February 28, 2007

From my photo files: Stafford Area

These are photographs from a couple of years ago that I took near Stafford, VA. First: The Potomac River at Fairview Beach.
belmontThis is Belmont Estate, once home to artist Gari Melchers. Below is a garden building which overlooks the Rappahannock River.
garden at Belmont

Civil War Tent Display at White Oak Museum near Falmouth, VA.

February draws to a close

I just posted the March calendar for Spiritual Singles. It's hard to believe that March is almost here.

I won't miss February. It was cold and icy for the most part. Pretty though.

February 27, 2007

Round Window

Frank took this snow scene through the entry way window.

Hang in there!

February 25, 2007

More Snowy Day Pictures

Our firewood has its own house to keep it dry!

Guppy likes staying dry too.

Five more inches of snow

wall in snowA winter storm watch made yesterday a busy day. At the library lecture in the morning, we talked to the neighbors whom we had invited over for a visit this afternoon. Because of the forecast of snow, sleet and rain, we changed our plans to a visit yesterday evening. Our house needed cleaning and we had errands to run, so we hurried to the main library to return the movie screen, grabbed a burger in Woodstock, and bought a few groceries in Wal-Mart. (I was out of goat's milk and Wal-Mart is the only place in the valley that carries it.) Then we drove home and dove into housecleaning for a few hours. The visit with our friends was pleasant, although the house smelled slightly like floor cleaner, no doubt with whiffs of dogginess.

This morning we awoke to a winter wonderland. The snow is already melting from the trees; temperatures are in the 40's. I'm glad we don't need to go anywhere today; we can enjoy the view and wait for the snow plows to dig us out.
cardinal in snow

February 24, 2007

Spelt versus wheat

Interesting page at Food-allergy.org explains why some people who are allergic to wheat can consume spelt and how new labeling laws are confusing by identifying spelt as wheat.
FaceTweet it!

More California Photographs

suburban sprawlI am still working on the digital pictures from our California trip in January. It takes a few minutes to process each image:
  • Brighten using shadow-highlight in Photoshop.

  • Crop or saturate if desired.

  • Save the picture with a name more meaningful than a string of numbers.

  • Sharpen.

  • Save as large JPEG in my To Print folder.

  • Resize to 4X6 inches and save in my California folder.

huntington tombAbove is a sunset seen from the plane just before we landed in Long Beach. And to the right is another view of the mausoleum at the Huntington Museum. The picture below was taken nearby.

February 23, 2007

Update on Guppy

A year ago I wrote about my dog having to take medication for seizures. At the time he had experienced a number of episodes which the vet thought were seizures, during which he frantically grazed on the carpet, licking up lint and sometimes foreign objects. When he swallowed a tiny battery and a piece of cloth he wound up in the animal hospital.

At the time my husband thought that the carpet licking was a response to a tummy ache. Later I read that some dogs were having problems after swallowing Greenies without chewing them up, so I stopped feeding them to Gup. I also stopped feeding him chicken-based dog food because one book links chicken allergy to seizures. Eventually I weaned him off the medication and the problem did not return.

Over six months have passed with no further carpet-licking. I don't know for sure what caused the episodes but I don't give him hard chew biscuits or chicken anymore.

February 22, 2007

Jessica Simpson's Food Allergies

Celebrity Jessica Simpson has revealed to Elle Magazine that she has food allergies. Other commentators have noted that Simpson was recently featured in a pizza commercial, but it turns out that she cannot eat pizza.

This from Elle.com: Recently, Simpson tells me, after she was still feeling not quite right, an allergist delivered news that would chill the heart of anyone reared on Texan cuisine: She's allergic to cheese. And wheat. Oh, and tomatoes, hot peppers, coffee, corn, and chocolate.

Since I don't tolerate pizza either, I find it comforting that a celebrity cannot eat it. I used to enjoy pizza and even now when I smell it, I wish I could eat it. I'm not really tempted though - the wheat would make me sleepy but the stomach pain from eating cheese would probably keep me awake. And then there's the watering eyes from the yeast and the itchy skin from eating tomatoes. No thank you! I'll find something else to eat.

February 21, 2007

February 20, 2007

Contrails Over Great North Mountain

vapor trails over mountain
Yesterday evening the conditions must have been ideal for contrails, which I sometimes call jet trails.

The term contrail is a shortened version of condensation trail. NASA says that Contrails only form at very high altitudes (usually above 8 km) where the air is extremely cold (less than -40 degrees C).

February 19, 2007

A few Audio Books for Presidents' Day

george washington booklincoln book These are good audio books on Washington and Lincoln. Usually Amazon has used copies of these at a bargain price.

Here's another one - no picture was available: Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America

The more I read about Washington and Lincoln, the more I realize that they were truly remarkable men.

The Garden Angel

Frank purchased this angel at a hardware store a few years ago because, he said, she looked like me!

