The road to paper-making, Part II

By: Proserpina , 8:29 PM GMT on June 16, 2012

parchment illuminated
Illuminated Parchment

Part II


Papyrus was useful and certainly easier to use than the earlier writing surfaces, but the plant was grown only in the Nile region and the availability was up to the papyrus producers of that area. When Alexandria temporarily cut off the export of the papyrus a new easily available source for a writing surface had to be found.

In the 2nd century BC a great library was set up in Pergamom ( Bergama in modern Turkey) which rivaled the famous Library in Alexandria. Not wanting competition from another library, Alexandria stopped the export of papyrus.

As the availability of papyrus became scarce, Pergamon developed a new writing surface made from skins of animals. Pergamon became a production center for this new writing surface called parchment.

Animal pelts were easily available to make parchment, moreover parchment had other advantages over papyrus. It was much more durable than papyrus and withstood hard wear and usage. In addition parchment was not easily destroyed by fire.Parchment pretty much replaced papyrus in the 4th century and was popular until the late Middle Ages when paper replaced parchment.

Of course leather had been used as a writing material for a long time before the use of parchment. The first mention of Egyptian documents written on leather goes back to the Fourth Dynasty but the oldest known animal skin scroll is probably from the Egyptian 12th Dynasty. But even though both materials are derived from animal skins, leather is not truly parchment. The process treatments are different and the resulting surfaces are very different.

Parchment is not the only writing surface made from animal skins vellum is also made from animal skins. Although the two words often are used interchangeably, there is a difference. Parchment is generally made from the split skins of calf, sheep, and goats. Vellum is fine parchment made from calf skin.

I will use parchment and vellum interchangeably.

Etymology of the words parchment and vellum:

Parchment : ‘From Middle English parchement, from Old French parchemin, via Latin pergamīna, from Ancient Greek Περγαμηνός (Pergamēnos, “of Pergamun”), which is named for the Ancient city of Pergamon (modern Bergama) in Asia Minor, where it was invented as an expensive alternative for papyrus.’ ( Wiktionary)

Vellum: Vellum is derived from from the Latin word 'vitulinum' meaning "made from calf", leading to Old French 'Vélin' ("calfskin") (Wikipedia)

Below is a brief description of the making of parchment:

As stated above, parchment was made from animal skin. After the pelt was flayed, the skin was soaked in water to remove grime and blood. Then it was placed in a wooden or stone vat that contained a dehairing solution that included lime. While in the vat it was stirred several times a day. The unhairing took eight or more days. Once de-haired, the skin was soaked in water to make it workable then the skin was placed on a stretching frame. Both sides of the skin were scraped with a special curved knife to remove the last of the hair and to get the skin to the right thickness. To smooth the surface and to make the ink penetrate more deeply, the parchment was rubbed with pumice powder while still wet and on the frame. Once dry and taken off the frame the skins kept their form.

How was parchment used? The following are a few examples:

“Parchment, like leather, was used to make scrolls, however parchment lent itself best to the codex form of book. The Romans used parchment tablets and possibly small "notebooks" for writing drafts and notes. To protect fragile papyrus scrolls while being handled, the Romans made covers out of parchment. These covers were called paenula and were often brightly colored. In addition, a small parchment strip, called a titulus or index, was attached to each scroll. These strips carried the title of the work and were also brightly colored.” (

vellum binding
Parchment binding

Another early use of parchment was to make Portolan charts. Portolan charts are navigational maps based on compass directions and estimated distances observed by the pilots at sea. They were first made in the 13th century in Italy and later in Spain. Below is an example of a Portolan chart made in 1533 by Jacobo Russo from Messina.

Portolan map

Most of the finer medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment, as were some of the Buddhist texts. All Sifrei Torah were (and still are) written on kosher klaf or parchment.

parchment 15th century
Page from an early 15th Century French Book of Hours depicting St. George slaying a dragon.

A page from a Torah

A quarter of the 180 copy edition of Gutenberg’s Bibles printed in 1455, were printed on parchment.

Parchment was used for paintings, especially if they needed to be sent long distances. Parchment was also used for drawings and watercolors.

music Music on parchment

parchment and pen middle ages Pen drawing on parchment, Middle Ages
watercolor Watercolor on parchment

“Parchment has traditionally been used instead of paper for important documents such as religious texts, public laws, indentures, and land records as it has always been considered a strong and stable material. The five pages of the U.S. Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Articles of Confederation are written on parchment.”
(Quote from: -vellum.html)

Declaration of Independence


John Hancock, the President of the Congress, was the first to sign the sheet of parchment measuring 24¼ by 29¾ inches.

For Interesting information about the history of the Declaration of Independence and its engrossing on parchment please go to: tion_history.html

Modern usage of parchment /vellum:

British Acts of Parliament are still printed on parchment, as are those of the Republic of Ireland. Also it is still used for Jewish scrolls of the Torah. Luxury bookbinding, memorial books, documents in calligraphy are a few more examples of modern use of parchment.

