March 31, 2023

Only in Front Royal

Blog Post 8265

You can drink beer and throw axes in the same business. 

The lab where I just had some bloodwork done not only prohibits smoking, it prohibits guns. They don’t say anything about axes though. 

Southern States farm supply store has pretty hand-painted decorations on the windows.

Although it’s warm enough in town to have flowers outside, there’s still ice in the mountains, a short distance away

March 30, 2023

Purple and Yellow

Spring Blooms in my Yard

March 29, 2023

Dark Eyed Junco

The dark-eyed junco is also called the slate colored junco. 

I took the first picture today with my Canon. I don't use it for birds very often because the zoom is not as strong as the one on my old Nikon, but the battery on that one was out of charge. The second picture was taken in January with the Nikon. The light was brighter that day.


March 27, 2023

Art on a Garage and in a Museum

Winchester, VA

This floral painting on a garage was a pleasant surprise. I was driving near Handley High School after viewing an exhibit at the Museum of Shenandoah Valley.

The exhibit focused on artist John Chumley, who lived near Middletown, and painted many local scenes.

While in the museum, I happened to look up at the rotunda and took a picture of it.

This last shot shows Chumley's studio, a small mill he rebuilt at Vaucluse Spring.

Sharing with Mosaic Monday and Murals

March 26, 2023

Ranger Shannon’s Last Program

My friend Shannon is leaving the National Park Service after 13 years at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Her new job is working for the Army Corps of Engineers as a Public Affairs Specialist.

I first met Shannon Moeck as a fellow student in one of Jonathan Noyalas’s Civil War seminars. She was hired as one of the first rangers at the park, which was still being developed.

I was happy to hear that she will continue to give occasional talks at Belle Grove, telling visitors the story of Judah the cook. This program takes place in the basement kitchen where Judah, an enslaved woman, prepared meals for the Hite family under the challenging conditions of the early 1800’s.

March 25, 2023

Dogs and a Cat

I scanned in some photos from 1984 today. This one is Lynn's dog, Dio.

Jumping back to the present, here is Charlie with some friends at the dog park. He has a pink ball and is playing keep-away, his favorite game.

Charlie continues to defeat my efforts to keep him in a harness in the car. I got him a red one that is supposed supposed to be escape-proof, and he got it off before I even drove one block. 

Here’s an AI-generated beagle. I’ll bet it doesn’t take its clothes off in the car.

In other news, the kitty from across the street came back to our deck and sat there for a minute before running off. Charlie was looking through the window, very interested.

March 24, 2023

Bluebells are Starting to Bloom

Yesterday I had some free time between physical therapy and picking up Charlie at doggy daycare so I headed to Front Royal because I heard that the Virginia bluebells were beginning to bloom along the river. I have photographed them before at Eastham Park.

There is a turtle in the first picture. Can you find it?

I found plenty of buds on bluebell plants, but only a few blossoms. For the picture, I held my phone upside down to get the lens close to the ground.

The paved path at Eastham Park is very popular. Within a few minutes you may see families, runners, people with dogs, cyclists, fishermen, and even a photographer or two.

March 23, 2023

New Love Sign

Front Royal, VA

Signs / Skywatch

Signs saying LOVE are found all over Virginia, the result of a travel slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.“ This one is in front of a church on Luray Avenue. 

The letters go downhill a little bit, so I tried cropping and straightening the sign in the Photos app. You can see writing on the letters with messages such as “All are welcome.”

Not far from here is the northern entrance to Skyline Drive. At the first overlook, you can see Front Royal in the valley below. 


March 22, 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday

I don't know how long I've been posting birds for Stewart's Wednesday linkup, but I have well over a thousand posts labeled Birds.

The birds in a tree only paused there for a few seconds this evening. 

No doubt I've shown all my backyard birds before. Here we see a tufted titmouse and a pair of house finches.


March 20, 2023

Daughter of the Stars

A legend says that Shenandoah means “daughter of the stars.” Another theory holds that it means river in the spruces, but that seems unlikely to me because spruce trees in Virginia grow at high elevations, not along the river. What seems certain is that it was a Native American name.

I found this “daughter of the stars” mural in the town of Shenandoah. It was pure luck that I came across this after making a wrong turn. It is at a ballpark near the VFW. 

Monday Murals / Mosaics / Blue Monday

The Shenandoah River is very pretty and often the water does glitter like stars.


March 19, 2023

Winter Ends

"Little darlin', it's been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darlin', it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's alright."

(Lyrics by George Harrison)
The meteorological first day of spring this year is March 20. I tried to create a spring image in an AI app. As usual, the result is surprising.

My app has a mind of its own!

March 18, 2023

Pet Notes

This fanciful depiction of three critters attracted my attention because it was reflected in the window behind it. This is in the veterinary lobby.

Charlie continues to challenge me. He is a handsome little guy but he still seems insecure and also has a lot of energy.

I want him to wear a harness while riding in the car so that his neck is not endangered by wearing a doggy seatbelt. You can see him wearing his current harness, but unfortunately, he is able to wriggle  out of it rather easily. He has had other ones, which he either got out of or chewed through, or both. On Wednesday, he got out of a brand new one in just a few short minutes, and also chewed one of the straps almost all the way through. 

On a positive note, I found out that the three-legged kitty who visits our yard does have a home. I am relieved because we get some really cold nights.


March 17, 2023

Mid-March in Woodstock

In a few weeks, the signs of spring will no longer excite me because flowers will be commonplace.

Right now, the bloom season has just begun, and how welcome are these spots of living color! They promise that the cold gray season is ending. Today I spotted some moss phlox joining forsythia, fruit trees, and spring bulbs in the celebration.

I spent most of today at home, waiting for some workmen to finish the installation of a water softener and new water heater. It looked like we would not get out to the dog park, but when the workers left I realized that there were still two hours before darkness fell, thanks to the recent return to daylight savings time. I put Charlie in the car and drove to Fairview Park, where he enjoyed racing around with other dogs.

On the way home, I noticed that the statue of Peter M├╝hlenberg had been dressed up for St. Patrick's Day.