March 24, 2019

Barns and a Baptist Church, Strasburg.

The farm buildings are on the outskirts of Strasburg. The church is on Ash Street in town.

Themes and memes remind me to photograph subjects that I might otherwise drive by without really noticing.

Barns are not only picturesque, but they are also vanishing as the years go by. Some get replaced by housing and others just fall apart after they are no longer needed. Farming has changed and is often done on a large scale using modern methods.

Churches are also picturesque. I like seeing their windows and the steeples reaching for the sky.

Esbie Baptist Church was built in 1913. I found this information on Shenandoah Stories.

March 23, 2019

Birds and Animals on National Puppy Day.

Saturday's a good time for sharing critter pictures, and I just downloaded some from my game camera. There were hundreds of photos of geese walking by, but this one caught them flying off. Unlike Canada geese, white geese don't fly very far.

The best night photo on the card was this one of a deer. (I cropped all three of the game camera photos since it does not compose, it just shoots when it senses movement.)

We have a possum in our yard who comes out at night. He appeared in a number of pictures but since he is small, they were mostly not clear.

Next are a few bird pictures taken with my trusty old Nikon. It has a few problems but the zoom still works, so I keep it by the window for photographing birds and squirrels.

The bird in the vertical shot is a goldfinch. It looks dark because the finch sock cast a shadow on it.

Next we see a mallard duck and then a male cardinal.

I'd Rather Be Birdin'

Frank is thinking about getting a cat so yesterday we visited the SPCA in Winchester. I see that they have an "Adopt a Unicorn" event coming up!

We saw some nice cats but he wants a black kitten.

The Caturday blog hop challenges us to post a digitally altered photo of an animal. All I did to this vertical shot was to duplicate the layer and use a Diffuse Glow filter in Photoshop.

Although this post already has plenty of images, I wanted to share a squirrel photo.

And finally, today is National Puppy Day. We don't have a puppy right now so I found an old photo of Lynn with Spotsy.  He was a pointer mix. 

March 22, 2019

Water, a Worm Moon, and a Little More

1. This pretty pond is along a back road near Long Branch.
Weekend Reflections
2. I 've had this image for a while and it intrigues me but makes me uncomfortable too. A tree branches out over Cook's Creek in a deformed way.

Black and White Weekend.
3. They call this week's full moon the "Worm Moon" because worms come out around the time of the spring equinox. It's not a pretty name, but it's a pretty sight.

I leaned my camera against a post to hold it still because I'm out of the tripod habit. Out of seven images, only two showed good detail. I used a zoom lens and later cropped the image.

Skywatch Friday
4. I saw this sign in Strasburg and liked it enough to pull into the parking lot to take a picture.

Signs, Signs.
5. This is a cell phone picture I took in the rain yesterday. I sent it to the state highway department with an online request to fix the drainage on this road. They are actually very responsive to small road complaints.

March 21, 2019

Around Front Royal in March.

Eastham Park is along the South Fork of the Shenandoah. We've been going there since the trail was first paved in 2011

This brick gateway is beside Luray Avenue on the way to the park. I was trying to get a blooming forsythia bush in the picture but it is a bit in the distance. It's behind the gate to the right.

Front Royal has a nice library on Criser Road. This groundhog seems to live between the library and the school. I saw him previously in December.

Groundhogs have other names including woodchuck.

I am thankful that it is officially Spring! Today was not as nice as the last few days because it rained all day, and up in the mountains there was snow. But a few flowers are blooming and more will follow soon.

March 20, 2019

A Raptor in Middletown

Cedar Creek Battlefield, Virginia.

This could be a red-tailed hawk but I didn't see much more than a silhouette. I was glad to get a picture because usually I see hawks while I'm driving on the highway so I cannot get a photo. This one was in a tree next to the upper parking lot for the Morning Attack Trails and Vermont Monument.