In some universities the word parchment is used to refer to the certificate presented at graduation ceremonies (even though the modern document is printed on paper). Some universities, for doctoral graduations, give the option of having the certificates written by a calligrapher on parchment. The University of Notre Dame still used animal parchment for its diplomas, as does the University of Glasgow.

Niccolo da Bologna
Tempera and gold on parchment by Niccolo da Bologna

Quote from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Act 5, Scene 1

Hamlet: Is not parchment made of sheepskin?
Horatio: Aye, my lord, and calves’ skins too.

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149. janetlee
2:04 PM GMT on July 06, 2012
Your LLardos were broken & missing! I would have killed someone if they did that to mine. Nobody touched those except me! I had one I dearly loved over all the others on our mantle years ago and the mantle fell borke it to smitherrines. I literally cried for a solid week. It was a hooded monk. I have now moved all of them to a curio cabinet.
I had to take Molly in for her check up this morning. She is doing great. I do need to give her a trim she is feeling the heat.
Stay cool and have a big glass of iced tea...
Member Since: March 14, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 1462
148. Proserpina
1:04 PM GMT on July 06, 2012
Sandi, I beg you to send some of your rain to us in VA and many other parts of the USA! No wonder your gardens are so beautiful, they are well quenched and fed. Here I feed them but the quenching is an is an iffy situation.

If I do not pick up the house, the maids work around the items! A piece of paper, a show, no matter what, they will not pick it up and move it! They just 'work' around the item! And I pay them no matter what! My situation is not the exception, that's what the cleaning services do in this area. I used to have a private lady who cleaned my house for about 25 years, that was a different story. She treated my house as her own, she really picked up and cleaned.... But she also brought her daughter who when she turned 13 joined a gang, things began disappearing from my house, my Lladros were broken (50 or more percent of my collection!), ... I was afraid that she would next bring her gang here and I fired the mother. I did not want to do this as I liked the lady and I helped her a lot with English,familiarizing herself with American laws, dealing with her daughter, etc. But lies and gang activities were not acceptable! So I accept with the limitations of the services, at least there is a company to back up the maids activities.

Koko finally awoke and wants to be fed. The little rascal woke me up at 3am this morning to bring her outside! Luckily I did fall asleep after I returned to bed. So off I am to feed her. have a wonderful day Sandi.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
147. sandiquiz
12:49 PM GMT on July 06, 2012
Good morning to you,

I always smile when I see you are about to clear up before the "Cleaners" arrive.... my sister used to do the same!
I have never had a cleaner, I have always got around to cleaning my own home - eventually!! lol

Hope your AC keeps working, to keep you cool:)

We have rain, rain, and yet again, even more rain forecast. They are saying we should get a month's rain in the next 24 hours! :-(

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 349 Comments: 31783
146. Proserpina
12:33 PM GMT on July 06, 2012
Good morning from, well you know, hot and hot and hot VA! The weather reporters say that yesterday it was over a hundred in many spots. I believe the highest at our house was 98.6. Today will be hotter and tomorrow will be even hotter. I am not ready for Saturday's projected temperatures, not at all!

So far our electricity and AC have behaved, no guarantees for today and tomorrow. We do know that yesterday afternoon my husband was struck in traffic less than a mile from home, the traffic lights were not functioning due to lack of power. At rush hour! By the time he got home the pizza was cold but it still tasted good.

, I will go check out the author and the book. Thank you for the heads up and the info on the site. I have just a few more pages left on the Isabel and Fernando book. For the next book I tons of choices sitting in my bedroom close (yes, I store unread books instead of clothes on my shelves in the closet). I think though, I have limited my next choice to either a book on Sicily that my husband gave me on Mother's Day, or the Kun Lun book by our WU member Lissu that I just bought.

So your mom must have been a Pres. Reagan admirer, she has plenty of company. How wonderful that she knew him before he was famous, was that before he was an actor? He was my husband's choice as well. Yes, I am amazed that Nancy Reagan is still active at her age, it is wonderful. Actually, I should not be amazed since my grandpa was active until his 97th birthday. It can be done with good health.

Good morning Janelee. Did you get any relief from the heat yesterday? I will come to your blog to check today's view and the weather, to say hello as well!

Good morning Mass, glad that the bad part of the storm missed your area. We are battling the heat and no relief in sight for the next few days. There should be some storms but only in spots. I have been watering a flower bed this morning, with perforated hoses. The ground is so dry and compact that the water is running off and not seeping into the soil. At least the birds have some drinking water! The squirrels and chipmunks too! Maybe even that scoundrel raccoon as well!
I hope you are well, hubby too. Have a good day.

Time to get dressed, pick up the house for the cleaners who are coming in the early afternoon, and just sit back and finish a book that I am currently reading.

Stay well and enjoy your day everyone!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
145. shoreacres
2:49 AM GMT on July 06, 2012
Evening, Pros,

I just read the most wonderful review of a book called The Divorce of Henry VIII. It's clearly one you would enjoy - I've put it on my to-be-read list, too.

