January 31, 2011

Our Road in the Snow

That's "Monty" the Montero. We don't use him a lot because the car is more comfortable and easier on gas, but Monty has been invaluable in the snow.

January 30, 2011

Celebration at the Community Library

Today was the "ribbon cutting" for the new room at the Basye-Orkney Springs Community Library. Mona Wolf brought this fancy cake decorated with books and a yellow bow.

In the first photo, Sandy Pruett, Hank Zimmerman, and Ken Pruett enjoy a scrapbook about the library's history. The Pruetts were key volunteers with our library for years, and are also major advocates for our county library. In the next picture we see Ken talking to Andrea Sutcliffe, while a young woman wearing a ski hat takes a photograph.

See also Library in the Snow and

January 29, 2011

Red, White, Blue...

Cardinal on a Snowy Day

Cardinals are beautiful birds! And the male with his bright red feathers is so colorful - a wonderful contrast to a white snowy background.

As you can see, the first photo is whiter and brighter than the second. I adjusted the color in Photoshop in both pictures, but the blue cast remained. To some extent, it looks "natural" because on the day I took these, the snow was still falling so the sunshine was blocked. However, we prefer bright snow, and so when I adjusted the above image, I made a duplicate layer, eased the color sliders a little bit away from from cyan and blue, and then used "Screen" as the merge method. However, before flattening the layers I lessened the lightening of "Screen" on the bird using the eraser at partial transparency.

And yes, I tried the "Snow and Sand" setting on my camera but it didn't seem very effective. I could have changed the exposure manually but Photoshop lets me be more selective.

January 27, 2011

Our Snowy Driveway

This morning we were pleasantly surprised to find our driveway had been plowed before we took the dogs out at 9 o'clock. At least, it was partially cleared. Perhaps the guys had an equipment problem — it looks like they got one lane cleared almost to the top. A little work with the shovel will get the car out tomorrow.

The SUV is down beside the road. Frank left it there yesterday in case we needed to go out before the guys from Macanie showed up.

January 26, 2011

It Snowed Today

Bird on the Deck Rail

January 25, 2011

Addition Completed at Basye-Orkney Library

Ribbon Cutting is Sunday 1/30/2011

Our little library has an addition! Steven Custer Construction built it and it looks great!

The non-fiction books, the DVD collection, and the audio books have already been moved into the new room. The room which formerly housed the non-fiction books is now part of the ongoing book sale.

The library is located next to the air strip at Bryce Resort.

Missing October

October was a beautiful month! I miss the sunshine and warm days!

Today wasn't bad — temps went up to the low 50's (F.) and we saw a little sun between cloudy spells. But for tomorrow the forecast is "wintry mix" followed by snow.

I filled up our bird feeders today so that our feathered visitors will have food in the snow.

As far as these pictures, Frank took the one of me and I took the one of the roses on a fence on 10/27/2010.

January 24, 2011

October in Wildwood Park

Near the Bridgewater Dam

This past autumn was so pretty I took hundreds of photos. I still have more to post!

We've visited Wildwood Park in Bridgewater, Virginia several times. Compare this photo of the old dam to the one I posted five years earlier — I was startled by the similarities. One reason I stood is the same vantage point is that a chain link fence separates you from the edge of the North River so the number of spots from which you can take a picture of the dam is limited.

Trees By the North River

October in Bridgewater, Virginia

The North River flows to Port Republic where it joins the South River to form the South Fork of the Shenandoah.

See Also:

January 23, 2011

A Small Change to the Template

Near the bottom of every page of this blog is a link to Older Posts. It's just above the Navigating this Blog section that I wrote to help readers find their way past the first page. And since many people come to this blog when googling a particular topic, I wanted to be sure they could find more than just one post.

