Washington’s River Farm

July 30, 2007 at 6:17 pm (history, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

The first “English” family to own the property on which River Farm is seated, was not the Washingtons. It was the Catholic Brents from Maryland. Captain Giles Brent landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1638, accompanied by his sisters, Margaret and Mary, on their way to settle Saint Mary’s City in Maryland. The Brent family was related to Lord Baltimore, the King’s proprietor in Maryland, and during their stay in the colony they associated closely with Lord Baltimore’s brother, the resident governor, Leonard Calvert.

By 1647, the Brents had become weary of political battles with the Calverts and religious battles with the Maryland Protestants and left the colony to settle along the Aquia in Virginia. The wife of Giles Brent was a young Indian princess of the Piscataway tribe who had been entrusted to Margaret Brent as a child by her father, a convert to Christianity. She was raised in the Brent household and at the age of 16 was married to Margaret’s brother, Giles. Although Giles Brent initially claimed most of the colony of Virginia because of his marriage to the Piscataway king’s daughter, he was assuaged by the Virginians to accept a grant of patent totaling 1,800 acres from Thomas, Lord Culpeper for his year-old son, Giles, Jr. This land was Piscataway Neck and included the land which is now River Farm.

The image, George Washington’s Farm, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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Legato School

July 14, 2007 at 6:45 am (architecture, landscape, Virginia) (, , , , )

A Photo from Neddy

The Legato School is the last of Fairfax County’s one-room schoolhouses. It has been restored and furnished as it was in the 1870s, and is operated as a museum. It was here that first to eighth grade students of western Fairfax County were taught the three Rs from 1870 until 1930. The schoolhouse was originally located at the intersection of Pender and Legato Roads. The building now sits upon the grounds of the Fairfax County Courthouse, Route 123 near Main Street, in Fairfax City, Virginia.

One elderly gentleman once described Virginia’s educational system in those impoverished times as teaching “The Three ‘Rs’ … Readin’, Writin’ and Road to Washington.” Today, Fairfax County, Virginia is one of the most affluent and educated counties of the entire United States.

In June of this year my Red Hats group were given a tour of the Fairfax County Courthouse construction site by project manager Ellen vanHully-Bronson. Parts of the courthouse were complete with carpet and finishes. Other areas were very much still a construction site. When completed the almost $100 million 316,000-square-foot expansion will more than double the size of the existing Jennings Judicial Center. The new courthouse is a five-story reinforced concrete-framed structure surrounded by a serpentine Jeffersonian brick wall. There are fourteen fitted-out courtrooms and three shells of courtrooms for future expansion, fourteen elevators, larger holding cells, a new law library, a beautiful courtyard and a state of the art security system.

Here is the slideshow: Courthouse Construction Site June 2007.

The image, Legato School, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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Golden Hollyhocks

July 1, 2007 at 8:27 am (flora, gardens, picasa2, Virginia)

From Neddy’s The Plains Album

“Hollyhocks! Stiff as starch!
Oh, fix your bayonets!
Forward! March!”

Flower fads come and go, but to old timers like me, Summer means hollyhocks. In long ago England the Crusaders returned from the Middle East bearing mallow plants which became “holy hocks”, because “hock” meant “mallow” in English. The bright flowers were a hit in the dark and drab Middle Ages.

In America, the common hollyhock arrived with the colonists. Thomas Jefferson grew them at Monticello. In the late 19th century the plants were beautifully cultivated on Appledore Island, off the New Hampshire coast, where they were immortalized by the American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam.

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Pocahontas in the Woods

May 7, 2007 at 9:06 am (art, history, portraiture, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

Pocahontas(circa 1595–1617) was a young Indian princess who is said to have prevented the execution of Captain John Smith by her people, the Powhatans. She was the “dearest daughter” of King Powhatan.

“… the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beat out his brains, Pocahontas the king’s dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon his to save him from death: whereat the Emperor was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper; …” (Memoirs of Captain John Smith).

Afterwards, Princess Pocahontas befriended the English colonists at Jamestown, whom she came to love, and became a Christian. Captain John Smith credited her with saving the Jamestown settlement from starvation.

“Now every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants, brought him so much provision, that saved many of their lives, that else for all this had starved with hunger. Thus from numb death our good God sent relief, The sweet assuager of all other grief.” (Memoirs of Captain John Smith)

The American princess married one of the colonists, John Rolfe, becoming Rebecca Rolfe and she travelled to England where she was entertained as royalty. She died young, in England, leaving a baby son to be raised by relatives there.

