July 31, 2006

Positive News ~ Briefly noted

~ Ebay will no longer allow sellers to charge exorbitant shipping fees. See their new shipping policy. There's a link at the bottom where you can report the guy who's charging $70 to ship an item that others are charging $10 to ship.

~ Marie reports that her World Tour 2001 site is getting 3000 to 4000 visitors a month!

~ A 'New Urbanist' community is being built near Harrisonburg: Preston Lake Virginia. They will have some nice features, like stores within walking distance and homes where vinyl siding is not allowed.

Tour of Healthy Home in Front Royal

Those of us who are sensitive to formaldehyde and pesticides want our homes to be free of these toxins. Some people have had their residences specially built to be free of harmful chemicals.

A support group for the chemically sensitive arranged a tour of a lovely home near Front Royal, Virginia that was designed to be environmentally safe. Those of us who went were treated to a visually stunning contemporary house with lush colorful gardens. Some of the floors were polished concrete with radiant heat. Attractive veneers over formaldehyde-free marine grade plywood made warm ceilings and woodwork.

The setting was a pastoral area along the Shenandoah River. To the east were the Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive.

July 30, 2006

Listing Montross House on ebay

We listed the waterfront house for sale on ebay. The reserve price is $379K.

Real estate listings on ebay are different from other auctions. They are not binding auctions - they are more like ads.

Some of the folks who came to the open house last weekend really liked the house but they were not ready to buy.

July 29, 2006

Cry Me a River

This morning Chris Burke of the Friends of the North Fork Shenandoah River gave a presentation here in Basye. He discussed the sources of pollution of the river, and even told us that our local creeks (Stony Creek and Mill Creek) are polluted. Both forks of the Shenandoah have had serious pollution problems, partly due to agricultural run-off, sewage, and vehicle pollution.

The talk was part of a series that Frank organized for the local library.

July 28, 2006


Newark Airport,
As seen from the Hilton, April 2006

July 27, 2006

Why I call Squirrels "Charlie"

Marie published a squirrel photo on her blog. He enjoyed the mulberry tree in her yard while it was producing berries.

She remembers her dad hand-feeding a squirrel when she was a child. We called the squirrel Charlie, a tradition we got from our neighbor Slim Pettigrew way back when Marie was a toddler. Old Slim fed squirrels on the windowsill of his second-floor apartment. He even placed a board between a tree branch and his window to encourage the squirrels to visit. They eventually got so tame that they came in the window and ate peanuts indoors.

July 26, 2006

History notes completed

I finally completed the text to our Civil War Field Trip to the Kanawha Valley, West Virginia, particularly adding to the second part, Cross Lanes, Carnifex Ferry and Hawks Nest.

I also added a meeting notice to the Chemical Sensitivity Group page. Oh, and last week I added a couple of postings to Javins family history.

July 24, 2006

Deer There and Everywhere

We live on a little cul-de-sac on top of a wooded ridge in Bryce Resort. Across from our little road is a forest of several hundred acres which slopes down to a lake.

On our court there are three other homes. None of them are occupied much of the time. One is a weekend rental, one is a chalet like ours which belongs to Mrs. Bakke, and the other is Don's house, which is up for sale.

Mrs. Bakke spent a few days up here last week and of course she saw some of the deer which have become so prevalent in our neighborhood. She said that they sometimes "nested" under Don's deck! So I've been looking at his deck when I walk the dogs past there but I haven't seen any deer under it, although I have seen them in his yard many times.

Yesterday I took this picture of his back yard and deck, but no deer were present. Funny thing though... when I walked little Ben back up our driveway, I saw something brown under Mrs. Bakke's deck! Had she left something there... or could it be a deer? It looked like the back of a small cow lying down.

I took a few steps closer to get a closer look and there was a rustling and crashing of leaves as the deer jumped up and ran off into the woods.

Altered Image of another Deer

Daylily (filtered)

July 23, 2006

Volunteers Needed Shenandoah County Harvest

The Volunteer Farm needs people to help harvest vegetables this week. The food is given to food pantries.
rural scene

What I'm Reading, July 06

The links take you to Amazon's page for each book.
  • Cape Light - Color Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz - Pretty much a picture book with the kind of photos that make me jealous that I don't take pictures like that. Lovely beach images.

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • - I'm listening to this on audiotape. Wow! It's much better than I expected. It's the autobiography of a famous former American slave and spokesman for freedom. Beautifully written.

  • The United Way Scandal - An Insider's Account of What Went Wrong and Why by John S. Glaser. I once worked for United Way of America, back before the scandal broke and the organization's president went to jail. I knew and respected the author. He's written a combination of a journalistic report and a case study for nonprofit professionals. To me it's very interesting.

