Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine March 2021

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Buy or Renovate? Local pros provide insight p.12

Warrenton M A R C H

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One year after the start of the pandemic, Fauquier residents look to the future with optimism

lcome Welcome Welc Welcome

McClelland, Kathleen RN, McClelland, FNP, Kathleen RN, CNM M Kathleen McClelland, RN,FNP, FNP,CNM CNM

e Midwife

Certified Nurse MidwifeCertified Nurse

Certified Nurse Midwife

h OB/GYN & Midwifery Fauquier Health OB/GYNFauquier & Midwifery Health O Fauquier Health OB/GYN & Midwifery

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Gainesville, VA 20155

Warrenton, VA 20186

Education: Education: Specializes in:

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My passion for real estate and love for helping people has been years in the making. 2001 Recognized as “Rookie of the Year”


Awarded Greater Piedmont Realtors Salesperson of the Year


Began the journey to become one of Virginia Piedmont’s leading realtors

Honored to be one of the area’s Top 100 Realtors


Recognized as The Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier Volunteer of the Year for co-chairing the annual Clay Shoot Fundraiser


As a seasoned realtor and Virginia native, my heart and soul is in my family and community.


Pleased to join


When it comes to buying or selling your home, I make my clients’ happiness the top priority. Serving this way for more than 20 years has helped me to earn the reputation as a trusted partner, and I’m thrilled to continue that same unmatched level of service as a CENTURY 21 realtor. As always, you can count on my passion, commitment and energy to help make your experience a simple and happy one. It would be my honor to be your trusted partner.


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from the E D I T O R


t has been a year now, as this March issue hits the stands, since COVID-19 turned all our lives upside down. In our May issue of last year, we asked local business owners how they were coping and dealing with the effects of the pandemic, and the prevailing theme was one of hope and determination. Everyone has their own story to tell about the past year, and we interviewed community members including parents, health care workers, and business owners, to look back and reflect on their feelings. Again, the prevailing themes are hope and determination, and, even, optimism. One thing for sure is that we’ve all been spending more time in our homes. Sometimes too much time; enough to realize what parts of your home aren’t working for you. Kids schooling in the kitchen, parents working in bedrooms, parts of the home inaccessible as parents age? All these situations have made many people consider changes, such as renovating their home to make it more purposeful, or even selling and buying/building a new home. Each option clearly has its pros and cons, and we have asked both local realtors and homebuilders/renovation experts their opinion. Their answers may well help you along in your decision. And, while the flowers may not be blooming yet as you read this issue, one thing is for sure, March means spring is on its way. Many find comfort in gardening, whether flowers or vegetables. See some beautiful photos and get some professional advice to get started on your own!

Business Director: Carina Richard-Wheat accounting@piedmontpub.com, 540-905-7791


email jan@rappnews.com or call 540-675-3338

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www.PiedmontLifestyle.com Facebook: @PiedmontLifestylePublications Email Newsletter: Sign up at www.PiedmontLifestyle.com The Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and distributed to over 11,500 selected addresses. While reasonable care is taken with all material submitted to The Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any such material. Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. While ensuring that all published information is accurate, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistakes or omissions. Reproduction in whole or part of any of the text, illustration or photograph is strictly forbidden. ©2021 Rappahannock Media LLC.

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contents 08

Thirty Years of Caring People Helping People BY GARY CARROLL


Doug Salzman Mortgage Lender of George Mason Mortgage BY PAM KAMPHUIS


Buy or Renovate? Advice from local professionals


A Garden Stroll A taste of spring BY KARLA JONES SEDIETA


Pandemic Victory Garden You can do it too! BY JANENE CULLEN, PHD.


How does your garden grow? Help from your library FAUQUIER COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY STAFF


Wild Ideas Exploring nature in your yard BY PAM OWEN


COVID-19 One Year Later Locals tell us how they’re feeling


Trees and Paintbrushes Dr. Camellia Blackwell-Taffel’s Camp Camellia BY AMANDA M. SOCCI


Under the Canopy Rady Park Arboretum BY LINDSAY HOGEBOOM


The Sparkly Girl from Warrenton Studio Luxe Boutique BY AMANDA M. SOCCI


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few years ago, a local church member delivering wood to a family in need discovered a mother and several children struggling to make ends meet after the desertion of the father. The mother’s income for part time work alone had been insufficient to pay the monthly electric bill for several months and the utility company notified the mother they would be obliged to disconnect electricity service, unhappily, before Christmas. But our community is a tight-knit one, one that doesn’t turn away from neighbors in difficulty. The church members knew just what to do. They contacted People Helping People, a local organization that is ready with help for these emergencies. People Helping People was able to make a partial payment to keep the electricity on until other arrangements could be made. People Helping People was founded in 1990 by Det Haislap and Boots Riches, who had participated in church ministries to hurricane damaged areas and decided upon their return to provide needed help in Fauquier County too. PHP, a 501 © (3) nondenominational Christian-based organization in Warrenton, provides emergency financial assistance to county residents who are experiencing hardship and financial distress through no fault of their own. With funding donated by several local churches and generous local individuals and businesses, and grants from the PATH Foundation, the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, and the Blue Ridge Foundation, PHP’s assistance is often in the form of contributions to rent/mortgage payments to avoid eviction and potential homelessness, or payment of utility bills to avoid disconnection of service. During a recent conversation with Elfie Schmid, who has served as President for the past ten years after serving as a volunteer, I learned what a huge challenge she faces as requests for help pour into her PHP office on Beckham Street provided by St. James Episcopal Church. Dedicated volunteers, who completely staff People Helping People, almost daily are faced with new

Thirty Years of Caring People Helping People provides emergency financial assistance to community members in need. BY GARY CARROLL

distress stories and challenges that force them to make tough decisions about how to allocate the funds that are available. Not surprisingly, this year the challenge has dramatically increased as the number

of local families with desperate financial needs has grown. Job loss, business closures, COVID health concerns, as well as suspension of in-school teaching forcing some working parents to stay home, have increased the anxiety of many simply trying to pay rent or a mortgage or utility bills. Requests for rental payments are the most frequent. Some of these can be paid in full; others are partially paid to reduce the cost for the applicant. PHP has been able to rent hotel rooms for families temporarily homeless, but this year these are often unavailable due to high demand. Each request must be vetted to ensure it is legitimate and expresses a genuine, critical financial need. Funds always are sent directly to the provider rather than personally to the individual to ensure the funds are used for their designated purpose. PHP collects background information and volunteers conduct in-person interviews and complete application forms that are kept on file. People helping people understands the importance of community teamwork and it often coordinates and supplements its efforts with the Family Shelter, Food Banks and other local charities. Budget constraints—as well as the importance of meeting the needs of as many people as possible—generally limit the amount of funds designated for each applicant to a total no more than one thousand dollars per year. This year that amount has been raised as funds allow due to the pandemic. Schmid has a fascinating life story that makes it clear why, despite her age, she unselfishly and energetically uses her time to live out her commitment to “make a difference in the life of someone in need.” German by birth, her early childhood years were spent in Germany during the Second World War. Fleeing Germany and walking 400 miles to a U.S. controlled area, Schmid, her parents, and three siblings were homeless, hungry, and destitute. She knows what it is to be in great need and how wonderful it feels when someone cares and provides help.❖

How you can help PHP’s greatest need is financial contributions, but they are also in need of volunteers. You can help by donating your time just a few hours each month. Donations can be made through PayPal or mailed to People Helping People, PO Box 3108, Warrenton VA 20186 fauquier.php.com | 540-349-9017


{ MARCH 2021 |



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BELOW: Salzman with wife Michelle and daughters Erin and Ella and Salzman coaching his daughter Erin in volleyball

