Day: July 1, 2020

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Losing the Battle of the Beetles

Blue Ridge By Julie Reardon Losing the Battle of the Beetles Ash trees are losing the “battle of the beetles” and dying out in Virginia. We said good bye to some old friends this spring as we took down a dozen dead and dying trees lining our drive and shading our house and barns. Although we’ve lost dozens of ash trees here on our farm, the ones lining our drive were massive and took the longest to die. Both here in Fauquier County and throughout the state, the dead and dying trees are victims of an invasive species from Asia by way of China, the emerald ash borer beetle (EAB). Not as well-known but equally despised, it arrived in our country about the same time as the brown marmorated stink bug. The EAB joins the stink bug, snake head fish, ailanthus tree, kudzu and a host of other invasive species as a major disruption to our ecosystem, the total effects of which are not yet known. First seen in Michigan in 2002, the EAB hitch hiked to this country most likely on hardwood packing material on airplanes or cargo ships. Since then, the killing swath has spread to nearly 30 states including Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, killing tens of millions of ash trees.  The four most common varieties of this tree in our area, including the forests in the national parks and in the cities and towns, are all members of the fraxinus species. All are vulnerable to the destruction caused by the beetle. And the beetle is sneaky. Once it arrives, the EAB may take two or three or even four years to kill a big healthy tree. They eat the leaves but the real damage is done when the females lay eggs under the bark….

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Just Batty For Gardens

By Rita Jacinto Just Batty For Gardens How does my garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells… And fertilizer, you idiot! Gardens are a work in progress, at least mine is. There is no end to what needs to be done, what could have been done better etc. etc. The point is to get outside and spend a little time with your hands in the earth, if the seeds you plant sprout and the flowers grow and bloom great! If not so what? Have fun, listen to the birds sing and the bee’s buzz, watch the spiders weaving their webs and the ants marching along and feel the sun on your back. Let yourself drift off into a reverie, it will be good for your soul. Don’t forget your houseplants. By now they are putting on new growth but it isn’t too late to repot and start your summer fertilizer program. Make it easy on yourself, set a table up outside and gather all the stuff you need, new pots, fresh potting soil, soil amendments etc. Then get your leafy house companions and bring them outside where you won’t have to worry about getting dirt and dead leaves all over the place. Now take a good look at them, prune them if they look straggly, check for bugs, remove dead leaves and branches. Replant into a pot one size larger using fresh new potting soil. If they don’t need to be repotted I usually scrape about an inch or so of soil off the top and add some fresh new stuff. The nutrients in potting soil are used up pretty fast by the plants and they will appreciate the fresh soil and nutrients. If you really want to thrill them you can add a little bat guano to each…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Beauty Oils In the Summer? You Bet!

By Genevieve LeFranc Beauty Oils In the Summer? You Bet! Now that we’re in the thick of the humid, muggy summer months, each of us is searching for a way to beat the heat when it comes to our beauty routines. Strong perfumes have been replaced with light body mists and layers of heavy foundation with a light dusting of powder or bronzer. But…what about our moisturizing routines? The idea of slathering your body with a thick, heavy-duty body butter or cream lotion seems almost suffocating in summer. I am a religious user of cocoa butter formulas during the winter for their rich moisturizing properties and luxe smell, but in the dog days of summer, the same lotion leaves me feeling sticky and weighed down, sweating it all off in a matter of minutes. Enter oil beauty products. If you’re feeling skeptical, you’re not alone. I, too, found the idea of oil counterintuitive, but once familiar with the non-breakout-causing, skin illuminating benefits that various oil products offer, I’m a believer. Oils work differently, actually helping your own skin balance its natural oil production as well as hydrating face, body, and hair. And it’s universal. Oils aren’t just for those with dry skin or fried, split ends—they’re great for treating acne-prone skin. The surprises continue: not all oils are created equal. Dry skin needs a product that will hydrate all day, while those with oilier skin types should look for a product that has a lightweight consistency. The best thing about oil is the fact that you can tailor it to your skin’s individual needs. Once you know which product is best for you, expect it to go to work right away. Trust me, the first time I used almond oil after a shower I felt like a piece of bacon,…

