January 21, 2019

Randoms for the Day.

The Good: It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  In 1963, my older brother and 200,000 other people heard Dr. King speak at the Lincoln Memorial.  "I have a dream!"

This record of civil rights songs is one that I remember playing as a teen. Perhaps my brother bought it, although I don't recall. I was very interested in folk music, which included protest songs, so I played it many times.

The Random: The colorful mural is in an organic market in Merrifield. I recognize the purple item as cabbage, so I assume the green one is also cabbage or some similar vegetable.
Monday Murals
The Fun: Today is also Squirrel Appreciation Day. They can be a nuisance when they eat way too much bird seed, but they are fun to watch. I think these two are siblings.

January 20, 2019

Toms Brook UMC

This Methodist Church was built in 1955. The original church was built in 1879 in a different location. 

The church is located along U.S. 11, the historic Valley Pike. 

InSpired Sunday.
The town of Toms Brook is small but is known for a Civil War battle fought throughout the area in 1864. A nearby interstate exit is also called Toms Brook but you can't see the town from the exit.

There is no apostrophe in the name because the highway department standard for signs and maps is to drop apostrophes.

January 19, 2019

What the Trail Cam Saw.

It's been almost a month since I last checked looked at pictures from the camera by the lake. When I put the SD card back in the camera, I pointed the lens more toward the bushes because it was getting sun-struck in late afternoon. Now I see it is still picking up glare, although not as much as before. Here's one of the images. You can see the light streaming in and making an odd squiggle on the right.

Here's a cropped and brightened version of the shot. I'm sure that's a great blue heron flying, although it looks almost like a vampire bat with those drooping wings!

I've cropped the rest of the pictures in this post. It took me a moment to realize that the woman in black is Marie in a hoodie. This was on Christmas afternoon when we walked around the lake.

There were over 1600 images on the card and I choose 113 to save on my laptop. The rest were not worth saving, mostly moving branches and blurry birds.

Here we have geese on the water and a cat walking through. These geese are used to cats hanging around.

Almost obscured by bushes is another heron. He looks ready to fly away.

The rest of the pictures are from January 14 to 18. You can see the 8 inches of snow that we had. It's been melting steadily, and tonight we have rain that's washing most of it away.

If you look carefully at the geese on the snowy lake, you can see some of them are taking off.

Viewing Nature and Birds.

Deer visited again. I imagine they were hungry.

Just before the deer walked off to the right, little deer stopped and stared at the camera. Supposedly it doesn't flash but there is a little light that you can see if you look at it. Night photos use infrared technology, and as you can see, they are black and white.
By the time I finally made my way out in the snow to get the SD card out of the camera, it had melted down to a point that walking was easy. I noticed footprints that were too big to be a squirrel's, and no doubt some of them belonged to the deer. There were others that I thought were a dog's, but then when I reviewed the pictures, I saw exactly who walked through.

I knew we had a fox or two. They've shown up in blurry night photos. This one strolled through at 2:50 in the afternoon yesterday. I wish I'd been looking out the window, or taking pictures of the birds when he went through. I don't think I'd have gotten a better shot than this though.

I guess Mr. Fox was hungry because the snow has covered up some of his usual food, so he was out in the open in broad daylight.

January 18, 2019

Sky, Lake, and Altered Flowers.

1. This scene is one I saw as I drove out our street late this afternoon. I took out the camera to take a picture of the moon, but I also took this one of the entire scene and I like the way it looks.
Skywatch Friday; Through My Lens.
2. This scene and the next are both from our day trip to Cacapon State Park in West Virginia. I posted a couple of pictures from there last Friday. We were only there about two hours, but the light was great for lake pictures.

By the way, in that same post was my photo of a Metro Station that was selected by Black and White Weekend as one of 6 to spotlight.

3. Reflections in Cacapon Lake.

4. I modified this lily using the PicsArt app.

Sharing with Floral Friday and Friday Bliss.
5. Since I am showing altered flowers, here's some that I combined in a PhotoCollage and then filtered in Photoshop.
Mosaic Monday.

January 17, 2019

Fences with Snow, Fiery Run Road.

On Tuesday, I shared some pictures of farms along Fiery Fun  Road. Let me show you some more scenes from that exciting little ride.

January 16, 2019

A Dwarf Peach Tree and a Suet Feeder

Wild Bird Wednesday.
Three years ago we planted a small tree in memory of our cocker spaniel. It's a patio peach and we placed it near the deck. I chose a spot near the bird feeders so the birds can perch on it. I can watch them from a window and take pictures as long as they don't see me.

