August 31, 2007


Butterfly Perched on a Patio Chair

August 30, 2007

Labels added to Blog

I went through my blog and added Labels to certain entries so that you can find other posts on the same topic. They are Civil War (sites and books),  Genealogy (family history),   Gardens (and flowers), and Orkney Springs (here in Virginia). These labels will appear at the bottom of relevant entries (providing, of course, that I remember to tell them to).

After spending over an hour on this project, I clicked on a Civil War label and only got a small portion of my posts on Civil War sites. I checked Blogger Help and found out that this is because I am still using the Classic Template. I need to upgrade to the Layouts Template, which I have not done because I will lose some of the formatting that I already added. Sign!

That means I have to redo some of what I did before. Well, someday I'll get around to it. Probably.

August 29, 2007

Mary Amaryllis

I received a request for some more information on my great-grandmother Mary Amaryllis Hammer from someone who is doing architectural tours of Chicago. Basically I told her that there is a biography of Mrs. Hammer on the web. It is transcribed from HISTORY OF OHIO, The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925, Volume V, page 421-422.

Among the organizations that she belonged to were the Mothers' Relief Association, the Illinois Colony Club, the Dames of the Loyal Legion of Illinois, Poetry Lovers of America, the Andoka Philanthropic Club, Illinois Woman's Press Association, the Woman's Athletic Club, the Chicago Woman's Club, the Colonial Coverlet Guild of America, and the Chicago Society of Ohio Women.

When she met Judge D. Harry Hammer, she was a young widow working as a correspondent for the Athens Messenger. She was well-read, auburn-haired, and a graceful dancer. She and the judge married in June 1874.

She was outspoken and campaigned against the killing of aigrettes (egrets) for their plumes, used in hats, so not all her energy was devoted to socializing and shopping, although even her children seemed to remember her as a socialite. After Judge Hammer died in 1904, she spent less time on social events and became involved in political issues, supporting women's suffrage and women's rights. On one occasion she was entertained by Mrs. Harding at the White House.

History at Delaplane

This is the Civil War Trails sign at Delaplane, Virginia. Excerpt:

Piedmont Station
By Train to Manassas - First Manassas Campaign

Here at Piedmont Station (now Delaplane) trains were used for the first time in history to move troops to impending battle.

On July 19, 1861, the fields surrounding this stop on the Manassas Gap Railroad -- which appeared then almost exactly as they do today -- were filled with thousands of volunteer soldiers, members of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate Army of the Shenandoah. A single steam locomotive was on hand to move the army to Manassas Junction, then threatened with Federal attack. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's 1st Brigade, ordered here from their bivouac in the meadows just south of Paris, were loaded onto freight and cattle cars for the first transport, which took eight hours to cover the 30 miles to Manassas.

August 27, 2007

Field Trip Photos

people in rainI'm working on pages for the Romney to Delaplane field trip even though it took place three months ago. In my defense, I spent many, many hours documenting the longer Civil War tour that we did in May, Grafton to Camp Allegheny.

The Romney-Delaplane trip was the only one I've been on in which it rained all day. This made it hard to take notes and a little tricky to get decent photos.

August 26, 2007

Labor Day Weekend Book Sale in Basye

The Community Library is planning a used book sale for Saturday. Actually, we have a used book sale all the time in the back room, but extra books are brought in for sale days.

Our little library is one of the few where a resident can fly in to return a book. Hours are limited. pretty much 10-2 Monday-Saturday, plus a few hours on Tuesday evening. But even when the library is closed, visitors sit outside at the picnic table to use the wireless internet.

August 25, 2007

August 24, 2007

More Pictures from the Pottery Tour

potterRight: Artist Joan Cordner described the process of creating pottery to the garden club tour. Trained as a painter, Joan sells pottery at her studio near New Market, Virginia.

Below:Birds visit her garden.

bird feeder

August 23, 2007

A Tour with the Garden Club

foundation gardenA friend convinced me to join the Mt. Jackson Garden Club. Yesterday we toured the garden and studio of the Art Studio Pottery near Endless Caverns.

Below: Our hostess Joan and the garden club ladies.

Below: Joan's waterfall and pond

August 22, 2007

More pictures of Orkney Springs

The main street: Orkney Grade

I've read that there are seven springs in the area. Below is a close view of Chalybeate Spring, also called the Orkney Spring. Chalybeate is a term for iron-rich water. Note the rusty red color in the pool and on the rocks; that's iron.

chalybeate spring
I've posted other photographs of Orkney Springs which you can see by entering Orkney or Shrinemont in the Search Box at the top of the page or try clicking this.

Ben visits Orkney Springs

dog at springI took Ben for a walk at Orkney Springs. He was a bit scared by the water flowing out of the rocks!

