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Big Monarch Release at Oatlands

August 12, 2013 by Contributor Events, Lifestyle 1 comment

Join us in Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive! as we get together at Oatlands for a Monarch Butterfly release of epic proportions!

A number of us have been raising Monarch Butterflies over the past few weeks and while at times we’ve been able to release as many as 10 at once, we have an incredible opportunity this coming week where 100-200 Monarchs…raised by people across Loudoun from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis will emerge together and be ready to be released on the same day!

How did this come to be?

Some of the caterpillars were found in our Monarch Waystation Gardens and other properties but the majority were given to us as eggs by Mona Miller, who bred Monarchs in a tent in her garden. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Luna Moth – Magical, Lime-Green Marvel

August 7, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Farm and garden, Lifestyle Be the first to comment
File:Actias luna in Florida.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encycloped

I’ve seen a luna moth “in the flesh” several times, one time in the most unusual of places.

The first time I saw one I was driving down a quiet dirt road at night when a large, cool green-winged thing landed on the hood of my car.

I had a passenger with me and I must have scared her as I slammed on my breaks, jumped out of the car and exclaimed, “It’s a luna moth! It’s a luna moth! I can’t believe it! I have never seen one before!”

Unlike most moths – which often flutter furiously when encountered – the luna moth paused where it had landed and then ever so slowly floated away into the dark woods on the side of the road.

The next encounter was the most unusual one. Coming out of a Purcellville convenience store late one afternoon I noticed a luna moth resting on the side of a brick wall. I tried to interest another passerby in my sighting, and they actually seemed pretty surprised, if only for a moment. … Continue Reading

Liz Hall – A Jewelry Artist With Wings

August 7, 2013 by Andrea Gaines Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment
Liz Hall

Lovettsville artist Liz Hall’s jewelry is so unusual and intriguing it literally defies description. One of Hall’s newest pieces is something she calls “Sungate.” Hearing the word you’d think, “I bet that piece of jewelry is really spectacular .” Then you see it and realize it is beyond spectacular – wondrously creative is a more apt term.

In the jewelry world the Saul Bell awards are one of the most prestigious of them all, and Hall is one of the few worldwide artists to earn the distinction of “finalist.” Looking at her work you can see what attracts such recognition – with shapes and collections of colors that mimic something as cool as outer space and as warm and organic as a rain forest. … Continue Reading

Kitchen Science Kids: Glue from ‘Moo’?

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

By Leah Enright

Glue-that sticky stuff that holds books together, seals envelopes, and keeps cereal boxes closed has a long and interesting history. Did you know that even the Greeks and Romans used glue? They relied upon it for woodworking and general construction, and made many improvements on the glue recipes of their day. What did they use? Food! Milk, eggs, vegetables, and even grains found their way into the mix. Though that was a long time ago, we can still create adhesives using simple kitchen ingredients. … Continue Reading

Donkey Meadows “FUN”drainer Day

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Events, Lifestyle Be the first to comment

Enjoy a fun-filled day with the donkey pals of Donkey Meadows in Purcellville on August 11. Admission is $10 per carload and includes; donkey rides, riding demonstrations, education station, up close and personal contact with donkeys, wagon rides, face painting, donkey games for kids and much more. Food will be provided for an additional fee. The event is from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and all proceeds will go to the Peaceful Valley Rescue who works diligently to save donkeys across the country. Their mission is to provide a safe, loving environment to all donkeys that have been abused and neglected. Peaceful Valley has nationwide network ranch facilities and satellite adoption centers, including New Castle, Virginia. All donations are applied to rescues, daily care of each donkey, and medical treatments. For more information about the event e-mail Audrey at audrey201@gmail.com or Michelle at artz2u@yahoo.com, and to learn more about Peaceful Valley Rescue visit: www.donkeyrescue.org or go to www.waldinfamilyfarm.com

Photo: Natalie Mancini

Ship Brings Memories of Home

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Aaron Farris feels at home when he looks around his Navy ship, the USS Harper’s Ferry. Although the ship is far from Harper’s Ferry, there are plenty of mementos of the area displayed around the ship.

Farris now travels all around the world, but he was born in Leesburg, where he attended Catoctin Elementary. His family later moved to Winchester, and he graduated from Sherando High School in 2000. His family has strong ties to the Loudoun County area. His parents both grew up in Loudoun, his father graduating from Loudoun County and his mother from Loudoun Valley.

“My uncle farmed Ida Lee Park and lived in the house there before the park was even thought of,” Farris said, “Then they moved onto the farm that is where the new middle school and high school are built just down the road.” … Continue Reading

Chef Comes To Winchester Medical Center

August 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People Be the first to comment

Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Seamus Mullen will be visiting the Winchester Medical Center on Thursday, August 15.

He will be discussing his battle with rheumatoid arthritis and a new initiative, Rethink RA, that focuses on techniques he has found successful for simplifying food preparation.

Mullen will be at the Winchester Medical Center, 1840 Amherst St., from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“I don’t think of cooking as an art – it’s a craft for me,” Mullen said. “What I love most about cooking is the opportunity to bring people around a table to share love, conversation and food. Everyone loves going out, and I derive a lot of joy from cooking. As someone who has RA, it’s important for me to cook things that make me feel good, and for some people with RA they feel overwhelmed. There are some things they can do that are empowering – it’s fun, and when you make something delicious it makes you feel accomplished – which brings you joy. If you go to rethinkra.com/cooking you can see my recipes, videos and download the kit.”

