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7 books to reflect on

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Are you looking to expand your reading list? Here’s a selection of literary works that’ll encourage you to contemplate a variety of social issues and what it means to be human.

1. 1984 by George Orwell
This seminal dystopian social science fiction novel depicts a future characterized by totalitarian rule, mass surveillance and the persecution of independent thinking.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In a dystopian society where books are outlawed, a fireman tasked with burning any volume he finds begins to question his role in censoring literature and destroying knowledge.

3. King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes
Originally published in French, this book is a series of essays that combine the stylings of a memoir and a feminist manifesto to denounce the subjugation of women.


4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Set in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this novella recounts the year-long friendship of a struggling writer and a young woman who rejects social conventions.

5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
With the help of simple yet elegant illustrations, this beloved classic explores friendship, love, and the things that are lost when children grow up.

6. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
The author explores themes of vanity and technological advancement in a story about the creation of a monster that’s rejected by society due to its grotesque appearance.

7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This absurdist tale, in which a man struggles to adjust after he inexplicably transforms into a giant insect, alludes to the alienation experienced by those who are different.

Look for these and other intriguing titles at the Royal Oak bookstore.

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5 benefits of hiring landscaping professionals

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Do you want to freshen up your yard or completely redesign the look of your property? If so, here are five advantages to working with a team of lawn care and landscaping professionals.

1. Your plants and trees will thrive. While all species require sunlight to grow, some need much more of it than others. Plus, certain plants prefer direct light, while others do well in the shade. A landscaper will ensure each plant is in an ideal location to get what it needs.

2. Your planting times will be perfect. Some species need to be planted at a specific time of the year to grow and survive the change of seasons. Leaving this work to a professional will ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

3. Your landscaping will be cohesive. The style of your home, the size of your property, and the layout of your driveway and yard can affect the look of your landscaping. A specialist will take these elements into account before proposing a beautiful and practical design for your front and backyard.



4. Your lawn will be expertly installed. If you want to lay sod, the ground must first be properly prepared using specialized equipment. A landscaper will have the right tools and experience to quickly and efficiently complete this task. If you already have a lawn, a professional will make sure it stays lush, healthy, and free of pests.

5. Your hardscape will be stronger. Walkways, stairs, walls, and patios can be installed using a variety of materials. A landscaper will consider factors such as the frequency of use and weather conditions when designing every detail.

If you want to boost your home’s curb appeal and wow your guests, be sure to hire a team of landscaping professionals this spring.

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8 essential rules for beautiful landscaping

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Do you dream of having a healthy green lawn and gardens filled with bright blooms? If so, follow these tried and tested tips.

1. Consider plant placement
Make sure each plant is in a spot where it’ll get the sunlight and nutrients it needs to thrive. Additionally, think about how the plant will look in terms of its appearance and size.

2. Water at the right time
On hot days, water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening. This way the roots will have time to absorb the moisture before it evaporates.

3. Fertilize as needed
Test the soil, then select a fertilizer or soil amendment that’ll provide the right balance of nutrients for your grass and plants to thrive. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers after mid-July.


4. Apply mulch
Cover the ground with a generous layer of mulch to enrich the soil, improve drainage and suppress weeds.

5. Attract pollinators
Opt for nectar-rich plants and choose species with varied bloom times, so your garden will flower from spring until fall.

6. Avoid pesticides
Cultivate your garden without using pesticides by creating a diversified habitat and choosing insect and disease-resistant plants, among other things.

7. Recycle grass clippings
Leave grass clippings on the ground after you mow the lawn, so they can serve as a natural fertilizer.

8. Collect rainwater
Set up a few rain barrels on your property to conserve water. This will ensure you can continue to water your garden in times of drought.

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Is your lawn mower ready for summer?

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Cutting the grass is a crucial part of maintaining your lawn. If you want to simplify this task, make sure your lawnmower is in good condition at the beginning of the season. Here’s a checklist so you don’t forget anything.

The blades
Since damaged blades can’t be sharpened, you’ll need to replace them if they’re cracked or dented. Blades that are in good shape should be sharpened to ensure a clean cut. To help your mower perform efficiently, do this at least twice every summer.

The oil
If you have a gas-powered lawnmower, change the oil in the spring or after about 50 hours of use, whichever comes first. Be sure to disconnect the spark plug before you begin. Place a container near the drainpipe, gently tilt the mower toward it and remove the oil cap or plug. Once you’ve drained the old oil, replace it. If your mower has a fuel filter, change that as well.

The spark plug
To ensure your lawnmower starts easily and runs smoothly, replace the spark plug once a year. All you need is a spark plug socket and wrench to remove the old plug and install the new one.



The air filter
Like the spark plug, your lawn mower’s air filter should be changed annually. In some cases, however, simply cleaning this component will do the trick.

In addition to these steps, remember to inspect the wheels, lubricate all moving parts and clean the underside of your lawnmower. If you have an electric model, charge or replace the battery as needed. Don’t forget to fill up the tank if you have a gas-powered mower.

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What you need for a butterfly garden

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Many plants rely on butterflies to pollinate them. Here’s what you’ll need to create a habitat for these beautiful insects in your backyard.

