May 8, 2021

Ordinary and Unusual Critters

Today's critters are from Seven Bends State Park and the town of Tenth Legion. Mourning doves are common birds and often perch on utility wires.
Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin'

Yesterday I shared a picture of the peacock that walked on my car at the state park. Here are three more photos of this character. I got plenty of pictures because he would not get off my car! Almost half an hour passed. When I saw that rain was approaching, I stopped speaking sweetly to him and sternly demanded that he get off. He did! But then he strolled in front of my car and it took a while before I felt I could leave without risking his life. 


I've never been this close to a peacock before. He seemed pretty calm and once I realized he was not likely to bite me, I calmed down too. I believe he lives next door to the park. I've seen other domestic fowl in their yard.

As I left the park, I saw a pair of geese with goslings. They are domestic geese, or perhaps they ran away to live as wild geese. 


 


Today's final pictures are from the little town of Tenth Legion. I drove past a farm and saw some donkeys with -- wait! Are those zebras? 

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I turned around and took another look. These are cell phone pictures and they are not as sharp as I like. 

May 7, 2021

The First Week in May

This is a beautiful time of year in Virginia. Flowers are blooming, leaves are green,  and rain is keeping things lush. The frequent rain does present a problem when we want to spend time outdoors, so we have to be flexible ... and prepared. 


I've been trying to take regular walks.  On Sunday I walked a short distance at Jenkins Gap in Shenandoah National Park. The first three pictures are from there. 

The Appalachian Trail is just a stone's throw from the parking lot.  Wildflowers were blooming along the trail. I don't dare to venture far from the car when I'm by myself because my ankles are easy to sprain due to loose ligaments. I enjoyed the scenery though. 

[Black and White Image: Fern.] 

Skywatch: I drove back toward Front Royal and stopped at an overlook. The evening sun was reflected on clouds as a "sun dog," part of a halo called a parhelion.

Next let us look at some irises. One of the neighbors has a lovely garden of irises. I have a few, including a two-toned fringed iris. 

Friday Bliss / Garden Affair / Floral Friday


Art at the Mill is held in Millwood, near Boyce. We went on Wednesday when it is not at all crowded. This is the final weekend.


Yesterday we met with our accountant to sign our tax forms. Then we went to Southern Kitchen for lunch. They have deep-cleaned and redecorated. Every other booth is marked as unavailable to ensure social distancing during the pandemic, which finally seems to be waning here.

Today it rained on and off. Frank did some yard work and I visited Seven Bends State Park. I had volunteered to help with a project that got postponed due to the rain. I walked a short distance and took pictures of wildflowers. 


I was delighted to see a peacock in the parking lot! It lives at a nearby residence. Then it jumped up on my car!

He seemed to like the view from there, and also checked out his reflection. I walked around taking pictures, and then tried to coax him down. 

He did not want to come down. I wondered if they bite like geese do. I did not want to find out. He stayed up there for half an hour! 

I'll share another picture of him tomorrow. 


May 6, 2021

Today's Sign Post

There's always road repair going on in Strasburg. I joke that they should name the downtown area "Roadwork" so the sign would tell you where you are.
Signs / Little Things Thursday

The hardware store often has a humorous sign posted.

I'm skipping around to other towns in this post. I have more signs and comments.

The "Be Yourself" sign is on the wall of an urgent care center. I was there for treatment of a rather nasty tick bite. I discovered it on the back of my upper arm on Saturday, a place that I cannot see and which is normally covered by a shirt. I felt it while soaping off in the shower. 

I had no luck trying to remove it. Frank tried with the tick bite remover but could not get the tick to let go. He then tried to pull it off with tweezers. The main body, which was swollen, came off and then he pulled out some particles. He was not able to get it all, and the area was red and raised. 

I made an appointment on the website for urgent care. Their doctor removed the rest of the tick. Since lyme disease occurs in our state, she prescribed an antibiotic. Ticks also cause other diseases including alpha gal allergy to red meat.

Let's move on to something amusing. Some say there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I found a rainbow that seemed to end in a bank!


