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Loudoun Valley Community Center After-K Alligators – Hands On History Lesson

September 3, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Loudoun Valley Community Center After-K Alligators – Hands On History Lesson

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI, the After-K Alligators of the Loudoun Valley Community Center in Purcellville, learned about efforts children their ages made during WWI to support the troops.

At the start of their school year, teacher Meredith Norbo taught the children about a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called the U.S. Garden Army. In 1917 children joined the U.S. Garden Army through their schools and were supplied with tools to create their own gardens at home. Thriving home garden plots allowed commercially grown food sources to be supplied to U.S. and allied troops overseas.

From classroom lessons to experiential learning, the After-K Alligators replicated the U.S. Garden Army program at the Loudoun Valley Community Center. Over the school year, the children created compost, cleared garden plots, weeded, seeded, and harvested their very own edible plants.

The Great War produced a timeless program with the U.S. Garden Army and the children of the Loudoun Valley Community Center have learned life skills in agriculture, nutrition, biology and fun.


Local Authors Sign Books at Hillsboro Farmers Market at the Old Stone School

August 7, 2014 Events, Farm and garden, Lifestyle, People Comments Off on Local Authors Sign Books at Hillsboro Farmers Market at the Old Stone School
Local author Bobbi Carducci signing a copy of one of her books during the Hillsboro Farmers Market at the Old Stone School

Reading enthusiasts had a wonderful time meeting local authors Bobbi Carducci and Marc Leepson during the Hillsboro Farmers Market at the Old Stone School on August 2. Additional activities for kids that focused on reading included storytelling lead by the Purcellville Library, a book sale from Around the Block Books, and a chance to talk with educational consultants with Usborne and Kane Miller children’s books.

Bobbi Carducci, Director of the Young Voice Foundation, had copies of two of her books on hand to sign. For young readers, she sold and signed copies of Storee Wryter get a Dog. She also had copies of her newly released book, Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver, available. Marc Leepson is a journalist, historian, and the author of eight books. His most recent book, What So Proudly We Hailed Francis Scott Key, A Life, is the first biography of the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in more than 75 years. Copies of that book and Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership from the Idealist General were both available at the market to purchase and have signed by the author.

… Continue Reading

Watermelon – from Feta to Facials

August 6, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Watermelon – from Feta to Facials

Watermelon is an extremely nutritious summer food and beauty aide. It has lots of sugar in it, to be sure, but ounce for ounce there are also lots of good things in it for your body – including your skin.

Watermelon’s Nutritional Value

A single serving of watermelon provides you with about eight percent of your potassium needs for the day and seven percent of magnesium. That serving also provides a whopping 31 percent of your needs for Vitamin A and an even great percentage of Vitamin C – 37 percent. It is also a high-lycopene food, a carotenoid phytonutrient important for our cardiovascular health. … Continue Reading

Feed Loudoun – Fresh Food Drive

July 27, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Feed Loudoun – Fresh Food Drive
Photo attached courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o'clock in the morning and again at seven in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops. As a volunteer, gleaning is a fun, family activity that usually lasts no more than about 2 hours on a beautiful day. It is also a good activity for groups who are looking for community outreach projects.

Special report by Mark Gunderman

Photo courtesy Julia Brizendine: What is gleaning? It is the harvesting of food for the needy. This tradition goes back to ancient times when landholders allowed folks in need to harvest left-over crops. In eighteenth century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at eight o’clock in the morning and again at seven in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops. As a volunteer, gleaning is a fun, family activity that usually lasts no more than about 2 hours on a beautiful day. It is also a good activity for groups who are looking for community outreach projects.

Feed Loudoun, a non-profit organization of Loudoun County, will host a county wide food drive of exclusively fresh fruits and vegetables August 9th through August 16th.

Individual gardeners, farm markets and farmers are asked to donate their surplus fruits and vegetables to participating food banks.

Following a successful 2013 gardening season Feed Loudoun donated over 24,000 pounds of produce to local food banks in an effort to provide fresh nutritious food to those in need in the community. Feed Loudoun is an associated volunteer network with the national movement Plant a Row for the Hungry established by the Garden Writers Association. The total of donations for the Feed Loudoun 2014 Harvest will be added to the national Plant a Row totals for the “20 by 20” campaign where the national goal is to have 20 million pounds donated by 2020.

… Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun- Milkweed – Sustenance of the Monarch


Where there is milkweed, there are monarchs. Sounds like a simple enough idea. Butterflies like flowers and milkweed is a flower. But the connection between the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant is as strong as the connection between you and the oxygen you take into your lungs every time you draw a breath.
Humans and monarchs live in the same world, but, we don’t use it in the same way. While you and I can survive in just about every climate on just about any kind food, and find shelter and successful ways of producing the next generation in, literally, billions of different ways, the monarch butterfly is quite different.

Adult monarchs can draw nectar – food – from a fairly wide variety of flowering plants: asters, goldenrod and bee balm, for example. But, as they leave their southern wintering grounds – including small patches of high forest in Mexico – and head north and east through Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia and beyond, they are 100 percent dependent on the milkweed plant. Female monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed and milkweed alone, and the tiny caterpillars that emerge from those eggs to take a fighting chance at life eat milkweed and milkweed alone. … Continue Reading

Gardening Tips, June 2014 – The Power of Natives

June 3, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Tips, June 2014 – The Power of Natives

Natives – naturally occurring trees, flowers and grasses that a property owner might incorporate into their landscape – offer very special benefits to the environment. A really artful native plant landscaper or gardener will also help you understand that natives do not mean less in terms of the color, variety and structure that is portrayed in a planned landscape.