• Sunshine. Choose a site that gets plenty of sunlight and is sheltered from the wind. Add a few flat rocks, so butterflies can warm up.

• Host plants. Adult butterflies need to lay their eggs on plants that caterpillars can eat such as dill, fennel, milkweed, and parsley.

• Mud puddles. Some butterflies get their nutrients from the water in damp soil and sand, so leave a few areas free of mulch and keep them moist.



• Nectar plants. Asters, coneflowers, milkweed, phlox, and zinnias are just some of the flowering plants that attract butterflies. Choose species native to your region.

• Varied blooms. To provide butterflies with a viable home, you’ll need a variety of plants, so there are flowers in your garden from spring until fall.

In the fall, let leaves accumulate in your garden so that caterpillars, chrysalises, and dormant adults have a warm place to overwinter.

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7 tips to make spring cleaning more

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Are you ready to freshen up your home after a long winter cooped up inside? Here are seven ways to give your house the deep clean it needs while also helping to protect the environment.

1. Air-dry your laundry
Since dryers use a massive amount of energy, take advantage of nice weather by hanging your clothes and linens outside or use a drying rack.

2. Opt for natural cleaners
Choose biodegradable products rather than harsh chemicals that harm the environment. You can also use white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to get the job done.

3. Use water sparingly
Fill a bucket rather than repeatedly opening the tap to rinse your cloth. When possible, use a broom instead of a mop.


4. Switch to reusable rags
Give up paper towels for good. Buy washable cloths, or better yet, use cut-up towels and old T-shirts that would otherwise be thrown out.

5. Donate unwanted clothes
If they’re in good condition, you can give old clothes to a local charity. Items that can’t be worn anymore should be recycled. Look for a garment collection program in your area.

6. Reduce paper waste
If an accumulation of bank statements and other mail is creating clutter in your home, switch over to receiving notifications by email instead.

7. Choose a natural scent
Rather than rely on aerosol air fresheners, fill your home with the natural fragrances of cut flowers, essential oils, reed diffusers, or stovetop potpourri.

Lastly, make sure to schedule maintenance calls for all your appliances. This will ensure they continue to run optimally and are as energy-efficient as possible.

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4 challenging vegetables to grow

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With enough sunlight and water, most vegetables are easy to grow. However, if you’re looking for a challenge, here are four crops that gardeners tend to struggle with.

• Carrots need to be consistently watered and weeded. They also require soil that has the right nutrients and temperature to avoid coming out skinny, cracked, deformed, or bitter.

• Cauliflower heads can turn brown in boron-deficient soil or develop a yellow tint if the plant gets too much sun. Additionally, exposure to temperature fluctuations early in the season can stunt its growth.

• Celery stalks may go to seed too soon or not grow at all if exposed to cold temperatures. They also need soil with just the right amount of calcium and boron.


• Head lettuce requires more time to mature than leaf lettuce. This increases the likelihood that the plant will go to seed too soon and give the leaves a bitter taste.

If you need advice about growing vegetables, speak with the experts at your local farmers market, nursery, or garden center.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
9
Sun
2:00 pm Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
May 9 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Mother's Day Weekend Paint Party - Daisies @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Bring Mom to The Studio for our Mother’s Day Weekend Special. Buy two tickets and save! This will be a lovely piece to add to your collections… and so much fun to paint. Join us[...]
May
13
Thu
6:30 pm Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
May 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service @ Front Royal Gazebo
Please join Warren County/Front Royal Back the Blue, in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police and Front Royal/Warren County Lodge #33, during National Police Week as we honor our local Law Enforcement Officers who[...]
May
14
Fri
12:00 pm Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
May 14 @ 12:00 pm
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for the 2021 Millionaire Maker held at award-winning Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club. The Millionaire Maker is a combined golfing and networking experience! Serious, amateur, and novice golfers are welcome. *Four golfers who[...]
May
15
Sat
7:30 am Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
May 15 @ 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Please join us for the Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. The event will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Bowling Green Country Club South (768 Bowling[...]
10:00 am Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Bring the family and enjoy a fun day learning about the history of the French & Indian War era at the site of Colonel George Washington’s headquarters for the Virginia Regiment. Meet living history interpreters[...]
11:00 am National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 15 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Children’s Discovery Area: This National Kids to Parks Day, join us for fun-filled activities and music at our interactive discovery stations. Kids, pick up a scavenger hunt brochure and hike on the Track Trail. Just[...]
May
16
Sun
9:00 am Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
May 16 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Psychic Fair for both those who are serious and for those who are just curious. Event can be a life changing experience or just a fun time! Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers, and[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 16 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive construction to[...]
May
19
Wed
12:00 pm Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Tap into Your CEO Power @ Online Event
Many business owners struggled with the consequences of COVID-19 in 2020. Now, more than a year later, many of those same business owners have turned chaos into creativity finding new opportunities for growth. The Fauquier[...]
May
22
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connec... @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 22 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Backcountry Basics: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn in Historic Area. Connect with the park’s landscape and get a taste of the skills you need to thrive in the backcountry. Participants will join experienced outdoor skills instructor Tim[...]