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Guest Column

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  • 2 min to read

Some summer I am going to take a REAL vacation, where I laze about and read and travel and do nothing more strenuous than feed the dog and mow the grass. I might not even plant a garden. I haven’t had a summer like that since I was a very small child. Between the home garden and the farmwork and Daddy’s sawmill and working on neighbors’ farms, there were no summers off. Read more

  • 1 min to read

My ancestors – Scotch-Irish farmers on one side, Scottish-English border country Jacobites on the other – reached Central Virginia about 250 years ago, and here I am, still not that far from my birthplace. A couple of years back, I spat in a tube and had my saliva tested for DNA, and the results pretty much bore out the family anecdotal history: heavy on the UK, some northern European and Viking genes as one might expect – but there was some news. Read more

  • 2 min to read

While the summer solstice was the longest day of the year, July begins with only three minutes’ less daylight and still a serious need for shade and/or sunscreen. By the time August arrives there will be 39 less minutes of daylight but still, deep into summer, not something anyone is really noticing. Read more

  • 2 min to read

My family was recently reminiscing about past family gatherings when my dear grandmother was still with us. She loved bringing dessert as her contribution, and 95 percent of the time, that meant pie. Mouthwateringly delicious pie! Over time, we fondly nicknamed her desserts “Grandma Pie.” She would blush and say they were nothing special, but to us they were her legacy. Read more

  • Updated
  • 1 min to read

Dear readers, I’ve received quite a few emails in response to my column. The vast majority are from people who identify with something I’ve written. But I do receive a fair number of questions, and today I thought I would share some of those with you. Read more

  • Updated
  • 2 min to read

A mostly cool April, wrapping up with a little heat wave, reminds us that summer awaits on the other end of May. While I have not forgotten that summer’s heat and humidity is barreling towards us, I do seem to have forgotten just how brilliant the dogwood blossoms are every year. Were they this pretty last year? I think they were, but photos and memories just can’t replace the real thing. Get out for a walk and enjoy them while they last. Read more

  • 1 min to read

Birthdays are a funny thing. They occur throughout our lives and there is no surprise that each person has one every year on the exact same day. And yet, people have varied reactions to them. Read more

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  • 1 min to read

The seed catalogs start coming in January, and I am always jealous of the photos: huge, glossy, unmarred vegetables unlike my own smaller, insect-gnawed produce. I’ll buy my usual beans ‘n’ taters ‘n’ maters from the local dealers, but I always thumb through new catalogs and pick a couple of unusual items I cannot find locally.  Read more

  • 2 min to read

April, once we get through any foolishness on day 1, quickly carries us much deeper into the joys and perils of spring. The eye-popping yellows of early-blooming forsythia and jonquils are soon replaced by the eye-watering yellow of tree pollen. The increasing sun angle and warmer days don’t require winter coats but do call for a layer of sunscreen. Plentiful rainfall has lawns greening, dogwood flowers about to burst open and trees ready to use a little biochemistry to turn that ground water and extra sunlight into a rich, green forest. Read more

  • 2 min to read

Recently I was in my doctor’s waiting room with three other ladies. We were all masked up, of course, but that didn’t stop us from from chatting and laughing to pass the time.  Read more

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