Mailboxes and Fences

When on the way home from an early Saturday morning meeting, I could not help myself.  I had to pull over.

Just a few minutes drive from my home, this Southwest Virginia view is enhanced by old mailboxes and fencelines.

I’m slowly, ever so slowly catching up.  Be back soon!

It’s a Mystery

Sometimes all I need is a short ride to clear the brain and lift the spirits.  That’s surely no mystery.  The mystery comes at the end of this post.  Keep on scrolling down, my friends!

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I walk in the door, drop the purse, lunch bag, and lap top.  Grab the helmet, wallet, and camera, and hit the road.

I typically choose back roads for the scenery, the farms and barns, and the old houses.  Yesterday I also added a 20 minute run along a highway.  Ahhhh …. the famed wind in the face therapy.

So where’s the mystery?

I stopped to photograph this decrepit home at the intersection of two country roads.

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As I wandered around the house, I specifically thought of Mike from Mike’s Look at Life.   How would he portray this house?

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Mike has a skill with B&W that I do not have and he might have presented the image differently.  But I share it this way for a reason.  Look what is revealed when I put the image back into color.

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A bright shiny door knob and a new propane tank.  Hmmm … what do you think goes on in this old place?

(Be sure to check out Mike’s blog … for the photography AND for the comment section!)

Pizza House Jam

Southwest Virginia is home to The Crooked Road, a 333 mile stretch along scenic roadways where traditional and heritage music can be heard.  “The variety of music is amazing … old time string bands, a cappella gospel, blues, 300 year old ballads, and bluegrass” (myswva.org).

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Music can be heard in Major Venues such as the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, and the Floyd Country Store in Floyd.  In addition to these Major Venues, there are over 60 Affiliated Venues, places where traditional music can be found, often in weekly jam sessions, where anyone with a song or instrument is welcome to join in.  Radford is home to the Radford Fiddle and Banjo Jam which was started by Ralph Berrier in 2000 and is currently located in the River City Grill (Photo Credit: Photography Intern).

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An offshoot of the Fiddle Jam is held in the Pizza House, a locally owned business since 1971.

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While not an Affiliated Venue of The Crooked Road, the Pizza House Jam is a place where local musicians gather to play and sing.

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While I can join in on singing a few of the songs, I have no talent with a musical instrument.

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The music fills the room, the folks watching tap their feet or sing along, and the faces of the musicians reflect the joy of the evening.

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And that is what music is all about.

Grayson Highlands Getaway

Grayson County, located in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Southwest Virginia, was the location of this past weekend’s gathering of the BGs, a group of women who meet a few times a year to celebrate birthdays and friendship.

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We enjoy delicious food and drink, take walks, read books, play games, and sometimes do a little crafting.

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All this, plus plenty of time for talk, is typically done in a cabin or farmhouse in a rural part of Virginia.

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We worried about this little one – he seemed so sluggish – but maybe he was just enjoying being able to catch some rays on a 50 degree day.

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We surely enjoyed our time in the sun.

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Cheers! Spring is coming!

Little House in Shiloh

I’ve driven by these old cabins many times

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and I’ve stopped to take photos before

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but this time, the character of these old structures spoke to me.

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and against the backdrop of snow, I couldn’t help but think of days gone by.

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I Just Couldn’t Do It

Another image from that beautiful day in Shiloh (see here and here).

I specifically stopped to shoot this ramshackle structure with the idea of converting it to B&W.  I follow a few bloggers who seem to instincitvely know what works in B&W and I wanted them to know they have influenced me.

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  I just couldn’t do it though … I loved the green framing, the red roof, and the blue sky, all highlighted in the setting sun, and with the addition of those shadows that I love so well.

The Merc

The Draper Mercantile is a lovingly restored, 125 year old building in Southwest Virginia.  It currently serves as a place to hear local music, enjoy a fine meal, and as a showplace for regional arts and crafts.  The Merc has been providing goods and services to Pulaski County and the surrounding communities for over a century and according to the website “visitors could purchase just about anything”.

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A receipt found in a desk by the current owners summarizes an eclectic purchase: sugar, burial clothes, salmon, lemons, and a coffin.  At various times, The Merc has housed a barber shop, a blacksmith, the post office, and a dress shop. In the spring the farmers brought in their lambs to sell and in the fall their hogs, turkey, potatoes etc., which went towards settling their accounts (drapermerc.com).

One evening last week, I met my friend Amy on the upstairs porch and enjoyed a glass of wine in a beautiful setting.

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Some would have used photoshop to rid the images of powerlines.  Despite the fact that I don’t have photoshop, I think that the powerlines add historic accuracy to The Merc and the community of Draper.

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If you’re ever in the area, check it out!!