November 30, 2008

Palmer Marker, Port Republic

This marker stands in front of the park on the South River at Port Republic, VA. Next to the picture below (of the periwinkle-covered foundation) is the text of the sign.

Palmer Lot at Middle Ford
Ford was site of Jackson's temporary bridge

Parallel to South River is seen the bed of the lower millrace which brought water power to several village industries. The Galliday Tannery was located on the far left; the Dundore/Downs Tannery on the adjoining property on the right. The Robert Waller Palmer house, known as Green Isle, stood between the race and the river. Its foundation, now covered by periwinkle, exceeds the measurement of sixteen by sixteen feet, the minimum allowed size of houses built on the first lots sold in the newly chartered town of 1802.

The ell-shaped limestone foundation near Water Street remains from the mid-nineteenth century house, store and post office of Palmer's son, John. An 1837 invoice describes his merchandise as "French, English, German and American Fancy Goods."

On the site was a slab bridge over the millrace which led to the middle ford of the South River. On June 8, 1862, Union soldiers under Col. Samuel Sprigg Carroll invaded the village by fording South River and cross the bridge. After the Federal invasion had been repelled, Confederates hurriedly constructed a temporary bridge during the night of June 8-9. Captain Claiborne R. Mason's African-American engineer troops performed the difficult job by dragging wagon beds into the flood-swollen river by means of a complicated pulley system, putting rocks atop the wagons, and then fastening lumber together to provide a precarious walkway. The next day Confederate soldiers, hurrying into the Battle of Port Republic raging just downstream, crossed gingerly. Eventually the temporary bridge broke down, leaving many obliged to wade through the deep water, holding their weapons and ammunition up to keep them dry.

Across the street are the Town Hall and the James Patterson log house built in the early 1800s. Patterson's home was later owned by Marshall Jones, the first freed African-American in Port. Also visible are some of the oldest remaining structures in the village.

Port Republic: Two 19th-Century Buildings

These buildings are across from the park on the South River in Port Republic, VA.

Above we see the old Town Hall.

To the right is the James Patterson log house. It was later owned by Marshall Jones, the first free African-American to be recorded as an occupant in the town.

You can search this blog for other pictures of Port Republic, or just look at the BRCC Field Trip to Port Republic.

November 29, 2008

Marie and Marie

Marie Alice and Marie Ellen
Lynn and I drove up to Alexandria today to meet Marie at the Metro Station. That's our Marie on the right. Next to her is her longtime friend, the other Marie. They were best friends in high school and later roommates in Jersey City. Then they each bought a fixer-upper condo in the East Village. Each later sold at a nice profit.

We were also joined at lunch by Lynn's longtime friend Teresa.

November 28, 2008

Cows at Liberty Furnace

We were driving along route 717 in western Shenandoah County a few months ago when we saw cattle grazing at Liberty Furnace. It's a charming location so we stopped the car and took a couple of pictures.

Liberty Furnace, now privately owned, was the site of an iron ore operation in the 19th century. According to a Forest Service article, " there were several essentials for the location of a furnace found in the Valley -- an adequate supply of iron ore and limestone, sufficient waterpower to turn a water wheel that operated a bellows for the fire, and an abundance of timber for charcoal that was the fuel for smelting the iron ore." The article also tells us that Liberty Furnace was burned (but not totally destroyed) during the Civil War. Nearby Columbia Furnace was burned three times by Union forces!

Liberty Furnace is on the side of Great North Mountain between Wolf Gap Road and Jerome. I included it on a Basye area tour map last year.

Looking at the 3-D Atlas

Lynn has assembled a collection of pictures of folks reading the 3-D World Atlas and Tour by Marie Javins. Peggy posed for a photo complete with the goofy-looking glasses that make the 3-D pictures stand out.

November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Top Row: Me, Allison, Peggy, Lynn
Bottom Row: Benny and Frank

Left-hand photo: Peggy and Barbara

We had a nice turkey dinner with the usual fixings except stuffing, which I forgot to cook.

We missed the presence of Marie and Dave, who were unable to make it. Peggy brought her friend Barbara.