I noticed some time ago that the Older Posts link was easy to miss and I wanted to make it larger. Yesterday I finally did. This won't interest you unless you're a blogger, but in case you are, here's the process:

After signing in, I went into Design and clicked on the Edit HTML tab. This displays the template. It took a little searching to find the style code for the Older Posts link. It starts out like this:

#blog-pager-older-link {

I experimented a little bit and wound up choosing 108% for the size of the font. Here's the line I inserted on the template:


Once I felt satisfied with the size, I changed it on the other links that appear on the same line, Home and Newer Posts. The latter only shows up if you have already gone to Older Posts.

And yes, I downloaded a copy of my template so I could restore it if I made some kind of a mess playing with it. I'm not an expert with style sheets because I learned HTML in the "old days" before CSS, so I proceed cautiously. I did take a CSS course at VU a few years ago so I have a basic knowledge of how it works. (After all, you can't keep up unless you keep learning!)

January 22, 2011

Bowman-Shannon Cultural Arts Center

Arts Center in Mt. Jackson, VA

In August, the Art Group in Mount Jackson moved to a larger building. It's still on Main Street (U.S. 11), and is now on the corner of Shannon Avenue.

We visited the building this week and were delighted with what we found. It is a beautifully restored house that was built in the early 20th century by a Mr. Shannon, with nice woodwork in the Craftsman style. Artwork is attractively displayed on three floors.

I had been craving a visit to an art gallery and was inspired by the quality of some of the items. A number of pieces depict scenes of the Shenandoah Valley or surrounding mountains. There were also some lovely pictures of Assateague Island.

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January 21, 2011

Static + Fleece = Zap!

Earlier this week I had a problem with transferring photos to my laptop — the SD card reader stopped working. I'm pretty sure this was caused by static electricity because I had been "zapped" by it a few times that day.

The photos were not vitally important ones; they were snapshots we took while walking our dogs by the lake. I thought the files might have been corrupted but then I was able to view them on our iPad. Since then I acquired a spare card reader from Lynn so I was able to bring the pictures into Photoshop and resize them for posting online. (See yesterday's posts for other results.)

Static is definitely a problem in the winter and I wondered what I should do other than adding moisture to the air in our house. One thing that I already knew but had gotten lax about is to keep synthetic fabrics away from the computer. This includes sweaters and blankets (unless they are made of cotton).

After reading about Materials that Cause Static Electricity, I think moisturizing skin should help. Maybe I should get a metal comb to cut down on static in my hair!

Speaking of static, we saw a segment on the news about dangers of static when you pump gas. It turns out that after sliding out of the car, you should "touch a part of your vehicle that isn't near your gas tank with your bare hand." And resist the temptation to get back in the car to stay warm while the tank is filling.

January 20, 2011

On Top of the Dam

Frank with Ben and Flash at Lake Laura

The Easy Trail to the Dam

Lake Laura Nature Trail, Bryce Resort

At the bottom of this sign you can see the road that leads to "The Hill" condominiums. (Roads are shown as red, buildings and water are blue, and the trails are yellow.) We parked on the public portion of the entrance road (the one that leads to the pool and playground) and walked to the trail. This route to the lake is not steep like the one on the other end of the dam, although that one is closer to the beach.

This portion of the trail is a dirt road which is gated to keep vehicles out. It's level enough to walk a dog without fear of stumbling over rocks or ruts.

Ice and Snow on the Lake

Lake Laura, Basye, VA

January 19, 2011

Blog Entry #2800

I've posted to this blog 2800 times! Sometimes I mark these landmark posts by writing something to introduce myself, like post #2300 a year ago which listed the main schools I've attended.

This time I decided to mark the occasion with thoughts on dealing with circumstances that depress me. After all, it's January, one of the coldest and gloomiest months in the Mid-Atlantic Region. So here are:

Three Things That Make Me Depressed
and How I Deal With Them

  1. The world is going to hell in a handbasket! War, climate change, the destruction of wildlife… If you read the news, it's hard to escape the hard reality that an awful lot of things are very, very wrong. People are cruel and selfish. Disasters happen — sometimes due to human greed and stupidity.

    Dealing with it: Realize that this is not new. It's been going on forever. And it bothers me a lot less if I guard my health (see item #2) and try to make the world a little better, even in limited ways.

