Home » Farm and garden » Recent Articles:

Farmer’s Markets Sprouting Up Everywhere

April 30, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Farmer’s Markets Sprouting Up Everywhere
Pick your own

With its combination of health conscious families, agriculturally productive land and long time business that make a living off of that land, Loudoun County, particularly western Loudoun County is a spring, summer and fall mecca for fresh fruits and vegetable lovers. We have all become accustomed to the overwhelming plenty served up by local grocery stores – 12 months out of the year. But as the weather warms and greens start sprouting so do our local farmer’s markets, and the variety of produce available is unbeatable. … Continue Reading

Gardening Tips, April 2014

April 1, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Tips, April 2014
daffodil

Getting Ahead Of Those Garden Undesirables

It’s hard to imagine – after the winter we’ve had – that spring is here, or at least not far behind.

The weather is slowly getting warmer, the days are getting longer and the early daffodils and crocuses are forcing their way up, even if peeking out from of remnants of snow.

I’d be happy just to pull up a lawn chair, relax and enjoy spring’s arrival. But, I’ve made that mistake before, and, before I know it my wild mint has taken over, grass is sprouting up and smothering the daffodils, and tree seedlings, too, are taking hold in my garden. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: The Constant and Private Red Shouldered Hawk

March 4, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: The Constant and Private Red Shouldered Hawk
Red-Red shouldered hawk inside

A female red-shouldered hawk is one of my most constant wild companions here on the farm. Three or four times a week I see her perched in a willow above the pond, on the fence line or in one of the larger trees on the property. With open fields, water sources and mature trees, it’s good habitat for her; more often than not she is flying off with something in her talons. She is exceptionally cautious as I drive down the driveway – private and wary somehow. She doesn’t really like me to pause and take a picture, most times flying off to a spot several hundred feet away – especially if she is in the middle of a meal. So, I’ve named her “Wary.”

Red-tailed hawks are common in my area, too. But, the bird I see has distinct reddish-brown shoulders, peachy under parts streaked with white and the dramatically banned tail characteristic of the red-shouldered hawk. Red-shouldered hawks are smaller than the bulkier red-tail, as well, and I notice that size difference, too. … Continue Reading

Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

March 4, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

Last month we focused on the basics of hardscape planning – looking at the stone walls, woodwork, patios, arbors, decks, water features, etc. of your businesses or home’s yard and landscape.

The key priorities we discussed included: 1) deciding on what outcome and functions you wanted – how would the area or areas be used? … just for show or are you wanting a vegetable or flower cutting garden?; 2) Do you have your drainage issue sorted out?; 3) How do you want the main areas and features in your hardscapes to relate to each other? Are you creating a path to move through or a simple place to sit and enjoy the scenery?; And, finally, 4) what’s your style? Sleek and modern, homey country or something in between the two? … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Snowy Owl – Interrupted Beauty, Flashing White

February 6, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Snowy Owl – Interrupted Beauty, Flashing White
snowy-owl-p1cmyk

Imagine winding your way to Dulles Airport on one of our recent cold January days. You can’t wait to get on the plane and wake up in sunny Florida the next day. Palm trees, warm breezes, ahhhh. But, as you drop off the last highway ramp and into the parking lot you notice a large snowy-white bird perching on an airport fence. It’s big. And, “Wow,” you think, “What the heck is that?”

Once in the airport, sipping your coffee and waiting to board your flight you see the news report about a snowy owl that was sighted in Washington, D.C. near a Washington Post building in January, and then taken to a local wildlife hospital after being hit by a bus. The bird appears to be OK, and veterinarians hope to release it, soon. Wow, you say to yourself, I just saw one of those birds. Wow. … Continue Reading

Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

February 5, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”
planninghardscapes

Patio entertaining, or lazing by the pool seems months and months off – especially when the wind chill is hovering at about zero, as it has been for weeks.

But despite our wintery mindsets, this is a good time of year to put together your spring and summer landscape wish lists. If you are planning to make big or even more modest changes to your garden, outdoor areas or yard, one of the most important considerations is how your hardscape will be put together and function.

Hardscapes are described as the inanimate part of landscaping – the stone walls, woodwork, patios, arbors, decks, water features, etc. The softscapes, of course, are your plants and trees. … Continue Reading

White House Turkeys Make Their Debut at Morven Park Open House

January 19, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on White House Turkeys Make Their Debut at Morven Park Open House
Popcorn_and_Caramel_arrival

The silver collection will sparkle and the windows will gleam when Morven Park re-opens its museums following a one-month break for deep cleaning. But new additions to the Park’s treasures just might out-shine all the rest, as the pardoned White House turkeys make their public debut.

