September 28, 2006

Photo: Parking Lot at Dusk

parking lot at dusk

Harrisonburg Crossing

Changes to the Template

I've changed the template of this blog to make it more readable. It did lose some of the subtle mellowness that was in the original design, but the added contrast and bolder links cause less strain on the eyes, at least for those of us who don't have perfect vision.

I hope you like the new look.

September 27, 2006

Slightly Modified Photo

I added the flowers in the left foreground using Photoshop. They are ladyslippers and they actually grow in just about that location in the spring. So is it an honest photo? I guess that depends on whether you are judging by photojournalists' standards or something less strict.

September 26, 2006

Positive Things

  • Marie's book on her travels in Africa now has four positive reviews with five stars each!

  • Elias and Michelle have moved to a one-story home and already have a contract on their old house.

  • On Friday, we are going to settlement on the house that we're buying. Here's Frank with a new friend at the front door.

The other night we were driving down the ridge to Coleman's Restaurant and we saw a family of four deer, and a minute later we saw three more deer. Once down the hill we could see a gorgeous sunset. We went to the restaurant and were seated by a window. The table had linens and a candle. This is a good place to live.

September 25, 2006

My Civil War website

I took a look at the site statistics for my Civil War Field Trips site and was surprised that it averages over 170 visitors daily. (That's unique visits... hits are much higher because a page can count as multiple hits.)

The most popular tours are Mosby and his Rangers, Gettysburg, Antietam, Richmond, and New Market. A minor page showing this dog statue seemed strangely popular. I examined the stats closely and discovered that an article in Wikipedia on Hollywood Cemetery links to my page! (For those who don't know, Wikipedia is a popular encyclopedic website.)

I just started a blog on my Civil War website thinking that it might encourage visitors to comment, but I don't see a Comment function on the hosting company's blogging template. Maybe I should just add another Blogger blog.

A reprieve for Guppy!

Guppy will not go in for surgery tomorrow after all. The skin tag that was so inflamed has shrunk back down to a fraction of its former self, almost invisible now. The vet said this indicates that it was probably infected, perhaps from an abrasion, and has healed.
Yay Guppy!

September 24, 2006

More visitors

chaletAt least ten adults visited our open house today, plus four children. The first people to visit were staying at a nearby rental home, Quinn Peaks. Another couple came twice, which is a good sign that they are really interested.

Meanwhile, Marie's apartment in Jersey City has not sold yet.

Squirrel Decor

birdbathThe house we are buying has this birdbath with a squirrel. That's not why we are buying it though.

Beautiful girl

childThis gorgeous photo of little Josie is from Susan and Doug's blog. Isn't she lovely?

Tiny visitors

We are being bombarded with huge acorns! They drop from a tall oak and hit the roof or deck with a BAM! Many are green... and they are falling early this year. I think the dry weather this summer must have stressed the trees so they are releasing their fruit early.walking stick

We are also being visited by an unusual number of walking sticks. They are neat insects. Here's one on the screen door.

September 23, 2006

Slow times at Squirrel Ridge

dining roomOnly five people came to our open house today. Well, maybe we'll get more tomorrow, or at least some calls.

I made some brownies but nobody wanted them except Frank. They made the great room smell good though!

September 22, 2006

Directions so you won't get lost gives step by step directions to Bryce Resort with a photo of each intersection.

I found them on the Brcye Resort website.

Open House at the Chalet

We will hold hold an Open House this weekend both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We are hoping some potential buyers will show up. We are advertising in the Harrisonburg paper and in Sunday's Washington Post. The house is an hour from Harrisonburg and two hours from Washington, so I don't know how successful the ads will be.

I think our asking price is attractive though: $187,650 for a 3 BR home in Bryce Resort.

Sleeping dogs

two dogs

September 20, 2006

Doggy Surgery

My dog Guppy has had a "skin tag" on his right thigh for years. It did not bother him until this week. You can see it in the picture just above the leash.

Two days ago it swelled up and started to bleed a little. So yesterday we took him to the vet. He recommends removing it and having it biopsied to see if it is malignant. Since it is bleeding, I don't see much choice. So Guppy is scheduled for surgery next Tuesday.

There's a slight risk because Guppy has a heart murmur and is 14 years old, which is considered elderly for a dog. Still, he's pretty strong and energetic. Dr. Costen prescribed an antiobiotic for us to give him 3 days ahead of surgery. And I've ordered a pet supplement from VRP for nutritional support.

