Category Archives: Weather

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Halloween tonight…

Elly works late today, so the dogs and I will be ready to greet any costumed kids who come to the door with a bowl of miniature candy bars. I know this is going to drive my dogs crazy, but I’ll put up with it.

It looks like the rain has finally stopped outside. Hopefully it will stay this way. It would be very unfortunate for kids to have to go house to house in the rain. Out here in rural Harper’s Ferry the houses are spread pretty widely apart and it would be a very wet walk.

So I’m wishing all of you a happy Halloween out there. Let it turn a Wednesday evening into fun.

 

Here’s a new problem which will probably start appearing in storm damaged areas (and beyond)…

Here’s something to watch out for that you probably haven’t thought of: if you are shopping for a used car you  should be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles that often hit the market after a major storm. They may not come from your particular geographic area, but the storm actually covered a lot of ground.

In the wake Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive flooding in several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic cities in the U.S., we should consider the advice given by Edmunds.com (the Car People.)

Once owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies their vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. An unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster is the prime target. Long after the seller is gone, the new owner finds it is an unreliable car. Electrical and mechanical problems can then surface, and there is no recourse against the seller.

 

When the flood waters recede, they often leave behind damaged cars, and that’s where trouble can begin for used-car buyers. After the owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. And sometimes, a middleman buyer intentionally hides a car’s history as a flood-damaged vehicle through a process known as “title washing” and sells it to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster. Electrical and mechanical problems then surface later — long after the seller is gone — leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller.

- edmunds.com

According to Fraud Guides, if you suspect a local car dealer is committing fraud by knowingly selling a flood car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422).

Of course, the best advice when trying to avoid a flood-damaged vehicle is the adage you’ve heard so often: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Suppose Romney was President now, during Sandy…

First of all, he would have discarded FEMA as a Federal Agency and given the costs and responsibilities back to the states or to private enterprise. I’ll bet governors up and down the east cost would not be thrilled to lose the federal support.

So what is Romney‘s status on federal funds protecting and helping Americans in times of natural disaster? Take a look:

I guess that means what President Obama is doing now to aid the various states in preserving life and helping states is “immoral.” Tell that to Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who as already come out praising Obama and thanking him for making federal funds and FEMA available… and being available to him by phone for any future problems. I’ll bet Christie is glad that it is Obama and not Romney who is on the other end of the phone call:

“I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of New Jersey.”

-  Gov. Chris Christie, (R) NJ

 

Here are some National polls… but the storm could change this

Here are the latest national tracking polls of the presidential race:

Back to the White House

Washington Post: Romney 49%, Obama 48%

Politico/George Washington University: Obama 49%, Romney 48%

Public Policy Polling: Romney 49%, Obama 48%

Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Obama, however, has pulled away from campaign speeches so he could get back to the White House to manage the storm response for the East coast. This is a real sign of his being presidential… after all, he has a full-time job working for us. Romney being unemployed right now will keep up campaigning, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to the President’s activities.

 

Our first view of what’s coming with the storm…

Elly’s job at Hagerstown Community College is off for two days as HCC has announced closing due to the approach of Sandy.

The rain has already started here this morning and we are soon expecting the wind.

Hope you are all keeping an eye out if you are in the storm track and please take care of yourselves. here’s a chance that we’ll lose power and the blog will be down, but as long as I can I’ll keep it up.

 

NOT SURE HOW MUCH SANDY IS GOING TO EFFECT THE EASTERN PANHANDLE…

But the animations the weather shows are presenting have rainstorms crossing over us… apparently we’re about as far to the west as any of this will reach and I can’t imagine it will be like a nor’easter or a tropical hurricane.

To make sure what’s happening however, I’m hanging out the Weather Forecasting Stone:

I have absolute confidence in the stone’s accuracy. Don’t you wish you had one?

