Friday, September 30, 2011

September in the Blue Ridge Mountains

 Humpback Rock area of the Blue Ridge Parkway five miles south of Afton Mountain. This recreated mountain farmstead, hiking, and picnic area is popular during October's leaf season.

 Shenandoah National Park

 Shenandoah NP

 Shenandoah NP

 Skyline Drive
 Overlooking central Shenandoah Valley from Skyline Drive.
 Shenandoah NP overlooking central Shenandoah Valley.

 Looking east from Skyline Drive.

Humpback Rock Farm at MP 5.8 along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Early color can be seen in black gum, dogwood, and sassafras trees as well as the flaming red Virginia creeper. This weekend will be cold in the mountains with daytime highs in the 50s and overnight lows in the 30s/40s. It's sweatshirt weather.  :)

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
29 September 2011

Words of wisdom

Photo from Facebook

“When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings.
Then you will forget your anger.”
-- Epictetus (Greek philosopher, AD 55-c.135)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Daughter of the Stars" ... Shenandoah NP and the Skyline Drive

 Shenandoah National Park ... "Daughter of the Stars."

 On a beautiful autumn afternoon, SWAC Husband and I headed to the mountains and spent some time on the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. Early splashes of color signal cooler temperatures and beautiful leaf displays will be here within the next few weeks.

 Early color is visible on some mountain slopes.

This tree intrigued me.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
29 September 2011

Augusta County autumn afternoon

It's a beautiful, blustery autumn day in Augusta County with temps around 70 degrees with lots of clouds in the blue sky.

Driving the back roads home....

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
29 September 2011


"There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't.
What you've got to do is turn around and say, 'Watch me.' "

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frontier Culture Museum: Home schooling day this Friday

Enjoy the Frontier Culture Musuem this Friday, September 30, as home schoolers* from throughout the Commonwealth spend the day learning hands-on history up-close-and-personal. (Please note below that pre-registration for home schoolers to receive the discounted rate is required before Friday.)

In addition, Colonial Artisans will be sharing their skills and wares both Friday and Saturday to add to Saturday's Oktoberfest festivities.

From the FCMV website:
Held in the vicinity of the American farm, they will be showing and demonstrating various 18th century skills and trades including leather working, knife making, metal and gunsmithing, engraving, cooking over an open fire, and period style music. New artisans expected to join the group this year are skilled inbasket making, bee keeping, and finger weaving. Pomology, or the study of apple varieties, will be featured as well. Come, learn, and take seedlings home to plant for your own historic apples!

*Home school groups wishing to attend the special Friday event must pre-register to receive an educational discount.

Friday Sept. 30, will be a special event for Virginia home school groups. Held in the vicinity of the American farm, they will be showing and demonstrating various 18th century skills and trades including leather working, knife making, metal and gunsmithing, engraving, cooking over an open fire, and period style music. New artisans expected to join the group this year are skilled in basket making, bee keeping, and finger weaving. Pomology, or the study of apple varieties, will be featured as well. Come, learn, and take seedlings home to plant for your own historic apples!

There will be regularly scheduled talks and demonstrations as well as ongoing exhibitions throughout the day. Some limited interactive, hands-on experience where safe and appropriate.

Attend a session at the Museum's Early American Schoolhouse to see how home schooling compares to that of students in the early nineteenth century! This program includes a brief history of early American education, and a basic lesson from early American textbooks led by the "schoolmaster"!
Home school groups wishing to attend the special Friday event must pre-register to receive an educational discount. Pre-registration price on or before Sept 29 (Thursday) is $3 per child, $5 per adult. Day of the event is $5 per child and $7 per adult.

Pre-registration is encouraged to be sure there's adequate staffing to accommodate everyone!

For more information about the home school day, please contact: Lisa McCumsey - or call (540) 271-4329.

To pre-register: Sasha Duke - or call (540) 332-7850.

For more information about the Colonial Artisans, please contact: Mark Thomas - or call (540) 867-5829.

Will Augusta supervisors mandate controversial sewer hook-ups?

A public hearing will be held tonight to hear feedback from citizens concerning a controversial ordinance proposal that could force homeowners in Greenville to connect to a county sewer line even if they object.

With 114 houses involved, the county is looking for 100% participation and is considering mandating that all must hook up to help pay for the $3 million sewer line. Homeowners would be responsible for the hookup costs that could be in the thousands of dollars, and then must pay a monthly fee. It was previously discussed that those who did not actively use the system would also be responsible for paying a monthly fee.

