Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rambles.......and taking part in several memes

I am linking with Good Fences today and SkyWatch Friday tomorrow, and then Camera Critters, Saturday's Critters, Bird D'Pot, Nature Notes and Wild Bird Wednesday, and then a new one for me is joining in Tanya's Willy Nilly Friday Five. All the links to each meme is at the bottom of this post.  


1) I have started reading a new book called Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand.  It is about the owner of a Nantucket Inn who has four grown children.  They all have their problems, slightly dysfunctional but very likable I read in one description.  It is very different from the usual cops and robbers/mysteries that I normally gravitate to but I am on page 66, enjoying it very much and finding it a nice change of pace.  I found it on Diane's blog, Bibliophile By The Sea.  She does wonderful reviews, and even though she hasn't on this one yet, Diane always gives a great variety of book that I often put on my reading list.


2) I started putting the bird food out again and I welcomed back the chipmunks, the squirrels and yes the birds.  In the first day I saw a Downy Woodpecker, several House Finches, Cardinals and for the first time, a Grey-slated Junco. The Junco's always disappear at Springtime and at the first sign of cold weather they are back again. A welcome sight as were all my other backyard visitors.  



I stop feeding them in the warmer months because I know they get plenty of food in their natural world.  Also there is a lady just across the way, our gardens are kitty-corner but backing on to each other, and I see a half-dozen feeders hanging on her deck which are filled throughout the year, so no worries there.  



Another reason I stop filling the bird feeders is that once the raccoon's start raiding them I see that as a sign to quit for a while. Don't get me wrong, I love raccoons but we have so many neighborhood cats and dogs that I worry about skirmishes, and rabies.  I've also had bird feeders disappear and though I have no proof, I have often wondered if the little bandits take off with them. Or maybe the squirrels are dragging them over to the ladies deck as they know she will fill them, and yes I am joking.  Throughout I do make sure the water dish is filled each day, knowing they badly need it in the hotter months especially, not only for drinking but also for a bit of a splish-splash to keep cool.  No photos of our first feathered arrivals as I was too busy enjoying them without a camera between us, but I did get a few of a chipmunk and a squirrel as you can see above.



3) We went to Huntley Meadows this week on what can only be described as a perfect day for a walk.  Sunny, cardigan weather at first but I could have done without as I felt almost too hot. There were people still in short sleeves.   






We always seem to arrive too late to see lots of birds, when the sun is high in the sky, but Gregg got this lovely shot of a Cardinal.  My favorite photo of the day, and I shared it in a previous post but like it so much here it is again, uncropped this time.  



What did we see?  When we reached the boardwalk the first thing I noticed was a red dragonfly resting on a tree trunk.  It is the first time I've noticed this color here.  Usually they are blue or brown and we saw several others, which surprised me.  I guess they were enjoying the glorious weather as much as we were.



a big old Snapping Turtle under the water, he surfaced momentarily and obviously didn't like us staring at him because he swam under the boardwalk as soon as he saw us.  



There were signs of Beaver everywhere and the park have started putting wire meshing around the base of some of the trees they want protecting.  The Beavers have enough to choose from to sharpen their teeth and build their lodges.  We didn't get to see any as the best time is at dusk or perhaps in the early hours of the day. There were lots of Canada Geese flying in and kicking up a fuss, getting very territorial with each other.  I saw the splashing and flapping of wings and chasing in circles from way off.  As we got closer we found them very entertaining, they were noisy and their antics made us laugh but no doubt for them, serious business was going on.



We saw a Great Blue Heron and a few smaller turtles on the same log, and two other herons in other areas, a couple of birds that were hard to see flitting in and out of dense brambles and impossible to photograph.  The Cardinal was our only cooperative feathered subject.  And there were those beautiful Fall colors, crimson and golden leaves and red berries on bushes everywhere.  After such a walk we feel tired but rejuvinated.



4) Christmas shopping!  We have actually bought some gifts this week.  We went to Henderson Hall which is the Marine Corps base nearest the Pentagon.  It's been several months since our last trip as it's not exactly around the corner but still further than our local shopping Mall.  Henderson is 25 miles away.  Neither Gregg nor I like shopping and tend to stay away from Malls, only going to them when we need something in particular that we can't get anywhere else.  I so dearly want to get better organized for sending off our overseas gifts especially.  I am determined no late shopping and dashing around to get things done this year.  We'll see!