This is one of the natural mountain springs at the old resort. Years back, someone tapped into it using a pipe to make it easy and clean to fill containers with the mineral-rich water.

August 21, 2007

Shenandoah East of Maurertown

shenandoah river
North Fork, Shenandoah River

Low water bridge from across a field

August 20, 2007

More Photos from the Herb Farm

I'd been to the Buffalo Springs Herb Farm before but Frank had never seen it. I figured he'd like the garden structures: walls, fences, arbors, archways... and he did.

The landscaping here is extraordinary, and there is a colorful variety of flowers, even in the hot dry days of August.

I believe the vine below with the purple pods is a Hyacinth Bean Vine.
hyacinth beans on fence

On a bench, Buffalo Springs Herb Farm

August 19, 2007

Wade's Mill

grist millOne of the places we visited yesterday was Wade's Mill on Raphine Road. Sometimes it's called the Kennedy Wade Mill.

This mill is next to Buffalo Spring Herb Farm and is has a shop that is open on certain days. They still grind flour and sell it.

I took the interior shot on the second floor. The white coating on everything is flour dust.


grist mill

More Water Garden Photos

Left: Frank inspects one of the ponds at Springdale Gardens. This is one of a series of small ponds connected by waterfalls going down a hill.

August 18, 2007

Water lily photo

water lily
Today we visited several gardens, including Springdale Water Gardens in Greenville. Frank is planning to put in a pond and we are looking for ideas.

August 17, 2007

Browsing local books

Yesterday we drove to Harrisonburg and Frank wanted to shop at Books-a-Million. I browsed the regional book section and came across a colorful book called Shenandoah National Park - Simply Beautiful. The authors were Ann and Rob Simpson who teach at Lord Fairfax Community College. I took a photography course that Rob taught and he is an outstanding nature photographer.

I continued browsing and on the adjacent shelf was The Best in Tent Camping: Virginia, 2nd edition by Rob Porter and Marie Javins. Later I spied another copy of this book in the travel section. (For those who don't know, Marie is my daughter.)

August 16, 2007

News from Alexandria

Clovis point found in Alexandria, Virginia

I still get emails and a newsletter from Alexandria Archaeology, where I volunteered for many years before leaving that fair city. A stone point from 13,000 years ago was found in a dig near the Wilson Bridge, along with quartzite chips that indicate tool-making. This indicates that native people lived in that area earlier than previous evidence suggested.

I miss Alexandria sometimes. It's a great city, although I found the air pollution to be unhealthy in the summertime.

When reading about the Clovis point, I came across an article that said Cash Grocer is closing. Too bad, it's a great little store, but I'm not surprised. Whole Foods opened nearby, and MOM (My Organic Market) has a nice store in Arlandria now. And of course, large supermarket chains now carry the most popular "natural" foods. When I worked in Alexandria, I used to really depend on Cash Grocer for wheat-free and dairy-free foods.

Historic Sites: Romney, WV

I came across the Historical Marker Database while looking for some information on a West Virginia town. The site has photos of numerous historical markers with accompanying details - quite useful for historical research (although one must remember that markers are not always totally accurate).

The site has a wish list of markers needed or nearby historic sites and one of them was Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney. I happen to be working on a Romney to Delaplane field trip for my Civil War battlefields website, so I had some digital photos handy. I submitted them last night and they now have their own page called Fort Pearsall 1754. That's the name of a fort that was erected on the Indian Mound before Romney was even a town. The fort had nothing to do with the Civil War, but the Romney area was occupied and fought over many times during the war.

August 15, 2007

Skywatch - this evening

Seen from our deck

An Air Horn Approach to Dog Aggression

white dogLast week we took Ben for a consultation with a dog trainer near Tom's Brook. Mr. Kirby Hill let us know that we were not demanding enough of Ben and could not let him continue to threaten us and our guests.

I made the appointment because Ben had scared Frank's grandchildren and tried to bite Susan. The trainer suggested that we buy an air horn and blast the dog with it when he starts the ferocious barking-growling that frightens everyone. I found one at Wal-Mart's sporting goods section and tonight we had our first reason to use it. I accidentally stepped on poor Ben's foot and of course he reacted angrily, like he might eat us both! Mr. Hill had made it clear that we cannot tolerate biting NO MATTER WHAT, so while Frank was throwing water on Ben to shush him, I hit the button on the air horn and the barking stopped immediately. Within a few minutes the dog was calm enough that we could wipe up the water from the floor without a reaction.

We are also working with Ben on better leash behavior (no lunging!) and longer stays. And we must remember to release Ben from each "stay" with "Okay" so that he becomes clear on how long he must hold the position. This seems to be helping.

