Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Santa did bring me that new camera but unfortunately it was not compatible with my computer so I had to send it back to Amazon and get something else. I'm taking a blogging break until my new camera comes in, I don't feel like using my old, yucky, broke down camera again.

This is the snow from almost 2 weeks ago, that's when this picture was taken. A lot of snow is still on the ground, taking a long time to melt, too long!

Well, have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

So much snow is still on the ground, but at least the roads are cleared and people can finish up their Christmas shopping. I didn't get out until Tuesday and it was crazy crowded out, everywhere. The snow really put a damper on everyone's Christmas plans over the weekend so everyone has been scrambling around to get it done this week! I have some baking to finish today and waiting on 3 presents to get here from the UPS man. They will be here today, right?!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my friends all over the world! Sorry I haven't been stopping by but it's been busy around here, you know how it is!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Snowmen

This redneck snowman has had too much Christmas celebration and is passed out with his can of beer in his hand....

And this little fattie has had one too many Wendy's dinners and it's gone straight to his middle haha

Nick and the boys worked on these snowmen on Sunday. We got a lot of snow dumped on us, starting Friday at about 4 and didn't let up till Saturday morning. There are reports from all around Botetourt County of 14.5 to 15.5 inches. Our yards are still covered but the roads are cleared. I haven't been out yet but will see what it looks like a little later when I take Ashlyn and her friend to the mall.

Are you ready for Christmas? I have a couple of small things to pick up and quite a bit of baking to tackle today and tomorrow!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Buchanan Christmas Parade V

Daughters of the Confederacy, Buchanan Chapter.

We are expecting a huge winter storm today. Snow over a foot, possibly 18 inches is predicted. A lot of schools in the area are closing early, still waiting to see what our schools are going to do.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Buchanan Christmas Parade II

This is the James River High School Band. James River is our rival school, we are Lord Botetourt, which by the way weren't in the parade for some reason, but still, even being the rival school, I went ahead and took their picture because I'm nice like that haha...Don't you love the sound of the band though?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Buchanan Christmas Parade I

On Saturday afternoon we went to the Buchanan Christmas Parade. We missed Fincastle's parade which was last weekend when the weather was so yucky. It was cold Saturday, but at least it was dry. Ashlyn is missing in this picture, she went to the mall with a friend to do some Christmas shopping.

We watched Four Christmases last night, really funny!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

And so our snow day draws to an end....but there might be more snow in store for us Saturday!

To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowy Soccer Fields

The soccer fields at the Botetourt Sports Complex. This is where Braden and Dalton have football practice.

No more traces of snow here but the ground is so soggy from the rain we got yesterday and the snow melting. It's sunny out today but supposed to get pretty windy, which has some concerned about trees getting blown over because of the extra wet ground.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


The boys really look forward to the snow so they can snowboard. We don't get much here, in fact last year we didn't really get any till around March. (Some of you might remember seeing my pictures.) We got a lot of snow that time but since this is only our second winter here, I don't have much to compare it to. Our snow from Saturday is almost totally gone, although there are a few patches here and there. We are supposed to get some rain here any minute now, mixed with some sleet later tonight.

I thought this picture looked almost black and white, except for Braden's bright orange hat!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Dog

Christian is trying to have Bella pull him around the yard. Actually she is just trying to get to another dog that is running around loose. I don't know how he can lay like that in the snow, makes me cold just looking at it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tropical Snow

Saturday it snowed all day. The boys wanted to go over to the Botetourt Sports Complex and snow board down some hills there. Here's the baseball fields with the "Tropical Sno" and ice machines, not really needed today!

It's Sunday morning (have this set to post for Monday) and the snow is melting quickly!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

A pretty view from the Blue Ridge Parkway towards the end of our hike, it will be dark soon! Too see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!

Hornet's Nest

Last fall we were out walking around and I happened to see one of these up high in a tree not knowing what it was. Recently I've seen a couple of CDP blogs posting about these and turns out it's a hornet's nest. You learn so much from the CDP community, don't you?! I found this one while out on our little hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway

A couple of weeks ago, Ashlyn went out to dinner with her boyfriend and his family. Nick and I wanted to take a little drive so we grabbed the keys and the boys and jumped on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a horse trail we stopped at and took a little walk along. I'll show you more views from our walk this week.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Theme Day - Waiting

