The ginkgo trees at the Virginia Arboretum over in Clark County off its 50/17 are a sight to behold.  There is a grove of these yellow beauties.  The ginkgo is the oldest tree in North America.  The leaves are smaller than I thought.  I hope the leaves survive this patch of rainy weather because I certainly plan on going back.

If you have never been to the Arboretum, it is worth the trip.  There are car/pedestrian trails, picnic tables, and horse trails.   The trees aren’t too shabby either.

26 Thoughts to “Open Thread…………………November/December, 2017”

  1. Robin Hood

    I have been too busy to visit or comment here, but if you look at yesterday’s elections you probably will understand. This was a time for action more than words and enough was enough. Admiral Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor that he feared that a sleeping giant had been awakened and filled with a terrible resolve. That’s what this feels like. Goodbye, folks. The job isn’t finished. It has just begun.

    1. Action and words were both needed. Everyone had a role.

    2. NorthofNokesville

      Robin Hood,

      Hat tip. I’m open minded about the eventual real world policy outcomes, but the impact on the ground was decisive. Complacency is eventually fatal. Your opponents learned that, albeit too late.

      1. Did you see Corey’s take on the rout? He is delusional. Actually, I don’t think he really believes his own BS.

      2. NorthofNokesville


        my read: it’s pure damage containment… PWC (his county) was conspicuous for incumbents getting plowed into dust, and in some cases by aprototypical or outright weak candidates. To have any hope or ongoing relevance as a Senate candidate, he’s got to get the theory out their that he’s not the problem, in fact, being more like him could have saved them. May not actually be delusional, just a cynical calculation of the least-bad option.

        But is it wrong? Oh my, yeah.

        More worrisome: suggests he’s got zero interest in the next BOCS chair race, where he knows he’s toast. So he’ll be looking to do everything he can to cash-in on that role in the short term.

        I think the county and state GOP are in for a few rough few years. Open question whether it’s more productive to help clear out the dead wood there, or just let nature take it’s course and spend time helping the blue team not indulge the prosperity-punishing instincts they sometimes have.

      3. Hopefully, youth and inexperience triumphed over age and treachery for a reason. I just hope this is a mature group of newbies and they will make PWC proud. Corey et al need to look in the mirror.

        Interestingly enough, Corey can do a make over and come back as anything he wants and probably be very convincing. Let’s say Trump is impeached and removed from office. Do you seriously think Corey would remain loyal? Absolutely not. He would be out there casting the first stone.

        Interesting times lie ahead. This bumper crop of non-Trumps paved the way for the congressional races next year. Stay tuned.

      4. NorthofNokesville


        Winning and governing are two very different things, and I don’t say that harshly or cynically, it’s just a fact. Execution is hard; negotiating as 1 of 100 is hard; keeping your head clear when money and influence come calling is hard. If I were Danica, I’d find at least one advisor who disagrees with me who I can call any time and ask “where am I eff’ing up?” She also has to be wary of becoming a poster child for a set of sexy but not all that material issues. Running on transport was smart because it’s prosaic and ugly and has a huge impact on quality of life. See it through. Guzman needs to exorcise the serial bankruptcy demon – of all the mud that’s been flung, that’s the kind that sticks because it really pertains to personal maturity and fitness for responsibility. That goes double when you’re dealing with other people’s money through taxation.

        I’m not sure re: Corey. He’s zigged, then zagged, then reverted. At some point, you lose believability. Frankly, if he’s going to have any hope of sticking it in PWC, he needs to deliver something big that’s got broad support, and that means either transport or schools. Transport won’t get fixed in time, and schools aren’t in his power. So I suspect he falls back on delivering something his moneyed handlers want: more development and the BCP. Maybe he holds out hope for some low-level admin job in Commerce or Transport, hard to tell.

        Definitely interesting times. Just like the Chinese curse 🙂 I do hope the blue team at the county level finds some additional bench strength. Sawyers is just an embarrassment at this point, and Mr. P is lacks the will and adroitness to be chairman. I know there’s talent out there (some very well) but I don’t see a lot of hands going up, least not yet.

      5. Thinking about the BOCS is just a buzz-kill. Maybe more people will be inspired to run. I suspect we will soon have a more visible board member, just helping out of course.

        I believe Sawyer’s high office ambitions just might get nipped in the bud and never take off.

  2. NorthofNokesville

    Enough with the political for now. Let us speak of high autumn.

    The signs we’re past peak and beginning our slide toward winter are everywhere.

    The mountains are yellow and orange and red but getting that threadbare look as bare trees show through. Sunsets and sunrise actually get brighter as the trees around the house lose their leaves.

    The leaves are coming down hard. Each gust is a blur of color, followed by solo flights all angling down the same way, letting us know the wind is still blowing.

    The temperatures, wow. I woke up this morning and had to wear my vest inside.

    The animals know it, too. Birds seek shelter (one, bravely, hid in our door wreath then snuck into the house, causing an adventure), the deer are brazen, and turkeys are starting to appear. Magically, one of my sons spotted a pair of owls in our trees near the field, hunting during daylight hours. My boy described the white fur, boxy shape, and power of their vision in a breathless tone as we watched them take flight, soar, and circle. It was one of those “you’re made for this” moments.

    And, perhaps not least, Bell’s Winter Ale is now available in stores.


    1. I so enjoyed your words of high autumn. Fabulous descriptions. I particularly liked the threadbare mountains. That’s such a “Virginia” word, in my mind.