Doug Salzman of the George Mason Mortgage Company “I

’m the workhorse, the guy that wants to put my nose to the grindstone, to work on every file, make sure the transaction goes the best way for the customer, and make sure it goes smoothly,” says Doug Salzman. Salzman is a mortgage lender through George Mason Mortgage Company where he has worked for almost 20 years, shepherding clients through mortgage loans for home purchases and refinancing. Originally from Clarke County, he started his profession in Northern Virginia. When he wanted a more rural, less hectic, lifestyle, he moved his family, his wife Michelle and two daughters, gradually out in this direction until they found Warrenton about 16 years ago. They stayed after falling in love with the town, its laid-back feel, and the history of it. “I love the look of mountains and the feel of the river. But I do really feel there’s no better state than Virginia, and there’s no better county than Fauquier,” Salzman says. Working almost exclusively from his home office, Salzman says, “I like serving people. It’s a lot of advising to my job. The clients I enjoy the most are those who are interested in the details and really want to learn and understand the process. If they want to look at options and compare the numbers,


{ MARCH 2021 |

understand a real APR, a real amortization schedule, their break-even points, I’m here to help them. Advising people on what to do for their mortgage is the most enjoyable part of the job. I tend to spend a little more time with first time buyers and single people, because they are usually less experienced.” He emphasizes, “Buying a house or refinancing can go extremely well if you pick the right realtor and mortgage lender. It doesn’t need to be hard.” But Salzman isn’t the guy you find out at networking events handing out business cards, instead growing his business through building long term relationships with associates and clients. “A lot of business comes from realtors that I’ve partnered with before, some of them I’ve worked with for 10 or 15 years. Recently, I received a referral from a client I worked with way back in 2001, who initially called me from a satellite phone. I have clients I’ve gone through three or five or eight transactions with, from starter homes all the way through retirement homes, they keep coming back to me and recommending me.” Outside of work, Salzman spends his time coaching volleyball at Kettle Run High School. Starting out as a soccer and volleyball dad coaching seven and eight year olds, he decided to get serious, getting credentials and becoming certified with the USAV, the largest volleyball association in the country. He coached at Warrenton Middle School for five years, and this is his fifth year as assistant varsity coach at Kettle Run High School. Finding his strength in motivational



coaching rather than playing the sport, he emphasizes the importance of it to kids and their development. “Girls need sports, socially and physically, and our program is serious with good talented players who put up a real competition when they play. We’re not a backyard team. Some may go on to play in college, but a lot of them just benefit from what they’ve learned playing with us.” Specifically, this includes physical fitness, organization skills, the importance of teamwork, and time management. “The hectic schedule comes with playing high school sports teaches the girls how to organize and manage their time. When my daughter went to college she had no trouble adapting to the schedule because she had learned those skills at volleyball,” he explains. Even though he doesn’t have his own girls on his teams any more, Salzman continues to coach because, “I’m in love with this game. I get a lot of personal fulfillment from it.” ❖

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{ MARCH 2021 |




Buy or Renovate? That is the Question

It’s March and you know what that means: it’s the start of the home buying/selling season. With that in mind, we asked several local pros about the decisions that go into buying a new home or renovating an existing one. Their answers, all timely and thought-provoking, are sure to help those of you considering whether to buy or remodel right now. What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying/ building a home versus renovating your existing home? Our panelists had a lot to say on this subject and the pros and cons they provided are all important considerations: Dawn Arruda (DA): If you have the time and budget to wait out a new build, you can get more of what you’re looking for without the disruption of renovating. If you renovate, you’re adding value to an investment you may already have lots of equity in. Patti Brown (PB): Remodeling affords you the opportunity to tailor the renovations to meet your exact needs but buying a new home may allow you to find just what you're looking for. Tim Burch (TB): The advantages of buying a new home is that it’s complete and you can move right in. Moving costs, of course, can be a disadvantage. By remodeling, you get to keep the same location, school districts and friends/neighbors and it can be less costly than buying a new home. The disadvantage is having to live through the renovation.


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President, Genesis Home Improvement ghiva.com


Realtor RE/MAX Regency dawnarruda.com


Marketing Manager, Golden Rule Builders goldenrulebuilders.com


Realtor Century 2 New Millennium c21nm.com


Valerie Gibson (VG): Before renovating, take these things into consideration: how much you paid for the home; how long you plan to live in it; what needs to be updated, upgraded, or customized now; what will need updating in the future; what can you realistically budget for each project. If the numbers don’t add up, buying a new home may be the best route. Just bear in mind that even buying something new doesn’t mean you won’t have elements you’ll need or want to change. Kim Jenkins (KJ): An advantage to buying a turnkey home is not having the inconvenience of workers in your space disrupting your routine. However, if you’re set on having your home exactly how you want it, then the disruption is worth it. Stephanie Kennedy (SK): Building a new, custom home gives you the ability to have it tailored specifically to your needs, tastes, and lifestyle. With renovating, there’s less total investment and planning is easier. Dan Royce (DS): If you’d like to move to a highly desirable neighborhood, buying a home is advantageous. Of course it still might require

Owner Royce Home Transformations FB: @roycehome transformations


VP/Owner BOWA Home Construction bowa.com



Principal Broker/Owner, Salman Home Realty salmanhomerealty.com

Owner Gibson Home Services gibsonhomeservices.com

{ MARCH 2021 |




Before renovating, take these things into consideration: how much you paid for the home; how long you plan to live in it; what needs to be updated, upgraded, or customized now; what will need updating in the future; what can you realistically budget for each project. If the numbers don’t add up, buying a new home may be the best route. Just bear in mind that even buying something new doesn’t mean you won’t have elements you’ll need or want to change.

renovations and moving is a hassle. If you remodel and add upgrades to what you already have, you’re increasing the value of your home. Lesley Salman (LS): Buying a new home means not having to deal with contractors and endure renovations. Renovating a home means not having to deal with the inconvenience of showing your home or packing.

Among homeowners who decide to renovate, what are the top three renovations they undertake?

All of our respondents specified kitchens and bathrooms as the top two improvements homeowners make when renovating. As for the third, their responses varied but all reflect, to one degree or another, the impact the pandemic has had on our lives: DA: Outside spaces. These have made a big jump in popularity this year. PB: Creating more of an open concept, particularly when working with an older home. TB: In-law suite remodels. VG: Decks, as we’re spending much more time outdoors. KJ: Covered decks, sunrooms, and screened in porches. SK: Main level master suite additions. DR: Flooring. LS: Finishing the basement.

Among homeowners who decide to buy/build a new/different house, what are the top three reasons for doing so?

Almost all of our pros specified downsizing, upsizing, or a desire to change location as the top three reasons homeowners choose to buy a new/different home. Several also shared a few additional and timely considerations: DA: Desire to live closer to family because of the pandemic. TB: Desire for a different style of home, i.e., farmhouse, contemporary, etc. VG: Combining households and having family members, such as parents, move in, is a major factor. KJ: The cost of the renovation would be as much or more than purchasing a new/ different house. SK: Building a custom home means clients can take the opportunity to incorporate elements of universal design (aging in place design), such as eliminating steps and widening hallways, and lower their monthly operating costs by incorporating new


{ MARCH 2021 |

technology and increased energy efficiency. DR: Job change. Even with lots of folks working from home, some still have to be on site. LS: Many people feel renovating is just too huge a project to undertake and they don’t want the headaches.

What are the top three types of projects homeowners tend to address/fix prior to putting their home on the market? What is the number one project you feel they should address but don’t always?

Ninety-nine percent of our panelists cited painting as the number one project homeowners tackle prior to putting their home on the market. As for projects two and three, those include deep cleaning, power washing, refinishing floors, and replacing/ refinishing the front door. As for the project they wish homeowners would address, again, their responses varied: DA: I think that homeowners should pay attention to the items that could be found during a home inspection. You’d be amazed at how different a utility room looks when the furnace is cleaned up and the hot water heater is wiped down and the intake vents are cleaned. PB: Depersonalizing and decluttering the entire interior is crucial in allowing a prospective buyer to see themselves in the space. TB: A kitchen remodel. Often a remodeled kitchen is the difference between a home selling quickly or sitting on the market for a while.



KJ: A bathroom remodel. It can increase the value of the home and more than 60% of it can be recouped. VG: It would be helpful if more homeowners addressed their decks. They’re among the most flagged elements on home inspection reports. LS: It would be nice if the major components - roof, HVAC, hot water heater, etc. - were addressed, and even better if they were maintained along the way, but the focus is typically on the cosmetics.

What are the top three appliances those who renovate invest in? What are the top three types of appliances people who are selling a home invest in?