The author's website is quite filled with riches, too. Her name is Catherine Fletcher, and she's clearly an expert in her field.

I just heard that tomorrow is Nancy Reagan's 91st birthday! Apparently she's doing quite well - she's out in California for some sort of goings-on at the Reagan Library. I just can't get over her age. My mom loved both she and "Dutch", as she called him. Of course, she got to know him when he still was a sportscaster in Iowa!

Hope you're coping well with the heat. Inside is good - hence the book recommendation!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15292
144. janetlee
4:56 PM GMT on July 05, 2012
I'm so happy to see your paintings. They are beautiful! Such a talent!

I see you are sweltering again today also. I did all my ouside work very early this morning so I am able to stay in the cool of the house now. I did not even go out to check on our mail, sent Max to do it.

I hope you pick up those brushes again
Member Since: March 14, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 1462
143. masshysteria
4:39 PM GMT on July 05, 2012
Good Afternoon, Pros!

What artistically gorgeous, floral treasure-troves you've bestowed on Aqua and Rain in recent years! I'm so glad she found the time to post and share your lovely artworks with us here on your blogsite! They all look so comparable to those found on professional display in New England art galleries! I still treasure that floral painting you made into 4 by 6 magnets and sent as gifts to a few of us lucky souls a few years ago. Your art classes and natural talents have certainly more than paid off! Inspiring and much appreciated!

So sorry that you and other mid-Atlantic, central region states remain stuck in the midst of this historically hot lengthy heatwave. Hopefully, a possible cool front will safely move through all affected regions, and soon! One needs a strong constitution to survive recent weather extremes these days.

Last night around 9:00 pm, we were lucky to escape the damaging effects of a serious t'storm that resulted in a power outage on the other side of my town. For once, we caught the luck of the draw and only received brief heavy downpours with close but no hits from lightning strikes. Today, the humidity has lessened and we're faced with current bright sunshine and reasonably warm temps of 78F. Wish you were here, in Mass., to enjoy it as well! Nevertheless, hope you remain safe at home, with continued running electricity for air-conditioned relief! May all those citizens, still without power, find safe cooling havens until electricity is fully restored!
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 90 Comments: 9677
142. Proserpina
2:30 AM GMT on July 05, 2012
Hi Ylee, yes, it stayed on today! Thank goodness, as it has been a nasty day hot and very humid. More than likely you have had a similar day. Incredibly there are people who still do not have electricity! And they won't have it until Friday, maybe.

You take care as well!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
141. Ylee
2:13 AM GMT on July 05, 2012
Pros, I hope your electricity stayed on all day! I know it's working now, as you just posted, lol!

Take care!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 130 Comments: 23214
140. Proserpina
2:07 AM GMT on July 05, 2012
Happy Birthday America!

I just finished watching the Capital Fourth performances and the fireworks. Yes, from home on tv. Then I watched a little of the Macy's fireworks from NY. What a great celebration for our nation!

Shore, many of the fireworks in this area were canceled due to the derecho problems, excessive heat, and the possible fires. Our Farifax City fireworks are going on at this very moment, I can hear them. If I go outside I will be able to see the highest ones but I am ready for a little reading after I post here.

Quiet celebration but I have plenty of past fireworks, cookouts, etc. to remember.

Thank you for the comments about the paintings. It really is nice of Aqua to frame them and to post the framed results here. Maybe I will be inspired to pick up my paint brushes again. I need an incentive now that the classes are coming to an end for good.

I hope that you have a nice work day tomorrow. It must be hard to work in the hot, humid temps.

BF, Mass, Aqua, Shore, OGal, Sandi, Ylee, Janetlee, Alley, Calpoppy, thank you for leaving the Fourth of July greetings. I hope you and all who visit or lurk here, had a wonderful day today.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
139. shoreacres
1:22 AM GMT on July 05, 2012
Your paintings are beautiful! What a treat to get to see them - yea, for Aqua!

I hope your day's been fine. Mine was nice, and now it's time to get ready for work tomorrow. I keep thinking tomorrow's Sunday, but it isn't. Sigh.

It's really quiet around here. I think they must have cancelled the lake fireworks - otherwise boats would be going out. It feels as though all the celebrations are a little toned down this year - our town's get-together was wonderful, but everyone seemed content to eat, chat and listen to the music. It just was a quiet party. ;)

However you finish off the day, enjoy it. At least things are getting back to normal, bit by bit. It will be slow, but it will get done.

Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15292
138. Barefootontherocks
7:17 PM GMT on July 04, 2012

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy Fourth!
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 22019
137. Proserpina
4:31 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
My Goodness! What a pleasant surprise. I had forgotten all of these paintings except the Snomageddon one! Robin, you are the best DIL ever! You honor me and I thank you.

Wonderful job on the framing.

My thanks to Tango! What a cutie.

