Getting vaccinated gave me hope that the pandemic will end soon. Hugging loved ones for the first time in over a year helped heal my soul. Planting trees gave me hope for healing the earth for a sustainable future. In this post, I’ll share memorable quotes of the year from my journal (some are pretty funny) and some pictures of hope and healing.
Hope and Healing Picture of the Year
This is my five-year-old grandson getting the COVID-19 vaccine. He is so brave, and so are his parents.
Memorable Quotes of the Year
How do you cut off the smoke alarm?
Ralph, on the phone with Jeanne at 10 p.m., calling from our old house in Swoope, 1/24
Why is the smoke alarm on?
Jeanne’s reply to Ralph, who had tried to start a fire in an inoperable fireplace
Sounds like a good place to get murdered.
My father’s response to my daughter, Heather, when she told him the Blue Ridge Tunnel was a mile long, 4/29
I miss the future Jeanne and I thought we would have had.
Me, gazing from the yard at the old house looking at the cows in the pastures that Jeanne’s mother owned, 5/17
I’ve had to prove my entire life that I wasn’t just a silver spoon child and that I could work as hard as any man.
Jeanne, when I asked her where she got her work ethic, 6/28
Oh my gosh, you missed the target and you have a $5,000 night-vision Bluetooth scope on your assault rifle?
My thought when our young friend Marcus missed the target on his homemade bomb that would release blue or pink smoke at his baby’s gender reveal party, 7/12
Megafires out west, monsoon rains in Arizona, heat-wave deaths in Oregon, drought in the Valley … and we argue over how many solar panels farmers can put on their land. What’s up with that?
Me, in an op-ed in the Virginia Mercury, 8/4
Last night in Kabul, the United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan—the longest war in American history.
President Joe Biden, 8/31
QAnon shaman Jacob Chansley, one of the most notorious figures of the January 6 Capitol riot, was sentenced Wednesday to three years and five months in prison for his role in the invasion of the halls of Congress by a horde of Trump supporters.
Dan Mangan, CNBC news, 11/17
Motion carries, seven to zero.
Gerald Garber, chairman, Augusta County Board of Supervisors on amending our 57 acres of the comprehensive plan from low-density housing to urban open space, 11/22
The South got it right today.
Larry Hobbs, a reporter for the Brunswick News on the murder convictions of the three white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, 11/24
Today, acting through the lens of the Virginia Environmental Justice Act, the State Air Pollution Control Board rejected a permit that would have allowed Mountain Valley Pipeline to operate a compressor station in an environmental justice community alongside existing fossil fuel infrastructure already negatively impacting public health in this part of Pittsylvania County.
Press release from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, 12/3
Pictures of Hope and Healing
As part of the regenerative farming projects at Whiskey Creek Angus, 3,000 native hardwood trees and shrubs will be planted along the streams. On December 4, friends and volunteers from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Altenergy of Staunton, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Friends of Middle River, James Madison University, Headwaters Soil, and Water Conservation District, and the Shenandoah Riverkeeper came to plant 300 of those trees. We were finished in two hours.
Mother and Daughter Heal the Earth
Hope and Healing From Renewable Energy
On June 1 the solar panels at Whiskey Creek Angus went online. It’s an 11kW system built by Altenergy of Staunton and registered with SOLSYSTEMS as a distributed solar energy power plant.
Light at the End of the Tunnel Gives Us Hope
We have great hopes of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Blue Ridge Tunnel, you can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter, Heather, and son-in-law, Shane, walked with us through the mile-long tunnel.
We Hugged Dad for the First Time in Over a Year: Definitely an Act of Healing
Dad turned 97 this year and resides at the Warm Hearth assisted living community in Blacksburg, Virginia. There was a window of time where the facility was COVID-free, and since we were all vaccinated, we got to visit and hug him for the first time in over a year.
Trees Give Us Hope and Healing
This year, October was designated Riparian Forest Buffer Month. When we plant trees, it gives us hope that they will grow tall and straight, cleanse the air, and heal the earth. Trees provide so many ecosystem services. It gives me great joy to look up the trunk of a tree we planted 17 years ago that is over 30 feet tall, like the Willow Oak pictured below.
Students Give Me Hope
These are my JMU students who learned about, helped manage, and planted trees in riparian forest buffers during the fall semester.
Healing the Earth by Planting Trees
Happy Holidays From Whiskey Creek Angus
May the vaccine end the COVID-19 pandemic, may your trees grow tall, and may we have peace on earth.
Great Blog, I wanted to visit this summer but was really busy, Hope to see you guys and Whiskey Creek Angus next spring. I loved all your quotes but I think this is my favorite one “Today, acting through the lens of the Virginia Environmental Justice Act, the State Air Pollution Control Board rejected a permit that would have allowed Mountain Valley Pipeline to operate a compressor station in an environmental justice community alongside existing fossil fuel infrastructure already negatively impacting public health in this part of Pittsylvania County.”
Have a Happy Holiday Season and hope great things come your way in 2022,
Maury, thanks for stopping in with your comment. My hope is that the SWCB will follow suit. Come by anytime, my friend.
Thank you for setting the example of how we should treat our Mother Earth and one another.
I love the images of the young folks helping out on the farm, and I am thinking about all the young lives that you helped to find a better path.
Thank you as well for your continued reminder of Hope.
All the best, happy holidays, and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.
We are forever grateful.
Bill, what a nice note, thank you so much. And thank you for your endurance fighting fracked-gas pipelines. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones as well.