Dawn Arruda’s response to this question summed up the sentiments of all of our participants. “Whether you’re selling or renovating,” she replied, “the top three appliances are kitchen appliances.” Specifically refrigerators, dishwashers, and ranges. Among those who renovate, our pros tell us that these are a few of their other must-haves: TB: An additional refrigerator, freezer, and a built-in coffee maker. VG: Refrigerators with French doors, double ovens, and steam ovens. KJ: Wine refrigerators.

Because we just had to know: In your opinion, what’s more stressful, moving or remodeling? DA: Whether you’re renovating or moving, you need to be prepared to make adjustments. TB: Both are stressful. I think the answer depends upon the performance of the professionals you’re working with. VG: Neither are stress-free life events, but when remodeling is done right, it’s definitely more fun and exciting in my opinion. KJ: That's a toss-up! With either route, there’s a lot of sacrifice and you need to realize your routine will be disrupted. SK: Most would probably say that living through an extensive remodel is more stressful than moving. DR: Moving is hands down more stressful. As long as you have the right contractor, remodeling can be done room by room with little downtime. LS: Remodeling, but only because I have less experience with it so I’m not as comfortable. ❖


“Spring is Nature’s Way of Saying Let’s Party!” — ROBIN WILLIAMS, COMEDIAN


couldn’t have said it better myself! Spring in Fauquier is indeed a party to celebrate our gardens waking from their long winter’s sleep. Splashes of color pop here and there coaxing birds and butterflies back from their hiatus. The fragrant, warming soil fills the air with the promise of sunny days ahead. Spring fever becomes the universal itch. We’re all desperate to get back into our gardens with the hopes that this year the flowers will be prettier, the vegetables more abundant and the weeds nonexistent. And this year, because of the crippling isolation we all endured in 2020, a great big, wonderful party thrown by Mother Nature is what we all need! Step into my garden for a leisurely stroll as my little bit of Fauquier begins to waken.

Whenever I see daffodils, I think spring! It's daffodils that mark the beginning of spring with their happy faces and sunshine colors. You’ll see daffodils carefully planted in gardens all over Fauquier but it’s those random daffodil pop-ups in fields and pastures that really brings a smile to my face. Ever wonder how that happens? Underground dwellers who share our gardens (like moles and voles), hungry for something tasty to eat, will take a bite of a daffodil bulb you’ve so carefully planted. They’ll drag the bit of bulb back into their tunnel only to discover that daffodil bulbs are not tasty at all. So, they leave the bit of bulb where it is, and the following spring new daffodils will be found poking their heads up through the sod. And that’s how daffodils pop up here and there and everywhere.

Sometimes I surprise myself. A mass of herbs and roses in pinks and whites with a touch of lavender…… could any garden be more gorgeous? Well, yes, many are — well, most are actually — but this time, I think I got it right on first planting. Gardens are never really finished are they? Not like making a quilt or baking bread. When you’re done with those, you’re done and you have something very nice to show for your efforts. Not so with gardens. Just when you think it’s done, it decides to grow uncontrollably without any regard for your feelings or overall garden design plan. Then weeds begin to pop up. Suddenly, everything needs pruning or pulling. Then the pests come out to play and the dog runs wild. But you’re a gardener. A hardy perennial of a person. A puller of weeds and the champion of the trampled. So you live to garden one more day!


{ MARCH 2021 |



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{ MARCH 2021 |




“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

Pictured here are my white impatiens happily growing in part shade where the ground is packed, hard and covered in driveway stone. By using inexpensive galvanized wash tubs, I was able to add a big splash of happiness to this otherwise dreary spot. The tubs are perhaps my favorite containers for massive displays of flowers in shady areas. They are sturdy, age gracefully, and can be left outside in any kind of weather. They are deep so there’s tons of room for really good root production. Poking a few holes in the bottom provides drainage. But perhaps the main reason I love galvanized wash tubs is that being metal, they attract nature’s root-stimulating static electricity which boosts growth and blossoms especially needed in shaded areas.

— AUDREY HEPBURN, ACTRESS Every garden needs a hidden spot to surprise those who visit. An out of the way, unexpected gesture to tease and tickle. A garden statue or a showy trellis popping out of a sea of calm. A tiny table and bistro chair offering a brief respite. A splash of color. A water feature. A deeply melodic wind chime. This vintage bench is tucked away behind a cascade of variegated English ivy. Complete the picture with a cup of tea and a cozy book for an interlude away from it all.

I love my roses. This picture may look like a few dogwood blossoms surrounding a peach colored rose bud but it’s not. In its bud stage, this pink “Knock Out” rose is actually salmon-y pink in color. Over the course of a few days, the bud unfolds into a full flower and its salmon color morphs into a tender shade of pink. As the days go by, the petals continue to open stretching out as far as they can. Once the petals have fully extended, the pink color fades to almost white leaving just blushes of pink to remain on the tips. Gorgeous at every stage of life.

Every garden has at least one problem spot. Most have several. One of mine is the whiskey barrels that accent our barn doors. For years, I have been looking for just the right combination of easy care, drought tolerant, shade and heat loving, deer resistant, tall growing plants that were beautiful to look at but not harmful to our horses should they decide to take a bite. Most of my attempts did poorly or were eaten by my forever foraging deer. Here, the leafy purple plants are perilla, a sort of a spicy, basil-y, mint-y herb. They showed up around the barn last year (its seeds blown in on the wind) and took up residence, so I pulled some up and stuck them in along with some purslane I found growing nearby. I had a few vincas left over so I stuck them in too. Like I said, the planting is just OK. At least no one wants to eat it.


{ MARCH 2021 |



ask A water feature, like a simple bird bath, adds movement to a garden. Movement is important because movement brings a calm you can see. That may sound contradictory but watching water trickle from a spout or tiny toads hopping in and out of water filled saucers or butterflies fluttering their wings as they sip from the edge of a waterlily filled pond are all very soothing things to see. Close plantings around your bird bath give birds and butterflies places to land while waiting their turn and quick places for retreat if they feel threatened. Frogs and toads will appreciate the damp ground around the birdbath and find shelter under the plantings. Watching the birds from my kitchen window enjoy their morning bath as I sip my just brewed coffee is a calm that gently jump-starts my day!

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Fauquier County Deer Repellant This odd-sounding recipe was passed around a local garden seminar I attended years ago. I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly work when my ravenous deer ignored all the expensive, “guaranteed” repellants and gadgets I had bought over the years. “Don’t laugh,” a fellow garden struggler whispered as she pressed the recipe that had been scribbled on a scrap of paper into my hand. “This stuff REALLY works!” See the recipe at piedmontlifestyle.com/ home-garden/fauquier-county-deer-repellant ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In her fifty-plus years as a food industry professional, Karla Jones Seidita has been a teacher, a writer, a restaurant and wholesale bakery owner as well as a regular host and contributor to popular radio shows. She is the owner and innkeeper of Cheesecake Farms, a Bed and Breakfast in Southern Fauquier county that also serves as an agrieducational sanctuary for learning and refreshment offering adventures and educational experiences in the kitchen and garden. CheesecakeFarms.com




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Pandemic Victory Garden BY JANENE CULLEN, PHD


mericans organized and planted “Victory Gardens” during World War I and World War II. During both of these World Wars, Americans converted any available space into a garden to help feed their family and their community. It was an act of resilience by using a shovel. The enemy today is COVID-19. Between employee illness, restricted travel, and stay-at-home guidelines, our food supply chain has been affected. As we navigate the uncertain times ahead through this pandemic, perhaps it is time to raise our shovels once again! At its most basic, growing food is simply a matter of sticking a seed in good soil, watering it, and watching it grow. You can start a vegetable garden any time in spring, summer, or fall. You do not need to have a lush garden on an acre of land to grow all sorts of tasty delights. A little bit of space on a windowsill will work for small things like herbs and lettuce. You can grow smaller vegetables like tomatoes in pots in the kitchen. If you are lucky enough to have a garden with some good soil and space for digging, go ahead and start planting. Here are some general tips to get you started:

1. Pick your garden site •


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A sunny patch in the backyard is an obvious choice for a Victory garden, but it is not the only option. If you are short on space in your yard - consider working in edible plants around your existing flowers and shrubs. If you have space in your backyard, mark the area you intend to plant. It’s easiest to create a slightly raised bed by adding gardening soil to your plot. If you are stuck with a shady backyard, consider growing vegetables in containers on the front porch. Many vegetable plants are quite attractive, so there is no need to give up curb appeal. Another great way to get started is with a few containers on your back deck or patio. Cherry tomatoes, herbs, leaf lettuce, and pepper plants grow very well in containers. No space to garden? See whether there are any community gardens in your town. Or consider asking a friend whether you can garden on their land in exchange for a cut of the harvest.