Postscript: A tin can with 6 pennies in it is another noise-maker that helps make Ben behave!

FaceTweet it!

August 13, 2007

Book on the West Virginia Campaign

E.B.I found Lee Vs. McClellan: The First Campaign in our county library. The first sentence began with the name of someone I know: "E. B. Vandiver, a longtime student of the Civil War, provided the inspiration for this book." E.B. is a member of the Civil War class from NVCC that I have been taking field trips with for 18 years.

Newell covers much the same territory as our professor's book, The Glories of War: Small Battle and Early Heroes of 1861, which is longer because it also describes 1861 actions in eastern Virginia.

Many history buffs are unfamiliar with the struggle for western Virginia, but it is an interesting story. I have posted photo tours of the Kanawha Valley Campaign and the Cheat Mountain Campaign, but for the dramatic details, read one of the books listed above.

August 12, 2007

Critter Photos

horseThis horse was seen next to Figgins Auto Sales.

Below is a squirrel that visited our feeder yesterday. Normally I don't fill the bird feeders in the summer because I want the squirrels to disperse and find new territories to live in. Just before Frank's grandchildren came, I put some pine nuts in this feeder, hoping to have some birds or squirrels to show them. Unfortunately, it took the critters over a week to discover the nuts. However, the grandkids did see a hummingbird visiting our nectar feeder, and they were entranced by it's small size.

By the way, you may notice that our grass and leaves are still very green. We have had just enough rain and just in time to avoid the drought that has parched other parts of Virginia.


A Flat Tire

Lynnie JLynn had a flat tire on the way home Friday night after the concert here. Unfortunately, she was on I-81 and it was midnight. Fortunately, she was in the right lane and heard a change in the tire sounds and slowed down before the tire blew out. She was able to maneuver her pickup off the highway safely and reached a friend using her cell phone. They decided that it was unsafe to change the tire beside the busy interstate at that hour so her friend drove her home.

The vehicle was towed to a place near the Green Valley Book Fair. I picked her up yesterday and took her there. The tow truck guy was kind enough to change her tire and put air in the spare. Then Lynn and I went to a buffet in Mt. Crawford for a meal.

August 11, 2007

Second Concert of the Weekend

Tonight we saw the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Shenandoah Music Festival. They are billed as a gospel group, but they really rocked! They started off with a loud rousing version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" and kept up an energetic pace for the rest of the show.


We went to the Arlo Guthrie Concert in Orkney Springs and had a great time! Lynn and Peggy and a couple of Peggy's friends joined us. This was the fourth Arlo Guthrie concert that Lynn and I attended together. The first was for her 18th birthday; about a decade later we met and saw Arlo and Pete Seeger at Wolf Trap; and another decade later we saw Arlo at JMU... that was just a couple of years ago.

Tonight's show was part of his "solo reunion" tour and he was not accompanied by a band. This gave us a chance to really hear his skill on the guitar and piano. As usual, his story-telling was hilarious.

According to, he will perform at Wolf Trap on Sunday. Highly recommended.

August 9, 2007

Image: Orkney Springs Hotel

old hotel
This historic hotel at Orkney Springs is identified on the Shrine Mont site as the Virginia House.

(This picture started out as a photo. I altered it in Photoshop using filters and layers.)

Local Events

Happenings this weekend:
The Shenandoah Music Festival in Orkney Springs has some great acts!
August 10: Arlo Guthrie
August 11: The Blind Boys of Alabama

Also on Saturday: Route 11 Yard Crawl on from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Yard Crawl offers thirty-two miles of yard sales from Strasburg to New Market, Virginia.

fallow deerMeanwhile, I was sorry to read in the Bryce Courier that Gail Rose plans to sell the herd of fallow deer at Deauville. They've been great for taking visitors to see but they are not profitable to raise. She will continue to raise and sell vegetables and eggs.

Deauville Farm is on Crooked Run Road near Basye.

August 8, 2007

More Pictures with Boyles kids

Above: Ice cream break, Basye

Left: Frank carries his granddaughter on his shoulders

Below: Crossing the stone bridge at Shrinemont

August 7, 2007

Our kitchen - a BEFORE picture

We have hired local designer Nancy Meyer to create plans for a new kitchen. The dark brown wall will go! The old scratched cabinets will be replaced, of course, as will the ancient stove and dishwasher.

All this will probably take a couple of months.

Cowgirl Jo

Here's Josie at The Yellow Barn, which recently opened at the Shenandoah Caverns complex. The barn holds a stage, antique vehicles, and a look-inside bee colony, but the kids were mainly interested in petting some little chicks.

August 6, 2007

More Parade Exhibits

Here are more photos from American Celebration on Parade.

As ususal, you can click on a picture to see a larger version.