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Personality Profile

John Pann – A Man of Many Talents

John Pann – A Man of Many Talents There aren’t many people that you meet and everyone else seems to like. My late partner with the Old Town Crier, David Underwood, was like that. Always a great attitude, always a smile and always asking “Hi, how are you?”. John Pann is like that! When the Pandemic hit this past March, most of us stayed at home to work, lost our jobs or just got by as well as we could. John Crouch Tobacconist was impacted by the virus but did stay open through the shutdown with John as the only employee. Eight hours a day, seven days a week. He got to see a lot! John is first generation Irish and grew up in Michigan and Florida. John’s life and mine sort of paralleled each other. My early years were spent in Florida as well and as this article progresses you will discover the other coincidences in our lives. John is a restless soul. He started riding motorcycles in races when he was six-years-old and competed until he was 15. “I enjoyed it,” he tells me, “I broke both legs, arms and a rib.” He then shows me the bulge under his shirt that marks the broken rib. “My dad bought me a 50cc Honda when I was 6,” he tells me. In the beginning he rode motocross starting with a Suzuki 125 and then moved to bigger bikes like the very well balanced Honda 250 single cylinder. As he got older he moved to flat track racing which is basically a dirt oval. One of the preferred motorcycles in those days was the Triumph Tiger 100, a 500cc motorcycle that was light at only 335 pounds and had a high ground clearance. It was the same kind of motorcycle…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The USVI is Open for Tourists – Here’s What to Expect

By Bob Curley The USVI is Open for Tourists – Here’s What to Expect St Croix might be your best bet if you’re thinking about heading to the U.S. Virgin Islands soon after the U.S. territory officially reopened to visitors on June 1. Of the three islands in the USVI — St Thomas, St Croix, and St John — St. Croix has the most hotels currently open, including such prominent properties as the Hotel Caravelle, The Buccaneer, Sand Castle on the Beach, and The Fred, among others. In fact, St Croix is the rare Caribbean destination with more hotels open than closed. “Like most Americans, we are cautiously optimistic about re-opening the territory to tourism,” says Topher Swanson, co-owner of The Fred, an 11-room boutique hotel in Frederiksted. “Although not scientifically proven to prevent COVID-19, many of the things that people come to the Caribbean to enjoy — wide open spaces, fresh sea air, plenty of UV sunlight, etc. — are things that many people naturally believe can be used to fight the spread of COVID-19, so I can’t think of a healthier place to be right now.” (It’s worth noting that St. John has had just two positive COVID-19 cases through May 19, versus 38 in St. Thomas and 29 in St. Croix.) USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte announced that although tourists will be allowed to start coming back to the USVI next week, the territory’s COVID-19 state of emergency will remain in place until at least July 17. Visitors who come to the USVI in June will thus be among the first to experience the “new normal” of tourism in the post-COVID world. Buffets and live music will be banned at restaurants and bars, for example. Children’s recreational areas will remain closed. Mini-bars in hotel rooms will be shut down. Employees and guests…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Build Your Portfolio on a Solid Foundation

Financial Focus By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Build Your Portfolio on a Solid Foundation Asset allocation is to investment planning what the foundation is to a house or the chassis is to a car. It’s what everything else is built upon. And just as important as constructing a house on a firm foundation, having the right asset allocation can be vital to helping you work toward your financial goals. Although the name may sound intimidating, asset allocation is just technical term for a rather simple concept. Asset allocation is merely how your portfolio is divided up among different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and what are called “cash alternatives.” How asset allocation works Using asset allocation to build a portfolio designed to help you reach your long-term goals requires taking three primary factors into consideration: Goals. These are simply what you’re investing the achieve. For many of us, a major goal is to enjoy a financially secure retirement. If you have younger children or grandchildren, helping them afford higher education without building a mountain of debt is likely another goal. Or maybe you’d also like to make a luxury purchase – such as buying a vacation home or dream car or taking an exotic vacation – down the road. Time horizon. One reason why knowing your goals is important is because it helps determine your time horizon (how long you have until you need to tap into your investments). If you’re 28, for example, and want to retire at 68, your time horizon is 40 years. Simple as that. Risk tolerance. Your risk tolerance is the amount of volatility in your portfolio’s value you’re comfortable with. If you find you can’t sleep because you’re worried about your investments – especially when there’s market volatility – you probably…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

