Ramble On

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Recap Part 1 - The Honorable Mentions

A once in a lifetime 2011 moment - all 1s on digital clocks!
I know it's blurry.  YOU try catching a once-in-a-century
shot like this!
 Like any year, I suppose, the year that was 2011 had its ups and downs. There were the annual traditions, like the Berlin reunion in February; there were traditions that are trying to gain traction, like the vacation trip to Cape Cod last June; and there were one of a kind events that seemed to drag on an on, like the kitchen remodel in the Alexandria house that morphed into some renovations upstairs.

I thought I make take a few moments to look back through the posts here on the Hawksbill Cabin blog to do a year in review post. Last year I did a month-by-month review, this year I plan to summarize “Top 5” style – even so, this recap is going to have to be in two posts.

The Top 5 most significant stories were easy to choose, and I’ll go into more detail on them in a moment; before I get to that I’d like to make a note of three honorable mentions. I haven’t ranked any of these in any particular order – this is simply a summary of the items that seem most important after a brief review.

Honorable Mention 1: Fibrowatt. While it did not emerge as a community rallying point during 2011, the company Fibrowatt was on our minds, as the governor organized a working group to study how to reduce or eliminate pollution sources in the Chesapeake Bay. At first, it sounded like a victory for Fibrowatt as the working group seemed to embrace their solution for a time. The working group’s efforts ended with a determination that more study was needed and no firm recommendations were made as far as the approach Virginia would take is concerned. At year end, there was news that Fibrowatt was pitching a waste incinerator for Shenandoah County, over in the I-81 corridor. I’ll continue to post on this topic as I learn more.

Honorable Mention 2: Berlin Cold War Memories. Besides the annual reunion we've been having at Blob's Park in Jessup every February, in September, a colleague who was in Berlin for an extended period of time, working as a civilian at Tempelhof Air Base, began converting his old videos to digital format and posting them to YouTube on his own “channel.” Some other friends and I discovered them there – they included videos of the work site I was assigned to for 4.5 years, an underground tour of Tempelhof – which has a rich oral history of old Nazi hideouts and other WW2 lore, and a train trip to a similar site on the old East/West German border which overlooked a favorite ski resort that we used to make a couple of trips a year to. Good memories that, perusing the files he shared.

Honorable Mention 3: Do It Yourself Agriculture. While the topic has quite a bit in common with one of the Top 5 subjects, in this honorable mention post I want to touch on Dan’s Hops, Mary’s Container Garden, and the outdoor musical events over at our neighbor Wisteria Farm and Vineyards. In the first case, I was able to hook up with Dan a few times as he first harvested and then dried his crop of hops – the vines are maturing now in their third year, and Dan had a true bounty to show for it. Speaking of bounty, Mary’s crop of tomatoes wasn’t quite as good as it had been in past years, but it was a good year, and she had plenty success with her new squash and eggplant crops – enough to keep me busy grilling three-vegetable combos for a good part of the summer. And last but not least, we were able to join our friends at Wisteria a couple of times for great outdoor music events and wine tastings; a highlight was a midsummer show with local favorites The Eclectix – but also, the premier of a sparkling Traminette wine that Moussa and Sue are making now. That wine is one I should make a future post about, as a matter of fact!

When I started on this topic, I was hoping to keep my musings to one post, but it doesn’t appear I will be successful. In my next post I will do the Top 5 summary of other posts I’d like to highlight for 2011.

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