September 19, 2006

Bryce Chalet: Some numbers

Someone who saw our our house for sale on CraigsList sent me a few questions. Here are my answers in case someone else is wondering the same things:
  • The lot is 11,444 square feet.

  • HOA fees are $492 per year and include trash pickup, road maintenance and security patrol.

  • Taxes are $708 per year.

very small town
Downtown Basye, Virginia

Not camera shy

We've been taking pictures of the chalet for the sales listings. My dog Guppy keeps showing up in the photos. Here he's partly obscured by the couch. And below he's just taking it easy on the floor.

These pictures won't be in the listing. Not everyone loves dogs. And those that do might think he conveys with the house.

September 18, 2006

No calls yet on the house

Listing our chalet in the No. Va. Multiple Listings has gotten us zero calls so far. I also listed it on They link to Google maps and Yahoo maps. The former can't locate us but Yahoo maps gets it right except they are using an old (unglamourous) name for Lake Birdhaven.

September 17, 2006

Guppy the Flying Dog

man carrying dogGuppy has gotten more accepting of my fastening the Lift-N-Aid harness around him. Still, once he feels airborne he acts a bit panicky.

Since he is unable to go down steps without falling and afraid of the little ramp we built him, this harness is the only way we can safely get him down to the ground for his walk. Frank carries him down this way twice a day. Once he reaches the ground he tries to runs in circle until I unfasten the harness.

Snoopy he's not! Well, in a couple of weeks we will move to a house that has just one short step to the ground.

Mushrooms with Petals

tall white mushroomsThese mushrooms came up in the mulch after some rain. I'm not usually into mushrooms but I think these are pretty. They are about 5 inches tall.

I made an effort at identifying them but gave up when I saw that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of mushrooms in the Eastern US. has an interesting overview.

mushroom flowers

Updated Bryce Home Sales Page

I added the sales price and some photos to

This is Lake Laura.

I made a logo using FlamingText.

September 16, 2006

Window Replaced at the Chalet

Today we had a window replaced. It was the upper window on the left. The seal had broken so it was fogged. Looks great now!

Slow going on ebay

My ebay auctions are not attracting many bids. The audio course on Robert E. Lee and his generals has a bid, but the other audio books (Lincoln at Gettysburg, BLOOD Stories of Life & Death from Civil War, and Gods and Generals) have zero bids, and the three Civil War books have no bids either.

I'm not surprised about the books, but I thought someone would have eagerly bought the audiobooks.

September 15, 2006

Chalet for Sale $187,650 Basye, VA

Our current home is now listed for sale, competitively priced at $187,650. It has 3 BR, 1 BA, great room with wood stove, large deck, and level lot.

It is convenient to the core area of Bryce Resort in western Shenandoah County. You can see the listing at - look for MLS # SH6188396, or click here for the listing. The latter doesn't show as many photos.

Our page: Bryce Home

This picture shows the house in ski season -- after all, Bryce is a ski resort.

This weekend the resort is having a golf tournament and a "fly-in" at the airport, which I suppose is intended to encourage people with small planes to visit the resort.

September 14, 2006

Garage full of Stuff

Here's some more pictures of the garage. Frank counted five snow shovels!

Below we are looking up at the ceiling. Note the skis.

Here's another view of the apartment over the garage. It has a full bath.

To see a larger version, click on a picture.

Pre-stereo antique

Well kids, a long time ago before Ipods and even way back before stereos, we had hi-fi's. Hi-fi was a short and cool-sounding way of saying high fidelity audio equipment.

And among the furnishings at the house we are moving to is this hi-fi console. I have no idea if it works. I remember these from when I was a kid.

I took two pictures because the doors slide so you can only open one door at a time.

Everything conveys

The house we are buying is not only furnished, it has art, knick-knacks, and dishes. I am working on a photo inventory so that family members can put in requests for items before we have a yard sale or charity pickup.

I took the photos during the home inspection, basically recording the contents so that we can plan what we are going to do with them. We already have two housefuls of furniture, the stuff from Montross being in storage.

September 13, 2006

We're really buying a house

We finally have a ratified contract on the home we're buying on the other side of the resort.. It took a while to reach agreement on who is paying for which repairs. We should settle at the end of the month.

The house has a better location than our current home. It is close to a fairly level state road and it has a view. It also has two bathrooms plus an efficiency apartment over the garage.