Tonight's meeting is very important for any who are concerned about eminent domain or Agenda 21 issues involving overreaching government telling citizens what they can and cannot do with their property.

The meeting will be held at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona (located behind Citizens Bank) in the public hearing room at 7:00 pm.

Mark Levin: "George Allen for U.S. Senate"

As I said in the Washington Examiner, George Allen was conservative before conservative was cool....

Last night, Mark Levin, host of the nationally syndicated and top-rated Mark Levin Show, praised George Allen’s record of conservative leadership. His words reflect the thoughts of many of us who support and endorse George Allen to be the next U.S. Senator of Virginia. Thanks to Mark Levin, no pushover for anyone, for expressing it in a succinct, no-nonsense way.

Transcript of National Talk Radio Host Mark Levin on George Allen:
“George Allen is running in the Republican Primary and will be running I believe in the general election for the US senate.

“A few years ago he was a possible presidential nominee in the Republican Party.

“So now he’s defined as establishment by those who want to defeat him.

“There’s nothing establishment about George Allen.

“George Allen was a great Governor who fought the establishment.

“George Allen got elected to the House of Representatives fighting the establishment.

“He got elected to the Senate because he wasn’t of the establishment.

“And then the establishment in Washington, DC, tried to take him down and then eventually did.

“I’ve endorsed George Allen for the Senate because he’ll be a terrific Senator.  And he’ll be a conservative.

“And he’s got a deeper, longer record as a conservative than anybody who wants to take him down.”

George Allen for U.S. Senate

81% unhappy with government ... 71% favor term limits

According to a new group of polls this week, Americans continue to lose faith in many of their elected officials with record numbers of citizens unhappy with the leadership coming out of Washington, D.C.

On Monday the Gallup Poll reported that 81% of Americans were not happy with government, the highest rating ever in the history of polling, and noted that it could get worse:
“Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government — something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period,” Gallup wrote. “Nevertheless, with another budget showdown looking inevitable and a contentious presidential election year getting underway, it appears the ratings reviewed here could get worse before they improve.”
That was backed up by a CNN/ORC International Poll released today reporting that "the public's trust in the federal government has dropped to an all-time low" with only 15% expressing faith in government to do what's right.

On Tuesday, Rasmussen came out with more startling numbers reflecting the dissatisfaction of the American people with their Congressional representatives. An overwhelming 71% of voters favored term limits for elected officials while 14% opposed and 15% had no opinion. Rasmussen reported:
Why term limits? One reason may be that 70% of voters agree with the statement that “once someone is in office too long, they start looking out for themselves and their friends more than the interests of the people.” Just 16% disagree with the statement, and 14% more are not sure. Rasmussen added, “The nation’s founders believed that the only way to hold a legislator accountable was to insure that they come back and live under the laws they created for the rest of us. That rarely happens in the twenty-first century.” Most voters believe that the legislators routinely win re-election because the system is rigged to benefit incumbents. Hardly any believe that the “representatives” earn re-election by serving their constituents well.
Again noting that these are historical findings, Rasmussen continued:
Voters overwhelmingly believe that most members of Congress are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people. Forty-six percent (46%) viewed most members of Congress as corrupt. These are the most pessimistic assessments ever found on those questions in surveys stretching back to early November 2006.
Just six percent (6%) of voters now rate Congress’ performance as good or excellent, the lowest finding in the history of Rasmussen Reports surveying.
As reported in earlier polls, Americans are not confident in political parties with Rasmussen reporting that 49% -- that's approximately one out of every two voters -- feel that neither political party in Congress is looking out for the best interest of the American people. Rasmussen says that's up six points from a year ago.

Combined with President Barack Obama's low job approval ratings, the polls show that citizen dissatisfaction with many of their leaders continues to grow.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Birthday greetings for a gentle friend

Shenandoah National Park hiking trail.
Photo by Bob (The Journey).

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves." - John Muir

Today is the birthday of a good friend so I spent my early morning hours looking back over his posts at The Journey, reliving the trails he has hiked and the areas he has visited and his words of wisdom in the weekly Thyme Magazine.

Bob's window on the world takes me to new heights and destinations and I rejoice in his pleasure of photographing a butterfly on a purple thistle in August or the sun's rays on Elliott's Knob on a winter morning or the changing colors in Shenandoah National Park.

