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Transitioning from a Spring to Summer Vegetable Garden

April 30, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Transitioning from a Spring to Summer Vegetable Garden

Saturday, May 3 Free Presentation ?By Loudoun County Master Gardeners

Come on out for free expert advice on how to prepare for summertime vegetable gardening at the Loudoun County Master Gardeners’ “Saturday in the Garden” program on May 3. The presentation will be held outside at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, 10:00 a.m. to noon. A Q and A in the vegetable area to ask general questions will be held after the talk. Master Gardeners will also be on hand to answer questions concerning the ornamental areas of the garden. … Continue Reading

Gardening Tips, April 2014 – In Love with Cut Flowers

April 30, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Tips, April 2014 – In Love with Cut Flowers
flower arranging

One of the rewards of gardening is bringing cut specimens inside, arranging them in your perfect vase and waiting for the compliments. If you don’t consider yourself an expert at flower arranging, don’t worry. The process of choosing the color, the flowers and the container is as much fun as looking at the final product. And, it’s easy one you’ve learned a few basics.

The Basics

What you’ll need: 1) a watertight vase or container deep enough to keep stems from flopping over; 2) a vase or container that will fits the length of the material you are using and will both complement the flowers and the spot where you plan to put the arrangement; and, 3) something to anchor the stems so they stay in place. … Continue Reading

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

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, …

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, …

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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. …

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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 …

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Calendar

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

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Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

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Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

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August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

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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

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

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 …

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State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

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Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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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; …

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