The Rapp for Sept. 20

Introducing Quibbles & Quark

Castleton artist Kelly Atlas-Bauche came to one of our Fourth Friday public editorial conferences last winter to say she thought the Rappahannock News ought to have a semi-regular, Rapp-centric comic strip. Of course we agreed. It took a while, but the debut of Atlas-Bauche’s “Quibbles & Quark” appears on page 5. Future episodes will not be quite so large – but the cast of furry and mostly fictional characters is certain to grow.

The supper is Saturday, Sept. 29 . . .

Not Friday, as we said in last week’s Rapp column, but Saturday, Sept. 29 is the date of a Harvest Moon Farm and Forage Supper at Stonyman Gourmet on Gay Street in Washington. A part of the Rappahannock County Farm Tour weekend, the supper is hosted by fromager Susan James, the farmer and owner of Stonyman Gourmet Farmer, who will also present a cheese course of exceptional ripened farmstead cheeses. Chef Amy Brandwein, executive chef at Casa Nonna and chef Laurie Weber, award-winning owner of the Swiss Bakery, will create a sumptuous five-course menu with the freshest ingredients gleaned from the local harvest. The dinner starts at 5 p.m.; tickets are $95. For more information, and demonstrations planned for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, call 540-860-9090 or 540-675-2005. For more on the Farm Tour itself, visit or call 540-675-3153.

. . . and Catstravaganza is this Friday

There are still some tickets left for RappCats’ annual Catstravaganza fundraiser from 6 to 10 this Friday (Sept. 21) at Little Washington Winery. The evening includes jazz by Bob Boguslaw and his Sophisticats, good food and tastings of the winery’s offerings (including Pink Cat), plus auction and raffle items that include dinner at The Inn at Little Washington, an overnight stay at Middleton Inn and another stay, with champagne brunch, at Richmond’s historic Jefferson Hotel.

This trio of rescued kittens will be available for adoption soon. You could learn more at Catstravaganza Friday. Courtesy of Jeanne Drevas.
This trio of rescued kittens will be available for adoption soon. You could learn more at Catstravaganza Friday. Courtesy of Jeanne Drevas.

All proceeds go towards RappCats’ mission of reducing the county’s homeless cat population by spaying and neutering and finding them homes (or steady barn work), and working to develop a local shelter for cats. Tickets are $55 ($100 for two), available at (click on Donate), or reserve by calling 540-987-8099 or emailing Little Washington Winery is at 72 Christmas Tree Lane, behind Rose Hill Veterinary Practice and across U.S. 211 from the high school.

And a-one, and a-two . . .

This fall, Rappahannock County High School’s band boosters and volunteer instructors are offering a wide variety of music lessons to interested parties, according to organizer Kathryn Treanor. The private one-on-one lessons are taught by highly qualified instructors and are offered to school-aged and adult students. Reasonably priced lessons are held in the band and practice rooms at RCHS. Scholarship funds are available for families who cannot afford the full fee.

Lessons are being offered in guitar, flute, violin, saxophone, clarinet, percussion, french horn, trumpet and low brass on Wednesday and Thursday nights. To register for a spot, contact Kathryn Treanor at Time slots are filling up quickly.

Hazardous waste: Bring it

If you have old orchard spray or stale gasoline that you normally can’t get rid of at the Amissville or Flatwood transfer stations, this Saturday (Sept. 22) you will be in luck. County residents will be able to dispose of those and many other agricultural and household chemicals during the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CFC Farm & Home Center (the Coop) on Lee Highway in Washington.

County Administrator John McCarthy says it’s been more than half a decade since the county sponsored a day when residents could properly dispose of items that don’t belong in a landfill or shouldn’t be incinerated. And even though the county no longer operates a landfill, he says we shouldn’t be trucking our headaches to someone else’s solid waste facility, either.

The following types of hazardous items will be accepted on Saturday: oil and latex paint, hobby chemicals, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, household batteries and stale gas and other fuels. So now is the time to clear out those old photographic chemicals you haven’t used since you went digital, that leaking box of Malathion in the garage and all the leftover paint in the basement. And a visit to the barn might yield some surprises.

