July 31, 2015

Our Not-So-Blue Moon

What we call a blue moon is a full moon occurring twice in the same month. It may or may not be blue but it's fairly rare. The one that shone tonight is the last one until January 2018, so it happens "once in a blue moon."

The first full moon of this month looked bluer. It also made a more interesting image because there were clouds that night (July 1).

Sharing with Skywatch Friday

Topic: Vacation

Vacation should be an easy theme, and Mersad has made it the challenge for this week's My Town Shoot Out.  But we haven't taken a "real" vacation yet this summer, although we did make a quick trip to West Virginia in June. We crowded a fair amount of sight-seeing into that but no real relaxation. 

So I'm starting off this post with a couple of photos from last year's vacation trip to the Eastern Shore.  (Click to see all my Eastern Shore posts. There are 90 so far so you can keep viewing by clicking Older Posts at the bottom of each group.)

We started that trip with a tedious 2-hour delay at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. That makes me a little hesitant to go there again. 

dogOne reason I don't relish long trips is that dislike leaving my dog. Another is that eating well is almost impossible. I have food allergies and it's enough of a challenge getting the right foods when I'm home. Travel usually means disappointing meals, hunger, heartburn, or struggling to prepare meals in some poorly-equipped little kitchen.

Since we are retired, relaxing at home is an option but it gets monotonous. It's nice when relatives visit on their vacation and we have fun and go places. One of Frank's daughters just spent 6 days here along with her husband and children, and that was quite enjoyable.

Josie in the Pool

The last three photos are from my visit to Elizabeth Furnace with Susan and Doug. I'm so glad they spent part of their vacation with us!

After we walked the Pig Iron Trail and the Charcoal Trail, we went to the swinging bridge. The boardwalk was broken! Apparently recent flooding had moved it off it's cinderblock foundation. Fortunately the swinging bridge is higher and was undamaged. We crossed Passage Creek to the restored log cabin, with the expected fun of the suspension bridge bouncing as we crossed.

July 30, 2015

A Walk at Elizabeth Furnace

hikers reading sign

sign about iron makingI drove Sue and her family to Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area for a short hike yesterday. There are interpretive signs along the trail to tell you how iron was made here in the 19th century. Now it's part of George Washington National Forest.

After we walked the loop trail around the iron furnace, we took a second interpretive trail, the Charcoal Trail. Since the signs there were written in the first person as though told by a charcoal maker and later the iron master, Doug read the signs in various voices, to the amusement of the rest of us.

At the time of the iron industry, all the trees were cut down in this area in order to make charcoal. The forest today is typical second-growth Virginia forest. A brochure about Elizabeth Furnace is available on the Shenandoah County website.

Sharing with Good Fences

July 28, 2015

A Barn along Winchester Pike

Sharing with The Barn Collective

Randomosity 'Round Here

The Good: Cedar Creek Battlefield is being explored and scientifically mapped by a team of archaeologists. We attended an archaeological tour on July 17 in which volunteer Marcus Lemasters showed Civil War artifacts and took us to some of the sites that have been investigated. 

The Random: Amazon has changed the code behind many of the links in its Affiliate Program. I've been a member for years in order to earn some credits toward merchandise, but I've earned very little — just one $10 gift certificate last year. So instead of changing the code on their search box that I had on this blog, I deleted it. There are still a few text links to Amazon that don't require coding changes so I'm leaving them for now.

The Fun: We've been enjoying the company of Susan, Doug, Ryley, and Josie as they are staying with us this week. Allison and Dave joined us for a couple of evenings and livened things up even more.

(I have so many pictures already that I combined another bunch into a montage. I used the Automate/Contact Sheet feature in Photoshop and then cut and pasted the rows close together. )

Click on the image to see a larger version. 

July 27, 2015

Fun with Susan and Family

people playing in pool

It's "staycation" time for us as we enjoy a visit from Frank's youngest daughter and her family. Yesterday we all got out in the swimming pool — just the thing for a warm summer day!
Our pool is only 4 feet deep but it's big enough for plenty of splashing.

Note: I'm sharing this with Sundays in My City even though today is Monday because this activity took place on Sunday, and besides, Mosaic Monday is on vacation. I made a collage anyway.

July 25, 2015

Biker Pig

Pig on motorbike

City Daily Photo has challenged members to post a bike photo for the August theme day. I have decided not to use this one.

Wait! Is it almost August already? What happened to July?