The Plus Side of Cold Weather

The early cold weather has enabled Bryce Resort to cover the ski slopes with snow earlier than usual. So the Ski Season will open tomorrow, 11/28/2008.

November 26, 2008

Photo of my Mom in 1986

I always miss my mother on holidays. Since I stayed in Virginia after I grew up, I always saw her and my dad on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is a picture I took of her in 1986. I needed to take a picture for a photography class and she was kind enough to pose for me.

Earlier Post: Eleanor In her Youth

November 25, 2008

Forty Years Ago

Marie and Lynn in 1968

November 24, 2008

Update on Scamp

We called Martha from Sheltie Rescue to see how Scamp is doing. He was out playing in the yard with her shelties. She said he is doing great.

They plan to place him in a forever home with a fenced yard where he can romp. She indicated before that they do not like to place shelties in yards with invisible fences because an active dog will sometimes cross the fence, oblivious to the shock while intent on chasing something. Scamp likes to chase squirrels and other dogs.

We're glad that he is adjusting well. Meanwhile, Ben's behavior has improved and he is back to being his old self - pouty but tolerably quiet.

November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Lynn

Today in Harrisonburg, VA

I met Lynn for lunch to celebrate her birthday. We also did a bit of shopping, mostly looking at cell phones.

The picture on the left is from 40 years ago. Friends Ronnie and Donnie are sitting outdoors with Marie and Lynn.

November 22, 2008

A Clock on

I checked my site statistics for (a site I've had a long time but haven't done much with in recent years). I learned that:
  1. Most visitors type in the URL or use a bookmark
  2. 5% of the visitors come through searching Google
  3. Less than 1% come through Yahoo and Ask Jeeves
  4. A similar number come through a blog in Spain called Bitter and Turbulent.
clock at Orsay in ParisThe fourth one surprised me. I checked it out and found out that the writer linked to this clock picture that I posted in 2000 after our trip to Paris.

The giant clock is on the exterior wall of the Musée D'Orsay but I photographed it from the inside. The Musée D'Orsay is a wonderful place, once an ornate train station and now an art museum.

By the way, I checked on what folks are finding on my pages through Google and many of them are looking for Harpers Ferry and John Brown's Raid. I need to redo that page and move it to In the meantime, here's a view of Harper's Ferry (below) taken from Maryland Heights. The walk up to the lookout point is fairly steep so even though I'd like to redo that shot on a sunny day, I doubt that I'll force myself up that trail to do it.

Harpers Ferry, WV

November 21, 2008

Early Winter

Cold weather has come early this year. Right now it's 21 degrees (F) outside, with winds making it feel even colder.

This morning I had to clear two inches of snow off my car in order to drive to my physical therapy appointment. The car slid a bit going up Straton but the county road was clear. And when I reached Senedo Road, there was no snow on the ground there, and none in Woodstock.

We've had our share of medical appointments this week: two for me, three for Frank. Now he's on an antibiotic for a sore throat, so he slept late this morning and didn't go to Woodstock with me.

I took the picture below yesterday while waiting for him outside Mt. Jackson Family Medicine.

November 20, 2008

A Picture for Frank's Page

Frank needed a photo for his Homesdatabase page so we went outside the other day and took a few. He picked out one and cropped it thus.

His car makes a good reflector. (So does mine.)

November 19, 2008


I got a tip from a former neighbor that Postlets is a handy site for renting or selling houses. I'm trying out the site for the benefit of a current neighbor who has listed his 6-bedroom home for sale here in Bryce Resort. Postlets is posting the ad on 10 different sites for us (although I haven't heard of many of them).

Mini-ads are generated by Postlets which I can paste into a website. It's "iframe" code like the Amazon Associates Program generates for book ads.

Although Postlets doesn't post directly to Craigslist, it does provide fancy HTML code to paste there yourself. Seems to work very well.

Bird Tracks in the Snow

We had snow yesterday but it wasn't much.

Songbird tracks on our deck

November 18, 2008

Fire on the Range

We came in from an afternoon of appointments and shopping today and somebody put the groceries on top of the stove. I won't say who did that but it wasn't me. And then they took Benny outside and I took the trash out to the garbage can.