Bobby: This is wonderful collection of pictures and text supporting your message of hope and healing. I share your hope, both for greater civility and respect for others across our political and social spectrums, and continued efforts, like yours, to protect and restore the health of our environment. When we do that we restore our own health, both physically and spiritually.
Ridge, thanks so much for your kind words and support.
So good to make the connection fueled by common interests and a common background.
We’re connected by CSHS, JMU, the geology of the Shenandoah Valley and my sister’s fight against MVP that cut a scar across her Bent Mountain property, even Jeanne from the days of Spring Run Swim Club.
I’ve made that 108 mile trip from Harrisonburg to Roanoke many times and will probably always feel that familiarity of home when I witness the changing of the seasons on the farms along I81 (and Route 11 when I have time to take it).
Thanks, Bill. I hope we can stop the MVP.
Thanks for sharing this with everyone Bobby. You continue to be a true inspiration for family and the earth. And you are blessed with having 4 generations to share the journey. Your photos will assure that the memories live on.
Best to you all for 2022!
Don, from Baltimore County
Don, what a nice note, thank you.
Been thinking about solar panels for a while.
Love the photo of the shed with panels.
I have a question about metering. Plan to send you an email shortly.
Bobby, great summary. It looks like you made lemonade in a challenging year. Thanks for being true to yourself as always.
I love that you continue to work with JMU and ISAT. I’m an ISAT alumni (’11) and I still remember you coming to speak at my class. I carry these lessons with me in my work on the Rappahannock.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!
Friends of the Rappahannock
Adam, thank you so much for your kind words. Keep up the great work at Friends of the Rappahannock.
There is always hope and joy in my world with you two in it. Thanks for sharing and walking the talk!
Jon, you are too kind! Thank you.
Well done bro….
Thanks Bobby for your positive comments and photos.
We joined today’s Ches. Bay WIP update webinar by Central Shen. PDC (Hunter Moore).
Va.-DCR’s Darryl Glover gave an overview of Potomac/Shen. River status for Total N & P
between FY-2009 and 2020. Along with recent disturbing predictions about NOT achieving the 2025
Ches. Bay Recovery Goals, this depressing overview showed that Potomac “N” *reductions were
99% achieved by upgrading WWTPs; but, river loads from Agr. sources had *increased about
340,000 lbs (even though Agr. sites had decreased by ~19,100 acres). Largest reasons given for
the estimated Agr. source increases: Increases in poultry manures+ their runoff from loaded
local soils, the late State ramp-up of subsidized trucking of these manures to farm lands (some outside the Shen. River watershed) that have low enough “P” levels, approved Nutrient-management systems and related management in place to properly utilize the manures. Also, the road-blocks so far for finding better management of these manures, versus the upgrades being done in Maryland, Delaware, places in Europe, etc. with anaerobic digestors, heat-treatments and other systems. James Martin prepared these slides (for >9 years in DEQ as the Ches. Bay *expert) and last month he transferred back to DCR (per web site= Envirn. Mgr. II; I guess he reports to Mr. Glover).
Mr. Glover did say that he’s been getting much more funding toward the important *Maintenance of all the riparian buffers and that he was very aware of your great buffer work and push for maintenance. When I get these slides, I will FWD them to you; its disturbing.
Anyway, Thanks again for your constructive and often uplifting postings and hopeful resolve to 2022!
Best regards, John Reeves Rockingham Co.
John, thanks for the update! And for taking the time to write it.
Hi Bobby and Jeannie: Covid aside, what a wonderful year full of accomplishments! I’m sorry I missed the Dec tree planting event – I would have loved to help. I’ll keep my eyes open for the next one.
Since I’m now retired I’m looking for ways to give back, to help Mother Earth and our beautiful waters of the Chesapeake Bay. I’ll keep you updated on my progress and would welcome any ideas or introductions on that front
You two love bugs are hardworking for such great causes; it’s very inspiring!
Warm wishes, stay healthy and keep up the good work! Love you guys! Janie
Jane, thanks for stopping in with your kind words. Sorry you missed the planting. Margot made it and was a crew chief. Best to you too!
so great to read your post Bobby. Made me smile; we need that reminder of the good in the world. Thanks
Bobby and Jeanne, Loved all the quotes and photos, especially the one of your dad and the one about the South getting it right. Thank you both for your life mission of preserving and transforming the land, and moreover, for sharing your passion with students who will carry on. “We think of land in terms of possession, as if is ours to do with it as we please, instead of thinking of it as if it’s ours to steward for the future” (Lorna Harder, former teacher of environmental science and biology). You too have so many quotable words, but also, honorable deeds to follow!
Sarah, you are so sweet, thank you! Love the quote from Lorna Harder . . .
Bobby, that last great shot of you and Jeanne walking toward the photographer makes you look like you spent much of your life on a horse!???
I enjoy your messages always, especially this one. I got first hugs in a year from my grandchildren in July, but no photo of that, alas. It is NOT forgotten. Very big event.
Enjoyed hearing from others as they replied to you from the environmental community that I rarely see now, tucked away here
in a retirement community at a time of Covid-19 and endless variants. A shout out to you and others who managed to continue good work all this time.
Cheers, and a happy Christmas and a better New Year to all. Anne Nielsen
Anne, as always, thanks for your comments, update, support, and friendship. My sister was the horse person in the family and I did ride occasionally with her.
Your year-end post left me much more hopeful for brighter days in 2022! Thank you.
Happy New Year to you and Jeanne,
Thanks for a great post, Bobby. As my father always used to say, onward and upward.
Bill, thanks for the check-up.