Eclipse !!!!!!!

Where will you be when the great eclipse of 2017 happens?  Will you go to the path of totality or sit it out here in boring old Prince William  County?  I am probably headed for splash down in my air-conditioned car.  I won’t be taking pictures.

I have my glasses though.  Several batches of them.  I have some I can’t verify.  Grrrrr.  Mind you, I ordered glasses 2 months ago.  So cast your politics aside and enjoy a good eclipse.  Oh, and pray for no rain!

Anyone named Moon-Howler has to love a good eclipse!!!

A word of caution——————————–>

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The National Parks: America’s Best Idea


As Yosemite National Park stands in grave danger of fire, it is time again to enjoy Ken Burns’ The National Parks:  America’s Best Idea.  I never tire of the National Parks and the genius of making America own them.  How many countries have these kinds of parks available to the common man?  Most beautiful spots are owned by the rich and elite in other spots around the world. Yellowstone National Park was the very first (1872)and it just happens to be my favorite.  It isn’t the prettiest by far but the animals and geysers and geological uniqueness make up for what it lacks in beauty.   Perhaps the best thing about it is that the American buffalo was preserved and kept from extinction.

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Most “super” supermoon of 2013 on June 22-23

Is everyone ready for the superest super moon this weekend?  Why is this the supermoon weekend?  The full moon is the nearest it gets to the earth in a year.

super moon 1


…[A]stronomers call this sort of close full moon a perigee full moon.  The word perigee describes the moon’s closest point to Earth for a given month.  Two years ago, when the closest and largest full moon fell on March 19, 2011, many used the term supermoon, which we’d never heard before.  Last year, we heard this term again to describe the year’s closest full moon on May 6, 2012.  Now the term supermoon is being used a lot.  Last month’s full moon – May 24-25, 2013 – was also a supermoon.  But the June full moon is even more super!  In other words, the time of full moon falls even closer to the time of perigee, the moon’s closest point to Earth.  The crest of the moon’s full phase in June 2013, and perigee, fall within an hour of each other

Coming to a sky near you this weekend.  Hopefully skies will be clear..

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Ole C. Salomonsen: Celestial Lights and a meteor shower

prepare for Mother Nature at her best.  Turn up your sound. 

More info about Salomonsen  and his photography work:

Celestial Lights from Ole C. Salomonsen on Vimeo.

Tonight and Sunday night the Lyrid Meteor Shower should dominate the sky, weather permitting.   There is a new moon so no full moon to contend with. 


LYRID METEOR SHOWER: The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks this weekend on the night of April 21-22 when Earth passes through a stream of debris from ancient Comet Thatcher. Usually the shower is mild (10-20 meteors per hour) but unmapped filaments of dust in the comet’s tail sometimes trigger outbursts ten times stronger. This year’s peak coincides with a new Moon, which has prompted NASA to attempt an unusual 3D meteor photography experiment.


Aftershock! 3.1 Magnitude: the Old Dominion is still shaking


There was another after shock late last night, around 11:21.  This time the quake registered 3.1 on the Richter Scale.  Are we turning in to California?  We have summer in March and earthquakes.  The world is turning upside down.  I am waiting for hordes of grasshoppers and for it to rain frogs.

Have you looked at buying earthquake insurance?  I have.  It isn’t what I had imagined.  I expected if an earthquake hit my house, the damage would be covered and the deductible would be what it is for any other disaster, frogs, hail, wind, etc.  Such is not the case.  There is a huge deductible, usually in the thousands.  It also isn’t cheap.  I guess if your house falls down on you then its worth it but then you have to think of the probability.  If this aftershock stuff keeps up though, I might have to change my mind.  I had said no. 

Does anyone have any information or experience with  earthquake insurance?  Do you think that it is worth it?   The Haiti earthquake wasn’t in a predictable area either was it?

Freeze Warning Tonight

From the Washington Post:

Just 48 hours ago it was in the low 80s, but in another 30 hours, temperatures may dip near or even below freezing in the metro region. The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch late Monday night into early Tuesday morning everywhere in the greater Washington, D.C. metro region except for Calvert and St. Mary’s county – due to the moderating Bay waters.

Temperatures are likely to dip to about 31-34 inside the beltway and and east of town, but 27-32 west and north of the beltway.

Impatiens are greatly at risk.  The pansies that have survived the winter will be fine.  Daffodils will be ok, if there are any left.  I am not so sure about the tulips and hyacinths.

We are really in uncharted territory this spring.  I have blue bells in front of my front porch.   The latest last freeze was April 29, 1874.

Will fruit trees be damaged?  How about the non-fruit producing flowering trees?

