Nature

Fall freeze

Castleton resident and photographer Gary Anthes said last week was the earliest in the season he’d ever seen his farm pond freeze over.

Wild Ideas: A little snowbird is back

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Nov. 20
Although it is only four inches long, “per unit weight, the Winter Wren delivers its song with 10 times more power than a crowing rooster,” according to AllAboutBirds.org.

Last week Rappahannock got its first dusting of snow, but our annual avian winter visitors arrived earlier, including a tiny brown bird displaying unexpected behavior at Pam Owen’s house.
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Editorial: That time of year

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Nov. 13
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

This year’s spectacular fall foliage brought great beauty, but also great noise pollution, as leaf blowers are taken up to manage the fallen leaves.
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Wild Ideas: In the news: good guide, bad bug

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Nov. 13
Despite its beauty, the Asian spotted lanterfly, sighted in Pennsylvania this fall, could follow in the footsteps of the brown marmorated stink bug.

News recently arrived in Pam Owen’s email inbox of a new shrub and vine identification guide from the Virginia Department of Forestry and a report of yet another threatening bug invading Pennsylvania.
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Leaving a happier planet

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Nov. 6
By Roger Piantadosi/Rappahannock News

Money does grow on trees — along with health and high spirits. Don’t lose yours as autumn dwindles.
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Editorial: We want to believe

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Nov. 6
By Bas Lammers via Wikimedia Commons

Screeches and screams reportedly heard rolling across the hills and vales of Rappahannock were not wails of disappointment from residents whose favored candidates did not win on Tuesday. But could it really have been, as someone said, a mountain lion?
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Wild Ideas: Cool weather brings stick insects and furry cats

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Oct. 30
With its slim body, this male northern walking stick’s head is on the move, its antennae out.

Although more species of insects are out and about during the warm days of summer, some of the most interesting ones show up in the fall. Two appeared in the last couple of weeks that sent Pam Owen to her references to try to identify them.
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This little light of ours

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Oct. 23
Photo by Kaye Kohler

As the autumn daylight wanes, nature and the human body ordinarily adjust themselves for winter. But increasingly, we’re setting the world aglow 24/7 with all-night lighting. Liza Field takes a look at research illuminating a few of the fiscal, environmental and healthcare costs of that new light bill.
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Washington column for Oct. 23

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Oct. 23
A nice crowd at the Trinity Evensong, ending the busy past weekend in Washington.

A trip to Italy, a weekend of color and visitors thanks to Trinity, WVFR’s ham and oyster dinner and more in this week’s Washington column.
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Photo: Amissville spread

By Tom Woolman

The Rapp for Oct. 16

One of the glass-on-glass works made at Candace Clough’s last workshop at Mullany Studio School.

It’s shaping up to be a busy weekend, as “No Ordinary Person” returns to the RAAC Community Theatre with a two-night show, while Gilbert & Sullivan return to the Theatre and much more; meanwhile, Gray Ghost increases its medal count and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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When a farm turns factory, what’s a town to do?

A Pennsylvania law designed to protect farms from nuisance complaints has also allowed concentrated animal feeding operations — factory farms — to escape local land use controls, writes Tim Rowland.
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Wild Ideas: Fine weather and great fall outings

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Oct. 16
Visitors to the ACF walk up Race Track Hill to see the view of the SCBI campus below and the Blue Ridge beyond.

Pam Owen and her brother Dana recently took advantage of some intermittently fine fall weather to enjoy the Autumn Conservation Festival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and to hike in Shenandoah National Park and the Chester F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area.
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The Rapp for Oct. 9

Kit Habib, whose mugs are pictured here, is among the artisans you can meet at Coterie this weekend.

Play some corn hole or get a helicopter ride at the RCHS fall festival, celebrate Craft Week with Coterie, win a lifetime membership to the Schoolhouse Nine course, view the photographs from SNP’s first artist-in-residence and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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Editorial: In search of clarity

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Oct. 9
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Early Sunday morning, for many Rappahannock residents, brought the season’s first frost. And with it comes a certain clarity of vision — it’s the perfect time of year to reacquaint yourself with your favorite poems.
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Photos: Life on the hill

Photo by Roger Piantadosi

Letter: Headmaster’s: A perfect fall capstone

This past weekend was one of those magical Rappahannock weekends for me and my daughter. Not only was it perfect weather, but all of our local haunts had the spirit and atmosphere of an old-fashioned Christmas Eve afternoon where people are happy and helpful and just plain wonderful. Now, fasten your seatbelt, because our...
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Wild Ideas: Planting the right tree at the right time

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Oct. 9
A white oak sports its fall colors. This beautiful, long-lived native tree provides the fattiest acorns, a favorite of many wildlife species.

Leaves are already starting to turn color and are expected to peak soon. With winter approaching, it might seem counterintuitive to plant trees, but this is actually the perfect time.
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These neighbors are a different kind of wild

Photo by Christopher Bruno via Wikimedia Commons

Most people hate coyotes, but not Jim Minick. He loves them, their wildness most of all. And, like it or not, they’re not going anywhere — despite everyone’s best efforts.
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Wild Ideas: A newly noticeable native mantis

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Oct. 2
This female Carolina mantis (spotted waiting for prey among dogwood berries) appears to be missing the last segments of its forelegs, or the legs are folded into the next segment so tightly they seem to have disappeared.

Over the course of just a few days, Pam Owen had several serendipitous encounters with an insect new to her — the Carolina mantis. After years without a single sighting, she glimpsed three in four days.
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SCBI lecture series resumes Oct. 1

Smithsonian scientists and other conservation professionals resume a free Wednesday-night lecture series at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s (SCBI) new Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, which is cosponsoring the series starting Oct. 1.
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A 101-mile hike for park charities

Jennifer Davis hiked all 101 miles of the Shenandoah National Park portion of the Appalachian Trail to raise money for two local charities.

