December 31, 2009

Reflection for the New Year

Made with and a photo of Narrow Passage Creek combined in Photoshop


Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year!

I used this picture as my Christmas card some years back  when I lived on Taft Avenue in Alexandria. I printed the images in the darkroom at NVCC as I was taking a B&W photography course at the time.

As you can see, we had a lot of snow at the time and it was still coming down. Today we had about two inches of snow, which made a pretty frosting on top of the snow that was left over from the last snowstorm.

December 30, 2009

Geese, Lake, and Signal Knob

Another view seen from our "lake house" near Strasburg. In the distance is Signal Knob at the north end of the Massanutten Range.

Railroad Crossing in the Snow

Warren County, Virginia

When we stopped at the entrance to Shenandoah River Lakes to take some pictures of the icy lake, I decided to walk over to Richardson Road and take a few photographs of the railroad crossing.  This is the Strasburg to Front Royal stretch of tracks, and obviously the train doesn't run very often since the tracks were still covered with snow four days after the snow storm.

This was once part of the RF&P Railroad, which was bought by CSX in 1991. I remember when we lived near Alexandria's railroad station back in the 60's, we had several neighbors who worked for RF&P. Some were from Strasburg and occasionally traveled back there on the train, probably over this section of track.

December 29, 2009

Across the Snowy Lake

Waterlick, Virginia

Lake House in the Snow

Above: Seen from Southern Drive
Below: Seen from Back Yard
Near Waterlick, Virginia

Happy Birthday to Frank

December 28, 2009

Geese on Ice

Frank took this photo on Tuesday at Shenandoah River Lakes in Warren County.

December 27, 2009

Snow Finally Disappearing

We've had a couple of warmer days and our snow is finally melting. Instead of the 18" deep covering of everything, we have about 5 inches now, and it is melting down to nothing in some spots.

This picture is from the 24th when the snow and ice were still a problem. We were trying to get my car up the hill that morning, having left it the night before down by Straton Drive. I saw the plow truck approaching and waved at him. The driver stopped and helped us de-ice our windshield and then put some more salt on the road. He said it wouldn't help much until the temperature went up. Fortunately the temperature rose to about 38 degrees (F) in the afternoon so enough ice melted that we able to easily drive the car home.

Amazon Affiliate Links Made Easier

Blogger and Amazon have gotten together and made it easier to link to Amazon products. Formerly if I wrote about a book, for instance, I would find it on Amazon, use my Associate's toolbar to find the link page, copy the code and paste it into Blogger as HTML.

Now I can highlight relevant text as I type a blog entry and get a link more quickly. For example, if I am writing about the Shenandoah Valley's history,  I can highlight those words and see a box underneath the text entry area with items to select such as Maps illustrating Campaign of Gen. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 1862 (28" x 36" reprint).  As these appear, I click the Link button and the item is automatically inserted in my blog. Or I can click the Image button and a DVD on Historic Hotels: The Wayside Innand a picture of the item is inserted. Also, some formatting choices show up so that I can resize the image and move it to the right or left side. Pretty cool!

December 26, 2009

Waste Less, Get Free Stuff!

Recycling Rewarded:

The Core of Bryce Resort

Core: "The center of a thing" or "A small group of indispensable things..."
In this picture we see the ski lodge with the slopes behind it. In the foreground is Stony Creek.

Tonight we took Allison to dinner at the restaurant which is just to the left of what you see here. The slopes were lighted and skiers were still enjoying themselves.

December 25, 2009

Hope Your Christmas Was Lovely!

Okay, I admit to Photoshopping the picture above. I pasted the cardinal in from a different shot taken a few minutes later, and I deepened the colors just a bit.
The video is exactly as seen though. I took it from our living room on December 25 in the morning.

We had a nice Christmas day. Marie was here in the morning and tonight Allison and Dave stopped by.

View of Library in the Snow

Basye, Virginia

This is our community library and airport building. I took the picture on Monday. The entrance should be pretty much clear of snow now. The library has a book sale scheduled for tomorrow (12/26/2009).

They like to get donations of books to sell. Visitors to the resort often stop by to use the internet and buy some used books to read.


Thanks to Jesse Mendez for this award graphic. He commented on my previous post that "smiles like those deserve a reward."

December 24, 2009

The Day Before Christmas

The weather forecast for tomorrow includes icy rain in the morning, so Lynn declined my invitation to come for Christmas. I don't blame her because our mountain roads can become treacherous when icy.
So today Marie and I met her for lunch in Harrisonburg. Afterwards I was trying to take a picture of them in the parking lot and a woman offered to take a picture of the three of us. Here it is.

December 23, 2009

Our Road in the Snow

Our road has gotten a little clearer since I took this photo on Sunday. Unfortunately, an icy film covers it now. We went to the local diner for dinner tonight and couldn't drive back up this hill. My car just didn't get enough traction to crest a steep slope. We had to leave the car near the intersection and walk home. When I stepped out of the car, I almost fell on the ice. Slick!

View Looking Up the Driveway

December 22, 2009

Snow Blower

Our driveway was full of snow and too large to shovel. So I was happy to see the crew from Macanie Trucking show up on Sunday to clear it for us.

Here we see their guy using a professional-size snow blower. It's pretty impressive. Take a peek at the video below.

December 21, 2009

Making it Easy to Share Posts

Today I learned about the GetSocial toolbar which links to social sharing sites like Facebook and Twitter. I added this feature to a few of my most popular posts.

