July 15, 2019

Art Random-osity with Greens and Golds


The Good: Public art can be enjoyed by everyone. Today I noticed murals in McDonald's in Front Royal. This first one is a drawing of the town's historic Main Street. Many people pass through town without ever seeing this charming street because the bulk of traffic is routed through on wider thoroughfares. 

Monday Murals.
Another mural depicts a large map of the town. It is easy to feel confused by the streets because routes 55, 340, and 522 all merge together (upper left) to cross the Shenandoah River. Also, many of the streets do not follow a grid pattern due to topography. This is a town of creeks and rivers nestled between hills and mountains.


The Random: Another new LOVE sign has shown up in a local park. This is in Seven Bends State Park, which is not officially open yet. It is under construction along the river near Woodstock.

The sign was constructed from timbers salvaged from an old barn that had to be removed from the property for safety reasons. A newer barn has been preserved.

You can see another LOVE sign in Woodstock in a post from June 2018. Also, there's one in Shenandoah River State Park that I shared on Friday.
The Fun: Yesterday we attended an artists' reception at Muse Vineyards. I have two photographs in the show, which focuses on barns on Shenandoah County. The exhibit was organized to bring attention to efforts to preserve and document old barns. 

Mosaic Monday.

July 14, 2019

Rurality Near Harrisonburg



When I was having car trouble on Friday, I pulled into this church parking lot so that I could safely consider whether to continue driving. I also wanted to check the map to make sure I was heading directly toward the Nissan Dealer.

The church looked pretty so I took a few moments to capture it for the InSpired Sunday linkup. I forgot to take a picture of the church sign because I was concerned about the car. I noticed a sign for Spaders Church Road, though.

Later when I transferred the day's pictures to my Macbook, I looked up the name of the church so that I could title my pictures appropriately. It is St. Jacob's-Spaders Lutheran Church, and was built around 1872. To my surprise, the current pastor is someone I know: Bill Nabers. When we lived in Basye, Pastor Nabers was not only with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church but was also an active helper at many community events. For many years he wrote a thoughtful column for the Mountain Courier, a monthly paper. (He appeared on my blog in 2009.)

If you are curious about what happened to my Nissan, I did make it to the dealer, as I mentioned in Friday's post.

Since I'm posting pictures from the countryside around Harrisonburg, here are a few farms for The Barn Collective.


July 13, 2019

Birds and Bees and Butterflies

Saturday Critters and I'd Rather Be Birdin'.

Summer is in full swing in Virginia and flowers and pollinators can be found if you look for them. Butterflies can be elusive unless you find their favorite flowers on a sunny day.

These pictures are from the Front Royal area. The photo below of purple buddleia blossoms shows butterflies plus a Japanese beetle, a non-native species that is considered a pest for the way it chews up valuable plants.


The numbers of bees has declined and people are appreciating them more. We need their work as pollinators in order for our fruit-bearing plants to be productive. Here we see a couple of bees on milkweed blooms. Milkweed is also a favorite plant of butterflies.

The beehives are at Shenandoah River State Park.


"To make honey, a worker bee flies to a flower and extracts watery nectar using her straw-like tongue. Bees forage 20 or more times a day and can carry up to 50% of their body weight. 

The bee returns the nectar to the hive in her honey stomach. (The pollen bees need for food is carried on the back of their fuzzy legs.)"


These last two pictures are a bit confusing. I believe there were two Carolina wrens on the log, and I thought they were mating. I took the last picture moments after the one above it, believing there were still two birds in the image. When I reviewed the image, however, I counted three birds. One is airborne and blurred, one is sitting on the log, but there is a third one apparently diving toward the log (at lower left).

What is he up to? Photobombing? I don't know because it happened quickly and I was behind the viewfinder, trying to catch the action.


July 12, 2019

Mid-July Willy Nilly


1. We've had hot weather interspersed by heavy rains. Yesterday started out as a pretty day and we went to Frank's physical therapy appointment. He had another appointment at 3:00, so we took a short ride and stopped for lunch. We were in the car when a hard rain stormed in. It stopped by the time he had to see the podiatrist, but later another storm hit. Then the sun came back, but some clouds remained. Here we see clouds creeping down the Massanutten Mountains.
Skywatch Friday.
2. Strasburg now has a modern community events space. You may want to click on the image to make sense of the reflections.

3. These flowers are from an arrangement. I decided to break it into multiple images and then recombine them into a collage.
Floral Friday and Friday Bliss.
4. My state is celebrating 50 years of using a successful slogan: "Virginia is for Lovers." At some point, "LOVE" signs went up in tourist attractions and became popular as photo subjects. Here is the new sign at the entrance to Shenandoah River State Park. The L, O, and V are made of water-sports equipment and the E is made up of signs that you see in the park.