  • Wright Sized Houses - Small homes by Frank Lloyd Wright. Excellent photos. Style-defining architecture, although the furnishings look very dated now.

July 21, 2006

The View from our Waterfront Property

I see from Sitemeter's stats that many folks find my blog when searching for Glebe Harbor - Cabin Point. That's where we have the waterfront property that we are selling and you can use the Search this Blog box at the top of the page to see my other photos from Glebe Harbor. Or see my Sunny Harbor site, which has a slide show.

Herons and swans are among the many feathered visitors that come to our shore.

Open House at Glebe Harbor

houseFrank is holding an Open House for home buyers at our Glebe Harbor house this weekend. We understand that a couple of properties in the subdivision just went under contract so we are hopeful. For hours and directions, see SunnyHarbor.com. (And after we sell the house, I may sell that domain name too.)

Justin on the deck last summer

July 20, 2006

So many deer

deerToday we saw deer at least four times here in Bryce Resort. I even saw a pair of them a few hundred feet from the house this evening. The deer are eating local gardens but they are lovely to see.

The overpopulation of whitetail deer is a concern in Virginia. This was not always the case. Here's how the state's "Deer Management Plan" describes the growth in numbers:
"By 1900, over-harvest of deer for food and hides had nearly extirpated the species. Since the 1930s, Virginia's deer population has rebounded as a result of protective game laws, restocking of deer into areas where they were absent, and land use changes. Since the early 1990s, deer management objectives have switched from restoring and increasing to controlling and stabilizing populations over much of the Commonwealth.

Under optimal conditions, a deer population can double in size annually. With no regulating factor (e.g., predators, hunters), a deer population would expand to the point where some resources, generally food, would become scarce."


July 19, 2006

Just a rainbow

Within a minute it was gone!

July 18, 2006

Rysudojo returns

Doug and Susan have moved their RySuDoJo Blog back to blogspot. Good choice - I can see all the cute pictures at a glance instead of having to click through them.


Some sites on health information

  • The New Hope Foundation is dedicated to helping the chronically mentally ill. Their "research indicates that disorders of the brain and nervous system can be effectively treated by addressing physiological factors such as food and chemical sensitivities, disorders of lipid (fat) or carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism, nutritional deficiencies, and endocrine imbalances."

  • What Doctors Don't tell You is a free resource of health information. The site was created by journalists.

  • Mercola.com is a popular site by an osteopathic physician with holistic approach.

July 17, 2006

E-book fair

In honor of Project Gutenburg's 25th birthday, you can search over 330,000 books for free until August 4 at WorldEbookFair.com.

July 16, 2006

Our Naughty Spaniel is Growing Calmer

spanielLittle Ben is behaving better around the house. It's about time - he's three years old, which is fairly mature in dog years.

We've been providing leadership as recommended by Cesar Millan - we go through the door before him, for instance. See Cesar's Way (as listed on Amazon) for a good look at dog psychology and the importance of being your dog's leader.

I've also been sprinkling a little tryptophan or 5-htp in Ben's dog food - not sure if it calms him down but it doesn't hurt. See the Amer. Veterinary Medical Association article on trytophan on tryptophan and dietary changes to reduce aggression.

Summersville Lake, WV

These are photos from a trip to West Virginia. Summersville Lake is between Carnifex Ferry and Hawks Nest State Park. The area is said to be a speed trap but don't let that stop you from going. It offers spectacular scenery!

The lake was created in the 1960's as part of a flood-control project on the Gauley River. The dam is a rock-fill type, one of the largest of its kind. More information including recreation facilities is at the Army Corps of Engineers site.

July 15, 2006

Buffalo Springs Herb Farm

A friend kindly invited me to accompany the garden club to the Buffalo Springs Herb Farm in Raphine, VA. It's a lovely place with flowers and a variety of intimate gardens and pleasing structures.
You can find ideas for planning your garden here even if you don't grow herbs. Update: They are no longer open. See comments.

log building

bird bath

The picture below shows Wade's Mill as seen from the herb farm.


Also in the Raphine area is the Cyrus McCormick Mill and Farm, a parklike historic site that's worth a visit. It's close to I-81 and has ponds and a nature trail.

July 12, 2006

Stonewall Jackson Monument, Lexington

general jackson statueBefore I leave the topic of Lexington, allow me to take you to the grave of Stonewall Jackson. After General Jackson died at Guinea Station, his body was returned to Lexington where he and his wife had been living when the Civil War started.

Jackson's skill as a general made him a legend. He had some unusual habits, some of which have been exaggerated. His enjoyment of lemons became so famous that today visitors to his grave leave lemons there - note them in the foreground in the picture below.