Local biologist Jennifer Davis showed just returned from hiking the 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail within the Shenandoah National Park to raise money for two charities: the Shenandoah National Park Trust and the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.
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Through the Tiger Valley looking glass

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Sept. 25
Ruthie Windsor-Mann’s “Odd Man In” is just one of her “nest obsession” series on display during this year’s art tour.

In a conversation with Ruthie Windsor-Mann, her artistic energy is palpable. The charming, genteel artist is happily slated for her first appearance in the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community’s upcoming 10th annual studio and gallery tour Nov. 1-2.
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Editorial: Beyond the here and now

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Sept. 25
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Almost 100 marchers in the People's Climate March came from Rappahannock County! Only kidding! For, blessed as we are to live here, Rappahannock’s demographics are precisely those associated with American citizens who view climate concerns as not serious.
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VDOF seedling sales online Oct. 14

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) officials report that demand for loblolly pine seedlings is very high this season, and the agency anticipates selling out early.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: Foddershocks on the Fodderstack

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Sept. 25
Two foddershocks stand in Richard Brady’s garden.

When the grandkids came to visit last week, Richard Brady put them to work — shucking some of the corn to create "foddershocks." What are foddershocks? Don't bother asking Wikipedia; just keep reading.
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Editorial: Autumn’s changing ways

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Sept. 18
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As this newspaper was going to press came word of a new government census: Exactly how many stink bugs are there? That’s kind of like asking how hot the sun is. As a harbinger of autumn, we now have stink bugs instead of apples.
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Washington column for Sept. 18

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Sept. 18
Paige County treasurer Penny Gray (left) presents a plaque, on behalf of the Virginia Treasurer’s Association, to former Rappahannock treasurer Frances Foster outside the county courthouse Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 9). The plaque commemorates Foster’s 52 years of service and recent retirement.

A Harris Hollow couple celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary, the Lions Club sells apple butter at the Quicke Mart, Mandalele performs a Haiti benefit concert, Washington Baptist founds a clergy association and more in this week’s Washington column.
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Wild Ideas: Sorting out the sumacs as summer subsides

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Sept. 18
Smooth sumac can start turning color as early as August, and by mid-October can take on a variety of hues, as with the smooth sumac above. Photo by Pam Owen.

Sumacs spark a wide range of reactions, from love to loathing to confusion. That confusion comes mainly from trying to sort out the three larger, most common species here — the smooth, staghorn and winged sumacs, which can easily be confused with each other and with trees.
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Grown, picked, crafted, aged, roasted (and more) in Rapp

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Sept. 11
A Jersey cow takes a break at Reality Farm in Gid Brown Hollow, one of the 33 venues of the Sept. 27-28 Farm Tour.

Scheduled this year for Sept. 27-28, the 2014 Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival is bigger than ever, with 33 venues offering almost three dozen ways to learn and have fun.
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The Rapp for Sept. 11

A family of Rough Riders signals their readiness for last year’s event (from left): Sabrina, Sherry, Madeleine, Ava and Chris Hayes.

Second Friday at the Library features a talk by Cliff Miller, the annual Rough Ride is Sept. 20, CAST performs “Much Ado About Nothing,” RCHS hosts a trivia night, CDSMP discusses how to manage chronic diseases and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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Photo: Scouting out the steam train

Photo by Roger Pierson

Clark Hollow Ramblings: Fall is in the air

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Sept. 11

Fall is on the way, though there are still some summer doldrums to get through. At least the garden’s bountiful crop continues, writes Richard Brady in this week’s Clark Hollow Ramblings.
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Wild Ideas: As summer winds down, some species crank up

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Sept. 11
A tufted thyatirid or lettered habrosyne moth caterpillar on one of its hosts, the American hornbeam.

Many animals have finished reproducing for the year and are fattening up to overwinter or make their way south, while most plants have flowered and are starting to fade. But while the humid doldrums of summer’s end drag on, reproduction continues for some species.
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Bee health remains fragile

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Sept. 4
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Honey bees are dying at an alarming rate throughout Virginia, according to a Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) survey that found between last October and this April nearly 33 percent of managed honey bee colonies perished.
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Editorial: We’re special, aren’t we?

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Sept. 4
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With current Rappahannock events paralleling those in Paris and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” perhaps it’s time to realize our community isn’t as special as we like to think.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: Be fruitful and multiply

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Sept. 4

The extremely fruitful fruits of Richard Brady's many years of gardening in this week's Clark Hollow Ramblings.
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Wild Ideas: Beating the dog days by diving into fishes

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Sept. 4
“Freshwater Fishes of Virginia” explores the commonwealth’s 210 fish species. The cover illustration, from a watercolor by Lora L. Giessler, is courtesy of the American Fisheries Society.

With the dog days of August finally settling in last week, Pam Owen decided to visit the Rappahannock County Library’s Conservation Collection and dive into “Freshwater Fishes of Virginia,” an impressive reference that explores the 210 fish species in Virginia.
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Photo: The sunflower rises

Photo by Megan Smith

The Rapp for Aug. 21

Ella Schultz of Amissville in “The Tempest” at American Shakespeare Center’s summer-camp performances at Staunton’s Blackfriars Playhouse.

Our Fourth (Estate) Friday is cancelled, Tula’s hosts a tomato-themed dinner, tickets are going fast for this year’s Taste of Rappahannock, two local students spend their summer performing Shakespeare and more in this week’s Rapp column.
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