Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween with Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell

 Governor Bob McDonnell hands out treats to little Halloween visitors.

This is absolutely precious. The look of wonderment on the little girl's face as she holds a package of M&Ms and looks up at the Governor is adorable. These little trick-or-treaters from the VDOT daycare center visited the Governor's office in the Patrick Henry building in Richmond today where he shared an assortment of M&Ms and KitKats. With five children of his own, I have a feeling the Governor has handed out many Halloween treats to neighborhood goblins throughout the years.

Photo Courtesy of Michaele White, Governor’s Photographer

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Octsnowber 2011 ... during and after

Our surprise October snowfall began Friday night, October 29th, and continued until mid-day on Saturday, October 30th. This was Saturday morning as the snow continued to fall, making an oxymoron out of the seasons as we enjoyed an autumn Winter Wonderland.

Our grand total was between 4-5" of snow in our central Shenandoah Valley, Va, location.

When the electricity went out, we packed drinking water bottles into the snow on the deck.

The colorful maple tree beside the deck was bent to the ground until SWAC Husband shook off the snow.

The sun came out and snow crystals twinkled.

The snow and wind along with overnight temperatures that dropped into the mid 20s caused leaves to fall.

The snow didn't kill off the remaining outdoor flowers and plants. It was the hard freeze as the overnight lows dropped into the 20s, killing this impatient plant and finishing off the blooming season at our house. The vegetable garden is finished for the year as the last of the jalapeno peppers was harvested.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
29-30 October 2011

Halloween 2011

 It's Halloween ... another year for the neighborhood goblins to come trick-or-treating... and we have the treats ready as well as a little spooky music to set the mood....

 A basket of treats with plenty for all!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Halloween 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October snow 2011

Before sunrise and after, SWAC Daughter and I roamed around the yard taking pictures and enjoying the snow. It started yesterday afternoon around 5:30, continued all night, and is still snowing hard this morning. There's about 3" of snow on the deck furniture that had not yet been put away, and tree limbs are drooping to the ground. The electricity flashed several times during the night and again this morning, and reports are of scattered outages in the Waynesboro area.

Even being the snow lover that I am, it's surreal to look outside and see jack-o-lanterns and snow. My inner six-year-old is yipping with excitement at the white flakes that continue to fall. The temperature is still sitting at 32 degrees and expected to be a high of 38 today and in the mid-20s tonight.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
29 October 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Surprise winter weather forecast for central Shenandoah Valley

"S" word sneaks into forecast

It's a dark, overcast afternoon with that quiet that comes before the snow begins to fall. With temps in the low 40s and expected to dip into the 30s, the weatherman says we could see some winter precipitation this evening and tomorrow.

It's late October. Although not unheard of, snow this early is a little unusual. To make it even more so, the forecast is predicting 3-6" of snow in the central Shenandoah Valley.

I'll take it anytime it wants to arrive but many others are none-too-happy about this sudden turn toward winter while the last of the autumn leaves are still on the trees.

WHSV TV-3 out of Harrisonburg and NBC-29 out of Charlottesville both have weather updates for the area.

Gov. McDonnell: "Robert Wood, Jr., was found alive"

Thousands breathed a sigh of relief at the great news coming from Richmond this afternoon that 8-year-old Robbie Wood, who had been lost since Sunday, was found alive. A sense of urgency had set in with winter weather moving in. Facebook has been alive this afternoon with the news spreading like wild fire. Thank God for rescue workers and volunteers and answered prayers.

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Rescue of Robert Wood, Jr. of Caroline County:
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today upon the news that 8-year-old Robert Wood, Jr. of Caroline County, who disappeared on Sunday at North Anna Battlefield Park, has been found alive.

“Today, the best possible result to a very difficult situation came to pass when Robert Wood, Jr. was found alive in Hanover County. Thousands of volunteers and public safety personnel scoured the area since Robert’s disappearance five days ago.

As a father of five, I can only imagine the fear, uncertainty, and sadness that Robert’s family endured during this difficult time. I thank each and every public safety official and volunteer who helped search for Robert over the last week. I also thank the many businesses, faith-based groups, and community organizations that provided food, water and other resources to those searching the park and surrounding area.

A true sense of community and selflessness was displayed as thousands of volunteers showed up day after day to participate in the search. The great dedication, optimism and vigilance of the many people who donated their time and energy to the search and rescue effort reflects the goodness of our Commonwealth.