Rock's Grandpuppy

pit bullsLynn sent me these cute pictures of her dog Rock with a little puppy. At first Rock did not like the tiny creature but as you can see, they made friends.


COMMENT: Lynn writes
She is the offspring of Timber, his daughter by Jade. He now lets her do pretty much whatever she wants. Its not uncommon to see them trotting along together, then notice that she is sort of hanging from his face, neck or chest by her teeth. She just grabs a mouthful and doesnt let go. I don't know how he takes it, in the middle of a nap she grabs a mouthful and will twist, pull and play tug of war wit a big hunk of skin fat and fur... When she gets on his nerves he just kind of smacks her with his whole head and knocks her four or five feet across the room. Guess he has it under control (?!)

September 12, 2006

Mosby Cavalry Monument in Front Royal

obeliskA man in New Jersey emailed me after seeing my page on the monument in Front Royal commemorating members of Mosby's Rangers who were executed during the Civil War. He is giving a presentation on Civil War prisons and wanted a photo of the monument without people in it.

inscriptionI was able to locate this closeup view on my Year in Photos CD from 2003. The inscription reads “In Everlasting Honor of Thomas E. Anderson, ______ Carter, David L. Jones, Lucian Love, William Thomas Overby, Henry C. Rhodes, Albert C. Willis,
43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, Mosby’s Command, C.S.A.”

John Singleton Mosby was a fascinating character. Famous as a daring Confederate guerilla leader, he became a productive American after the war, serving as a campaign manager in Virginia for President Grant, a U.S. consul to Hong Kong, a lawyer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, an employee with the Department of the Interior, and assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice. He died in 1916 and was buried in Warrenton, Virginia.

September 11, 2006

Five Years ago today Sept. 11

On the morning of September 11, 2001, we left Montclair early to meet a home inspector at the chalet we were purchasing in Basye, Virgnia. When the initial reports about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, we wondered if it were a terrorist attack. The second plane crash made it painfully obvious.

By the time we heard that the Pentagon was attacked we were already out of Northern Virginia, heading into the Shenandoah Valley. I called my daughter Lynn to tell her that we were not in the DC area so not to worry. And I felt grateful that my other daughter was in Africa instead of New York, where she normally lived.

Allison's School

We visited Allison at the school in Fairfax where she and Dave are teaching. This is the first year for this small school but the parents and staff seem very enthused.

September 9, 2006

Guppy Fears the Stairs

DOGMy dog Guppy has a problem. He is afraid of the steps going down from the deck to the yard, and he is even afraid to go down the doggy ramp. I think it's because a cataract clouds one eye so he can no longer judge distance and depth. He has fallen on the steps several times and when we get him on the ramp, he tends to leap and tumble. I worry that he will get hurt.

We have tried various approaches. I've tried a couple different halters thinking that I would have better control of him. I've tried bribing him with treats, and Frank and I have tried pushing, pulling, and blocking him. Nothing works.

The other day he got away from me twice! In the morning, I used a new halter on him and was able to get him down the ramp with difficulty. He was very upset and wiggly, and after we were on the ground he wriggled out of the halter and ran across the court, through Don's yard, and into the next yard. It is downhill, however, and to get there he jumped off a retaining wall, about a 3 foot drop. This startled him and he halted in their driveway long enough for me to catch up and put a leash on him. It was only then that I noticed that my left knee was hurting. I must have twisted it a bit running after him.

For his evening walk, I decided to tempt him onto the ramp using pieces of meatloaf. He crept onto it, grabbed the meat, and then made a huge jump so sudden that the leash flew out of my hand. Again he ran off, this time circling around our shed before pausing. I managed to catch him in spite of my sore knee.

At age 14, he is practically deaf and does not hear me when I call. I don't know how long he could survive in the woods with his limited eyesight and poor hearing,

This morning we tried a new vest that has handles so that you can carry your dog like a suitcase. Guppy did not like being carried and wiggled frantically. Frank got him downstairs and walked him without further problem. But tonight we were unable to get the vest back on him because he jumped and twisted and acted like he might bite. So I bribed him onto the ramp using a piece of meatloaf but then he panicked and jumped, hitting the steps. Luckily, he bounces pretty well.

He comes up the ramp just fine. If we don't get the other house, we will have to hire someone to build a long gentle ramp, or maybe a series of steps and landings.