The Virtual Show Must Go On

By Steve Chaconas The Virtual Show Must Go On Fishing lures cast today likely starred at an ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show. The industry’s largest sportfishing trade show is produced by the American Sportfishing Association, located in Alexandria, VA. Decades of relationships have been forged and loads of tackleboxes filled when buyers, distributors, and media decide what fish want at the annual show. But Covid struck. Flights, hotel reservations and the world’s biggest fishing show succumbed to the virus. But the show must go on. Ongoing stay-at-home orders have not resulted in cancellation, but in change.  ICAST 2020 will be hosted virtually online in mid-July, providing exhibitors and attendees the experience of the show floor from their quarantined laptops/mobile devices. Respected media player Terry Brown, Wired2fish, has been preparing for the virtual show. He considers fishing companies a part of an extended family and features ICAST products in Wired’s own gallery. Brown thinks the New Product Showcase will more accurately reflected as voting will be closely monitored. Unable to check out some of the latest lures and fishing gear in person, ICAST on line will report what’s coming down the pipeline and likely reach a larger angling industry audience than ever before. Fishing generates nearly a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 800,000 people, and ICAST is the key to growing the fishing industry. Pete Gluszek, “The Dean” of The Bass University, has noticed ICAST changes over the past 15 years. Retailers discovered things that couldn’t be found anywhere, and they’d buy for the season.  Pros educated retailers on products and how to sell them. Gluszek says, since the internet, it’s not a buyers show anymore. It’s become a media show with manufacturers, media and pros creating content to showcase new products.  Buyers and…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Keeping up the Motivation

By Nicole Flannigan Keeping up the Motivation Now that summer is in full swing and the days are getting hotter and longer it’s easier to find excuses not to exercise. However, since we haven’t had access to our “normal” gyms and clubs since the pandemic close down for a couple of months, you die hard work out people might be gung ho at the start of your return but for some people it’s an everyday battle just to get up, let alone get to the gym.  Although I’m sure most of us find that once we walk through the door of the club it’s not all that bad. By the time the workout is done you feel like a different person than the one that rolled out of bed just over an hour ago. Whether it’s working out before the sun comes up or taking a 20 minute power walk to break up the busy work day here a few easy ways to keep up the good work this summer. 1. Workout Early in the Morning- If you get up and go early you will increase your chances of getting in a good workout. At the beginning of the day we have the least amount of excuses for skipping a workout. If getting up early enough is the problem, try limiting your snooze to five minutes – this way you won’t fall back into a deep sleep. Once you get into a routine of getting up and out early it will get easier. Not to mention you will get to work feeling more focused and energized. 2. Lift before you Run- instead of sitting on a cardio machine and sweating your calories away try doing a quick toning routine pre-cardio. Strength training is something that demands a little bit more…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

From Saturday On the Farm to Working the Vineyard

Exploring VA Wines By Doug Fabbioli From Saturday On the Farm to Working the Vineyard If you have been following me for a while, you realize that I try to do a little more than making and selling a bottle of wine. I was lucky enough to recognize at an early age that the wine industry is pretty cool and that I had some passion and energy to apply to that field. I have been working, learning and teaching in this field for almost 40 years and have influenced a great number of folks along the way. The great thing about the wine industry, is that if you are willing to work hard, there will be work for you. I will certainly expand that thought to other industries as well.  Many of my efforts over the past few years has been to find those passionate, energetic folks and teaching them about the career opportunities we have in our industry as well as giving some of them a summer job that will get them outside and put some cash in their pockets. Our efforts really start with farming. Many of us have grown up with a garden in the backyard and the early chores were tending to that garden. This spring, The New Ag’s School educational program, Victory Gardens, has had a couple of programs set up to share, educate, employ and feed our participants. The Victory Garden program consists of a kit of pots, soil and plant starters that folks can grow on the porch of their apartment and have some guidance through video and social media as the plants grow. We have continued with our “Saturday on the Farm” program even through the lockdown. Different farmers teach a program each Saturday to a variety of attendees in order to share some tips, meet some folks…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

The Business of Art

F. Lennox Campello The Business of Art Since we hunkered down in reaction to the Covidian Age, the spectacular crash of the worldwide economy has had a well-documented impact on business. Art, as a commodity is a business, and the business end of art has suffered tremendously as a result of the draconian ruleset imposed on most countries by alarmed governments.  Independently owned commercial art galleries, most of which are operated on a very tight budget, are probably going to suffer a 80-90% no return rate in the first couple of years of post-Covidism, if such a thing happens. Most medical models (so far) have been egregiously wrong in nearly every pandemic prediction made – this is, in my opinion, the result of lack of valid empirical data, and an all-human need to protect the herd.  Take these models, and mix them up with some ECON 101 basics, and the future of the art business as an independently-owned art gallery looks grim – for the immediate future. Once we fully return to pre-COVID lifestyles – if such a return happens – then, like a flower sprouting from a crack in hard cement, galleries will return.  But until then, we may be facing a “dark age” of art – at least in the physical, tangible form which has been the standard for the art world. Art on the web will continue to flourish, but in spite of what you may read, the commerce of art on the internet, based on empirical data and not on hyperbole, seems to touch only the endpoints of the economic scale: (1) the inexpensive bottom reaches of the artmosphere (that’s my invented word, not a typo), and the rarified upper crust of the same artmosphere: the blue chip artists, the big auction houses, etc. There will…

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