Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nature Notes

I few flying things for Michelle's Nature Notes which you will find here.  Thank you for hosting this lovely meme Michelle.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Williamsburg, VA - Part 5

This is the last post on Williamsburg, until our next trip there.

Below is the Bowden-Armistead house built in the 19th century.  It is privately owned and not open to the public.

I don't know much about each home but there is a link here to many of the historical homes in the town.  

This is the spire of the Bruton Parish Church.  It is one of the oldest Episcopalian churches in America,  and has been open for services since 1715.

The building above and below is the Raleigh Tavern established in 1717, named for Sir Walter Raleigh.   It was destroyed by fire in 1859 but rebuilt and dedicated in 1931.  You can read more about this building here.  (A bit of personal trivia: Sir Walter Raleigh's half-brother, Sir Humphry Gilbert,  lived in Compton Castle - its history found here - which was also the name of the village next to the one I lived in (Marldon) before I met Gregg.  My Dad occasionally worked with one of Humphry Gilbert's descendants, a Q.C. Dad had contact with through his job.  They had a great deal of respect for each other and this gentleman attended my Dad's funeral.  Knowing my Dad he would probably have been surprised but happy he did that.  I also remember him saying such nice things about my Dad and I will always be thankful to him for being so kind.  If you go here you can see a video on Compton Castle.  It also shows the church where Gregg and I were married.  It is the first church shared in the video after the tour around Compton Castle.  

And now back to Williamsburg).

Hanging outside one of the stores.

This young man was closing the building for the day......

but he was happy to pose for Gregg's camera.

This lady was chatting to tourists.

This young lady was in my Part 4 post......

as was this one who was in the same photo as the lady above.

She was very happy to pose with me for a photograph.  I really liked her hat, her whole outfit actually.

We came across a structure where you could buy a few things to take home.

and I wasn't going to get the hat but Gregg saw me looking at it and insisted on buying it for me.

The gardens here were wonderful but we didn't really have a lot of time to look around them.  We will be back.

There were a lot of bees enjoying the flowers.

I also spotted an interesting looking bug on the sunflowers.

besides the bee that is.

It was a June bug.

The butterflies loved these flowers.  I must have counted a dozen or more but here are two.

One last house before the heavens opened and it rained like the dickens.

We had a great time looking around Williamsburg and we look forward to our next visit.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Ramble...........

First of all I want to thank Debbie from "It's All About Purple" (link here), for telling me about her tripod.  It sounded so neat I decided to buy one and last Friday we used it for the first time.  A big thank you from both of us Debbie.  Gregg likes it very much as it is so easy and lightweight.  We will be taking it with us everywhere.

This is the same photo but I cropped it this time.....

and this is the view behind us of the Shenandoah Valley.

The weather was perfect as it was the first day we woke up to a bit of a chill in the air.  It warmed up to the low 70's and stayed that way all the time we were out, with very little humidity.  We left late for us, around noon, but our destination was only a little over an hour away.   We were heading to Big Meadow, one of our favorite walking spots.  

We stopped at one of the first look-outs because a small group of people were pointing and staring into the trees.  We thought it might be deer but when we asked they told us that there was a bear in the woods.  Of course we stopped and joined them.  We could see that it was indeed a bear with a lot of undergrowth and trees in the way, and our photographs didn't come out.  But we had that lovely memory of a bear sighting.  

In 38 years of coming to Skyline Drive we never saw any sign of a bear, even though we kept hearing stories from people who had.  Imagine our surprise when in the last couple of years we have had at least two sightings.  On Friday we were to see three more.  They were very active and we realized later why we hadn't seen our usual deer.  They had most likely skedaddled because of the bears  We also noticed that everywhere was so lush and green, and they were having the Blackberry Festival this past weekend, and we came across a lot of berries on the meadow.  The bears were having their own blackberry festival.  I am not sure if the ones below are blackberries but I bet they make great bear food.  Those other posts I blogged about can be found here and here if you missed them.

After a while we continued our car ride and reached Big Meadows.  There is a lodge nearby where we have stayed before and intend to stay again.  We want to wake up early and see the sun rise over  the meadow, and get some neat photos in that golden hour of light.  We don't do enough of that.  Today the sun was almost overhead but no matter what time of day we get here, it is always worth the effort.  

We took our usual trail but the further along we walked, it went from dry to soggy and I wished I had put on a pair of sturdy, water-proof walking shoes.  My feet were already soaking wet.  Normally there is no problem but judging by my soggy socks they've had a lot of rain recently.  Gregg took a short cut through the long grass looking for dryer ground and eyes downward, as I am always worried about where I put my feet on uneven ground and had already almost come a cropper,  I saw a long, green, slithery tail slide only a few inches from my feet.  I yelled so loud that if any bears had been nearby, they would have taken for the hills.  

