February 15, 2020

The Latest from the Trail Cam and CWD Update.

Last night I checked the motion-activated trail camera and didn't find as many images as usual. I don't understand those things! There were five images of interest, starting with one of ducks in flight. 

Next we have a flock of birds, which I think are starlings, judging by the ones on the grass. As you can see, the camera was facing the sun, which is not recommended but the only way to avoid that is to aim it north and then I wouldn't get any lake pictures.

Here's a blue jay in flight. I cropped all these pictures, by the way.

I believe this one is a hawk flying low. I've seen a couple of hawks out there.

The camera only got one deer picture this time. It didn't pose very nicely, did it?

Speaking of deer, I went to a program last weekend on Chronic Wasting Disease. This is a contagious illness that kills deer, and it has showed up a few locations in Virginia.

Overpopulation of deer contributes to the spread of the disease, so scientists are monitoring it as well as they can.

The final pictures are deer I saw in Shenandoah National Park.

So far the disease has not shown up in the park. They have been tracking the movement of deer using radio collars. It is illegal to feed deer in Virginia because that can encourage them to crowd in one area, leading to the spread of disease.

February 14, 2020

Valentine Friday

1. Skywatch: Yesterday's sunset turned red before it dimmed to darkness. I grabbed a cell phone picture of it while waiting at a stop light.

2. Black and White Weekend: This is Lynn's cat who passed away today at the ago of 18. I took the picture in 2011.

Lynn, my older daughter, has had a rough week. Her friend Timmy died early Wednesday morning. He used to live next door to her and helped her out after she had wrist surgery. She visited him in the hospital while he was ill and then in hospice.

3. Friday Bliss and Floral Friday: I made an arrangement of flower arrangements. These were in a store. They seemed overpriced to me for something so ephemeral.

4. We had an early Valentine's dinner at John's Family Restaurant. Yum!

5. Weekend Reflections: I didn't have a reflection shot from this week so I went back in my files to find one from a previous February. (I keep digital files in folders by month.)

The location is Cooks Creek Arboretum in Bridgewater.

February 13, 2020

February at Jewell Hollow Overlook

Shenandoah National Park
 at Mile 36.5 on Skyline Drive

Jewell Hollow Overlook offers spectacular views. There are two parking areas, and the Appalachian Trail is nearby.

Notice the rock wall. Now let's see what that sign says.

If These Walls Could Talk
"The hand-cut walls have stories to tell for those willing to listen."
Reed Engle, The Greatest Single Feature… A Sky-line Drive
May 15, 1933 saw the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps established in Shenandoah at Skyland and Big Meadows. Young, strong men were now available to help turn the dream of Skyline Drive into reality. Under the leadership of National Park Service landscape architects, CCC enrollees and engineers helped build Skyline Drive's stone walls and overlooks, including the one where you stand now—Jewell Hollow.

As you drive through Shenandoah National Park, you'll see plenty of the fruits of the CCC's labor—re-placed boulders, graded slopes, and transplanted trees and shrubs. While much of the boys' work blends seamlessly with the natural landscape, the walls stand out as visible testament to the quality and permanence of the CCC's work.

Wall Construction
In the 1930s stone walls in Shenandoah National Park were built in two styles of masonry: dry-laid and ashlar. Dry-laid walls, like those here at Jewell Hollow Overlook, could be built by less-experienced stone workers, like the young men of the CCC, since they require only moving and aligning heavy stones—more muscle than skill. Mortared ashlar masonry walls require more expertise and had to be built by experienced masons.

Sharing with Fences Around the World 

February 12, 2020

Cardinalis Cardinalis

Sharing Northern Cardinals with

A Marker for Someone You Never Heard of.

Followers of this blog may have noticed that I like historical markers. A few days ago I saw this one in Upperville for the first time. I turned around and went back to get a photo. I was struck that the subject was a woman I knew nothing about but who had a last name that I recognize. The Mellon family is well known for their philanthropy, and not far from the sign is a beautiful church that was rebuilt in 1951 largely with gifts from the Mellon family.
Sharing with Signs, Signs.
Mary Elizabeth Conover Mellon
Mary E. Conover Mellon lived nearby with her second husband, the philanthropist Paul Mellon. Interested in the humanities and deeply influenced by the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, she was instrumental in establishing the Bollingen Series of books in 1943 to publish Jung’s writings in English and to disseminate works on anthropology, art, literary criticism, philosophy, and comparative religion. She was the series’ first editor and the first president of the Bollingen Foundation, founded by the Mellons in 1945 to support the publishing enterprise and to issue fellowships, grants, and prizes in the humanities. Mary Mellon died in 1946 and is buried here at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Mary Mellon is barely mentioned in an online bio of Paul Mellon. She died fairly young from asthma.

February 11, 2020

Marys Rock Tunnel in Winter.

This tunnel on Skyline Drive was completed in early 1932. Dynamite was used to blast through the granite, at a rate of 15 feet or more per day. the tunnel is 670 feet long and the interior is lined with concrete. In winter, icicles form on both openings, making the road slippery below them. 

Just south of the tunnel you can find some nice views of Rappahannock County.

If you want to take pictures inside the tunnel, plan on having someone else drive or use a dash cam.

This is near milepost 32 of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. I've posted pictures of it before, notably in October 2017 and January 2013

Strasburg at Night.

Sharing with Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday.
See also my 2017 Post: A December Night in Strasburg.

February 10, 2020

A Chesapeake Mural in Herndon

By the time I got to Herndon, it was raining. I was going to MOM's Organic Market and my plan was to also document one of the town's murals. After I shopped, the rain was still coming down, but I had a rain hat and coat, so I drove down Elden Street and stopped at this mural.

The seats in front of it are for a restaurant but no one was eating outside today (for obvious reasons). I walked the length of the mural. It is in an alley so one shot does not show all the sections clearly. Tonight I put my favorite parts of the mural into a collage.

Monday Murals and Mosaic Monday.
I found an article from 2012 which states the mural was the work of retired high school teacher Keith Naquin.  The adjacent businesses have changed since then. You can view this mural from Sully's Pour House. 

February 9, 2020

Conicville's Church of Christ

InSpired Sunday: Conicville UCC sits on a hill with a great view of the valley below and Great North Mountain in the distance.

An old sign over the door says Christ Reformed Church. The church dates to the late 1800s.

The town was once called Cabin Hill. It first appears in historic records in the 1850s. It was renamed Conicville when the post office opened there in 1892 because there was another town named Cabin Hill.

The church can be seen from Senedo Road, Route 42.

I took these photos in February a couple of years ago.

Let's look down the hill to the west. You pass this barn on Jerome Road.

Here's another farm, but it was in shadow.

I'm not too pleased with the dim light from that day, which may be why I did not post these after I took them.  It was brighter in the sky, so I'll close with a shot of the sky over the mountains.

February 8, 2020

Late Afternoon at Blandy, Winter 2020

The State Arboretum is a peaceful place and I like to drive through it whenever I'm near Boyce.  Even in winter I sometimes see animals or birds.

I pulled off the road near a pond and got out to take a few photos. I was pleased to see someone riding a horse in the distance and got his picture as he passed a sunny spot.

Since I like watching horses, I drove next to the parking lot for horse trailers. Sure enough, the rider was there getting his horse ready to go home. But first he brushed him and let him graze in the grass.

There is a farm across the fence from the paddock. Cows had already noticed the man and his horse and were coming over to investigate. 

 I don't know whether they wanted to make friends or were just hoping the truck was bringing some fresh hay.
Sharing with Saturday Critters