The Bluebell Festival will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area in Prince William County, Virginia.   I hope there are still bluebells left.

Oooops…look what I just found!  Why it’s Charlie Grymes giving us the inside story on Merrimac Farm and whats planned for the festival this year.

Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm from Elizabeth Lockard on Vimeo.



Lead in bullets killing bald eagles and other raptors

Hunters are wreaking havoc on the national bird, the Bald Eagle.  The eagle population is dying because of consuming lead found in the ammunition left in animal entrails after that animal has been shot.  According to the Daily Press:

Lead bullet fragments left in discarded entrails of deer and other animals are poisoning bald eagles and other scavenger birds, scientists and wildlife officials say.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a nonprofit that cares for sick and injured animals, has received four birds in the last two weeks suffering from lead poisoning.

The birds — two bald eagles, a red-tailed hawk and a black vulture — are not endangered but they are protected in North America under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. One of the eagles was found near Stumpy Lake in Virginia Beach.

“That bird is still alive. He’s not doing well, but that’s better than being dead,” said Ed Clark, president of the Waynesboro-based center.

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Winter Solstice–December 21-22

Winter Solstice is just of the holidays observed during December.  It marks the beginning of Yule in the ancient world.  Stonehenge and Newgrange  in Ireland are both key spots for observing the solstice. There are many others although these two spots are king. 

 How the ancients knew the math and science to move huge stone into place remains a mystery to the scientific and anthropological communities. The British Isles are replete with pagan sites that marked various astrological events.

The ancients were afraid of the world around them.  Winter was especially horrifying.  Starvation, exposure, and illness were commonplace.  Many of the religious customs were guards against the impending doom of winter and were put in place for protection until the harshness of winter subsided, the  lambs were born and the greenery came back.  

Holiday traditions like mistletoe, holly, evergreen garland, trees and yule logs came from the ancients.  It’s easier to incorporate old traditions with new so they have carried on down through the ages.  Today marks the beginning of a new year.  Each day will get a little longer as the earth’s axis tilts back towards the sun little by little.

Some of our friends who drop by practice ancient earth centered religions.  Happy Solstice to all those who observe this seasonal special day.

Special Winter Solstice Link  shows the source of Stonehenge boulders as well as a brief film.

Newgrange, Ireland link and video

Feel Free to use this thread as an open thread.  There really isn’t much to say about it.


A little Holly Acres Push me/Pull me


For those of you who don’t know Greg Reynolds, he and his wife frequently appear before the BOCS to attempt to make things right, especially for those who are least able to defend themselves.  He has gone to bat for the elderly, kids and immigrants, just to name a few groups of folks.  He was particularly vocal about getting the transportation to the senior centers back up and running.  He bids us all not to leave our religion at the door of the Supervisors Chambers. 

A correspondence from Greg Reynolds:

The Holly Acres Mobile Home Park story continues to unfold.
In the latest development in the Holly Acres Mobile Home Park the homeowners went to get the permits to proceed with the repairs to their damaged homes but the County denied the permits immediately after (and even though) the Board of Zoning Appeals had overturned the Zoning Administrator’s order preventing the repair and replacement of their damaged mobile homes.
It would be very helpful if you can attend the Board of Supervisors meeting this Tuesday, 11/29/2011 at 2 PM, to ask the Board members to help restore Holly Acres.
These 70 affordable homes do not seem to be a priority for the Board of County Supervisors but they are very important to the families that need permanent affordable housing. 

FEMA flicks off Virginia, again


Richmond Times Dispatch:

Still fuming from a denial of federal aid for earthquake-battered Louisa County, Gov. Bob McDonnell has invited President Barack Obama to join him in Louisa next week during Obama’s swing-state bus tour.

McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, wrote in a letter Tuesday to Obama that “it would benefit your administration to understand the devastation brought on by this historic earthquake, and to see how the community’s recovery will be hindered as a result of FEMA’s denial of important emergency relief funds.”

The Aug. 23 magnitude-5.8 earthquake that shook much of the East Coast was centered near Mineral.

The state was notified Friday that its request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance for residents of Louisa was turned down. The declaration would have made federal grants and low-interest loans as well as unemployment assistance and crisis counseling available to homeowners, renters and businesses.

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Damn those Grizzlies

Yellowstone National Park, August 26, hiker  John Wallace, 59, was found dead along the Mary Mountain Trail. An autopsy confirmed he was killed by  a grizzly  the day before he was found, according to information the park released Friday.  Now Yellowstone authorities report that they have captured a 450 p0und 25 year old male grizzly as the suspect.  DNA testing will be done to determine if this grizzly is the killer.  If confirmed, the grizzly will be killed.

