January 27, 2023

Wetlands Trading Company

Basye, VA

I was pleased to see that this store reopened near Bryce Resort. It is now a gourmet grocery and garden center, or rather, it is going to be. They are just gearing up right now. Soon they'll be serving fresh coffee.

When we lived up there, we passed it every time we went to town. I remember when a gentleman named Jim operated a landscaping business there. He was known for building decorative ponds.


Blog Post #8200

Blogging Since 2005 
(and I Still Struggle with the Software!)

You'd think I'd know what I was doing by now, but I just hit Paste when I meant to Select.

Today I prepared a different post and then I remembered that this was a blog anniversary. 8200 is an impressive number so I thought I should say a little something about myself. I am retired, and I live with my dog Charlie.

The picture shows my reflection in a shop in Middletown that is part of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Museum. They have a line of costumes for living history interpreters.

Recently, I saw a meme that said, “Study history. Realize that people have been this stupid for thousands of years.“

This blog reflects many of my interests. In addition to history and photography, I am passionate about nature, fascinated with mankind’s relationship to the environment, energized by people (especially my family), inspired by art, intrigued by medical science. I desire to help people and make a contribution.

Now for a glimpse of things in my home. 

P.S. Other bloggers and photographers inspire me. Thank you for being here.

January 26, 2023

Don't Stare at the Sun!

You may not want to stare at these pictures. I felt eyestrain just getting them ready to post! But I did a little experiment today with filters.

It's been years since I used filters on my camera because Photoshop and other programs take care of so many photography problems. I've had a set of graduated filters for a while and finally got an adapter to fit them on my camera. I took the first two pictures a few seconds apart but I turned the filter just to see what difference it made. It really changed the look of the sunbeams as it cut out some of the light.

That's not what it's for though. If you shoot with the dark section of the filter at the top, it will darken the sky a little bit. Since an automatic camera setting tries to average the light to a middle gray, blocking light from the sky allows the camera to let in more light on the lower section of the photo. Here we see a result, with the church showing up as white instead of just a shadowy wall or a silhouette. 

I probably won't use the filters a lot. My cell phone does so much more than any of my cameras did back when I was studying photography, and it does most of it with no effort on my part. Digital photography has made it possible for everyone to get good shots. 

January 25, 2023

Finally it Snowed, but Not Much.

Our first noticeable snow of the winter did not last long enough to look pretty. It turned into sleet and rain. Charlie was a little puzzled by the white stuff, and he didn't seem to like getting wet.

I put out safflower seed as the first flakes fell and some house finches showed up pretty quickly.

The dark-eyed junco is a regular visitor too.

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

January 24, 2023

January 23, 2023

A Pretty Mural in Manassas

This afternoon I went to the endodontist in Manassas, and afterward I went back to a mural that I had spotted there previously because I wanted to take a picture of it.

Monday Murals

This is on the side of Washington Glass Fabrication. I could not get a picture from the car because there’s no place to pull over, so I had to park and walk to a vantage point. It was worth the effort. Note the Escher-style birds on the right.

The reason I went to Manassas was that my dentist recommended a specialist there for a root canal. Failures of this procedure are fairly common and this office has advanced equipment. I had the first part of the root canal (ouch) on my previous visit and this was a follow up. Unfortunately, there is still one nerve showing signs of infection, so I will have to go back again! (It seems unfair because I’ve always taken care of my teeth but I have had a lot of problems with them.) 


January 22, 2023

The View from Conicville Church of Christ

This church in Shenandoah County has a fine view that I shared long ago but yesterday the light was so nice that I stopped and took pictures again.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”  ― Mary Oliver

January 21, 2023

Saturday Squirrels and More

For Squirrel Appreciation Day, I made a collage of pictures I've showed before. We haven’t had real snow this winter.

Critters / Mosaic

Years ago, I had a neighbor who called all squirrels Charlie and I picked up the habit. Now that I have adopted a dog named Charlie, I'm trying to stop doing that because it sounds confusing.

Here we see Charlie the beagle in the car on his brand new hammock-style blanket. He chewed through the straps and buckles on two previous ones, plus a dog car seat. Perhaps the guilty look is because he just wiggled out of another harness. It was a new one with a third strap that fastened under his belly, designed to be escape-proof. I don't know how he squeezed out of it! Well, beagles were bred to hunt rabbits so they had to be able to get out of brush piles and rabbit holes.

The picture that looks like a drawing is a photo that I processed in two different apps to get what I wanted.

The horses are in Middletown and the reflected gnome is in Basye.

January 20, 2023


Floral Friday / Black and White Weekend / Garden Affair

I spotted this anthurium in a medical office. I was there to get help for hip pain, which has gotten worse lately. The provider set me up with an appointment with an orthopedic doctor and also prescribed a short course of prednisone. 

The medication helped with the pain, which had gotten so bad I could barely crawl out of bed in the morning. Unfortunately it has digestive side effects so I will be happy when I finish the package on Monday. 

I am going to physical therapy twice a week. It does not seem to be helping much but I realize building strength takes a long time.

January 19, 2023

The View from Pass Mountain Overlook

Shenandoah National Park
Milepost 30 on Skyline Drive

This beautiful overlook is less than 2 miles north of  the Thornton Gap (Route 211) entrance to Skyline Drive. A hiker stopped to read the sign, which provides instructions for using the adjacent stand to take a phone picture and send it to Chronolog to become part of the slide show and research tool. 

Yes, I took a picture when I was there on Tuesday. It was January 17 and this section of the park had just reopened so my picture was the first one since January 5.

Two storms had taken down many trees and branches. The southern section of Skyline Drive is still closed while crews finish clearing the roadway.

January 18, 2023

Squirrel and Sparrows

Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21 so let's prepare by viewing a squirrel.

For Wild Bird Wednesday: a Song Sparrow and a  White-throated Sparrow.                                                                                         


January 17, 2023

January 16, 2023

Mural with Flowers and Rainbow

Winchester, VA

Monday Murals:This mural is on a brick building near a parking lot in the historic district. I took the picture in autumn, although it shows a spring garden.  

January 15, 2023

Desire for Peace

Today’s Daily Word was World Peace.

Many people are praying for peace, or at least hoping for a more peaceful world. Events in the news are disheartening… Often heartbreaking. Greed and lust for power are doing so much harm.

Yet “There is is a striving and yearning in the human heart for peace.”  Let us keep striving. 

Mosaic Monday / Blue Monday.


January 14, 2023

Charlie or Charles?

Hi, it's me. Charlie the beagle. Sometimes Mom calls me Charlie Brown. Sometimes she calls me Charles but that usually means she isn't happy. I don't understand why she would be mad at me when I try so hard to be a good dog.

I start each day by reminding Mom to get up early so that we can go outside. She gets to see the morning sky and the little creatures in the trees. I would like to catch one and sniff it but they stay away.

Sometimes I let her take my picture and even add special effects. I’m a pretty good model when I stay still.

Dog parks are fun! Yesterday we went to the one in Strasburg. It is not as busy as the one in Woodstock, but there was one other dog there. His person threw something to catch but it was not a ball so I could not catch it. I had fun running really fast.

After I got tired, Mom drove the car while I slept in the back seat. Finally we got out and took a short walk. There were some creatures called geese on the pond. 

See the harness I wear sometimes? Well, today I took it off in the car. We were not going very far but I was able to walk around in the backseat without the seatbelt holding me back for a few minutes. I could finally reach the armrest on the other side which had never been chewed on and I took two little bites. When the car stopped, Mom looked at me with big eyes and then said something that sounded like she was upset. She did not seem proud that I took my harness off. I thought it was a pretty good trick myself.