Wow, Theme Day this month really snuck up on me! I missed last month's Theme Day for some reason, can't remember why but I'm sure I had a good excuse and by the time I realized it's time again for Theme Day, it was too cold and wet outside to try to get some pictures so I decided to plow through my picture files and see what would strike me as "waiting", all of a sudden it hit me, this is waiting, in a sense, for me. I'll explain....Sunday Braden and Dalton were invited to a Birthday Party at a roller skating rink. Here all the boys are in the party room, eating pizza and Birthday cake and were laughing at each other because the icing on the cake made their tongues blue so I told them I'd take their picture with their blue tongues. Remember, my camera is broken and stuck on one setting and it's zoom only. So here we are in a tiny party room and I'm telling the kids "skooch in closer, ok, closer, that's good, skooch together just a little closer" as my back is as pressed to the back wall of the room as I can get, I finally, almost, get all the boys in the shot,, I'm "WAITING" on Santa to bring me a new camera! I've been good (for the most part) please Santa, if you are reading this, please bring me that Canon Power Shot, like my old one that broke (before this one that broke) that allowed even me to take good pictures! I'll be "waiting"!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Monday, November 30, 2009

Falling Spring Falls

Just a few miles down the road from Westvaco (Friday's post) is Falling Spring Falls. This was a surprise to find! I read that this is rare type of fall for Virginia where most falls are cascades and slides.

Information from the Virginia State Parks website:
Located in Alleghany County on the Jackson River, this stream rises from Warm River Cave approximately one mile north. Warm thermal spring water and a cold stream of shallow groundwater mix in the cave before surfacing as Falling Spring Falls. The water is supersaturated with carbonate that forms travertine, a form of limestone, at the base of the waterfall.

Underneath the 80 foot drop from the Falling Spring Falls is an undercut cliff. The constantly wet rock faces within the spray or splash zone of the falling water creates a moist microhabitat called a spray cliff community.

Spray cliff communities on limestone in Virginia are considered rare. This area features 14 bryophyte or moss species.
Informational sign at Falling Spring Falls overlooking the falls. This sign has information about the botany of the falls.
According to the book, “Historical Sketches of the Alleghany Highlands” by Gay Arritt, 82 acres of land including the Falling Spring Falls was granted by King George III of Great Britain to Gabriel Jones in August 1771. In 1780 Thomas Jefferson, as Governor of Virginia, granted the property to Major Thomas Massie.

This site was once visited by Jefferson to survey the falls and he mentions it in his manuscripts “Notes on the State of Virginia” written in 1781.

“The only remarkable cascade in this country is that of the Falling Spring in Augusta,” wrote Jefferson, “…it falls over a rock 200 feet into the valley below.”

From 1914 to 1926 a producer of travertine material, Ohio C. Barber Fertilizer Company, mined fertilizer in Barber, Virginia, now called Falling Spring. In 1927 Falling Spring Lime Company assumed operations until 1941. Mining operations necessitated the relocation of the falls where it now plunges only 80 feet.

Electricity generated from the falls was used to run the lime crushing plant and to operate an electric railway hauling travertine from the mine.

On November 28, 2004, Mead Westvaco donated the Falling Spring Falls and approximately 19 surrounding acres to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Also read somewhere else that the fall is beautiful when frozen. I'll have to see that!

Friday, November 27, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

Heading into Covington, in search of the covered bridge, we came upon this ginormous plant, Westvaco. We didn't know what it was at the time but the place is huge. So of course I had to google it when I came home (what would we do without Google?).

Turns out this is the Mead/Westvaco paper mill. The Covington Mill is one of the most technologically advanced bleached paperboard manufacturing facilities in the world. The mill stretches 1.5 miles along the Jackson River and employs about 1,500 people. It produces more than 2,500 tons of bleached paper and paperboard each day and exports its products to more than 60 countries. This facility manufactures paperboard used for premium folding cartons, for aseptic and other liquid packaging and for printing applications that include books, greeting cards and sports cards.

According to their website, they state that their Pollution Prevention Program is always looking for new ways to reduce emissions into the air, land and water and lessen the impact of its operations on the environment, employees and community.

By the looks of those plumes of smoke going into our atmosphere, they have their job cut out for them.

Any Black Friday shoppers out there? Did you get a good deal? I've never attacked the stores at dawn on Black Friday, in fact I stay as far away from any type store today! And did I hear that Toys R Us even opened earlier this year? At midnight? I think this whole Black Friday deal is getting way out of control. I wonder if other countries do this or if it's just American greed?

For more views of the sky from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours! If you're traveling, be careful!

Photo taken in Eagle Rock.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Roaring Run Furnace

At the tail end of our hike to the falls, we came upon the Roaring Run Furnace. The first mention of the furnace is in a deed dated May 1, 1838. It is believed the furnace went into blast that year and also believed that its final blast was early in April of 1865, prior to the end of the Civil War in April. No other evidence suggests that the furnace went into blast again.

