January 31, 2010

Icy Fingers

Winter Tubing

The resort uses the same hill for snow tubing as it does for grass tubing. Looks like folks are having fun!

January 30, 2010

Civil War Marker at a West Virginia Rest Stop

At the West Virginia Welcome Center along northbound I-81 there's a Civil War Trails marker for the Gettysburg Campaign. Lee's army passed through this area on their way to Maryland and Pennsylvania. You can read the sign's text below the photo.

Actually, the area was traversed numerous times by troops on both sides during the war. (See our field trip Into Virginia from the North in 1861.)

See also our Gettysburg Campaign Tour.

Gettysburg Campaign
Invasion and Retreat

After stunning victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Virginia, early in May 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee carried the war through Maryland, across the Mason and Dixon Line and into Pennsylvania. His infantry marched north through the Shenandoah Valley and western Maryland as his cavalry, led by Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, harassed Union supply lines to the east. Union Gen. Joseph Hooker, replaced on June 28 by Gen. George G. Meade, led the Army of the Potomac from the Washington defenses in pursuit. The Federals collided with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1, starting a battle neither side had intended to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates began retreating through Maryland, retracing their steps to the Potomac River and crossing into Virginia on July 14 into what only a month earlier had been Virginia. On June 20, after Lee crossed the river heading north, the Union had admitted West Virginia—the only state to secede from a seceded state.
P.S. I added a site feed on my Civil War Field Trips homepage to display recent posts on this blog that have the label Civil War. You'll have to scroll down the page to see it though.

January 29, 2010

I've Been Wondering About ...

Reusable Shopping Bags - Are they Sanitary?

I own a bunch of cloth shopping bags: two that we got free an environmental group, one labeled Kroger, two from Martin's (of which one is insulated for cold goods), and even one labeled Walmart. I bought the last one after my husband appropriated a couple of the others for storing maps and stuff in the trunk of the car.

But I've been wondering if bacteria are lurking in the bags, contaminating whatever I carry in them. One study shows that yes, the reusable bags are sources of bacteria, but that study has been accused of bias because it was funded by the plastics industry. Still, the logic is there.

Turns out that Health Canada has published some hints for dealing with this issue. In Food Safety Tips for Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins, they tell us how to reduce the danger of food-borne illness by sanitizing our shopping bags.

First of all, we should wash them regularly "especially after carrying fresh produce, meat, poultry or fish." They also suggest wrapping meat, poultry and fish "in plastic bags, such as the clear bags you can find in the produce and some meat sections. This will help prevent the juices from leaking out and contaminating your reusable bags." It seems like this defeats the goal of avoiding plastic bags, but I have been doing this with poultry all along, since raw poultry is a known source of salmonella.

They also suggest the following, which I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I hadn't thought of: "After putting your groceries away, clean the areas where you placed your bags or bins while unbagging your food, especially the kitchen counter and the kitchen table." This makes sense even if you use disposable bags, because your bags could have picked up bacteria or other bad stuff in the grocery cart or in your car. It's funny, I wouldn't put my shoes on the kitchen counter but the grocery bags may have been in the trunk or on the floor of the car or even on dirty pavement, and I still didn't think of them as particularly dirty. Well, I'd better go clean my countertops with vinegar and water while I'm thinking about it.

January 28, 2010

January 27, 2010

Birds at the Eaves

I spotted these little birds under the rafters at the ski lodge.

View through the Banister

Early yesterday I looked out and saw deer browsing in front of the house. I tried to take still pictures but the light was too dim. I got readings of half a second and a full second, and even if I had hauled out a tripod, the animals movement would have blurred the image. I decided to see if the video feature on the camera would work better.
By this time, one of the deer had disappeared across the road. The deer I see in our yard regularly are in a family group of three. The third one hadn't showed up yet, but he was not far behind. When I walked Benny about ten minutes later, the deer were still nearby. Ben was busy sniffing the ground and did not see them. I guess he saw them in his own way, through his nose.

January 26, 2010

Mist in the Bryce Valley

small plane
mist and small plane
Yesterday morning after arriving at our library shortly before 10:00 to work for a couple of hours, I took a couple of pictures of the mist as it rose from the valley.

The library shares a building with the small airport that serves the resort.

Not Supposed to be a Pond

Warmer temperatures melted most of the snow here. Then we had days of rain, hail, more rain... and Sunday night it rained so hard I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.

On Monday, local creeks expanded out of their banks. Here we see Stony Creek forming a bonus pond on the golf course.
golf course with water

January 25, 2010

Shrine Mont in January

stone bridge at pond
The outdoor cathedral at Shrine Mont
is a quiet place in the winter, peaceful yet with an aura of mystery.

It was built of local stones in the early 1920's. Located near the end of Orkney Grade Road, it's in a lovely mountain area known for its mineral springs.

Shrine Mont's Lonely Greeter

This friendly cat greeted us at Shrine Mont. It doesn't get many visitors in the winter, for the nearby hotel has closed down and the little town of Orkney Springs has only a few year-round residents.