Popcorn (who participated in the President’s pardoning ceremony) and Caramel (the “alternate”) will be strutting their stuff in front of the Davis Mansion during the weekend of February 1-2, and the public is invited not only to meet these famous turkeys but to visit the Mansion and Winmill Carriage Museum at no charge during this special open house. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Killdeer: Protective and Assertive Winter Beauty

January 8, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Killdeer: Protective and Assertive Winter Beauty
wildloudounpics

Nature is beautiful, inspiring and accessible no matter the season. Still, it was a bit of a challenge to decide what part of wild Loudoun to feature in this January 2014 edition of the Blue Ridge Leader.

My question was answered at Franklin Park a few weeks ago. The park is one of my dog’s favorite haunts, with lots of varied natural areas and habitats, lots of places to sniff and lots of trails to follow. As we were enjoying a sunny but cold afternoon there just before Christmas, both she and I stopped and looked up at the sky, reacting to the sharp sound of a small, fast-moving bird, swooping, calling and circling as it finally landed in a wet, snowy area on the edge of a parking lot near a large pond.

The park has quite a bit of what would formerly have been wetland and spring-type areas, and I’ve always been on alert as to what kind of wildlife that might attract, including birds you would find around water. … Continue Reading

Gardening Class Starting in February

December 28, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Class Starting in February

Expand your gardening toolbox by covering gardening, pruning, and landscape basics with four weeks of solid, no nonsense garden information and activities, then go on to design a real garden. Classes will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, from February 5 to March 26 in the Tasting Room at the Village Winery & Vineyard on Brown’s Lane in Waterford. The first class on basics runs from February 5 to Feb. 26. Fee is $96. Registration is required. The fee for all 8 classes is $180. Class size is limited. The class is taught by Donna Williamson. For more information, go to the dwfinegardening.com and click on classes, call (540) 877-2002, or e-mail donnawilliamson2002@earthlink.net.

These classes will help you sort through mountains of bewildering and conflicting gardening and plant information to understand the approaches and tasks that really work in Virginia. You can make a big difference in your landscape and environment, saving bees, butterflies and birds in the process. Gardening with deer and the latest in vegetable gardening will be included. Ornamental and native plants can coexist beautifully in your landscape for more interest.

Wild Loudoun – Reindeer. Here. But Neither By Day Nor By Night. By Dreams.

December 3, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun – Reindeer. Here. But Neither By Day Nor By Night. By Dreams.
wildloudoun

On one of those quiet cold Loudoun nights to come – a night when the winter storm has blown through and you have stepped out for a few minutes to sweep the snow off the front steps before going to bed – you might have imagined a deer-like creature looking at you through the dark.

The softly glowing eyes – a pale blue – are there for a moment and then they are gone. So, you set your broom aside, take a last look into the dark and head inside and up the stairs to bed. Climbing under the covers you bury your face into the pillow … still seeing those softly glowing eyes. And, while you sleep soundly, you wake in the morning wondering why all of the more wild lore associated with Christmas – including flying reindeer – are dancing in your head. … Continue Reading

The White-Footed Mouse: Beauty in Miniature

November 6, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on The White-Footed Mouse: Beauty in Miniature
wildloudounpic

I can’t imagine that the soft drumming sound I might have heard coming from a woodpile, or the faint buzz I’ve heard in grassy areas could have been coming from the common, white-footed mouse … but I like to think it might have.

All wild animals have what we’d consider to be mysterious behaviors, and many of those behaviors help them survive. The white-footed mouse – common to nearly every county in Virginia, including Loudoun – drums its feet rapidly when alarmed, and replicates this behavior on hollow reeds, creating a sort of buzz. The normal drumming biologists know indicates that the mouse is afraid of something. The reed drumming is something else – no one really knows why mice do it. … Continue Reading

1,798 and Counting

October 6, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on 1,798 and Counting
monarch released 9_25_13

Earlier this year the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) launched a 2013 campaign to “raise and release” monarch butterflies.

Due a precipitous loss of habitat, monarch populations have plummeted. Female monarchs lay their eggs on wild milkweed and milkweed only, and both modern day farming practices and over-use of herbicides is wiping out this essential flowering plant.

As part of its lifecycle the butterfly participates in one of the most extraordinary migrations on the face of the earth, with the last generation of the season flying sometimes thousands of miles to warm overwintering spots, including select-forested areas in Mexico.

The purpose of the LWC’s campaign is to “fill the gaps” in the monarch’s lifecycle, increasing the chances that individual monarch eggs and caterpillars make it to adulthood, complete their migration, and start the springtime process that replenishes the species.

At the time of this printing the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its volunteers had raised and released 1,798 monarchs, nearly 90 percent of their 2013 goal of 2,013.