I walked back in the door and smelled smoke. I looked in the kitchen and saw the bags of groceries on fire, with flames shooting two feet up from the stovetop. Somehow one of the burners had come on, catching the plastic bags and their contents on fire.

I turned off the burner, grabbed a pitcher of water and dumped it on the bags. It wasn't enough. I grabbed a glass of water from the sink and dumped it on too. I yelled at Frank "We have a fire in here." Then I filled the pitcher with more water and dumped it on the remaining fire.

By the time he got inside most of the fire was out. The smell of burnt plastic filled the kitchen so as soon as all the fire was doused we turned on the exhaust fans and opened the door. Only then did the smoke alarm come on!

Frank started going through the debris of burnt groceries to see what was salvageable. Milk was pouring out the bottom of partially-burnt cartons so we had quite a mess. I took the dog back outside and tied him there to keep him away from the smoke and commotion while we cleaned it up.

It didn't take too long except for the smell of smoke, which lingered a long time in spite of our efforts at ventilating the room. Unfortunately it was freezing cold outdoors and snowing so we made the house uncomfortably cool for a while.

The soaking-wet partly-burnt groceries are in a trash can now in the middle of the paved driveway, just in case an ember should spark up again. Ben took all this fairly calmly, and we were glad that his noisy buddy Scamp was not here to add barking to the frenzy of putting out the fire.

More of Winchester's Battlefield to be Preserved

I read that 209 additional acres of the Third Winchester Battlefield will be preserved. The $3.35 million purchase price will be funded through a partnership between the Shenandoah Battlefields Foundation, the Civil War Preservation Trust, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and private partners.

Read CWPT's Press Release.

These are photos I took this summer on a park-like section of the battlefield which was previously purchased. People were walking and biking the trails and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

Since Winchester is only an hour from my home (and one of the places we go for medical appointments and shopping), I've had a chance to visit various points on the battlefield and I must say, it covers a HUGE area! It's an example of why we cannot preserve all sites that were "hallowed" by Civil War battles: they take up large portions of the Shenandoah Valley, including valuable privately-held land in cities like Winchester.

Fortunately, we can still preserve large tracts in some places, enabling visitors to imagine what soldiers experienced. Furthermore, preservation of this area protects Red Bud Run, a tributary of the Opequon which in turn runs into the Potomac. Thus water quality for Red Bud Run will benefit, helping its downstream watersheds including the Chesapeake Bay -- an example of historic preservation leading to environmental protection.

A Trail Crossing Red Bud Run

Previous Posts on 3rd Winchester:

November 17, 2008

Dusk from Route 211

Heading west between Luray and the Massanutten Range, U.S. 211 will cross the mountain at New Market Gap and meet U.S. 11 and I-81 at New Market, VA.
According to AA Roads Mid-Atlantic, 211 is a "child route" of U.S. 11, connecting it with Washington, DC. via U.S. 29. When I was young, the portion of 29 between Warrenton and Washington was called 29-211. Today if you wished to travel from Route 11 (in the Shenandoah Valley) to DC, you would make better time on I-66 through Front Royal.

November 16, 2008

Post Number 1600

I've been blogging for a long time now, but I've been photographing longer. This is a self-portrait from 1986 that almost didn't turn out at all. I was using up a roll of film and this frame was the last one. It got snipped off so only part of the image was left, and I think it was a little bit light-struck. The color (already warm from incandescent light) shifted a bit.

Since it was already odd-looking, after I scanned in the old print yesterday I added a filter in Photoshop and played with the color just a bit. So I never looked like this... but I sure looked a lot younger then.

The View from Mt. Snow Court

This is the deck of at a cute house that Frank listed for sale here in the resort. Unfortunately, the owner changed has mind and decided to take it back off the market. He is renting it out profitably as a vacation home.

Meanwhile, Frank has resurrected his Homes Database site. He's still working on it, but the links are handy, especially if you want to search the real estate database to see what homes are for sale in Virginia, WV, DC, and Maryland. It even has a few listings in Pennsylvania.

November 15, 2008

Scamp this Morning

I took some pictures of Scamp on the deck before he left this morning with a lady from Sheltie Rescue. He will spend a couple of weeks with her being evaluated to make sure they place him with a compatible family. She already has shelties so I hope he likes them.

