September 30, 2008

Two-Room Schoolhouse

Cullers Run School

schoolhouseThis school served the families of Cullers Run from 1898 to 1956. On Hardy County Heritage Weekend, it was open to visitors. Some friendly volunteers shared the history of the school and offered us juice and cookies.

This schoolhouse is in the general area of Mathias and Lost River State Park.

September 29, 2008

Little Church near Cullers Run

St. John's Lutheran Church

  • Near Mathias, WV on Cullers Run Road
  • Erected in 1901, Restored 2001

According to the 2008 Heritage Weekend site, "Founders included many family names still common today: Delaunter, Dove, Fauley, Jenkins, Loury, May, Moyers, Sherman, Souder, Sours, Stultz, Ketterman, Loy, Strawderman and Wilkins." Eventually the church lost its congregation to larger churches and closed its doors in 1961. It was sold to a farmer who used it to store hay.

In 2000, it was purchased and fixed up. The interior is now used as a woodworking shop.

Oscar the Wood Stove

We saw this custom-made wood stove in West Virginia. An expert welder made it to look like a face.

The owner says it does a great job of heating his workshop.

September 28, 2008

Leaves Start to Change Color

Country Road near Mathias, WV

A Picture of Frank

man with beard

Timberville, Bird Haven, and the WPA

This weekend turned out to be cloudy with rain off and on. There was a bit of sunshine this afternoon so I insisted we go up to Timberville for their craft show event. Not too many vendors had braved the weather, so we didn't spend much time there, but made our way to the Plains District Museum which just opened on Main Street (Route 42). It used to be located on a side street but we didn't know their hours and never visited it there.

They have a variety of artifacts including an impressive collection of arrowheads collected in Rockingham County. We were almost back to the front door when I spied an exhibit about Bird Haven, which is not far from "downtown" Basye and Bryce Resort.

The display focuses on a time when Bird Haven housed an artisan center. The drawing on the right caught my eye - I believe it's a building which still stands, although it's now in bad shape and looks unstable. It's back in the woods next to a "No Trespassing" sign, and when we saw it from the road we wondered what it was. Apparently it was part of the art colony back in the 1930's.

Under the picture is a display case showing tools used by the craftsmen and a few items that they made. A logo from the display is shown below.

I was curious about the "Shenandoah Community Workers" so I searched on the web and found a description in the Virginia WPA Guide written around 1939. This follows a few sentences about Orkney Grade, telling you what you'll find if you turn on Alum Springs Road (VA 265, County 717):
...straight ahead to a lane (R), 1.5 m., that leads 0.7 m. through woods to BIRD HAVEN. The Shenandoah Community Workers were organized here 'to develop and demonstrate practical methods of applied forestry . . . to give its members education in craftsmanship . . . all income of which shall be used for Community purposes.' Here local craftsmen fashion furniture, toys, fireplace equipment, hooked rugs, and quilts, from patterns evolved by their ancestors.
I'm grateful to UVA for posting the WPA Guide to the Old Dominion, even though it appears to have been scanned in so there are some errors. The WPA Guide was a New Deal project designed to provide work to writers and others who had lost employment during the Great Depression.

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September 27, 2008

Flowers in a Mug

This is the flower arrangement that I made on Wednesday. I ran the photo through a couple of "artistic" filters in Photoshop.

September 26, 2008

A Mill on Mill Creek

This mill is on U.S. 11, the Valley Pike, at the south end of Mount Jackson, VA.

There were a number of mills on Mill Creek, which flows from the mountains west of town and joins the North Fork of the Shenandoah a short distance below this mill.

My mom was interested in mills and bridges so I guess I inherited that trait.

September 25, 2008

Historic Hardy County, WV

Hardy County Heritage Weekend will be celebrated Sept. 27-29, 2008. We attended last year and did not have time to see everything. 

Hardy County is just over the ridge in West Virginia, but it takes us almost an hour to get there. The roads over Great North Mountain are narrow and convoluted, so we usually  take Route 259 through Brock's Gap.  (We can reach VA 259 via Orkney Springs Road/Runions Creek, but you can also get on 259 from I-81 at Mauzy and follow it into West Virginia, where it becomes WV259. )

The Tuscarora Trail website says this: Brocks Gap is at the south end of the Great North Mountain group, where the North Fork of the Shenandoah River curves into West Virginia like a big J. The German River, Capon Run, and other tributaries meet near Blue Hole to form the North Fork.

