January 31, 2012

Along the Shenandoah near Riverton

river view
Rock cliffs can be seen across the Shenandoah River from the Front Royal Golf Club. There is a boat landing and a new public trail, the William E. Carson Trail.
The area along the river is clearly flood plain. Note the debris around the bench, washed up into bushes during a recent flood. This was a fairly minor flood by Shenandoah standards. In 1996, a flood took out the clubhouse at the golf course.

January 30, 2012

Tall Railroad Cars

This train has double-stack rail cars. It's crossing an overpass at the Front Royal Golf Club, which is near the Virginia Inland Port. There the containers are moved to tractor trailers, but of course they will not be double stacked any more. Trucks need to pass under bridges and such, after all.
double decker train on overpass

We've driven past the Inland Port and I associated it with large trucks, but until I saw this train I didn't think about the port's role in train-to-truck transfer (and vice versa). I once lived near Potomac Yard in Alexandria which served the same function back then.
About the photograph: The reflection is not a pond. I had just gotten out of our car when the train approached and I grabbed the shot. Then I took another one that doesn't show the sunroof but I actually like the "special effect."

January 29, 2012

Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park

I took these pictures in November on a visit to Staunton. I didn't get around to posting them that month because I had dozens of other images to share at that time. (See my November blog posts.)

Gypsy Hill is a landscaped park dating back over a century. It features a duck pond and various sports facilities. It's a pleasant place to take a walk.

January 28, 2012

Ducks and Swans

duckWe saw these handsome water birds at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton. Visitors like to feed them so they are friendly.

January 27, 2012

Good News about GERD

Heartburn, GERD, acid reflux... call it what you will. I've been battling it for some time. It used to be an occasional thing, and then it started causing me chest pain when I drank certain brands of coffee. But I didn't know what was causing the chest pain until the gastroenterologist told me. This was back in autumn 2010. He also informed me that a just-completed endoscopy showed that GERD had caused some erosion of the esophagus.

I was really surprised. Heartburn had only been an occasional problem and I avoided the foods that brought it on. However, I agreed to take the medications that the doctor suggested because I wanted my esophagus to heal.

At first the medicine seemed to be working. Then I started getting heartburn daily, even when I didn't eat spicy or greasy food. We tried several different types of PPIs (that's proton pump inhibitors) but they just didn't work. Now the problem was worse than it was before the endoscopy!

I worked with another doctor (for reasons given here), trying different approaches: dietary changes, enzymes, probiotics, other supplements. Nothing worked. I gave up coffee completely. That only helped a little.

Over a year after the diagnoses of GERD, I happened on a report about a combination of supplements that seemed to be very helpful against GERD. Further searching uncovered the most important ingredient appeared to be 6 mg. of melatonin every night. I started taking it about 6 weeks ago, along with a 5-htp capsule most days to help it along. Yay! I started getting better.

I can still get heartburn if I eat too much greasy food, but I no longer suffer from it every day. We can expect to hear more about melatonin as a treatment of heartburn in the months to come. Melatonin and 5-htp are available without a prescription here in the U.S. If you are in a situation similar to mine, show your doctor one of the PubMed reports on melatonin and reflux disease.

January 26, 2012

Fog in the Valley, Cloud on the Mountain

A cloud is covering the valley and obscuring Great North Mountain. Or is that fog?

I went to Wikipedia to see what the difference is. "While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term 'fog' is typically distinguished from the more generic term 'cloud' in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes.)" A footnote points out that "An observer on the mountain may say that he or she is in a fog, however, to outside observers a cloud is covering the mountain."

You might also like: Our Changing View

January 25, 2012

January 24, 2012

The Historic Manor in Glebe Harbor

In Westmoreland County, VA

I believe this is "The Glebe" mentioned on a historical marker in Mt. Holly. The marker describes it as "the home of the rectors of Cople Parish, one of whom, Walter Jones, married Washington’s parents, March 6, 1781. Here lived Thomas Smith, rector of the parish, 1764–1799... He entertained Washington, May 25, 1771. The house is possibly the oldest in the Northern Neck."

Some years back this home was for sale. I regret that we didn't tour it at that time, but it was out of our price range. It is situated on the Lower Machodoc Creek not far from the property we own in Glebe Harbor.

In Colonial Times it was common for a church to own a large tract of property called a Glebe which existed to support the church through farming or leasing. Thus we run into the name "Glebe" throughout Virginia. The business of supporting a church by these lands ended in 1802 when the Virginia passed the Glebe Act which authorized officials in each county to seize and sell church farmland acquired prior to 1777.

January 23, 2012

January 22, 2012

Birds Outside the Window

On this feeder the suet is accessible from the underside, so the bird holds on to the screen on the bottom and hangs upside down. I believe this fellow is a nuthatch.

