February 17, 2018

Birds and Animals, Mid-February

Birds in trees are normal, but getting pictures of them there can be tricky. When I get one without a branch covering his face, I feel pleased. I'm glad this blue jay posed for a few seconds.

The mockingbird was perched on a neighbor's mailbox. I took his picture from the car.

The next picture tells a little story. A woman is picking up trash at the school bus stop. Who knocked over that trash can? Oh, there he is, peeking out from behind her car!

She called animal control. An officer showed up promptly and located the dog's owner at a nearby farm. This is not the first time his dogs have caused problems.

Once in a while his other animals wander into our neighborhood. Here are a couple of sheep I saw a few days ago. The farmer really needs to fix his fences!

Did you know sheep and deer belong to the same family, Artiodactyla? That means even-toed ungulates. (I didn't know that word; I just looked it up.)

I saw this herd of deer on Dickey Ridge in Shenandoah National Park. They blend in well, don't they? You can drive right past them without seeing them.

This afternoon we had a little snow. The grey geese don't seem to mind.

February 16, 2018

Mid-February Views

Willy Nilly Friday

Posting five random things gives me a chance to catch up on items I wanted to share and at the same time, join a few linkups. 

1. Yesterday afternoon temperatures were warm so I walked out to the lake. This is a zoomed-in picture of ripples on the water. 
Black and White Weekend.
2. This view is from a house on Nature's Way near Strasburg that's for sale. They have a nice view of Massanutten Mountain.

Weekend Greens
3. A 15-acre solar field has been completed in Front Royal. American Municipal Power (AMP) constructed the facility on former farmland. On a sunny day it can power over 300 homes. In this picture, the solar collectors are barely visible beyond the tree line, but they are quietly working away, collecting energy.

4. We live between Dulles Airport and the mountains that all the west-bound flights pass over. Under certain conditions, the jets leave vapor trails in their wake. These reminded me of tic-tac-toe, but 15 minutes later they were gone.
Skywatch Friday
5. I added a watercolor filter to this flower picture.
Sharing with Floral Friday and Orange You Glad It's Friday? 
Have a good weekend!

February 15, 2018

Post and Rail Fences

And ponies!

This one has a dog.

Sharing with Fences Around the World.

February 14, 2018

Rose Imperfect

When I took pictures this morning of my flowers, I intended to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. But it rings hollow now. Another school shooting ... so much tragedy. So sad and so senseless.

Once upon a time I believed we were on an upward path, becoming a little more civilized as years went by. But I am disillusioned. The veneer of civilization is not only thin; it is cracked and dented and falling off in big chunks. God help us.

February 12, 2018

Rural Scenes in February Sunlight.

Barn quilts are still unusual here so I get excited when I find one. 

February 11, 2018

Grace Fellowship in Front Royal

This church opened in 1970.

February 10, 2018

Another Brief Snow

These pictures are from February 4th. Snow came down and accumulated about an inch. We haven't had any deep snow this winter.

I imagine you recognize the male cardinal. The bedraggled bird is a downy woodpecker, who apparently found a little shelter under a railing. The Carolina Wren has worn down the snow on the rail. 

This young squirrel stayed out in the snow for a while. By late afternoon he always goes home, long before the birds do.

The geese are gathering to be fed. Even Canada Geese will approach a person who has a bucket of feed corn. I imagine geese were easy to domesticate because they are so eager to eat.

A cloud of chaff can be seen with some grain still airborne on the right.

February 9, 2018

Four Photos Plus Some Thoughts

1. This black and white snapshot goes back a long time. It shows little Marie getting a lift from a cousin.

2. This dramatic cloud formation makes the next photo suitable for Skywatch

3. I got a music CD set as a gift and I've enjoyed listening to it in my car, although the choice of songs (old standards) was unexpected. I tried to get my husband to guess who the artist is. "Willy Nelson" was his first guess.  No, although it did have a bit of the sound of Willy's Stardust.  I sampled another track. "Is that the British guy with spiky hair?" No, it's not Rod Stewart, although Rod has certainly crooned many old songs. I sampled another track. He gave up. 

Who would have thought Bob Dylan could be a crooner in the romantic style of the 1940's? And who would have thought his voice would sound so good at this point in life?

 4. How would you like to see all these Canada geese in your yard? This is a neighbor's house. 
Weekend Reflections
5. This view is from a house that's on a ridge above us. 

February 8, 2018

Old Graveyard in Stephens City

Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed this cemetery if the sun hadn't been shining right on it. I had left a gas station and was avoiding traffic by taking Mulberry Street when I saw it and stopped to take a look.

Some of the markers are broken or unreadable. I see on FindAGrave that the fence was erected by a Boy Scout as a project. That article shows stones leaning against a tree, but since then the tree has been cut down.

One thing I've noticed consistently is that old cemeteries belie the myth that people did not live long until recently. Here's a David Wilson who lived to be 80. The belief in short lives is based on averages that are skewed by a large number of childhood deaths, plus deaths from epidemics or women who died in childbirth. But if a person escaped all those, he could easily live to be 80 or more.

The town has changed names over the years, being called Stephensburg and Newtown before getting the current name of Stephens City.

"The Old Graveyard" is composed of town lots number 76 & 77, each a half acre in area. On January 17, 1799 they were sold by Lewis Stephens, Jr. to the following thirteen Trustees: David Wilson, William McLeod, William Elsea, Ebenezer Potter, Richard Barton, Joseph Fawcett, Jacob Leonard, Jacob Moires (Myers), David Mittinger, Lewis Stephens Jr., Bryan Martin Stephens, Henry Stephens, and Andrew Pitman. The deed read, "in behalf of the freeholders of the Town of Stephensburg." Both lots sold for the sum of 5 shillings and were described as being commonly called the graveyard and schoolhouse lots, suggesting that the property was already in use. prior to the dedication of the trustees.

   Inez Virginia Steele wrote 1906: "The dust of the first settlers rests in the graveyard, but being generally marked by common limestone rocks, their graves are not distinguishable." The Stephens family plot is in the southwest corner, adjacent to Mulberry Street. South of these graves is the older part of the cemetery referred to by Miss Steele in her book Methodism in the Early Days of Stephens City.  
The first house of worship in "Stephensburg" was built in the northwest corner of the cemetery. As described in 1850 by Pastor Rueben A. Funk, "This old log church ... was a homely structure with plain board pews and a common floor." Miss Steele further describes this structure as "the old schoolhouse, which stood on the northwest corner, having three windows looking east, west and south; they were about six feet wide and three feet high and were protected by board shutters. When light was required, these were propped up as high as possible by wooden sticks or pins. It was sometimes called the East Academy."

These ground are maintained by the Town of Stephens City.