December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020!

What a Year It Was!

It was the year the Coronavirus 2019 changed everyones' lives. People stayed home more. Face masks and social distancing became normal. Many businesses failed but others thrived. I am thankful that we made it through the year.

Now there are vaccines which we hope will allow us to socialize again. But it will take months for everyone to get vaccinated, and by that time the first people to get it may find that it has worn off. It is too soon to say.

My older daughter still has not recovered completely from the virus. After five weeks, her fever has come down to almost normal and she sounds better, but she still has a sore throat and fatigue. 
I don't understand the sign about reindeer. Usually this animal hospital either posts a pun or a reminder to get care for your pet. I don't think people in Winchester have pet reindeer.

Next we go to the supermarket. This big measuring stick is posted but clearly it is not accurate. I am more than four feet high. Perhaps it was made in China, where they use the metric system and probably think our old-fashioned measuring system is a joke!

The stores still have some shortages, and toilet paper purchases are rationed. I am puzzled by the pricing at three items for a dollar when the limit is two items!

Hopefully things will make more sense in 2021.

December 30, 2020

A Few Scenes; A Few Memories

The large birds clustered in the trees are vultures. They aren't glamorous birds but they seem to be social with each other.

The noble woodpecker is a red-bellied woodpecker. 

Both ducks and geese like to gather around an open pool in the ice. Here we see mallard ducks. 

Charlie the Squirrel is hanging around the bird feeders.


I read today that fellow blogger Abraham Wesley Lincoln passed away yesterday at the age of 86. The last post I saw from him was an update on Facebook in which he lamented the death of his beloved wife. Abe was a wonderful photographer and artist.

On a happier note, today is my older brother's birthday. Here are a couple of photos of him as a baby, taken before I was born. Happy birthday, Rick!

December 28, 2020

Long Photos from this Weekend.

I went back to Front Royal to get photos of one of the murals that I saw being painted two weeks ago. This one is on a long wall in an alley, so it is hard to do it justice in a photo. I tried using panorama mode on both my camera and cell phone. Here's the image I chose.

No doubt this painting represents the Shenandoah River. The door is to a company called Artsii. Here's a look at the parts of the mural. 

I also drove to nearby Skyline Drive. Only the first five miles of that section were open due to icy roads on the mountains. I was surprised to see so many cars. It's usually a quiet place on a cold winter day, but people are anxious to do something that's Covid-safe so they were out hiking or just looking at the views. 

 I'll close with a few more Front Royal images. Have a good week! 

December 27, 2020

St. Paul's in Haymarket

St. Paul's Episcopal Church has an interesting history. Originally built as a district courthouse in 1802, it became an academy and then was purchased by an individual who deeded it to the Episcopal Church in 1830 as a memorial to his wife. 

 During the Civil War, it was used as a hospital after the First and Second Battles of Manassas, as well as during the measles epidemic that swept through the Confederate camps in 1861. According to the Historical Marker Database, it was burned in November 1862 along with the rest of the village in retaliation after Confederate bushwhackers fired on U.S. troops nearby. Only the brick walls remained, and in 1867 the church was rebuilt.

December 26, 2020

Saturday's Critters, late December.

It's still quiet around here so I'll share a few birds plus some horses.

I believe the little bird is a white throated sparrow. The red one is unmistakably a male cardinal. 

The picture of the young women riding horses is from a year ago at Blandy. It was a much warmer day than today, which started at ended with temperatures below freezing.

The plump bird with a red breast is an American Robin. 

December 25, 2020

A Very Quiet Christmas

We did not have any visitors for Christmas. We did not go outside, except for feeding birds and turning on holiday lights. It was a very cold day.

Blog Post 7380: Willy Nilly Friday.
Behind the giant snowflake decoration is the night sky with a sliver of light left by the setting sun. 

I really missed seeing my daughters. I did exchange emails with Marie, and Lynn called on the phone. Her voice sounded better than the last time we spoke, another sign that she is recovering from Covid. 

The black and white snapshot of them is from last Christmas. I enjoy the way they joke with each other.

Below we see blossoms from my Christmas cactus, which actually bloomed on schedule. 

The snowy scene is from a week ago. I took this through a window and the red orbs are reflections on the glass.

 Our mail and delivery services were overwhelmed this year because so many people canceled their usual holiday visits plus many of us did most of our shopping online because of the pandemic. Some gifts haven't arrived yet. All I've gotten so far is a gift card from Frank's youngest daughter and a framed picture from Frank, which I picked out. This is a quilted landscape by my friend Ann Heap

I hope your day was pleasant. Stay safe and make the most of what little bit is left of 2020.

December 24, 2020

It's an Odd Christmas Eve

Socially Distant

Usually I'm looking forward to family visits on Christmas, but there are no visits this year. I feel sad about it but eventually this pandemic will be under control. In the meantime we can chat online, at least.

Do you like my antlers and mask?

Sigh! Lynn is still struggling to recover from Covid. Her temperature went down yesterday but today it went back up a little. I know she's tired of staying home and feeling ill.

Well, I have a few cell phone pictures of sights and signs to show you, starting with two from Fishers Hill.
Someone dresses their geese statues for each season.

I could have cropped out the dirty snow below the JOY sign but it seems fitting for this year. We look for a little joy where we can find it. 

The final two images are from downtown Front Royal. Shop windows on Main Street are decorated for Christmas.

I hope that if are celebrating Christmas tomorrow, you do it safely but also feel warmth and joy.


December 23, 2020

It's Festivus!

This evening I felt rather sad because we won't be getting together with family on Christmas due to Covid. Then I read that December 23rd is Festivus, and Lynn and I joked about it via text, so I laughed and felt better. 

Since Festivus involves a metal pole instead of a Christmas tree, I decided to select photos with poles for today's post. If you are wondering what I am talking about, don't worry. It's a fictitious holiday that was an elaborate joke on a sitcom "about nothing."

The first two photos are from five days ago when we had plenty of snow. Most of it has melted now. The bluejay and Carolina wren are striking the same pose. 

By the next day, birds and squirrels had worn away much of the snow around the poles. Mourning doves often find seed that's spilled on the ground.

On Monday I bought another pole so I could put up additional feeders. Tractor Supply only had two styles left and one was too long to fit in my car so I had to get the other one, a fancier design with a weather vane on top.  

Squirrels are very good at climbing poles. They eat more than their share of bird seed. This one just about emptied the feeder.

May every holiday you are celebrating be pleasant and safe!

December 21, 2020

Art: Outdoorsy and Outside.

Monday Murals: These large paintings are mounted just below the ceiling in Appalachian Trail Outfitters, a shop in Luray catering to hikers and campers.

 Here's a couple of the store windows decorated for the season. 

Speaking of decorations, we drove around a couple of Strasburg neighborhoods the other night to view the lights.

December 20, 2020

As Autumn Ends, Some Page County Pictures.

Tomorrow is the first day of winter, but we've had some wintry weather already. I'm taking a break from the snow and showing some earlier photos.

Much of Page County is rural, with winding roads and charming farms.

 Luray United Methodist Church is on Main Street in the center of Luray, the county seat. It is built of cut stone, probably limestone. 

December 19, 2020

It Looks Like Winter

Yesterday there was ice on the lake and the geese were able to march around on it. Today some of it melted but we still have a few inches of snow on the ground.

This little sparrow is waiting for a turn at the bird feeder, or perhaps for some seed to fall onto the snow.

The squirrel doesn't wait for a turn. He takes what he wants until I scare him away. He comes back, though.

I need to get him some peanuts. I don't mind feeding him but I want to see birds on my feeders.