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What’s That Response to May Issue:

June 5, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That Be the first to comment

Hi there, I was just getting around to reading the BR Leader this morning and saw your horse shoe. As far as I can tell, it is a pretty standard draft horse shoe.

The reason I would think it is NOT a mule shoe is two-fold. First, mules tend toward having oval shaped feet, not perfectly round as your shoe measures. The other would be that large mules may have likely remained unshod, even in work, being famous for having tougher quality feet, and perhaps also for being famous for their opinionated nature and kicking talent. … Continue Reading

Mystery Solved! Loudoun Farms Dairy Bottle: An Update

May 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized, What's That Be the first to comment
Milk Bottle 3

Well, the mystery is a mystery no more. After sifting through e-mails and phone calls, we now know from whence the elusive milk bottle stamped “Loudoun Farms Dairy” (our March What’s That! puzzler) originated …

An e-mail from Gene Schneider, son of a former milk deliveryman; and a phone conversation with Kathleen McDaniel Beaver from Purcellville, laid this story to rest.

The Loudoun Farms Dairy was the name of Kathleen’s father’s creamery business in Purcellville, which dates to the 1940’s and 50’s. … Continue Reading

Another Milk Bottle, from One of Our Readers

April 4, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That Be the first to comment
Loudoun Dairy PicApril2012

I ran across your article when searching for milk bottles online. Milk chilled in glass is so much better than from a plastic jug. :-) The mother of one of my mom’s best friends grew up in Purcellville in a house directly across the street from Food Lion and next to BB&T bank. Long story short we were at her house and I noticed other milk bottles and told her how I liked milk cold from old style bottles. She took me downstairs in her basement and pulled out 2 of these that I use to this day. Don’t know how this helps, but thought you may like to see one with the same name from your article.

Rich Boyer, Round Hill

Whose Milk Bottle Is That?

March 7, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That Be the first to comment

This milk bottle was found by Angel Sturges on her property near Dogwood Farm on Lincoln Road. While our archaeologists are fairly expert at identifying prehistoric stone relics and pottery shards, it looks like this fairly recent piece of Loudoun’s dairy history is a puzzler to our distinguished panel.

This is a milk bottle from the 1940’s labeled “Loudoun Farms Dairy Purcellville, VA.” Bob Shuey looked into local books on Loudoun’s Dairy Farm Industry and there was no mention. A shout-out to long-time local Loudouner’s via Facebook also came out flat. Living next to the last surviving Dairy Farm (Dogwood), one would think the answer is obvious. But, no the bottle is not from Dogwood Farm. … Continue Reading

The Mills of Loudoun County

February 2, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized, What's That 1 comment
MillsofLoudounMAp Feb 2012

Several local groups of archaeologists, preservationists, conservationists, scholars, and government officials are combining their efforts to locate, identify, and describe the mills that have operated in Loudoun County. More than 80 grist mills, saw mills, and woolen mills are shown on historic maps of the county; well over 100 mills are mentioned in historic documents. Of the water-powered mills, some employed overshot wheels, undershot wheels, turbines, or tub mills. Many had a series of owners whose names were associated with the mills for various periods. Many were destroyed or burned, and some of those were rebuilt on the premises or nearby. The mills increased the value of grain and timber grown in the county and provided employment for those who built and operated the mills, hauled the grain, timber, and milled products, and ran stores, tanneries, potteries, black smith shops, and other craft shops and services that were located at these hubs of economic activity. … Continue Reading

What’s That? – January 2012

January 6, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That 1 comment

Making Sense of the Stuff We Find in Our Back Yards

By Bob Shuey and Mike Clem

These are some examples of the pottery produced here in Loudoun and throughout the region prior to the arrival of Europeans. All of these shards of clay pottery were found here in Loudoun along the Potomac. Pottery is a relatively recent innovation in the life of the native people of the area. It wasn’t until about 1200 B.C. that it was introduced or invented here. Prior to that the people living here generally roasted their meat or perhaps cooked in tightly woven baskets into which they dropped hot stones. The first solid vessels used were steatite or soapstone, flat-bottomed bowls that looked like modern flat baking dishes or perhaps Dutch ovens. These eventually gave way to formed clay bowls that resembled the earlier stone bowls, and these were soon replaced by conically shaped bowls which were produced by coiling strands of clay and then using a wooden paddle to smooth the sides. Several surface treatments evolved over time while the basic shape remained fairly constant. Some bowls have a cord marked exterior, some have a net marking and some are left plain. A few varieties have some decorative elements added to the upper lip of the vessel. For the most part they are made of local clay and are fired in open flames and tend to be reddish or blackened from the fire. The temper, or material mixed with the clay, ranges from sand to crushed stone to crushed shell. … Continue Reading

Making Sense of the Stuff We Find in Our Back Yards

December 2, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That Be the first to comment
Whats that Dec

By Bob Shuey and Mike Clem

This unusual object was submitted by Babette Bennett. Babette lives in an old Quaker farm house in the village of Lincoln, built in the late 1700s.