 

Intro to Solar Class Offered at No Cost to WV Residents

 

 Thanks to a state grant, Mountain View Solar, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, will be offering “Introduction to Solar Energy Systems” in Berkeley Springs, WV and in Martinsburg, WV. The class is available at no cost to WV residents and can be taken for college credit and as a requirement toward a NABCEP certification.

The class will be held on Tuesdays from 6-8:30 PM from September 11 through November 13, 2012. There are still spots available for students who are interested in a career in solar energy or simply interested in how solar works.

For more information, email John@mtvsolar.com or to register contact Blue Ridge College at 304.260.4380 ext. 2411

 

My son is now a married man and I am a tired old fat guy…

 

Morning after… I’m sitting in the lounge at the Milwaukee Hilton catching up on e-mail and my blog while my wife and my daughters go over to Buddy’s house (or should I say Will’s? No, I can’t get used to that… he’s been Buddy to me since the day he was born) for a brunch (I can’t deal with the stairs up to Bud’s house after my bone-breaking accident… and I had an extra fall yesterday walking down some narrow stairs at the Oriental Theater during wedding pictures time… so I’m staying here until they get back.)

This afternoon at 3:00 we catch the first of two trains… this one to Chicago and the next to Martinsburg, WV. We’ll be traveling for next 20 or so hours. What fun.

During Buddy and Rachel’s wedding reception last evening we had a brief rainfall… and, in a sign that I see as good luck for the married couple… it was followed by a Rainbow. What are the odds of that happening? This was magic!

Elly and I had breakfast this morning with my cousin Bob, his wife Suzie and his daughter SueSue and her boyfriend. They’re driving back to Chicago later. It was nice seeing them
The lovely young woman who works this waiting lounge just brought me some ice water… they are so pleasant here…and I think I’ll take a little nap if i can get away with it. Once we head out for the train I’ll have no Wi-Fi again until we get home tomorrow, so I can’t do much more on the blog.

Be good to each other.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Wouldn’t you rather get back to real life?

David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Is it politics that causes climate change?

- and -

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

 

Will reality overcome idiocy?

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

What party chooses destructiveness over group participation?

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Which candidate regularly displays his knowledge of the lower middle class?

- and -

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

And how does a candidate expose his nemesis by committing the same things as the accusations he makes?

A research visit to an Earthship…

English: A picture of the workings of natural ...

English: A picture of the workings of natural ventilation in a earthship. Schematic was based on a picture found in the book “Earthship Vol 2:Systems and Components by Michael Reynolds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elly and I are in the planning stages of our earth bermed house project which we hope to be living in in a year or so. About a mile or so from our current house is an “Earthship“, a particular style of earth bermed house, originally designed and promoted by New mexico architect Mike Reynolds.  It is built with walls made out of earth-filled automobile tires that are then covered with clay and cement.

It uses south-facing solar windows and a number of other things (like greywater cisterns) which we are planning on.

While this is not the method of building we are looking at, it has enough of the same features that we felt it would be a source of information for us. Owners Larry and Karen spent four years doing much of the building themselves and they were a fountain of information answering all of our questions and giving us advice. We have a number of leads to look up that they have directed us to.

I’ll be getting into more stuff about our new house plan as we go along.

Side view of the Earthship near us.

My life has changed… not for the better, I’m afraid

Following my radio show this morning, I’m sitting over at Mellow Moods having coffee while I wait for my friend Cecil to pick me up

He’s over at  workshop at the Contemporary American Theater Festival and are schedules our slightly skewed.

This not being able to drive, what I have been condemned to since my accident, stands a real possibility of going on for the rest of my life. If I were in a city with public transportation to everything going on, it would be one thing, but I’m a few miles out of town in an empty, rural neighborhood where walking to anything is out of the question and there are no buses or anything else.

I’m dependent on family and friends to go out, can no longer do the grocery shopping, which I enjoyed, and, basically I feel trapped. The internet is my only way out, so you, dear blog readers, are now my connection to the world. I enjoy hearing from you whether you agree with me or not.