I love you Aqua, and Rain too!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
136. aquak9
3:13 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
And Tango says thank you for painting the flowers, too, since the fresh ones always fade away.

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 198 Comments: 29460
135. aquak9
3:09 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
Last but not least, the one I consider to be your most famous painting. This is the one you did, when you were trapped in the house for two weeks, when you had nearly three feet of snow outside. Many of your readers should remember that winter, and this painting. Here we are, hitting over 100º every day, yet I still think of the snow when I look at this painting.

I hope you like the edging of all the paintings- the framers did a great job, and these will be treasured forever. Thank you.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 198 Comments: 29460
134. aquak9
3:06 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
The dotted one that I speak of so often-

and the most beautiful one, my favorite.

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 198 Comments: 29460
133. aquak9
3:04 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
Here is the one that had the extra white space at the bottom.

A little closer up-

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 198 Comments: 29460
132. aquak9
3:03 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
mom- happy fourth to all of you!

This is the one you gave dau, for her graduation from high school.

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 198 Comments: 29460
131. masshysteria
2:02 PM GMT on July 04, 2012
(((Prose))) ~

May you and yours have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July! You certainly deserve it!

Quoting Proserpina:
Hi MASS, good to see you.
What kind of day do you have there? Are you weather comfortable?

Here it is hot but tomorrow will be worse because the humidity will increase quite a bit. I feel badly for those who still do not have electricity. One of my friends who lives a couple of miles away, just got her electricity! She and her dog have been sleeping in the basement to stay a little cooler.

I hope your Fourth is a good one. I plan to stay inside and prepare hamburgers in a frying pan, I will add corn and a salad and this is our celebration for the Fourth. Oh yes, we will watch the fireworks from the Mall on tv if they will have fireworks. Depends if there is a thunderstorm at or not after sunset. Our flag is displayed every day so it will be up as usual.

Happy and safe Fourth to you and your hubby.

In answer to your earlier question concerning my weather, it has been pleasantly warm (82-85F), surprisingly dry (without humidity) during the day and reasonably cool, in the upper 60's at night. Today we may feel miserable humidity coming in along with the threat of t'storms either this afternoon or early evening. We're still not sure if the direction or severity of them will interrupt the BOSTON POPS FOURTH OF JULY festivities tonight, so fingers crossed that all will go off safely and without a hitch! I plan to remain indoors relaxing and watching tv as well. I'm past the age of facing traffic jams and crowds. LOL!

Glad to hear that a friend of yours has finally had her electricity restored. Hope many more are able to restore their homes and electricity very soon!

May you and Raindad enjoy those yummy burgers, other summery entrees, while relaxing comfortably indoors! It sounds like the perfect plan for me and my hubby as well!

Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 90 Comments: 9677
130. OGal
11:48 AM GMT on July 04, 2012

Freedom has not been free.
I thank my Navy family.
Happy 4th of July Pros.

Look at the twin towers.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
129. sandiquiz
10:17 AM GMT on July 04, 2012

Hope it is a good day for you, full of food, fun and family :)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 349 Comments: 31783
128. Ylee
1:56 AM GMT on July 04, 2012
Hi, Pros! Utility companies are really good about helping each other out during a disaster! When we had our big ice storm in '09, companies from all over the US came to help out!

If I was out playing golf on 98 degree heat, I'd have a big bag of ice in the golf cart to sit on! Tell hubby(sarcastically) that they DO have tee times in the morning!
Well, never mind; I don't want to be accused of "stirring the pot!" :)

I hope you have a nice 4th!

Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 130 Comments: 23214
127. janetlee
1:06 AM GMT on July 04, 2012
Happy 4th to you & yours!

Hopefully all of the area will be fully up & running soon. It does not take long for people to start getting angry over trival stuff when they are so stressed.

We are not going to be doing much here except cook a rack of ribs and have a side of baked beans and I'm thinking maybe some fries for a change. The city is putting on a display but the parking down there as such a bother we no longer go.

(wonder why the other half never want to listen to good advice!)

Member Since: March 14, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 1462
126. Proserpina
12:53 AM GMT on July 04, 2012
Happy Fourth Of July Pictures, Images and Photos

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
125. Proserpina
10:44 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
Hey Alley, never shut up. Always express your opinion! Please.

Yes,the kind thing would have been to help human beings especially the elderly (as you mentioned). If it were my decision or yours, we would have used all of our resources to do the right thing. But, unfortunately the golf powers that be do not listen to us.

Do you know what my hubby did today in 95-96 temperatures? Yes, he and our friend went to play golf. I would have reminded him that the first anniversary of his attack is coming up and that it happened on a hot day on the golf course, but I know that he would not listen to me. But, being the red ant that I am, as he was leaving the house I sweetly said not to call me if he got sick on the golf course. He laughed and took off.

On a good note, the Canadians from Ontario arrived last night to help restore electricity. Perhaps they are helping with the trees as well, I do not know.