When we first looked at it we thought that the partial ring might have been a full circle at one time, and had just rusted away.

Maybe it had something to do with animals – a harness attachment maybe? … Continue Reading

What’s That – October

October 6, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That Be the first to comment
Morrow Point

By Bob Shuey

A gentleman found this projectile point about two feet below the surface while he was doing some heavy duty landscaping east of Philomont near the bank of what was the Long Branch of Beaverdam Creek – it is now dammed into a series of ponds. The size and shape identify it as a Morrow Mountain I projectile point made approximately 6,000 – 7,000 years ago during the Archaic Period. Of the points found in the Mid-Atlantic region, particularly those found at more than a foot deep, it is one of the more common types. It was probably hafted to a stick and may have been used as a spear point or a knife. Bows and arrows would not be seen in this area until thousands of years later. The material used for the point is rhyolite, a relatively soft volcanic rock which can be found naturally in nearby Maryland. It was shaped using percussion flaking – probably knapping with another stone, and pressure flaking along the edges – probably with a deer antler. The tip is broken off and the tool shows a great deal of wear from use or the effects of use or of being moved about by water. We do not know which people lived in this area that long ago.

What’s That September

August 30, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized, What's That Be the first to comment

By Mike Clem and Bob Shuey

Here is a heavy rusted metal piece found by Rosemary Stanger in the ground at her home in Round Hill. It is large-more than a foot along the base.It swivels in the center and has the following words stamped in it: “Clover Leaf,”  ”Unloader,” and “Pat May 12  03″.

The item is a Myers Cloverleaf Hay Unloader. It was used to lift hay from a wagon or truck parked outside the barn. A large claw or fork was used to grab the hay and then ropes and pulleys on the unloader would hoist the hay up to the loft. The unloader was suspended from a track at the peak of the barn. The hay would be lifted and then rolled into place within the loft along the track. I’m sure some “old-timers” out there would know more about the item and may even have one still in their barns.

August’s What’s That

August 2, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, What's That 2 comments
Projectile Point August What's that

This prehistoric stone tool was found by a BRL reader off Harmony Church Road, South of Hamilton. It was made of quartz during the Archaic Period. Projectile points and related tools have been categorized into hundreds of types based on where they were found, their shape, size, and method of production. Within the types there is a great deal of variation. This small point — the size of a quarter — was probably worked down from a larger point of the same basic shape that became dull or broken through use. It features a slightly concave base that is thinned in the center, notches that flare upward to rounded shoulders, and resharpened excurvate blades that end in a rather dull tip. It is thick for its small size. These traits lead me to identify it as a modified Stanly Stemmed projectile point dating from 5000 to 6000 B.C. Mike Clem believes it is more similar to a modified Halifax Notched Point dating to about 3,500 B.C. Either way, it is fine evidence of the people who lived in Loudoun County long ago. … Continue Reading

What’s That? … Making Sense of the Stuff We Find in Our Backyards

July 1, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Columns, Uncategorized, What's That 2 comments

If you live in Loudoun County – you’re sitting on history. Literally. This column looks at what’s turning up in Loudoun County gardens, attics and streambeds and asks local archaeologists, “What’s That?”

… Continue Reading

What’s That from Lovettsville Park?

June 1, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader Uncategorized, What's That Be the first to comment
What's That artifact

By Mike Clem with Bob Shuey

If you live in Loudoun County–you’re sitting on history. Literally. This column looks at what’s turning up in Loudoun County gardens, attics and streambeds and asks local archaeologists,”What’s That?” Send a photo and brief description of your unusual backyard finds to CarolBRleader@yahoo.com or mail it to Blue Ridge Leader , 128 South 20th Street, Purcellville, VA 20132

Look what was found on the Lovettsville Park property! This was discovered while digging in the remains of an old house that likely stood sometime between the late 1700s and the late 1800s. No evidence of the house remains, except for the hearth, where this was discovered. This stone object was found in two pieces: The upper portion was found first, and the stemmed base portion was found the following day about one foot away. It is quite possible that an inhabitant of this early 19th century farm house found the point and brought it into the house and put it on the mantle, where it remained even after the house was abandoned.

This is a Koens-Crispin stemmed point. It dates to the Late Archaic period of prehistory. The Late Archaic period is considered the period from roughly 5000-3000 years ago. This point type has been associated with several sites that date to the later portion of that period; from around 1800-1200 BC. The blade is made from rhyolite. Rhyolite is a stone that comes from the Catoctin Mountains west of Frederick, Maryland. It was a commonly used material for spear points and knives of the period. This specimen appears to have been used primarily as a knife. The blade has clearly been shaped from use and has been resharpened on one side, causing it to look asymmetrical.

Our answer comes from Michael Clem (bottom left) for the Banshee Reeks Chapter of the Archeology Society of Virginia (BRASV.org). Mr. Clem is also the Loudoun County Archaeologist. Bob Shuey (bottom right) is an archeologist active in local historic preservation efforts.

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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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