A little osprey will do

My friend, Dana Rieves, recently showed me a couple of nugget-sized public spaces in nearby Hopewell, Virginia.  These parklets have some benches, picnic tables, and space for people to fish. Her suggestion was simply to take some time, from time to time, to enjoy the space, the Appomattox River, and the birds.

Hub and I have started doing that, but this weekend had an enhanced surprise when we discovered that there was a chick in the osprey nest near where we were enjoying our coffee, fruit, and cheese.  We had seen an adult osprey the prior weekend but had no inkling there was a chick over our heads.

I know this sounds gushy, so gushy.  Forgive me.

We will probably have to visit during the week just to check on the chick.

Virginia & Prince George are growing

The Weldon Cooper Institute at UVA has recently released its population projections for Virginia and its localities through 2040.  Though these are projections and subject to lots of variables , but there are some interesting tidbits …

  • by 2040 Virginia will have surpassed New Jersey (now 11) and Michigan (now 10th) to become the 10 most populous state in Virginia
  • the population center of Virginia in 1940 was in Cumberland County.  By 1970 the population Center was in Richmond.  Now it is in Caroline County and, according to projections, by 2040 the population center will be near or in Fredrickburg
  • the population of Prince George will be 38,379 in 2020, 40,816 in 2030, and 42,640 in 2014
  • School age children in Prince George will be approximately 17-19% of the total population in 2020, but in the two ensuing decades the percentage of school age children will trend slowly downward, more like 15-17%
  • By contrast the Prince George population age group of 65 to 85+ will grow from abut 15% of the total population in 2020 to 25% in 2014

Prince GeorgeRemember that these are just projections but population trends have tremendous influence on politics, budgets, crime, education, health, transportation, all aspects of life, really. Do we need to have more smaller schools? Do we need to address health and transportation needs if the senior citizens. What about transportation in general? Are we going to continue to be an automobile reliant community? What other infrastructures demands do we need to plan for.  Your thoughts are welcome.

 

Visit the link above to visit the report from the Weldon Cooper Institute and some other interesting sources are statchatva.org and Bacon’s Rebellion (focuses on a variety of Virginia trends, politics, and history.

More happening in and around Prince George

Vicissitudes of country life …

One might argue that I don’t really live in the country.  I have a Food Lion about 5 miles away, a Starbucks about 10 miles away, Comcast cable (now Xfinity), and excellent cellular coverage.  But, in defense my self-proclaimed avatar as a rural warrior princess … I do have well water and a septic tank.

Well, no pun intended, I awoke to absolutely no water on Monday.  For some reason my well pump and/or pressure tank of 36 years had mysteriously died.  Mind you Monday was Martin Luther King Day.  Finding a plumber or well service open on such a day was a tall order.  Finding a plumber that dealt with well systems was even taller order.  Fortunately, our neighbor across the road is a great networker, keeps his home in good nick, and is a go-to resource in such situations.

Steve recommended Charles McCann of Done Right Enterprise as the man for the job.  He took the additional step of encouraging Charles to take care of us on as timely a basis as he could.  I am not sure Charles would have appeared later in the day with his wife and partner, Marie, without the recommendation and endorsement from Steve. Charles assessed the situation, provided his licenses, and gave us the estimate of cost and the promise that we would have water the next day.

The next day he appeared as promised with crew and equipment, new pump and pressure tank and encouragement that all would be well.  Again, no pun intended.

Tuesday, late afternoon, we had water and a promise from Charles and Marie that they would reappear on Wednesday to install the pressure tank.

Awaking Wednesday I jumped into the shower to clean up for my Rotary meeting … low and behold, I had failed to turn the breaker back on for the hot water heater.  It was a very cold and very short shower.

pressure-tank-2017Fortunately, Charles is a master electrician as well as a master plumber so he could install all the switches and connectors necessary for the new pressure tank. Finishing around 8 pm with the installation of the pressure tank, Charles and Marie climbed wearily into their work truck and in short order had texted copies of our warranties, pictures of the job, and copies of the paid invoice. Our water adventure was over.

Now, I think I am going to have our septic tank pumped and checked.  I am not up for another adventure of a mechanical nature.

There were other less noteworthy adventures …

The Prince George Board of Supervisors had tied votes on the two nominees to serve as Chairman of the Board.  One member was absent due to a workplace accident. The next meeting should result in one of the two being elected … more about that next time.

A Petersburg citizens group called Clean Sweep filed petitions to have the Mayor and Vice Mayor removed from the city council.  That should have an expedited fuse.  It is an uphill battle, but at least the citizens are involved.

The City of Hopewell continues to recruit for a Finance Director as the last one abruptly resigned a couple of months ago.

These matters pale in comparison to my own personal dramas.

 

 

 

 

Not much happening in Prince George

That really isn’t true.  About as much is happening here as anywhere else. We have a twice weekly newspaper, a weekly newspaper, a daily local newspaper, and a daily newspaper out of Richmond, VA, the Times-Dispatch aka, the RTD.  So we can be as up to date as we want to be.

In Prince George, some of us have high-speed broadband. Others rely on cellular broadband or satellite broadband, so we have some connectivity.  So most of us have access to the great journalist platform Facebook and, better yet, Twitter.  Most of us have some idea what is going on, though it is not as momentous as what is happening in Trump Tower or at 30 Rock.

We are rural enough that part of our county is covered by the local electric co-op,  which is installing fiber optic cable in its substations and is about to launch a 78 home pilot project to test the commercial feasibility of providing lower cost, higher data to its rural customers.  That might get Comcast (rather xfinity)  off its ass to provide wider access to its broadband service and to restructure its prices.  The underserved rural broadband population in the United States is estimated at 80 million households by the co-ops so they may have something there.