The actions of so many this week have demonstrated, yet again, that Virginians are good neighbors who care about each other and help those in need in times of trouble. We are all thankful that Robert will be safely reunited with his family."
Here's the latest from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

George Allen: "Obama Is Isolating Israel"

George Allen offers 5 steps to get American back on better relations with Israel

U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia Governor George Allen sounds a warning about Israel as the Obama administration continues to turn its back on this valuable friend and ally. His column from today's

Obama Is Isolating Israel
By George Allen
Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Obama administration recently warned Israel that it is becoming “increasingly isolated” in the Middle East and must take “risks for peace.” However, it is the very policies of the administration that are undermining Israel’s ability to take such risks and have served to increase Israel’s vulnerability in a hostile region.

Historically, strong American support has enabled Israel to make tough, risky decisions. For example, Israel unilaterally withdrew Israeli Defense Forces and uprooted settlements from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, knowing that it had the unwavering support and commitment of the United States. In fact, unwavering support for Israel has long been a core tenet of U.S. foreign policy, supported by Republicans and Democrats alike.

I am proud of my consistent record of standing with our friend and ally Israel throughout my public service. As governor of Virginia and in the U.S. Senate as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I vigorously promoted and encouraged close cultural, economic, educational and strategic ties between the freedom loving people of our two nations.

I have long believed that Israel and the United States share an unshakable bond, and the United States must stand with Israel in the face of these burgeoning threats.

Unfortunately the Obama administration sees it differently. In less than three years President Obama’s attempts to create a distance between the United States and Israel while accommodating Israel’s enemies have severely undercut our relationship in a very public way, leaving Israel increasingly vulnerable and isolated while emboldening their enemies.

In speech after speech, Obama has distanced the United States from Israel, castigating Israel over housing projects in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, even making a dangerous and unprecedented call to start negotiations based on the pre-1967 borders that made Israel’s security vulnerable in the first place.

Perhaps the Obama administration believed that creating distance with Israel would improve U.S. standing with the Palestinians and that the Palestinians in turn would be more accommodating for peace. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Israel has received more rockets from Iranian-supported Hamas in Gaza, including missiles fired at school buses. And there are concerns about shoulder-fired missiles from Libya getting into Gaza.

Read the five steps that will help repair the gap in American and Israeli relations:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creepy Tales from Frontier Culture Museum ... Halloween haunts begin tonight

Step into the dark shadows if you dare ... it's another year of Creepy Tales at the Frontier Culture Museum. Deep in the hollows and hills of the central Shenandoah Valley, brave souls venture out to see if they are brave enough to make the journey in the darkness as who-knows-what lurks in the inky blackness of the night.

Creepy Tales 2011
Dates: Thursday, Oct. 27; Friday, Oct. 28, Saturday, Oct. 29
Times: 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 830, and 9:00 as the overfill tour
Locations: Native American Site, 1740 farm, 1820 farm, and the School House
Price: $6.00, 4 & under are free.
Reservations: (540) 332-7850

Native American Site – The Spirit of Moontee
Red Paint, a great bear hunter will greet the group at the site and lead them to seats around a fire. Red Paint will tell tales of a great bear he has just killed. A hunter’s tale that has gone wrong and the consequences affect his people and possibly the group.

1740 Farm Site – A Pleasant Evening Gone Wrong
The group will approach the 1740 site through the woods to the farm house and a nice fire. A couple will be singing mournful songs of Ireland. The couple will invite the group to sit and hear their story of their trials and tribulations of a hard journey from Ireland and dealing with a nasty horse thief in Augusta County. Yet the couple and their family are hopeful as they have just received a deed to 500 acres. Life is looking up or is it. The terror of the moment will change everyone forever.

Horse thief and French encampment – The War is Now
The group will be led to an encampment in the middle of the woods. Is it a Shawnee War Party encampment or something worse? Will a great massacre take place or something more terrifying occur? The woods are a scary place.

1820 Farmsite – Guests for Dinner
The group will thankfully make it to 1820’s farm house and be invited into the house by some charming children. Just as it seems everyone will be able to eat a nice meal a terrifying event will take place making the group leave fearing for their lives.

Schoolhouse – An Important Life Lesson
The group will be invited into the school house. A great crime has been committed or has it. The significance of the crime will have consequences for everyone in the room. The group will hear an import life lesson that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

U.S. House schedule for October 27, 2011

From Majority Leader Eric Cantoa


On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.
First and last votes expected: 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

One Minute Speeches (5 per side)

H.R. 674 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities (Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Rep. Wally Herger / Ways and Means Committee) 

H.R. 2576 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for certain healthcare-related programs

(Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate) (Sponsored by Rep. Diane Black / Ways and Means Committee)

Special Order Speeches


Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives Hearing on "Examining Obamacare's Hidden Marriage Penalty and Its Impact on the Deficit" (Thursday, October 27th, 9:30 a.m.)
Printable PDF

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The autumn leaves and back roads of Augusta County, Va.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Western Augusta County, Va.
26 October 2011