Friday, March 31, 2023

Location, Location, Location

This tree on the corner of Boundary and Prince George Street is a photographer's favorite in Williamsburg, partly, I suspect, because it is exceptionally beautiful and partly because it happens to be across the street from one of the town's most popular restaurants. As is true in so many cases, it's all about location, location, location.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Dancing Plague


Thanks for yesterday's comments! They were very interesting, especially since I was leaning in the same directions. But I finally chose to read John Waller's book, which turned out to be something different than what I was expecting. I'll not give away the story, for the sake of those of you who might also want to read it. All I will say is that Waller's writing style kept me engaged throughout and, as good nonfiction should do, caused me to reflect more deeply on somewhat similar and more contemporary "dancing plagues."

Wednesday, March 29, 2023



My local library, like many libraries, promotes various books by genre, setting them out on tables. These were just a few of the titles on the nonfiction table. Which one would you choose to read?

Tuesday, March 28, 2023



A colonial era sport utility vehicle. :-)

Monday, March 27, 2023

Tulip Garden


One of the things I enjoy about photography is the ability to keep scenes like this with you throughout the year. I suppose the same could be said about painting, because I can easily see how scenes like this could be translated to canvas.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Festivals of Color


Lots of folks were flocking to Washington, D.C. this week and weekend to see the cherry blossoms. I would have, too, had this past week's weather been a little more cooperative. Still, there are "festivals of color" nearly everywhere in Virginia these days, so I was more than content to simply enjoy our more domestic displays.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Judge Tucker


There is a lot of U.S. and Virginia history (good and bad) embedded in this epitaph:

"Descended from Virginia's best blood, Judge Tucker was by birth and training a gentleman of the old school. He filled with credit and distinction positions of trust and dignity. Was judge of the U.S. Court in the Territory of Missouri, and after his return to his native State was the Professor of Law in the College of Williams and Mary till his death. His influence in developing the minds and character of his pupils was a prominent trait in his character. He was a ready, accurate, and elegant writer. e was hospitable, benevolent, and charitable. And his honor and integrity was without a stain. This eminent scholar and author: upright Judge, learned jurist, constant friend, affectionate Husband and father, died as he lived, a Sage, a Patriot, and a Christian." 

Friday, March 24, 2023

In the Air


Spring is definitely in the air. All you had to do yesterday was to breathe deeply and to feel the pollen threatening to choke you. Still, the sun was out and the temperatures, for a change, were actually beginning to edge up into the category of what I would call true spring. Nice! Even the birds seemed to be loving it as they appeared almost everywhere, singing and chirping--Mockingbirds, Towhees, Bluebirds, Nuthatches, Chickadees, to name only a few of them that I saw.

Thursday, March 23, 2023


 The first time I can remember drinking a glass of Tempranillo was while hiking in northern Spain. Ever since then, I've made a place for it at my table. According to Wikipedia, "the dominant flavors include cherry, dried fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. Age impacts the flavors of Tempranillo significantly, with Roble and Crianza examples imparting juicy fruit flavors and heat." Frankly, I would be hard pressed to describe the flavor, but I have detected, I think, just a little of that "heat" that's described. Maybe. Just a little. :-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Apricot & Lentil Soup


Apricot and Red Lentil Soup adapted from "Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus" by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford (Kyle Books, 2016). According to G. Daniela Galarza, in this morning's Washington Post, "Red lentils give this soup its porridge-like texture, while tomatoes and carrots enhance its orange hue. Onions, garlic, cumin and thyme ground it in savory flavors. And dried apricots, rather than turning the soup sweet, add brightness, like a glimmer of spring sunshine."

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Happy vernal equinox, everyone!


Monday, March 20, 2023

Carolina Jessamine


Although I understand that much of this plant is toxic to animals, I've noticed how the House Wrens who have taken up residence in that storage building in the background like to use it for shelter during the day.

Sunday, March 19, 2023



Perhaps the Duke basketball team could have used a little kale in their diet before last night's game against the Tennessee Vols, because they didn't seem to be playing at their usual high level. By contrast, I thought the Arkansas and Kansas players must have had too much, especially given the frenetic pace at which they played in the first half. What a game! And yet one more #1 seed bites the dust!

Saturday, March 18, 2023



So, I'm almost always faced with this same dilemma whenever I fix beans and rice of what to do on the third day when there really isn't enough left for a full meal. In the past, I've tried extending the dish by adding onion, sweet pepper, and even corn. This time, however, I tried diced tomatoes with very pleasant results. 

Can't exactly say the same for the photo. Somehow I've got to figure out a way to provide better light over my stove. The two tiny halogen lamps in the hood above have the effect of spotlighting portions of what I'm photographing and leaving the rest in the dark. So I'm thinking the only solution is to set up some kind of additional studio-like lighting.