I've been greeted by this cat before and used it in halloween pictures in 2009 and 2007.

January 24, 2010

Click for Haiti

Care2 has added a new feature to help earthquake victims in Haiti: Click to Donate for Haiti.

So far, 65,887 people have clicked 101,886 times for earthquake relief.

Another site where you can click to help is The Hunger Site. They are donating to Partners in Health for relief and medical supplies for Haiti. Advertisers supply the funds and our clicks determine how much the advertisers are willing to contribute.

FreeRice.com is another place to click and it provides a vocabulary game at the same time. And don't forget the search engines that let you pick a charity that your searches will help: Goodsearch and I Give.

Free Kibble for Shelter Dogs and More

FreeKibble.com provides a place to help animal rescue groups without spending money. Your click on the trivia game (added to the clicks of hundreds of other internet users) generates a donation to animal shelters.

Other sites where I click to help animals include Care2 Pets and The Animal Rescue Site. I've been donating to Care2 this way since June 2000, making it my home page so that I click through before I start my daily journey on the web.

The Animal Rescue Site is currently providing help to animals in Haiti. My understanding is that feeding goats and poultry is an emergency priority because farmers desperately need to keep these animals alive to protect their livelihood and provide food (including milk and eggs) to hungry people.

Leaves in Ice

Blog Post #2300

A blog anniversary is a good time to pause and catch up on introductory information that I didn't provide when I started "The View from Squirrel Ridge." This time I'll list the main schools I attended. Maybe I'll even hear from some old friends!

I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia. It was a long time ago and some of these schools no longer exist!

• Hollin Hall Elementary
• Mark Twain Intermediate
• Mt. Vernon High School
• Fort Hunt High School

I didn't go to college right away but eventually earned degrees from Northern Virginia Community College and Charter Oak State College. I've taking many additional courses, many from NVCC but also other institutions and online sources. My favorite subject areas are photography and American History.

January 23, 2010

Mixed Ducks

Wild ducks hang out with domestic ducks, and often you can see various color combinations in their offspring. I've noticed this with geese too.

An article on Mallard ducks in Wikipedia shows that yes, some folks are concerned about this interbreeding and whether it may cause some species to disappear.
"Complete hybridization of various species of wild ducks gene pools could result in the extinction of many indigenous waterfowl. The wild Mallard itself is the ancestor of most domestic ducks and its naturally evolved wild gene pool gets genetically polluted in turn by the domesticated and feral populations."

Sleigh Rides!

An upcoming program in Basye will feature sleigh rides for children.

Let it Snow! Winter Fun for Kids
January 30, 2010 at 10:30 AM
at the Bryce Resort Airport

Mona Wolfe is organizing this program.

January 22, 2010

Geese Strolling on Ice

Above: A short video shows geese walking on an icy lake. I like the sounds they make because they seem to be laughing and having a good time.

New Post Editor on Blogspot

I tried the new "improved" post editor on Blogger for a while and got frustrated with it. For now I'm switching back to the old editor. If you want to do this, go to Settings, Basic, scroll down to "Select post editor" and select the "old editor."

For some reason the Video button is missing on the new editor but can still be found on the old one. Another feature that I missed was the ability to easily assign custom sizes for my photos in HTML. For instance I sometimes want a size that's between "small" and "medium" or I want to type in a particular width and height (keeping in mind that 72 px equals an inch).

There were some other nuisances but now that I have read the documentation about the new editor, I understand how to work with them so they should no longer be a problem if I switch back.

January 21, 2010

Walking on Water

This boy walking on ice made me nervous. Temperatures had been in the 40's all afternoon and part of the previous day so the ice was getting thin in spots.

His friend watched with concern and asked him to come back. I told him that I had just seen some geese fall through the ice. "Where?" he asked.

"Over there." I pointed in the direction of a little island near where a creek enters the lake.

"It's strong here," he said, giving a little jump to prove his point.

"It'll be awfully cold if you fall through." I didn't know him so I didn't want to over-do the warnings; it could encourage bravado if he felt challenged.  His friend urged him to come back to shore. He did. Both boys got on their bikes and rode off.

Lake with Curved Shore

At Shenandoah River Lakes, Waterlick, VA

January 20, 2010

Ducks Flying at Dusk

Lake and Signal Knob in January
Waterlick, VA

I took these pictures at the lake house Monday. As dusk neared, the sky darkened a bit. Through the camera's viewfinder, it looked more dramatic than it did to the naked eye, and that effect shows in the image on the left.

January 19, 2010

Washing Windows at the Lake House

The long cold spell has been broken by temperatures in the 50's (Fahrenheit), so Frank was finally able to wash windows on the house we have up for rent.

On the right is a picture taken from the inside as Frank was finishing the outside.

Listed on RentalHouseHunter 
in Front Royal, Virginia.

January 18, 2010

Creek Near Columbia Furnace

Above we have a short video showing Stony Creek at Columbia Furnace, Virginia. The town preserves the name of an old iron manufacturing furnace which disappeared long ago. I suppose the dam seen here was built for a mill pond. I don't know where the iron furnace stood; I'd like to think it was near this spot.  