Alley, please do not retreat to a corner, be our conscience!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
124. Alleyoops
10:14 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
PROS, the cleanup crew may have been their own employees but I still think their services could have been better used helping to bring some relief to the neighbourshoods affected by the storm rather than a golf course. It could have waited, the game could have been postponed, without hydro who the hell is going to watch it anyway.... its over now so once again I will shut up and go back into my corner of the world and let you folks deal with it all.

Storms passing through here again so I am off...have a great evening. Stay cool!!!
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29468
123. Proserpina
9:14 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
Hi MASS, good to see you. It will be interesting to see what happens. Maybe nothing maybe not! Time will tell.

What kind of day do you have there? Are you weather comfortable?

Here it is hot but tomorrow will be worse because the humidity will increase quite a bit. I feel badly for those who still do not have electricity. One of my friends who lives a couple of miles away, just got her electricity! She and her dog have been sleeping in the basement to stay a little cooler.

I hope your Fourth is a good one. I plan to stay inside and prepare hamburgers in a frying pan, I will add corn and a salad and this is our celebration for the Fourth. Oh yes, we will watch the fireworks from the Mall on tv if they will have fireworks. Depends if there is a thunderstorm at or not after sunset. Our flag is displayed every day so it will be up as usual.

Happy and safe Fourth to you and your hubby.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
122. Proserpina
9:05 PM GMT on July 03, 2012

Except for the George Washington center, every RECenter will be open on Wednesday until 6 p.m. so residents can beat the heat, shower, and recharge their cellphones, medical and other electronic devices. Fee for using showers has been waived, but you must bring own towels and toiletries. RECenters open at their regularly scheduled time.

For continuous updates visit the Fairfax County Emergency Blog at

Sent by Fairfax County OPA to voice dialer, e-mail accounts, cell phones & pagers through the Fairfax County CEAN

Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
121. masshysteria
4:19 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
Quoting Proserpina:
So Dr. Masters sold WU!

I started writing the 3d part of the paper blog, maybe I should wait and see before I spend more time typing.

Dr. M and the other site say that there will be no changes, come on, of course there will be changes!

Quoting JeffMasters:

19K Share. It's true. After 17 years as an independent company, Weather Underground has been sold, and will now be part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC.) As one of the founders of Weather Underground, I am excited about embarking upon this new chapter in our company's history. Having the infrastructure, resources, and content of The Weather Channel Companies will enable wunderground to create some great new products, and improve the quality and reliability of our existing content. We will now be called Weather Underground, LLC, and will maintain the web site as it is.

I, too, hope we can take him at his word, but am cautiously skeptical.

Quoting Patrap:
Thanx for stopping by Mass.

No changes are going to come as far as I know, and Dr. M covers it all in his entry.

Enjoy your 4th Celebration as well,stay cool.

Good Afternoon, (((Pros))) ~

I read on both Dr. Masters and Patrap's blogsites that the sale of Wunderground should have no effect on the current site and hopefully the blogs. Pat has seemingly had an "in", for some time, with the administrators of WU and Portlight so, hopefully, he knows more than we do right now. It would be a horrible sin if our close-knit blogging group were forced to look elsewhere to post with one another! I, for one, do not wish to join Facebook due to their privacy issues, etc.

I've been watching "The Weather Channel" lately to catch updates on the aftermath of those ferocious hurricane-like storms which hit you and others in the mid-Atlantic last week. It's heartening to see so utility companies, from many outside states, even Canada, joining forces with those who cover your region, as the resulting damage appears so overwhelmingly extensive. It's apparent that this remarkably nasty system, when seen on doplar radar, camouflaged some of its strength and scope. Quite the unusual confluence of events! Naturally, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, as well as, all those who remain struggling with other losses, during an unbearable heatwave to boot! Hope more city/town officials will call for additional cooling buses for those who are considered fragile or medically susceptible. These citizens should not be considered expendable.

Hope you and yours remain well and get to spend this Fourth of July in safety and relative comfort.
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 90 Comments: 9677
120. Proserpina
2:51 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
Good morning Alley, calpoppy, shore, gg, Janelee, Ogal, Sandi, Mass, and all who visit here.

Thank you for the Fourth greetings. We will do our best in this area to enjoy and honor the day but I doubt it that there will be many picnics and fireworks. Heat and thunderstorms are predicted and many towns and cities in this area have cancelled the fireworks. Good idea given the fires in not too far Shenandoah!

Alley, I believe that the clean-up at the golf course was done by their own maintenance crew. It was a tournament for Tiger's charity. Here is an article about the storm and the tournament: r-play-congressional-resumes-brutal-storm-fans-kep t-out

From what I can see, lots of good people are working feverishly to clean up the mess, restore electricity, reopen roads, etc. In addition to the local crews, people from other states have come to help. There is a large group coming from Canada as well! For this we are grateful to Canada. Thank you.