Sharing with Sepia Saturday

Trail Camera at Work


I set up my trail camera months ago on the deck railing and never moved it to a "trail." It's triggered by motion, sometimes missing subjects because of a delay feature that I don't quite understand. Mostly it takes pictures of birds, blowing branches, the swing moving (or falling over) in high winds, hard rain, squirrels, and us. Occasionally it's triggered by a cat, but not every time a cat visits the yard, so I think the cat may have found a route that avoids the infrared beam.  On April 1st, the camera caught a bear visiting our yard! The bear destroyed a bird feeder so I stopped feeding the birds until next winter, when bears hibernate. (You can see that bear on my Night Shots post.)

Since that incident, we have not had any more damage from bears and I didn't check the camera's SD card again until yesterday. There were hundreds of images, mos of them boring, although when I scan through them quickly I get a cool time-lapse effect. Today I've picked out a few that are at least a little bit interesting, saving the best for last.

When the ambient light dims, the camera can still shoot but the images look like the monochromatic ones you get from a basic security camera.

Frank driving his mower back to the shed as dusk falls.
Feral cat.

The bear came back on April 16th. As you can see, the bird feeders had been removed; even the poles are gone. Otherwise this photo looks very much like the April 1st one.  Apparently Mr. Bear was disappointed by the lack of food because he has not reappeared in any recent photos.

He was in the same spot, apparently because that's where the sensor can pick him up in the dark. The bright spot on his head appears in both pictures and is probably a reflection of the infrared beam on his eye. (A quick search confirmed that this is a known phenomenon with trail cams and security cameras. I found a fun example of this effect in a deer photo.)

Our Virginia bears are fairly shy and avoid people. Even so, I don't plan to wander around the yard at night!

Sharing with Saturday's Critters

July 24, 2015

Things I Do

woman walkingFor this week's My Town Shoot Out, Mersad has chosen the topic, "What I do in My Town." That's a broad category so I've narrowed it down to some things I do frequently. 

First, the mundane. I help keep the household running and contribute to yard maintenance. I happen to be retired but there's a lot to do. Here I am crossing the yard in an image taken by our wildlife camera.

Secondly, I like exploring parks and historic sites and make an effort to do so regularly. Frank took the picture of me at Shenandoah River State Park. It reminds me of my mom, who was always looking at a map in order to explore some place new.

I also spend a significant amount of time at the computer, blogging, checking Facebook, shopping, and so on. And of course I process my photos, of which I take many.  In the picture above, I've got Adobe Bridge open. Flash is supervising.

The sunset image is one I photographed yesterday. It qualifies for Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflections,  and Orange You Glad It's Friday.  I keep a camera handy pretty much all the time.

We have company coming this weekend so it will be busy. Have a good weekend and do something fun!

Scenes Near Back Mountain Road

Sharing with Good Fences

July 23, 2015

Sign on a Small Business

Seen on a Door Near Stephens City, VA

July 21, 2015

Trumpet Vine on Pergola

Sharing with Today's Flowers

July in the Countryside

Yesterday I drove to Rippon to meet my sister for lunch. On the way back I explored a side road and paused to photograph a couple of farm scenes.

We're smiling but this was a bittersweet occasion because Peggy is moving on Friday. Now she'll be 700 miles away!

July 20, 2015

More from Babcock State Park

Fayette County, WV

The Good: This handcrafted model of Glade Creek Mill stands in the park's visitor center. Compare it to the photos of this iconic mill that I posted yesterday.

The Random: While we were there, a small wedding was taking place in front of the visitor center.

The Fun: The park offers fishing and boating in Boley Lake. These paddle boats were not in use when we were there, probably because some rain had fallen that day and a large storm was in the forecast for later in the afternoon. 

Babcock State Park is not far from the New River Gorge, an exciting area for outdoor vacationing. Although I can check it off my list of places I wanted to see, I'd still like to go again.

Sharing with Mosaic Monday

July 19, 2015

Famous Mill on Glade Creek

old millDoes this mill look familiar? It is no doubt the most-photographed mill in West Virginia, and it has also been painted, drawn, and even stitched in needlepoint. I've seen it on calendars and in books, even on the cover of a book about a family in Virginia. But it was never in Virginia, since it was constructed around 1890, well after West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1861.

I saw pictures of this many times before reading that it was in Babcock State Park. This puzzled me a bit because I had been to that park as a child but had no recollection of the mill. My mother had a special interest in old mills so how had we missed this one?

It turns out that this mill was not in the state park when I visited there as a child. It was constructed there in 1976, which was after we were there. Yes, it looks much older and it is, but it existed elsewhere and was moved here piece by piece. You can read about this on the Babcock State Park website.

The overshot water wheel actually came from a different mill. The Glade Creek Mill still functions. You can buy corn meal ground here in the gift shop across the creek.

Sharing with Scenic Weekends