October 31, 2021

A Wet Day in Fort Valley

Yesterday I drove through the rain to the Fall Craft Fair in Fort Valley. It was held at the old Trinity Church and Fort Valley Museum.

Inspired Sunday

Shenandoah Stories tells us that the church originally "followed the German Baptist Brethren Doctrine, which is often referred to as the Dunkards." This building dates to 1904, at which time it had over 200 members. But over the next hundred years, membership declined to fewer than 20 and the church closed in 2008. 

The craft fair was mostly held outdoors under shelters, but these men were demonstrating an old technology out in the open. I didn't watch for long because my shoes were wet and I wanted to warm up in the car, but the man who was kneeling appeared to be putting stalks (corn?) through a horse-powered machine that stripped them. 

There are a number of Mennonite families in Fort Valley and I have purchased crafts from them at previous events.  Here we see a woman and child as they crossed a small bridge. I filtered the picture in Painter Essentials to give it an impressionist look while anonymizing the faces. 

The road that took me there goes through a section of George Washington National Forest and it is beautiful even in the rain. Many leaves have changed to autumn colors although we have not yet had a hard frost. 

The road winds along next to Passage Creek in a narrow section of the valley with mountains rising steeply on both sides. 

October 30, 2021

Pumpkin Heads and Critters

Let's start with a couple of pumpkin people in Woodstock. That town holds a contest of pumpkin-headed figures. 

Here's a deer who looks like he's wearing a bowtie. Halloween costume?

This goose has been drinking out of my mini birdbath again.

Today we had rain but in the afternoon I drove to Fort Valley, where I saw a Mennonite carriage and horse. 

Today's final picture is from earlier today. The great blue heron was  across the lake. I had to zoom in all the way to get his picture. 


October 29, 2021

Finally We Have Autumn Colors, and Today it Rained.

Autumn colors are bursting forth, but before I show you some, I want to mention that I still have a rose blooming, even as October draws to an end. 

We had rain today. After it let up this afternoon, I ran some errands in Front Royal. The mountains were mostly shrouded in clouds, but I drove up on Skyline Drive anyway. It is a beautiful place, even in inhospitable weather. 

The tall trees at Low Gap are always worth seeing. I'm also sharing a few other pictures from the northern section of the Drive. I only drove the first ten miles or so, partly in the fog. 

Today's final picture is closer to home, a reflection in our neighborhood lake. 

Rain is forecast for tomorrow. Frank still doesn't feel like doing much so I guess we'll stay home.

I hope you have a good weekend. 

October 28, 2021

Assorted Views, Late October

We spent most of the afternoon in Leesburg because Frank had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Azad. He has suffered with nausea and balance deficits since last week's cochlear implant surgery. She changed his medication and will check back with him in a few days. 

I drove into the historic section of Leesburg and saw this flag outside a "Belgian beer cafe." There used to be bars but now there are beer cafes, breweries, tasting rooms, and wineries – oh, so many wineries – throughout Virginia.

I also made a quick detour down the lane that goes to Oatlands. This historic property is a rural oasis, but you can glimpse a bit of Leesburg's suburban sprawl from here. I've seen the area change drastically over the past thirty years, and it's kind of sad. You can't stop progress, but does it have to gobble up so much beautiful countryside?

Here's the drive that goes up to Oatlands. It's still beautiful.

I also stopped at a grocery store. They had my special yogurt but were out of Fiji Water. A sign explains why. Actually, most stores are still experiencing shortages on both domestic and imported products, and this has been the case since Covid hit.

Since Halloween is fast approaching, I want to show you a seasonal sign. A store in Strasburg is directing tourists to scary towns. 

Most are far away or fictitious, but Front Royal is only ten miles away. It isn't really scary; it's lovely. But there may be a little rivalry going on! 

October 27, 2021

Geese, Ducks, and Questions

Here we have some geese and a turtle. Mr. Turtle often appears in that spot, probably because the geese have worn the shoreline into an area that makes a passable ramp.

So I have a mystery and maybe a reader can solve it. Who is putting tiny shells in my bird baths and why?Here we see a few little shells in the bird bath next to some willow leaves. Someone suggested a crow but I've never seen one on our deck. This happened in two different bird baths. 

I assume the shells are from the lake that is next to our yard. Here are some geese and ducks gathering to be fed on the opposite shore. Someone feeds them every morning around 8:00. Often I hear car horns honking because the geese stand in the road in expectation of being fed. It's futile to honk at them though. I have better luck opening the window and drumming on the side of the door. 

 And finally, some of these guys in flight. I think they're ducks; or do you think they're geese?

October 25, 2021

Lobby Art


When Frank had ear surgery last week, I grabbed some snapshots for Monday Murals and Mosaic Monday. 


October 24, 2021

Maurertown Brethren Church

Inspired Sunday

There are quite a few Brethren Churches in the Shenandoah Valley. They have Anabaptist roots, believing in adult baptism.  The Brethren denomination was founded in Germany in 1708. Historically it is a peace church like the Quaker and Mennonite churches.

Passage Creek Yesterday

Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area

Weekend Reflections

October 23, 2021

Critters with Painter Effects

This week has been so busy I didn't take many pictures of animals or birds. I did grab a picture of a stray kitty who hangs out at the community entrance, where he gets fed by people who feed the ducks. I think he may also get treats from a soft-hearted neighbor.

Linkups: Caturday / Saturday Critters

Since I've been trying to get familiar with Painter Essentials, I added a watercolor filter to the cat. 

The rest of today's images are from my archives. I modified them in Painter using different effects. The goldfinch looks delicate with a watercolor effect, which I darkened.

The Bird Depot

Most of the filters I tried on the flying geese gave them a white halo. Does that bother you?  I started over and worked from the toolbar.

Last of all, a squirrel. 

October 22, 2021

At the Park to Gather Bark

Seven Bends State Park

Shenandoah River in Black and White

Skywatch: Today I helped gather bark for a Halloween event that will take place at the park. We picked it up at the play space where volunteers had removed it from logs that will be used as natural play equipment. 

It was a pretty day and turned quite warm by noon.


October 21, 2021

A Long Day's Night in Fairfax

Yesterday we went to Inova Hospital so Frank could have cochlear implant surgery in his right ear. He's been deaf on that side for a while and if all had gone smoothly, the procedure would have taken a couple of hours. 

As things turned out, we were there for almost 13 hours. The surgeon had another patient before him and that surgery took much longer than planned.  I had time to take cell phone pictures, plus I spent so much time on the internet that I got bored with it. It's a big hospital and I walked 1.7 miles, mostly between the parking garage and the surgery center.

So we got there at 11 in the morning and didn't leave until midnight. It's a 90-minute drive because there's a really long construction zone on I-66. We are still tired today.

Garden Affair

It took Frank a while to recover from the anesthesia. I took a picture of the recovery area but it was so dull that I tried a painterly effect in Corel Painter Essentials, which I am trying out. 

Local Elections are Coming Up

Be part of your community’s decision making. Otherwise, government may be in the hands of the folks who make you shake your head and say, “What is wrong with these people?”

In that same yard, signs show the owners are still confused about who won last time.

On a more cheerful note, people are having halloween fun.