Sunday, April 2, 2017

Friendly Snakes, and Not

After a string of rainy days, Mantua seems to birth snakes. Most are harmless.They gravitate to wood piles, waiting to ambush chipmunks or moles (if the foxes don't get the scurrying critters first).
Snakes also climb small trees, so always check above as well as below before you relax in the yard under trees.
Snakes hide under old timbers that edge my garden, tamping down deer netting. Several years ago, a Northern Copperhead snake reclining near the garden gave me a good reason to never, EVER again go outside shoeless. He slithered away after I poked him with a stick--what a pretty rock, I'd been thinking.
My neighbors once discovered a Timber rattlesnake in their backyard near the pool. They caught it and released it in Eakin Park. (Keep your shoes on ALWAYS there!)
It's good to remember that most snakes are harmless, except the two mentioned above.
Fairfax County's website says we are home to a diverse range of reptiles--lizards, snakes, and turtles.
Eighteen species of non-venomous snake inhabit Fairfax County. They are:
• Black ratsnake, Eastern garter snake, Eastern hognose snake, Eastern kingsnake, Eastern milksnake, Eastern ribbon snake, Eastern smooth earthsnake, Eastern worm snake, Mole kingsnake, Northern black racer, Northern brown snake, Northern red-bellied snake, Northern ringneck snake, Northern scarlet snake, Northern water snake, Queen snake, Red cornsnake and Rough green snake.
Two species of venomous snake (mentioned above) inhabit Fairfax County:
• Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
• Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortix mokasen).

Adventures with Lardbutt

Once a friend's kid told my kid that I had a big butt. Which surprised the heck out of me because Terrence's mom's butt was significantly larger than mine.

But hey, for some of us, it just IS. No amount of exercise or dieting or walking will reduce the size of what I've come to call my lardbutt. However, one way to keep things in perspective is to walk or bike, not drive, and to eat at places near home that we can reach on foot.

Mantua is a beautiful neighborhood. You can walk to Nutley Street toward Vienna Metro for Pan Am restaurant gyros and souvlaki; to Mosaic District for restaurants, Target, and the weekend farmer's market; to Fairfax Circle for Artie's restaurant and other places; and up toward Route 236 for Trader Joe's and the post office on Pickett Road.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fairfax County's 275th Birthday

275th Commemoration of Fairfax County Neighborhood History Project

      In 1742, Fairfax County was created out of Prince William County.  The mostly rural population was about 4,125. Today, more than 1.1 million people live in this urban area. Because Fairfax is on the doorstep of the nation's capital, residents come and go. Some people grow lifelong roots. But many don't know the history of their own neighborhood community.
       As part of Fairfax County's 275th Commemoration, neighborhoods are being encouraged to document their own history. Fairfax changed significantly after World War II as the federal government expanded. Workers populated new suburban communities. Schools and shopping  centers were built. Parks were born.
      The Neighborhood History Project encourages communities to do their own history--to help citizen historians to document their micro-level, grassroots area for future generations. Your community can be part of it by generating interest in the project:  Post this on your neighborhood or community website, in your newsletter, on your blog and Facebook pages. Ask your neighbors and civic association members to share photos  (to compare places then and now), for images (such as posters or signs), for vignettes about life in earlier days, for short articles about famous (and infamous) people who lived there. Mine your early newsletters and community directories for information about significant events that took place, traditions and how they got started, etc.  Ask the oldest residents what they like and dislike about the neighborhood. Ask new ones the same thing.
      If your neighborhood already has documented its history, share it.
      Information about The Neighborhood History Project will be shared during a public history fair on Saturday, June 17, at the official Fairfax County 275th Commemoration at the historic Fairfax Court house. (You'll even have a chance to meet the current Lord Fairfax, whose forebear Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, owned the land in 1719!)