Here we see a white-throated sparrow and a Carolina wren. And then there's the junco. He's perching on one of the higher branches in order to get close to the suet feeder. Normally he doesn't go for the suet because he finds seed that have fallen on the ground. (Larger birds and squirrels drop a lot of seed!) Unfortunately, the seed feeders were emptied soon after the snow storm, and the ground was covered by snow. I didn't get a path dug out to the feeders until yesterday.

In the meantime, the only feeder with food left in it was the upside-down suet feeder. Woodpeckers and chickadees are able to cling upside down on the wire grid and pick out suet.

The slate-colored junco does not cling like that. But he can fly up and grab a little tidbit, then return to the branch. I watched him do this repeatedly.

I learned to anticipate what he would do and get pictures of him in action.

Want to see it again?

Not So Wordless Wednesday.

January 15, 2019

Snowy Day, Fiery Run.

Today was a nice day for getting some winter pictures. I decided to drive down a country road and see if I could get some farm pictures. I chose Fiery Run Road because I recalled that it circled around and came back out on Route 55. I'd seen the signs several times but I had not idea how large that loop was.

I saw a sign marking the Appalachian Trail. This trail runs from Maine to Georgia and a long section of it is in Virginia. The were multiple prints of boots, so hikers had been through there.
I did see some nice farms.
 Here the road turned left and got more narrow, but it looked clear so I continued. Soon I questioned that decision because after the road entered deep shade, it was covered in packed snow, although it had been plowed. I passed several farm lanes but could not turn around because they were not cleared and were still covered with at least 8 inches of snow.

I knew not to stop while going uphill and continued at a decent pace on the quiet road. But then a car appeared as I went up a hill on a single-lane stretch of road. There was a ditch on my right and not enough room to pass without getting stuck, so I had to stop. He stopped. I tried to inch forward but my wheels spun on ice. Uh oh! He was not backing up.

I decided to talk to the young man who was driving. He said he had 4-wheel drive and could possibly get past me if I drove in the ditch. Uh, no. Then another vehicle drove up behind me. It was a modest-sized delivery truck with chains on his big tires. He said the road gets worse before it reaches the main road. He offered to back up so that I could back up to a better spot. Okay, thanks!

The other driver said there was a place to turn around just past the top of the hill. So that was the plan. The truck backed up, I backed up ... slowly and very carefully. The other driver flashed his lights when he saw I had reached a place where he could easily get past. He did, after cautioning me to stay on the gas pedal to get up the icy hill. I did, and soon found a clear place to turn around at an intersection. After turning, I took a picture of a red barn from a safe spot at a stop sign. The truck caught up. I waved and turned back the way I came. It was much easier going down frontwards! Soon I was back on clear pavement. 

I hope Tom appreciates my efforts today to get Backroads pictures!

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard

Wordless on Tuesday.

January 14, 2019

Snowy Day Randoms

The Good: The snow stopped falling during the night and our view looked beautiful today.  The roads got plowed and we were able to go to the store this afternoon.

The Random: I made a little collage using pictures from past snowfalls.

  The Fun: This is a cute painting inside the Samuels Library. The bear is appropriate since the library is within walking distance of Shenandoah National Park.

After I returned my books, I decided to walk into the childrens' section to see if there were murals. These are above eye level, around a dome. A young man who appeared to be around 12 years old greeted me and explained that an artist painted these. He sounded professional, like perhaps he gave tours or speeches!

Monday Murals

January 13, 2019

Winter Storm Gia

It snowed all day. So far we have about 7" in accumulation, enough to look pretty. I heard some of the roads are bad. 

I didn't get out any farther than the driveway. Frank brushed snow off the car. It may get covered again before the snow ends tonight.

I took some pictures, of course. The male cardinal stands out in his red feathers.

Inspired Sunday: This church picture is from a sunny day after our last snowfall.

Williams Chapel dates to 1845. It was originally a Presbyterian Church, and became a temporary courthouse during the Civil War because the Warren County Courthouse was being used as a hospital for soldiers. After the war, it became a church again, but later served as a school. In the 1890's it became a Methodist Episcopal Church.  
The last three pictures are from today. I parked the car out near the street yesterday so that we wouldn't have too much driveway to clear if we needed to go somewhere. I like looking at the snow but I don't like feeling trapped by it.