Friday, March 17, 2023



Heard an expert in the field say that the label "Non GMO" means almost nothing and that it's more of a marketing tool than anything else. Anything that's labeled "organic", though, does have to meet certain federal government standards. I noticed this morning that my favorite brand of black beans does actually carry the OCIA Certified Organic label.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Maple Mustard Salmon


Tried my hand a couple of nights ago at a salmon glaze made of stone-ground mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice (with zest), garlic and thyme. I was eager to use up some of the maple syrup someone gave to me for Christmas and to see if I could shoot this photo at ISO 100. The latter worked, but required an exposure taking a full 13 seconds! I at first thought maybe my shutter was stuck. :-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023



Well, so as not to keep everyone in suspense about yesterday's post, here's the explanation. Continuing work on my car, I replaced the cabin filter. What happened, however, is that I became fascinated by the way my camera captured the images of both the filter and the chamber in which the filter is housed. 

Here's the new filter.

And here's the chamber where the filter is housed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Monday, March 13, 2023


Seeing that Packard yesterday inspired me to install some parts on my own humble Yaris, beginning with new windshield wipers. According to one source I consulted, you should replace your wipers after 50 hours of service. But since that can be a pretty hard figure to calculate exactly, I prefer my method, which is to replace them whenever I feel like or when they begin to squeak or chatter. 

Which wipers to buy? Well, I'm not sure it makes a lot of difference, since we should be replacing them more often than we do. Still, I've had a fairly good experience these last two go arounds with Bosch wipers. This time I bought the more expensive Envision wipers only because they came with a 10% discount AND a free gallon of windshield wiper fluid. (Not sure what I'm going to with that since I already have most of a gallon left. But . . . it seemed like a  good deal, so I went with it.) Here's what they looked like still in the box. BTW, I had to order the rear wiper blade myself through Amazon, since the attendant said her store didn't carry them. Not sure what THAT was about! I think she just didn't look very carefully at her inventory list.

Wishing you all clearer vision of the road ahead. :-)

Sunday, March 12, 2023



Seeing this was like stepping into a movie set in the 1930s.

Saturday, March 11, 2023



You may have noticed that I've recently been gradually uploading photographs from my 2014 visit to Berlin. This was my second visit. The first came in 1973, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. So when I spotted this book by Sinclair McKay at my local library, I simply had to bring it home and start reading. 
It's been excellent and a great companion as I sort through my photos. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Construction Zone


The Greensprings architects (aka beavers) have been re-imagining the swamp. You can see their most recent handiwork in the dam to the left. Their HQ, if you will, is in the background to the right. 

They've been at this job all winter, chopping down trees, hauling them to the construction site, putting them in place, all with the seeming blessings of our local authorities who evicted them from their original work site after their endeavors apparently threatened the integrity of a popular foot bridge. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Viola Swamp


When I saw this photo I took of Greensprings again this morning, I couldn't help but think of a character out of a series of children's books I used to read to my children. Miss Nelson (aka Viola Swamp) was a substitute teacher. Viola Swamp was a strict substitute teacher who always instilled order in a class full of rambunctious kids whenever Miss Nelson, the class' regular teacher, was away. So much so that the children always looked forward to Miss Nelson's return.

I personally can't ever remember a substitute teacher like "the Swamp". For me, it was always the other way around. It was the regular teacher who brought order out of the chaos the substitute teacher left behind. As an older adult, I now have a deeper appreciation for all that teachers, regular and substitute, have to go through to educate our children. As they say, if you can read this blog, thank a teacher! :-)

Monday, March 6, 2023

British Union


It was a cold west wind blowing a couple of days ago when I took this photo. We experienced gusts up to 30 mph. Great day for flag lovers! I believe the one that was flying on this occasion was the British Union Flag designed by King James and that was used in the American colonies from their inception and until 1775.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Keen Targhee

Ready for my next 500 +/- miles.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Swamp Trees

Did you know that there are different types of swamps? It stands to reason, I guess, although, until now, I've never really given it any thought. But apparently it's true. According to one source I consulted, for instance, these bodies of water are usually named after their most dominant types of trees. I'm on a mission now to figure out what the dominant type of trees grow here in this swamp known locally as Greensprings.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Eighty-five Percenter


I've never really understood Lindsey Graham's turn from being one of the "three Amigos" (Graham, McCain, & Lieberman) to MAGA Republican. How could someone count McCain as a personal friend and, at the same time, maintain close relations with someone like Trump? 

In this chapter of Baker and Glasser's "The Divider", the authors explain how Graham's switch was the result of his desire to--in a word--remain "relevant".

Still, Trump has never believed Graham is entirely on his side, hence his use of the term "Eighty-five Percenter".

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Lady Beetle


Uhm, who knew that entomologists prefer the names ladybird beetles or just lady beetles to avoid confusion with true bugs? Apparently, there's a difference! And here I've been calling them ladybugs for as long as I can remember.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Spring Trios


With so many signs of spring approaching, I decided it was time once again to return to the swamp to see what might be happening there. I didn't see much that had changed. The trees, most of them, still stood bare against the sky. Leaves were still lay gray on the forest floor. A hawk suddenly left its perch on a branch high above and somehow miraculously navigated its way through the woods on its way, I suppose, to better hunting grounds elsewhere.

No, what changes were occurring could better be heard than seen. Spring peepers were already singing. I've read that they often congregate near water and sing in trios, with the deepest-voiced frog starting the song. Imagine! Peeper choirs, everywhere, singing their little hearts out to attract their mates. Just the thought makes me smile.