Surprisingly, my most popular post is on tea allergy. Apparently this allergy is more common than I thought. It is rarely tested for; my allergist included it in an extended set of skin tests after the standard group of skin tests failed to uncover the cause of my coughing at mealtimes.

Another popular post has a photo of historian and reenactor Rob Hodge. Hodge was made somewhat famous in an entertaining book by journalist Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War. (Clicking on the book's title will take

you to a page about it on If you buy the book, I get a small credit from Amazon.)

The other post on this blog that has been consistently popular is Make a Cartoon Portrait of Yourself, so I added the Get Social links there also.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Snowy View

Yesterday Morning
mountain in snowSaturday was gray and snowy. Sunday was sunny and snowy. With a view like this, I can't complain about getting snowbound.

View from Our Driveway

Yesterday Before the Snow Was Cleared

December 20, 2009

Our Yard in the Snow

That's a suet feeder hanging in the center of the picture. A few nights ago some critter pulled it down and stole the suet. Someone also pulled down another small bird feeder that night. Since the bears are supposed to be hibernating, I think the culprit may have been a raccoon or even a deer. I would not suspect the deer except that one of them was probably what chewed most of the leaves off our late-blooming rose bush that night. So maybe there was a deer feeding frenzy going on in preparation for the coming snow storm.

Anyway, late Friday afternoon I fastened the suet feeder back up and filled the large bird feeder, which I also protected by screwing on a large "squirrel baffle" which I had just bought after a squirrel defeated the "squirrel-proof" feeder. My fingers got very cold when I did this but I persisted in getting the feeders ready because significant snowfall was predicted and the birds would be looking for food after snow covered the ground.

Related post: Deer oh Dear.

How Much Snow ...

snow scene
It snowed all day yesterday and finally stopped last night. I measured it at 18 inches in the driveway.

December 19, 2009

Snowy Saturday

man in snowWe've got snow and lots of it!

Late last night Benny barked to go outside. I cleared a path on the front deck before walking him. We already had eight inches or more of snow.

The picture shows Frank shoveling snow around 10:00 this morning. Since then it has continued to snow all day. We aren't planning to go anywhere.

Yesterday I was in Harrisonburg for an appointment and picked up a few supplies before the storm hit, including extra bird seed and some pet-safe salt for de-icing. For Frank I bought English muffins and extra cereal; for myself I bought extra goat milk, wheat-free frozen pancakes, and small potatoes.

It may be a couple of days before we drive to town again.

December 18, 2009

Leora in the 1880's

Leora Morton, At About Age Six
old portrait of childSince my grandmother Leora was born in 1880, the photograph above dates to about 1886. It was among a box of pictures and mementos that my Aunt Clarice sent me.

Below: Stereographic Print from the 1880's. A note penciled on the back says "Party at Anna Crampton, North of Hadley." That would be Hadley, Michigan, which is not far from Flint, where she resided when I knew her in the 1950s and 60s. She died in 1969. (See Greenwood Cemetery site for her headstone.)
The note, which is faint, appears to say she's the first child from right in the front row. No one else is identified.

December 17, 2009

Feeding Squirrels Unintentionally

I was pleased to find a squirrel-resistant bird feeder for a reasonable price at Walmart. Of course, squirrels are smart and always find a way to steal bird food.
By the second day, Charlie had gotten the top off the feeder, as you can see in the picture. He could then reach into the tube and help himself to seed. Funny thing, the top is hard to unscrew and I have trouble getting it open. But for Charlie, it was only a minor challenge.

I put the top back on and it stayed on for the rest of the day. However, the squirrels had decided that this food was for them. One would swing around on the feeder until some seed came out. His siblings waited below and grabbed the seed as soon as it touched the ground. I don't know whether they took turns swinging and eating; I like to think they did.

The next day they got the top off again. Guess I need another feeder so that the birds get some seed too. I'm going to look for a squirrel-proof suet feeder as well, because today some critter unhooked the suet feeder, knocked it to the ground, and emptied it completely.

December 16, 2009

Historic Properties in Shenandoah Valley

I usually write about Frank's real estate listings but I came across some really unique buildings in a booklet I picked up at a shopping center. They intrigue the historian in me and probably some of you history buffs will want to see them too.
Also for sale (in a higher price range) is a B&B near the old covered bridge.

December 15, 2009

Suiter Kids, Late 50's

Carol, Ricky, Peggy, Linda
My dad took this photograph, apparently during the same session as one I posted in January.

At Age Two

My dad was probably the photographer. He was pretty good with a camera and flood lights. I was too young to remember the photo session though.

Blogs about VA and WV Parks

My parents took us to many parks in Virginia and West Virginia when I was growing up. I came across some blogs that tempt you to visit these great places.
While you're at it, check out the book Best in Tent Camping: Virginia on Amazon. My daughter Marie did an outstanding job of revising it a few years ago.

December 14, 2009

Maybe this house will rent soon!

Finally a prospective tenant has looked at the lake house. The agent said they liked it and will decide this week.

Above is a photo of part of the family room which has a tiled area and stovepipe for a wood stove. The wall-to-wall carpet in this room is brand new, an olefin berber carpet in light tan and gray tones.

On the left is a picture of the sunroom taken before the previous owners removed the last of their belongings. Behind it is the above-ground pool.