
I'll be posting more pictures of the trip here at and on

The romance of lions

My daughter Marie just returned from safari and wrote about it in her blog. She wrote about seeing some mating lions and got a sudden increase in hits - apparently people were searching for porn and found her site instead. Well, they were probably disappointed. No dirty photos there.

Marie posted some pictures of big cats from a previous trip to Africa at Speaking of big cats, you can help some of these noble wild beasts at

May 23, 2006

Hawk's Nest in West Virginia

On the second night of our Civil War tour, we stayed at Hawk's Nest State Park. It overlooks the New River Gorge and has a hotel and restaurant.
Hawk's Nest State Park, Ansted, WV
restaurant with view
The hotel was not fancy but after all, it is a state park. Service in the restaurant was a bit slow but the view was excellent.
morning mountain view
There are plenty of attractions to visit nearby and some spectacular scenery. Highly recommended.

Dr. Poland's Advanced Civil War Class

Our Group in West Virginia, May 21, 2006

How many students would drive 6 to 8 hours for a class? And how many would meet for class at 6:45 AM?
The participants in NVCC's HISTORY 298, Advanced Civil War

May 22, 2006

Picture: My Dog in the Car

dog in carGuppy was happy to leave the kennel and come home! He and Ben stayed at Seven Bends Kennel while we went to West Virginia. The kennel and veterinary office recently moved to Hisey Avenue in Woodstock. Their new building is all on one floor which is good for Guppy. He is long and short-legged and has problems climbing stairs.

Back from West Virginia

We spent the weekend on a Civil War tour of the Kanawha Valley sponsored by Northern Virginia Community College. The weather was great and the scenery was spectacular. The trip is one of a series led by history professor Charles Poland.
Ohio River
Our meeting place was Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant. This was a 6-hour drive for us because it is all the way across West Virginia on the Ohio River. In the photo above you can see the state of Ohio across the river. The park is located where the Kanawha River meets the Ohio.

The Union Army floated down the Ohio and into the Kanawha in 1861. Their aim was to secure the Kanawha Valley for the U.S. and to go from there into Virginia. Dr. Poland wrote about this campaign is The Glories of War.

The campaign took them into the rugged mountains of southern West Virginia - very hard on the soldiers but spectacular in scenery for us. I'll post some of my favorite scenery from the trip so check back. Also I'll post a photo tour on my Civil War Field Trips website.

May 19, 2006


Portraying a Civil War Soldier

Living History Demonstration, Mt. Jackson, VA

Last weekend a festival in Mt. Jackson included some reenactors who kept children fascinated by showing them their camp equipment. I chose to photograph this gentleman because he was slim like an actual Civil War soldier would have been. He's holding a metal cup.

May 18, 2006

Mortons in 1900

Early this year I wrote about ancestors on the Morton side of my family. I just came across my grandmother and her parents on the 1900 Census for Lapeer County. Grandmother is listed as:
123B 76 37 1B . . 19 19 Morton       Leora       Daughter       White Female Apr 1880 20 S
. . . Michigan       New York       Michigan . . . Teacher (In sch)       7 . Y Y

Her siblings are also listed. Her father John Morton's occupation is "Hardware."

Grandmother lived to be almost 89 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Hadley.

Our waterfront property is listed online

The backyard fronts a cove

Our waterfront house at Glebe Harbor is listed at

I hope to get back down there soon and do a little more fixing up. Also, we'd like to walk over to the beach which is on the widewater Potomac River.

I liked the ramp to the deck - easier than climbing stairs when you're carrying groceries or walking the dogs.

May 17, 2006

Seeing Things

Yesterday I suddenly saw a thread-like thing right in front of my right eye. Only it wasn't actually floating in the air, it was inside my eye, but the illusion that it was four inches in front of me was so realistic that I waved my hand up there trying to brush it way. It looked a lot like the line in this picture with some vague blotches around it:
eye floaters effect

Effects added in Adobe Photoshop(R)

Fortunately we were in Winchester so we were close to my opthalmologist's office. (At home it is over an hour to his office but Frank had been to an appointment in Stephen's City so I had driven us to Popeye's for lunch.) Now this was not the first time I had seen "floaters." I recalled that when it happened a few years ago, I called my eye doctor in Woodbridge and he said to come in right away. (This was before we moved to the Shenandoah Valley.) Floaters are usually harmless but occasionally they are a warning of a detached retina.

Well, yesterday Dr. Viti was out of his office but he was due back soon so Sue in his office said to come on over. Frank drove (glad he was with me!) and before long the doctor dilated my eyes and examined them using an uncomfortably strong light. He explained that floaters often occur as the eyes age but he asked a couple of times if I have diabetes. (As far as I know, no, but my dad and his sister had it in their later years so it is something I should get tested for.)

I won't go into the explanation but you can read about it at If you suddenly get floaters, you should see an eye doctor promptly. Their office should get you in right away for this.

While looking for a good site to share I also found a Pubmed article that mentions carnosine used to treat eye disorders. Those eye drops were available over the internet until recently but last time I looked they had been recalled. The FDA doesn't like supplements that are as effective as drugs because they can't require the testing that prescriptions are subject to. (I am choosing words carefully here; don't want to sound like Kevin Trudeau, although some of what he writes makes sense.) No doubt the carnosine eyedrops will come back some day as expensive prescription items. (Sigh!) In the meantime you can buy carnosine capsules and take them daily to benefit in hopes of preserving your eyesight.

Funny thing, I first found out about carnosine being good for eyes when I was researching a treatment for my dog's cataracts. Then I learned that it was also good for healing the digestive system. It's a natural supplement made up of two amino acids, but if you search or Google Scholar you learn that it holds the promise of being a wonder drug.

Festival Season in the Shenandoah

Every weekend there are a number of community festivals to choose from in the Shenandoah Valley. We enjoyed the recent one at Blue Ridge Community College. There were craft vendors, some animals, plants for sale, refreshments, and live music.

Extraterrestrials? Llamas?

Frank likes Funnel Cake

The Walnut Ridge Boys

This girl loves to dance!

May 15, 2006

Guppy on the Deck

dogGuppy is still the best dog I know. He doesn't hear much anymore and he has cataracts but he's been my friend for a long long time.

He was the star of my first website, Guppy the Puppy.

Wagon Wheel with Narcissi

It's May and flowers are blooming. Not that long ago we had snow up here on the ridge.

We've been landscaping a bit and Frank just painted the exterior of the chalet.