Saturday, 25 March 2017

Meadowlark and Vienna


After a morning visit to Meadowlark Gardens for a walk and to see how the cherry blossom was progressing, we headed into the small town of Vienna for lunch and a look around.


As it was very warm - 23C - we were able to have lunch sitting outside at a Japanese restaurant.  Very pleasant but rather surreal to have such a warm and even muggy, cloudy, day when there are still heaps of ploughed snow in shaded areas where paths and roads have been cleared!


After lunch we walked along Church Street which has quite a few historic buildings, the old railway station on the Washington and Old Dominion line (now a trail and cycle path) and, of course, a church.  


We last visited Vienna and walked around in the first few weeks that I was in the US but on that occasion the historic Freeman Store (dating back to 1859) was not open.  


It is now a museum, historic country store and visitor centre restored and run by Historic Vienna Inc. and we were able to look around at some of the exhibits showing the history of Vienna (originally named Ayr Hill by the first, Scottish settlers there) and of the railway and its impact on the town.


Upstairs two rooms are set out as for a late nineteenth century parlour and dining room for a middle class or merchant family.


We also visited the original Vienna Library building with its mini-me tiny library in front..



The 'real' Vienna Library is up the road, larger, built in red brick and considerably less photogenic than the original but small 1897 one.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Mystery Object


I came across this yesterday at the Bargain Loft and spent a while pondering what it could be.  Not a very good photo I am afraid.

Others were also perplexed, even when we read the description on the tag, which said it was a replica of a vintage cranberry picker.


It did make more sense when it was correctly placed in the way that it would have been used to collect the berries in the flooded fields..  With the handle at the top it would be possible to skim the picker along the surface of the water, catching the berries between the prongs - and stripping them away from the plant?

The main design fault as far as I could see (if I have correctly understood how it worked) is that it would be heavy with water collected in the scoop as there were no holes to let it through.

Looking up actual vintage cranberry pickers on line I see that they were also made of metal sometimes and are also used for blueberries and huckleberries - or were until around 1900.  So I think that the picker must have been used as a kind of comb or rake with an upwards movement through the bush, pulling the berries off and dropping them into the scoop.

Flooding the cranberry field to harvest the berries is perhaps a later idea.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Just for the Birds


This is Main Street, Waterford.  A little further up the road, a telegraph pole caught my attention..


I went a little closer to see what the 'lumps' on the post were.


Quite a collection of bird houses, all the way up the post..


This one was probably the most elaborate - although needing some renovation.


I wonder how many of them will be occupied during the breeding season?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

School House & Jail House


The old School House in Waterford is a one-room building where the first school in the village was established in 1867.
Although it was not open to visitors, we were able to peer through the windows to see inside.


Twin desks, complete with reading books were set out as if for a lesson.  


On the blackboard the date - February 11th 1880, the name of the teacher and of the president and a motto 'Beautiful hands are they that do deeds that are noble, good and true'.


Also in Waterford we saw another one-room building - although considerably smaller than the school.  This was the jail - apparently in use (hopefully only occasionally) until 1936.


Outside was this old pump - presumably once supplying the water for the village..


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Groundhog Encounter


Of course we have heard of groundhogs and knew that they are fairly common residents of Virginia but, until Saturday, we had never seen one.  We almost didn't see one then, as soon as he saw us he froze and he was extremely well camouflaged.


In case you couldn't spot him, here he is up close.  


And smiling for the camera to show his rather impressive front teeth!

These are not small animals - they can be up to 3 feet long and they are powerful diggers.  The easiest way to spot their homes is by the new earth thrown out the front door..


Later we saw one emerging from under the wooden porch steps of one of the historic homes.  Not something that the home owner would welcome I imagine - they are quite prolific breeders and can dig a burrow which is 5-10feet deep - not really what you would want under your house!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday at Meadowlark

It was a lovely sunny morning at Meadowlark but the garden was very quiet.  


There were splashes of Spring colour  around the lake. 

Some of the bulbs had suffered a little from the snow but most were undamaged.

The sunshine on the fountain created a mini rainbow.

Along the side of the lake are rows of cherry trees.


We had thought that there might be cherry blossom to see but it is a few weeks behind the blooms in Washington DC which this year is fortunate as most of it has not been damaged by the recent snow and cold.


A few of the younger and more exposed trees were showing some brown on the blossom.


In the shadier parts of the garden there were many different types of  Hellebore in bloom..







It will be worth another visit in a week or two to see the cherry blossom in full bloom.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Waterford Market


Before we visited Waterford I had looked at the webpages for the village and read that the Saturday opening hours for the Waterford Market were '10am - 5pm unless the sheep need tending'.


As we approached, this became a little clearer as, in the field next to the 'market' (actually a kind of grocery store and general social hub of the village) was a very handsome flock of sheep.


Inside the shop we met Linda, owner of the business (and sheep)..


It was hard to know where to look first - the pot belly stove, spinning wheels, wool, finished items, fleeces were all fascinating.. as were all the rosettes won by the sheep.




The grocery items in the store were quite quaintly arranged on shelves from a bygone era..


The freezer was a 1940's Coca Cola branded model..


The owner herself was very happy to talk to us about the village and about her sheep, it was a fascinating visit.


In the middle of the village at the crossroads this shop had been a store and visitor centre, now sadly closed.


On the opposite corner of the crossroads there is still a post office..



As well as s village blacksmith..


This little building had originally housed an insurance company..