November 30, 2015

Late November Random-osity

charging machine in parking lot

The Good: Front Royal now has a charging station for electric cars. I showed you Strasburg's in August. The two are only 14 miles apart, a boon for tourists with electric vehicles.

As you can see, this charger is located in the town square parking lot near the caboose. To me this is a visual reminder that transportation technology is advancing.

The Random: The next picture is another one that I took to entertain myself while waiting in the car for my husband to come out of a store. I noticed a reflection in the side mirror and decided to capture it. A little bit of a reflection bounced off the car, reversing part of the reversed letters.

The Fun: Leave it to Lynn to find an even cheaper version of a thrift store! She found the Goodwill Outlet in Staunton a few doors down from a regular Goodwill Store. She bought a cartload of stuffed toys for her pets. Here she's showing off the silly stuffed bananas she bought.

I'm a pretty good bargain shopper and I passed that along to her, and now she's better at it than I am. She laughed when I told her a story my mom told me. Mom took Lynn to Penney's when she was five and was amazed when Lynn pointed out a sign: "Look, Grandma, a clearance sale!"

A Mural and a Sunset

Restaurants are a good place to find a mural. This one is is the Sand Springs Saloon and Steakhouse in Frostburg, Maryland. The restaurant is very popular and we had to wait a while for a table. 

We saw a beautiful sunset from the parking lot though.

Sharing with Monday Murals and Through My Lens

November 29, 2015

Two Churches with Baptist in their Names

Today I have two snapshots of churches, both taken last month. In my memory the first one was a Baptist church but I see from the map of Front Royal that it is actually St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. 

The second church is in the small town of Hume, Virginia. It actually is a Baptist Church and is next to the Leeds Ruritan Park. 

Black and White What?

Sometimes I use my camera to avoid boredom. One day I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband to come out of a store and there was nothing interesting to look at, just a nondescript parking lot. So I put my water bottle on the dash and discovered it has a face!

Some people want to ban plastic water bottles. I think it's a useless idea unless you ban soft drinks in plastic bottles too. People will just buy more sodas, as shown at the University of Vermont, where a water sales ban resulted in a 33 percent increase in the number of sugary drinks shipped and a 6 percent increase in the number of bottles shipped to campus!

However, I would support returning to deposits levied on beverage containers, since that encourages people to hold on to or pick up bottles or cans. And I hope that manufacturers come up with biodegradable containers. I once purchased water in packaged single-serve paper cartons but unfortunately I could taste the paper!

November 28, 2015

Critters At the Feeders

I've been having problems with my Macbook tonight and now Blogger seems to be changing the placement of my photos so I'm going to stop changing it back and just post.

Sharing with Saturday's Critters



Green Friday at Cullers Overlook

people on deck
Shenandoah River State Park

After we walked the Cottonwood Trail yesterday, we made a stop at Cullers Overlook. The view there is beautiful, with the bends of the Shenandoah below and the Massanutten Mountains beyond.

The first picture is one that I submitted to Virginia's #OptOutside Photo Challenge. I've taken prettier images on this overlook in autumn and in winter snow, but the contest is for Thanksgiving weekend photos and I wanted one showing people enjoying the park. Take a look at the photo challenge entries and see some of the parks that our state has to offer.

I didn't lighten the girl's face in the vertical image because I don't know her so I'm leaving her anonymous. As a side benefit, this qualifies the picture for Saturday Silhouettes.

November 27, 2015

Instead of Shopping, We "Opt Outside"


RiverThe day after Thanksgiving is a big day for shopping, but I avoid it because I don't like being in crowds. For five years now, Virginia State Parks have been promoting their Green Friday Initiative "emphasizing time with the family enjoying nature instead of fighting the crowds." This year outdoor outfitter REI is sponsoring a similar effort, calling it #OptOutside.

Since our weather today was unseasonably warm and we have a nice state park nearby, we headed there for a short hike. I've posted photos of Shenandoah River State Park many times, but the river is always worth a picture or two, even with most of the trees bare of leaves. This is the South Fork of the Shenandoah.

We decided to walk the Cottonwood Trail which originates at the tent camping area. It turned out to have a long boardwalk so the mile-plus hike is quite level.