Photo above shows Mathias Homestead.  See last year's post about Mathias, WV.

Flower Arranging

I attended a meeting yesterday of the Mt. Jackson Garden Club. We had a guest speaker who presented the principles of flower arranging. Then we were given our pick of flowers and greenery and a mug to arrange them in.

I was not the only person who felt a bit inadequate trying this in the presence of members who were expert at flower arranging. But we got to take our flowers home with us, so that was our reward.

September 24, 2008

Another House for Sale in beautiful Basye

This is a 3-bedroom chalet listed at $197,900. It has 2 bathrooms and almost a half-acre of wooded land. The lot is sloping and a lower-level is visible from the rear.

Frank has this listing. The MLS number is SH6792029.

It's just up the hill from Bryce Resort's golf course in what I call the "famous golfer" section because the roads are named after golf champions of the mid-20th century: Snead, Nicklaus, Palmer, Harmon, Hogan, etc.

Historical Marker for a Country Club?

I spotted this historical marker at the entrance to the Riverton Commons Shopping Center near Front Royal. (It's on 340 next to I-66. I mentioned the new WalMart here recently.) It says:

Recreational Center of Front Royal
William E. Carson (1870-1942), the first chairman of Virginia State Commission on Conservation and Development, a local resident, spearheaded the development of the recreational center for use by the people and visitors of Front Royal and Warren County. In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began designing and developing the center's facilities, including the golf course and a rustic clubhouse that once stood nearby. The park opened to the public in 1938. Carson and his wife, Agnes H. Carson, donated the land for the park and dedicated it to the memory of their only son, William E. Carson, Jr. who died in 1925.
Related site: Front Royal Golf Club

September 23, 2008

A Sore Shoulder and more

If you don't want to read about aches and pains, skip this log entry.

I've had a sore shoulder for over a month. I think I strained it when we went to the driving range. I hadn't swung a golf club in a long time and I wasn't in shape. Then later when I was walking Ben and he pulled on the leash, I felt pain in my right shoulder. Ever since then, it hurts if I extend that arm or lift anything heavy, etc.

I had to stop going to yoga for a while. (You might be surprised how much weight you put on your arms performing yoga.) And I've had to ask Frank to lift things, open jars, stuff like that. And the range of motion in my right arm is very limited right now.

My chiropractor in Woodstock seems to think it's not too serious, and indeed it is improving slowly but steadily. But I get frustrated with the limitations imposed by pain, and the pain itself can be sudden and sharp, brought on by simple things like reaching to pull a blanket over me, or even by just being jostled. And I wake up at night whenever I start to roll onto my right side. It hurts and I have to roll back. Which has turned out to have a positive side-effect: my lower back is bothering me less.

Long ago I injured my sacro-iliac joint on the right side in a fall. Since then I have had hip pain and back pain off and on. At the time (around 1990) I sought care from Erbe Chiropractic Center in Falls Church, VA. Dr. Erbe helped me tremendously and after a couple of years the pain became fairly minor. Then I moved to Prince William County and eventually stopped making the long drive to Falls Church. (Sitting in a car for long periods is hard on the low back.) And after a while the pain became more bothersome. I tried a nearby chiropractor with little success, and sought help from a neurologist when I started having other symptoms (tingling in my toes, for instance). He ran a battery of tests and said "Something is going on." Then I got frustrated with his billing department and my health insurance so I stopped going.

There were other doctors who didn't help. I tried a form of physical therapy and a few exercise programs. Some exercises are detrimental - I learned the hard way to avoid leg lifts.

As years passed there was little improvement and then I had additional symptoms. Sometimes pain shot down my right leg; sometimes an ankle would go weak so suddenly that I'd stumble. A medical doctor said I probably had a pinched nerve. My yoga instructor gave me the names of a couple of chiropractors in Woodstock. I decided to try Dr. MacDonald and he has been helpful. Naturally when I hurt my shoulder I had him check it out.

Anyway, the shoulder is improving. But I wanted to vent a little. And since it helps my hip and back to avoid sleeping on my right side, I wonder how I'm going to keep doing that after the shoulder stops hurting. It doesn't hurt the hip enough to wake me up.

September 22, 2008

Yesterday at Bear Wallow Spring

We took Scamp and Ben to Orkney Springs for a walk around the pond. We were pleased to see that they old springhouse has been repaired and painted. The pump is working and there's even a new sign: Great Bear Wallow Spring.

