Random (but not really)

Monday, October 5, 2015

World’s Slowest Slide

This was perhaps the slowest slide EVER. And the more you weighed, the slower you went.







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Categories: Family,Photos  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hiking WV: Cathedral State Park

If you want a flat place to hike, then Cathedral State Park is your best bet in WV. Which is why we took a meander despite the fact that I still feel pretty crappy from this cold.

Cathedral took a substantial amount of damage during hurricane Sandy, but the trails are all clear–and the uprooted trees are fascinating.

Location: Cathedral State Park
Trails: Cathedral, Giant Hemlock, Partridge Berry Trails
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation: 2438 – 2626 feet

If you’ve ever tried to photograph the woods, you know it’s pretty difficult to get a pictures from within the forest that shows the majesty of what you’re seeing. It’s that old–you can’t photograph the forest for the trees.


Doesn’t mean it isn’t worth visiting, it’s just very hard to photograph and give you an idea of what it’s like.

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Categories: Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Traveling WV: Cheat River

The WV leaf reports started this week, so since I am still tired and miserable from this stupid cold, we decided to take a scenic drive.





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Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Traveling WV: Abandoned Bridge

We had to stop at this bridge on our way back from Jackson’s Mill.




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Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Books of August

A little late, but here are the books of August. Some hot weather upped the numbers, bringing me to 12 books for the month.

The best book of the month was a re-read,
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. It had been years and years since I read it, but something about the story kept popping into my mind from time to time, so I decided it was long past time for a re-read.

It was just as marvelous as I remembered.


Fables Vol. 21: Happily Ever After (2015) Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Andrew Pepoy
Fables Vol. 22: Farewell (2015)
Fairest Vol. 5: The Clamour for Glamour (2015)
Ms Marvel
Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why (2015) G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Jacob (7/10)Wyatt
Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed (2015) G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Elmo Bondoc (7/10)


The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995) Guy Gavriel Kay (9.5/10)

Audio Book

Bangkok 8 audible version (2003/2011) John Burdett narrated by Paul Boehmer (8.5/10)
Mercy Blade, Audible Version (2011/2011) Faith Hunter narrated by Khristine Hvam (8/10)
Moon Called, Audible Version (2006/2009) Patricia Briggs narrated by Lorelei King (7/10)
Kitty Goes to Washington audible version (2006/2009) Carrie Vaughn narrated by Marguerite Gavin

Historical Mystery / Romance

A Dangerous Madness (2014) Michelle Diener (7.5/10)
London Interlude (2015) Tracy Grant (7/10)

And here’s the breakdown.

Lots of graphic novels lead to a higher than normal number of paper books read, and canning lead to a higher than normal number of audio book listened to. (I listen to about an audio book a month if it’s mostly lunch time walks. When I’m canning, audio books distract me from the heat and the sometimes monotonous tasks.)

Trade Paperback : 5
eBook : 3
Audio : 4
Multiple Formats : 5
Re-read : 5

The high number of re-reads and multiple formats were primarily due to audio books.

A bit of variety this month in the genres I read.

Fantasy : 5
Mystery : 4
Romance : 3
YA : 1
Comic : 5

And gender-wise, women remained in the lead:

Male : 2
Female : 7
Anthology : 3

That gives brings the yearly percentages as such:

Male : 34%
Female : 52%

Not a bad month, especially consider that I did manage to get out quite a bit.

Written by Michelle at 8:09 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Traveling WV: Jackson’s Mill

One of my favorite parts of Jackson’s Mill is the mill itself, which is fully functioning and grinds wheat and corn that are available for sale in the mill and in the general store.

It’s a water powered mill, except that it doesn’t have the external paddle wheel often associated with mills (like the on at Babcock State Park). Instead, the water flows under the mill, powering the wheels and gears within.

Here’s where it all begins: the pond.


The water then turns this gear, which in turn…


Moves these wheels…


And when this gear is shifted over and engaged…


Turns the stone wheel which grinds the grain.


A wheel exactly like this one.


And here’s the original cabin:


And some farm tools:



Couple more pictures if you click through to Flickr.

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Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory



Chimney Sweeps


Textile Mills




Coal Mines


They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there

Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker Mine in South Pittston, Pennsylvania, 10 January 1911, from a 1908-1912 series on...

You’ll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair





Upper Big Branch


child labor today 1

child labor today 2

child labor today 3


child labor today 4

Just a reminder what we’re celebrating today.

Written by Michelle at 10:53 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Traveling WV: Jackson’s Mill Jubilee

Every year on Labor Day weekend Jackson’s Mill has a Jubilee, with a craft fair and reenactors and live music and other stuff.

For awhile the size was really down, but it’s been slowly getting better, with more crafters and musicians this year than we’d seen in the past couple visits.






There are some other pictures if you click through the Flickr.

Written by Michelle at 12:15 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday Flower Pr0n (with Bonus Clouds!)

Here are some flowers we saw on our Saturday wander through multiple places in the state.




Plus! Bonus Dramatic Clouds!


Written by Michelle at 9:36 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hiking WV: New River Gorge: Brooks and Sandstone

We didn’t take a long hike at New River Gorge on Saturday, but the trails made up for that by being very steep.

Location: New River Gorge
Trail: Big Branch Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation: 1256 – 1713

We hiked counter-clockwise, so for the first half of the trail we were gasping for breath and wondering why anyone wanted to hike this trail.

Then we started down, following the creek.




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Categories: Hiking,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hiking WV: New River Gorge: Sandstone Falls

This was less of a hike and more of a wander, but it was gorgeous and fascinating.