For a more detailed account of the furnace, visit US Forest Service

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Roaring Run Falls

Sunday we dodged some rain that was predicted in our forecast so we pulled out my new book that I told you about, Historic Virginia by Emily and John Salmon.

We decided to go see the Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. According to my book, the Humpback Bridge is the last surviving curved-span bridge in the US AND the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, completed in 1857.
Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to see the bridge (sorry no pics this time!) because we decided to stop at Roaring Run Recreational Area, on the farthest edge of Botetourt County, along the way. Roaring Run creek is well known for its trout fishing. We decided to take the short hike (less than a mile) up to the falls. It was a pretty easy walk and well worth it! The trail loops around past the furnaces (used to make iron in the mid 1800's) and ended at the picnic tables that are placed along the creek. There we sat and ate our picnic lunch and relaxed a bit before heading towards the covered bridge in Covington. With the days shorter, we ended up running out of sunlight before we could find it, but we did find a huge waterfall, Falling Springs, which I'll show you later this week!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Remember my Skywatch photo from Friday? This is the exact same location, only 24 hours later!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

This area is known for it's natural beauty and one thing that always steals my attention is the way the clouds envelop the mountain tops after a rain. You can't see where the mountains end and the sky begins. This is the way it looks right now after having a full day of rain. Tomorrow blue skies are in our forecast!

To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Lines - IV

Lines across the sky at sunset. As my friend Di says, "Trees without leaves = NOT CUTE" lol

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lines - III

A peaceful, tree-lined road. There's still a few trees left that haven't completely lost their leaves, but not much.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lines - II

Took this at sunset on Sunday afternoon looking off my back deck. Not sure about the lighting since I'm on permanent zoom like I mentioned, but I kind of like how it turned out. Gives it a Blair Witch feel to me!

Here's something some of you might be interested in, watermarking to protect your photos. I know Babooshka has had some trouble with people stealing her images. Right now, Visual Watermark is running a special $19.95 (instead of $29.95) and $39.95 (instead of $59.95) Visual Watermark Software If you try it out, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lines - I

I am border-line obsessed with lines of trees. I love when I see a line of trees all the same, whether they're down an old dirt road, lining a drive way, or just in a field like these are. This was taken at the Botetourt Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. We had just returned from Braden and Dalton's football banquet at Bellacino's and had to drop off their football gear. Football is now officially over. Nothing to do till spring baseball starts!

Still need a new camera. I am using Ashlyn's but hers is stuck on permanent zoom. The lens won't go in or out and I have to stand a mile away from anything to get a picture, which makes it tough in a small room,lol....I do have a camera on my Christmas list, hopefully Santa will be good to me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

Since it's so cold and rainy out (yes Lois, remnants of Ida!) I needed to pull out a warm photo. A couple of weeks ago, Greenfield Elementary School held its Fall Festival. I volunteered myself, Ashlyn and Christian to help out with some of the games while Braden and Dalton ran amuck. They had all sorts of carnival type games for the kids to play, a band and this rockwall were just some of the fun things going on. This is Braden attempting to climb to the top of the rockwall.

To check out skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!


Fall Colors - IV

One of the prettiest trees in our yard but it is almost bare now.

It's been raining since yesterday, and cold too! Ready to dry out and warm up a bit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall Colors - III

More fall colors taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A few days ago I got a neat email from Megan over at Turner Publishing. They just published a new travel book called "Historic Virginia...Your Travel Guide To Virginia's Fascinating Historic Sites" by Emily J. and John S. Salmon. She wanted to know if I was interested in receiving a copy of the book to review with my readers, you! I said "of course"! You know me, I love visiting historical sites and being new to Va, this book is perfect for me! Anyways, the book just arrived and I am anxious to plow through it and visit many of places they've written about. I'll give you all an inside peek as I read through this awesome book! Thanks Megan and I'm going to drop you an email now!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Colors - II

A couple of Sundays ago, Braden and Datlon were invited to a birthday party. It was at a skating rink in Vinton. Rather than take the roads with traffic and street lights, I took the Blue Ridge Parkway to get there. I always prefer the scenic, country roads over city/traffic/lights. The weather was so nice when we left the party so we pulled over on one of the scenic overlooks to walk around and look at the views.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Colors - I

The other day we drove over to Greenfield Elementary School to drop our recyclables off at their recycle station. The fall colors on the mountain were so distracting to me that while the kids were tossing our plastic bottles and boxes in the bins, I was busy taking pictures,lol

Friday, November 6, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

The streets of Lexington. We had a fun time while visiting. If you stop at the Visitor's Center, they will give you a map for a self guided tour, which is what we did.

