Posts Tagged With: railroad spikes

IWotB 2021 edition ~ day one

The first day of International Week of the Birthday was also Mother’s Day.

We met Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K at Naked Mountain for a ‘picnic on the mountain’. Lunch of salad, paninis, chips and assorted macarons served with our favorite Naked Mountain wines.
When deciding if we would spend mother’s day together, I asked Thing 1 if she just wanted to be with her little family. She replied, “I have the rest of my life to spend mother’s day with my family. I might not have the rest of my life to spend mother’s day with my Momma.”
Watching my daughter be her daughter’s mother is one of the great joys of my life.

Thing 2 was working hard all day but sent a quick message in our group chat: Happy mother’s day ladies, work is crazy right now but I will find the time to call each of you.

YBW and I were early for our 11:30 lunch reservations after leaving the new house, so we turned right on Leeds Manor and got to (route) 55 just as a train was coming. We went to the same crossing in the tracks where we took some of our wedding photos and I counted the cars as the train went past.
(three engines in front, thirty-eight cars, with an engine in the middle)

On our mini-adventure, we discovered the old Markham station.

I love these eaves!

Across the tracks from the station are these two buildings.

They are obviously currently inhabited, but I suspect during the time in which Markham was an active whistle stop, these were hotels.
(will actively begin research when I finish this post)

I stood on the tracks for a moment after taking this photo. My intention to find a spike. As I moved my head to look down, I said to YBW, “Do you see…” and I trailed off as he gently elbowed me and pointed to a spot about six inches from my left foot.
And there it was just waiting for me, ready to be plucked from where it laid on the tie. As straight as the day it was made, the perfect amount of rust discoloration.
I bent down and picked it up and leaned into my husband as I stood. He put his arm around me and held my close for a moment. I pressed my face to his chest and said, “Thank you for supporting my weird.” He chuckled and kissed the top of my head.

International Week of the Birthday is off to an excellent start!

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railroad at chapman mill

Chapman Mill is a crumbling ruin standing where Prince William and Fauquier Counties come together. I’ve driven past it countless times. Every single time, I say aloud, “I want to go take photos there.” (even if I’m in the car alone)
Well, Saturday two weeks ago, the sun was shining (for the first time in ages) so YBW and I got bundled up against the below freezing wind chills and headed to the mill.
I got to wear my brand new love YOUR melon beanie for the first time!
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(Little D’s new mom and I were texting about getting together and I took this photo asking her to tell him I kiss him. But at least you can see my hat so it’s cool.)

When we arrived at the mill site we were greeted by this.
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I was livid! THE FREAKING GATE WAS LOCKED!! We couldn’t get all the way down the road to the mill. I will admit to saying one or two bad words…well, perhaps it was one or two bad sentences. How dare you hang a sign to welcome me and then lock the gates? Rude!

But…the railroad runs right beside the mill. So I get it in my head to walk down the tracks to the mill.
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Only the moment I walk up the path to the tracks I hear the whistle of a train…I waved to the engineer and he waved to me. It called up all the many times in my life I’ve stood at the side of the railroad and done that. It brought me great joy and in that brief moment, I was a little girl again.
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YBW decides right then it may not be the safest course of action since the sides are steep and there really is nowhere to go but down. I was like, but the train just came by, this is the safest time. We split the difference and I just stood at the path crossing. Honestly, I didn’t want to go down to the mill by myself, I wanted to share that experience so it worked out OK in the end.

I absolutely loved this curve in the tracks. I think the railroad is so elegantly beautiful for being something so well constructed for such hard core usage.
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You know I had to look for spikes while I was up there. And I found some, just lying around in the rocks. I love how a railroad spike and rocks create these natural sort of collages.
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There were three such collages, but this is the particular spike I picked up and carried home.

The mill really is quite compelling. In a hauntingly sad yet beautiful way.
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I’m eager to return when the gates no longer lock me out. The wheel is still there on the other side of the mill. You can see Broad Run, which is a lovely. The view from the interstate is even more beautiful than this view from the railroad. I’m keeping my hackles up, but I’ll be checking back more frequently as the weather warms.

When we left the mill site, we drove down along the tracks just to see where they went. This was the opposite way of home, but we were on an adventure! We were out with our cameras to shoot things that moved us!

I loved the way this railroad crossing sign looked behind the overgrown grasses.
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Lastly I got on my knees in the middle of another crossing to shoot the tracks from a different point of view.
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The mail carrier who had to wait for me to get my shot and get back up out of the way before he could drive his truck over the crossing didn’t seem terribly impressed by my attempt to create art…of course he had a job to do and I was just out shoot stuff.

We decided to go back out today with our cameras. I’ll leave my warm beanie at home today because instead of upper 20s wind chills, we’ll have upper 60s temperatures today! I might even wear a dress depending on where we decide to go shoot.
Spring is kicking down winter’s door today and I intend to take full advantage of it!

Here’s a quick vid about the mill and it’s restoration.
(My advice to you is: mute the music.)

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what a great Sunday

All the leftover wind from the hurricane arrived in the DC metro area about two o’clock this morning. With it came cool air and gorgeous sunshine.
Finally! Autumn air!
YBW and I went out this morning, without a real plan, just knowing we wanted to be out on this beautiful day.
We went into Haymarket to a little coffee shop called Hidden Julles Cafe for carry out coffees and small treats.
Then we went down to the railroad crossing…pretty much because I’m a sucker for train tracks and YBW indulges my wacky. The track bed had recently been replaced with brand new wooden ties. All the old ties were stacked up along the tracks.
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There were even rails lined up on the other side of the railroad ties.
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We found loads of railroad spikes. I’ve been collecting railroad spikes literally since I can remember. YBW kept picking them up and handing them me, until there was a total of nine. Gah! I can’t abide odd numbers! As I’m saying this to him, YBW leans down and picks up another spike. Then he looks at me and asks if I really need all these railroad spikes?
Well…no. Not really. So I lay them all out and pick through to find the two I want to keep.
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We left Haymarket for Manassas Battelfied.
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We walked through the woods to the teeny bridge over Young’s Branch. We wandered the battlefield, where the long, end-of-summer grasses were blowing in the crazy wind. After a trip to my beloved Henry House, we went down to the Stone Bridge over Bull Run.
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We came home in time to watch my Washington Nationals win the second playoff game against the Dodgers with a score of 5 to 2.
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#IbacktheNats #Natitude #OnePursuit
What a great Sunday!

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nine of twelve hundred

I’m finally getting around to sorting through the twelve hundred wedding photos.
What needs to be printed and what sizes.
I’m working to create a book.
I have to say, it’s daunting as hell!

I’ve chosen a few to share here:

I think the series from the train tracks are my favorite.
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Thing 1 made a bouquet of the spikes we found.
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Boy feet.
I love the Chucks! I wish YBW had worn them for the wedding too, but he did change for the reception.
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Here comes the bride. (and her Things)
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Girlie feet!
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Thing 2 comforting her big sister during the Song of Songs. (You can’t see it, but I’m holding her hand.)
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YBW reading his vows.
He borrowed heavily from Joss Whedon but spoke from his “Wash” heart to my “Zoe” heart.
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Wedding bell is ringing.
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Signing my name to make it official for the church.
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