    Words Worth Posting on Your Fridge: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

  2. Physical Depression. It runs in my family. At least I'm lucky because I only get seasonal depression, the winter blues... and occasionally a miserable feeling caused by allergy to molds. (I wrote about the latter in 2006.)

    Dealing with it: I've been around long enough to anticipate winter blues and seek sunlight at just about every chance. I avoid molds (including yeasts) as much as possible. And when I fail at doing so, I remind myself that the resulting melancholy is temporary.

  3. Aging and the Inevitable. Yep, we get older and we die. No doubt about it. Some people that I regarded as contemporaries have died. It's sad and it's a reminder of how short life can be.

    Dealing with it: Enjoy life while you can! Post a list of ways to enrich your life. It doesn't have to be an ambitious "bucket list." It can be a list of places you want to go within the next month or two, as simple as a local gallery or a concert. And put on some music, wear your favorite colors, seek out friends, and make time for the ordinary things you enjoy.

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." — John Lennon

January 18, 2011

South River in October

We walked around the park in Port Republic (Virginia) in Autumn. These young people showed up; I think they are students. They appeared to be serious and well-organized.

I've posted a number of photos of Port Republic over the past few years. For examples, see November 2008 or October 2008 or just search for Port Republic.

Encore: The South River

south river
I've been to Port Republic many times. It's a small town between two rivers — not much of a port these days, but significant as the beginning of the South Fork of the Shenandoah.

I love the sound of the river — you can hear it by starting the little video.

See also South River at Port Republic, Oct. 2008.

January 17, 2011

Encore: The Old Lincoln Homeplace

Two years ago I posted The Lincolns of Virginia showing a marker about Abe Lincoln's ancestors in Virginia. It's on Route 42 north of Harrisonburg. At that time the 200 year-old house built by President Lincoln's great-uncle was obscured by trees and shrubs. Now it's been spiffed up a bit so I got a better picture of it.

January 16, 2011

Autumn Reflections, Carrier Arboretum

November at the Duck Pond

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU is a place we return to again and again. It's convenient to Harrisonburg's stores and doctors' offices so we find ourselves in the area, and it's a great place to make a pretty day into a beautiful one.

I didn't use artistic filters on these images but I did brighten them by merging a duplicate layer using "soft light" and also saturating the color in Photoshop.

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January 15, 2011

Arboretum Autumn

Carrier Arboretum in November

Harrisonburg, VA

January 2008 Post: JMU's Arboretum

Mallard Ducks Feeding

This is another picture from November. I used a Photoshop filter on it: a Poster Edge filter on a (somewhat saturated) layer. I then merged the layer at about 66% transparency.

Potato Chip Factory

Yesterday Frank had an appointment in Mt. Jackson. Afterward we went to lunch at Denny's and then drove to the Route 11 Potato Chip factory. We had seen their ads and their sign on the interstate, plus I like their chips.

The tour was fairly brief. The plant is only two years old and very clean. They are a waste-free facility; the potato peels and broken chips go to a "herd of Route 11 loving cows."

U.S. Route 11 was the main highway through the Shenandoah Valley before I-81 was built.

If you decide to go there and haven't seen the nearby covered bridge, be sure to drive through it. Meems Bottom Bridge is on Wissler Road.

See photos of the bridge here and here.

January 14, 2011

Thoughts on Skiing

Although we live in a ski resort, we don't know how to ski. Sometimes I wish I had learned when I was young because it looks like fun. But I didn't even get on a pair of skis until I was close to 50, and by that time I had reason to worry about breaking bones. When I found downhill skiing to be terrifying, I gave up.

It looks exciting though. If only it weren't cold, expensive, and hazardous to aging bones...

Some of the outfits look like fun too!

Ski Lift

Every winter I take at least a few pictures at the resort's ski slopes. It's fun to see people enjoying themselves!

Yesterday I noticed several people absorbed in their cell phones while riding on the ski lift. Since the lift rides don't last very long, I wondered if they were still on their calls when they started swooshing down the slopes. Probably not for long!