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2. Create good soil Plants need nutrients to grow. They get nutrients from the soil or the regular addition of fertilizer. Homemade compost is the preferred way to fertilize, and it’s essentially free. If you don’t have compost, use organic fertilizers. Planting food crops that you intend to ingest means you should be aware of what you put on your garden soil. Synthetic chemical fertilizers should not be something you add to food you are going to eat.

3. Pick your plants What vegetables and herbs do you find yourself buying a lot of? Focus on those you eat regularly to make the biggest impact on your grocery bill. Some local favorites include: • Herbs – Fresh herbs can make every meal super tasty. Easy to grow inside or outside. Basil, parsley, and sage are good choices. • Tomatoes – A staple in every garden. Many varieties and sizes from small cherry tomatoes to large beefeaters. Can grow from seed or a small starter plant. • Salad leaves – You can almost grow this year-round if you pick different varieties. Can grow inside or outside. • Onions – The ultimate staple ingredient. Green onions (scallions) grow quickly. • Peppers – Hot or not, fresh peppers are a great way to add nutrition and spice up your meal. Can grow a variety from seeds or small starter plants. • Potatoes – Can grow in the ground or a large garbage bin. • Strawberries – Will grow in pots or in the ground. With luck they will keep producing fruit for several years.

4. Determine when to plant and when to harvest Virginia Tech has a good list of vegetables and the best time to plant/ harvest each, so visit their website. Also, Fauquier area is generally USDA planting zone 7b, and you can usually find additional seed planting instructions on the back of seed packets.


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5. Enjoy the harvest! There is nothing more innately rewarding than planting food, watching it grow, and then harvesting it. It is such a joy to walk out to your own vegetable garden for a snack or for dinner ingredients. Growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard will also give you greater peace of mind about the food you consume. You’ll know for sure that no chemicals have been used. Gardening is also great for kids. Teaching kids about gardening is a simple way of letting them learn about nature. Give them designated tasks and allow them to marvel in planting seeds, watching them grow, and picking fresh vegetables.



For more local information on gardening, you can contact the Master Gardeners of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties at www.fc-mg.org. They offer horticultural classes that are usually free to the public, and a help desk for any gardening issues at 540341-7590 ext. 1. The Virginia Cooperative Extension of Fauquier County is also available, offering educational classes and virtual programs at fauquier.ext.vt.edu. ❖

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Janene Cullen has lived in Haymarket for 18 years. She is a retired Military Officer and currently works full time for the Aerospace Corporation as a Satellite Engineer. She has been a Virginia Master Gardener since 2006 volunteering in Prince William County. She recently published her first book, Lead like a Master Gardener, which is available on Amazon.

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uring the COVID-19 pandemic, many people rediscovered—or discovered for the first time—the many benefits of gardening. Gardening can relieve stress, promote better sleep and provide healthy exercise. Best of all, a great garden doesn’t require a lot of space or time. The library has plenty of books to provide assistance and encouragement to get started. S M A L L S PAC E A N D LO W M A I N T E N A N C E

Constrained by a lack of space or time? Don't despair! Container gardening and raised bed gardening are top trends, but there are many other creative ways to garden. Try these books if short on space, short on time, or don't want to spend hours planning, digging and maintaining a garden. Crops in Tight Spots: Grow Amazing Fruit and Vegetables Wherever You Live by Alex Mitchell Spouts, Shoots & Microgreens: Tiny Plants to Grow and Eat in Your Home Kitchen by Lina Wallentinson Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie E N V I R O N M E N TA L LY F R I E N D LY GA R D E N I N G

Gardeners aren't only interested in creating lovely landscapes. They're also searching for ways their gardens can be environmentally friendly, including an emphasis on native gardening. Gardening is a great way to become personally involved in helping the ecosystem. These books will help start a “green” garden: Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia by Ira Wallace Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy The Southeast Native Plant Primer: 225 Plants for an Earth Friendly Garden by Larry Mellichamp P L A N T I N G F O R P O L L I N ATO R S A N D W I L D L I F E

According to the 2020 National Gardening Survey conducted by the National Gardening Association, one in four Americans bought a plant because it benefitted wildlife. With increased awareness of the importance of pollinators, many gardeners are creating gardens to aid in the conservation movement. Learn how to incorporate conservation into your garden with these books: National Wildlife Federations: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski Pollinator Gardening for the South: Creating


{ MARCH 2021 |



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Your library is here for you!

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, there are plenty of ways to enjoy library resources. • Pickup books and materials using contact-free curbside service during regular library hours • Connect with other book-lovers in one of our book clubs’ virtual meetings • Access wifi round the clock outside all library buildings using the passwords posted on library doors • Enjoy online services like e-books, e-audio, e-magazines and streaming services 24/7 with a library card • Get customized reading lists based on your reading interests and preference using BookMatch • Get help from reference staff online or via phone during regular business hours • Learn a new language • Make informed purchase decisions with Consumer Reports Online • Log on to a live online story time with your child Don’t have a library card? Apply online at fauquierlibrary.org and start enjoying the many resources and services available from your local Fauquier Public Library!

more appealing is increasingly popular. For ideas to spruce up an outdoor space, try these titles: The Art of Outdoor Living: Gardens for Entertaining Family and Friends by Scott Shrader New Decorated Garden: Transform Your Outdoor Space Into a Haven of Calm and Tranquility by Elspeth Thompson Outdoor Design: Projects and Plans for a Stylish Garden by Matt Keightley

Sustainable Habitats by Danesha Seth Carley Wildlife Garden: Create a Home for GardenFriendly Animals, Insects and Birds by Ursula Kopp GA R D E N B Y C O LO R

Rather than have just random plants and flowers growing, some gardeners are planning bold and beautiful gardens. If a garden with "wow factor" sounds appealing, check out these titles: Color-Rich Gardening for the South: A Guide for All Seasons by Roxann Ward The Gardener's Book of Color by Andrew Lawson The Winterthur Garden Guide: Color for All Seasons by Linda Eirhart HOUSEPLANTS

Houseplants have increased in popularity, in part due to Instagram and other social media. They reduce stress, purify air and bring a sense of the outdoors into indoor space. Whether your living room is already


{ MARCH 2021 |


filled with foliage or you are just now jumping on this trend, these books will set you on the right path: My Houseplant Changed My Life: Green WellBeing for the Great Indoors by David Domoney Tiny Plants: Discover the Joys of Growing and Collecting Itty-Bitty Houseplants by Leslie F. Halleck Tropical Plants and How to Love Them: Building a Relationship with Heat-Loving Plants When You Don’t Live in the Tropics by Marianne Willburn O U T D O O R S PAC E F O R E N T E RTA I N I N G

With more time at home, redesigning garden or yard spaces to make outdoor time



The health benefits of gardening are well-known; people garden to relieve stress and have more control over their produce supply, among other things. To explore the wellness aspect of gardening, add these titles to your list: The Kitchen Garden by Alan Buckingham Your Indoor Herb Garden: Growing and Harvesting Herbs at Home by D.J. Herda Your Well-Being Garden: How to Make Your Garden Good for You by Alistair Griffiths For additional gardening resources, browse the shelves in the gardening section, 635 and garden design in section 712 or request assistance from the reference desk by calling 540.422.8500 ext.6. ❖

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Foster’s Grille is about community. At Foster’s Grille, we consider ourselves more than just a restaurant; we’re your neighbor too. And, like any good neighbor, we’re happy to help out and lend a hand whenever you need. Our locations have sponsored local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, school sports teams, bands and drama clubs. We help raise money to support local causes, community nonprofits and more. Foster’s Grille born & raised in Virginia.