Think I’ll go buy another cup of coffee while it becomes 102° outside.

Happy Birthday, America…

Here we are, in the midst of a heat wave with still over a million of our neighbors in the mid-Atlantic states out of power, and it is the 4th of July.

While not the most pleasant 4th we have had over the past few years, we are happy that the health care law still stands and our population is starting to wise up. Obama‘s numbers are rising, and that’s a positive happening.

So have a nice holiday… but stay out of the heat if you can. We are going to the first plays of the CATF tonight (we have two to see…5:30 and 8:30… and it’s going to be a long night.

Another hot day… and who says there is no Global Warming?

According to the Weather Bureau it’s going to get even hotter by Wednesday and we’ll all feel like hot dogs on a grill. The experts who have reported on the Weather Channel that this long stretch of heat is a sure sign of the existence of global warming, especially given the huge spread of the continent that it covers.

Those who disagree with that assumption… and for some reason the disagreement is political, which I have never understood… are saying “well, it’s summer,” but this contradicts years of summers before. As summer has just begun, I can’t wait to see what August, usually our really hot month, is like.

So stay inside with the AC on and keep as cool as you can. That’s what I’m doing.

The Power is Back! (9:00 AM)

We just finished a 13 hour power outage due, I am told, by a tree falling over a line down Uvilla Road.

Elly and I drove over to Charles Town to have breakfast (and COFFEE) at the Mountaintop Diner and came back to the lights being on (although the Potomac Edison trucks are still working on the lines around the corner from us.)

The wind and thunderstorms last night blew all kinds of things from Elly’s gardening around the yard and it will have to be picked up today… although it is getting up to near 90° outside… and there are more thunderstorms due later this afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day.

A lovely Saturday…

I took a long ride in to WSHC this morning along the love;y Potomac River. There were fishermen out casting in those little flat-bottom boats with the tiny outboards, and people just sitting on their porches looking out at the Potomac’s flow.

Much as I dislike living in West Virginia, I have to admit that the countryside is beautiful. And there are so many different kinds of birds (from bright red cardinals to dingy black vultures) to track along the back roads.

Today I’ll be doing my show from 11 AM to 1 PM on 89.7 FM (as a 1000 watt station we have a range of about 30 miles from downtown Shepherdstown), or we are streamed live on http://897wshc.org if you are anywhere else in the world. The show is “Talk To Me” and the phone number to do so is 304-876-5369 (if you can squeeze in a call between my regulars). I do song challenges (my score is pretty good – you name it and it’s likely I can play it), music out of my library, discussions of politics and local or national events… whatever you want to talk about.

So tune in if you get a chance.

The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard…

We’re in some kind of direct thunderstorm path out here in rural Harpers Ferry. The thunder from last night’s storm, which woke me up, was incredibly loud… as it had been the night before.

Both our dogs were upset and  I had to come out into the living room and pet them and calm them down. Byron, the smaller of the two, crawled behind my recliner and put his head under the seat… I presume so he couldn’t see the lightning flash in the windows. Nestle, my big old boy, moved back and forth from couch to couch unable to rest comfortably.

We have even more of these storms projected by the Weather Channel for this afternoon… 60% chance, which is usually pretty good.

I hope my dogs are up for it.

Over at Mellow Moods having coffee after the show…

Not a bad show on WSHC this morning… a lot of song request challenges (and I found all of them) from my regulars and nothing went wrong with the equipment (Ta Dah!).

The weekend looks lovely. After coffee, I’m on my way over to our now up-for-sale town house to get some hardware off the garden fence. Then back home to make up the sleep that I DIDN”T get last night.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Did you see that moon last night?

Amazing and beautiful. The moon was in perigee and appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than normal full moons… the brightest of 2012. It came the closest to the Earth than it has all year.

Fortunately, the sky was clear enough around here to see it.