Hawks like to sit in trees next to roads because they watch for small animals that come to the roadside to feed on items that humans throw out of cars.

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday.

First Blooms in March

March 19, 2019

Walker's Cash Store and Some Nearby Farms

This general store served the small town of St. Luke for over a century. It closed in 2015 and is currently being fixed up to reopen as the St. Luke Co-op. There is an apartment upstairs that is rented as an Air BnB.

The term "cash store" was popular during the early 20th century. I've seen it used before for general stores or groceries.
Tuesday's Treasures.
At one time, St. Luke was a thriving town with two churches, a school, post office, sawmill, and two general stores. Over the years there were various businesses including a blacksmith shop, a saddlery, a gas station, lime plant, and even a distillery. [Source: Shenandoah County Library.] The churches and this store remain, plus a former schoolhouse that is apparently owned by one of the churches.

The community is in a pretty rural area. Here are some farm buildings along St. Luke's Road.

Sharing with the Barn Collective.

March 18, 2019

End of Winter Randoms

The Good: I read about this mural a year ago and finally made it to Culpeper to see it. It depicts young George Washington as a surveyor in 1749. The artist is Thomas Mullany of Flint Hill. 

For more murals, see Colourful World.
The Random: I met Lynn for lunch today in Harrisonburg. (This could also fall under the "Good" and "Fun" categories.) She showed me her new phone.

The Fun: Strasburg held a St. Patrick's Day Festival on Saturday.

Mosaic Monday.

March 17, 2019

The Oldest Church Building in Culpeper

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church was built in 1821. During the Civil War, the church was used as a hospital. In the winter of 1863, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and his staff attended church here.

On a matter unrelated except for the word Saint, today happens to be St. Patrick's Day. I hope you had a nice day, whether you identify as Irish or not.

I don't think of myself as Irish, but DNA shows I am 61% from the British Isles, so I probably have some Irish blood. Here is a traditional wish from Ireland for you:
May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love. 

March 16, 2019

A Lucky Shot, Some Birds, and a Cat.

Let me start off with a picture I almost didn't get. I was in Shenandoah National Park when only the first five miles of Skyline Drive were open. A winter storm had made higher elevations icy and had also felled numerous trees, so only the portion from Front Royal to Dickey Ridge was clear, not uncommon in the winter. I saw some movement over one of the stone walls, just the ears of a couple of deer. I slowed down, opened the window and stopped. (No one was behind me because the park was basically deserted that afternoon.) I raised the camera just as this deer raised her head. I only clicked the shutter once before she disappeared. 

This lady cardinal was at one of my feeders this morning. How nice that she was lit by a sunbeam! I think the females are quite beautiful when the light brings out their colors.

The male cardinals are more famous because they are bright red. Usually you see one every time you see a female. They are devoted guardians.

Today is Caturday so here's a kitty picture. I filtered the background but not the cat, using a duplicate layer in Photoshop. (Layers are awesome once you get used to using them.)

This goldfinch posed nicely for me. Finches are easily bribed into being photographed. I keep a couple of feeders filled and they are in my yard all winter.

A housefinch and a junco are sharing a seed bell. I hope they ate their fill before a squirrel took over and decimated the seed.

There's another junco in the next picture.

And for today's finale, a Canada Goose. 
Saturday's Critters and I'd Rather Be Birdin'. 

March 15, 2019

Ides of March Willy Nilly

1. The Romans determined the "Ides" by the full moon. Now the only time we say "Ides" is referring to the 15th of March, due to the reference in "Julius Caesar."

I played with a moon photo in Photoshop because I wanted something unique.

2. I appreciate Black and White Weekend choosing my "Striped Roads" to publish. Today's black and white image shows part of a dam.

3. Reflection of trees and sky in a car window.

4. Cloudia always has some great quotes on her blog. I copied this one. Writers take note!

5. Last and perhaps least, is an odd little selfie I made today using my iPad and a dollar-store scarf.

Have a good weekend!