By the way, both dogs rode in the back seat of the car without a problem.

Historic Shenstone in Mount Jackson

manor house on hill
fancy staircaseWe went through the old Shenstone Mansion at the southern end of Mt. Jackson, VA. It's on the market right now and the current owner has done a lot of work on it, including replacing the front porch.

The house is said to have served as a hospital during the Civil War, not surprising since the town in the thick of things and various buildings served as hospitals. I recall that when Shenstone was offered for sale before (about 5 years ago), that owner said it had served as Union Headquarters, but the current seller is not making that claim as far as I know.

The house has seen numerous additions and changes over it's long history, so the floor plan is a bit unusual and seems inefficient by today's standards. So it doesn't qualify as a mansion anymore, but it's not mansion-priced either. It is next to Hepner Brothers' Blocks on U.S. 11.

For more on Civil War hospitals in Mt. Jackson, see Confederate Hospital Marker on and The Union Church, on
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A View from A Window, Mt. Jackson

September 21, 2008

B&W Pictures From a Family Album

Isn't that a cute photo of Marie (above)? That would have been in the 70's.

And on the right we see an even earlier picture. Lynn is leading the way on a hike through the woods with my parents.

Pics from the 90's

From time to time I scan in some old photos and eventually (maybe) I get around to cropping and sizing them. Here are two family pictures. First, me with my Aunt Clarice in Rose City (Michigan).
two ladies
And below, my parents with Lynn in Goshen Pass (Virginia).
three people

September 20, 2008

Festival in Edinburg, VA

Today Frank had to work at the real estate office and I spent the morning working at our library. But it was too nice a day to spend indoors, so this afternoon I went to the Edinburg Ole Time Festival.

It's one of the larger festivals I've seen here in the valley. There were plenty of vendors and (as you can see) llamas.

September 19, 2008

Red Sky at Night

reddish sunset

Why I made that tape

Marie created a multi-media video about some horrible neighbors we had long ago when we lived in a townhouse. She includes sound from a cassette tape that I made from my window. You can hear these people yelling and cursing. They did that regularly. Which leads to why I made the tape.

I had complained to the police about the noise but usually it quieted down around the time they drove up, although there were a few times in which a fight was in progress and they actually hauled someone off to the police station. But the screaming and fighting continued, especially on weekends when it went out past 1 o'clock in the morning, making sleep difficult.

So I decided to make tapes of the noise and take them down to the police station and have a talk with the captain. It turned out that I never had to go there. They arrested Billy for firebombing a car. But first they had to find him.

He had climbed onto the roof, crossed over to the hatch-door in my roof (which a painter had failed to lock), and hid in my attic. I heard someone in the attic, didn't know it was him... terrified, I locked myself in the bedroom, pushed a dresser against the door, and called the police.

The dispatcher took my address. "The police are outside your house," she said. "They are there to arrest your neighbor." I looked out the window and sure enough, several cruisers were out there.

"He's in my attic!"

I moved the dresser back, flew down the stairs and let in the officer who was at my door by that time. He brought in a police dog. He put up a ladder to the attic door.

"Billy, come on out! I know you don't want this dog coming in after you."

That was true. They took Billy away and he went to jail for a few years. By the time he got out, I had moved across town to a single-family home.

P.S. Marie has also posted a follow-up to the story.

September 18, 2008

Hummingbirds have Feet

We enjoy watching the little hummingbirds that come to their feeder all summer. They move so fast you can't see their legs and feet.

"Maybe they don't have feet," Frank said one day.

Yesterday I took a couple more pictures of a hummingbird, and this one shows his little feet.

Grocery Store with a View

As Seen from the Food Lion Parking Lot
Woodstock, VA

That's a cute logo on the shopping cart corral.

September 16, 2008

A Friend Turns 75

Congratulations to Sarah Fields on turning 75! I've been friends with Sarah since we worked for Alexandria's 4-H Program 30-some years ago.

The picture below appeared in a newsletter in January 1981. It shows us together at a community event recognizing volunteers. 

Marie's Latest Book: A 3-D Atlas for Kids

Congratulations to Marie Javins on the publication of her 3-D Atlas and World Tour. It's an illustrated atlas for young readers. I'm looking forward to seeing it. A pair of 3-D glasses is included so the illustrations should really stand out!

