October 31, 2010

Altered Cat

Altered in Photoshop

I love playing with Adobe® Photoshop®! If you're new at using filters or any special effects, remember to duplicate the background layer and make the changes on the duplicate. This not only makes it easy to delete the changes if you don't like them; it also expands your options. You can choose different ways of blending the layers and you can adjust the transparency of your new layer to make the effect more subtle. So don't be intimidated by layers. They can be fun!

October 30, 2010

October 29, 2010

Women's Heart Symptoms

I recently had a stress test. It was ordered by one of my doctors because I complained of fatigue, shortness of breath while exercising, and occasional chest pain. Although I was reasonably sure that the last symptom was caused by something in coffee, it seemed prudent to make sure.

RMH Healthcare administered both a treadmill test and nuclear imaging. My results were excellent except for "mild" shortness of breath after 7 minutes on the treadmill. The written report notes "Very good exercise capacity for age." (I grinned when I read that.)

It's important for women to realize that females often have heart problems without the severe chest pain that typically signals a cardiac emergency in males. Read this article: Heart Attacks Different for Women.

October 28, 2010

Recent Pictures of Us

I'm posting the first picture to show my new haircut. This is probably the shortest I've worn my hair since middle school, so it's a big change.

The photo of Frank is one I took yesterday. The sun was really bright so I had him stand in the shadow of a post.

October 27, 2010

Volunteer Petunia

When the potted lily I got for Mother's Day stopped blooming, I put it on the deck. By the time the foliage died, some seedlings had appeared in the soil, so I watered them. Eventually one of them grew big enough to bloom. It was this purple petunia.

October 26, 2010

Hilltop with Trees and Cows

Farm near Mt. Jackson, Virginia

Click on the image to see a larger version.

October 25, 2010

Autumn Tree, Belgravia Road

Shenandoah County, VA

fence tree and roadI liked this scene on a country road between the Valley Pike and South Middle Road.

October 24, 2010

A View from the Parkway

I love the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Over the years I've taken many photos like this - somewhat disappointing because it doesn't capture the feeling of being on top of the world nor does it show the colors or light in the way I saw them, thanks to the haze that's usually present.

Here we're looking at the view from Irish Creek Valley Overlook on the Parkway. Lynn and I stopped there yesterday while enjoying the sunshine and fall foliage between Raphine and Buena Vista.

October 23, 2010

Sky, Clouds, Road

clouds and roadSometimes we see the prettiest skies when clouds are rolling in (or away). We were driving toward Mount Jackson when I stopped the car to take this picture.

That's the town's water tower on the horizon. If you've driven through the Shenadoah Valley on I-81, you've probably seen it - it's the one with a basket of apples painted on it.

October 22, 2010

Dellinger Acres Road in Autumn

Dellinger is a common name in Shenandoah County and I know of two roads near Jerome with that as part of their names: Dellinger Acres Road and Dellinger Gap Road.

I posted a view from Dellinger Gap Road last month. These pictures of the similarly-named road show that the season has changed. Late October is a great time to drive around western Virginia.

October 21, 2010

Our New Car

New to Us...

We bought a 2009 Nissan Maxima. It's used but it's still a lot newer than the car it replaces, my trusty 2004 Mazda which got crushed in a crash.

We had a hard time finding a car that was compact enough for me (I dislike boat-size cars) and yet roomy enough for Frank. The Maxima fit the bill. It's silver and has a sunroof and some other upgrades. Tri-State Nissan provided an extended warranty and Frank negotiated a good price. So we're happy except that they only provided one key and the car does not use regular gas, so that's going to cost us extra.

Postscript: They gave us a second key on 10/25 after Frank requested one via email. The sales staff had refused a verbal request but the written request got results.

Our View in October

That's Great North Mountain in the distance. It separates Virginia from West Virginia.

October 20, 2010

Shootout at the Deck

Frank took the first photo - that's me on our deck taking pictures. I retaliated by taking a picture of him but he was in deep shade. When I lightened the image in Photoshop, the dark figure just brightened to shades of gray. So I guess he won that shootout.

October 19, 2010

Heritage Festival in Luray

The Page County Heritage Festival is held on Columbus Day Weekend at the fairgrounds in Luray, Virginia. With over 175 artisans and vendors, it's probably the largest festival we've seen here in the Shenandoah Valley.

October 18, 2010

October 17, 2010

Another View from Our Deck

Suet Feeder and Autumn Trees

I saturated the colors in PhotoShop and added a "PhotoFrame" (add-on from on-One).

October 16, 2010

Haunted Lighthouse and other Myths

My younger daughter has an article on AOL Travel on myths about Atlantic City. Turns out some of them are true.

Writing is one of Marie's many talents. See the publication list on MarieJavins.com.

October 15, 2010

Fort Mill Ridge, Union Outpost

Fortifications Built in 1863
Hampshire County, WV

The remains of Fort Mill Ridge are quite recognizable in spite of the trees that have grown up on the site. In fact, the trees are credited with helping to preserve the contours of the earthworks by slowing down erosion.