Sitting over at Mellow Moods…

John Case was still away, so I did the morning radio show alone and unprepared… but it went OK. Now I’m over at the Mood for post-show coffee and talking with local friends who hang out here.

Can’t tell what the weather will be like for the rest of the day. It’s nice out now, but there are some dark clouds rolling over and it is a little windy… if we have rain later in the day I won’t be surprised.

Shepherdstown is setting up for an active weekend. Tomorrow is Eastern Panhandle Earth Day at Morgans Grove Park all afternoon and into the evening. There is the Really, Really Free yard sale on The Wall on German Street both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, I have my regular WSHC show, Talk To Me, tomorrow from 11 AM to 1:00 PM.

Elly is doing a lot of different things today and, I guess, for the rest of the weekend, so I’m pretty much on my own. We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Shepherdstown Community garden is organizing again… there are still some plots left this year.

 

My wife, who directs the Shepherdstown Community Garden, is getting together with those interested on Sunday morning (April 15) at 8:45 AM to do manure spreading on the garden. On Saturday the 21st there will be a seed exchange in the morning (@10 – 12 Noon) and then a group meeting of gardeners from 12 to 1:30 PM. At 3:00 PM, Sustainable Shepherdstown will be hosting a film, “Good Food“, at the Opera House.

If you are interested in getting one of the remaining plots at the Community Garden, here’s the info:

1. The prices will remain the same. $20 for your first 10′ x 10′ plot, $5 for each additional – So 20 x 15 would be $25, 20 x 20 would be $30, etc.

2. We will e-mail a copy of the current plot map upon request. The contract can also be sent in a separate email. E-mail Ellen Smith at esmithart30@yahoo.com . You can mail a check to Ellen Smith at 2873 Engle Molers Road, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.
We are really hoping to get all the plots sold or under straw/cardboard etc., so we do not have to mow and do not have to have weeds. Then we can work on making the paths unattractive to weeds. If you know someone who would like to join us, now is the time!

Community garden was one of the most successful programs last year, thanks to the cooperation with Morgan’s Grove Market and Peter Corum. It is protected from deer and other creatures by an eight foot high fence built by members and has access to running water.

If you are interested in joining this phenomenal group of gardeners, get with it before all the plots are gone.

 

Planet Under Pressure Conference in London – We’re getting close to irreversible climate changes…

While politicians argue with scientists, the climate actually goes on changing.. and not to our advantage. Reuters has been commenting on this conference that runs through tomorrow:

Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

“This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University‘s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

It’s amazing how many of the best scientific minds see the problem, yet they are faced with huge negative concepts by the politicians who would have to vote in the bucks to make changes.

As we argue this out for the rest of the decade, we can watch the polar ice caps melt and the tropical rain forests dry up and many species that we rely on disappear.

It is up to us as individuals to push our representatives into dealing with the truth. Right?

Starting the third week of moving and we’re still not done…

So help me, moving again is going to take more will than I think I have. We’re still hauling boxes and artwork and clothes and other stuff from 322 Starkey’s to the new house and it is an ongoing exhaustion creator.

To top it off it is raining this weekend and our helper students have football practice for much of it. When this is all done I’m going to sleep for two days straight and then get on with my life.

This morning on my radio show I was stumped for the first time on a play challenge, but, in general it went pretty well. Except, of course, that we weren’t on the internet due to a problem with the provider that the station is having. I’m sorry my regular out-of-town listeners couldn’t tune in today.

Poems for the 1st day of Spring:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough.

A.E. Housman (1859–1936)
A Shropshire Lad (1896)

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’,
I wonder where the birdie is?

There he is up in the sky,
He dropped some whitewash in my eye!

I‘m alright, I won’t cry,
I’m just glad that cows can’t fly!

Anonymous

Spring breeze—
the pine on the ridge
whispers it

Kobayashi Issa (1804)

Enjoy the Day.

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