Saturday, 11 February 2017

Walney Pond & Farm


We went for a walk this afternoon at a local Fairfax County park, once a farm and surrounding woods.


It was very still, so there were good reflections in the pond, despite the grey skies.


The stream above the pond had at one stage been diverted and dammed to create an ice pond, which enabled ice to be created and carved up in winter for use through the year in an ice house.  


The stream was also used to enable the processing  of milk, butter and cheese in the farm dairy.  Although little is left now it is still possible to see how the thick stone walls and running water would have helped to keep everything cool, especially on the steamier summer days.



The farmhouse itself, dating from the early eighteenth century and originally accompanied by a wooden house alongside, is now a visitor centre.


The only original wooden building is the smoke house..



It was an interesting walk and will be good to visit again when the trees are in leaf.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Beautiful Donations..

Some lovely items of modern, vintage and even antique jewellery find their way to the thrift store.

These beautiful brooches, above and below, are both very finely made of 14k gold and one is a signed designer piece from the 1970's.


The following two items from the Art Deco period are both silver.


This bug sash pin with an art glass body is made of lower grade 800 silver.


This necklace, a beautifully articulated style set with paste stones is made from sterling silver.

It is amazing to see such donations coming in, being researched and sometimes cleaned up a little and then moving on to new homes with their delighted new owners!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

As forecast..


Although we didn't get any significant snow this morning there was a cold wind and the temperature struggled to get above freezing.  Definitely a contrast to yesterday's warmth!


This evening we had several snowstorms and then, suddenly, the sky cleared to blue and the sun filtered through..


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Record Breaking Weather


Just over one week into February and today's highest temperature here was 21C!  T shirts, shorts and flip flops are in evidence on the streets!

Apparently yesterday and today were the warmest February days on record by a significant margin.

Tomorrow however, a significant drop.  Snow is forecast for the early morning and a high of 2C!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

On Sale at the Bargain Loft


I have been writing some posts for the Bargain Loft Facebook page and so each time I visit I take photos of items that I might feature.


There is quite a variety to choose from.  This is an original vintage Avon poster - from the 1950's I think.


We always have a wide variety of jewellery from 50 cents to more than 500 dollars!


Beautiful glassware and some Wedgwood too.


This Singer sewing machine is motorized - whether this is a later addition I don't know.  



Instead of a treadle, foot peddle or handle, when you open the cabinet and sit at the table there is a knee trigger on the right hand side..


Even our 'free'box outside the store has some interesting items!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Great Falls


Yesterday afternoon we walked along the banks of the Potomac to the weir above Great Falls.


The river is very quiet at this point.


The bed of the Patowmack canal - built in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century with a view to improving navigation on the Potomac river to enable barges to bypass the rapids at Great Falls is  still quite complete here and is impressively built.


We then walked down to the first overlook of the rapids - the water level was quite modest and there were kayakers and paddle boarders below the Falls.



It is interesting to compare these pictures with those that we took a year ago when we visited Great Falls when a heavy snowfall was melting across the region and swelling the river..



Sunday, 5 February 2017

Maple Syrup 'Boil-Down'


Today we visited Colvin Run Mill near Great Falls to see a demonstration of the stages of making maple syrup.


Quite a crowd had gathered to learn about how the sap is tapped from the trees - we saw a tap and collecting pan near the mill..


The sap is a thin, clear, almost tasteless, liquid - 98% water and so it has to be boiled down over many hours to create a syrup.


This boiling pan takes 18 gallons of sap but will only yield three or four pints of actual syrup.  


We had the opportunity to taste some cornbread with maple syrup which was very good, before walking down to look at the mill itself.


The mill race is drained for the winter but in March the mill will operate on alternate weekends.  It was used as a commercial mill for grinding corn and grain until 1931.


The mill stones are made from a series of pieces of stone imported from France.


By contrast the external and internal mechanisms are made of locally grown wood..


The mill has been beautifully restored and is carefully maintained.  As the flour and grits that are milled here are offered for sale to visitors, we were told that each working of the mill requires several days of preparation and cleaning to bring it up to a suitable standard of food hygiene.


We plan to visit again when the mill is running.  In the meantime we called into the mill shop - an original building which was moved from across the road and which operated as a country store and post office from the early 1900's.