Tag Archives: fall

The winter woods have returned to Afton & Blue Ridge Parkway

By Lynn R. Mitchell

After a particularly colorful autumn leaf show, the winter woods have returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Howardsville Turnpike can now be seen through the leafless woods from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love the winter woods … trees are bare and you can see the forest floor. This time of year there are few people on the Parkway so it offers solitude with only the sound of the wind and the dry, rustly leaves on the ground to keep you company.

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Embracing Virginia’s fall colors along Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter

By Lynn R. Mitchell

38The autumn leaf color was somewhat muted Saturday under overcast skies but the golds, reds, and oranges were still vibrant along the mountain ridge tops of Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall colors have been running about a week behind this year and so we have been able to stretch leaf season longer to embrace and squeeze out ever bit of this once-a-year event. Because it is fleeting, it is treasured.

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Autumn maple tree in my yard

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Autumn leaves 2 maple tree in yardLooking up through the maple tree in our back yard. October 17, 2015.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 17, 2015

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October’s Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market

By Lynn R. Mitchell

11On Saturday mornings the Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market is open from 7am until noon. Located in the Wharf parking lot in downtown Staunton, it offers a wide variety of foods, plants, autumn decor, and more from local farmers.

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Virginia Hospitality Brunswick Stew recipe

Haystack, pumpkinsBy Lynn R. Mitchell

We woke this morning to 35 degrees and the first frost of the season. With a freeze warning in the forecast for the next several nights, we harvested the last of the tomatoes and peppers from the garden, and now the growing season of 2015 is over. When the temps dip this low, it’s time to put a pot on the stove and make up a batch of Brunswick stew, that Commonwealth staple that has kept generations of Virginians warm in cold weather.

The Brunswick stew recipe I have used for years is from the cookbook, Virginia Hospitality: A Book of Recipes From 200 Years of Gracious Entertaining. As with any cook, I have variations (in parentheses). Stew is best when the flavors are given time to meld together so each day it tastes better than the day before. The recipe easily doubles and triples for larger groups. Stay warm, and enjoy!

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Highland County’s October sights

By Lynn R. Mitchell

28Saturday in Highland County we noticed most streams were full after the rains of the previous two weeks. It’s not unusual for creeks to be very low in October, but not this year.

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Pumpkin spice products are everywhere

Pumpkin spice 5By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s that time of year when everywhere you look there is something pumpkin flavored.

As someone who doesn’t care for pumpkin anything, including pie, I’m in wonder at the variety of products available with this seasonal choice.

Pumpkin spiced lattes, air fresheners, candles, candy, roasted nuts, cookies, cupcakes, pies, ale, M&Ms, ice cream, yogurt, chewing gum, wine, breads, butter spread, coffee creamer … the list seems almost endless.

Business Insider tested 35 pumpkin spice products to save you the disappointment of those that don’t measure up — everything from M&Ms to Oreos to a variety of Trader Joe’s products. If you’re looking for the best, Parade Magazine provided their 10 favorite pumpkin-spiced products.

Personally, I prefer apple scents and apple flavors at this time of year. Oh, and chocolate. Chocolate has no season … it is timeless.

It’s a short season and before long we’ll be into Christmas-scented items. Until then, take advantage of pumpkin spice because, like the autumn-colored leaves, when it’s gone, it’s gone until next year.

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On top of the world in Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

18“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, October 10, 1842

9“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”  – John Muir

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Chrysanthemums, pumpkins, and gourds … oh, my!

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Oh my heavens! In mid-September my sister and I stumbled into Blue Ribbon Nursery and Landscaping in Broadway … and it was decked out for fall and Halloween. What a show! Pumpkins, gourds, mums of all sizes, garden flags, wreaths, decor … whatever you need for your autumn decorating needs, chances are you’ll find it and get into the spirit of the season.

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Fall vegetable garden still has tomatoes, peppers

By Lynn R. Mitchell

2After almost two weeks of rain, we checked out the garden today to see what had survived the weather. Today’s deep blue skies and bright sunshine are a contrast the rain and fog that had become the norm for the end of September and beginning of October.

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Back roads, sheep farms, mountain vistas of Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

32Highland County is also known as Virginia’s “Little Switzerland” because of its mountains and sheep. Sparsely populated, the vistas year round are exceptionally stunning but in the fall vibrant oranges, reds, and golds make the mountain slopes come alive with color. These photos were taken on September 30 when only the far western part of the county was at peak but the next week will see big changes as the autumn color show moves east. (For more photos see Fall colors brighten western Highland County.)

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Fall colors brighten western Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

15With a hurricane tracking toward the East Coast and weather forecasters discussing a “perfect storm” of high winds and historic rainfalls within a few days, we took advantage of the break in the weather on Wednesday, September 30, and headed out Route 250 west of Staunton as we looked for fall. We found it at the high elevations of western Highland County at the West Virginia state line — the bright oranges, red, and golds that will spread eastward over the next weeks.

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Happy Fall! First day of autumn 2015

Pumpkins 1

Here’s a load of pumpkins to celebrate the first day of autumn in 2015.

Happy Fall!

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Showy flowers of Fall

2Chrysanthemums … one of the flowers of Fall.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
August 2015

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A day with Mom at Dayton Farmers Market

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????While my parents visited last week, Mom and I slipped away, driving the 30 minutes from my house to the Dayton Farmers Market in the Old Order Mennonite town of Dayton. It was Thursday and a horse and buggy were at hitching post when we arrived. The owners soon climbed in and clopped-clopped away down Route 42 toward “downtown” Dayton in rural Rockingham County.

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