Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Autumn Blaze Rainbow


The other night there was a stunning sunset after the rain...

11-19-16 Autumn Blaze Rainbow

...which produced a rainbow...

11-19-16 Autumn Blaze Rainbow 2

The view from our backyard is such we can see the entire rainbow, though I'm not sure that the right side is apparent in this photo.

11-19-16 Autumn Blaze Rainbow 3

Most amazing was the typically dull dead trees in the distance that were lit as if by fire by the sunset...(note the dramatic difference in this post when I took photos of the supermoon a few days earlier)

11-19-16 Autumn Blaze Rainbow 4

Close-up of the right side of the rainbow.

11-19-16 Autumn Blaze Rainbow 5

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Biggest and Brightest Supermoon in 68 Years


My super ambitious goal of the day, November 13, 2016, was to take pictures of the moon. Not just any moon, but the supermoon. And not just any supermoon but the biggest and brightest full moon since January 26, 1948. There won't be another one this close until November 25, 2034. In fact that sounds like the beginning of a time travel plot...inspired by a recent movie I saw about time travel to 2016 because of a rarely seen comet in 1945. (Journey Back to Christmas)

That's a long wait so I decided to do my best capturing stunning shots of a huge moon against the horizon. I highly anticipated sunset. However I got so completely caught up in cooking dinner that I forgot to look for the moon on the horizon. As soon as I realized my forgetfulness I grabbed my camera and ran out the back door. Alas, the moon in my backyard was of normal size, through a bit brighter. Later I saw incredible pictures others had taken. The next day was cloudy throughout. Even so, I did chase the moon a couple of mornings later while driving home around 9am. I had the moon in sight, large and pale white against a stunning blue sky with blazing leaves set in the foreground. I kept it in sight as I parked the van in the driveway, ran into the house to grab my camera and ran back outside to find...the blue sky and blazing leaves, but no moon. I lost my incredible moment.

Nevertheless, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have these attempts taken on the evening of November 13.

11-13-16 Supermoon 6

11-13-16 Supermoon 2

11-13-16 Supermoon 8

11-13-16 Supermoon 4

11-13-16 Supermoon 5

11-13-16 Supermoon 6

11-13-16 Supermoon 7

11-13-16 Supermoon 8

11-13-16 Supermoon 9

Monday, November 28, 2016

Moo Thru

After a staycation in our "backyard" of Chapman Mill, seeing a train from the 1940's roaring down the rails, and hiking to John Marshall's birthplace, we went to our favorite spot for ice cream, the Moo-Thru!





I always get the Moundz! I love coconut and dark chocolate! The ice cream is so creamy. And the cones are so fresh!





Sunday, November 27, 2016

John Marshall Birthplace

Last summer, we had a stay cation in our back yard which began with a journey to Chapman Mill and seeing a 1940's train steam through! After that we headed home, picked up my son who was now free to join us, and ventured to another part of our "backyard." Often on our drives we see this sign...


So on this lovely June day we searched for history on the "edge of the American frontier" (as this article describes the location of John Marshall's birth). Today it is known as the western part of Northern Virginia, in Fauquier County, specifically Germantown.


We had no idea exactly where to find the birthplace, so we drove around Germantown a bit before we finally found...


...a well-planned park for John Marshall's birthplace.


I had only expected a lonely trail hidden within the woods, so this was a complete surprise...


We walked 1/2 mile through the woods to the birthplace...


Just imagine walking through the woods that John Marshall played in as a boy...


When he grew up he was a Culpeper Minuteman...


He attended the College of William and Mary. Like his cousin, Thomas Jefferson, he studied law under George Wythe.


He was a representative of Fauquier County in the Virginia State Assembly...


He served in the US House of Representatives...


He also served as Secretary of State...

Then in 1801, President John Adams appointed Marshall Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the position for which he is most famed.


Marshall is famous for his landmark decision in 1803's Marbury v. Madison, establishing judicial review (rendering Congressional decisions null and void if they violate the Constitution).


Marshall was often at odds with his cousin, President Thomas Jefferson. Marshall advocated a strong federal government, whereas Jefferson maintained that power belonged to the states.


On a lighter note, Marshall enjoyed reading Jane Austen books...


...and the theater.


Marshall was also quite the quoits player...


A few years ago we got to visit Marshall's Richmond house, which I blogged about here.










Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Norfolk & Western Class J611...Train Whistles of the 1940's

Last summer we had a short day for our stay-cation so we focused on a couple of places in "our backyard." Visit number one was at Chapman Mill which to our surprise held a surprise for the day.

When we arrived there were guys standing in various strategic spots along the railroad track that ran behind the mill. All of them had massive cameras with massive lenses, some with tripods.

While exploring the mill my husband found out a train was about to come down the tracks. Trains are a big deal in my family and the setting was certainly unique, so we agreed to stay to see the train chug through. My husband staked a claim near the mill whereas my daughter and I staked a claim down the road, near one of the photographers. Eventually he came over to chat.

Turns out, history was about to chug down the tracks. The Norfolk & Western Class J611 was on its way from Manassas to Front Royal. According to the photographer, one of the reasons this was historic was because it would likely never happen again. A new department head at the train's museum had apparently this would be its final run.  All I could think of was a 1959 Doris Day and Jack Lemmon movie called, It Happened to Jane.

However here is the rest of its history for all the vintage lovers out there. Between 1941 and 1950 fourteen of these beautiful trains were built. Only one exists today. That one and only train was on its way to us!!!! We couldn't yet hear the train whistle, so on with the history. In its day, not only was it fast, but it also pulled luxury cars. Even on this day the train was allowing passengers from Manassas to travel in style. Rates for the excursion ranged up to $1000! “It’s a masterpiece,” John Nutter said of the 611. “It’s the most efficient steam engine ever built. Some would argue it’s the best passenger engine ever built.” (The Roanoke Times, "'Old 611' Begins Journey From Museum Piece to Running Locomotive", Tonia Moxley, May 24, 2014.) It was capable of pulling up to 15 passenger cars at 110mph. They averaged 15,000 miles per month, with some obtaining nearly 3 million miles in their tenure. With these facts the writer of this Salisbury Post article dubbed the train a "war horse" and the "Queen of Steam." Read more of his comments here. (Salisbury Post, "Queen of Steam: When it Comes to Locomotives, the Class J611 Has Few Rivals", Mark Wineka, April 7, 2016.)

On that note...all of which I heard from the photographer...and with a tip from him to look for the Texas Special (especially since we were both Texans)...we heard the whistle!!! Following are the photographs my husband took...










Wasn't that grand? I'd love to wear one of my 1940's dresses and have some photos done up close to the train. (sigh) What a great setting with a gorgeous training for a stunning historic photo shoot.

If that wasn't enough greatness, then enjoy this video that my daughter took!