October 31, 2019

Objets d'Art, Pumpkin Style.

Halloween is a time of surprises. I'm not a fan of being scared, but I like being amused!

I pulled off the road to get a picture of this decoration near Toms Brook. The cow statue is permanent, and the rider was added for Halloween. 

The rest of today's pictures are from Woodstock, Virginia. I took them today, but it was rainy so they look a bit dark.
The LOVE sign was decorated with pumpkin-head ghosts. The pumpkin people are part of a local competition that the town is doing every Halloween. 

This pumpkin family was spread out so I had to take two pictures to get everyone. They represent a famous TV family. They're creepy and they're spooky...

I took two more pumpkin-head pictures before I headed home. I was glad that I made it inside before a strong storm hit. And I'm glad that so far, the power has stayed on!

October 30, 2019

Fall Colors, Water Birds

I looked out the window Monday morning and saw that autumn had reached us!

We have a view of the community lake and the Massanutten Range in the distance. The trees on the mountain changed color earlier than the ones in the valley. 

Here's a great blue heron wading in the lake.  I took this with a zoom lens. He won't let me get near him; he flies away.

Next we have a different pond and a muscovy duck. In another image, you can barely see him, but he's there near a tree.

And back at our lake, a Great Egret. It's not as shy as the heron, and I've never see them at the same time. Perhaps the heron is shy of the egret too.

He lifted up to fly a short distance. I was pleased that I got a picture of him in flight.

Finally, a common water bird: a Canada Goose. In the background are some mallard ducks.

It's been very pretty here! This afternoon some rain moved in, and forecasters are predicting high winds tomorrow. I have a doctor appointment and I plan to return home promptly afterward. Driving in a storm is not fun.

I hope all is well where you are.

October 29, 2019

Blog Post #6900: Two Tours Around Berryville

Usually I use a blog anniversary to talk about blogging or tell something about myself, but this one sneaked up on me and I had a bunch of pictures ready for Tuesday Treasures. Well, the topic is not unsuitable because I have been doing Civil War tours for at least 25 years, and documenting them with photos. I got my bachelor's degree in combined studies of  American History and Photography.

Recently I took two tours covering a similar topic a month apart. I signed up for the second one months ago, basically it was a historical seminar with Jonathan Noyalas of Shenandoah University, and those fill up early. (I starting taking tours with Professor Noyalas in 2008 and sign up for as many as I can.) Then a month ago, I went on a History at Sunset tour with Ranger Rick of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. I knew it was on Mosby's actions at Berryville and I had forgotten that Jonathan would be covering that topic. No matter, I would have gone anyway. Mosby's Rangers are interesting, and every tour is different. I had previously gone on quite a few Mosby tours with Northern Virginia Community College,  where Dr. Poland was pretty much an expert on Mosby.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's John Singleton Mosby, famed Confederate Cavalry commander. His exploits are legendary in Virginia. If you don't like the fact that he fought for the losing side, consider that he served the United States after the war as Consul to Hong Kong, among other things.

I'll start with Ranger Rick's tour in September. We started at Chet Hobert Park in Berryville and went by car caravan to several sites. Of course, we stopped at the site where Mosby's men swooped down on a Federal Wagon Train.
A state historical marker summarizes:
"Just after dawn on 13 Aug. 1864, Col. John Singleton Mosby and 300 of his 43rd Battalion Partisan Rangers attacked the rear section of Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s 600-vehicle wagon train here. The train, headed for Winchester, carried supplies for Sheridan’s cavalry. Mosby surprised and routed the Federals as they rested, cooked breakfast, and hitched their horses. Mosby’s men, losing only one killed and one mortally wounded, captured 200 beef cattle, 500–600 horses, 100 wagons, and 200 soldiers. The raid ended by 6:30 a.m. Berryville’s citizens including many small boys, helped burn the wagons after liberating their contents."

We also visited Morgan's Lane, site of a horrific incident in which a detachment of Mosby's Rangers under Captain William Chapman pretty much murdered 30 soldiers of the 5th Michigan Cavalry. (Mosby was not present at this slaughter. Neither was Custer, who is mentioned on the marker.) The marker was erected in the 1890s by a chapter of the Confederate Veterans.
"Col. Morgan's Lane
Aug. 19, 1864

Mosby's Attack on Custer's House Burners.

