Day: July 1, 2017

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Promote Helpful Bugs!

By Jimmy Deaton Now that the growing season is underway, an abundance of life begins to spring up in our garden: seedlings take root and begin branching out, showing signs of their future production. But with new growth and life, comes the chance of pests finding their way into your garden. Some folks never have to deal with an infestation of pests—and hopefully you won’t either. When invasive species of insects happen to make their way into a garden, some folks rid them by spraying with pesticides. But I believe avoiding harmful pests by taking preventative measures and treating them using safe and natural methods is the best way to keep from harming your ground or your garden crop. The first line of defense to prevent insects from the beginning is to build and maintain a healthy soil. Healthy soil will provide your plants with all the oxygen and nutrients they need so they will better withstand the possible attack from pests. If you are rotating your crops every year, providing mulch and fertilizer, and even growing cover crops every couple of years, your soil will be in prime health and you will grow tenacious plants as a result. Even though pests can be very harmful, the healthiest gardens have bugs, and it can be a very good thing! The best advice I’ve heard is to fight bad bugs with good bugs. What I mean is to allow beneficial insects to populate your garden because they will not only ward off the harmful insects but promote healthy growth of current garden plants. The trick is to grow certain plants and flowers alongside your garden vegetables to attract these helpful bugs into your garden and to scare away harmful ones. These “protective plants” also known as “companion plants” also help repel…

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Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Chef Uffe Mikkelsen

By Chester Simpson Chef Uffe Mikkelsen Roseina’s 1307 Shenandoah Road Hollin Hall Village Center 703-768-0064   (L to R) Roseina’s Vegetarian Pleaser w/ our Tomato & Mozzarella Salad, California Sandwich w/ Smoked Turkey, Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, Avocado & Basil Mayonnaise, Blue Cheese & Caramelized Walnut Salad w/ Baked Salmon and Roseina’s Chilled Gazpacho. Uffe Mikkelsen was born and raised in Denmark. He attended culinary school in Copenhagen and then worked at Restaurant Els in the Nyhavn area along the waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen. A century ago one of the regular clientele was Hans Christian Anderson. From here Mikkelsen took over the chef duties at Restaurant Scott in Copenhagen. In 1986, Mikkelsen found himself in Boston were he became Executive Sous Chef at the Ritz Carlton. From there he moved to the Washington, D.C. area where he was promoted to Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, Tysons Corner and finally at Pentagon City. “I arrived in America at a good time,” he tells me, “the role of the Executive Chef was changing to being more incorporated into the whole dining concept, and the Ritz was one of the best.The Ritz’s philosophy was…Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen!” When did you first become interested in cooking and what made you choose a culinary career? My family owned a Konditorei. I began working at age 12 and moved to Copenhagen at 16 to begin Culinary School and an apprenticeship. A Konditorei typically offers a wide variety of pastries and typically also serves as a café. Who or what has been your biggest inspiration during your career? In Denmark at Restaurant ELS, Executive Chef Ole had a strong impression on me, as well as Chef Jean Claude Cavalier at the Ritz Carlton in Boston, MA. He loved…

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By Doug Coleman THE NEW CIVIL WAR – IS IT ON? Traditionally, Americans have gone to the polls, voted, and lived with the results whether they liked them or not. An exception was 1860, where Lincoln prevailed with a plurality of just 39.8% of the vote (even Trump got 47.5%). Lincoln’s name was not even on the ballot in ten of the eleven states which would secede. In Virginia, where he was on the ballot, he got about 1% of the vote. He lost Missouri too.   States started seceding before he could even be inaugurated. Another exception was last year. Within days, the Left Coast was talking secession. An Oregonian secessionist gave the rationale as “Oregonian values are no longer the values held by the rest of the United States.” In California, leaders of the legislature issued a press release immediately after the election stating: “Today we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.” Note the mindset evident in these statements – it is “us versus Americans,” suggesting that these folks have already seceded in their minds and no longer consider themselves our countrymen. This bodes ill for reconciliation. Even without actually seceding, many cities ruled by Democrats are dusting off nullification along the lines of South Carolina during Andrew Jackson’s presidency. The policy of the new administration is to enforce immigration laws, yet many jurisdictions have chosen to defy the law in maintaining “sanctuary cities” Similarly, the president pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord; some Democrat cities state they will stay in on their own. Who are the Neo-Confederates now? What is different is that the a large portion of…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Outdoor Options for Your Pets