The portrait on the left is one that was taken of Marie on the QE2 portion of her 2001 trip around the world. I don't think she's ever used this picture but I think it's pretty.

September 15, 2008

Poplar Forest

poplar forest
Here's a couple of views of Poplar Forest, built by Thomas Jefferson in 1806 on a plantation that his wife inherited from her father. It's near Lynchburg, Virginia, and was a two-day ride from Monticello by horse.

In 1781 during the American Revolution, Jefferson and his family stayed on the plantation to avoid the British, who were looking for him at Monticello. (They considered him a traitor, so his life was in danger.)

Jefferson was president when he had the octagonal house at Poplar Forest built. He used it as a retreat and also as headquarters for running the plantation there.

And here's a restored brick "necessary" or outhouse. There's one on each side of the house although some distance away. Under a staircase that led downstairs from his bedroom, Jefferson had an indoor toilet, a convenience that was rare in this country at the time but fashionable in Paris, where he had spent some years as our Minister to France.

About Virginia's Snake-Style Fences

From an interpretive sign at Jefferson's Poplar Forest:
signI wasn't familiar with the term curtilage. It means the enclosed land around a house or other building. I've copied the text from this part of the sign for you:
"A portion of the curtilage fence has been recreated along the front entrance drive. This traditional "Virginia" or "snake" fence is built of hand-split Black Locust rails stacked loosely in a zig-zag pattern. As in Jefferson's day, the bottom rails rest on fieldstones to prevent rotting from contact with the ground."

zig zag fenceI've mentioned before that this blog gets visitors who are looking for information on split rail fences. I've always loved the look of those rustic wooden fences and have taken many pictures of them over the years. The one on the left is at New Market, Virginia.

Earlier Post:
Building A Split-rail Fence

The View from Cedar Ridge

porch with view
This is the view from a house that Frank has listed for sale. The house is called Cedar Ridge but it's on part of Supinlick Ridge here in Bryce Resort.

Frank works for Creekside Realty which has seen a few changes lately. The primary broker (Mr. Armell) left and a few agents decided to leave too. There's a new broker now and he assigned this listing to Frank. It's a very nice home on two levels, 5 BR, 4 BA.

September 14, 2008

A Few Notes from Our Trip

  • It takes about three hours to drive from Woodstock (where we left the dogs) to Appomattox.
  • Lexington to Appomattox= about an hour
  • There are several restaurants in the present-day town of Appomattox. We ate at a Chinese place near Kroger. My chicken dish was fine but Frank did not like the buffet.
  • Originally we planned to spend a week at the beach but the forecast for several hurricanes made that idea unattractive. After some discussion we decided to make a 2-day trip to Appomattox. Day two was a little rainy - not a big problem.
  • From Appomattox, we drove to Lynchburg and had lunch at Bob Evans (on business 29). Then we went to Poplar Forest. 
  • Got back to the kennel before 8 PM so that we could pick up the dogs. 

Nicotina Tobacum

This weedy-looking plant is tobacco. It's been grown in Virginia for centuries even though it's known to deplete the soil.

I'm not a fan of it's products. Both my parents smoked starting in their college years, and both of them had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder). I'm allergic to tobacco smoke... and doesn't it smell awful?

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Another Evening Sky

Board Fences

Appomattox Court House, VA

The old lanes have been planted with grass.

September 13, 2008

The Court House at Appomattox

appamattox court building
"Appomattox Court House" refers both to the county court building and to the historic town itself. This building is a reconstruction of the 1846 court house and is used as a visitors center.

The photograph on the right is a view of the court house as seen from Clover Hill Tavern.

Clover Hill Tavern

North Elevation of the Tavern
georgian building
interior of room

Clover Hill Tavern, built in 1819, played a part in the surrender at Appomattox. The U.S. Army used it to set up portable printing presses. In five days, they printed 28,231 parole passes for the surrendered Confederate soldiers.

Each pass stated that the prisoner had "permission to go to his home, and there remain undisturbed."

Historical Entertainment

man in confederate outfitThis fellow is a historical re-enactor at Appomattox. He told us how he joined the Confederate Army, was wounded, went back after healing, only to be with the Army of Northern Virginia when they were defeated. 

Appomattox National Historical Park also has a couple of slide shows for your edification, along with museum exhibits that light up and make sounds.

Below are figures from a life-size mural depicting the most famous leaders who met at Appomattox.
General LeeGeneral Grant