The Rethink RA campaign is designed to help people with rheumatoid arthritis enhance their understanding of the disease and prepare them to have more meaningful conversations about RA symptom management with their doctor.

John and Lil Palmer Remembered

August 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Lifestyle, People 1 comment
Lil & John July 24 2013

Olivia (Lil) Cloyes Clark Palmer, 74, and John Claiborne Palmer, 78, of Purcellville, died due to a car accident which happened on July 27 near Petersburg, WV. Lil was killed in the accident and John was airlifted to Morgantown, WV where he died from injuries sustained in the accident on July 29.

Lil was born on August 16, 1938 in White Plains, NY, she was the eldest daughter of Frank Crandall Cloyes and Ruby Mae Shorter Cloyes. She spent many summers in her early years in Stockbridge, MA where her work at the Audubon Society camp helped to shape her lifelong love of nature and animals. Lil graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1960 where she met her first husband Ronald Clark. She was active with her children in many equestrian activities and, an avid foxhunter. She was a member of the Casanova Hunt and the Old Dominion Hounds. For the last 20 years she has served a select group of clients handling all the myriad details of their financial and administrative lives. … Continue Reading

Loudoun Lyric Opera Auditions for Hansel and Gretel

July 30, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Behind the Scenes, Lifestyle Be the first to comment

Englebert Humperdinck’s delightful family opera, Hansel & Gretel, is set for production December 6-15, and auditions will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 17 and 18 by appointment from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 605 West Market St., Leesburg.

Children should bring sheet music and be prepared to sing one song in English as well as to learn some new music during the audition. An accompanist will be provided. Rehearsals begin September 29th. To schedule an audition or for more information, e-mail admin@loudounlyricopera.com.

Free Gardening Lecture – Saving and Organizing Seeds (and Composting)

July 28, 2013 by Contributor Farm and garden, Lifestyle Be the first to comment

Join Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their monthly lecture series at the Rust Library in Leesburg on Thursday, August 8, at 7:00 p.m. Are you interested in being part of a community that is helping to preserve unusual and heritage vegetables and flowers by collecting seeds? Seed saving is a cost-effective and rewarding pastime and Michael Neese will tell us how to go about it in his talk “Saving and Organizing Seeds (and Composting).”
Today, heirloom seeds are readily available but that was not the case when Mr. Neese was starting a vegetable garden and wanted to buy local heirloom seeds suitable for his microclimate. Instead what he found was a generous community of “seed savers” who not only freely gave him seeds but also shared their collective gardening wisdom. That experience led him to organize a seed exchange at his church that has now become an annual event and to share his gardening knowledge in the community too. Mr. Neese, has founded many community gardens in the Winchester area, is active in numerous community organizations and serves as Winchester’s Recycling Coordinator. In his words, “If you don’t see the change you want in life, start it.”

For more information about the Loudoun County Master Gardener program, visit www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

The Gifts Within

July 18, 2013 by Contributor Faith, Lifestyle Be the first to comment

Submitted by Linda Simpkins

Second Mount Olive Baptist Church of Hamilton will be sponsoring “The Gifts Within” – the second Annual Project Blessing Program and Family Entertainment Night to be held Saturday, July 20, at 6:00 pm. This event will be held at Tuscarora High School, 801 North King Street in Leesburg. Come out and enjoy this night full of family fun, featuring:

The Gospeliers, Manassas, Golden Tones of Northern Virginia, Berryville, Mt. Zion UMC Men’s Choir, Hamilton, Harmony UMC Choir, Hamilton, Soloist, Julia Braxton, Grace Annex UMC, Purcellville; Mimes, Dion and Djon, Herndon; Praise Teams, Calvary Baptist Church, Fairfax, and First Mount Olive Baptist Church, Leesburg. The evening will also include the Ushers’ Walk from First Mount Olive Baptist Church, Second Mount Olive Baptist Church, Mt. Zion UMC, and Providence Baptist Church, and much more! … Continue Reading

Costume Drive to Benefit NOVA Families

July 18, 2013 by Contributor Events, Lifestyle Be the first to comment

Let’s Help Kids (LHK), the nonprofit that provides nonessential items to children of Northern Virginia families facing financial hardship, wants you to think about Halloween this summer. They are hosting a used costume drive at several Loudoun locations, with a plan to re-sell them this fall to raise funds to help more local children in need through the holidays. Clean, gently used costumes should be bagged along with any accessories, and dropped off now through August 31 at any of the following Loudoun County locations during business hours:

Ashburn Sports Complex, 20585 Ashburn Village Blvd, Ashburn, VA 20147
Broadlands Nature Center, 21907 Claiborne Pkwy, Broadlands, VA 20148
Countryside Proprietary, 6 Pidgeon Hill Dr, Sterling, VA 20165
South Riding Town Hall, 43055 Center St, South Riding, VA 20152
Town of Purcellville, 221 South Nursery Ave., Purcellville, VA 20132 … Continue Reading

Bear Spotted In Lincoln

July 17, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Farm and garden Be the first to comment

This picture was taken just days ago on Sands Road in Lincoln. Another bear … perhaps the same one … was spotted further north in the direction of
Purcellville approximately two weeks ago. If you feed the birds (or your pets!) in your yard, on your porch or in your barn, experts advise you to
bring the food inside at night. Let’s enjoy our wildlife! But these easy steps will help prevent the bears from relying on easy food sources.”

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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