To see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stonewall Jackson Gravesite

Notice all the lemons tossed in? Supposedly Jackson thought of lemons as a "rare treat ... enjoyed greatly whenever it could be obtained from the enemy's camp" (From Wikipedia. I didn't come prepared with lemons so we didn't leave a lemon this time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Traveller's Grave

This is Traveller's final resting spot. Linda Donald of the Lee Chapel and Museum says this about the pennies left on the grave:

"This custom has no recorded information. Our Director says that the coins are simply a matter of people leaving something at the burial site of an icon. However, I grew up in Lexington and was taught that Traveller was to be provided for and was never to be without. It is my belief that people leave the coins so that Traveller's every need can be met".

We left our pennies there as well! You can read more on Traveller by clicking the link on yesterday's post.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Traveller's Stable-Lee's Horse

I mentioned in yesterday's post that they kept Traveller's stable open and full of hay for his return. Corker wanted to know more and after digging around, I was able to find on Wikipedia this "The stable where he lived his last days, directly connected to the Lee House on campus, traditionally stands with its doors left open; this is said to allow his spirit to wander freely."

So there you have it! For more on Traveller Click Here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lee House-Lexington, VA

The Lee House was built for General Robert E. Lee while he was President of Washington and Lee. In October 1870, R.E. Lee died in the dining room, and was buried in the crypt of Lee Chapel on campus.

A brick stable for Lee’s famous horse, Traveller, was attached off a back corner, and to this day, they still keep hay in it in case Traveller returns. I will show a picture of the stable tomorrow.

The house is closed to the public.

For more information on the house and Gen. R. E. Lee, CLICK HERE

And for another great read, Carriage Rides and Confederate Ghosts, CLICK HERE

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

Todays SkyWatch photo was taken in Lexington, VA of the R. E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. It was established in the mid 19th century as Grace Church and renamed for Robert E. Lee at his death to honor him. Mr. Lee served as Senior Warden.

For more information on the church itself (again, lacking historical info out there)you can visit the church website by clicking HERE

And to see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY of course!

I also want to share a new link with you (well new to me that is!). Nick from Blue Ridge Country Magazine sent me a nice email this morning and I poked around the website and loved it. I know you will too! Give them a visit, I'm sure you'll be hooked! CLICK HERE to visit Blue Ridge Country!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Colonnade at Washington and Lee

While in Lexington, we toured the grounds at Washington and Lee University . What an amazing campus with such a rich history. I told Ashlyn that I want her to attend school there so I can visit!

I could barely find any information on the history of this building. This is one thing that has surprised me since starting this blog. When you find and photograph a historical building, come home and try to find some information on it, there isn't a lot out there. So frustrating. Even on the school's website, not much about the history of each building, or even a photo gallery. I think that a lot of times, counties or towns take for granted what they have in historical value, that would be interesting for others to know. I guess they just assume that if you live there, you already know all about it. Well what about new comers or passers-by? Anywho.....

This is the best information I found and you can CLICK HERE to read more but I am also going to paste a brief synopsis:

"The Colonnade" refers to a range of brick buildings with Tuscan porticos that, seen together, give the impression of a continuous colonnade. Comprised of Washington Hall, Payne Hall, Robinson Hall, Newcomb Hall, and Tucker Hall, the Colonnade was begun after an 1803 fire seriously damaged the college's main building (Liberty Hall, 1793); the campus made a completely fresh start in a new architectural style. Building on the Colonnade was completed in phases between 1824 and 1842.

Although Lexington was far from the centers of culture in the early nineteenth century, the Colonnade illustrates the process by which sophisticated architectural ideas were adopted and adapted by builders in more rural areas. The influence of Thomas Jefferson is particularly felt in the Roman temple fronts applied to the otherwise simple brick structures. What now appears to be a single, harmonious concept for the building group actually came about as a series of building efforts and corrections as the college attempted to achieve the image of a modern institution with striking new architecture. The result is a very beautiful and pleasing structure, monumental in appearance from afar, but intimate, informal, and comfortably scaled to the pedestrian passing through its arcades.

As can be seen in numerous early photographs, the exterior of the Colonnade has changed very little since its completion. The interiors of the buildings were fireproofed in the 1930's. Little work has occurred since that time, and the buildings lack modern features such as fire alarm systems or sprinklers, central air conditioning, elevators, and fire stairs; plumbing in the central building is confined to the first floor.

