Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lazy Vacation Days

My vacation days between Christmas and New Year were very relaxing, more so than originally intended because of the snow and the ice thwarting any plans I'd had of leaving the hill. But it was fine, I went for walks, read a lot and slept. Having a break from my 6 work day week was wonderful and I relished the laziness.If there wasn't snow, then there was ice so I was constantly throwing out food for the birds and squirrels.
Here are Phillip the Pheasant's footprints next to mine.  These birds don't use their wings much, preferring to run when alarmed. i scared him here when I pulled up in Stuart and stepped out.
This poor little woodpecker slammed into one of the French doors by mistake and plopped down on to the patio. I rushed to get a box and towel ready then watched him closely over the next few minutes. He appeared to be dazed but recovered quickly and was soon able to fly off.
Kota went for a few very short strolls just to keep an eye on things but each time rushed back, shaking his paws furiously.
They're getting on a lot better now, and I've caught them a few times curled up side by side or just watching the outdoors events together. Rosie is definitely an indoor cat and shows little interest in leaving the house. It's been hard work trying to get these two to interact but finally I think we're getting there, and with many more cold days and opportunities to snuggle up with each other, I think they may even become good friends. I certainly feel better when leaving the house knowing that they're company for one another.
During one of the days where the hill was clear but I had no idea what to do since I had to make sure I was back home before dark when it all froze over again, I noticed a friend had liked a page on Facebook of an architectural salvage place near to home. Without a second thought I leaped up, grabbed the car keys, and was off, glad to see some new scenery.
I found it easily enough and was surprised at how much stock they had, I'd thought they would be a relatively small concern. Why hadn't I heard of them before? But I sauntered around, chatting with the owner and noticing that her prices weren't too bad at all.
I bought a couple of shutters and them worried how I'd get them into the car but they fitted fine. I'll go back to get another few as I'll make them into a screen for my patio to give privacy and protection from breezes. The completed project will be on here in the spring. They had quite a bit of everything and I poked around for at least an hour. I'll definitely return as I noticed a couple of items that I'd like to turn into artistic projects.Their web site is here:
When I left I realized that I still had over an hour before it got darker and colder so I headed for the low water bridge which was near by. VDOT have announced plans to replace this bridge with a higher 2 lane version in the next few years so I wanted images of it in its current condition.
Click here for a video of a crossing:
Then it was time to steer towards home but on the way I thought I'd drive past the Big Wall. I've shown this to Mum and we chatted over its possible history wondering what had provoked someone to build a wall so high and so huge. I guess I've always wanted to hear a romantic reason for its existence and have driven past often hoping to catch site of the owner or a worker in the fields.
The buildings have also always intrigued me and I'd noticed the conservation sign on the gate. Well today was my lucky day because as I rounded the bend I spotted a guy driving a back hoe or something out of the field. I stopped to chat and found out his name is Lindsey. He leases the land and keeps Angus cows there. He also works up in Chantilly, the same as me. We delighted in our similarities as we chatted and exchanged numbers. He told me this used to be an old plantation and started pointing out the buildings. He'll give me a proper tour once the snow has gone so I'm looking forward to that. And then I had to ask my most important questions, what was the wall for and who built it? He responded with, "It's to keep the cows in." I looked at him incredulously. That was it? I continued staring as though willing him to offer more information and a better story, but no, as my romantic notions of a king building a huge wall to show the world his posterity deflated, Lindsey explained that the landowner had tried putting up wooden fences but to no avail. The land here is so wet, the posts won't stand upright and cows are very good jumpers so were constantly escaping. During the 70's the farmer had used a loader to drag large rocks down from the mountain and slowly built the wall around his land. All because of cows.
Oh well, the mystery was solved and I'd made a new friend so all's well that ends well.
While we were chatting I managed to capture the setting sun on the side of one of the buildings, then realizing it would soon be dark, hurried back to Stuart with plans to meet up with Lindsay for a tour in a few weeks.
Another place that failed to meet my expectations was the gold mining museum in Goldvein, VA. I'd seen the web site,, and trevelled down with Dale to check it out on another day that the temperatures were just slightly higher than freezing.
It was 3 small sheds, one a replicated mess hall, one a bunk house and the other a exhibit of tools used and rocks found in the mining days. These huge Hornet Balls were used to crush the rock to extract the gold. Not the best or most exhilarating museum I've ever been too, but one struck off my To Visit list...
This huge roller skate on the way down was more exciting. It has sat by a roller skate park in Bealeton since the 1980's.
At Opal, I wanted to check out the gun range at the gun shop so we stopped in there for a visit.
The gun range was outdoors and had various length target ranges for pistols and rifles. I would have loved to stop and watch but the deafening reports drove us into the store.
Never knew that you could build or pack your own bullets, choosing color of powder and loudness of the explosion.
I liked the photo above the door and the shot glasses but didn't leave with any momentoes although I've often wondered about purchasing a gun. The time may come that I may want to bear arms but for now I'm content to just look and admire from afar.

No comments: