Election Day 2014

I swear, I can’t even go vote without the Orples tagging along. It looks like there were lots of people out and about today, doing their Patriotic duty. I only hope we can get rid of some of the fossils on the Hill (slang for Congress and the Senate, for those of you unfamiliar with American political terms), and put some fresh PATRIOTS in our higher Governmental offices.  This Nation is a mess right now.

Olivia and Oscar tagging along, learning about how humans operate. I think we should nominate Olivia for President in 2016. You'd better believe she'll straighten that bunch of clowns in Washington out!

Olivia and Oscar tagging along, learning about how humans operate. I think we should nominate Olivia for President in 2016. You’d better believe she’ll straighten that bunch of clowns in Washington out!

My voting precinct if Falling Creek Elementary School.

Our voting precinct, for my district and according to my street address is Falling Creek Elementary School.

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[New Post] photography 101: Street (Wheeler’s Pond Road, Dinwiddie Va)

This is a street I used to drive everyday to go to work.  It is one of the three roads forming the Five Forks intersection in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. One of the last battles critical in bringing the American Civil War to an end happened on the battlefields surrounding this intersection on April 1, 1865. Eight days later the Civil War came to an end in Appomattox, Va.  For anyone interested, this link will take you to an article on Wikipedia explaining the significance of this skirmish between the North and the South. The Ranger Station, straight ahead, has been demolished for whatever reason since this photo was taken. The barn on the left was still there the last time I drove through this intersection, about two years ago.  I used to own a little piece of  horse property two or three miles from this intersection, and often rode Magi through this area, especially during hunting season, since the entire area is posted ‘No Hunting’. And of course it is always safer to ride roadside when the hunters are hunting and your horses color favors a deer. Some hunters will shoot at anything that moves, but that’s another story for another time.

Olivia and Oscar exploring Wheeler's Pond Road, heading toward Five Forks Battefield, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Olivia and Oscar exploring Wheeler’s Pond Road, heading toward Five Forks Battlefield, in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Below is a map of where the orples are relative to the intersection. Olivia is all about learning about every subject under the sun. And she loves to share the information with others. Feel free to follow the links for more information as your curiosity inspires you. 5_forks_Sat_View

Angry Orples?

Whoa! Let me insert this little clip to appease Olivia and Oscar,  this blog is named in honor of the Orples, after all. They heard I’ve started blogging again and were devastated that I didn’t invite them to come along for my last two adventures (at Swannanoah). So to make them happy, let me reintroduce these unusual little creatures to those of you who don’t remember, or have not yet met, these little orange-people. They do love to explore when we go on our little field trips. Oscar and Olivia have found a tree to play on, or is that in?  Whichever; when you’re the size of an orange, you can fit in all kinds of places, including underground. Feel free to browse through some of their other photos, if you like these. If you look in the margin, there is a category, Orples in Photos.  There are also links to Amazon’s site in case you’re curious as to ‘How Orples Came To Be‘.

Orples on Stump 10.26.14

I think maybe while they’re in a good mood, I should tell them they have competition with my new ‘Bride’s Trilogy’.  Actually, to date, only two out of three books are available for sale to the public. Everything available to date in listed in my margin, for anyone who is interested. Just click on the appropriate Icon to go to that book on Amazon’s site. I’m still tweaking, ‘Brides. Book 3. Topeka, so it is unavailable for the time being. I’m also trying to get my e-books formatted correctly, which I’m doing myself using Kindle’s resources. One day I’ll end up blogging on that topic/adventure/nightmare?—perhaps a little of all three when you don’t know what you’re doing? Maybe I should ask Olivia how to do it. She seems to know it all, at times. Although, I suspect she may be a little huffy when she meets Roger and the gang from the Bride’s series.  Olivia likes being in the spotlight, with Oscar, and maybe Jack, and she might share the spotlight with Mrs. Mouse, but I doubt Olivia would have much patience with some of the character’s in Brides, since they sometimes use wordy durds, unbecoming to an orple’s demeanor.  You’d really have to read the books to know what I’m talking about.

Swannanoah. A Peek Inside. View 2. Going Up?

Yesterday, Sunday, October 26, 2014, I finally went to Swananoah for the first time in 25 years. I grew up about 8 miles from the mountaintop palace, as the crow flies, and never knew it was there until I was a grown woman with children of my own. As explained in my last blog post,Swananoah is the sister mansion to the Maymont mansion in Richmond,Va.

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 You are gazing at opportunity knocking on the door. As renovations take place, there will come a day when the ‘guts’ of these walls will be covered again, leaving one to wonder what’s behind the plaster. Look while you can.  The newel, railings, and banisters are all metal, probably iron, although, honestly, I am not sure. Given the amount of marble throughout this breathtaking structure, that metal might be bronze. I’d tell you if I knew for sure.  I really enjoyed the rustic appeal of this wondrous old palace and am thrilled that someone intends to restore it. If ever it becomes a Bed and Breakfast, or a Hotel, as is rumored, I hope to spend at least one night there, on top of Afton mountain overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.

With all of the stair photos I took yesterday, I’m wishing I’d visited Swannanoah before they had the ‘stair’ challenge in 2012. I posted two entries, at least, in that challenge. Check ‘um out: Stair one, stair two, if you have the time, and inclination, to browse further.

Swannanoah: A peek inside . View 1. looking down

Standing at the top, look down, there are so many amazing things to see.

Standing at the top, look down, there are so many amazing things to see.

Preview Post Some staircases are so cool, especially when they just keep on going, from one floor, to the next, up or down. Add light to the sheer coolness of the stairs themselves and you get a double dose of delight, teasing the mind and the eye.  I went to Swannanoah today.  They will be open one more weekend this fall, then they will open their doors again in the spring of the year. If you’ve checked out any of my Maymont Posts, you will see that the Dooley’s, the owners of this palace, also owned Maymont in Richmond, Virginia.  Unlike Swannanoah, which fell into the hands of siblings, Maymont was donated to the City of Richmond, and as a result has been maintained, both through city funds and generous private donations. Everybody loves Maymont. Swannonoah, the Dooly’s summer home is currently privately owned and is under renovation. and is opened to tours periodically, for the time being. It is rumored that the owners are hoping to turn the palace into a Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, or similar. The palace is supposed to be haunted and they do some spooky stuff on top of Afton Mountain at certain times of the year. Wikipedia has an article on the Estate, and there are articles if I’ve tickled your curiosity, here. I took some cool photos today, and will share more of them here and there. Right now, I’m going to bed. Besides, I think when you post ‘um one at a time, each photo basks in its own glory a wee bit more. For now, please enjoy this capture in the afternoon sun.

A Path To the River’s Edge

I was going to post this set of shots earlier, but the orples were bugging me, and then they got hung up in some tree roots trying to cross the path, so I did a post on the orples to keep them satisfied.  If they can keep up, they can join us as I show you one way to reach the rocks bordering the James River. This is a popular hangout spot for old and young alike on our hot summer days in the city. When the rains are heavy, sometimes the rocks can no longer be seen as the river rises within the boundaries of its shores. To begin the trek to the river, we must first park the car, then climb some old steps onto the well worn path.

For those of you who are new to my blog and don’t know what orples are, you can go to the Orples Overview section of my blog to learn more about them, if you so desire. 😉 In the meantime, it is off to the river we go…

Set off on the far corner of the parking lot, in the shade, our journey begins.

This is a better view of the steps leading up to the narrow path leading to the river. For those carrying coolers, with the intent of spending the day on the rocks, it is a challenging path, no doubt. Watch your step.

This is a better shot of the tree in the path the orples got hung up in on the last post I did ( Today 6.4.12). Wearing zorries is not recommended when trying to make your way over these roots. The bank to the left goes straight down the side of the hill.  Falling over the side of the bank would be a real bummer.

Once you get past the tree in the path, another set of stone steps beckons you further up the hill.

This structure stands at the top of the hill. I am not sure what it’s purpose is, really. It may have been a building that never was built, or maybe at one time there was a roof on those steel beams. This has been in for years, and I’ve never seen it in any form other than from that shown here. And I used to walk this path often, when my kids were teens and we’d come to the river. There is a porta potty tucked in the corner though, so it makes a great stop off spot, if you know what I mean.