I wonder if this is one of the wrens who hatched in our fuchsia plant.

January 21, 2012

It's National Squirrel Appreciation Day

small gray squirrelI had some squirrel photos to post today but since it snowed last night, I took some new pictures this morning. The squirrels were around the bird feeders again, of course, because they appreciate bird food. One of them has become adept at hanging on to the suet feeder.

January 20, 2012

Getting Ready for Squirrel Appreciation Day

I read that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Fortunately, we have plenty of squirrels to photograph, so I have a few pictures to use. Here's one to get started.

January 19, 2012

Return to Carillon Pond

On Monday afternoon we had lunch in New Market and then  crossed the mountain to Luray. Since the weather was fairly nice, I suggested a walk around Carillon Pond. We'd been there in late 2009. This time there was a little ice on the pond and the ducks were not there. Later I spotted them on another pond by the caverns.
You might also like: Brief Video of Carillon Pond.

January 18, 2012

Our View Yesterday

Can you spot the cardinal?

January 17, 2012

Crafters at Work

Children's Program, Jan. 14, 2012
Basye - Orkney Springs Community Library

Mona Wolf led another children's program at our library on Saturday. A lovely group of kids spent a  winter afternoon making snowman magnets and paper snowflakes, listening to stories, and enjoying refreshments.

Children worked hard on their crafts, with occasional help from  parents.

A few kids left early to go skiing at the slopes which are nearby. The library is at the airport in Bryce Resort.

You can click on a picture to see a larger version. See more images from this event below:

You can see pictures of the library's December program here.

See also: November program featuring K-9 dogs.

Snowflake Crafts

Winter Crafts
Basye - Orkney Springs Community Library
Miss Mona had help from a staff person from the Massanutten Library in planning crafts for this January program. The foil snowflakes are cut from origami paper.

Upcoming programs are posted at the library and also on the Shenandoah County Library System website.

Listening to Winter Stories

children at story time
Basye Orkney Springs Library

At Saturday's program, Miss Mona read stories about snow to the children. The small kids were enthralled; the older ones listened politely.

January 16, 2012

Showing Off Snowman Crafts

Children's Program, Jan. 14, 2012
Basye - Orkney Springs Community Library

Mona Wolf with snowman

January 15, 2012

Folks are Skiing

We've had several very cold days so the ski slopes at Bryce Resort are covered with snow. Skiers and snowboarders are out there doing their thing.

When we walk the dogs in the evening, we can hear hollering and laughter coming from the slopes, which are maybe a half-mile away as the crow flies.

The resort is in western Shenandoah County, VA.

January 14, 2012

Historic Harrisonburg: The Quilt Museum

The Virginia Quilt Museum is located in a house built in 1856 for Edward Warren and his bride Virginia Magruder. Warren was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. Yet a ghost that has been reported standing at the top of the staircase is not thought to be Warren, but another Confederate soldier, Joseph Latimer, who was wounded at Gettysburg and died of gangrene in the house. See a history of the house on the Quilt Museum website

The building stands on Route 11 Northbound at Franklin Street. In front of the house is a Civil War Trails Marker entitled Warren-Sipe House — Home and Hospital.

Many other homes and buildings were used as impromptu hospitals during the Civil War. Just a block away stood the Confederate General Hospital in a building that once housed the Harrisonburg Female Academy. That building was demolished in 1879, but reminders of it's past stand in front of the municipal building that is now on the site: a cannon and a Civil War Trails marker about the hospital.

January 13, 2012

McNeill Marker in Harrisonburg

I've been interested in McNeill's Rangers since learning their story on a field trip in 2010. The Rangers were very active in West Virginia but also ventured into Virginia and Maryland. In 1864, John "Hanse" McNeill was severely wounded in Mt. Jackson, and I've posted pictures of the McNeill's Last Charge Marker and related sites at Rude's Hill. Capt. McNeill was taken to Harrisonburg, where he died. When I saw on HMDB that there was a marker in Harrisonburg relating to that, I decided to photograph it on one of my trips there. (We drive to Harrisonburg almost weekly for shopping.)

The marker stands in front of the Massanutten Regional Library on Main Street (U.S. 11 Northbound). It mentions that the wounded McNeill was brought to Hill’s Hotel on the corner of Main and Water Streets. After he died there his son, Lt. Jesse C. McNeill, took command of the Rangers.
You can read the entire text of the marker on Historical Marker Database. Hill's Hotel is long gone, but I took a picture of the corner of Main and Water Streets as it appears today.

January 12, 2012

Hanging Around the Bird Feeder

An Eastern Gray Squirrel