Views from Southwest Virginia

Joan K

Joan K
Southwest, Virginia, USA
I'm a retired professor from Virginia Tech living the good life in the Appalachian mountains with my husband, a dog, and two cats along with lots of wildlife. I love reading, commenting and posting on Open Salon. Long live OS!


Joan K's Links

DECEMBER 25, 2011 5:08PM

Holiday Gift for the Birds

Carolina Wren December 19, 2011

Last month, I helped with a Junior Naturalist Club at a local middle school. We made pine cones filled with suet and seeds for the birds. It was so much fun I decided to make some… Read full post »

JANUARY 21, 2011 12:09PM

Obama 2008 and Thinking Ahead

I was inspired by Razzle Dazzle's post about her memories of the Obama 2009 Inauguration.  It made me look up my old post about the day I was on stage with Obama.  The link is below.   When you click on it, it is set to open up a new window… Read full post »

JANUARY 2, 2011 1:46PM

We Spent Christmas in Costa Rica

We spent Christmas week in Costa Rica. We had made a similar trip in 1994, renting a 4WD and driving from the capital, San Jose, to the beach and then to Arenal Volcano. I was struck by how much has changed since then. On the

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AUGUST 26, 2010 8:23PM

Foggy Bottoms and Sunny Pastures

This morning I walked down our 1/3 mile driveway to get the newspaper. I was in such a funk I didn't even notice that it was foggy until I got down to the bottom.  A light fog fills our valley often in August.

 After the fog burned off,… Read full post »

UPDATE:  I since learned that Massey Energy has pledged $1 million for the construction of a new school because of the danger.    I understand that part of the reason they did this was that they wanted to build another coal processing facility there close to the one that is right… Read full post »

I haven't posted in awhile but something on the internet caught my attention this morning:

 Obama and Las Vegas at odds again

 The Oval website article quotes Obama's statment yesterday in New Hampshire:   "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college.… Read full post »

 It's all you read and hear--Obama's health care plan is in trouble.   His speech to Congress is his last ditch effort to save it.   The town halls on health care showed widespread opposition to health care reform.

 I don't buy it.  My reason is that I have some fir… Read full post »

JUNE 28, 2009 5:51PM

Is Senator Graham Serious?

On  Meet the Press today, Senator Graham said he wants America to forgive Governor Sanford as they forgave Clinton.   What?  Graham voted to impeach Clinton because he lied about having an indiscretion in the White House.  Yet Graham thinks that just because Clinton's favorab… Read full post »

MAY 25, 2009 4:16PM

A Conversation Among Old Men


pasture and mountain ridge

The old farmers sat down to eat sandwiches and ice tea on the picnic table.   The table had been placed in front of the Victorian house by the youngest in the group that had gathered at the old homeplace.  The house was surrounded by older buildings and pastures… Read full post »

No Right to Remain Silent

While waiting to check out at the local Kroger in Blacksburg, Virginia last week, I noticed that Lucinda Roy's book No Right to Remain Silent: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech was on their bestseller list.   The book is also prominently displayed at the Virginia Tech Volume II… Read full post »

Flying Squirrel (April 26, 2009)

This Flying Squirrel was clinging to the brick foundation of our house one morning. Perhaps he was chilly.  We have had these squirrels in our attic before. I hope he wasn't thinking about residing there because they tend to be very noisy at night.

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Sassafras Tree in Bloom (April 20, 2009)

He was there--a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, a tiny bird who I see every spring. If I had had my camera handy, I would have  a great shot.  Instead, I am satisfied to enjoy the lovely color of the Sassafras blossoms to cherish the memory.  … Read full post »

Just when I thought we had won a significant victory against mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, the EPA issued this statement Tuesday evening:

 EPA Statement on Mining Permit Applications

Contact: Adora Andy, 202-564-2715 /

Following reports that mischaracterize actions ta

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 MTR site in southwest Virginia

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining site in southwest Virginia

I never thought it would happen! The Obama administration has effectively put a hold on mountaintop removal coal mining.   I remember when I took the photo above almost 3 years ago, I thought it would be too diffic

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In the late morning yesterday, I sat outside on our back deck reading the newspaper, happy it was warm enough to do so. The birds were singing and the woodpeckers pecking up a storm. I put my paper down and closed my eyes, listening and identifying the bird sounds but then… Read full post »

MARCH 22, 2009 6:25PM

Bee Hives at the White House!


honey bee

 First an organic garden, now BEE HIVES at the White House!  (see  gmgaston's post about the garden today).   A White House employee, a carpenter, keeps bee hives at his house and suggested it.   So, he will be placing two hives next to the organic… Read full post »

MARCH 19, 2009 12:13PM

Bird Wars: Phoebe vs. Wren

Eastern Phoebe (on my porch March 13, 2009)

It happens every year! The Eastern Phoebe, a common flycatcher bird, returns to our yard in late February.

Carolina Wren (on my porch circa June, 2007)

A few weeks later, he harasses the Carolina Wrens from the front porch where they… Read full post »

I went on another walk on Sunday to see if I could get a glimpse of the Mourning Cloak I saw yesterday. Sure enough, the butterfly was in the same area, this time on a large Sugar Maple tree. The tree was oozing sap from the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker holes all over… Read full post »

About a week ago, I hurt my back splitting wood so I haven't gotten out like I should. The temperature rose to 80 this afternoon so I couldn't resist going for a walk in the woods. I walked so slowly, my dog Kookie quickly got bored and ran way ahead of… Read full post »

When I opened my email this morning, I saw a short message from OS:

 "Bill Maher has added you as a friend."

 I was  so excited I went straight to his blog page to verify.  Sure enough, there was my zebra swallowtail avatar listed first in his list of friends.   This… Read full post »

MARCH 1, 2009 4:33PM

Bill O'Reilly Enrages Appalachia

I live in Appalachia, not the town but the region which roughly comprises the southern Appalachian mountains in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.   The Appalachian people historically have been a source of stereotyping as being backward hillbillies.    Still,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 18, 2009 3:49PM

Out of Africa and My Redford Encounter



My favorite movie is Out of Africa without a doubt.  The location, the actors, the tragic love story--all of it mesmerized me back in 1985 when I saw it for the first time.    For years afterward, I had this burning desire to visit Africa, go on safari,… Read full post »

Tuesday was a warm day, in the 60s, and sunny--perfect for working in the yard. My dog, Kookie, was busy chasing after chipmunks who were out that day. She chases them into their hole and then digs them out (why don't they just go up a tree?).  Anyway, I just couldn't… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 2, 2009 4:47PM

Favorite SuperBowl Ads


These are my favorite Super Bowl ads.


The first is a wind energy ad by General Electric:


 The second one is by Coca-Cola and likeable because it has a bug in it:



 As I commented on Joan Walsh's post, I liked the ads and Bruce… Read full post »

The essay question: “Is there a single piece of technology that has recently transformed your life -- for the better?” prompted me to think about gadgets I have purchased in the recent years.   Cell phone?  Not really—I use it only about 10 minutes a month, saving upRead full post »