“There are a lot of barns in the county that have old chemicals that even the owners aren’t sure what they are. During the last hazardous materials collection day, we received a good amount of Alar, a lead-based apple pesticide from the ’40s,” McCarthy said.

“The bottom line is there are things that we shouldn’t be putting in the ground or burning in incinerators in order to get rid of. This is the responsible thing to do,” McCarthy said.

By the way, don’t bring used motor oil or antifreeze. Disposal drums for these items are normally available at both county transfer stations. For more information, call McCarthy’s office at 540-675-5330.

– Cathie Shiff

Ragtime coming to the Theatre

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, the Theatre at Washington will feature Russell Wilson playing piano music of the ragtime era. The program will include not only several of Scott Joplin’s popular and fun piano rags, but also a couple of the slower paced rags such as “Solace” by Joplin and “Nightingale” by Joseph Lamb. The slightly later stride era is represented by the piano music of James P. Johnson. The concert also includes some novelty pieces by Zez Confrey.

Russell Wilson has long been an enthusiast and exponent of ragtime piano music. He began piano lessons at the age of seven and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in classical piano performance and a Masters degree in jazz, both from the University of Maryland in College Park. While a junior in college, he joined the President’s Own U.S. Marine Band where he plays all kinds of music styles on the piano, harpsichord, accordion and keyboard in public concerts and private events at the White House and throughout the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. In 2010, he won first place in the Carolina Ragtime Competition and second place in the World Championship Old Time Piano Playing contest in Peoria.

Tickets are $25 ($10 for students 18 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

Pivarnik has the right ‘Doggitude’

Rappahannock County dog artist Carole Pivarnik has launched a project on to raise funds to help publicize her upcoming book, “Doggitude: What Dogs Really Think in Seventeen Sassy Syllables.”

A mockup of the cover of Carol Pivarnik’s upcoming book.
A mockup of the cover of Carol Pivarnik’s upcoming book.

To be published this fall, “Doggitude” is a lighthearted book for dog lovers. It offers the amusingly irreverent opinions of 36 dogs, expressed in sassy haiku poetry written from the dog’s point of view. Each dog is endearingly portrayed in watercolor and accompanied by a brief bio. Many of the dogs in the book are from Rappahannock and surrounding areas.

“Dogs are masters of the innocent look and adoring gaze, but I’ve often wondered if there wasn’t something a little more calculated going on in those canine minds,” says Pivarnik with a smile.

A sketchbook combining her dog art and funny haiku got an enthusiastic response from everyone who saw it and became the inspiration for the book project. Pivarnik started work on the project in late 2011 after being laid off from her job as a technical writer. She has worked steadily on it since, including painting the book’s 36 full-page watercolor portraits, writing haiku and other content, designing the book’s layout, building a website, blogging, using social media to grow an online community of fans and now overseeing the Kickstarter campaign.

“This is very much a DIY project. I intended to self-publish from the start, because I wanted full control over the project’s content, packaging, pricing, timeline, and promotion. So, Kickstarter was the perfect choice to source funds to promote the book,” Pivarnik says. “Besides that, I love the opportunity that Kickstarter provides for emerging artists like myself to expose their work to new audiences.”

Pivarnik lives in Castleton, where she works out of her Brindle Studio. She can be reached at or 540-987-8566, or visit

Kickstarter, founded in 2009, is an online platform that enables people to pledge funds to creative projects in exchange for project-related rewards from the creator. Doggitude backers have a choice of several rewards, including original art, fine art prints, note cards and signed copies of the book itself. Doggitude is live on Kickstarter through Oct. 4. To read about the project, view the pitch video or become a backer, visit

Purnell works turn up at RDA

Paintings from the recent “Art From Your Attic” event at River District Arts are on exhibit and for sale this month in RDA’s River Gallery in Sperryville. Among those paintings are two by the late Rappahannock artist Robin Barker Purnell (1951-2008).