No Prisoners."
As often happens in war, revenge was met with more revenge. Some of Mosby's men were executed in Front Royal, and then Mosby's Rangers executed some Federal soldiers near Berryville. The next photo shows Ranger Rick near the site of that vengeance at what's left of Beemer's Woods.

By the time our group reached our final stop in Millwood, sunset was drawing near. The lecture was in a parking lot across the road from a building where Mosby discussed terms of surrender after Lee was defeated. He did not trust the Federals and left without surrendering. However, it was not long before he formally disbanded the Rangers in Marshall, Virginia.

Next I'll share the second tour. Since this post is getting long, I'll try to be brief.

We started in an auditorium at Shenandoah University. This seminar was on military action around Berryville, including Mosby's raids and the Battle of Berryville. 

The Battle of Berryville was not planned. The armies happened to run into each other. Since no ground was really held as a result, you don't often hear about it. The action took place near Rosemont and the present-day Clarke County school complex.

We also covered Mosby's wagon train raid. We did not pull off at the sign but at a wider area along the same road, present-day Route 340.

We made our way to Morgan's Lane, which now has a different name. This time we were shown around by a caretaker and took a long walk up the lane.

The cottage you see here is said to be an extended version of what was originally home to some of the enslaved workers.

Jonathan's brother takes a family photo.
Our final stop was at the grave of Thomas Laws. Laws was a black man who held a pass to get through Confederate lines to sell produce to troops and citizens in Winchester. He was recruited to carry secret messages, which enabled Sheridan to learn the size of Confederate forces in the area. This was crucial to the Federal success at the Third Battle of Winchester.

Group Photo Courtesy of McCormick Civil War Institute.

Hillside Cemetery in Little Washington


October 28, 2019

Murals in Evitts Run Park

Charles Town, WV

This mural was a group effort under artist Isaiah Zagar. He was assisted by citizens including children, who placed many tiles and mirrors in designs to create a mosaic mural. Another mural was done the same way in downtown Charles Town.

Here are three close-up shots. I'm afraid I cannot do justice to this work of art. It takes a lot of looking to really see it.

Monday Murals and Mosaic Monday.
I heard of this mural back when the downtown one was being pieced together, but I did not know where it was. Recently I found the park online and then asked our car navigation system to take me to Water Street.

There are also a couple of painted murals there. I believe they are older than the mosaic.

October 27, 2019

Across Great North Mountain Today

This afternoon we went "leaf peeping," and crossed into West Virginia at Wolf Gap.

This wooden church is on Thorn Bottom Road, just off Trout Run Road. It is the Sugar Grove Church of the Brethren.
Shadow Shot and InSpired Sunday.
I moved in closer to show a detail of a door and one of the windows.

Nearby we crossed this pretty stream.

Frank took a picture of cattle grazing. He started to take another shot but I was watching the mirror for traffic because I was not able to pull all four wheels off the road. I spotted a car coming and said, "I need to move." His next picture came out blurry because I was driving off, but there is something about it that appeals to me.

The last two shots are from Trout Run Road. The pretty little house looks like it was once a school.

Sharing with the Barn Collective.

October 26, 2019

October Birds, A Sheep, and A Deer.

Let's start with some geese in our neighborhood.

Just downhill from the pond is a small farm. Here a vulture appears to be visiting a sheep. There were actually a number of vultures and a flock of chickens. Do vultures eat chicken feed? I don't know.

Here's another vulture. He was on a fence was in Clarke County.

Not far from there, I drove around Wilkins Loop in the State Arboretum. A small deer was browsing in the shade. I waited for him to step into the sunlight to get a clearer picture.

The last three pictures are from a boat landing in Front Royal. I saw a flash of blue across the river and zoomed in as much as I could. I was still not able to see him clearly but after cropping the picture, I concluded that he's a kingfisher.

I find that it's hard to get a clear zoomed-in image over a river or lake because there is usually mist in the atmosphere.

That was on a nice afternoon and a fisherman was upstream in a kayak.

This was on the South Fork of the Shenandoah.