I don't get compared to an angel very often, so I remembered the compliment. I posed my valentine flowers with her for a photo.

February 18, 2007

Civil War Book Lists

I'm working on an Amazon Associate's Store for my Civil War Website. Right now the books are coming up according to keywords but to make the selection accurate I need to go back and select them manually or create a "Listmania" list of books.

There are pages of books to choose from. If you want to buy a book or audiotape on the American Civil War, visit my Civil War Reading Room.

CPR Course

Yesterday we attended a CPR-AED course sponsored by the Basye Lions Club. Our teacher was neighbor Norm Butman, a Red Cross instructor. It's been decades since I took a CPR course, and back then there were no AED's (portable defibrillators).

The AED is a remarkable machine. It is computerized and once you turn it on, it talks you through the entire process. It can analyze the victim's heartbeat and decide what kind of a shock to administer, if any. Many public places have AED's available in case someone has a heart attack.

You can actually purchase an AED from Amazon.com.

Blue Jay Visits

The blue jays have been fairly shy so I was delighted when this one landed on the rail of the deck and visited our feeder.

February 17, 2007

Colen Javens

Colin Javens traveled overland from the UK to Cape Town despite a spinal injury that left him paralyzed. I couldn't help thinking he must be a distant cousin of Marie Javins who traversed around the world using surface travel in 2001.

Of course, they spell their surnames differently, but not too many generations ago, name spelling was not standard. They share courage and determination along with a love of travel.

See Marie's book about exploring Africa.

February 15, 2007

February 14, 2007

Sometimes a dream comes true

mountain viewI may be jaded about some things, but I've got to admit: I just love the view from our house!

My parents instilled in me an appreciation of mountain views, and I remember longing for trips to Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway, places that seemed to satisfy some spiritual longing. How nice it would be to live in the mountains, I thought.

So now we do. And the view is a source of joy and surprise. It changes every time the clouds roll by.
squirrel on feeder

Ice at Bryce

After staying home yesterday to avoid the sleet, we drove out to the post office this afternoon. We took Frank's car which he had left parked on the road - our long steep driveway was still covered in a couple of inches of ice over a couple inches of snow. However, when we returned home, the good folks from Macanie Trucking were clearing our driveway. We have a snow-clearing contract with them, and well worth it. Even walking the dogs is easier after the driveway has been cleared.

I took these photographs along Resort Drive today.

Happy Valentine's Day

February 13, 2007

Birds on the a Snowy Day


Birds flocked to our feeders today. Snow seems to make them go food shopping like it does to us.

When Lynn saw my bird feeders, she said I was getting to be like my parents. There is some truth to that.

Wintry Mix

snowAbout an inch an a half of snow fell this morning, followed by sleet this afternoon. It was pretty to look at, slippery to walk on.

Photo: Ice on the windshield.

February 12, 2007

It's a hat, not hair!

Frank says this blue hat makes me look like Marge Simpson!

Picture of Lynn

Lynn picked up some furniture today. We also had lunch down at Braxton's.

February 11, 2007

The Cutest Squirrel

grey squirrel Look at his little pink mouth!

gray squirelThis little guy was so excited to find a pine cone smeared with peanut butter and seed that he ventured within a few inches of our sliding glass door - and my camera.

I love having a flip-out LCD screen because I can hold the camera away from me and either down or up and still preview the image. I'm sure little Charlie would not have let my head get that close to him!

February 10, 2007

Allergy links

Someone emailed me suggesting a link to Healthopedia.com/allergies. From there I found a link to the Food Allergy Initiative, a non-profit organization that raises funds toward the effective treatment and cure for food allergies.

Also, I ran across a site for Ecochem "An earth friendly company... Nature Friendly Agro Nutrition." Their page on pesticide news summarizes a number of interesting articles: http://ecochem.com/t_news.html.

February 9, 2007

Talk on Shenandoah Life during Civil War

Mr. Troy D. Marshall will present an illustrated lecture on "Valley Citizenry and the Civil War". Many people are aware of the battles that occurred in the Shenandoah Valley, but may not know much about what the citizens of the area went through at that time. The program will include information gleaned from citizens' diaries, letters, and other documents.

Mr. Marshall is the Supervisor of Historical Interpretation at the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and a long-time Civil War Historian.

This library-sponsored talk will take place on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24th at 10: AM at the Orkney Rescue Squad Building on Route 263 (Orkney Grade Road) between Bryce resort and Orkney Springs - across from Blue Ridge Truss Company

Frank Walcroft is the organizer of the monthly lecture series sponsored by the Basye Orkney Community Library.

February 8, 2007

February Snow

Yesterday we woke up to find about 4 inches of snow on the ground. The sun was out and the snow glistened.

By afternoon the roads were passable so we drove to the post office and had lunch at the 263 Diner. We also made a drive through Orkney Springs and stopped at the pond to take a few pictures.