We had a long conversation about his likes and behaviors. I carried his belongings out to her car and didn't start crying until he was actually in a crate in the back of the car all ready to go.

When I came back in the house, Ben appeared to be smiling.

The Quiet Pack

Seen at Harper's Lawn Ornaments, 
Harrisonburg, VA

November 14, 2008

Finding a New Home for Scamp

It looks like we may have found a new home for Scamp. Actually, the folks at Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue have someone who wants to adopt him, so we are working with them.

We are sad to let him go, but as I wrote last month, he and our cocker spaniel do not get along and the raucous quarreling between them is really nerve-wracking. I am hoping that Scamp will wind up with a fenced yard where he can be very active.

Mill Creek in October

West of Mount Jackson, VA

November 13, 2008

Those Crosses by the Highway

Roadside crosses like this are so common in western Virginia that I forget that they are not found everywhere. I ran across a question on the web from someone who saw them while traveling through our state so I thought I'd post a photograph.
three crosses by road

Three Crosses along Senedo Road (Rt. 42)

The tradition of erecting a trio of crosses along highways was apparently started by the late Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer of West Virginia in 1984. He hired work crews and erected over 1800 sets, mostly in the eastern U.S. He died in 1993, but an organization called Crosses Across America has taken over the project.
In related news... motorists along I-81 near Strasburg can't help noticing three huge crosses looming over the trees. At night the sight is downright startling if you are driving south because you round a curve and there they are, tall and brightly lit. Here they are from the other side, behind the Church of the Valley on Route 55.

Article (4/2007): Church raises tallest cross in Eastern U.S.

November 12, 2008

Painting the Great Room

We've had a messy house this week because Frank has been painting the walls of the great room. They are paneled with old barn wood that was a faded brown. I kind of liked the effect but he was tired of it.

He had already painted one wall in July (the west wall with the glass doors). We had selected a gray color called Garden Stone after trying and rejecting various shades of beige. He wanted to paint the other walls the same color but I objected strenuously. I don't care for the prison-gray tone that it has on cloudy days. I talked him into leaving the fireplace wall brown. He refreshed it by covering it with a water-based stain by Minwax called American Walnut.

It wasn't easy buying the stain. We had tested a sample that we bought at Lowe's, but when I went back to buy 3 quarts, they did not have it in quarts. I had to drive to Home Depot to buy it (an extra hour's trip).

Next we tackled the east wall. We picked up a gallon of an off-white paint, Valspar's low-odor water-based premium paint with the odd name, Woodrow Wilson Putty. (Low-odor is important to me; the smell of paint can give me a severe headache.)

On the wall, however, it was too yellow. I suggested mixing it with the gray paint. This gave us a gray that was lighter and slighter warmer than the Garden Stone, an acceptable compromise.

Frank said we needed three gallons of it. He painted an art board with the mixture and I took it to Lowe's yesterday to get them to match the color. A young woman scanned it into the computer and presented me with a sample that did not match. It had a touch of mauve in it and I know from experience that Frank has a strong dislike of paint with any trace of pink. The clerk said that was the closest she could get.

I found sample cards of Garden Stone and Woodrow Wilson Putty and had her look up the formulas. She said that she could not match our color that way because the base colors were different. Getting a bit frustrated, I asked if a "real paint store could match our sample." She did not think so.

I said to mix equal parts of each paint and it would work. I had to argue with her a bit and wound up buying a quart of each and having her mix them in a plastic bucket (which I had to promise to pay for). The color was a perfect match, of course. (Let's call it Woodrow's Putty Garden.) So then I asked her to mix a gallon of each, which would give me a total of 2 and a half gallons. I figured adding that to the paint we already had would be enough. (It was.) The clerk mixed up the gray and the putty separately and presented me with the cans.

"Please mix it together." I had to pay for another plastic bucket and she mixed the paint while talking on a cell phone.

Another clerk gave me the paint and cautioned me that the lid might not hold securely so to be sure to keep the cans upright in the car. Then she went through the checkout with me so that I would be charged correctly for the now-empty cans plus the buckets and lids. By this time I had spent an hour in the store. (Did I mention that I don't like shopping in home improvement stores because of the chemical smells? And I don't like house painting projects because of the hassle and the mess.)