Wild Loudoun: Trumpet Vine – Zesty, Assertive Beauty

trumpet-vinecmyk

It can cause a rash. Plant or cultivate it in the wrong place and it can take down your house. It tends to crowd out other plants. And, its nectar is a closely guarded secret – not many animals and insects can reach far enough inside to take advantage of it.

So why do I love the North American native known as trumpet vine?

Well, both the foliage and the flowers are stunning in their color – a deep, emerald green and a hot and zesty orange. It has a strong constitution. Older vines develop thick, woody trunks that can grow up to seven inches thick and thirty feet high. It has a sort of prehistoric look, with large, curved, tubular flowers, spiky leaves, and oversized pods that use the wind to disperse hundreds of brown papery seeds. And, it greatly benefits both bees and hummingbirds, two living things that could really use our help right now. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Brotherly Love

moore-sobelnewmug

– By Samuel Moore-Sobel There he was. A small, innocent being entering the world for the very first time. Can I touch him? Nervously, I lean forward. He seems so perfect, so completely serene. He is loved instantly. The last …

To The Teen Who Feels Alone

Lunde new

– By Mary Rose Lunde I’m going to do something real here and be honest for a second. In a society where telling someone your deep emotional feelings is considered weak, doing just that seems to be detrimental and could …

Unmotivated Teen

Michael_Pic

– By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, At our insistence, our 17-year-old son is going to get a summer job. Well, that’s what he agreed to, but we are two weeks into the summer and guess what … he doesn’t …

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

Smith0035

– By Amy and Dan Smith For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

July 2016
M T W T F S S
27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

1

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

TGIF - Jake & the Burtones

2

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Ken Wenzel Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

4

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

5

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

6

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

7

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

8

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

9

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Yard Sale Benefiting EPIC

10

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Moon Music Live at North Gate Vineyard

11

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

12

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

13

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

14

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

15

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

16

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

17

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Quentin Walston Live at North Gate Vineyard

18

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

19

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Paint Your Pint

20

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

21

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

22

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

23

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

24

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

25

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

26

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

27

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

28

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

29

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

30

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

31

Bingo at St. Francis de Sale Catholic Church

Dancing Through Color

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Farmers Urged To Be on the Lookout for Marijuana

23 Jul 2016

blueridge

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this is a growing trend,” said Corporal Barbara Owens of the …

(Be the first to comment)

Bluemont Harvest Ball To Be Held on September 17 in Warrenton

20 Jul 2016

blueridge

To commemorate the organization’s 40th Anniversary, Bluemont has announces the first ever Bluemont Harvest Ball, to be held on September 17 from 6:30 pm to 11:00 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Warrantor. This black tie event will feature live music from the Silver Tones Swing Band, dancing, a four-course, seated dinner, an open bar, and a silent auction. Tickets …

(Be the first to comment)

What Do You Do To Stay Cool?

7 Jul 2016

ice-cubes

– By Amanda Clark “To chill out this summer I will spend a lot of my time playing music. During the summer, I have so much free time and I devote as much of it as I can to playing music.” – Michael Preston (Lovettsville) “To chill out this summer I will go to a friend’s house and borrow their …

(Be the first to comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

Blood Donors Asked To Help Address Summer Shortage

blueridge

Virginia Blood Services is urging Virginians to help replenish an extremely low summer blood supply and asking eligible donors to visit any one of its area Community Donor Centers or mobile blood drives. “Summer is always a challenging time for blood collections,” says Virginia Blood Services Executive Director, Todd Cahill. …

(Be the first to comment)

McAuliffe Announces New Exports for Virginia Lumber Companies To the United Kingdom

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced new export sales of Virginia wood products to the United Kingdom (U.K.) during a trade and marketing mission to Israel and the U.K. The sales were struck between four Virginia lumber companies and James Latham PLC, one of the oldest and largest wood importers and distributors …

(Be the first to comment)

Governor McAuliffe Announces 105 New Jobs in the Town of Berryville and Clarke County

McAuliffe

Handsome Brook Farm, LLC to Invest More Than $6 Million to Establish Egg Processing Operation in Virginia RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that New York-based Handsome Brook Farm, LLC will invest $6.4 million to establish a new pasture raised egg processing operation in the Town of Berryville and …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

(Be the first to comment)

Everyone’s Getting Into Cannons Action!

6 Jul 2016

cannons

Purcellville Cannons? Baseball July Schedule July 9, 7 p.m. at home Covington? July 12, 7 p.m. away Winchester? July 13, 7:30 p.m. Harrisonburg? July 14, 7 p.m. at home Strasburg? July 15, 7 p.m. at home Woodstock? July 16, 7 p.m. away Front Royal? July 17, 7 p.m. at home …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009