Outdoor Options for Your Pets By Steph Selice It’s summer, and what better time to enjoy being with your pets than when you’re on vacation or just relaxing? There are lots of options to share good times while keeping your pets safe outdoors, as well as great indoor activities for some pets that let them enjoy sunshine and fresh air. Dog Days of Summer Most dogs love being outside, and not just in our backyards or on neighborhood walks. Alexandria is one of the most dog-friendly places in the U.S., so exploring our city together offers you exceptional fun, including 5 fenced dog parks that allow pets off leash, and 12 unfenced dog-exercise areas. [For websites and venues mentioned in this article, please see the Resources list.] Strolling with your dog through Old Town will introduce you to the many local businesses that cater to dog lovers and their pets. There’s even a Canine Cruise on the Potomac. When you want to travel together, U.S. National Parks offer great options, because many welcome dogs. Shenandoah National Park is dog friendly and has almost 500 miles of trails you can hike together, some quite close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. All of the park’s campgrounds allow dogs. Many Virginia state parks and beaches are also dog friendly, along with hundreds of other outdoor venues across the country. Dozens of national hotel chains allow dogs, and some even welcome cats and other pets. Cats and the Outdoors: Indoor Alternatives Though some cat people enjoy walking their pets on leashes, in vest-style carriers, or with wheeled walkers or strollers, most veterinarians and feline specialists would discourage anyone from letting cats outdoors. They believe the dangers to your cat’s safety and health from disease, accidents, or unknown people and animals outweigh any benefits. So…

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Pets, Places, & Things

A Plan for Your Pets Can Make All the Difference

A Plan for Your Pets Can Make All the Difference By Barbara S. Moffet Do you have a cat or dog or other animal whom you cherish, a pet who is part of your family? What would happen to him or her if you suddenly died or became incapacitated? That is a situation commonly faced by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA), called to a home where the owner has died and possibly left pets behind. “Usually, we have no information about the number or type of animals in the home and have to go in to search the premises, hoping that we have found all of the pets inside,” said AWLA Executive Director Megan Webb. “When we do rescue these animals, we often have to start from scratch to learn their specific medical and behavioral needs.” Webb said when she walks through the AWLA shelter, she can often tell which animals have come because their owners have died. “These animals were very bonded to their owners and will shut down for a long time. We work to make the shelter a wonderful place, but it’s still a shelter. It’s so much better for pets to have a plan in place that was created by their owner beforehand.” To address this need, the AWLA has developed A Plan for Pets, which allows people to register their pets with AWLA, providing extensive information about them and designating a guardian to step in if needed. AWLA board member and attorney Rachel Baer, Esq., who is Of Counsel at Needham Mitnick and Pollack PLC, says A Plan for Pets is groundbreaking. “I know of nothing like it in Virginia,” she said. Baer points out that Virginia law treats pets as property, meaning that the animals can languish in legal limbo for months…

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Single Space

Spark to a Flame

By Lori Welch Brown Spark to a Flame Not sure what all the 4th of July hoopla is all about. Wanna see fireworks? Walk in my shoes for a few days. I’ve got fireworks happening in this 50 year old body non-stop. Some days it’s a full-blown Capitol tribute up in here. Lately my job has been to extinguish the spark before it lights up the night sky (or the customer service desk at Target) which is not always an easy task. Most days I’m like a well-seasoned fireman running into a burning building with just moments to assess the situation and douse the flames before the blaze claims any victims. I joke, but I am starting to realize that my otherwise sparkling personality is now just easily sparked. Public Service Announcement (PSA): If you see me out in public, approach at your own risk if you see sweat dripping off my body (and I happen to be sitting under the A/C vent). Sadly, it seems that it hasn’t taken much momentum lately for the spark to turn into a flame. Could be a look from the husband, an inflection in a friend’s voice, or an email ‘tone’. Those are the worst. You know what I’m talking about—the snippy little tone thinly disguised as helpful customer service.   “Hi, Ms. Welch. We would like to let you know that your purchase has shipped.”   Can’t you just hear the seething arrogance?! No? Yeah, well you don’t have the radar for these things like I do. It’s wisdom honed over 50 years and the hotter the temps, the more accessible the 50-something wisdom if you know what I’m sayin’. Pop! Pop! Boom! It’s sizzle time! It’s as magical as those fairy tears that drench my body without warning. See ‘PSA’ above….

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Pets, Places, & Things

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for July 2017

King Street Cats Adoption Calendar for July 2017   For details please see our Website: Or contact us via email at:   King Street Cats 25 Dove Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30pm-4.30pm   Petvalu Bradlee Shopping Center, 3652 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 Saturday July 1 and Sunday July 2, and Saturday July 15 and Sunday July 16 from 1pm-4pm   Petco Unleashed 1101 S Joyce St, Arlington, VA 22202 Saturday July 1 and Saturday July 15 and Sunday July 16 from 1pm-4pm   Petco Unleashed 1855 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington, DC 20007 Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23 from 12pm-3pm   The Dog Park 705 King Street, Alexandria, VA22314 Saturday July 8 from 1pm-4pm   Natures Nibbles 2601 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 Saturday July 8 and Saturday July 22 from 1pm-4pm   Are you or someone you know free during weekday mornings? King Street Cats is looking for weekday morning caregivers and vet taxis to transport our cats to the vet. Please email: for details.   King Street Cats is looking for foster homes! You provide the spare room and TLC and we can provide food, litter and all vetting. Please email: for details.

Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

What’s the Limit?

By Steve Chaconas   What’s the Limit?   I witnessed stocked trout fishing with curiosity, never participating. This isn’t “A River Runs Through It”, or “On Golden Pond”. It could be “Grumpy Old Men”, but the water isn’t frozen. West Virginia grows trout and stocks nearly a million fish a year for anglers to catch. Put and take fishing, where the state puts and anglers take fish home, just cuts out the fish market middleman. That’s like a safari at the zoo, or finding a date at an all girls school, or seeing a plaid suit at a used car lot. This concept was lost on me. In March, my buddy George Barr invited me to go trout fishing. A 15-minute hike through the woods in the dark at 05:30 in 34 degree weather, hauling two rods each, tackle, and the wishful-thinking cooler, terminated at a mountain lake shoreline. Headlamps lit the way. I thought we were alone until my sleep deprived eyes focused. Lights lined the shoreline like a mid winter holiday festival. Trout fishing is a big deal.   Normally I fish from my Skeeter’s padded carpeted deck. I now stood on dirt, in the dark, making casts in the lake’s direction. I relied on George and brought jars of bright orange floating Power Bait, size 12 Mustad red treble hooks, and 4 pound test Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon to tie to 8-pound Torque braid. George said trout feed up. Power Bait balls around a hook float about 2-3 feet off the bottom. I tried a drop shot and George fished the traditional way, a slip sinker and leader. We caught a few but no limit, the standard 6 fish trout angler goal. You can use two poles.   Trout are sight feeders. Heavy rain and wind in April…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Is Your Portfolio as Efficient as It Could Be?

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Is Your Portfolio as Efficient as It Could Be? When you look at a line chart of an investment’s historical performance, one feature to note is its volatility – how frequent and how extreme the ups and downs have been. This is significant because volatility is the most commonly used measurement of an investment’s risk. The greater the volatility, the riskier the investment is considered to be. If you viewed a chart comparing the stock market’s vs. the bond market’s performance, you’d see stocks have been significantly more volatile than bonds. Logically then, a 100% bond portfolio should be less risky than one including both bonds and stocks. Right? Not so fast. In fact, according to a Morningstar study for the years 1970 through 2015, a portfolio comprising 67% bonds (measured by the 20-year U.S. government bond) and 33% stocks (using the Ibbotson Large Company Stock Index) offered less risk and better returns than a 100% bond portfolio. In other words, the former was more “efficient” than the latter, which leads to a concept investors should be aware of: the efficient frontier. Start with the basics Having a grasp of the efficient frontier begins with understanding: The relationship between risk and return How diversification can help manage risk and return In general, risk and return go hand-in-hand. As an investment’s risk increases, so should its return. If you buy a Treasury bond, the return will probably be low because the risk of default is minimal. If you buy a stock, however, the potential risk is significant – think back to what happened to stocks during the Great Recession – and you should expect a greater return potential as “compensation” from the market for accepting that additional risk. (A high risk/low return investment is probably…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Back to Basics

By Doug Fabiolli   Back to Basics         Our agricultural mentoring program got a big boost a few weeks ago. Now I really need to step up my game to teach better, say the best words and act like a grown up. I hope I can keep the illusion of knowledge going. Along those lines, I wanted to say a few words about making great wine. I was talking to a potential winery owner the other day and found myself giving advice as I usually do. So here are a few thoughts:   Have a vision for your wine: Plan your best to match the grapes available with the style of wine you want and with what the customers will be looking for. If it’s a small batch, being experimental or creative is fine. But if you are making a large batch of wine, it’s best to stay on proven ground. Some folks have more ability to absorb a miscue than others. Our first batch of Raspberry Merlot was a lot smaller than our current batches.   Focus on the fruit: Making flavorful wine is much more possible if you have flavorful fruit to do it with. Good canopy management, timely fruit thinning, balanced vines and the right varieties grown in the right location are all important subjects for growers to focus on. As the winemaker, you have to build the relationship with the grower that can deliver you the quality you need. Best is to be a grower first before you are a winemaker. As you can grow your own you always have it available – you just need to make that commitment.   Harvest Decision: Make sure that the fruit is to the ripeness level that fits with the vision. The ripeness for the Rose’ is going…

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