December 31, 2021

Ringing in the New Year

...Without Much Enthusiasm 

Blog Post #7790
Black and White Weekend
Although I'm glad to see the year 2021 draw to an end, I'm disappointed in 2022 and it hasn't even begun. The pandemic is still with us.The omicron variant has been spreading quickly and many hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. Supposedly it is less severe than previous versions of Covid 19, but it is still too early to know for sure. I am avoiding places that may be crowded. 

So our hopes to resume normal life after being vaccinated will not be fulfilled.  We had a taste of normalcy and now we have to be cautious again. Of course, I am staying at home tonight, New Years Eve. That's okay, I'm not a party person anyway. 

I do have some bright carnations to show you. This is part of an arrangement our neighbors gave us.

Skywatch / Reflections

This evening I picked up a small meal at a drive-through. The dining room at Wendy's is closed, apparently due to a shortage of staff. I read that one reason so many places cannot find enough employees is that many people retired during the pandemic. When you consider that many "baby boomers" are now in their 60s or 70s, it makes sense that they would retire rather than risk catching covid at work. If I were not retired already, I would have done so. 

I hope all my friends are doing well. Please be careful. Best wishes for a good year in 2022!





December 30, 2021

Signs on Sale

Seen at Tractor Supply.



 

December 29, 2021

Today's Squirrel, Yesterday's Birds

Yesterday I put out some feeders and bird seed. Today I looked out and saw a squirrel. Of course! Squirrels are everywhere.

The rest of today's pictures are from my stash of unused images. Someone asked how I keep track. When I publish a photo here, I mark it with four stars in Adobe Bridge. I have a system for stars. When I first review them, I award a single star to a good picture, two stars for very good, three stars mean I used it in a collage or on Facebook, and four means I posted it on my blog. This only works if I saved the picture to my computer. If I post them straight from my iPhone, they get a heart.

Eventually I delete the used pictures because they take up space. They continue to exist here on the blog and in my biannual blog books, plus they are on my back-up drive. 

The robin was marked with two stars. The wren was only one star but it looked better after I cropped it. 


Canada Geese in flight.

December 28, 2021

December 27, 2021

Two Murals and a Family Collage

Just as I ran out of murals to post to Sami's linkup, I found two in the new Starbucks in Woodstock. I don't usually go there but I wanted to buy a gift certificate. Both paintings show mountain scenes, probably because Woodstock is situated between two mountain ranges. 



For Mosaic Monday, I gathered four photos from the holidays with my daughters. I miss them already!

December 26, 2021

Model RR and Churches

Woodstock, VA: This model train village is displayed in a window at the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce.



I happened to park in front of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Their sign says that "Gen. Peter Muhlenberg was the First Rector of this Church." Muhlenberg became a hero of the American Revolution, but it 1772 he was a young minister who traveled to Woodstock after the parish vestry selected him because he could preach in both English and German. At that time the church was the first Anglican Church in the Shenandoah Valley but it also held Lutheran Services for German immigrants.

The present building was completed in 1882 and rebuilt in 1900 after a fire destroyed the interior of the church.




December 25, 2021

Christmas with my Daughters

A Very Nice Holiday


Marie arrived yesterday. I got her to pose for a sample shot of the "Portrait" mode on my iPhone SE. As usual, she rolled her eyes.  Her patience with her mom's picture-taking ran out long ago. 

This year we only had a small tree. I put it on a little table so that we could put presents under it. 

I have two daughters, both of them adults. Lynn lives an hour from me but Marie lives much farther away. They both helped me get ready for the holidays and they both helped with our very nice Christmas lunch. 





Although I sometimes get a good snapshot of them, getting them to pose is a challenge. I told them to roll their eyes and get it out of a their system. That did not guarantee that a good portrait would follow.

They are often silly when they get together, but they are so much fun! 


December 24, 2021

A Very Merry Christmas...

...And a happy new year,
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear.

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.

~ John Lennon

Friday Bliss / Garden Affair

Five Photos for Friday.

The flowers were for sale in a supermarket. The white and red object is a little Santa figure seen from the top.

This gentleman was working at Cracker Barrel. I asked him to pose in front of the Christmas tree. 

The next three photos are from Seven Bends State Park, which is on the North Bend of the Shenandoah.


Weekend Reflection


The little yellow character shares his name with the local town. What is it?

December 23, 2021

On the Eve of The Eve.

The Grinch says that 2020 stunk. I can see his point. 

Signs 2


Also seen in Woodstock: A special mail box is on the counter of the post office. I didn't write a letter to Santa this year, but I did put a few things on my Wish List.

In Starbucks, there's a Christmas tree where people leave things for families in need.

This afternoon, Lynn came by to help me out. She put together a chaise that I just got, and then installed a doorbell that has a camera.  As you can see, the sun was setting by that time. Assembling the chaise took much longer than expected because kit furniture is tricky. There's always one hole that doesn't line up correctly.

Skywatch: Let's take another look at that sunset.



December 22, 2021

Another Woodpecker, Another Duck.

It's Wild Bird Wednesday in Blogland (Blogdom? Blogiverse?) so I pulled a woodpecker and a duck out of my collection of non-published photos. I've been really busy and haven't even set out bird feeders yet. I don't feel bad about it because we haven't had "real" winter weather. We won't get a white Christmas this year. 



I hope my blog friends are all still healthy. The spread of a new Covid variant (Omicron) is worrisome, especially since people who have been vaccinated are getting sick from it, although usually not as severely as the unvaccinated. 

You know the drill. Wear a mask. Avoid crowds... I hope you did your Christmas shopping early. 

December 21, 2021

December 20, 2021

A Fundraiser and a Green Wall

1. First of all, I wanted to share a Fundraiser I sponsored for my birthday last week. My goal is to help the people in Kentucky who were affected by the tornado of December 11. I chose United Way of Kentucky as the recipient because I know it is a legitimate organization, and besides, I have a soft spot in my heart for local United Ways. Many years ago I worked for their national association which provides educational and organization support to them. 

This Fundraiser for UW of Kentucky still has a week left if you want to help. 

2. Monday Mural. Here it is Monday and the only mural I have to share is this one in a photo from several years ago. I believe this was in Sperryville. Look closely at the flowers and you'll see that the purple blossoms are hand prints. My guess is that this was a group project for children in a summer art program. 


 

December 19, 2021

This Afternoon: Shadows and Light

I dropped off some recycling and saw this little pond. On the hill above it is Shenandoah County Park.

Trees reflected in water
Weekend Reflection / Shadow Shot Sunday

The little church on Richardson Road has been painted. It is now privately owned and the gentlemen who purchased it are fixing it up. 

As you can see, the sun was casting strong shadows this afternoon.
Inspired Sunday

By the time I got home, the moon was shining.
moon and lights
 
The lights in the foreground are holiday lights on a tree. This is a cell phone picture so they don't look sharp.

December 18, 2021

Blog Post #7777

This morning I looked out and there was a huge flock of birds in a tree. I picked up a camera and opened the back door. Of course they flew off but first some flew back and forth. I couldn't tell if they were starlings or blackbirds.


Saturday Critters / I'd Rather Be Birdin' / Black and White Weekend

Let's look at a couple of dogs


This image of a dog in Shenandoah National Park is from my files. Don't worry, his people were next to me and he obeyed when they invited him to get in the car.