July 27, 2017

Archaeology at Belle Grove

Middletown, Virginia
"Archaeology in Progress. Visitors Welcome"
Belle Grove is a beautiful historic site in nearby Frederick County. Historical records show that enslaved people lived and worked there before the Civil War. Since only bits and pieces of their stories are left in the historical record, archaeology is one way of learning more details. On this field across from the manor house, archaeologists are seeking to find where the field hands lived and what items they owned.

Matt Greer and a small staff are doing the methodical digging. They record the location of every artifact, whether it is a piece of pottery or an old nail. Matt is a doctoral candidate at Syracuse University. 

The youngsters we see here were visiting the site and asking intelligent questions. 



I missed the site tour that was given in late June because of our travel schedule. I have an interest in historic archaeology because I volunteered for many years with a program in Alexandria, Virginia.

Here's a picture I took by Belle Grove Road. Over the years I have posted many photos of Belle Grove.

July 25, 2017

Old Cabin in Woodstock, Virginia

(Sketch filter applied at low intensity in Movavi)

July 24, 2017

July Randoms, Shenandoah Valley

The Good: Warren County is extending the Front Royal bus line to Middletown and also to Fairground Road. It will benefit students attending Lord Fairfax Community College and people who are employed in the Winchester Pike area. 
Sharing with Random-osity and Seasons
The Random: This farm is home to a transmission repair shop but also to some cows. It is near Woodstock, Virginia.

The Fun: There is a brand new mural on the back of the Woodstock Café. Isn't it cute?


I was delighted to see that the watering can is real and has actual water spraying out of it!

Sharing with Monday Murals

July 23, 2017

Restoration Fellowship and the Three Tall Crosses


Many travelers on I-81 have seen the three tall crosses near Strasburg. They were erected by a local church, which also keeps lights shining on them at night. From the highway, it's quite a sight to see!

The church is called Restoration Fellowship Church.


July 22, 2017

Five Critter Pictures

There are so many ducklings this year! We may have an overpopulation of ducks soon. Or perhaps some of them will move to other ponds, unlike our resident geese.
Black and White Weekend
My buddy Flash is hanging in there. His age and heart condition have slowed him down but he enjoys lounging around. His appetite for dog food has lessened but he still likes people food and snacks!

This Canada Goose was with his family members but they are obscured by the branches. 

The next bird, a parrot, is a not native to Virginia. He was keeping an eye on his companion's table at the farmers market in Front Royal.



The final image has a bird too. Do you see it in the tree on the right?

July 21, 2017

July Sunset, Riverton


Riverton is on the north end of Front Royal. I took this from a shopping center that's near I-66.



July 20, 2017

Blog Post #6022

Somehow I failed to note the six thousandth post on the blog. It should have been on the first of July, but we were at the beach so I was distracted. Here are some pictures from then to now.
Kate and Rusty, Virginia Beach
See more Virginia Beach posts.

We drove back from the beach on the 4th of July. We were too tired to go to see fireworks  and then it rained! At least I got to see some that neighbors set off.

On Saturday we went to an event at Cool Spring near Bluemont.  It's a beautiful place, not well known yet. You can see this young fellow in an earlier post.

This picture and the next two are suitable for the Fences linkup.

Thornton River Orchard, Sperryville, VA
Today I had an appointment in Woodstock and took a few pictures there afterwards. This pretty scene is on Water Street.

So here we are, three weeks into July. The past two days have been very hot, but pretty to see if you are inside with air conditioning looking out at the greenery.


July 18, 2017

Barns and a Memorial to Displaced Families

Rappahannock County, Virginia



Sharing with: The Barn Collective and Wordless on Tuesday


I read about the new memorial in Sperryville so of course I had to go see it! It honors the people who had to leave nearby land that is now part of Shenandoah National Park. This happened in the 1930's when the park was formed. Landowners who did not sell willingly were forced to do so when eminent domain was invoked.

Other memorials have been erected in neighboring counties, with more being planned. This one is beautifully built of stone, apparently without mortar, in the style of chimneys in remote areas.

Sharing with Tuesday Treasures
Heart-shaped Stone on the Rear of the Structure

July 17, 2017

Nostalgia Random-osity


The Good: Here I'm looking back a few weeks to when we were in Virginia Beach. These murals honor members of the armed services. Unfortunately they are partially blocked by utility poles.

Here's a closer view of one. For more murals, check out the linkup at Oakland Daily Photo.

The Random: These re-enactors added some color to the anniversary of the Battle of Cool Spring.

I made a collage using Canva. It was my first time trying it and I struggled a little.

Sharing with Mosaic Monday


The Fun: Young Alex really enjoys dressing up in Civil War costumes. He is the son of Professor Noyalas.  


July 16, 2017

Yesterday Near Berryville

We went to an event at Cool Spring and then made a stop in nearby Berryville, where we bought some chairs at the thrift store. This church is next door to it. It was established in 1853.

Berryville Presbyterian Church
I just looked up the church's history and was intrigued to see how it relates to the event we had just attended at Cool Spring.
"Franklin Pierce was President of the United States from 1853 to 1857. Growing signs of unrest over the issue of slavery were manifested in Kansas, which was a battle ground for rival factions. Neither Pierce or James Buchanan, his successor, confronted the issue and in 1859, John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry.

By 1861, when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, seven states had already seceded from the Union. After the South fired on Ft. Sumter, the war began. In 1864, there was a skirmish called “The Battle of Cool Spring”. General Jubal Early was pushed west through Berryville to Grindstone Hill, about where Cooley School is today. Apparently, a cannon ball was fired by Early’s men, which struck the Berryville Presbyterian Church on the northwest corner, just above the first window. At that time, the church was painted white and, according to Elder Tom Jones whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all elders, someone painted a black circle over the window after the damage was repaired. One of the stained glass windows on the west side of the sanctuary is in memory of great-grandfather, Thomas Jones, who was ordained in 1874.

In 1861, the Presbyterian Church split over the issue of slavery into the Presbyterian Church in USA (PCUSA) and the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA)."
The event that we attended was the Cool Spring 153rd Anniversary Commemoration, hosted by the McCormick Civil War Institute at Shenandoah University. The University now has a campus on the actual battlefield, where students learn about history and environmental science.

My friends Jonathan Noyalas and Shannon Moeck were among the speakers. I know them from LFCC but Jonathan is now teaching at Shenandoah University and Shannon is a ranger at Cedar Creek.

The marker below is called Union Advance and Confederate Counterattack. It explains that the battle here followed a failed Confederate attack on Washington, DC. Jubal Early "withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley with the Federals in pursuit. He stopped them at Cool Springs on July 17-18."

But not for long! Read the rest of the marker on HMDB.org.

July 15, 2017

Recent Critters

It's time for Saturday's Critters and the Bird D'Pot. Since this is summertime, I've seen a variety of animals.

The first one is a taxidermy raccoon seen in a nature center. I converted this to black and white.

The rest of the critters are real. This turtle was in our yard.

I see muscovy ducks all the time. They live at our community lake beside the other ducks and the geese.

A few days ago I was waiting for Frank to come out of the outlet store in Stephens City and I saw a mourning dove. Just as I raised my camera, he took off.

Yesterday we saw a couple of deer on Mountain Road. I was able to grab a picture of this buck.


The feral cats that live across the lake sometimes like to sit on the tracks. Fortunately the trains don't run very often.

This blue jay let me take his picture in Berryville today.