Gregg thought I had seen a deer but I told him that was not a 'hey I have seen  a sweet little bambi' kind of a yell, that was a scream as in "a huge green blankety-blank snake almost slithered over my feet' kind of a scream.  And you thought I had a great respect for snakes right?  Well I do and my fascination for them is endless but I get a little startled when I see a flash of one moving at a high rate of speed right next to my feet, especially when I am bending down and totally focused on pretty little wildflowers.  Did I tell you how big it was?  It was huge!  

I ran up that incline and was next to Gregg in two seconds flat.  It's amazing how fast you can move when you feel the need, and I managed to get up there without falling on my nether regions, amazingly.  So there you go and darn, I didn't get a photo.  The poor thing was too busy trying to get away from me and I was too busy trying to get away from it.  Not only sightings of bears have been a rare event, but we have never seen a snake on Big Meadows in all the times we have been here.  

Needless to say I won't be trudging around in long, wet soggy grass for a while, and as we made our way up the nice dry trail to our car, we were still taking photos of pretty wildflowers.

I am using the new camera Gregg gave me for my birthday.  We need a lot of practice with the manual setting.  So far I haven't been too happy with my results, especially when taking photos of white flowers.  The details get totally washed out and the bright sunlight probably didn't help.  I have a lot to learn but I had no idea there was a tiny spider on this yellow flower, until I downloaded the photo and looked at it on my computer screen later that night.  I like those kind of surprises, these kind of surprises don't make me scream like a banshee.

Once we were in our car again we hadn't gone that far when wouldn't you know it, there were two or three cars stopped in the middle of the road coming and going, with arms out of windows pointing into the trees.  There was no way around them and people behind us didn't seem to mind when we stopped.  In my side-mirror I saw they had also started pointing into the trees.  Eureka, there was another bear!  The photo below is a little fuzzy but I will be sharing others in my Camera Critter post on Saturday.  This one is a teaser I guess you could say.  Even though the bear is out of focus I loved how the photo turned out, but that's just me.  

After all the excitement and after my attack of the vapors because of green slithery things, I felt I needed a consolatory treat.  As we drove through Sperryville we had an ice-cream at a kiosk we have driven by a hundred times.  We ate our ice-cream in the car as there were only a couple of tables and they were taken.  Not too far from home we got caught up in a traffic jam at the train crossing in Gainesville, and we were beginning to think we would be there forever.  The police had blocked two roads off and the goods train was going nowhere and neither was the traffic.  After a while we turned around with a lot of other like-minded people, backtracked a ways until we reached the freeway, and it wasn't too long after that we rolled into our driveway.  It had been quite an afternoon. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 257 - Williamsburg - Part 4

The link to Today's Flowers opens at 12.15 a.m. every Saturday, Eastern Time (US).  The old link will close the previous Thursday at 11.30 P.M.

To see beautiful blooms from around the world you can click here.


Sunflowers from Williamsburg, VA


(The following message will be repeated every week.)

I wish to show my appreciation for all the participants in the previous week's Today's Flowers Meme, by sharing their links here.  I always try hard not to make any mistakes but please let me know if there are any, the same if I have missed anyone.  I do make the occasional mistake and I have already been made aware of one or two.  Believe me, I appreciate it as I like to get things correct.  The links are in the order they were received on the home page.  Consequently, this list won't be alphabetical.  Clicking on the names will take you to their blogs.

With my thanks to last week's participants who were:

Jama at Sweet Memories

Bernie at Bush Bernie's Blog

Xavi at Jardins-Parcs-Paisatges-Muntanyes-Ciutats

Randi at Bland Rosor &Tistlar

Lina at Women's Perspectives

Maschas Buch

The Modern Mom

Arija at Garden Delights

Liza at Mommy's Little Corner

Charlene from My Nature Photography


Nature Footstep

Lea's Menagerie

Carver at Carver's Sight or is that Site?

Laerte Pupo at Ipsis Flowers

Karen at Pixel Posts

Starry Universe

Up North With Mel

Steve at Shooting My Universe

Hood Photography

Mary in Austria



Et Oyeblikk

Birgitta at Birgitta B: welcome to my world of photoraphy

Misty at My Dogs Keep Me Sane

Karin's Fototraum

Chris-June's Kreativewerkstatt

Laura's Shine the Divine

Indrani at IShare

Bettyl from Photographing New Zealand

Bunny Girl

Lotusleaf at Garden Tropics

Life's Concealed Details

Deja Photo

Sandy at Kezzela2

Doug at 2013 Doug Photo Blog

Sara at Love That Image

Trini Garden

Miriam Luiza at Abrindo a Coracao

Pat's Addition

The 365 Project Molly's Daily Kiss

Shell Louise

Jana's Photo Journal

Mammoth Lakes Daily Photo


Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.


I will be linking up with the following blogs.

Tina's Weekend Flowers which you can find here,


Mona's Floral Love here,

   Floral Love

and also Laura's I Heart Macro here.

Shine the Divine