Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Latest From The Hur Herald
It Is So Sad!

More than a million bats have died of "white-nose syndrome," a malady caused by a fungus that attaches to bats, interrupts their hibernation and causes them to die of starvation and exposure.

The Division of Natural Resources has announced that infected bats have been confirmed in Pendleton County's Hellhole Cave, the state's largest and most important bat hibernation center.

The discovery in Hellhole sent shock waves through biologists throughout the country since an estimated 200,000 bats spend the winter there.

Bats are important in nature since each bat sometimes consumes thousands of flying insects each day.
Also, Hellhole Cave is a critical habitat for two nationally endangered species, the Virginia big-eared bat and the Indiana bat. Forty percent of the world's entire hibernating population of Virginia big-eared bats calls Hellhole home.

The DNR says white-nose syndrome stands to become "the largest wildlife threat on record."

The loss of bats to white-nose could become even bigger than the population collapse that led to the extinction of the passenger pigeon.

In the four years since bats began dying in New York, entire populations have disappeared.
Biologists in New York are saying there are no bats left.
Officials say there is no known solution.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home From Shepherdstown

We arrived home his past Tuesday to the glory of our flower gardens. Before we left the daffodils were not in bloom. Upon arriving at the house, we were greeted by "bundles" of yellow and white flowers.

The Linten Roses are just about to see their last blooms. They are actually of the Butter Cup family. Their flowers bloom during the Easter celebration of Lent, leading the vernal procession of color in the shady areas of thoughtful perennial gardens. I just love it when internet sites state "When they are not in bloom they remain as lush ground cover throughout the year; and they are deer proof".


Bloodroot! Yes, a true harbinger of spring has bloomed in the shade garden.

Will keep you all up on what is currently blooming on our Gilmer county "estate". (Estate? Well, yard!)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


A Wonderful Breakfast

Even though we have a free continential breakfast at the Comfort Inn, Judy and I can not pass on the quality breakfast that is served at the Bavarian Inn.

The Bavarian Inn is a romantic country chalet offering European elegance and authentic Bavarian cuisine from its scenic location overlooking the Potomac River. The charming and historic inn is owned by the Asam family. The 72 luxuriously appointed rooms feature gas fireplaces and whirlpool baths among their amenities.

Spring has also sprung at the Bavarian. The daffodils were showing their yellow "faces".

Nestled on the eleven acre estate is the Greystone Mansion, where guests are invited to dine in warm elegance. Award-winning international cuisine is served amid the mansion's dark hardwoods, stone fireplaces and fine furnishings. An extensive menu of German and American fare, lovingly prepared by master chefs, is the hallmark of the Bavarian Inn experience. Signature selections are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while wild game dishes such as roast pheasant and wild boar are served seasonally. Casual dining and entertainment is a staple of the Rathskeller, a richly paneled hideaway in the European pub tradition. I savored my salmon omelette!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


A Walk In The Park

It was such a beautiful weekend. The girls wanted to walk and play in the park across from the house.

Below is a favorite lady of ours, Cate Johnson, who used to live next door to Rachael and John on Mill Street in Shepherdstown. She and her husband, Mark, now live in Morgantown. Cate and Mark are very caring friends!

As we were taking the picture, who should surprise us by coming quickly down the slide? Twas Lucy, of course! Lucy is quite the character.

On the porch she climbed upon my lap and said, "Grandpa, I love you." This always makes a grandpa's heart melt. She then started rubbing my hair with her little hand. (I have always said that in the next life I want to return as a cat since I love to be patted and scratched.) I thought - Wow, I will start early in training Lucy on the methods of head scratching. I said, "Lucy, check out grandpa's ear". I know - this was a deceptive technique to get my ear scratched!

Well, truth is that this request backfired on me. As she was checking out my ear, Lucy stretched the lobe toward her and yelled at the top of her voice - "Hello down there!" My brain bounced in it's cranial case. I chuckled because I had asked for this verbal onslaught into my auditory canal.

Here is Harper who now lives next door. He is a bundle of energy.

I heard the girls say that they want to go to the monument to see the new puppy. The play ground leads directly into the Rumseyan Mounument Park. Here Flora and Lucy found their new friend, who, indeed, happened to have a new pug puppy.

As you know, the Rumseyan Monument Park is actually a two acre park honoring James Rumsey, inventor of the steamboat, and was placed overlooking a bend in the Potomac River where the first successful test of Rumsey's steamboat took place in 1787. The monument and base was constructed in the early 1900's for a cost of around $15,000.