      I am so envious of you–having owls. I love owls. (and ravens) Are yours barn owls?

      Winter ale–have you had any yet? I still have a couple of Raven’s in the fridge.

      Maybe the open thread should become a writers corner….

      1. NorthofNokesville


        Love the idea of a writers corner. A digital open-mic. And “Virginia” is s true compliment. At our best, we have a delicious mix of all sorts of potentially contradictory elements, but somehow they work.

        The owls were unexpected (and first-time) visitors. It’s possible they were barn owls, though when I offered the description to the oldest daughter of our dinner guests, she suggested a horned owl. I’m honestly not knowledgeable enough to know, and I’m charmed that the kids were so interested. I do hope they linger, but after being outside for several hours today in various capacities, I saw no sign of them, while other birds were in abundance.

        I did indeed sample the Winter White ale. It’s delicious, though I have to confess my guests brought a better match with the food, a lovely German Dunkel. The meal was robust (beef, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots… simple fare seasoned perfectly) and the Dunkel brought malty notes of caramel. I’m writing myself into another one this evening, I can feel it.

        In other imbibing news, this Thursday marks the release of the 2017 Beaujolais Noveau. Any culturally-advantaged excuse to drink red wine at all hours during the work week is a blessing. And, as a tribute to new wine, some folks might find it an appropriate celebration of recent events.

      2. It looks like I am going to have to make a pilgrimage to Total Wine very soon. How do you buy the 2017 Beaujolais Noveau? Are several vintages placed in a particular area and labeled as such?

        I have never had Dunkel. I almost put an R in it. How misfortunate. “I’ll have a DRunkel please” We used to call my husband’s brother “Drunkle Pete.” (With good reason)

        I don’t know my owls either. I like hearing them. The hoot of an owl signals that everything in the night is as it should be. I don’t have them near me often enough to get to know them. Squirrels–ow that’s another matter. As soon as you get to know them, they run in the road committing hari-kari. I have noticed that the tails on the teenager squirrels are not fluffy at all. Lean and skinny tails.

      3. NorthofNokesville


        Yeah, Dunkel has some easy slips, either drunk or dunk!

        I must say, our squirrels are reasonably sensible… most of the casualties I see are deer, with a surprising number tromping the woods and fields during daylight hours. We are also absolutely flush with birds. I wonder if the odd weather this entire autumn has thrown off all species sense of timing.

        On the Beaujolais Noveau, I would be shocked if Total Wine did not have a display upfront, and I’m sure it will be featured on the French red aisle (Burgundy) and probably on end caps. It’s an explicitly young wine, so a lot of the pomp and price that go with mature vintages just doesn’t exist with BJN. Unlike almost any other, it’s made to be consumed the same year it’s harvested so you won’t see even 2016 vintage, and best served slightly chilled. You don’t get the big loud Cabernet flavors, or the headaches from the tannins because the grapes aren’t crushed before fermentation which leaves the skin more intact and the fruit flavor more pure. George Dubouef and others have very reasonably priced bottles. The process is so short and relatively standardized, there aren’t big variations from producer to producer. It’s fun. Enjoy!

      4. I will go this week. Thursday is the release date? Then I will do the Friday pilgrimage which we have been skipping for a while.

        The bird here have pretty much disappeared. I was light on hummingbirds this year also. I also don’t put out food because our housemate grouses about what they do to the porch. I also have to use Mosquito Joe service in order to go outside in the summer. I think that has to affect the bird population. Or…perhaps having 3 ankle biters and a husky might be somewhat of a deterrent? The husky tries to catch them mid-air.

        Since I live on a semi main drag, the squirrel population is somewhat fluid. They all live next door at my neighbors. That is very smart on their part. All the dogs chase them if they see them. These squirrels are also not the sharpest nut in the dish. They court death on a daily basis–death from dogs and death from automobiles.

        Fortunately, the deer don’t usually come in the yard. We are just too much in suburbia. The people on the street behind me who live closer to Bull Run often get deer in their yards. My poor Ford Escape did get deemed 2 years ago. Those things are killers!

      5. NorthofNokesville


        Yes, 12:01AM Thursday, by tradition.

        We’re more rural, and near several ponds and natural streams, so we get the full animal treatment. And ticks… unbelievable.

      6. Ticks aren’t my problem. Mosquitoes are my nemesis. I HATE them. My closest natural streams are Bull Run and Flat Branch.

  3. Total Wine has a big ad for Thursday!!!

    1. NorthofNokesville


      LOL. They’re not stupid, those guys and gals 🙂

  4. NorthofNokesville

    Just found the perfect visuals for late autumn / early winter. Did a lot of client work in Leeds, UK, so happy see a Yorkshire lad’s art.

    Now I want a print.

    1. Those were neat. Where does one acquire such a print? I believe my favorite was the first one!

      I also like the house with the orange glow in the window.

      Great selection.

  5. NorthofNokesville

    Isn’t it about time for a December thread? And a shot of bourbon.

    1. Mom


      Basil Hayden, two rocks, please

    2. It sure is. I am feeling lazy and might just save our previous discussion.

  6. When it snows, I will go to a dedicated December page.

    How has everyone been doing?

    1. Mom


      Still waiting for my Basil Hayden on the rocks, service here sucks and will be reflected in your tip or lack thereof.

      1. I know the service sucks here. Afraid my bar wench days are in my past. I don’t even know what Basil Hayden is. Is it fit for man or beast?

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