July 31, 2021

This Week's Critters

Weekend Reflection / I'd Rather Be Birdin'

It's the end of July, a month so hot that we won't miss it. I have a few Saturday Critters to share, starting with a duck I saw in Winchester.

The butterfly is a tiger swallowtail. The red-breasted bird is an American Robin. 

July 30, 2021

A Crazy Busy Week

The town of Strasburg had some excitement last night. There was an explosion at the milk plant that tore a huge hole in a masonry wall.  Apparently it was caused by ammonia-based refrigerant. The main road through town had to be closed all day and traffic had to detour. 

When I was driving home today from physical therapy the detour took me near the Town Park so I stopped there and took a picture of another problem: algae mats in the river. Some of the algae is a toxic variety so people are warned to avoid it. 

On a more positive note, I stopped at the garden in the park and admired the flowers.

This has been a tiring week. I had to get up early for medical appointments. After Frank's cataract surgery on Monday, he could not safely drive so I drove him to his follow-up at 8 AM on Tuesday plus an unplanned follow-up on Wednesday and two different appointments on Thursday and Friday. In addition, I had two physical therapy sessions that left me fatigued.

I found time to go to a committee meeting in Woodstock for the Friends of Seven Bends State Park and drove down to the river there.

After Frank's appointment on Wednesday, we stopped at a steakhouse. It had been a week since I gave up beef to test the diagnosis of mild beef allergy, so I was ready to try it again. I ate a tasty steak and my only symptom was a bit of indigestion, so I conclude that I can eat beef occasionally without severe consequences.

I'm not a fan of those photos showing what you're eating for dinner so I took a simple image with my phone.

Have a good weekend!

July 29, 2021

Signs of Change Aren't Always Welcome.

I noticed some new signs at the entrance to the Carson Trail by the Shenandoah River. For many years this area has been free to use but new management at the adjacent golf course has decided to charge for everything except the trail. I've often seen teenage boys fishing there and I don't know if they'll be able to pay $15 each time.

I'm puzzled by the second sign. Social? Duck?  Okay, I suppose they mean hanging out by "Social," but what do they mean by "Duck" and what is the season for it? You can't go duck hunting here because it is in a populated area with homes and shopping nearby. 

Oh well. Here's a cute sign at an animal hospital.

Meanwhile, our reprieve from mask-wearing is likely to end. We never stopped wearing them in medical offices due to regulations here in Virginia, and that seems logical to me. After all, the first place someone with respiratory symptoms will go for help is a doctor's office.

With coronavirus variants showing up in our country, another lockdown is possible. I blame the people who refused to get vaccinated or wear masks. They spread the virus, and many of them are paying a price by getting very ill. 

Be careful, my friends!

July 26, 2021

A Morning Spent in Winchester

Today was the day for Frank's second cataract surgery so we got up early and went to Winchester. I've been tired the rest of the day and he's been sleeping. I did find some flowers to photograph when we stopped to pick up fast food after the procedure. 

Mosaic Monday

He wanted a strawberry shake and fries. McDonald's near the hospital has a mural showing some downtown buildings. Please pardon the intrusion of the TV screen and the tray return/trash can.

On another wall they have a street map of Winchester.

Monday Murals

July 25, 2021

In the Lost River Valley.

I've driven through the scenic valley along Lost River quite a few times. Yesterday I noticed something new: a simple rambler has been transformed by a mural with a cross in the center. This is near a couple of churches but I don't know which one it is associated with or perhaps it is a separate church. 

Inspired Sunday.

Much of the valley is farm land. Here we see two barns with a fine old house between them. It is known as Woodlawn.

The third image shows a nearby landscape. l used Pixlr online to alter this.
The Barn Collective.


July 24, 2021

Today at Lost River: Hummingbirds

Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin'

Today I crossed the mountains into West Virginia and visited Lost River State Park. I've been there quite a few times including family visits when I was a child.