Blog Post #2290

We are now listed on Loaded Web under Blogs in Virginia. So far we are the only listing for Basye.

About the picture: This is an additional view of Stony Creek. To see it larger, click on it.

January 17, 2010

Stony Creek in January

Yesterday I drove to Woodstock via the back way through Jerome and Liberty Furnace. I stopped near Wolf Gap Road and took some pictures of Stony Creek. There was enough ice left to look bright and silvery.

Stony Creek runs from Lake Laura in Basye to Edinburg, where it joins the North Fork of the Shenandoah.

Related Posts:
Lake Laura in Late Afternoon
Stoney Creek in Winter at Bryce Resort

Richmond to Appomattox

Sometimes I get emails asking for Civil War Tour information. Today someone wanted to find a guided tour that includes Richmond and Appomattox. Unfortunately, I don't know of one coming up. I gave him some alternate ideas:
You can book a tourist-type tour of Richmond and then easily see Appomattox on your own. For Richmond tours, read this article . Also, there are many sites near Richmond which you can visit. Personally I find Cold Harbor Battlefield to be easy to tour via car and quite moving.

Appomattox is very easy to visit without a guide. It's a small place and well-staffed by the National Park Service.

Near Richmond, I highly recommend City Point (another small site, easy to tour by walking) and Petersburg Battlefield (National Park Service - pick up a map from the visitors center), also nearby Pamplin Historical Park, which is not publicly owned but is wonderful - plan to spend a day there if possible. On the way to Appomattox, stop at Sailor's Creek Battlefield, now a Virginia State Historical Park. If you have time and feel like walking, visit High Bridge near Farmville too, and stroll out to the historic bridge.

CWPT has a wealth of resources on Civil War sites, see their Civil War Discovery pages.

See my photos on this blog from the NVCC tour in spring 2009:

May (scroll down) and June (again, scroll).
See also Civil War Field Trips website

January 16, 2010

Busy Slopes in Basye

The ski slopes at Bryce Resort were very busy today, mostly because folks had a long weekend due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

Skiers enjoyed mild temperatures exceeding 40 degrees for a welcome change.

I never learned to ski. Did not try it when I was young, and when I finally did try I was terrified of breaking a leg plus my calves were hurting mightily from the rented boots.

January 15, 2010

Squirrel at the Feeder

The squirrels stayed in their den while the snow was falling, but as soon as the sun came out, so did they.

January 14, 2010

Daylilies, Fence, and a Little Yarrow

I'm tired of winter so here are some garden photographs I took in June.  This is not our garden, it was in beautiful Orange County, Virginia.

January 13, 2010

Squirrel in a Snowy Park

Since I haven't posted a picture of a squirrel in a while, I selected this one from a few years ago.  Obviously there was a light snow on the ground.

We still have snow here left over from the snowstorm we had before Christmas. The roads are clear although there isn't enough of a shoulder to walk the dogs safely.  Sometimes I walk Benny up and down our cul-de-sac where there is rarely any traffic so that he gets a little exercise and I get some sunshine.

January 12, 2010

In the Snow, Early 1950's

These were taken around 1952, probably by my dad. He sent copies to his sister and years later, when she was packing to go into a retirement home, she sent them to me.

Above: Carol Ann
Below: Linda Joan

Put Your Blog in an Inline Frame

If you have another website, you can show your blog on it in a way that will update automatically. See this example which I am still refining. I coded an iframe and used this blog's URL as the source (src).

Alternately you can show a feed of your blog, and you can even restrict it to posts having a certain label or tag, assuming you are using labels. Click for example. Again I used an iframe but modified to URL to specify a feed and a specific label.

January 10, 2010

Along I-64 on Afton Mountain

Along Interstate 64 between Waynesboro and Charlottesville there are a couple of overlooks where you can pull off to see the view. They are only accessible eastbound and are restricted to regular-size vehicles.

If you are traveling traveling west over the Blue Ridge, you won't find an overlook on I-64. However, you can exit at the top of the mountain (Exit 99) and drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive and see spectacular views. The Parkway is free; Skyline Drive charges an admission fee if you don't have a National Parks Pass.

Back to the overlooks: I took these photos at the second one, which is lower in elevation than the first but still has a pleasant view. Here there is a memorial to Virginia's highway workers who were killed on-the-job. This reminds us that the people who fix our roadways are often risking their lives to do so. It starts out:
The monument before you honors Virginia state Highway workers who lost their lives while serving the Commonwealth’s travelers. No public funds were used to build this memorial.
on Historical Marker Database.

January 9, 2010

Inside the Lake House

When we first bought the house at Shenandoah River Lakes, we were so enamored with the view of the lake and Signal Knob that we took a bunch of photos outdoors. Of course, potential renters want to see what the inside of the house looks like, so we are working on adding interior shots to our various ads.

Following are some examples starting with the family room.

Above photos show some rooms on the main level.
The two pictures below were taken upstairs, which basically has a double bedroom, a hall with cabinets, a bath, and access to the walk-in attic.