There have been 2 deaths by grizzly so far this year in Yellowstone.  Heretofore, there have been seven deaths attributed to grizzly bear since the inception of Yellowtone in 1872.  About 3 million people visit Yellowstone annually and there is an average of 1 bear injury per year.  However, three of the deaths have been in the past year. 

Why will the bear be killed?  Isn’t that what bears do?  They are wild animals.  Stories of the west all include our heroes getting into life or death conflicts with grizzly bears.  It appears that man is trespassing on grizzly bear turf, not the other way around. 


As one of those geeks who has driven up the mountain in Yellowstone to gawk at grizzlies, I can attest to the fact that people are fools.  People set up tripods and move far away from their cars.   I have never seen anyone allow a bear as close as in the video, however.  That is just suicidal.   There is always a raft of tourists out watching the bears eat.  Even though it appears that the bears are  a great distance from you, it is still a good idea to be able to get to safety immediately.  A bear can always approach from a different direction, undetected.  I have also seen fools go out and stick a camera in the face of a buffalo.  People forget that wild animals are…WILD and unpredictable. 

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Park Authority Website- The Worst of the Worst

Elena and I have been trying to navigate the Park Authority website, finding summer camps for kids.  I have never been on a more miserable website.  It is virutally unusable.  There is no way to even browse without signing up.  The questions asked don’t match adults.  (I obviously am not in first grade.)

There are codes to which there is no legend.  You cannot tell which location you are signing up for.  You cannot tell what is being offered or where it is.  The Parks and Rec Authority gets enough money to have a website that can be navigated. 

Prince William County is not out in the boondocks.  Prince William County people are Internet savvy.  To present this mess to the public is simply unacceptable.  If this is packaged programming, and this best there is, then hire someone to write our own software.  This is absurd, ridiculous and embarrassing. 

The county would be money ahead if they had 1 mailer and did everything else on the Internet rather than having massive printing bills and tying up employees to answer questions that should be accessible on the Internet.

Prince William County residents should demand better.  The current Internet system is unacceptable.

Shark Breath? Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

Shark Breath?
Shark Breath?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the water, an 8 foot shark is caught in the Potomac River. It wasn’t just any shark. It was an 8 foot deadly bull shark.

According to the Washington Post:

Willy Dean was on the Potomac River in a 22-foot skiff Tuesday morning when he realized there was something both abnormal and enormous in his net. It was a deadly 8-foot-1bull shark, a 300-pound-plus killer that had likely been feasting on cownose rays at Cornfield Harbor, just off the shores of Point Lookout State Park.

Buh bump. Buh bump. Buh bump buhbump buhbump. . . .

“When I first seen it, it was like ‘Jaws’ — we need a bigger boat!” Dean said Thursday. “I’m not kidding you. It looked huge. I didn’t know how we were gonna get it out. It’s my first shark. I’ve been fishing here a little over 30 years, and it’s the first time I’ve even seen one.”

But it wasn’t even the only one caught on the river during what has apparently become Shark Week on the Potomac. Thomas Crowder, a commercial fisherman from St. Mary’s County, said he and his crew were cutting a net near Tall Timbers on Wednesday when an even bigger bull shark was trapped. “He couldn’t swim and breathe, and he drowned,” Crowder said. “We kept saying for years that we wanted to catch a shark. . . . And Willy gets one, and then all of the sudden we get one. What are the odds? It’s just bizarre.”

Crowder measured the shark (8 feet, 3 inches), took a few photos, then dumped it back into the river, its stomach split open to keep it from floating.

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Batten Down the Hatches

earlBatten down the hatches, here comes Earl. And if Earl doesn’t get us there is Fiora out there and then some unnamed menace behind her. Yes, the hurricane season is upon us.

Right now, the most eminent danger is Earl who is classified as a category 4 hurricane at present. The Outer Banks and coastal North Carolina are right in his path. The weird thing about hurricanes is that they have a mind of their own. Earl could slam North Carolina or it could veer right abruptly and head on out to sea, to die a slow death as it reaches colder waters. No one totally understand hurricanes.

A century ago, before weather instruments were as exact, people didn’t have much warning about hurricanes. Huge killer storms  were right on top of people before they knew what hit them.  Hundreds, even thousands were killed.  I am sure people felt the air, the fallen barometeric pressure , and saw extra mushrooms coming up in unexpected places. But they didn’t always heed what little warning they did have.  Folks in Texas, along the Gulf Coast and Florida probably have been beaten up the most from these killer monster storms. They are not alone, however.

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