Friday, November 13, 2015

Vintage for the Holidays

Poland Wawel China Serving Platter by ForsythiaHill at Etsy
As a vintage seller, I often run into one of a kind items on Etsy that I just have to share! Let's take a walk down memory lane and get into the spirit for the Holiday season, vintage style. All items mentioned in my blog are currently for sale, but hurry, the season is HERE!

Pink and Black Sunbeam Mixer by Vetera on Etsy.
Many of my treasured household items are put to use during this time of year. The antique platter of Grandmom's is always used at Holiday dinners and the vintage mixing bowl set is pulled out to accommodate the assortment of cookies I whip up. I have one platter that doesn't match anything I own that was my Mom's. I use it every time I bake cookies and it always reminds me of our house where I grew up.

Charming set of Cone Gnome's by Cybersenora on Etsy
Vintage ornaments are often fun conversation pieces. You will be sure to get friends and family asking about your unique "kitsch" vintage holiday collectibles! There is something homey and warm about vintage Christmas Decor. It's really fun to collect a certain era or theme.

Bottle Brush Wreath by CommodityMOD on Etsy
Don't limit your decorating to indoors! Unique wreaths, swags, balls, and outdoor ornamentation can be found online and shipped straight to your door. I love simple accents that meld well with nature. Each year I cut Pine and Holly boughs and put my window baskets to good use. A little twig tree at your entry door is a great place to hang vintage ornaments to greet your guests.

Pretty Lion 9 candle Menorah by ForsythiaHill
Have fun this Holiday season and shop vintage. Often items are built to last and a much higher quality for a lower price. I also like the fact that it is a great way to reuse and recycle old objects. Who doesn't like a treasure hunt.

Happy shopping, vintage style!



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Leave the Leaves

Beautiful Fall on Forsythia Hill.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Beautiful Fall colors... Cozy beside a roaring wood stove... Warm homemade Apple Pie topped with a luscious ball of Vanilla Ice Cream. Fall activities that makes the loss of Spring Daffodils and Summer flowers not so bad. Six months of no roaring lawn mowers and whirling string trimmers.

Jethro = Leaf disposal system
But wait, my senses are elevated only to be snuffed out by the roar of leaf blowers, more lawn mowing, and fumes from leaf burning. Unfortunately mechanical devices have turned a moment of convening with nature into one of hurry and frustration. Mainly I leave the leaves, but rake some into flowerbeds, the chicken yard, or add to the compost pile. Chickens like nothing better than to peck and scratch in a big pile of fresh crunchy leaves.

Underground Burn Pit that I get to see and smell.
Apparently leaf burning is a contagious endeavor as it seems once one neighbor is doing it, others get in on it. Heaven forbid should a leaf be allowed to drop without its prompt removal. I love the sound of leaves beneath my feet and the free fertilizer. If we allow nature to tend to the leaves, our planet will behave as it is intended. Read about the natural cycle from Trees for Life.

This fire was left to burn all night. 
I can get away from the noise but burning yard waste is another matter all together. Closing all windows and doors is not enough protection from the stench. It's perfectly legal in Albemarle County to burn yard waste (and even though it is listed as illegal, the fire dept said burning construction material was fine as long as not painted or treated wood). Unlimited sized Burn Pits are also legal in this county.

Clear blue sky, what our lungs need.
Fires are problematic when they are left to burn overnight allowing smoke to linger. An unmanned simmering fire is the worst fire, releasing toxins over a long period. One would think our county to be more progressive by not permitting the burning of leaves that can add such benefit to nature. Instead we are harming nature and causing a nuisance.

How much pollution is a little leaf burning contributing? Read it here... a lot. There is an interesting site that shows the air quality live. The second most significant form of biomass burning in the US is the burning of leaves. Burning a ton of leaves will produce 117 pounds of carbon monoxide, 41 pounds of particulates (easily absorbed by the lungs), and at least 7 highly carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( Battelle, Friedman).

Little Spring Crocus happy in the leaves.
If you can't stand leaving the leaves for nature, you can mulch the leaves with your racket maker, mowing them into smaller pieces that will decompose literally before your eyes or ditch the mower and get a workout, raking like a mad man, spreading the leaves all around so they decompose faster.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Takes Landowners Property in Nelson County

How would u feel?