Bob and I first crossed paths as fellow home school parents 14 years ago. A Christian, husband to an amazing lady, father of two, artist, architectural renderer, nature photographer, and well-read man, he has an indepth understanding of the land around us and the political unsettleness of the world that some may miss in his quiet gentleness.

In 2000, as I worked Bush for President headquarters in Staunton, Bob came in with a pencil drawing of Osama bin Laden as a rat. At that time, most people had no idea who Osama bin Laden was but Bob knew. I taped that drawing to the wall by my desk and, after the successful election was over, packed it away with my political treasures. Less than a year later, America became very aware of bin Laden after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country.

In 2004, as I unpacked the office supplies to once again set up headquarters for President Bush's reelection campaign, out came the pencil drawing of bin Laden-Rat that Bob had drawn four years earlier. When he stopped by headquarters, he spotted it once again on the wall beside my desk.

Some years back when I expressed disappointment on my blog at the eyesore that is now Afton Mountain, Bob, who is a fellow SWAC area blogger, came up with a vision of what it could look like with architectural drawings of a vibrant Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley. Even now, his vision lives in my mind as I dream that some day that area will become the beautiful mountain setting befitting the apex of the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway.

Last week, while eating lunch with a friend in a downtown Waynesboro restaurant, I spied Bob coming up the sidewalk across the street and grabbed my camera for a quick photo. He later used the photo in his blog as he explained his part in revitalizing that area of the Valley.

Often found in his studio with its own window on the beautiful Augusta County countryside, Bob sometimes gets lost in the joy of his work. For our sake, I'm glad because we've become the richer for his willingness to share what has often been inspirational and unforgettable.

Happy Birthday, my friend. Here's wishing you many more years looking at God's world and bringing that beauty to us through photos and words.

Update: Bob's response post ... "Joy in the Journey: Milepost 60."

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 Republican Round-Up with Eric Cantor this Saturday

Bob McDonnell speaks at 2009 Republican Round-Up while 7th Congressional District Chair Linwood Cobb and Rep. Eric Cantor listen.

Last year over 4,600 people attended the 2010 Republican Round-Up. Mark your calendars for this Saturday, October 1st, for more fun and games at this year's 2011 Republican Round-Up featuring Congressman Eric Cantor (R-7th CD), House Majority Leader, in Richmond, from 3-6:00 p.m. at Snag-A-Job Pavilion at Innsbrook.

This free family event pulls in thousands each year with live music, food, beer and wine, children's games, climbing wall, cotton candy, popcorn, and some red, white, and blue patriotism as well as Republican candidates and elected officials. It's always fun and a great way to catch up with others from across the Commonwealth.

Be sure to RSVP today and check the website for directions and additional information as well as photos from last year. Rain or shine ... come enjoy the Republican Round-Up!

Read more about the 2010 Round-Up in my Washington Examiner post.

Let's meet at Chili's today to support St. Jude's

Let's meet at Chili's today, Monday, Sept. 26, and start off the week with great food for a good cause! On this national one-day event, Chili's donates 100 percent of the day's net profits to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® continue their life-saving research and treatments.

Check out Chili's website for more information by visiting

Thanks for joining us as we help St. Jude find cures and save the lives of children in communities everywhere. See you at Chili's!

Gallup: 81% of Americans unhappy with government

It continues to be unsettled out there. Politico reports:
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 81 percent, said that they are not satisfied with the governance of the country, compared to 19 percent who are satisfied, according to Gallup.
The article continues:
“Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government — something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period,” Gallup wrote. “Nevertheless, with another budget showdown looking inevitable and a contentious presidential election year getting underway, it appears the ratings reviewed here could get worse before they improve.”
It's time to elect representatives who are interested in the best interests of those they will represent.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Will it be a snowy winter in the Shenandoah Valley?

This is a photo I took in January 2011 of a central Shenandoah Valley farm in western Augusta County with the snow-covered Appalachian Mountains in the background. It made me wonder, as we prepare for the colors of fall, what kind of winter will be in store....

Gibson Guitar Company persecuted by U.S. Federal Government?

When the U.S. Government first invaded the Gibson Guitar Company in August 2011, the news spread through Facebook like wildfire as many expressed outrage at yet another overreach by our own government.

Charlie Daniels, that bigger-than-life country superstar who love the U.S. in a way that he willingly gives and expresses with our troops, had some words about the raid on Gibson. On his blog he wrote:

When I went to Iraq the first time I saw a great need for recreational musical instruments as a lot of the troops played, to one degree or another, but just didn't have instruments to help while away the lonely off duty hours.