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wild ideas:

Exploring nature in your yard, for fun and health BY PAM OWEN


{ MARCH 2021 |



ith the spring practically upon us, now is a good time to step outside and enjoy the natural world and the health benefits it offers. Even in the smallest yards, nature is there. An amazing number of species can live there, each with a story to tell. In my yard, I’ve witnessed romance, warfare, friendship, intrigue and much more among species that live far more interesting and complex lives that we might think. I try to keep an open mind when observing nature and use all my senses, including touch, although I avoid contact with many species, particularly animals, because it can be dangerous — for us and for them. I’ve had some of my most thought-provoking critter encounters while just sitting on my deck. If I’m quiet and patient, many animals adjust to my presence and go about their daily routine, often coming quite close. Last spring, a Louisiana waterthrush that I’d strain to see high in trees during the breeding season stopped by. Skinks, spiders, butterflies (especially if I set out pots of flowers), and a host of other critters also visit or live there. Yards can be a great place to take up birdwatching. Carolina wrens and some other common birds often nest in yards, some on buildings or in plant pots, and many others will also visit. While having a decent set of binoculars helps to observe birds at a distance, setting out feeders and birdbaths along with planting native plants that provide food can bring them closer. Hummingbirds should be arriving soon, and a feeder filled with homemade “nectar” will draw them in. A typical yard can host thousands of species of terrestrial invertebrates on, above, and under the ground. In my yard, I’ve observed some amazing ones doing some amazing things. When I planted

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resources: Below are just a few of the many resources available for identifying and learning about nature: WEBSITES Animals: VirginiaHerpetologicalSociety. com; BugGuide.net; AllAboutBirds.org Plants: USWildflowers.com; VAPlantAtlas.org Mushrooms: MushroomExpert.com Clouds: CloudAppreciationSociety. org; cloudatlas.wmo.int/en/cloudidentification-guide Birds and trees: SibleyGuides.com; HMHBooks.com Butterflies: KaufmanFieldGuides.com

the more we learn more about the natural world, the more clearly we can see our role in it”

Bird identification: HachetteBookGroup. com/contributor/donald-stokes/ APPS General: iNature* (plants, animals, fungi) Birds: Sibley, iBird, Birdnet (identifies birds by sound), eBird (for submitting observations) Plants: Flora of Virginia, Wildflowers of Virginia, PlantSnap* *offers identification by submitting photos


{ MARCH 2021 |

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native-born Virginian, Pam Owen is a writer, editor, photographer, and passionate nature conservationist. Her favorite quote is "Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction,” by E. O. Wilson.



giant sunflowers to see who would show up on them, I discovered red carpenter ants “farming” keeled treehopper larvae for the “honeydew” they excrete. A magnifying glass can help in getting a closer look at tiny species like these. (In a pinch, I’ve used the zoom feature on my smart-phone camera to see more detail on some tiny creature, or taken a photo of it to enlarge later for further examination.) Once I picked up an eastern eyed click beetle, almost two inches long, and perched it on my hand to see how such a heavy-bodied bug could take off. As I watched, it pointed its abdomen down, perhaps to lessen wind resistance and serve as ballast, and slowly made a nearly vertical ascent. Recently, I awoke at dawn to a world shrouded in fog. As the sun came up, I could see dozens of small spiderwebs, bejeweled by drops of moisture reflecting sunlight, on plants all over the yard. By noon, every strand of the messy webs, made by tiny cobweb spiders, had disappeared, leaving me with more questions than answers. On moonless nights in late spring, I often see a fairyland celebration of flickering lights from the ground to the forest crown — fireflies trying to attract mates. Gardening is a great way to enjoy nature. Putting in a mix of native plants of various types and heights, and letting some native “weeds” grow, will attract and support more wildlife better than a mowed lawn. Species of clouds fly high above our yards, and cloudspotting is educational and great fun, especially when done with kids. Each species has its own shape and behavior that can fire up our imaginations, calm or scare us, and portend changes in weather. If you have kids stuck at home, turn them loose in the yard and encourage them to discover nature on their own, or go out with them. Kids generally come to nature with their minds more open than we adults do, so while it’s good to share what we know with them, it’s also good to give them space to learn and imagine on their own and for them to share their own take on nature with us. Journaling what we find in nature can help us focus on details we might otherwise miss and track changes in nature over the seasons and years. Nature journals can also remind us of our favorite experiences outdoors when we most need it. Many printed guides, apps and websites are available to help with identification and to learn more about species (see sidebar below for a few of my favorite resources). The more we learn more about the natural world, the more clearly we can see our role in it, and the more likely we are to appreciate and protect our environment and our fellow travelers on this spinning blue marble. ❖

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One Year Later Just about a year ago last March, COVID-19 hit our community, and the world. Lives were changed, businesses struggled or were lost, restaurants suffered, many faced unemployment, and, most of all, families — adults and children — had their lives turned upside down. I think we can all agree that our community has stepped up and come together, and people, having no choice, adapted the best they could. Carter Nevill, Mayor of Warrenton, explained, “We realized our vulnerabilities and were forced to address them, and we will come out stronger in the end, and more prepared.” We wanted to hear from members of the community about how the pandemic and the isolation affected them, their families, and their businesses, and many were gracious to answer our questions. There is honesty, and optimism in their answers.


{ MARCH 2021 |



How has the past year affected your family? My daughter is stressed beyond the max. She is trying to work full time from home and school her kindergartener virtually. He’s an only child, so it’s just the two of them together every day. It’s a tough age because he has to be supervised and occupied all the time, even when he’s not in front of the computer screen in class. He’s really struggling with loneliness and needs kids his own age to play with, and I really feel his social development has been affected.

Has there been a silver lining? My daughter really appreciates the extra quality time with my grandson. She can eat lunch with him or take him out for a midday walk.



How has the past year affected your family? I feel COVID-19 has had more of an effect on my children than myself. Not being able to attend school, see friends or participate in school sports has taken an emotional toll on them.

What was your biggest hurdle? Making sure I do everything I can to make sure my kids are happy and healthy.

Has there been a silver lining? We have been able to spend more quality time with our family, playing board games and having family dinners.

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Angela Smoot


Tell us a little bit about how your business was impacted by the pandemic.

Mike Manfro


How has COVID-19 affected your business? I have lost a good part of my adult clientele because between working virtually and schooling children virtually their schedule just doesn’t allow for it now. I also had a good group of older adults that I was working with that I probably will never see again.

Gretchen Yahn


How has Covid affected your business? What was your biggest hurdle? Getting the technological tools in place fast enough as to not disrupt business. At the yoga studio we quickly switched over to a virtual platform so our yogis didn’t have to go without their practice.

Has there been a silver lining?

What was your biggest hurdle and how did you overcome it? It was the loss of clients and income. I did everything I could to adapt to the situation. I did personal training virtually, and livestream workouts. I rented out some of my equipment like spin bikes, dumbbells, and jump ropes, to my clients so they could follow my workouts online.

Have there been any silver linings? Things learned?

The past year has made my business and personal relationships stronger because we had the time to really communicate without distractions.

I’ve gotten a good amount of athletes because the schools and other facilities are closed. I’m training two whole baseball teams right now, which otherwise never would have happened.

How do you feel about the coming year? Optimistic

How do you feel about the coming year?

I was busier this past year; I feel this was due to the limited inventory of homes on the market, pent-up buyer demand, low mortgage interest rates, and more people working from home. I continue to see buyers and sellers re-evaluating their current home (size, floor plan, learning/ work center areas) and location. The increase for the need of additional outdoor living space and acreage continues to be more of a priority.

How has technology played a role in the last year? An increase in video tours, virtual showings, and virtual open houses has allowed buyers and sellers to view listings thoroughly online. Only homes of great interest are viewed in person. We are also seeing an increase in buyers that purchased their homes sightunseen due to the use of increased technology.

“I will say I’ve been more than impressed by the way everyone has adapted. As the saying goes... when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” — C H R I S G AY, E V E R N E ST H O M E CA R E

I’m optimistic about the business, and I think things will get back to more normal very gradually.

Chris Gay


How has COVID-19 affected your business? I run a company that provides in-home care to mostly elderly individuals, so we had to pivot and implement several new policies and protocols to keep our clients and caregivers safe.