All went well after that. Frank painted the wall and the hallway today while I was at a physical therapy appointment. The paint looks fine and he even got the mess cleaned up.

The View from Burnshire Bridge

We had to drive out to Edinburg and Woodstock yesterday. I wanted to do a little something more than stop at the bank and buy paint, so I made a side-trip to the Burnshire Bridge. It's east of town on the road to Woodstock Tower.

There's an old hydroelectric dam on the Shenandoah River here, and it's usually a good places to take a few photos.

November 11, 2008

Virginia Photo Pages

I'm continuing to undo the mischief done by AOL's decision to discontinue their member webspace. Today I moved some of my old AOL pages to my Virginia Photo site: Old Mills, Flowers, and Travel Library Winners. I did only minimal updates to the pages, intending to modernize them at a later date. (The pages were 4 to 12 years old.)

Virginia Photo gets about 500 visitors a month, even though I neglect the site compared to this blog, which actually draws a lot more visitors. Come to think of it, this blog has a lot more Virginia photographs than Virginia Photo does.

A Reflection of Autumn

Pond, October 21

November 10, 2008

Golden Sunlight

Last week I was driving home from a dental appointment and the sun was shining in my eyes. I decided to leave I-81 at Tom's Brook and head west to Back Road, where the scenery is pretty and the road winds a little, offering occasional relief from the sun's rays.

As the sun moved lower in the sky, the light took on a golden hue. I decided to take the next right turn off Back Road and take a couple of pictures.

This peaceful scene greeted me. I love the Shenandoah Valley!

November 9, 2008

Fort Collier in Winchester

This is the west entrance to Fort Collier, facing US 11. The sign on the right reads "Fort Collier Civil War Center. Hours by Appointment. 540-667-5572."

Across the driveway we see a Civil War Trails marker which tells us:
Confederate troops constructed Fort Collier in 1861 after the evacuation of Harpers Ferry. The earthworks, which surrounded the Benjamin Stine house here, commanded the approach to Winchester on the Martinsburg and Winchester Turnpike. The fort saw little action until late in the afternoon on September 19, 1864, when, during the Third Battle of Winchester, it became a focal point of the engagement. Here a great Union cavalry charge led by Gen. Wesley Merritt turned the battle against Gen. Jubal A. Early’s outnumbered Confederates. The charge was earthshaking and memorable. A Confederate infantryman who survived the attack later wrote, “I never saw such a sight in my life as that of the tremendous force, the flying banners, sparkling bayonets and flashing sabers moving from the north and east upon the left flank and rear of our army.”

The Stine house was destroyed in the battle. The present day dwelling, still largely surrounded by the Confederate earthworks, was built in 1867.
The Fort Collier site can be reached from Brooke Rd. across from the intersection of Brick Kiln Rd. Not surprisingly, it's not far from the industrial park on Fort Collier Road.

HMDB list of Winchester Markers
| Fort Collier

November 8, 2008

Tudor Chalet for Sale in Bryce Resort

This 4-bedroom home is listed at $215,000. There are 3 baths and 2 fireplaces.

The view from the deck is looking in the direction of our house, but I was not able to spot it.

Listed by Frank at Creekside Realty.

Railroad Tracks in Autumn

Tracks in Winchester, Virginia 
(near Fort Collier)

November 7, 2008

A House with a Wall of Windows

I may have shown this house before. Frank has this listing, a new home still under construction here in Bryce Resort. It is $270K and has 3 BR, 2 baths.

The front exterior looks like a basic colonial, but when you walk inside, you see a very contemporary great room. The walls have not been painted yet, but check out the windows and high ceiling!

The deck overlooks a wooded yard with Crooked Run Road visible through the trees.

I have it listed on Craigslist /Harrisonburg. Previously I listed it on Craigslist under DC area housing but that expired in just a week. The Harrisonburg listings stay posted for a month.

Bryce Mountain listings are put in either section. We are closer to Harrisonburg but most of our buyers and visitors come from the DC area and Baltimore. I sometimes say that we are the western-most suburb of DC (although that could also be said of some places in West Virginia).