Hi calpoppy
, yes, I have seen on the news that tree and the building. It is one of the many trees down, there really is a lot of damage and people are dealing with their own trees before they go help others. Unfortunately there are so many priorities! Our infrastructure had to be restored before anything else, imagine even 911 was not functioning in may areas! We lucked out with the restoring of electricity after 17 hours because there are a police station, and a firehouse with rescue crews in the immediate area. There are many cooling venues around the area and some people are taking advantage of libraries, etc. A friend of mine who lives in Arlington still does not have power and is spending time at a library. Since she is in the education business, she is enjoying the books I am sure! My brother in MD is housing a friend who still doesn't have electricity at her place.

Well, that's a run on paragraph! Take care calpoppy an stay away from the fires in your area.Happy Fourth to you.

, I hate moaning and complaining when I know that this kind of weather is pretty much the normal in your area. At least in the last couple of years. I will go to the site you point out, I am sure I will enjoy it.
I hope your day gives you cool breezes and a little rain. Ok, I can fantasize right?

gg, yes, derechos can cause as much damage as a tornado. Probably one of the main differences is that a tornado can go every which way while the derechos goes, well straight.
Have a wonderful Fourth and I hope that you put up more of your wonderful photos from your trip.

Hi Janetlee, I left a message on your blog. I hope that you get some rain today! Happy Fourth.

Time to continue writing the part 3 of the paper story which should be coming soon!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
119. Alleyoops
2:24 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
4th of July Images, Quotes, Comments, Graphics

Good morning PROS...I saw yesterday on Yahoo news, that in some areas in the Washington DC district that a lot of damage was done in Friday's storm. Hope all was well at your home. All those poor people without hydro in this sweltering heat. I also noted that the congressional gulf course got priority clean up from fallen trees on the l4th hole because of a televised golf I have to admit that someone has their priorities wrong. I would think blocked roads, fallen trees on homes etc should get priority but hey its Washington isn't it. Shame on them....

Anyway have a safe and happy day.
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29468
118. calpoppy
2:11 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
I saw on the news last night of a huge red oak that had fallen across a road which is the peoples only access out. I believe it was in the Washington DC area. Many were elderly people that lived there. When government services can't get there it would be nice if other people can come in with their chain saws and start working on that tree!

Stay safe, Pros! And have a Happy 4th!

Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 90 Comments: 5675
117. shoreacres
2:00 PM GMT on July 03, 2012
Morning, Pros -

For now, I suspect things around here will stay pretty much the same. Advertising's the name of the game, and I can't imagine that TWC would want to drive off current users of WU with radical change - at least until they've begun seeing increased traffic at the site from new users. I could be wrong, of course. I do suspect the days of $5 ads-free is gonzo - but again, in time. I say - keep typing. And keep an eye on the "terms of service" page. The last thing you want is TWC using your photos without attribution or payment!

I'm on my way to work but stopped by to bring you a link to a little treasure that a reader left in the comments over at WordPress. It's Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Nature" essay. It's not so terribly long, and is divided into even shorter segments for easy reading. I read the whole thing a couple of times, and enjoyed it tremendously.

Steve noted one of the ironies is that Emerson wrote it while looking out a window on land that was treeless - they all had been cut down! Now, they're back, a nice stand of third-growth forest. We're lucky to have them, and Emerson's reflections.

Have a good day - off I go to see what I can accomplish!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15292
116. Proserpina
8:17 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
So Dr. Masters sold WU!

I started writing the 3d part of the paper blog, maybe I should wait and see before I spend more time typing.

Dr. M and the other site say that there will be no changes, come on, of course there will be changes!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
115. GardenGrrl
4:38 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
Wow. Unbelievable how much damage a thunderstorm can do without tornados. I'm with Sandi, stay home if the roads are still full of debris and the trffic lights are not working.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 305 Comments: 12798
114. Proserpina
3:52 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
Special Bulova Byline

Storm Aftermath

July 2, 2012

The storm that ripped through our region Friday night has a name. It is called a Derecho ("deh-REY-cho"), a widespread, long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Derechos produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, but the damage in directed in one direction. In our case Friday's storm event was accompanied by winds exceeding 80 mph.

Fairfax County was especially hard hit. We are still struggling with widespread power outages and diminished landline phone communication. For an unacceptable period of time, our regional 911 emergency communication was down or seriously compromised. You can be sure that this will be the focus of a serious discussion among elected leaders throughout the Region and the Commonwealth.

Below you will find updates and safety information as we continue recovering from the storm. I would first and foremost remind everyone receiving this Byline to sign up for Fairfax County's CEAN (Community Emergency Alert Network). This network will send you regular messages alerting you to emergency situations. Additionally Fairfax County is publishing regular storm recovery updates through their website, Facebook, and blog sites. I have been sharing this information all weekend on my Facebook as well.

As recovery continues, please be patient and be safe. In this Byline is a list of Libraries and Rec Centers that have power and are available for cooling and for you to recharge your electronics.

Sharon Bulova


Charge your devices and sign up for emergency alerts.

Urgent Human Services Needs?