What was your biggest hurdle? Trying to navigate all of the information regarding COVID-19, testing, quarantining etc. for both our clients and our caregivers.


{ MARCH 2021 |

What role did technology play in your business in the last year? Technology has been paramount. Our team has moved to virtual interviews and orientations via Zoom. Some of our caregivers are using facetime and other communication apps for their clients to communicate with other family members that they have not been able to see over the last year.



Has anything good come out of this past year, a silver lining? We have seen a surge in the volume of clients in need of our services, which likely is attributed to families being nervous to send their loved ones to an assisted living facility or nursing home with all of the reported outbreaks.

How do you feel about the coming year? I’m upbeat and positive about this year as the vaccine is rolled out and we are getting more data to better understand COVID-19 and its implications.

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How has Covid affected your job? As a nurse, I am constantly thinking about the well being of our clients as well as our caregivers. Our clients are all in the high risk/elderly category, and I have had the added stress of getting our staff vaccinated and trying my hardest to give them the facts and dispute the false claims.

What was your biggest hurdle? We are not over the biggest hurdle, which is keeping everyone safe. Vaccines are starting now which is a relief but we are still not out of the woods.

How do you feel about the coming year? I’m hoping the vaccine can shed some light and give our elderly and high risk clients some protection. Everyone needs to realize that we all need to work together to get rid of COVID and getting the vaccine is the first step.


“I’m comforted by the resiliency of the community. Everyone really stepped up. It’s like driving a car. In the past we just had seatbelts, but now we have airbags too. The strength of the community was our airbag, and they deployed and worked.” — CA R T E R N E V I L L , M AYO R O F W A R R E N TO N

What effect has COVID-19 had on your job? In the beginning, we focused on acquiring and maintaining PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) inventory. Now that we are a year into the pandemic, we’re being challenged with affected employees and maintaining a healthy workforce.

How do you feel about the coming year? I am hopeful that with the vaccines coming out that the stresses of the previous year will be diminishing. All of our employees have already been offered the vaccination.

Sharon Krasny


What was your biggest professional hurdle? The biggest hurdle has been taking the curriculum that I normally do with my students and finding what is the bare bone minimum that they need to be successful in college. I have to focus on those skills, which means other work has to slide.

How has technology played a role in the last year?

Jessica Randall


Technology has been a curse and a blessing. While I’m glad I can still reach my students, the fact that students are being allowed to remain with their screens turned off makes it easier for them to hide and not engage.

What effect has COVID-19 had on your job?

How are your students doing with virtual learning?

The effect that coronavirus has had on my job has been exponential. From forming new treatment protocols, sourcing supplies, protecting staff physically, mentally, and emotionally, and generally trying to juggle long hours and family life. It’s been a marathon.

There has been a lot of struggle with motivation and engagement. Some students put in full effort and came out stronger. Some students' full effort was simply not giving up.

How is your staff handling all the changes?

Students have realized that school is not a given. In some cases, this made individuals appreciate the chances they had to better themselves. Some have developed a lot of character this year which will serve them well when they are out in the real world. ❖

That said, we’ve had huge support from our leadership team, the staff have been incredibly flexible and compassionate given all the changes, and we have had incredible success with our patients.


{ MARCH 2021 |



Has there been a silver lining?

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She Speaks for the Trees and the Paintbrushes Dr. Camellia Blackwell-Taffel blends her love of art, forestry, and education at her multi-purpose Camp Camellia in Goldvein BY: AMANDA M. SOCCI



eet Dr. Camellia BlackwellTaffel from Goldvein, an accomplished individual with a list of educational degrees, extensive exemplary work history, artistic projects, and professional accomplishments as long as the scrolls used during the Middle Ages. A serious woman with a cool, calm, and collected demeanor, she enthusiastically speaks for the trees by maintaining and preserving the forestry at her massive estate and connecting her land and love of art with children and adults in Fauquier County. Dr. Blackwell’s gigantic estate is Camp Camellia Tree Farm: Art, Nature, Wildlife & Technology Center, a 73-acre expanse comprised of an area used for forestry management and grassy walking trails, giving visitors scenic opportunities “to identify various vegetations, and native wildlife with the guidance of county foresters,” as per its brochure. Visitors may enjoy the three themed buildings on the property, including the log cabin lodge, the art studio with its attached pavilion, and the Quonset hut that houses antique automobiles. Camp Camellia offers unique things to its visitors, including an educational program that gives insight into the state’s first approved technology to convert collected rainwater into drinking water, technology classes and workshops on the restoration of Named Virginia’s Tree Farmer of the Year for 2018, Dr. Camellia Blackwell-Taffel admires the 70 feet tall loblolly pine trees on her “Veteran’s Trail” that she grew from 18 inch seedlings planted in 1984 after a clear cut procedure with assistance from the VA Department of Forestry.

{ MARCH 2021 |




TOP: “Multiculturalism”, photolithograph, 36” x 30” LEFT: “Exploring the Hudson”, photosilkscreen, 11” x 14” RIGHT: “Beautiful Day”, mixed media, 29” x 39”

antique cars, art classes and experiences that incorporate the wild flora and vegetation grown onsite, and diverse walking tours led by forestry volunteers. Dr. Blackwell created Camp Camellia to be a division of a larger organization, the International Center for Artistic Development, Inc., which she founded in 1990 in Columbia, Maryland. Born in Baltimore, Dr. Blackwell realized she wanted to be an artist when she was 7 years old and began pursuing visual arts projects and degrees right up until she achieved a master’s degree in fine arts. After Dr. Blackwell graduated


{ MARCH 2021 |

from college, the mayor of Baltimore commissioned her to paint an outdoor mural at a children’s playground at a public park. This was the 1970s. Her reputation in the art world was quickly spreading, but she remained level-headed with her trademark unwavering coolness. As the years passed, Dr. Blackwell kept up her work in the art world, doing a million things including jewelry, mixed media art, and printmaking, to name a few. In 1976, she traveled abroad to exhibit her art in Finland. That same year, she and her father, Clarence Blackwell, purchased an interest in the family farm that once



belonged to her great aunt in 1895; she became a 6th generation farmer. Together, the daughter-father team embarked on an aggressive reforestation program to replant and gain new growth in a forest stewardship management plan that would span for the next 36 years. Approximately in 2006, Dr. Blackwell and her husband, Dr. Sherman Taffel, moved onto the Blackwell family farmland and began building a homesite and other buildings for what would eventually become Camp Camellia. In 2009, she opened Camp Camellia to the public by hosting a nature walk, expanding its offerings each year through the present day. To date, Dr. Blackwell has taught intergenerational students in art and nature classes at Camp Camellia, worked with Fauquier High School students to plant vegetation and showcase its forest management plans, and given tours to disabled veterans by creating an accessible trail. Celebrating 13 years in operation with public offerings, Camp Camellia continues to thrive and Dr. Blackwell continues to win award upon award upon award; she was honored for her leadership in preserving her forest through prescribed burns, an easy process of burning forestland with complex solutions involving heavy machinery, state permission, and the award of grants. She was also honored in 2016 as a Virginia Century Forest, for her family’s ownership of working forestlands for more than 100 years. Her 2018 award from the Virginia Tree Farm Foundation for Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for her dedicated work as a certified tree farmer is equally impressive. A tree farmer is a deceptively simple title that doesn’t do justice to the extraordinary amount of work needed to be certified, including implementing the best practices in forest management and adhering to related principles such as healthy ecosystems and wildlife, and soil and watershed. In the meantime, ICAD continues strong. After fulfilling its groundbreaking mission to be the first nonprofit art organization to create a visual arts exchange with the United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan with the Kyrgyz Republic, ICAD has gone on to host visiting artists, showcase art exhibits, and connect its volunteers and visitors “to help melt cultural boundaries created by unfamiliarity,” as per ICAD’s 25th anniversary video available on YouTube.com. ICAD continues to offer art classes and

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A Dutch delegation of biomass engineers from the Netherlands and representatives from the American Forest Foundation visit Camp Camellia.