Sharing with Weekend Reflections
and Scenic Weekends and 

By the way, I thank the Orange linkup for spotlighting one of my Skyline Drive photos this week.

November 26, 2015

Fences and Signs at Fisher's Hill

Progress continues on the installation of signs at Fisher's Hill Battlefield, with a couple of new signs at the entrance for Ramseur's Hill. Note that the apostrophes are in place, unlike highway signs for the nearby village of Fishers Hill. The state highway department has a policy of dropping apostrophes to keep signs short.

An earlier series of markers on this battlefield are being replaced. The battle took place here near the end of the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign. The hill here appeared to be an ideal defensive position, but General Early's Confederate army was spread too thin because of losses suffered at Third Winchester.

The battlefield is a pretty place to take a walk, although you can see and hear Interstate 81 nearby.

Sharing with Signs, Signs and Good Fences

Blog Post #5275: Thanksgiving

It's a blessing when people are comfortable enough to be silly with each other.

Me and My Sister 
Dave, Allison, Frank

November 25, 2015

Lunch with Peggy and Lynn

Near Staunton, VA
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. My favorite thing about holidays is that they provide an incentive for family members to get together. My sister drove up yesterday to spend a few days with us and we met Lynn for lunch today at a steakhouse.

Bright-Eyed Cardinal

Sharing with Wordless Wednesday

November 24, 2015

Trees on Ramseur's Hill

I took Flash to Fishers Hill Battlefield and we walked up the path on what is now called Ramseur's Hill. The deciduous trees are finally bare but the sky was blue. (How blue depends on my camera settings. I'm using the old one while the Canon is being repaired for the second time.)

Sharing with NF Trees and Bushes

November 23, 2015

Murals along Hawksbill Creek

Luray, VA

Luray has a number of murals in town, partly due to the efforts of the Luray Tree and Beautification Committee. Here we can see the popular walking trail along Hawksbill Creek.

I love the white owl and the deer in this mural. See the mountains? This town is situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Massanutten Range. It's known for Luray Caverns.

A sign on the red mill tells us it is Willow Grove Mill, which is just south of town. I showed the mill itself in a January post.

Sharing with Monday Murals

November 22, 2015

A Bend in the South Fork

Seen from Cullers Overlook

Shadow on the Wall

I was intrigued by this limestone house and the way the tree cast a shadow on it. Seems like a suitable image for Shadow Shot Sunday

November 21, 2015

Canon Fails Again

 I've sent my little Canon camera back for repair again! They "repaired" it earlier this month but the zoom was still erratic. This first image shows you what tipped me off.

It's supposed to show a couple of ducks sailing by. In the viewfinder, they were on the imaginary line that marks the lower third of the image (as suggested by the "rule of thirds" taught in photo classes). But the image that was recorded shows no ducks! They were outside the frame. You can barely see the top of a head along the bottom. The viewfinder was not showing what was happening with the zoom.

Fortunately it was a test shot and I checked it right away. I framed another shot using the LCD display on the back of the camera instead of the viewfinder and got the second image. By that time the ducks had almost disappeared behind the fence.

Why not just use the LCD? Well, I see more clearly through a viewfinder, plus steadying the camera against my face gives me a better chance of getting a sharp image. Even a tiny bit of  camera movement can blur a picture. 

It took a couple of days to arrange for the repair. I called Canon on Wednesday and they promised to send me a form and a label for returning the G16. The form did not arrive via email until the following day, and the label did not reach my email until Friday morning! Their stalling did not stop me from returning it though.

There are reflections in that first shot but this last one is more fun, at least to me.  It was just a puddle in the street.

I plan to share this with Weekend Reflections if I can get their linkup button to show up. I don't know why but blog hops stopped working for me today. I'll try the old turn it off, turn it on trick and see it that helps.

Squirrel in Waiting

I've started putting out bird feeders again, after waiting for the bears to go into hibernation because they will come into the yard to get the bird seed and then destroy the feeders! 

Here's a squirrel waiting for his chance to attack the feeders. He doesn't destroy them, but he does spill a lot of seed on the ground. Then his siblings come and feast on it!

This is my 150th post tagged Squirrels.