Fairfax County Heat Relief Options

Operating Status

Road Conditions

Boil Water Advisory (as of 5 p.m., Sunday July 1)

Cleanup Tips

Charge your devices and sign up for emergency alerts.

For updates from around the region, visit

Emergency information is available on Fairfax County's Web site (, Emergency Information Blog (, Facebook (, Twitter (, the Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN) at or by calling the Fairfax County Emergency Information Hotline at 703-817-7771, TTY 711*.

*Please note that some county phone numbers are still not operational.

** Please only call 9-1-1 for emergencies. Call your local utility to report power outages.

News from the Commonwealth and cooling center locations around Virginia:

Urgent Human Services Needs?

Call 703-222-0880 TTY 711.

Residents who know individuals needing special attention are encouraged to take a few minutes to check in on them to ensure their well-being. If residents need immediate, life-saving help, call 9-1-1.

Fairfax County Heat Relief Options

Come in, cool off, charge your mobile device.

Many County RECenters and Libraries are open

Library hours may be affected; call your local branch before visiting. For branch phone numbers, call 703-324-3100 or go to
The following RECenters are open:

Lee District RECenter, 6601 Telegraph Road, Franconia, Virginia, 703-922-9841, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mount Vernon RECenter, 2017 Belle View Blvd., Alexandria, Virginia, 703-768-3224, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Oak Marr RECenter, 3200 Jermantown Road, Oakton, Va., 703-281-6501, 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
South Run RECenter, 7550 Reservation Drive, Springfield, Virginia, 703-866-0566, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cub Run RECenter, 4630 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, VA 20151, 703-817-9407, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
George Washington RECenter 8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road Alexandria, VA 22309
703-780-8894 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Providence RECenter 7525 Marc Drive Falls Church, Virginia 703-698-1351 5am-9pm

Operating Status

Fairfax County operating status, including courts, libraries and more: 7/01/county-regional-operating-status-for-monday-j uly-2/

Road Conditions

For more information on road conditions and real-time traffic information, go to To report a road problem, call VDOT's Customer Service Center at 1-800-367-7623.

PLEASE obey 4-way stop rules at intersections without power.

Treat each traffic light as a four-way stop, with the driver on the right having the right-of-way.
Proceed with caution only when traffic permits.
Enter intersections only when it is safe to do so, using turn signals to let other motorists know your intentions.
Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Watch out for and obey police officers directing traffic within intersections.

Boil Water Advisory (as of 5 p.m., Sunday July 1)


The Boil Water Advisory continues for Tysons, Dunn Loring, and Vienna.
Merrifield now no longer included (based on reevaluation of area affected).
Prepare to boil water at least through Monday night, July 2. This is the timing needed for proper testing. Families should be prepared.
All pumping stations back at full power.

Cleanup Tips eanup.htm

People in the areas affected by the recent severe weather will continue to face a number of hazards associated with cleanup activities. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) offers the following safety tips:

Wear Protective Gear

For most cleanup work, wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank).
Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
Reduce Risk of Heat Exhaustion

While cleaning up after a severe storm during excessive heat, you are at risk for developing health problems. To reduce heat-related risks:

Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Work during the cooler hours of the day.
Prevent Muscle and Bone Injury

Special attention is needed to avoid back injuries associated with manual lifting and handling of debris and building materials. To help prevent muscle and bone injury:

Use teams of two or more to move bulky objects.
Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds.
Use proper automated-assist lifting devices.
Use caution or seek professional assistance when removing fallen trees, cleaning up debris or using equipment, such as chain saws.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is poisonous to breathe. During storm cleanup, operate gasoline-powered generators and outdoors. Never bring them indoors.

Prevent Fatigue-Related Injuries

Continued long hours of work combined with exhaustion can create a highly stressful situation during cleanup. People working on storm cleanup can reduce their risk of injury and illness in several ways:

Set priorities for cleanup tasks and pace the work.
Avoid physical exhaustion.
Resume a normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible.
Be alert to emotional exhaustion or strain.
Consult family members, friends or professionals for emotional support.
Mosquito-borne Disease Prevention

Protect against mosquito bites by wearing long, loose and light-colored clothing.
Use insect repellant with the smallest percentage of DEET necessary for the length of time you are exposed to mosquitoes, but no more than 50 percent for adults and 30 percent for children under 12.
Turn over or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as toys, plant trays and buckets

Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
113. janetlee
3:20 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
We had a small dose yesterday of the same kind of weather you had earlier in the week. If you happened to catch the 8.a edition of FOX news they showed our neighboring county, Pitt. Ours was not at all as heavy as yours but bad enough for me.

In answer to your question,We have regular mud sliders & snappers in our pond. Also large carp, catfish, large mouth bass & an assortment of brim. I think the crows have been hanging around mostly for the water as it has been so expremely hot & dry. This morning while walking around the area I scared off the lesser heron that likes to feed on the smaller fishes. But he'll be back.

I think if I were you I'd forego the Italian coffee brunch this time. Especially if you have to travel on streets with no working lights!