We stop at the Iwo Jima Memorial (this is Gregg's photo).  After our shopping we pass by.  It has been a long time since our last visit, and we decided a quick stop would be in order. We ended up staying for a half hour. It is a magnificent memorial. Two very nice tourists asked if they could take our photograph, seeing the difficulty we were having trying to do a selfie.  Not good on those and we didn't bring our tripod. Had no idea we were going to stop you see.  These people were very nice and they were happy for Gregg to return the favor. We need to keep that tripod permanently in the car.  Gregg was driving his van and the tripod is in my car. Oh well, next time or maybe we will buy another, one for each. These tripods are so reasonable and I will always be grateful to Debbie at It's All About Purple for her recommending it.  



From the Memorial you can see Washington DC.  The Washington Monument is clearly visible, as is the dome of the Capitol Building on its left and the top of the Lincoln Memorial on its right.  We are in Virginia but when you cross the Potomac you are in Washington DC.  The day again bright and sunny with beautiful blue skies, though the clouds were moving in when we left.  Better to enjoy it now as a cold front is heading our way.  We have been lucky with our weather this week.  Today I was in short sleeves, tomorrow winter woollies?  Maybe!

5)  Not too exciting, a trip to CostCo's where we do a bit of bulk buying.  Bought some freezer items and had 'fun' trying to fit it all into our small freezer, but I managed.  We always buy the larger paper items in bulk, like kitchen towels and toilet tissue, and also a big box of Ziploc freezer bags. Bought one of those family size packets of fresh croissants from the bakery.  I have a recipe for make-ahead frozen breakfast sandwiches but I'm sure I can find a space in the freezer for those.  I am becoming a Freezer Queen lately and though I like to buy fresh to cook that day, freezing meals comes in handy for those days when energy level is lower than normal, or if we have been out and about.  It cuts out the temptation to grab a quick bite somewhere and we are doing a pretty good job eating healthier at home.  It rained today and was dull and overcast. I wore a sweater and a raincoat.  I go to the weather underground sight and it said the high was going to be 68 degrees F.  Honestly, I doubt it.  Right now it is 54 and that sounds more like it.



I am linking to several meme's today and you can click on the links below to see other participants.  A big thank you to our hosts who run them so well.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Manassas, Virginia - Old Town


We are at the Railway Station in Manassas.   They have a small museum with a few things on display.  





These are old railroad car wheels and the information card said that they were found near the Bull Run Bridge.



The thought was could they be the same that is in this old picture in the lower right hand corner?






Looking down at my iPhone, we've come along way baby but there is still a lot of charm in this old telephone.



I suppose the brand new owners of the above telephone thought the same way when they compared it to this telegraph key and sounder.  You can enlarge the information below to read.  It says this equipment was used inside the depot by Herbert L. Wetherall, the telegrapher operator for Southern Railway.   I wonder what Mr. Wetherall would have thought of the phones we use now?


This is a conductor's hat worn between 1940 and 1950.  In front of the hat is a baggage master's badge, ca 1940-50.  In the middle are buttons from a uniform mid 20th century.  In front of it is an old freight bill from 1913.  Lastly the mid-20th century step stool to help passengers get on and off the trains.




The ladies waiting room.  It looks like it may have been taken in the 1920-30's.  I sometimes forget to make a note of the date.




It was a small museum and we weren't inside for very long, but it was very interesting.




We crossed the railway line as we were heading to our old book store.  This is in Old Town Manassas.




One of several restaurants around here.  It is right across the road from the station.  These customers must have seen a few trains go by while they were enjoying their meal.  



Maybe they enjoyed the bratwurst.



A building getting a new coat of paint.



We are on the main street now not far from where we were heading to.



And this shows the water tower advertising the local high school, which is next to the train station.



An outside eating area for another restaurant....


and a pumpkin to warn anyone who was thinking of taking a rest.  Nope, you can't sit here.  You might get turned into a toad so beware.  It is Halloween soon!



I like it!  It is a lot friendlier.



There will be photos of the book store which I will share on Halloween.

Playtime....


There are times when I love to play with photos and Sandra at Madsnapper has given me a lot of inspiration lately, because if you have ever seen her blog she does a lot of fun things with hers.  I have an app on my iPad called PicCollage and waking up in the wee hours and not being able to get back off to sleep, I started creating.  We had been to Huntley Meadows and these are a few photos taken.  I changed these shots first of all using another app called ToonCamera, and then used the PicCollage that I can add the photos and the stickers onto a page.

After putting this together I slept like a log!

I will be sharing the photos we took from our visit to Huntley shortly.