There was a hummingbird feeder but the birds were rather shy. I sat on a bench about seven feet away and waited for the birds to return. They did, and I got pictures with both my cell phone and my regular camera. 

I was planning to share more of these but my eyes are tired and bleary so I just picked out two favorites. 

July 23, 2021

Garden Collage and July in Junewood.

July in Virginia tends to be hot, but at least it is colorful. We did see haze from the western wildfires this week and I am grateful that our area is not as dry as those unfortunate regions.

The river scenes are from a new housing development called Junewood. It is on a bluff overlooking the South Fork of the Shenandoah near Front Royal. On the horizon are the Blue Ridge Mountains.

July 22, 2021

Signs of Weirdness

I like this sign that I saw at physical therapy.

I’m doing physical therapy again because the doctor referred me after I went in for knee pain. The physical therapist says the actual problem is hip weakness, especially on the right side. That’s probably the result of the foot surgery and occasional limping that I have had since then. She noticed that I am unusually flexible, which others have noticed. ( I can still touch the floor with my palms without bending my knees.) My podiatrist says my loose ankle ligaments caused me to sprain my ankle, leading to the foot injury a few years ago. 

Getting older is tough but I keep trying to alleviate the various ailments. Arthritis pain doesn’t bother me very often these days, at least. 

I went back to the allergist yesterday and they did the food allergy panel.  The results are different from all the other food allergy tests I’ve had over the years, which is not too surprising. That has happened to me before, and many other people report the same thing. Food allergy testing is not highly accurate. It can be useful though, as a guide to likely problem foods. This time the test showed mild allergy to peanuts and beef. The first is not a surprise because I have had problems with peanuts from time to time. 

Beef? Oh no! Plain beef is my go to dish when eating out because it is often the only protein dish they have that comes unadorned without sauce, breading or spice.  Well, the doctor said it is a mild allergy so I can eat it now and then. We shall see.

Medical facilities still require masks in Virginia. It is possible that other places will require them again if the Covid variants become widespread here. I’ve been vaccinated but I am avoiding crowded places. Please be careful.

July 21, 2021

Thrashing Around

The brown thrasher has dug a string of holes in our back yard. He likes to find a sandy spot and bathe in the dust!

After this, he hopped out in the yard, where he was joined by a red bird. At the time, I thought it was a cardinal, but looking at it enlarged, I think it was a house finch.
Wild Bird Wednesday / My Corner of the World

July 19, 2021

Greetings from Warsaw.

These are pictures I took last month.  Warsaw is a town near the Rappahannock River in Eastern Virginia. It is the county seat of Richmond County which was created in 1692. (The City of Richmond is not in Richmond County, however.) 
Monday Murals

Mosaic Monday


July 18, 2021

Mountain Valley UMC

 This Methodist Church is in the countryside near the community of Athlone, not too far from Harrisonburg. 

The church website tells us that written records go back to 1833. "The first log structure stood in the southern end of the present cemetery. The building as it stands was built by covenant in 1851 as a Free Church to all people and denominations. Affiliation with the United Brethren begin in 1854 with Mountain Valley being part of the Lacey Spring circuit of churches supported by a traveling pastor. In 1965, the circuit was dissolved and Mountain Valley became a station church with its own pastor. The Evangelical United Brethren merged with the Methodists in 1970, making Mountain Valley a United Methodist Church."

I don't know what the dates above the door signify. EUB stands for Evangelical United Brethren. 

July 17, 2021

Blog Post #7600: July Critters.

This bird posed on a small tree. l thought it is a house finch. (Readers have suggested it is a sparrow.)
Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin'

The dog was dressed up for an Independence Day event last weekend.

One day I watched two red birds land in the grass. I couldn't see them well until I zoomed in using my camera. Then they appeared to be young purple finches. (A bird-knowledgable reader says house finches.) 

The fourth shot shows a squirrel.