From the National Register report:

The historic core of Washington and Lee University is composed of a collection of architecturally harmonious and spatially related neo-classical buildings that together form one of the most dignified and beautiful college campuses in the nation. The central and most significant element of this complex, the "Colonnade," gives the impression of being the product of a single architectural concept, but in reality this splendid succession of columned and pilastered buildings is an evolutionary product of a building program extending over nearly one hundred and fifty years. As the school grew, its administrators and builders successfully used this growth as a means to enhance the visual unity of the institution without falling into monotony. The first buildings erected in 1803 by what was then Washington College, have long since disappeared. It is, however, the oldest of the existing buildings, Washington Hall, erected in 1824, which sets the architectural tone of the campus. Its builder-architect, John Jordan, was a self-taught designer of much ability. Jordan was able to transform the prevailing architectural fashion of the time into a sturdy, local idiom. The principal departures at Washington and Lee from Jordan's simple classicism- the Lee Chapel and the President's House- do not detract from the unity of the area, but serves as interesting foils to it.

In the center of the Colonnade is the oldest and largest building of the group, Washington Hall- a three-story temple-form structure fronted by a provincial hexastyle Roman Doric portico. Washington Hall was erected in 1824; its present roofline and two-story flanking wings were added in 1843. The octagonal Greek Revival cupola, topped with a wooden statue of George Washington, was added in 1844. The statue, carved from a single piece of white pine by a local cabinet maker, Matthew Kahle, is a fine example of American folk art. Washington Hall's flanking wings, fronted with coupled Doric pilasters, link the building to two matching rectangular structures.

Ok, that wasn't too brief, but it was just too interesting to leave anything out!

Also, if you like web cams, I found this "Colonnade Cam" and you can see the difference in the tree from when I took the photo above (last month) to now. To view CLICK HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grist Mill

This old mill is located in Rockbridge County, VA . It sits on the McCormick Family Homestead. Cyrus McCormick was born there in 1809 and later invented the Reaper. The old family home sits on the homestead as well as the mill, pictured, and a black smith shop.

The McCormick heirs deeded the 634-acre farm to Virginia Tech to use for agricultural research and education. You can read more about that HERE

This morning after dropping Ashlyn off at school, I got a speeding ticket. Not an ordinary speeding ticket but a speeding ticket in a school zone. I am such a stickler about not speeding in school zones, I mean that is the ONE spot that I never speed in and hate to see people disregarding the speed limit. Well, I dropped Ashlyn off, crossed my side of the road and pulled out waiting to make a left turn. I was thinking to myself how empty the road was, no traffic at all, when I pulled out, accelerated up to speed and then it hit me, I'm still in the school zone, proceeded to slow down but the damage was done, I was caught on radar. I was doing the speed limit for normal times of the day but was over the 25 school zone speed. Well, I knew I was wrong, was hugely embarrassed and pulled over. The Botetourt sherrif got out of his vehicle and walked towards mine. I rolled my window down, quickly apologizing for what I did. This man was so incredibly rude, I couldn't believe it. I continued apologizing and was extremely polite (not to get out of a ticket, but because I knew I was in the wrong, albeit accidentally, but still wrong). This did not matter to this Botetourt Barney Fife. He continued to talk in a rude manner towards me as if I was a common criminal and not a mom in a mini van.I graciously took my ticket and went on with my day.

The thing about this whole ordeal that makes me angry is that people in this position should use their "power" in a positive way, rather than to treat each person they run across as if they did some horrible deed. I admit, I was wrong, but I didn't intentionally speed, it was an accident. No complaints about the ticket, but come on Botetourt, don't you want your officers to be setting a good example in the community? When I mentioned this person's horrible attitude to a police officer that I know, his response was "yes, I've heard that quite a few times." Nice. Treat people with respect, and you will be respected.

Off my soap box now and very careful to not speed again!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Timey Scarecrow

While in Lexington, we stopped by the old Stonewall Jackson House . This old scarecrow is in his garden. I've never seen a scarecrow like this one and want to make one for our own garden!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Maury River

Today I am taking you back to the Maury River which I briefly spoke about on Thursday's post. Some of those little pools are pretty deep with lots of big fish that the kids could see from the rocks. I can't remember what kind of fish they said they were. There were quite a few small groups of people parked up and down along the river swimming, even though summer was over and it was a little cold out! I bet it's crowded during the summer!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

The steeple of First Baptist Church in Lexington, VA amidst a sky of blue and puffy white clouds!

For more skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY