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Columns

  • Editor’s Column: ‘Giving thanks‘

    Well everyone, it’s that time of year again; the part where we gorge ourselves on Turkey and tell everyone around the table what it is we’re thankful for.

  • Editor’s Column: ‘Holiday band-aid‘

    By the time all of you read this, the giant, pulsing dark cloud of this year’s election will have finally passed over us… and I, for one, am looking forward to remembering what conversations were like before it happened. As usual, I am writing this column on a Sunday night, the eve of my Monday deadline for this paper; and when future me reads this in print later in the week, I just want to say to her: “Congratulations… we made it.”

  • Editor’s Column: ‘‘Must be a Weasley”
  • Editor’s Column: 'Dryer-clean only'

    While a good chunk of the local population has been complaining about the cold weather and upcoming holiday expenses, the rest of us are already enjoying the benefits of pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, bonfires and comfy sweaters.
    Outside, the days are slowly getting shorter, colder, and (hopefully) dryer. And because of that, I’m sharing what is now considered a brand new fall cleaning tradition in my home: cleaning the dryer.

  • Editor’s Column: ‘Pumpkin spice and everything nice‘

    America, we are obsessed with pumpkins, and for good reason.
    Pumpkins are easily the most distinguishable sign of the fall season. They are the go-to for fall decorations, fall scents, and of course fall food. Around mid- to late September, the “pumpkin spice” flavored commodities start filling the shelves, to the point where the trend has grown big enough to have its own hate group.
    And of course, a sizeable group of us anxiously wait for the day that pumpkin spice lattes are finally on the menu at our local coffee shop.

  • Chez J. Zane: ‘An ode to the pumpkin‘

    Hard to believe that pumpkin time is here again. The orange orb is surely the harbinger of the autumnal season. The pumpkin, to many, is mainly used for decor; however, its culinary value must not be overlooked. Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber and Vitamin A. The calorie content goes up greatly related to ingredients added to make the tasty treats of the fall season.
    Pumpkins, like other squash, are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence is pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 B.C. was found in Mexico.

  • Editor’s Column: ‘The art of preservation‘

    Fall decorations are the best because, no joke, half of what you need can probably be found in your own back yard (or the nearest park if you don’t have a yard). When I’m feeling crafty, I spend a lot of time in the fall gathering supplies for DIY projects like acorns, pinecones, sticks, leaves, and stones.

  • Editor’s Column: ‘All the fall things‘

    *Steps into a clearing on a cool fall morning and breathes in the fresh breeze*
    *Pulls out microphone as the upbeat music starts*
    *Singing* All the fall things; Pumpkin spice drinks; It’s cold but I know; Three months until snow.
    *SCREAMING* WE HAVE OUR PICK OF HALLOWEEN FLICKS, TURN THE LIGHTS OFF, THIS IS SO SICK!!!
    … Did I ever mention to you guys that I kind of, sort of, have a teensy-weensy obsession with fall?
    *COUGH* Anyway…

  • Guest column: ‘BRDC Wilderness Camp’

    Blue Ridge Discovery Center finished off the summer camp season by heading up the mountain to explore the habitats of Mount Rogers. Unfortunately, the camp coincided with a massive system that brought three days of solid rain. Our first task was to build a shelter, so we slipped on rain gear and laid out 16-foot wooden poles, lashing and marking the corners of our shelter. A short time later we proudly huddled under our canvas tarp out of the rain.

  • Guest column: 'American Tunis: the sheep of the south'

    Ronald and Joy Jones of Fries maintain a small flock of Tunis sheep, and this spring, the ladies of Blue Ridge Fiberworks used wool from Ronald’s sheep to produce a line of fine yarn for a couple area yarn shops. While this enterprise is only in the beginning stages, the ladies are enthusiastic about the potential for spinning and selling yarns from the heritage sheep of the south: the American Tunis.