Signs, Signs.
5. This picture of me in my car was taken by a trail camera. I had car trouble today and it was stressful but it could have been worse.

I first noticed something different with the car after a rainstorm on Monday. The pedal felt different when I accelerated, sometimes shuddering just a little. I thought the gas I had just bought may have had moisture in it. No warning lights came on, but by yesterday I noticed the car was not accelerating with its usual power.

This morning I was going to meet Lynn in Harrisonburg so I formulated a plan. I would get there early and take the car to the place where I had an oil change three weeks ago and have them check it. If more service was needed than they could handle, the Nissan dealer was nearby. Just before I got there, the car hesitated as I left a stop light. However, the mechanic did not find anything wrong with the engine when he checked it with his computerized meter, so he agreed that there was a problem with the fuel. He sold me a fuel additive and poured it in, charged me ten dollars and I went on my way. I drove around on a back road for a few miles before meeting Lynn for lunch, thinking the additive needed to mix with the gas. But instead of getting better, the performance got worse.

I had lunch with Lynn and decided to take a back road to the dealership so they could check the car. About half way there, I knew something was very wrong. When the car barely had enough power to climb a hill, I didn't think I'd make it to the dealership. I spotted a place called Shank Auto Repair and swung into their parking lot.

They were very helpful. The mechanic diagnosed the problem as a known transmission issue with the Altima. His shop was not equipped to handle it, but he believed I could make it to the dealer. He was right, and soon I was in the waiting room at Steven Nissan.

I had to leave the car there over the weekend. Lynn drove me home. This is not ideal, but it could have been worse!  Frank's car will get us through the next few days and then back to the dealer.

July 11, 2019

A Vintage Images Tour

History at Sunset: Biscoe Brothers and Beyond -
Historic Images of the Cedar Creek Battlefield.

I am intrigued by historic places, and I've been coming to the Cedar Creek Battlefield since before it was a national historical park. (See my 1997 Field Trip.) When I saw the the park service was offering a History at Sunset tour featuring 19th century photos, I marked my calendar.


Ranger Kyle took us to see places on the battlefield that were photographed two decades after the battle. No 1864 photos of the battlefield are known to exist, although there are eyewitness drawings. The photographs taken by T. D. and Walter Biscoe show us the area as it probably looked in 1864. It hasn't even changed much since then, although the Valley Pike has been widened and old rock walls taken down.

Where Sheridan's famous ride ended.

Cedar Creek at the low water bridge.


Along the Valley Pike looking toward the cemetery hill.
Fences linkup.
Site of the covered bridge where the Pike crossed Cedar Creek.
I was excited to see the site of the old bridge. It is on the former Cedar Creek Campground, which recently became part of the park but is not open to the public yet.



You can see some of the historic photos in the West Virginia University collection and read about the Biscoe brothers.

July 9, 2019

Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum

Mt. Olive / Tom's Brook Area


The Hottel-Keller homestead is now a museum dedicated to the Hottel and Keller families and other German settlers in the Shenandoah Valley. It is open by appointment and on special occasions.

I attended Germanfest there in 2010 and 2013. They have not held a festival recently due to expenses and logistics.

When I read on their Facebook page that they would be open one Saturday, I made it a point to go by. Volunteers gave me a thorough tour and I took a few pictures.
Tuesday Treasures.
The Henry Keller House was built circa 1800.

July 8, 2019

A Long Mural and a Show of Barns

First, the mural: This is along the back wall of Wegman's near Leesburg. Apparently the supermarket chain likes to show a painting of local places along the back wall. (See my December post showing their Gainesville mural.) It's easy to miss the mural because a toy train steals the show!
Monday Murals and Mosaic Monday.

Speaking of shows, I have two photos in a local show, "Barns of Shenandoah County." It is at Muse Vineyards this month, which is at the foot of Hollingsworth Road near Woodstock, VA.

To reach the vineyard, you travel down a narrow road and cross the Shenandoah River. It is near the new state park, still under construction.





Volunteer David Place had the idea of placing my photos next to Dawn's large prints which have similar colors. Mine are 11x14" but they look small on the wall. I had metal prints done because I have admired ones that I've seen in shows.

July 7, 2019

Page County Summer Scenes


Inspired Sunday: This is the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Luray, Virginia. It's on the edge of town, surrounded by countryside and mountains.

Nearby are some charming farms.



Sharing with The Farm Collective.