A pleasant park is now on the site. Trails and interpretive signs are maintained by The Fort Mill Ridge Foundation in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

I was interested in reading a couple of the signs that refer to McNeill's Rangers. (See all my posts about the McNeills.) One sign explains that "Eastern West Virginia was a hotly contested guerilla area during the Civil War, and Fort Mill Ridge was an isolated outpost. Surprise attack could come from any direction. " It also tells us that Confederates launched raids into West Virginia from their base in Rockingham County, Virginia. "Two primary raids were undertaken in the spring of 1863."

More details are given on a marker called "Engagement with McNeill's Rangers." Shown below, it tells the following story:
In early April, 1863, a Confederate force led by Captain John H. McNeill's Rangers and four additional companies of Virginia cavalry left Rockingham County for West Virginia. At Moorefield, 20 miles south of Fort Mill Ridge, the force divided into several smaller units.

On April 6th, McNeill's Rangers surprised a Union foraging train near Burlington, 10 miles west of Fort Mill Ridge, capturing 5 wagons and 11 soldiers. A contingent of 50 Union cavalrymen sent to assist the foraging party headed south toward Moorefield by today's Route 220, west of Mill Mountain. A second larger Union cavalry force followed them.

The smaller Union force ran headlong into the Virginia cavalry and bid a hasty retreat back up the road. Near Purgitsville, they met with the larger Union force, which prepared to receive the Confederates. A hand-to-hand melee ensued before the outnumbered Confederates broke off the engagement and retreated south toward Moorefield.

Union infantry and artillery were sent to reinforce the cavalry. On the morning of April 7th, they surprised the Confederate encampment 5 miles south of Moorefield. After scattering the Confederates with artillery shells, the Union infantry crossed the swollen South Branch of the Potomac River in small boats and burned the camp. The Union forces then returned to Fort Mill Ridge, and McNeill's Confederates returned to Rockingham County.

You can read all the markers in the Fort Mill Ridge area on HMDB.

October 14, 2010

Central Redoubt, Fort Mill Ridge

Civil War Fort near Romney, WV

fortThe forest has grown here since the Civil War. Whatever trees were on the ridge in early 1863 would have been cleared and used in constructing the fort.

The second paragraph of this marker explains what we're looking at:
A redoubt is a small enclosed earthwork used to fortify a position from attacks on all sides. The square is the most common form for a redoubt in part due to the ease with which it is constructed. The weakest point of a square redoubt is the corner, or salient, as only a limited amount of fire can be concentrated in that direction. The corner projections, or traverses, of the central redoubt are intended to help overcome that weakness. With these projections, the redoubt has the form of a miniature bastion fort.
For the rest of the text, see HMDB, "The Central Redoubt."

For a similarly shaped fort, see our Fort Loudoun post.

October 13, 2010

Confederate Memorial in Romney

Monument to Confederate Soldiers
Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney

A nearby historical marker tells us the following:
In 1866, Confederate Memorial Association was formed here, which on September 26, 1867, dedicated a monument to Confederate soldiers, one of the first erected anywhere.
And yes, West Virginia split off from Virginia and became a Union state, but the population was divided in allegiance. Many West Virginians joined the Confederate Army and many joined the Union army.

October 12, 2010

Fort Pearsall

Fort Pearsall Marker

Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney

Text of sign:
“Fort Pearsall was on or in view of this site.” Job Pearsall built a fort as protection against the Indians in 1754 on Lot 16, granted by Fairfax in 1749 containing 323 acres, including part of Indian Mound Cemetery.
On May 14, 1756, Gen. Washington assigned 45 men and 5 officers, and later 94 soldiers to defend Pearsall’s fort during the French and Indian War.

View from Side of Cemetery

During the French and Indian War a series of forts was built to protect settlers along the frontier (which in this case was within present-day West Virginia, then Virginia). Fort Pearsall was constructed on high ground overlooking the South Branch of the Potomac River.

The hill's views of the surrounding valleys were apparently appreciated by earlier residents, Hopewell Indians. The Indian Mound that gave the cemetery its name is thought to date from 500 and 1000 AD [CE].

October 10, 2010

Goodbye to My Mazda

Friday in Shanks, WV

We got rear-ended on Route 50 near Romney. Fortunately our injuries were minor and the only person who went to the hospital was a passenger in the vehicle that hit us. He had a broken finger. Frank was driving so I'll let him tell the story.
"A couple of cars in front of us stopped so the lead one could make a left turn. We were hit Hard from behind by a Toyota Land Cruiser (big SUV) which was travelling about 35-40 MPH. He never saw we were stopped until a split-second before he hit us. The SUV impact pushed us down the road and off on the left side, narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic. Rear third of Mazda completely demolished. Rear window shattered, both front bucket seats broken (from impact), roof and floor crumpled, frame bent, 3 of four doors jammed including the front passenger seat door (where Linda was sitting). The 2/3 full gas tank in the rear was shoved forward and down almost hitting the pavement. If it had sparked and ignited, Linda would not have been able to get out through her jammed door. It did not ignite fortunately, and we were able to get her over the console and out the driver front door. We were really lucky we weren't also hit in the front by oncoming traffic. since our car was propelled across the opposite lane to the other side of the two-lane road. Linda and I are both sore and bruised."
I saw the SUV in the mirror before it hit us. It was large and coming fast, a frightening sight! I heard the squeal of brakes and the loud crash.