More on Lexington

Last month I wrote a couple of entries on Lexington, Virginia. Someone asked what I thought of the town as a place to live. I think Lexington is a lovely town and has a lot to offer. It is a college town, rich in history, situated in a pretty area. Nearby shopping seems adequate. I've known a couple of people who moved there from Northern Virginia because it seems like a nice place to retire.

So far the urban mish-mash of growth that ruins many towns has not overcome it's small-town charm. Lexington is located next to the intersection of I-81 and I-64 and is convenient to Staunton, Roanoke, and Lynchburg.

P.S. The picture above right is a house for sale in Lexington. We looked at the outside. The yardwork could keep you busy for a long, long time.

Kanawha Valley Campaign Photos

I finished posting the photos of this spring's Civil War Trip. You can start at the Ohio River and page through the entire trip. There are over 30 photographs and some are pretty nice. We were blessed with great weather and the scenery in West Virginia is gorgeous (especially the gorges! Oh, sorry if you hate puns.)

I still need to write the narrative for the overview pages for that trip but at least the picture story is done. I started the pages in Photoshop and then refined every single one in Dreamweaver so it took a long time.

There does not seem to be a whole lot written on the Union Army's struggle to cross the Kanawha Valley, even on the web. The only thorough source I've found is Dr. Poland's book The Glories of War, written by our fearless leader.

July 10, 2006

A change and a trick

I just added some links on the left. Had to edit my template to do it but felt it was necessary to link to a copyright statement. My photos are copyrighted and while I don't mind if a visitor downloads one for say, printing a single copy, I don't allow republishing them without permission.

Okay, here's the trick. Click on the green line and see what it really is.

Audio book: Power in the Blood

I recently finished a book on audio cassettes by John Bentley Mays called Power in the Blood. (The link will take you to Amazon's listing for the book.) I enjoyed it although there were a few passages where he expressed his personal philosophies at great length, making me wish he would just get on with the story.

Mays tells of his search for his family history, inspired by materials that he found when his aunt died. What he learned is interesting and his reaction to his southern roots is thought-provoking. The audio version is read by the author and is about three hours long.

July 8, 2006

My great-grandparents' mansion

I came across a Chicago Sun-Times article from 2001 on a mansion built for my great-grandfather in Chicago. It sounds like the same house that I have a picture of" "Turrets, gables and fireplace chimneys each take their turn stabbing the sky" says the article. But my picture says it is on Grand Boulevard... ah, I see on the web that Grand was renamed King Drive after Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oh, the Web is a wonderful tool! Now that I have the modern address, I found a modern photo (in less than a minute.) See www.chicagoarchitecture.org/Chicago%20Streets/King%20Drive/West%20King%20Drive/3600%20Block%20West/3600blockwest.htm and note the 1893 drawing below. Click on either image for a larger version.

July 7, 2006

Deer in the Neighborhood

We've been seeing more deer in our neighborhood this summer. I guess the construction going on here in Bryce Resort is forcing them out of their old homes.

Today I saw a deer from our front yard - it was walking across our cul-de-sac. I was walking Ben and of course he barked. The deer disappeared into Don's yard.

No one is living in Don's house, which is for sale. Several times I've seen deer in his back yard.

The picture at right is one I took at Big Meadows some years back.

July 6, 2006

Waterfront prices drop

We saw that waterfront home prices have dropped in Virginia's Northern Neck so we dropped the price on our rambler to $379,000. Our realtor thinks that will bring some buyers out. Hardly anyone has looked at the house. Glebe Harbor is a quiet place - I suspect most folks don't know it's there.

The listing in Homesdatabase.com has been updated and includes some pictures of the water view with our resident great blue heron standing there.

July 5, 2006


Is there a conspiracy against alternative medicine? Tim Bolen makes a case that there is. See QuackpotWatch.org.

More Photos from Hawk's Nest

dawn viewI'm still working on my pictures from our West Virginia Trip. Previously I posted some pictures from Hawk's Nest State Park. It's a beautiful place so I wanted to share a few more. Our class stayed at the state park's inn, which is not as modern as most hotels but has a great view.

The picture on the upper left was taken early in the morning. I'm not usually up before dawn but class was meeting at 6:45 AM to start the tour. Our pre-breakfast stop was the golf course because it was the site of a battle, and Dr. Poland had promised that we would be off the course before golfers started arriving.

flower basket
The flowers and structure on the golf course remind me that a manor house once stood there. It was used as Union headquarters and was destroyed during the battle.

Below is a view from the road going up to the hotel and restaurant. You can see why the area was used as a lookout point during the Civil War. At the bottom of the gorge is the New River.

mountain gorge