Written by Michelle at 3:10 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park/Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday Flower Pr0n

Not many pretty wildflowers out right now, but I found a few yesterday hiking at New River Gorge.



OK, not flowers, but I still found them pretty.


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Categories: Flowers,Photos  

Monday, August 24, 2015

WV Places: Green Bank

Since we drove past it on our way to and from Seneca State Forest, we made a quick stop at Green Bank.




My favorite vehicles are still there and running!



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Categories: Photos,West Virginia  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hiking WV: Seneca State Forest

Seneca State Forest is NOT where Seneca Rocks are located. It in the south eastern part of the state, and is the oldest state forest (1925). It is a very rural state park, with rudimentary facilities (ie, the cabins have out houses), but that’s a good thing, because it’s undeveloped and beautiful and isolated.

Location: Seneca State Forest
Trail: Thorny Creek Trail (half)
Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation: 2625 – 3213
Time: 2:20 (moving time)

There is also a lake.



ADDENDUM the First: We’ve now visited 78% of the WV state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas!

Written by Michelle at 8:56 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hiking WV: Kumbrabow State Forest

Kumbrabow is not a busy forest (nothing like Coopers Rock) and we didn’t see another person on the trails, which is how I like it.

But the thing is, it should be visited, because it is beautiful and a good place to feel like you’ve gotten away from the world. Because you have. Most of the roads are gravel (although in very good shape) so you have to slow down as you drive, enjoying the view around you.

Location: Kumbrabow State Forest
Trails: Meatbox Run, Raven Rocks, and Fire Trails
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation: 3077 – 3841 feet
Time: 2:06

I mostly left my camera in my backpack, and although I took some pictures with my phone, they were low light and mostly terrible.

The view from the overlook at Raven Rocks trail was gorgeous, but not very photogenic. Which happens sometimes.



If I am remembering correctly, Kumbrabow is a second generation forest, so there are plenty of fallen trees, decaying where they lay, and so very many of them are fascinating.


There are also plenty of trees that grew up around stumps, which decayed and disappeared, which make fascinating shapes, but every picture I took like that was fuzzy and out of focus. Sorry.


At the Meatbox Run picnic area, they’ve damned up the stream a little bit–Michael things to reduce erosion.

It was quite peaceful.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

It was a beautiful day for a hike at Coopers Rock on Sunday, and once again we went early and avoided the crowds.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Rhododendron, Mount Chateau, Ridge, Rock City, and “casual” trails
Distance: 4.8 miles
Elevation: 1366 – 2011
Time: 2:27 (moving time) 3:06 (including playing in the stream)

So, I’ve been disappointed the past couple hikes on Mont Chateau Trail that no one has created any more balanced rock art. Then I realized that I was nobody, so I made my own.




It was really lovely.


A lot less water this visit.


They’ve got the new signs up!


Alas, they haven’t done anything about this sign…


Written by Michelle at 8:46 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hiking WV: New River Gorge

After visiting Grandview, we stopped at the bridge area on our way home.

Location: New River Gorge
Trails: Endless Wall (Diamond Point)
Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation: 1781 – 1913






We found the oddest mushroom. I have no idea what it was, but it was most definitely green.


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Categories: Hiking,National Park/Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Books of July

Total slacker this month. Eight books. That’s all. I even took books when we took our long weekend at Canaan, but never got around to reading them.

The best books of the month were The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint. I love Charles de Lint, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. This is also an anthology I was reading for several months. Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older, and Summer Campaign by Carla Kelly. Three very different books from very different genres, but all were very good and all are highly recommended.

Urban Fantasy

The Very Best of Charles de Lint (2010) Charles de Lint (9.5/10)

Supernatural Fantasy

Half-Resurrection Blues (2015) Daniel José Older (8.5/10)
Wickedly Dangerous (2014) Deborah Blake (7.5/10)


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005/2008) Stieg Larsson translated by Reg Keeland

Historical Romance

Summer Campaign (2012) Carla Kelly (8.5/10)

Short Story / Novella

The Girl of Hrusch Avenue (2013) Brian McClellan (7/10)
Spellbinder (2015) C.C. Hunter (6/10)
Unbreakable (2014) C.C. Hunter

All the books I read were eBooks, in fact, I haven’t read a single mass-market paperback this year. One book was a re-read.

Genre-wise, I’ve read mostly fantasy, with a smattering of other genres.

Fantasy: 6
Mystery: 1
Romance: 1
YA: 2
Anthology: 1

Genre-wise, on the face of it I read more male authors, however, it was really evenly split.

Male: 4
Female: 2
Initials: 2

Written by Michelle at 7:43 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Hiking WV: New River Gorge: Grandview

Saturday we visited one of the southern portions of New River Gorge: Grandview.

This is not a wilderness hike, although parts are rocky and along a cliff.

But it truly is a grand view, and well worth the visit.

Location: New River Gorge: Grandview
Trails: Grandview Rim & Castle Rock Trails
Distance: 4.1 miles
Elevation: 2360 – 2587



Stairs, for klutzes like me to get to the top!


Oh! Look! A sign for me to disregard!


Castle Rock Trail




Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,National Park/Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hiking WV: Coopers Rock State Forest

Got up early to take a short hike at Coopers Rock before it got busy.

It was some lovely quiet.

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest
Trails: Underlook & Rattlesnake Trails
Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation: 1991 – 2133 feet

Because it’s typically so crowded and loud, I often forget how much I like the overlook.





Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Parks,West Virginia  
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