Rachael and Mom is sharing a monumental Rumseyan hug!

The geology and hydrology of Shepherdstown is very interesting. This rock outcropping makes a fine accent in monument park.

As we looked over the wall separating the park from the Potomic River, the bloodroots were in full bloom.

Upon returning home from the park, we were met by Flora and Lucy's new kitten, Rascal.

It was a fine day once again. Spring is definitely here. The Siberian squill was popping their heads out from the side of the walk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Circus

Saturday afternoon we packed up the girls and headed to the Berkley 2000 Recreation Center in Martinsburg. What better way to spend a quality afternoon with the grandkids than at a circus?

The Walker Brothers Circus had all the shopping opportunities that you find at these entertainment events. A variety of balloons and fiber optic toys were available at "unreasonable" prices.

What is a circus without food? Flora went to the concession stand and purchased 2 cotton candies, 1 bottled water, 1 popcorn, and two lemonades. She came back and gave her Mom the change. She proudly announced that all this costs only 17 dollars!!

In addition to the gourmet offerings, how else could parents be relieved of their hard earned money? The circus does not want to disappoint so they had available pony rides for only 4 dollars. Yes, the kids were able to ride on a "REAL CIRCUS PONY"! The ride was two trips around the circus ring. Below we see equestrian Flora showing off her riding skills.

The circus clown, Lucho, served as the resident face painter. Rachael, who has always had this fear of clowns, decided that this guy was cute and would take him home!

Another entertainment venue was the "bouncey castle". The girls did bounce in this exciting structure. (Exciting because it periodically deflated when kids were in mid-bounce!)

The performers were the typical acrobats, jugglers, and cylinder balancers that are usually offered in a small circus.

The only animal act was the "REAL CIRCUS" ponies. I thank PETA for helping eliminating from the small family circuses the elephants, lions, and othe exotics - these animals are often abused and live in dire surroundings. (OK- the ponies are not covered by the USDA public exhibitor's license - a license to exhibit animals under the Animal Welfare Act. It excludes horses, ponies and cold-blooded animals.)

Speaking once again of the "REAL CIRCUS PONY" rides. The circus had a 15 minute intermission were you could once again get your face painted, ride the ponies, hop in the castle, or buy a special intermission commemorative balloon and coloring book. Grandma helped Lucy on her first "REAL CIRCUS PONY" ride.

It was a fun afternoon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Yard Sale and O'Hurleys

Last Friday, we traveled to Shepherdstown to visit our eastern panhandle family. On Saturday Judy and I were on an errand when we saw a yard sale by the Family Dollar store. Judy had to stop! My good lady purchased for John and Rachael the two wing back chairs shown above. The kitchen table and chairs to the right of the chairs were also bought.

Let's see, in addition to the kitchen table and chairs and the wing back chairs, the good wife left with an assortment of video tapes, framed pictures, a 1920's Franklin sewing machine, a 4 foot balerina doll, and a "partridge in a pear tree". Rachael had to drive over to see these treasures for herself and also help in transporting the loot!

A favorite place to shop in Shepherdstown is O'Hurley's General Store. Their motto is "We probably have it - if we can find it!"

O'Hurley's is operated by Jay O'Hurley who was born over the store. His Dad operated the store before Jay became proprietor. The store is located directly beside the railroad tracks. One of the many favorite stories told by Jay is that his Mom noticed the decrease in passenger travel on the steam locomotives that were stopping in Shepherdstown. She wanted her son to be able to experience the thrill of a train ride.

She purchased two tickets from Shepherdstown to Sharpsburg, which is a distance of a few miles. They boarded the train, rode to Sharpsburg, and then walked home!

Judy discovered the store mascot. Milo is a stray cat that has taked up permanent residence in the store.

O'Hurley's is a treat for the eyes. Metal toys, hats, teas and coffees, puppets are only a few of the thousands of items.

The store is heated by the pot bellied stove as was found in all general stores of the past.

As you wander through the rooms of the store, you will end up in Jay O'Hurley's Great Room.

This is an area is for the gathering of musicians. There has been a jam session every Thursday night for the past 30 some years.

The sounds of harps, dulcimers, fiddles, banjos, guitars, and many other instruments fill this room with wonderful tunes. It is an great experience to listen to all the musicians. Next time you are in Shepherdstown, do not miss O'Hurley's General Store!