Friday, April 3, 2015

Rural Relics and a Vulture Interrupted

Om Sunday I set off for the drive down to Fort Defiance, an abandoned military school which has been closed since 1984. It looked very imposing and interesting in the few images of it on the internet so I thought an investigation would be in order to see if there was a chance of me getting a group of photographers in there.
 I had a quick detour around the town of Shenandoah then carried on.
 Totally adored this little bevvy of summer colored classic cars that I spotted.
Is it me or does that tree on the right look like a rooster wondering how he's going to get in the house?
 I managed to stumble across a wealth of beautiful old abandoned houses before I arrived at Fort Defiance. Elkton had a gorgeous large farmhouse, well sealed, and a lovely bakery sign above a now closed establishment. Nearby was a closed art deco style cinema. The photos immediately above are of the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad passenger station at Fort Defiance.
Then just up the road is the old military school.
 This huge building now seems to be a shell, it's falling badly into disrepair. I could see through some of the windows, many of which glass was missing from, and I could peer through gaps in the doors. There's a large courtyard inside and I could see interior walls were missing.
 I walked to the museum which was supposed to be open but wasn't, so grabbed an info sheet with a number that I'll have to call another day. Feeling a bit miffed I drove off, I'd been hoping to see at least the inside of the museum on my arrival.
 Driving past a farm I had to make a u-turn and return for another look. I had spotted an old car sitting in a barn and on closer inspection it turned out to be an old 1939 or 40 Studebaker. What a waste!

 I almost missed another abandoned house tucked away in some trees and had to backtrack. The place looked like a hurricane had torn through it. Personal papers and clothes were thrown every where. I strolled around and then carefully made my way upstairs, and as I peered through the bannisters I saw a big black vulture staring back at me.
 She didn't seem to be too ruffled by my presence but as I moved slowly closer she hopped up onto the window ledge and fluttered out of view on to the roof. I looked down knowing that she must have been sitting on a nest and was surprised to see just one solitary egg on the bare floor, not a twig, or soft down or anything to resemble a nest beneath it at all. I knew she'd be wanting to return and not wanting the egg to get cold I quickly turned about and went back downstairs without looking around further.
 Just a nifty couple of snaps on my way out and I left. I looked back up at the roof and the vulture was missing from her perch so I was glad she'd gone back inside. I looked them up later and found that laying their eggs on the ground is the norm and that her partner was out getting food. Black vultures apparently have a very poor sense of smell so spend a lot of their time soaring in the sky looking down for and then following turkey vultures, who have an excellent sense of smell and find food much more easily. She was a sweet docile bird and I'm quite tempted to go back and visit baby when he emerges from his shell.

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