Tag Archives: Appalachian Mountains

Shenandoah Valley night brightened with neighborhood Christmas lights

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????It was a brisk and blustery evening to meander the neighborhood as the sun sank tonight behind the Appalachians.  Magical twinkly lights lit up the darkness … white and colorful and brilliant … the illuminations brought holiday cheer to the cold December night. Lighting was tricky so there’s some blurriness but it was fun to see my neighbors’ houses all dressed up for Christmas.

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Summer storm clouds over Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Summer thunderstorms were developing over the mountains Tuesday afternoon as we drove to Fishersville to visit friends. Turning into their neighborhood, the clouds over the Blue Ridge were beginning to build …

2… and a storm could be seen along the Skyline Drive just north of Afton.

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Baling summer hay in western Virginia

By Lynn R. Mitchell

18Baling a hay field in Augusta County west of Staunton with the Appalachians in the background.

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July wildflowers of western Augusta County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1It’s summer! I took my camera today as we roamed the mountains and valley, packing a lunch up to the Blue Ridge Mountains to picnic where the temps were in the 70s. Driving where the wind took us on this hot summer day, temps topped out at 90 degrees in Waynesboro but it was a slightly cooler 86 degrees west of Staunton. The wildflowers were in full bloom under cloudy skies that became sunny in the afternoon, leaving the mountains in a haze, and the beauty of it all was breath-taking. The wild red berries above, with the Appalachian Mountains in the background, are plentiful throughout the Shenandoah Valley but I’m not sure what they are called.

2Queen Anne’s Lace is plentiful along roadways and in fields, a delicate grouping of tiny white blossoms that populated the ditch along this particular back road with the Appalachians in the background.

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Appalachian sunset

1“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.”

— Rabindranath Tagore
Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 23, 2015

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The Valley back roads on a spring afternoon

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1The clouds in the sky over the Shenandoah Valley were especially interesting on Saturday and so I pulled out my camera and began to take pictures throughout the warm spring day. This was the view of the Appalachians from my neighborhood with clouds above the ridges.

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Appalachian spring sunset

Sunset 2Wednesday night’s sunset over the Appalachian Mountains west of Staunton was taken by my neighbor who shared her photo of the setting sun at the end of a fabulous spring day in the Shenandoah Valley….

Photo by Carolyn Dameron
April 29, 2015

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Pics #2: Snowy western Augusta County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????February 24, 2015. Our drive along the back roads of Swoope in western Augusta County along the foot of the Appalachian Mountains took us past North Mountain Outfitters where one of their longhorns posed as I took photos.

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Snowy Cestari Farm and the Churchville area of Augusta County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Francis Chester’s Cestari Farm in Churchville, Virginia. The sign on the silo says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Mr. Chester, a self-described country lawyer and sheep farmer, is a dedicated member of St. Francis Catholic Church in Staunton. He is also someone I’m proud to call friend, someone who takes up for the little guy and has been squashed on by the big guy.

Cestari Farm won Virginia Living Magazine’s 2013 Made in Virginia Award in the Style category. In publicizing the award, they wrote about this fascinating man:

“When you put Cestari wool to your ears, you can almost hear the sounds of life within it,” says Francis Chester, 77, who fell in love with the agricultural life in 1946 when his family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to a farm on rural Long Island. Chester financed college and law school with proceeds from a roadside farm stand, and when Chester and his wife, Diane, moved to Virginia in the late 1960s, Cestari Sheep and Wool Company was born.

            Today, the Chesters and two of their three children operate a sheep farm in Augusta Springs and a second sheep farm and wool mill in Churchville. The mill’s cleaning process preserves the wool’s lanolin and gives Cestari wool its notable luster and durability. “Most commercial wool is cleaned in acid baths, which destroys the lanolin,” explains Chester. The company sells yarn in four weights for hand knitters, crocheters, and hand weavers, as well as wool socks and sweaters hand made or hand machined in Virginia. New this fall is a line of Merino wool throw blankets and baby blankets. Wool $6-$12. Socks and sweaters $10-$129. Blankets $59-$129. CestariSheep.com

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Winter views of the Appalachian Mountains

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????As I drove home from Staunton this afternoon on this cold January day, the air was clear and the mountains beckoned. There was not time to head to the hills so I took some photos instead. Ponds are frozen after days of sub-freezing temperatures. This time of year presents a different kind of beauty when trees are bare and the lay of the land is clearly visible.

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New Year’s Eve … a quiet day of reading and writing

The Appalachian Mountains in Augusta County on New Year’s Eve.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve spent the day so far catching up on news reports and other blogs. On Christmas Eve I posted and then the blog happily went (almost completely) dark for the next week. Why? Let me count the ways.

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Merry Christmas, Stacy … wherever you are

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Christmas ornament hand-painted by 10-year-old Stacy in 1975.
As I was growing up, a tradition in our family was for my parents to give us ornaments each year from places they had traveled. My husband and I continued the tradition with our children … so we have a number of “special” ornaments that are placed on the tree year after year.

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Shenandoah Valley night brightened with neighborhood Christmas lights

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????It was a brisk and blustery evening to meander the neighborhood as the sun sank tonight behind the Appalachians.  Magical twinkly lights lit up the darkness … white and colorful and brilliant … the illuminations brought holiday cheer to the cold December night. Lighting was tricky so there’s some blurriness but it was fun to see my neighbors’ houses all dressed up for Christmas.

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December Appalachian sunset

??????????December sunset over Elliott’s Knob and North Mountain in the Appalachian Mountains. By the time I retrieved my camera, it was beyond the moment when the sky was at its most brilliant. It still was stunning.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
December 13, 2014

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