People came up right away to see if we were okay. A man in the car in front of us stayed for a few minutes but he had a small child in his car to take home. (Thank God we were not propelled into the rear of their car!) The guy who hit us rushed over and was apologetic and concerned. Neighbors came out of their homes to help; a Mr. Bowman brought me a chair so I could sit down in a safe place. He and his kind wife even offered to feed us dinner and drive us home!

Rescue personnel showed up within five minutes. Yet for some reason it was over an hour before a police officer arrived, and the tow truck drivers would not remove the vehicles until he had a chance to survey the scene.

Eventually my car was towed to nearby Rogers Auto in Shanks. We were not able to obtain a rental car, so the tow truck driver took drove us to Winchester where my sister picked us up.

We are thankful that we were able to walk away from the wreckage, and we are grateful to all the folks who helped us.

Public Service Announcement

Please do something for road safety this week. Accidents can be very painful - or worse!

So if you see someone driving recklessly, report him. If you notice a dangerous place that needs a warning sign or a lower speed limit, suggest it to your transportation officials.

And for your sake and the sake of those who care about you, always fasten your seat belt and don't text while driving. Don't even press the buttons on your phone until you are safely stopped. You need to watch the road ahead. Unexpected things happen.

October 9, 2010

A Tricolor Tree

In Romney yesterday we had to drive up a hill to spot fall color and even there most of the leaves are still green. This maple was striking for its tricolor branches.

Fall Color Report

The trees are changing color here in the Bryce Mountain area. They haven't changed much in the Shenandoah Valley yet but you can see nice foliage in the high country.

October 8, 2010

An Addition for Our Little Library

The Basye-Orkney Springs Community Library is getting an addition! It's a small library but fairly busy. We serve local residents and many visitors to the resort who are happy to find a place to use the internet.

October 7, 2010

Main Street Wardensville

Wardensville is across Great North Mountain from us. It's not far as the crow flies but it takes at least 40 minutes to drive there over Wolf Gap Road.I don't know what that first building is; just found it interesting. The second one is the Star Mercantile where we picked up a schedule for Heritage Weekend. They have a friendly-looking restaurant and a gift shop.

St. Peter Lutheran Church is built of native limestone.

Wardensville Jail

The old jail in Wardensville (WV) was open during Hardy County's Heritage Weekend. It was a blacksmith shop before it became a jail.

The property has been owned by the Cline family since Wardensville was founded in 1832. The brochure tempted us to visit by this description:
Experience the ambiance of the Wardensville Jail, enjoyed by prisoners from 1930 through the 1950's. Not many towns could boast of a jail where families kept in touch with a captive relative during a leisurely stroll down Main Street.

...The original structure was built of hand dressed stone, held together with lime mortar. The rear section collapsed years ago but the front section remains secure enough for prisoners, even today.

Since the windows were handy for friends to pass a bottle, prisoners often came out drunker than when put in.

October 6, 2010

Pink flowers

The butterfly on the sedum is a buckeye.

October 5, 2010

Javens, Taggart, Jewell, Tuttle

Every now and then I get an email about Javins family history (and variant spellings such as Javens). For years I've maintained some pages on Javins.com for sharing this information.

This week I received some information and a old photo of some folks with the surnames Taggart, Jewell, and possibly Javens and Tuttle. So if you are looking for genealogy on those surnames, take a look at www.javins.com/gdata.html and scroll toward the bottom.

Rose Image, Halftone Textured

I read about this color halftone technique and decided to try it. I added an extra layer and gave it poster edges (Photoshop filter). The result reminds me on an old-time greeting card.

October 4, 2010

Light and Clouds at the Lake

Yesterday we were in Warren County so we stopped at Shenandoah River Lakes. The clouds had just parted and there was sunlight streaking across the lake, making the fountain glow. Knowing the effect wouldn't last long, I grabbed the closest camera and took a picture. Then I tried to zoom and accidentally turned the camera off! I had forgotten that my old camera (which was the one I grabbed) has the Off switch in the same place as the Zoom button on my new camera (which I use most of the time).

Unfortunately, the old camera has an electronics problem. Sometimes an error message appears when I turn the camera off, and then I cannot get the power off nor can I turn the camera back on. I usually solve this by removing the battery briefly.

So there I was, struggling to get the camera off and on and the sun went back behind the clouds. I only got one shot of the light on the lake and that's the one above.

I was able to get some additional pictures with very different lighting by turning almost into the sun. I got some high-contrast pictures like the one here.
I've posted pictures of this lake before. We own property there and the view is pretty. Some of my favorites versions of the view are posted as:

October 3, 2010

View from an Overlook

Skyline Drive, Virginia

Your Dollars at Work

I took these pictures in September before the leaves started to change color. We drove the northern section of Skyline Drive which was delightful as usual.

Some of the overlooks were closed for repair but I didn't mind. Others were open, and I was happy to see that "recovery dollars" are fixing up this beautiful park.