A sign clues visitors in as to what this little path is all about and lists a few rules to follow. There is also a map of the trails, which can be accessed by bike or foot in most areas.

This is a better view of the map taken from the sign above.

It appears the orples have caught up with us. They seem to be mastering the steps. Good for them. In the background, there is a bridge crossing some railroad tracks. The gates accessing the foot bridge are locked at night to keep people off of the rocks after dark.  The bridge is caged to prevent people from throwing things over the side onto the train tracks below.

These are some of those trains I was telling you about, parked along the tracks.

And if you keep looking, you’ll see more trains.

Standing on the platform leading to a set of stairs going down, you can look out over the rocks. Not many people have camped out today. It is still early in the year, but as summer progresses, towels are spread out over the rocks, much like you see at the beach.

Looking down from our perch, you can make out the tops of people’s head that have taken the stairs down to ground level. I think we’ll bypass that trip today. Maybe later. For now, a birds-eye view will give you an idea of how far above the ground we are now standing.  If I remember correctly, there are five or six flights of steps down to the bottom.

Here’s one more look out over the outer shores of the river (hidden by the trees). Enjoy your view.

This is a better shot of those stairs Olivia and Oscar were descending in our earlier shot, heading toward the river.  Now you can really see the porta potty, I was telling you about earlier.

And here is a different perspective on those stairs we crossed awhile ago coming up the hill. I love the way the rock ties in with the elements of nature as though the steps are a natural part of their surroundings.

As we arrive back at the parking lot, it looks as though Olivia and Oscar managed to keep up, after all. They are going to be two tired little orples when they get home, no doubt. That was quite a trek to travel when you’re the size of an orange. My little orple buddies make me proud!

A city block at ground level . Richmond, Virginia.

Yesterday, I went to Richmond to pop off a few shots to share with those who have never visited our State’s capitol city. I chose to focus on the basic street views for yesterday’s post to give you an overall feel of the surroundings.  Today’s post will cover the ground at our feet as we wall along the street. Enjoy your stroll, please.

The wrought iron railing adds charm to the brick and keeps dogs off of the lawn.

Petunias add a spark of color to the surrounding foliage.

Brick planters edge the sidewalk, defining the flowerbeds in some cases. A step up landing eases the entry into the lovely old homes, lining the street.

The fencing in the back ground of this open lawn compliment the brick and tile work leading into the adjoining home. It also conceals backyard actives, allowing a little privacy from the street.

Different brick adds accent to yet another sidewalk flowerbed,complimenting the home beyond.

Passing the local Temple, the stairs going down to the basement caught my eye. So, snap,snap.

This lovely little example of landscape architecture beckoned from across the street.

… so I crossed the street and caught a different angle.

Rounding the corner, the contrast in brickwork demanded my attention, so what could I do, but comply with its demand?

Brick stairs, with wide ledges, invite guests into this old home. An attached arch marks the alley entrance for those who choose to bypass the house.

Some of the alleys between the homes aren’t wide enough to allow reasonable access. Here is one solution to that problem, when the alley is of little use.

A courtyard to the side of this lovely old home boasts some simple landscaping for passersby.

Here a nice little patio serves as the front yard. No doubt a nice place for friends to gather informally on a beautiful day.

Blue Hydrangeas are the focal point of entry for this handsome home.

Walking down the street, a little further, the occupant’s of this home decided natural brick was not for them, so they added a splash of color to their sturdy home. The porch railings set this home apart from its neighbors as well.

The owners of this home decided to use a living ornament to welcome guests into their home. This friendly fellow curiously watched me as I snapped his portrait.

These steps didn’t leave much room for landscaping with plants, but a pot here and there compensated for the lack of yard.

Heading back to the car, I passed the Temple again. Looking down, this is an alternate, but interesting view. A wee bit different from the shot I presented earlier.

As I headed up the sidewalk, basement windows edged the sidewalk.

Tucked back, from the corner extrusion, stairs leading into a side wing of the Temple presented themselves. These stairs look like they are meant to carry heavy traffic for years to come.

And finally, on the way back to the car, here are those colorful little Petunias again, as shown from a different point of view. The edgings along the sidewalk tie the residences to each other beautifully. Because of our abundant clay soil, brick is a popular building material in our most of our Virginia cities.