Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Special Place

Everyone has a special place. For some, it's the house or farm or town where they grew up. For others, it's a vacation spot where fond memories were/are made. And for still others, it's the place where they lay their heads each night, the place they call home in the present.

Many people think of Highland County, Virginia as a special place. The ones who were lucky enough to be born and raised here will always refer to it as home, no matter where they live. The ones like me, who moved here from somewhere else decades ago also think of it as home, even though we still have that "home place" where we grew up that will always be special, too. There are some who, for one reason or another, can't make the move to live in Highland County full-time, but spend weekends and every other chance they get nestled in among our mountains and friendly folks. And then there are those who pass through, maybe only once, for a few hours or days, and never return, but wish they could.

If one of these groups describes you or anyone you know, there's a new blog/website just for you! It's called See Highland County and the format is very simple: every Tuesday a new photo taken somewhere in Highland County will be posted. Just to enjoy. Just because Highland County is a beautiful place. Just because those of us who live here don't always have or take the time to relish it. Just because everyone who loves it can't always be here as much as they would like. There won't be much to read; just a sentence or two to give the location of the photo, so it won't be a blog that will take up much of our precious time. Instead, it's a very-mini vacation to Highland, right there on your computer, iPad, or phone every Tuesday. Give it a try by clicking HERE. (If, for some reason, the link doesn't work, the address is:

    Please visit the blog a time or two. If you like it, become a follower and share it with anyone and everyone. Don't forget to check back every Tuesday for a new photo. If you have a website or blog, you can "grab our button" and put it on your site so even more people can enjoy our Highland County home with just one click of the mouse.

     This little corner of the state has been called "Virginia's Best-Kept Secret." The time has come, though, to share this one. It's just too sweet to keep to ourselves any longer.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Blue Jar Note Card Party

    I've taken a fancy to blue Mason jars this summer. This post will fill you in on my quest to find and scrub all the blue jars around our place. I do like them, and they are especially pretty when they're sparkly clean. I took a gazillion photos, experimenting with perspective and lighting. Here a four that would make a nice set of note cards. I also got some nice shots with candles inside the jars...but they'll have to wait for another note card party!

    Thanks to Vee at  A Haven for Vee for hosting this party each month. If you'd like to join in the fun, click here to find out how.

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    Photo Challenge: Windows and Doors

    Windows and doors...hmmm. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? I didn't think so until I tried! I found this challenge to be challenging! Lighting was tricky, what with porches and reflections to deal with. I also had trouble getting a "straight on" shot, where the edges of the doors or windows were parallel to the edges of the photo. And I realized that, even though a particular door meant something to me, which maybe made up for a less-than-great photograph, it would mean nothing to a stranger, which would only accentuate the photo's flaws. In the end, here are the best of what I shot for this challenge.

    The first two are of windows in an old "colored" church, as we always called it, just down the street from the house where I grew up. The windows are huge and I couldn't get a good shot of an entire window that seemed in proper proportion. So, I settled for only part of the window, either with leaves or without.

    This door is one that I had trouble getting straight. Maybe I need a different lens?

    This window shot really threw me for a loop! The small window  in the middle, with the curtain, is actually on the opposite side of the house from where I was standing! All that stuff around it is the street behind me, reflected in the glass of the window I was shooting through. Confusing, huh?

    This month has gotten a little crazy, making photo excursions few and far between. I dug around in my archives and found a few more shots that fit in the category of windows and doors. This first one was taken in Jamestown Settlement in 2012. I accompanied a class of fourth graders on an overnight field trip to Virginia's Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Colonial Williamsburg.

    The next two were taken in Colonial Williamsburg on that same field trip.

    I like wondering what's behind interesting doors, and this one is no exception.

    If this old window could talk, what stories would it tell?

    And finally, here are some windows from my house.

    Thanks to Donna at A Personal Photo Challenge for giving me such a tough assignment. And Merry Christmas in September to you!

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Slumber Party

    A crystal clear Friday afternoon in September finds me waiting by the roadside.

    Finally I see what I'm waiting for.

    Although not my own, precious cargo indeed.

    She's the daughter of friends and she's spending the night with us. First, an after-school snack,

    the slicing of which is quite necessary for an eight-year-old mouth.

    A quick change of shoes

    and we're off on country adventures: gathering eggs,

    picking tomatoes,

    and loving on horses.

    There are household chores too: getting the laundry off the line,

    setting the table,

    and helping make supper.

    While she waits for Robin to come home, there is a little homework to do.

    And after supper, there are eggs to clean

    and more reading to do

    and still more stories at bedtime.

    Saturday morning brings her first attempt at frying an egg

    and a walk with our Sheltie, Cheyenne.

    When she asks, I'm glad I know how to French-braid hair.
    I know because once upon a time many years ago my hair was long and thick like hers.

    The morning flies by, the camera forgotten, while we putter at this and that. All too soon her mother arrives and our slumber party is over. What a sweet memory it is for me, and someday, perhaps, for her too.

    Thursday, September 5, 2013


    If I leave my computer on all the time, it gets automatic updates that keep its operating system running smoothly. You probably don't know it, but I "update" you all the time, with the posts that write themselves in my head. This evening, maybe I can get a few of those updates out in the open, where you can actually see and read them!

    I'm still scrubbing blue jars and bottles. Robin keeps unearthing another box or crate of them from the depths of several outbuildings. I've washed and boxed up quite a few now. I can only do four or five a day since the cleanser that does such a good job removing the crud on the glass also does a good job of eating up my fingers.

    After additions started appearing on our mystery wreath, Robin added an old saddle form to the post behind it. Low and behold, after a month or so, a rifle appeared! No one has yet admitted to being our partner in country road decor.

    After trying my skill at photographing a Baltimore Oriole, I turned my attention to the hummingbirds that were frequenting our feeder on the front porch. A little patience and some cropping resulted in a few good shots.

    As for the puppies, we still have Ernie and Gracie. We chose to keep Ernie because he is so much like his papa. We had hoped to place Gracie in a good farm home, but so far we haven't been able to. She's such a sweetie and almost eight months old. It will be awfully hard to let her go now.

    The old folks in our lives continue their daily journey toward another birthday. With two dads and three aunts all between the ages of 91 and 99, we're getting a lot of first-hand experience in the aging process. It's fulfilling, frustrating, bittersweet, and scary, all at the same time.

    Our garden is struggling: we had good potatoes, cucumbers, and corn, but the tomatoes and everything else have suffered from too much rain and not enough sunshine. I've done a little canning and freezing, and thank goodness, we have a lot left over in cellar.

    On one of the blogs I follow, A Haven For Vee, Vee wrote about how she has so many posts started that have never made it to her blog. It was a relief to find out I wasn't the only one who does this! Over the past month there have been at least three or four posts that never made it out of my head. Hopefully this little update will fill you in for the time being. Now, if I could just figure out how to get automatic updates on my middle-aged body to keep it running as smoothly as my computer!!