Whatever you choose~~enjoy~~
Member Since: March 14, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 1462
112. Proserpina
12:30 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
Good morning Sandi. Thank you for your 'wiseness'! The more I listen to the news, the more I think it would be wise to stay home and leave the roads for those who have to be on the road. Even our Federal Government is giving the choice of not going to work, liberal 'leave'.

Great news about the modem!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
111. sandiquiz
12:21 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
Yes, I have become a wuss!

No, you haven't!! With age comes wisdom - the wisdom to know that it is safer to stay home, away from the roads where everyone is fighting for "first place" at the cross-roads, and in that amount of heat, you are better in the coolth of your home.

PS - I have my modem - so all is working again! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 349 Comments: 31783
110. Proserpina
12:16 PM GMT on July 02, 2012
Good morning.

A tough morning in my area (DC Metropolitan Area) due to the aftermath of the storm. Many streets are closed due to downed trees, traffic lights are not working (Falls Church just brought a huge generator to a critical traffic light!), obviously many homes are still without electricity, also in Falls Church and other parts of Northern Virginia water must be boiled, etc. etc. Amazing what havoc this Friday eerie storm has engendered!

Yesterday the temps in DC reached 99, in my area we reached 97, we have a code red and it is HOT everywhere.

I am debating whether to go meet friends for Monday Coffee chat in Italian. I do not want to deal with traffic light-less roads, hot unhealthy air, ... Yes, I have become a wuss!

I hope your day is a good and safe one.

ADD: There are now 17 deaths reported as a result of the derecho.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
109. Proserpina
10:01 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
Thank you OGal, I will take your advice. So far today, just nasty heat and humidity.

The news about the fires in CO being 45% contained is good news. Hopefully even better news will soon be reported for that area.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
108. OGal
9:55 PM GMT on July 01, 2012

Just wanted to post. The Colorado Springs fire is now 45% contained. They are finally making headway.

Pros listen to your weather radio and be ready to move. I know you know what to do. Just stay safe. As we say here in Florida just hunker down....:)
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
107. Proserpina
9:51 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
Mass, levity is a good thing.

The farm is not close to the fires. The other house is closer but not close enough to be in danger of the current fires. As to B., he is ok, just a little 'fix-up' of the body. All is well with them. I will relay your message.

You stay well too!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
106. masshysteria
9:34 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
Quoting Proserpina:
I heard from KAT, she is ok. B is ok as well. It is hot there, and the fires are burning uncontrolled and destroying homes/acres of land. They are away from her home, fortunately.

(((Prose))) ~

Thanks so much for taking the time to post updated news regarding CO-Kat. I certainly hope that she and B will remain safe and out of any nearby fire zones. I didn't realize that her hubby's health was still in question. If you happen to hear from her again, please forward my warmest best wishes and prayers to both.

Speaking of prayers, I hope that the "derecho" included in OGal's earlier copied and pasted weather report for West Virginia, etc. miraculously fizzles out! It seems much of Virginia's had enough serious turbulence for one week, let alone, an entire month! Hope we can all get through the remainder of this season in one piece. Glad to know of your protective "windowless bathroom"! It's a great idea and gives new meaning to the phrase " to serve and protect". LOL! (Just my lame attempt to add a little levity).

Stay calm, cool, collected and safe today and everyday!
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 90 Comments: 9677
105. Proserpina
8:47 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
I heard from KAT, she is ok. B is ok as well. It is hot there, and the fires are burning uncontrolled and destroying homes/acres of land. They are away from her home, fortunately.

Azzurri! You did not live up to my expectations! Congratulations to Spain.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
104. Proserpina
8:10 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
Fibrogal, thank you very much!
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
103. Fibrogal
8:09 PM GMT on July 01, 2012 oop.php
Member Since: July 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
102. Proserpina
7:37 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
Thank you OGal. Making preparations for my little windowless bathroom. Have informed a few people in the area. No matter where this system may go, I wish everyone vigilance and safety.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
101. OGal
7:34 PM GMT on July 01, 2012

Pros this is from Emmy's Meteo friend:

Note from friend and message from Houston weather.
Deborah Emmy Nowinski:
From Larry Cosgrove: Heads up friends over yonder: Be safe! Attention friends living in IN, OH, WV. Another derecho is forming. Projection is east-southeast, with territory between Indianapolis and Dayton likely to be hit hard with strong winds, vivid lightning, and flooding rains. I suspect the eventual destination of this thunderstorm system will be in the Portsmouth/Huntington/Charleston corridor then into VA and MD (below Interstate 70).
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
100. Proserpina
7:27 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
According to some WU friends, another derecho is forming and headed this way. I am not good at posting weather maps, if anyone finds the map that shows this, please post it if you can.

I am going to do a little research to see what our WU buddies are saying.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759
99. Proserpina
4:54 PM GMT on July 01, 2012
FORZA AZZURRI Pictures, Images and Photos
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 201 Comments: 19759

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