connect people from two locations, from Dr. Blackwell’s private art studio in Columbia, Maryland and from Camp Camellia in Goldvein, where Dr. Blackwell integrates the principles of art with the breathtaking landscape of her forest’s native nuts, berries, flowers, and rocks by teaching others to create new art in appreciation of natural beauty. Dr. Blackwell is a storied visual artist, art consultant, and art teacher with a

long and diverse career as a graphic arts designer, photographer, arts administrator, and art curator. She is also active in finding grants to develop her forest and bring new opportunities to the people in Fauquier County. Dr. Blackwell relishes dipping into her whopping 52 years of work with professional arts to develop new projects that blend art and nature. Dr. Blackwell has plans to host an art workshop at Camp Camellia in

April and an art festival in September 2021. Dr. Blackwell is also offering ZOOM classes and is figuring out COVID-safe ways to continue her teaching. Dr. Blackwell is enthusiastic and always ready to share her love of art and nature with children and adults of Fauquier County. She responds to all inquiries promptly. Please visit her website for more information: icadev.org or call: (410) 302-5926. ❖



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TOP 1% MORTGAGE ORIGINATORS IN AMERICA BY MORTGAGE EXECUTIVE MAGAZINE NMLS# 199435 | Call Doug at 703-217-7277 dsalzman@gmmllc.com | www.dougsalzman.com This is not a commitment to lend. All loan applications are subject to credit and property approval. Annual Percentage Rate (APR), programs, rates, fees, closing costs, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice and may vary depending upon credit history and transaction specifics. Other closing costs may be necessary. Flood and/or property hazard insurance may be required.

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under the canopy Landscape created with native plants and trees by Fauquier and Rappahannock Master Gardener volunteers offers opportunity for education and solace at Rady Park Arboretum



Obedient Plant, Physostegia Virginians, a Virginia native that blooms in September and is a great late season source of nectar for native pollinators. It does spread abundantly when in a location where it is happy.


{ MARCH 2021 |



estled within a group of neighborhoods on the northwest side of Warrenton at the end of Fauquier Road is Rady Park Arboretum. Upon arrival, visitors emerge into a forested garden landscape, complete with gentle streams and winding pathways that lead to garden beds showcasing an array of primarily Virginia-native shrubs and trees. The arboretum serves as both a sanctuary and a classroom to community members and nature enthusiasts alike. While the park itself is managed by Warrenton Parks and Recreation, the arboretum portion was created as a demonstration project and is maintained by Fauquier and Rappahannock County Master Gardener volunteers under the auspices of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. With Mary McGee and Winny Buursink as co leaders, the Master Gardeners developed a variety of landscapes within a section of the park that emphasize the use of native woody plants that can be used by landowners. Buursink explains that this arboretum is unique. It is set up in a public park,



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and not as a separate stand-alone entity. It also demonstrates to homeowners plants in a garden setting. “In [many] arboretums you see all the plants in a row, as in a museum,” she says. “Here, we put them in the context of the garden so you can see what it would look like on your property.”

promoting health and wellbeing by restoring nature In recent years, the arboretum lost a number of large ash trees to an infestation of emerald ash borer, a beetle that has killed over one hundred million ash trees in North America. “This park had about 20 ash trees taken down, especially around the playground, and ash trees are huge shade trees, so we lost a lot of tree canopy,” says Buursink. In the fall of 2019, the park received a grant from the PATH foundation to replace the lost trees with trees that are a good match for the soil conditions and resistant to disease. When applying for the grant, the Master Gardeners cited mental health as a primary reason for restoring trees on the property. “I found studies about how much tree canopy influences people’s mental wellbeing,” says Buursink. The replacement trees that are now thriving include elm, maple, oak, and pecan trees.

a lifeline during COVID Natural spaces such as the Rady Park Arboretum have been especially critical throughout the COVID pandemic, during which many people have relied on public outdoor spaces to relieve stress and maintain their physical and mental health. Buursink states that she has noticed an influx of individuals who simply come to enjoy the solace


{ MARCH 2021 |

ABOVE, LEFT: Master Gardeners at Rady Park ABOVE: A stream runs through Rady Park Arboretum. RIGHT: As an educational tool, the plants are labeled with signs including the common name, Latin name, and a scannable QR code for more information.



that can be found within the peaceful landscape of the arboretum. “During the pandemic, for a lot of people, this [has been] their lifeline,” she says. The outdoor space also provides a comfortable setting for safe social interaction. McGee says that she has noticed visitors using the space to safely gather in small groups with friends and family for celebrations that can no longer take place indoors. “I saw a little kid, about three, that was having his birthday,” she says. “The parents had brought in a little tent and hammock… and they had it all set up. There were presents and there were just a few people. It was all done according to the COVID recommendations, and I thought, ‘Wow, that is a major use of the park.’”

education and resources The arboretum is not only open for observation – there also are educational tools and programs provided by Master Gardener volunteers that are available to the public at no cost. And, these services even extend beyond the bounds of the park. “We have pamphlets, and we have the resources of the help desk,” says McGee. “If you have a plant that’s not doing well, you can call the help desk any weekday at 540.341.7950 #1 and they will try to provide you with an answer. They can come and test your soil, or you can do it yourself and bring in a sample at the Extension Office at 24 Pelham Street in Warrenton. We also give guided tours of the arboretum, and we usually have at least one event per year here.” As far as the public is concerned, the educational and recreational opportunities the park provides have proven to be highly valued. “We had one little boy whose father is a professional fundraiser,” says McGee, “and [the father] wanted to instill in the child the idea of giving. The two of them came and presented us with a check. They said that they wanted to do it because the little boy enjoyed coming to the park and playground, and he loved walking around over where the trees are. That’s the kind of feeling we normally get from people.” ❖ To learn more about the Rady Park Arboretum, visit plantsmap.com/ organizations/rady-park-arboretum.


e ssay: Love Stories at the Park BY NORMA THATCHER

As an avid walker, I spend some part of every day at a local park named Rady. Besides the children’s playground and covered gazebo with picnic benches, there is an oblong paved path around an open grassy area and the baseball field. In addition, there is a dirt path through a garden section alongside a creek. I love watching the foliage of trees and plants change through the seasons. And there is an amazing array of varying tree bark that is lovely in and of itself. So, it’s no surprise that Rady is a draw for nature enthusiasts, walkers and runners, families, couples, and friends. Not only do I walk there daily to exercise the dog and myself, but also to replenish my soul. Because love stories happen all around me. If I visit the park mid-morning, I sometimes see the young father who places his not yet 18-month-old son by a stone bench and then moves 20 or so paces away. The dad says in an excited voice, “Are you ready?! Are you ready?! Get set, go!” And the child wobble-runs as fast as he can move those baby-fat legs toward his daddy who scoops him up into the air as soon as the boy is within catching distance. Is there any sound more joyous than a child’s exuberant laughter? Then dad sets the boy down with an instruction to go back to the starting point. And another round begins. “Are you ready?” Are you ready?” They play this game half a dozen times or so. While the child A dogwood leaf physically tires out, I do not tire of the tree of the of watching them. I told the dad Virginia state flower recently, “This makes my day.” In late afternoon, a man around my age gently leads his wife around the paved path. I don’t know what illness she suffers from, but she doesn’t seem able to participate in the exchange of greetings. His patience in helping her get exercise in the fresh air is as sure a sign of love as I see. In early morning (my most typical time to be at Rady) a group of older gentlemen socially distance themselves around the center of the gazebo in chairs they bring from home. Usually there are four who meet every weekday morning. Grace the beagle and I walk around the outside of their circle so they can give Grace a pat and inquire as to how her squirrel chasing is going. It’s obvious that these men are good friends who honor the commitment to get up and out to visit for an hour. And if I happen to arrive after they’ve dispersed for the day, why, the next morning they tell me they missed us. I feel like an extension of their group. For this reason, I once took the guys some of my homemade chocolate chip cookies. Frank, Milton, Joe, and Bill may not say they love each other, but camaraderie is surely a form of love. So yes, walking in the park is good exercise for the body and immersion in nature is good for the mind. But noticing the love feeds my soul. ❖ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Norma Thatcher makes the world a safer place for audiences by teaching adults to be interesting public speakers. Her first children's picture book, Scooter Takes A Walk, will be published later this spring. You can follow her blog on her website at LiftedUp.us.