Sally just retired to Nelson County Virginia from a grueling job at a Flower Shop. She was a Floral Designer for 40 years, creating floral masterpieces for others. Her specialty was the design of elaborate Casket Sprays which took a day to assemble. Sally was on call 24/7 awaiting notice from the funeral home saying that another local citizen had passed away. She was in high demand, in a small Southwest Virginia town, where Florists were far and few between. She worked every Christmas Eve, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and pre-week Thanksgiving. She worked in retail in a fast paced, high pressure, public job.

Once she "paid her dues" and accumulated enough cash to retire, she decided to move to peaceful and quiet Nelson County with her chickens and cats to keep her company. Her decision was based on how fellow landowners loved their land and preserved the natural state of it. Also, just to the north was Charlottesville, Virginia, touted in many publications as "the" best U.S. city for a host of reasons. She bought 6 acres of breathtakingly beautiful pasture land with a wooded stream and a view of undeveloped Afton Mountain.

One day after returning back to her home, which she had recently named "Peaceful Pastures", she was taken aback by a group of men with equipment standing in her field, She thought possibly it was a neighbor that had mistaken her new plot as their land. Cautiously approaching the group, she asked why they were on her property. After a short and unnerving discussion, it was explained they were on official business, hired contractors by Dominion Resources to survey her land for a gas pipeline.

Stay with me on this section, it's really not that boring!
After feeling helpless and frankly, in a panic, she reached out to Friends of Nelson County to try and figure out what was going on. According to Virginia law Eminent Domain is defined as "the power to take or damage private property for a public use, provided that the owner is paid just compensation. VA. CONST. art I, § 11. Using this power, entities with the power of eminent domain may acquire private property from a property owner even if the owner does not wish to sell." There are 2 provisions that must be met in order for your land to be taken and there is disagreement about this part of the text: "Virginia Code § 1-219.1 defines public use to include only the following: (i) the property is taken for the possession, ownership, occupation, and enjoyment of property by the public or a public corporation; (ii) the property is taken for construction, maintenance, or operation of public facilities by public corporations or by private entities provided that there is a written agreement with a public corporation providing for use of the facility by the public."

There are several proposed pipeline projects in Virginia. One begins in West Virginia and ends in Southwest Virginia. West Virginia has a different defined law on Eminent Domain. There is a growing list of court cases being presented over property rights.

Rainbow over Shenandoah Mountains
Sally also learned that a 42" wide pipeline would be buried underground in a swath of her land the width of the length of a football field. She would pay a one time fee but continue to pay taxes and insurance on land she could not disturb. There is no guarantee the pipe would not leak or that a Pigging Station (named because of the squealing noise it makes) or Compression Station would not be placed on her property. She also was surprised to discover that none of the gas flowing through Virginia for this project would be used in Virginia. We are just a thoroughfare to the coast where natural gas can be shipped & sold overseas for 4 times its U.S. value. Sally, scratching her head, wondered exactly what is the "public good" for citizens of Virginia having this project burden our lands and State.

The agency responsible for granting permits for oil and gas pipelines is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This agency certainly sounds official and as if it was managed by the Federal government but actually it is operated by many individuals that have a history in the oil and gas industry. "It is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil." Dominion Resources is the biggest campaign contributor to state politicians in Virginia and all 40 senators currently serving have received campaign contributions. A recent bill will allow Dominion to not be state regulated for 8 years, which conveniently gives them the right to raise your rate during the interim and freeze their rates until 2023 even if utility rates plummet! Dominion is reported to have a surplus of 280 million dollars.

Yep I'm one of them.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project that impacts Nelson County and other counties in the Central part of Virginia also impacts the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was recently reminded that our federally designated parks are owned by EVERY U.S. CITIZEN so WE ARE ALL impacted by this project.

For all of my life I've been told our National Parks are sacred lands set aside for future generations and are therefore to not be destroyed. Doesn't a clear-cut through preserved ecosystems approximating the width of route 29 count as destruction?

Prior to this personal experience, Sally had no real opinion about the pipeline project she heard mentioned in the news. Hey, it was not on HER LAND. Now she is active in the Nelson County movement and supports other counties impacted (Highland, Augusta, Buckingham, etc.) that oppose the rape of Virginia land and our National Forests. We don't want your Pipeline.


~ Sally is fictitious but based on real experiences.
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