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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My friend Sue has new neighbors - Alpaca.

These guys are really cute - and curious, too. We'd walked through the woods to the field their pens are in. They were all up by the barn when we got there - which is quite a ways away as you can see. But they just had to come down to the end of their runs to see who we were.

I'd seen llamas before, but these are my first alpaca.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No, I didn't overparty last weekend - I don't even drink - but I did see a pink elephant during my travels this week. When I stopped to visit, I found he had friends.

The elephant and his buddies were up in Stafford, VA. I was also in Spotsylvania, where I found the Civil War Soldier's Life Museum. The most unusual thing I saw there was the two bullets which met in mid-air and were permanently fused together.

They had an excellent display of firearms from the period - caplock rifles, pistols, and accoutrements.

Hi-tech (for the time) artillery.

Ordinary items of daily soldier life - cards, eating utensils, pictures, shaving stuff.
I had a particularly neat weekend last weekend.
I had worked in Leesburg and Purcellville, and realized that I was very near my friends Chris and Pat, so I arranged to spend the weekend with them.
We had lots of fun.
They are involved in a demonstration project, arranging for the amazing amount of good wood cut down in the city to be actually put to good use instead of just dumped in the landfill or ground in the big chipper trucks. So we went to the Green Festival in DC. Lots of interesting booths - everything from reforestation projects to specialty organic coffee.

We also went shopping in Poolesville, MD, near their home. This

is the old town hall, which also was a bank in a former incarnation.

We stopped at Poole's Store,

which was the first business in the area and is now a museum/gift shop.

On my way back to Virginia, I had to stop and take pictures of this shop because I have never ever seen so many birdhouses!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I might want one of these swings
in my yard - except that today it IS in my yard.

I'm parked at Franklin Park at Purcellville, walking around this garden spot. It's a memorial garden, actually.

Plants and trees and benches and garden swing... many of the plantings bear plaques indicating in whose memory they were planted.

I've seen people spend an awful lot on funerals. I've promised to haunt anyone who does that upon my demise. What I'd want is a Native American style scaffold like in the beginning of Windwalker. Probably illegal in this neck of the woods. But - Plant a tree! Adopt a highway! Clean a stream! No funeral, no embalming, no fancy casket. No permanent piece of real estate. I have spoken.


I saw this on the walkway.

So is it that someone marked where a ground dwelling spider lives? Or what?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bingo! Eureka! I found it!

I don't eat sugar any more. For various reasons, like for instance I no longer take tums at an alarming rate. I don't miss heartburn.

I do make a breakfast shake of protein powder, ground oatmeal, orange juice and milk. Normally I use MLO protein powder, available at Kroger, unsweetened and economical.
This week I'm working so close to last week's job that I didn't go home in between. I ran out of protein powder and there are no Kroger stores up here. Food Lion, Safeway, Giant, but no Kroger. I checked all 3 chains and some drug stores and health food stores.

Not only do they not carry MLO, the brands they DO carry are all sweetened with something. There are many many names for sugar. Most of them end in -ose or -ol. Read labels - you'll find out what's really in the food.

At Healthway Natural Foods in Purcelleville, though, I had to make choices. They had at least 5 different unsweetened protein powders to choose from. This is a high quality problem ;) They also have an excellent selection of other good stuff. They're having their grand opening October 28th from 11-4 and I wish them great success.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things does not belong

Look at the picture. Find the item that doesn't belong with the rest of the items in the picture.

If you selected the plastic bottle lying in the grass, you're right.

We can put people in outer space but we can't put a coke can
in the trash can 6 feet away?

In all fairness, Franklin Park at Purcellville VA is a beautiful, clean and well-cared for park.

It's just that humans are humans: messy. So here are these examples of what I see - often in much more quantity - in the course of seeking out beautiful peaceful outdoor locations.

What you pay attention to, you get more of. For the rest of the afternoon I noticed every little cigarette butt, every little scrap of paper. Many of these found their way into my trash bag on my way to the picnic table to grill chicken and re-string the banjo.

A true treat in the travelling life is to find an indoor pool, with no requirement to pay annual membership. I found one in Leesburg, VA at the Ida Lee Park recreation center. 2 pools, actually. The main pool is large with lanes for lap swimming and swim meets, with a shallow end reminiscent of beach with no sand for swimming lessons and kids... The secondary pool is warm, smaller, wheel-chair accessable I guess - long sloping ramp to walk in - I think 4 1/2 feet deep max, and is intended for therapy and relaxation. I relaxed for quite a while :) To make it even better, they have lots of hours - they're open as early as 5 during the week and stay open late. The surrounding park is large and pretty, and the Wi-Fi equipped library is in the same complex.

I've been to a number of towns with rec centers with pools and out of town / day use rates - and a much larger number of towns without. YMCAs are sometimes available by the day, but some (including, shamefully, the one at home in Lynchburg) are only by membership. What's an out-of-towner to do? (or for that matter, local people who can't really afford the annual membership or have only very limited time to swim.)

Well, if ya can't swim for exercise, pleasure and relaxation, ya can always hike and fish...

I found a tiny - very hidden - roadside? park just outside of Leesburg.

Small parking area, 3 picnic tables, path to the river. I parked and grilled chicken. Quite a number of local people parked and went fishing.

Another day I spent the afternoon at the Olde Izaak Walton Park on the south of town. This used to be the Izaak Walton facility until they moved a bit further from town. Now it's a public park with a pretty pond

and a building and trails to hike. Unfortunately it was raining so I didn't hike them - save that for next time.