{ MARCH 2021 |




The Sparkly Gal from Warrenton Studio Luxe shines in Old Town BY AMANDA M. SOCCI PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRANDI NORELL


here is a garish way to overdo sparkle and a sophisticated way to incorporate fleeting traces of sparkle that give you that instantly memorable shine. One person who creates a glittery environment of her own is none other than the Sparkly Gal herself, Haymarket resident Brandi Norrell, owner of Studio Luxe Boutique in Old Town Warrenton. Norrell is the educator-turned-Sparkle-Queen who took her past work of helping students succeed and forged it into a business in her boutique retail store which she intends to become a gathering spot and retail-therapy haven for the women in the community. Living in Virginia for the last 20 years, Norrell is originally from North Carolina, where she worked with early childhood administration and served as the principal at a private school. Norrell spoke with fondness about her days growing up in the south and living among southern hospitality where she learned that “we mirror what we see and hear and our own interactions … [and the importance of] being genuine and kind and sincere.” After accumulating a lot of experience in youth advocacy, Norrell earned an MBA in strategic leadership which began to form a lasting impression in the type of person she wanted to be and the type of connection


{ MARCH 2021 |

she craved to make with people. “I had a gift in teaching and facilitating and making different things easy … this led me to business,” noted Norrell. In 2015, Norrell created Cheers to Today, LLC to provide coaching services to clients with an inspirational mantra to “start today because yesterday you said tomorrow” as per its website. Norrell also worked as a 9-11 dispatcher all while navigating the glamorous world of pageantry as she helped her daughter Trinity compete in local child pageants. It was a natural transition to open Studio Luxe Boutique in October 2019 after



working intimately with people in so many different settings, including education, public health, and child pageantry. Norrell describes herself as approachable with humility, making it comfortable for others to engage in conversation. She emphasizes her inner joy and “pleasure to know something personal about people, what people do for a living, or how they decorate their home.” What does Norrell do with all that extraneous information she learns about her customers? She uses it in the moment to help them feel at ease and welcome in her boutique. She also stores it in her memory bank to draw upon down the road. This is part of Norrell’s magnetism in building meaningful connections with people from the community. Norrell makes sure to create those connections as a daily goal because


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she wants to have “people walk in and leave their problems at the door and feel better and confident. I want people to feel lighter through conversation.” Studio Luxe Boutique sells clothing for women and home décor. The interior of the boutique is carefully arranged to showcase a “five-senses experience” that engages the smell, sound, vision, and touch of its customers. The taste aspect blooms organically and metaphorically when customers taste the good life of happiness and lighthearted conversation while shopping for retail therapy — a concept Norrell strongly believes her customers do when they choose her boutique. To enhance the five-senses experience, the boutique has candles lit all the time, emitting a warm, comfortable glow that sets a peaceful mood. The lighting is dimmed with soft jazz music playing. The goal is to encourage customers to arrive as strangers and “leave as friends,” because when “people hit that, that is the vision of my business,” beamed Norrell. The concept of creating a welcoming


{ MARCH 2021 |

space for individuals to converge and form friendships is not new. This idea was famously broadcast on the small screen in the 1980s television show “Cheers,” a fictional bar “where everybody knows your



name.” That show became popular because it struck a chord with people who could relate with the real-life need to want to belong to a community where people know you individually by name and not just as a number or a statistic. Norrell has revived the Cheers atmosphere where every person is known and cared about in a cozy 1500-square-foot retail space inside a charming cottage-like stand-alone building that is over 100 years old. “It’s my personal slice of heaven. There is so much charm in this building. It’s antique with a weathervane on top. What this space used to be … there are so many stories,” said Norrell enthusiastically. The boutique sells clothing for women that accommodates sizes XS to 3X. Inspired by her plus-size mother, Norrell makes it a point to offer sizes that are inclusive to all body shapes and sizes. She chose her inventory based on what she saw at clothing stores she loves. “I love transitional styles from day to night. Accessories can elevate the mood,” explained Norrell. Speaking of accessories, there is hardly a time when you’ll see Norrell dressed without her signature sparkle. Whether it’s a silver statement necklace or bangles or geometric rings adorning her long, elegant fingers, Norrell doesn’t just walk the walk of fashion, she lives it, breathes it, exudes it in her megawatt smile and appearance. Most importantly, it’s not even her looks that count. Brandi Norrell is the Sparkle Gal of Warrenton for the way she brings out the best in people and for her conscientious efforts to make Studio Luxe Boutique a place “where everybody knows your name.” 9 S. 5TH STREET, WARRENTON FACEBOOK @STUDIO LUXE BOUTIQUE

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{ MARCH 2021 |



Hospice of the Piedmont Invites Public to Community Conversations: Finding your Voice at the End of Life MARCH 10, 2 P.M. VIRTUAL, FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Hospice of the Piedmont will be launching a virtual series of events called Community Conversations. The first event, taking place on March 10, at 2 p.m. focuses on how patients can take control and find their voice at the end of life. Maintaining quality of life after receiving a life-limiting diagnosis requires more than just medical treatment—it requires that patients have a voice in their care. During this one-hour live online event, Hospice of the Piedmont will dive deeper into a dialogue around this topic. President & CEO Ron Cottrell will be joined by Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Education Institute Dr. Tim Short for a thought-provoking conversation about the trajectory of patient care after a life-limiting diagnosis. Mr. Cottrell will share a personal testimonial of how his family’s life was impacted by a terminal diagnosis, and Dr. Short will share his perspective on patient care at the end of life, backed by years of clinical and educational experience as a palliative care and family medicine doctor. Through this discussion, participants will have the chance to learn more about patient-centered options for comfort and compassionate treatments in the face of terminal illness. Participants who tune in for the live event will have the chance to submit questions and voice their concerns about end-of-life issues during the question-and-answer segment. Medical staff and other members of Hospice of the Piedmont’s interdisciplinary team will be on hand to answer questions and address concerns. The live event will also be recorded and available for viewing after March 10. hopva.org/community-conversations ABOUT HOSPICE OF THE PIEDMONT: Founded in 1980, Hospice of the Piedmont is the only community-based nonprofit hospice organization serving central and northern Virginia. The organization provides highquality, compassionate care and grief support to terminally ill patients and their families regardless of their ability to pay. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).

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{ MARCH 2021 |



renna Larson, Registered Nurse at Fauquier Health, Receives ‘Virginians Speak Up for Safety’ Award from Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Trenna Larson, Registered Nurse (RN) at Fauquier Health, has been named a recipient of the “Virginians Speak Up for Safety” award presented by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) to recognize hospital team members who successfully intervene in clinical situations to protect patients or staff members from potential harm. Christine Hart Kress, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), with Fauquier Health commented, “Trenna Larson’s recognition by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association for the fourth quarter Speak Up for Safety Award, really speaks volumes to the work that is being done here at the local level. For the last several years, Fauquier Health has focused heavily on patient safety and quality. Today, Trenna has set an unprecedented standard. We are proud of her dedication and commitment in serving our patients.” VHHA established the statewide “Speak Up” award in 2017 as a recognition program to acknowledge the efforts of individuals and teams within Virginia hospitals who speak up to prevent potential harm to patients or other staff members. Employees who feel empowered to speak up to colleagues and those in authority roles are supported in doing so by positive organizational safety culture. Cultivating that climate is a hallmark of highly reliable organizations which value employee feedback as a vital component of the journey to achieving zero harm. When Trenna first discovered that she was nominated as the Speak Up for Safety Award winner, her initial reaction was that she was “just doing her job.” Sandy Shipe, Director of Nursing Operations, commented, “Trenna’s reaction alone says volumes to me about the culture that our Senior Management Team has entrenched in the entire workforce here.” “Speak Up” awards are presented quarterly by the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence, whose focus is on working collaboratively with member hospitals and health systems to enhance health care quality, patient safety, and patient experience. Nominations are solicited from hospitals across Virginia and two award winners are selected each quarter. More than 250 nominations have been received since the program began. As circumstances permit, VHHA representatives travel to present awards to recipients in a small ceremony attended by hospital colleagues and administrators. ❖

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