Today's final picture shows the post office in Rectortown, a small town in Fauquier County.
 

May 5, 2021

A Huddle of Goslings


Today we finally saw goslings in our yard! These are Canada Geese, not the graylag geese that gave me a hard time. I know Canada Geese have a reputation for being aggressive but I have not had a problem with them. They are very good parents.  
Wild Bird Wednesday / My Corner of the World


A little later, I glanced out the window and the sunlight had a special quality, very warm and clear.  I grabbed my camera and went out on the deck to capture the scene.
 
Spring is a beautiful season here! 

More Photos from the Mellon Estate

 Near Upperville, Virginia





May 4, 2021

Little Oak Spring

The highlight of our Historic Garden Week Tour was the estate of Paul and Bunny Mellon near Upperville.

Tuesday Treasures / Our World Tuesday

Paul Mellon was son of Andrew W. Mellon, financier and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Paul lived here with his second wife Bunny, an heiress who was a respected garden designer.


This was a huge estate, and is still a large property even after some of it was split off. It is currently managed by the Oak Spring Garden Foundation. 

Only part of the house was open on the tour and photography was not allowed inside. It was encouraged in the spectacular garden. 

The stone house was completed in 1951, and is on the site of a log cabin once owned by Robert Fletcher, who farmed the land in the late nineteenth century.




"Paul and Bunny Mellon had multiple homes, including houses in Washington D.C., Manhattan, Antigua and Paris. However, Little Oak Spring was their Main Residence, and the place where both would spend the final days…

Little Oak Spring was the epicenter of Mr. Mellon's passion for horses and art. It was also where Mrs. Mellon built her library and developed one of her most iconic gardens."






This huge stable is the Broodmare Barn, once home to famed horses and now remodeled to be housing for interns and guests at Oak Spring Gardens, now a research and learning facilty. 

May 3, 2021

Today on Main Street

Monday Mural: A new mural has joined the other art on Front Royal's Main Street.


It says "Front Royal, Virginia, Est. 1788."

You may have driven through Front Royal without seeing Main Street. Traffic was routed around the historic downtown when this was a major route for trucks and motorists before I-66 was opened. Now Main Street is pretty quiet most of the time, but it has old-fashioned charm. 

Today was rainy and cloudy but it let up for a while so I walked along Main Street and took some pictures before the rain returned. 


Mosaic Monday


 

May 2, 2021

Lutheran Church, Greenville Township, Pennsylvania

On our way home from Pittsburgh on Wednesday, we passed this Lutheran Church on Greenville Road. 


This brick church may have been built in 1848. (I say "may" because I have not confirmed that it is the same building as the Lutheran Church mentioned in an online history book.)

I had to check that this is in Pennsylvania and not Maryland, because we were close to the state line.  I was following instructions on my car navigation system, which had surprised me by telling me to leave US 219 and take backroads to reach I-68. I actually passed a sign warning truckers to not follow their GPS by going this way! There was a hairpin turn as the road descended from a mountain. I had no problem with it because my car is not very long.

Links:






May 1, 2021

Backyard Birds and a Surprise


Yesterday was very windy but sunny. Since I try to get ten to 20 minutes of sun when possible, I found a spot on the deck that was not too windy in the afternoon. There I sat with my camera, catching sun rays and taking a few bird pictures. 

A red-bellied woodpecker and a catbird posed for me in a tree.

I noticed movement to the left. It was a hummingbird but it flew off before I focused on it. For backyard birds, I use an old Nikon that has a nice zoom lens but it can be awkward to focus. 

Fortunately the little hummer came back. 

Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin'


When it left, I was watching some geese when something came out of the woods on my right. It was a possum! It disappeared quickly and I'll spare you the blurred picture I got of its tail. 

I was watching birds again when it reappeared on my right. It walked up within 20 feet of the deck!

It headed off to the left, keeping a wary eye on the geese. They hissed and flapped their wings! It ran off into an area along the property line that my neighbor calls the wetland because there are small shallow ponds among the trees. 

The geese walked over and peered after it but did not pursue.