Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Corn in the backyard 2010, weeks 15 & 17

August 8

August 22

I apologize for not having an image of the corn on August 15. I neglected to get a photographer lined up while we were out of town, so we missed another exciting look at the progress of the corn. That progress is clearly apparent in these two images as the corn is much drier now than it was two weeks ago, and the progress of the shadow across the yard is even evident also. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Virginia in August, Day 3

We planned to visit the coast on Sunday afternoon, but by the time we were twenty miles away from the ocean it was apparent that half the population of the U.S. had the same idea that day. We turned around before we were delayed by too much traffic and salvaged our afternoon at Colonial Williamsburg.

Unfortunately, our old CW passes had expired since the last time we were here, and we hadn't planned enough time in the historic district to justify new passes. Fortunately, you can still visit a few shops and take in the ambience of the old town even without a pass. In this photo, Karen and Gretel approach the Mary Dickinson Store to check on any changes in the inventory since we were here last. The clerk at this store requested we cross the street to the Greenhow Store where there was a clerk that had admired the girls' hats earlier and wanted to chat.

After a bit of inquiry we met Jacki, a homeschooling mom that had worked as a milliner in the past and had a large collection of hats. Jacki told us she also enjoys feminine dress and encouraged Karen and Gretel to continue collecting hats (fortunately we don't have 400 like Jacki). The visit was enjoyable enough that we will look for Jacki at the Greenhow Store when we visit CW again.

Virginia looks a little different in August than it does in the spring or fall, and it wasn't difficult to notice the difference around CW. The appearance of this garden is a pitiful shadow of its spring display.

The Governor's Palace doesn't look a lot different, but the Palace Green appears to be more sun-drenched and populated.

Bruton Parish is as quaint as always, although the blooming crape myrtle is a nice touch I don't remember enjoying in April.

You might remember this crape myrtle from Lily's garment portfolio photoshoot.

This tidy backyard off Nassau Street is beautified even further by the crape myrtle blossoms.

Lily's workshop over the past three days has been held in the classroom wing at Jamestown Settlement. The facility was designed and built especially for Jamestown's 400th anniversary, and we think it's a nice complement to the Historic Jamestowne National Park Service site.

Inside the Jamestown Settlement building, the family members wait patiently for the workshop participants.

Lily was still busy with hand sewing Sunday evening, and probably will be busy for awhile until this gown is finished. We'll try to post some more photos of the garment in progress, so you can get a better idea of what it looks like.

Since we hit the road for home Monday morning, that's all for our report from Virginia this time. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Virginia in August, Day 2

When we started visiting Colonial Williamsburg several years ago, I began to appreciate the role Patrick Henry played in the histories of Virginia and our nation. Because Henry lived in over a dozen different homes across Virginia, visiting all of them could take some time, so we finally got around to visiting one of Henry's better known homes: Scotchtown.

Built in 1719, Henry didn't own and occupy this 3,100 square foot home until around 1772. This is actually the back of the house, but I think it's more photogenic than the front, and this is the direction from which visitors to the property approach now. Several reconstructed outbuildings surround the yard now, although there were doubtless many more on the 960 acres when Henry lived here.

The plaque placed by the APVA also notes Dolley Madison's presence here for an indeterminate period during her childhood.

This is the less-than-impressive front view of Scotchtown, along with the approach to the home which is obviously not frequently used today. This gate is at least 100 yards off the road, so there may have been a long lane leading to the front entrance when the Henry family lived here. I certainly hope Mr. Henry was more fastidious about pruning the bushes than the current caretakers are.

This small building covers a dry well in the backyard that is 29 feet deep, and reported to hold a temperature of 42 degrees F all year round. Is that possible? Our tour guide thought it was unlikely that they used this pit for ice storage, and suggested they probably had a dedicated ice house somewhere else on the property.

Finally, back to Lily's polonaise gown progress. These pieces compose the back of the garment, and have been hand sewn together with Lily's typical care.

Here's a closer view of the stripes coming together at the seam. Don't feel bad, Lily, you can always try to match them better next time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Virginia in August, Day 1

Virginia in August? When the forecast calls for a high temperature of 104 degrees? Do they have air conditioning there?

Even though we try to avoid vacationing in summer due to the crowds and hot weather, we were compelled to travel now in order that Lily might attend a historical sewing class offered in Williamsburg. So while Lily endures a classroom for three days, the rest of us get to run around enjoying our tourist status.

Since we don't have a ferry near our home, we made the trip across the James River on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry just for the experience. The ferry fleet is made up of four boats, and we happened to be placed on the Pocahontas on each of our trips, and as you can see, we had plenty of room while enroute.

Since we're not ashamed of our tourist status, we were quick to hop out of the car and wander the boat snapping photos. The natives were content to sit in their vehicles sleeping or reading the newspaper, but we thought that sounded pretty boring and stuffy. The fresh air over the river was more our style. It's pretty windy out in the middle of the James River, enough so that one needs to have their hat well pinned.

This is another boat in the fleet, the Williamsburg. The voyage takes about 15 minutes and we found ourselves usually approaching the dock just as the previous boat was leaving.

Once in Scotland, we didn't really have another destination, so we consulted Garmin's list of attractions in our GPS. Less than 20 minutes from the dock at Scotland is Bacon's Castle which sounded good to us even though we'd never heard of it before. The section of house on the left was built by Arthur Allen in 1665 and is one of the few examples of Jacobean architecture in America. With four floors (including basement), brick construction throughout, and over 5,000 square feet of living space, it was one of the grandest homes in the colony at the time. In fact, most homes in Virginia in the 17th century would have fit inside the master bed chamber of this home.

The Greek Revival addition on the right was added in the 19th century, and is joined to the original house by a hyphen that served as the new formal entry for the home. Close examination of the central tower on the older section reveals it once served as the entry which was converted to a window at the time of the addition.

The triple chimneys and curvilinear gables are likely the most distinctive features of the building, and are impressive in any period let alone less than sixty years after the colony of Virginia was established.

The home was named by neighbors after Nathaniel Bacon's men captured it in 1676 intending to use it as a fortress during Bacon's Rebellion. Fortunately it never came under fire, and there is no indication that Nathaniel Bacon ever set foot on the property. Although the Allen family were not supporters of Bacon, they and all subsequent owners have endured the popular name of the estate.

Even though it only dates to the mid 19th century, I think the entry in the hyphen was still nicely executed. Some of the rooms are restored to the style they probably would have known in the 1600s, while others are decorated to reflect their 18th century state. The tour takes you into almost all the areas of the older house, and reveals many of the structural features you don't normally get to see. The only negative is that photos are not allowed inside the building.

On the way back across the James River, I had to take this photo to show that the Garmin continues to faithfully show your location, even when you're in the middle of a river.

The view from the observation deck of the Pocahontas on our way back to Jamestown.

Here's a view of the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed that we'd not seen before. The ships are excellent recreations of the three ships that made the original voyage to Jamestown, and can be viewed up close and personal by purchasing a ticket at Jamestown Settlement (which we had done on a previous trip, but skipped this time).

Finally, evidence of Lily's work today. This is the front of the bodice of the Polonaise gown she's working on in her class. Lots of draping and pinning and cutting in class, and then hand sewing in the evenings for homework. I think she enjoys it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beautiful sunrise #11, beautiful sunset #15, and a rainbow in between

August 4, 5:38 AM

August 4, 5:29 PM

August 4, 8:06 PM

Evidently a good day for admiring the sky, even if I did have to wipe the condensation off the camera lens each time.