A “native” plant is used to describe trees, flowers and grasses that are endemic or naturalized to a particular area. They occur there naturally and/or because, with the help of a little human intervention, an area meets their needs for water, sunlight and nutrients allowing them to successfully establish themselves there. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Saving Lives in Vernal Pools

April 30, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Saving Lives in Vernal Pools

As winter surrenders its stubborn cold and spring gathers the sun’s warmth around us, vernal pools explode with the wonderful frogs and other amphibians that but for them would simply not exist.
“Vernal pools” – otherwise known as ephemeral or temporary pools – are large or small watery areas that appear in late winter to early spring.

They take many forms, from small woodland depressions, to larger areas that look like a typical wetland, to collections of water occurring around special geological features such as underground limestone formations. You might have a vernal pool on your property or have seen one … not really knowing you were looking at something very special and very important to nature – a patch of woodland that holds water as winter snows melt and early spring rains come our way, or a soggy, grassy area in a low spot on your lawn. Or, perhaps you walked by a place that despite the still chilly air had a haze of green life on it, even as winter had not yet fully departed. Or, a place that, as you drive by just after nightfall is filled with the sound of spring peepers – tiny, very vocal frogs sending out their calls to attract a mate. … Continue Reading

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

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








The Trump Effect


“Corals are marine magicians. As colonies of the tiny ocean organisms grow, they transform the calcium that circulates in seawater into enormous limestone reefs. These reefs—which can extend for more than 1,000 miles and provide homes for crabs, eels, sea …

Six Tips To a New Year and a New You in 2017


By Michael Oberschenider, Psy.D. Research has shown that as many as 45 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent are actually successful in achieving them. And it seems that age is a factor: about 39 …

Investing in the Family Stock


Family relationships are usually not considered under the rubric of “investments”. Yet, the personal gain and loss from family relationships is much more significant than economic return from stocks and bonds. Taking time out to relate to a person without …

Choosing a Different Lens


We have all heard, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” maybe even said it aloud while perusing old photo albums or scrolling through Facebook timelines. Sometimes words fall short of adequately describing an emotion encapsulating a distinct moment. Pictures fill …

Freedom Park

freedom park

A great name for a great place, this public space shows us – in my opinion – what’s best about Leesburg, Loudoun County and our country. Freedom Park – just off the Dulles Greenway on the South side of Town …

The Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier


(to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in January) “The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.” [1]

Pearl Harbor


By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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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January 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Musikabend

Restore & Renew

January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017

Core Purpose, Core Practice Yoga

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

January 8, 2017
January 9, 2017


January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017

Beale Street Puppets: Dig Those Dinosaurs

January 12, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017


January 15, 2017

Come Paint with Us at Breaux Vineyards

January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017

Virginia Opera: Deep River- The Marion Anderson Story

January 19, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 20, 2017


January 21, 2017


January 22, 2017
January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017 January 29, 2017
January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017



Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

February 5, 2017
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Steady and NoBull


Historian Rich Gillespie Speaks on Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape

12 Jan 2017

The Mosby Heritage Area Association announced an event in conjunction with the Purcellville Library on January 29, at 2:00 p.m,. which will feature Rich Gillespie, Historian Emeritus of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, speaking on the “Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape.” The stories are all from the personal experiences of long-time local historian and teacher Rich Gillespie, or from close …

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Help Joseph … and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

4 Jan 2017


Blue Ridge Middle School’s PTO is seeking help with its drama department, working diligently on the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat. The children in the show are enthusiastic and very talented. And, the school has a long history of first class productions with recent shows such as The Lion King, which won 11 National Youth Arts Awards …

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Remembering George Kakouras

4 Jan 2017


Georgios “George” Evangelos Kakouras, of Purcellville passed away on December 22, 2016. Born on February 22, 1938 in Gorianades, Greece he was the son of the late Evangelos and Elizabeth Kakouras. Kakouras came to the United States from Greece in 1955 at the age of 17. He began working for his late uncle Nick Fragakis at the White Palace Restaurant …

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Grief and Greed


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 …


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


– 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


– 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

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception


We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

It’s Our Right


On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

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Rep. Comstock’s Key Top Priority Legislation Initiatives


Signed into Law in Her First Term Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves the 10th congressional district in Virginia, recently reviewed the achievements of her first term in office, identifying 17 legislative initiatives that she supported that were adopted. She said: “My staff and I have met with stakeholders, local elected …

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Man Killed Walking To Gas Station on I-95


Virginia State Police Trooper M.J. Kryznefski is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash in Prince William County. The crash occurred at approximately 4:10 a.m., on Monday, December 26, on Interstate 95 near Exit 158B. Three males were traveling south on Interstate 95 when their Honda CRV ran out of gas. They …

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Woodgrove Grabs First at Glory Days

10 Jan 2017

Woodgrove Gymnastics

The Woodgrove Varsity Gymnastics took first place in the red division of the Glory Days Invitational at Park View High School on Saturday, January 7. Woodgrove competed against Rock Ridge, Potomac Falls, Loudoun Valley and Heritage high schools. Host team Park View came in first in the lower blue division. …

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Deadline Extended for Purcellville Sports Funding Application

4 Jan 2017


The Town of Purcellville has extended the deadline to apply for the Annual Sports League Funding. The new deadline is January 9 at 5:00 p.m. Applicant organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town …

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