When I got back stateside I started something we called Operation Heartstrings in an effort to provide instruments, and strings to our men and women serving so far away from home.

The first call I made was to Henry Juszkiewicz, the owner of the Gibson Guitar Company who, without hesitation, donated one hundred Gibson guitars and a gross or so of strings to the project.

Henry is good American and businessman who makes a quality product and exports it to the world, providing a lot of American jobs in the process.

On August 24, agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homeland Security executed a raid on the corporate headquarters and two of the factories of the Gibson Guitar Company in Nashville, TN.

They confiscated 24 pallets of Indian rosewood, some finished guitars and some of the company's computer files, claiming that Gibson had illegally imported the wood used to make fretboards and bridges on their guitars.

A little known - and recently amended - piece of legislation called the Lacey Act contends that American companies have to operate according to the laws of the country exporting the wood.

The feds contend that if the fretboards had been finished in India and imported that way there would be no problem, but that when imported in the raw form and finished by American workers it is illegal.

And here's the sickening thing, the complaint did not originate with the Indian government. They are perfectly happy to export the unfinished fretboards.

The deputy director general of foreign trade for India even stated in a letter in July of this year that rosewood ebony from India was freely exportable but the feds seem to want to use their own interpretation of the law to harass Gibson.

And I do mean harass.

Why not the other guitar companies who import and use the same wood, why single out Gibson?

Could it be that Henry Juszkiewicz has been known to support Republican candidates while at least one other major guitar manufacturer supports Democrats?
No matter what he says, Obama has a careless disregard for American jobs, especially if they're not unionized.

If the Homeland Security Department needs something to do they could provide some much needed help on the Arizona border.

This is disgusting.
This, the second raid on Gibson, has raised questions to many Americans at a time when the Obama administration says it cares about jobs for Americans....

Casual Sunday chili lunch

Home grown peppers that are still coming in from the garden made a colorful burst of flavor in the chili pot on a rainy, overcast Sunday.

The peppers and tomatoes will continue to ripen until the first frost. Meanwhile, we're enjoying every last one of the fruits and veggies of summer.

As the chili pot bubbled on the stove ...

... home made chocolate pudding cooled on the counter. Add a garden salad with those last tomatoes from the garden along with Tostitos scoops, and that's casual Sunday lunch today at the Mitchell home.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
25 September 2011

Waynesboro: successful 2011 Chili, Blues 'n Brews Festival

Saturday's Chili Blues 'n Brews Festival was a big success with several thousand participants enjoying chili sample, brewskis, and bluesy tunes at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. News Virginian editor and general manager Jonathan Hunley has more.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

God doesn't call the qualified ... he qualifies the called

A reminder that we are called for what we do in life if only we listen ...
from my friend Joy.

"Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper ... Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody ... Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazaurus was dead. God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called! You don't have to be perfect and can make mistakes to be used for His purpose."

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Grayson County, Virginia

Mountain garden gate

An invitation to a Shenandoah County secret garden
overlooking the Appalachian Mountains.

Open the garden gate
Butterflies float gently on the breeze as they flutter by
Emerald tones of grass blanket the ground.
Rose's trail and twist on the broken trellis.
Petals glisten and radiate rainbow blooms
Tiny birds flit across your path
The sun warms your face.
This is utopia
Open the garden gate

~Amber A. Whitman

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
22 August 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

From the flower garden: early fall sedum

Sedum, that perennial growing in our flower gardens, shares its beautiful deep mauve-colored blooms in late summer and early fall, faithfully returning year after year to brighten the shadows of the yard as it grows and multiplies, providing plants to share with others.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
24 September 2011

Rainy weather "singing" mushrooms

Remember the days when Kings Dominion had those incorrigible Singing  Mushrooms that sounded like a Barbershop Quartet?
SWAC Husband found these perky, colorful fungi happily living under the spreading branches of our majestic Blue Spruce that reminded me of the KD singing mushrooms from my youth. We have no memory of them sprouting in that area before but this year has been an excessively wet late summer/early fall season in our corner of the Shenandoah Valley. They aren't hurting anything and have been left to grow in the shadow of the Blue Spruce....

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
24 September 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waynesboro's Main Street ... doors, windows, views

Waynesboro, Virginia ... at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a hop from the Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway.

Banner across Main Street highlights this weekend's Virginia Chili, Blues 'n Brews festival.

The Green Leaf Grill on Main Street offers a varied menu for all tastes.

Looking west toward the mountains.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
22 September 2011