The real Pocahontas has become lost in the legends that have grown up around her short life. Here she stands overlooking the James River of Virginia, from whence appeared those first English sailing ships in 1607. Here she stands, planted on her own sod where her moccasin clad feet skipped and danced so many centuries ago. However, even this statue of her at Jamestown Island, Virginia, has transformed her into something she was not – an Indian maiden of the American plains.

Her mortal remains are planted on a foreign shore across the great sea, at Gravesend, England, as she died on a ship headed back to her native Virginia. Learn about “Pocahontas and the Red Bollings,” watch Neddy’s slide show of Jamestown 2007.

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The image, Pocahontas in the Woods, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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Awaiting His Queen

April 30, 2007 at 2:45 pm (history, landscape, Virginia)

English Captain John Smith, scanning the James River from Jamestown Island, Virginia, as he anticipates the arrival of his long awaited Queen Elizabeth. She will be coming on May 2, 2007.

My Jamestown Island Slide Show, April 2007

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Legend of the Dogwood

April 26, 2007 at 7:16 pm (flora, gardens, Virginia)

Dogwood blossoms on a dogwood tree that I planted about three years ago. It gets more beautiful with each season. Dogwood is both the state flower and state tree of Virginia, although it is the white wild dogwood. There are natural wild dogwoods here that are pink too, however they are a much lighter colored pink and not seen as frequently as are the white dogwoods

There is a lovely legend associated with the dogwood tree. The dogwood’s blossoms are in the form of a cross — two long petals and two short petals. At the outer edge of each petal there are rust-stained and blood-stained nail prints and in the center of each blossom is a crown of thorns. This came about at the dogwood tree’s great grief and distress at being used to make the timbers of Christ’s cross. Thenceforth, in the Springtime, it reminds all who see this to remember

In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.

‘Twas strong & firm it’s branches interwoven
For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.

Seeing the distress at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:

“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so

Slender & twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.

As blood stains the petals marked in brown
The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.

All who see it will remember me
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.

Cherished and protected this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony.” ~~Anonymous

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Flowers of a Virginia Forest

April 19, 2007 at 9:01 am (flora, gardens, portraiture, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

These are actually broken stems that I gathered from my woodland garden after a windstorm. The wounded blossoms resulted in a cheerful display. 

once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower.

~~Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni is a celebrated poet who has been a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech since 1987. She is a dynamic speaker and it was she who delivered the powerful and passionate memorial ceremony’s closing speech. The above poem by Giovanni is entitled “Winter Poem.”

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The image, Virginia Flowers, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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Marine Corps Museum

April 16, 2007 at 7:54 am (architecture, history, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

The roof of the new National US Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, Virginia has created quite a landscape for travellers along the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia. I shot this image from a moving car window while heading northward on I-95 during an April Nor’easter. The focal point of the museum building is this soaring, 210-foot tilted mast atop a 160-foot glass atrium. The architectural design was inspired by the famous Iwo Jima flag raising of World War II, as was the famous U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, farther north in Rosslyn, Virginia.

The “first” birth of the USMC came about on November 10, 1775, when the Continental Congress raised “two battalions of ‘Continental’ Marines” to be used as landing forces with the fleet. These early Marines served on land and sea, and distinguished themselves in battles and operations. Their first amphibious raid on foreign soil occurred in the Bahamas in March of 1776. Believe or not, when the 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War, Congress saw no further use for the Continental Navy nor Marines and sold the Navy’s ships and disbanded both arms of military service.

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The image, Marine Corps Museum, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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Remember the Cross

April 8, 2007 at 11:16 am (Christianity, landscape, Virginia)

Flickr Photograph

Remember the Cross on which Jesus died. Remember the Promise of Resurrection.

Easter Remembered at Laurel Grove Church Ruins, from my Picasa Albums:
Laurel Grove, Virginia“.

“Fire Guts Historic Church

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The image, Promise of Resurrection, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin.

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Train 53 Southbound

April 4, 2007 at 8:01 pm (Florida, landscape, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

 … the engineers don’t wave from the trains anymore
Not the way they did back in 1954

“They’ve all got computers and diesels and things
And the engineers don’t wave from the trains any more
No the engineers don’t wave from the trains.”

“There’s more important things that’s changing our world
Engineers forgot about us little boys and girls
But I still get a far-away look in my eye
When I see an old train rushing by. ” (Blue Grass Song)

AmTrak Train 53 Southbound, travelling through Lorton, Virginia beginning its journey of 855 miles from to Sanford, Florida, non-stop, carrying passengers and their vehicles.

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The image, Lorton Train, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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