A neighbor had a young lab come onto her property with no ID but with a shock collar (probably for an electronic fence because every country person knows that you don’t train a lab with a shock collar) so after a few phone calls, a posting on Facebook, and chats with the Animal Adoption Services Center (no longer the “dog pound”) the lab was reunited with its family.  Pro tip … be wary of electronic fences.  An excited dog will charge out, but an unexcited dog will not charge back in.

Yes, we uncharacteristically received about 10 inches of snow and temps down around 1 degree for a couple of days.  Let’s see, I believe this is Storm Helene.  Gotta love those weather marketers for naming rain and snow events.  So, every four wheel drive yahoo on the wood had to rev his or her stuff at breakneck speeds to show they can conquer the elements.  Me, I stayed home: read, cooked, watched TV, coaxed my Aussie outside to do the right thing, and enjoyed the lay-by.  Oh yes, got to nurse a stomach bug for a couple of days, but who’s counting.

I had some time to think about a few off the wall things like … my cell phone spies on me enough.  I don’t think I want my fridge, a robot floor sweeper, or one of those Echo things spying on me too.  Had never thought too much about the Internet of Things, but I don’t think I want to be held hostage by a driverless car either.  Maybe the stomach bug is invading my thought processes.  I have always wanted a cook and chauffeur.

Sadly, in the past month or so … two relatively young professionals have committed suicide.  This kind of thing really shakes any community, but in a community like Prince George the ripples are gut-punch strong and lingering. So being this bucolic, rural habitat doesn’t protect us from pain, depression, illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or any of the human ailments that plague modern society.

What is going on in your bailiwick?

 

as resolutions go …

I really didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year … other than I wanted to write more, write better, and underlying that, to be more perceptive and to be more conscious of events and topics that excite my interest.

patscat0001The proposition occurred to me that I should write daily, and perhaps I should, but that seems a bit more contrived that I wanted.  I know that advice to would-be writers by writers is to write, write, write.  And I get that.  Practice may not make perfect but it does give one more experience expressing precisely what is intended.

I do write almost daily … mostly newsletters and blogs from some of my volunteer organizations … not creative, though I try to be creative enough to invite interest.  I know … no one reads newsletters.  But by Jove … there must be newsletters.

So, I am resolved to write more, more frequently, more intensely, more personally.

And yes, I do plan to exercise more.

a different world before daybreak

Jack and I walked a bit earlier this Sunday morning than usual.  It was the approximately the same time we had walked just a few weeks ago before the time change, but now with the legislated time change it  was just before sunrise.  In keeping with the clock or rather my iphone I had walked at our usual time the last couple of weeks, hence in the daylight.

We stepped out into the 32 degree Fahrenheit morning with just a last gasp of moon overhead. Yes, chilly and dark.  We only walk a mile plus or so when Jack and I walk. At age 9 or 10 he is becoming a stiff Australian Shepherd and I am fairing only slightly better so we take only leisurely, sniffing, and listening walks.

Immediately, I became aware of how quiet it was — no sound of traffic from the major roadways a few miles from my place.  At least it seemed quiet for a while.  Behind the Woith’s place came the startling sound of an owl, taking just a moment for me to realize it was an owl’s screech, not a woman screaming. About a half mile or so down the road a rooster began his morning concert.  And then there was the clomph-clomph-clumph sound behind me which I recognized immediately.

Mr. Ed (that is my name for a neighbor’s white horse) and Chester had come to the fence line to say good morning and see if I had any nibbles for them.  I don’t feed my neighbor’s animals. but horses can be demanding and forgetful.  We are pretty tame in my area. Horses, a pot bellied pig who caused considerable excitement on one of our walks, roosters and hens, goats, dogs both big and small, and the odd horse or two are our only population of critters to be encountered on our walks … if you don’t count the wildlife … possums, raccoons, deer, turkeys, snakes (not so much this time of year).

I did say hello to Mr. Ed.  He is always a gentlemen and I rubbed his muzzle and spoke softly to him.  Chester … well, Chester is a nibbler.  Maybe they are love bites, but they hurt so I give Chester, the Scotland Pony, a wide berth.

Jack and I continued down the road, made our turn at Route 10 and began our return. Chester and Mr. Ed had moved on into the darkness of their pasture.  The rooster and the owl had obviously gone back to sleep.  Jack and I were rewarded with a glorious sunrise as we made the turn and headed east toward home.

 

 

 

things of the past … stick shifts and cursive writing

I awoke to the news that Fidel Castro had passed away.  Another event that seemingly is sharing the arc of my life.  I was only 9 or 10 when he ‘liberated’ Cuba and subsequently visited the UN.  Huntley and Brinkley covered him on the evening news and my memory is that he was impressive in his beard and fatique-green uniform. Other things that have disappeared … Huntley – Brinkley (both long passed) and fatigues. … all tactical military uniforms now are black, desert sand, or some variation of cammo.  We won’t even address the Eisenhower jacket.

Other things are disappearing … cursive writing, multiplication tables, parsing and diagramming sentences. Door keys, hardcopy receipts at stores (“we’ll email your receipt”), irons (I don’t know where mine is), wrinkles in clothing for that matter, toll takers at toll booths, parking lot attendants, cars that need drivers … all of these things or people are gone or quickly disappearing.

This morning the paper reported that for cars that still require drivers, the manual or stick shift transmission is a thing of the past.  Most manufacturers don’t even offer the option of a stick shift, not even Ferrari.

jack-and-hidden-hills-lane

Fall, however, is still with us every year, at least until the tipping point of climate change.  Jack and I enjoyed a bit of chill in the air this morning on our walk and the stiff breeze has quickly dislodged bushels of the fading leaves.