Oil portrait of a Russian subject by Robin B. Purnell at RDA.
Oil portrait of a Russian subject by Robin B. Purnell at RDA.

During her art career, Purnell immersed herself in painting life and humanity in her beloved Rappahannock County, as well as the former Soviet Union. Her experiences in the former Soviet Union lasted from 1982 to 2000 and from Brezhnev to Putin. The dramatic social changes, the opening of the culture and society to foreigners, as well as the revival of the once forbidden past had a profound affect on Purnell’s work. She was very active in the rapidly changing St. Petersburg art scene and participated in numerous group shows with Russian artists.

In addition to her foreign themes, Purnell created a series of portraits of people living in and around Rappahannock County to visually record the lives of an interesting mix of American farmers, musicians, stonemasons, dancers, tradesmen and professionals, who all lived and worked side by side.

During her more than 20-year career, Purnell participated in exhibitions at the Kasteeve Museum, London’s Royal Academy of Art, Soviet Cultural Foundation, Boston’s Copley Society and locally at the Middle Street Gallery and Longview Gallery (Haley Fine Art).

Public Lands Day at SNP

Shenandoah National Park invites you to become one of thousands of volunteers across the country to celebrate service and recreation on National Public Lands Day 2012 on Saturday, Sept. 29. All entrance fees are waived that day to encourage participation.

The park hosts an event on that day at Byrd Visitor Center and Big Meadows at mile 51.2 along Skyline Drive. Following a short presentation, participants will assist with field work to help preserve the Big Meadows cultural landscape. The service project in the meadow includes cutting down black locust saplings using loppers and folding hand saws. Shenandoah will provide leather gloves and any other needed equipment. Volunteers should come dressed for working outdoors (long pants and closed-toe shoes are strongly recommended) and should bring water, food, sunscreen and insect repellent.

To RSVP or to obtain more information, contact volunteer coordinator Cindy Blugerman at 540-999-3500, ext. 3437, or

That same Saturday, Shenandoah National Park and the Barlow family of Stanley, Va., co-host the 79th annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Alumni Reunion. The public is invited to meet with alumni and hear first-hand about their experiences. Alumni reunion events take place at the Big Meadows Lodge Massanutten Room beginning at 10 a.m. with remarks from park superintendent Martha Bogle.

NPCF grant deadline is Oct. 15

The Northern Piedmont Community Foundation (NPCF) conducts a broad-based grant-making program which provides vital funding for all aspects of community well being. Resources are concentrated geographically to preserve and enhance the quality of life to residents of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison and Rappahannock counties.

NPCF considers grant requests once per year. The deadline for requests for the next annual cycle is a 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15.  Visit to download the application and guidelines.

Best dessert, 11 gold awards for Gray Ghost

Gray Ghost swept four wine competitions in the past few weeks, earning 35 medals including “Best Dessert Wine” and 11 gold medals. This recent announcement brings Gray Ghost’s year-to-date total to 113 medals. This is the 10th consecutive year Gray Ghost has topped the 100-medal mark.

“Best Dessert Wine” honors were bestowed on the 2011 Adieu at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition in Winston-Salem, N.C. The winery’s Gewurztraminer and 2010 and 2011 Reserve Chardonnays took home gold.

Gray Ghost also earned five golds and five silvers at the 5th Annual Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic in Virginia Beach. Gray Ghost’s 2011 Adieu took gold at the Indy International Wine Competition and the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon took gold at the Wine Lovers of Tasters Guild Consumer Judging in Washington, D.C. – a competition judged solely by consumers.

“Our emphasis has always been on quality,” said Al Kellert, Gray Ghost owner and winemaker. “We feel that the medals reflect this and also help to establish Virginia as a wine growing region which has finally come of age.”

Gray Ghost Winery is at 14706 Lee Hwy. in Amissville; call 540-937-4869. The tasting room is open 11-5 Friday through Sunday.

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