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Fall gardening: best bulbs to plant

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With the arrival of fall, gardeners should start preparing their yards for winter and spring. For most, an important task is to plant their spring-blooming bulbs. Here are some of the hardiest types.

• Crocuses. This will be one of the first to bloom in your spring garden. Choose from a variety of species in different colors and sizes, and plant them in a spot that gets partial or full sun.

• Daffodils. These spring flowers will grow back year after year with little help from you. Plant them in partial shade or full sun for best growing results.

• Alliums. This ornamental variety of the onion family produces big purple balls of blooms. They love the sun and will return every spring.

• Tulips. These blooms come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They do best when planted in areas with partial shade or full sun. They’re perennials, so you won’t need to plant new bulbs every year.

To ensure they take, bulbs should be planted before the ground freezes but only after the weather is reliably cool. For a spring garden that’s continuously in bloom, be sure to plant bulbs that flower at different times during the season.

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What you should know about helicopter parenting

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Do you oversee every aspect of your children’s lives? Do you tend to hover around them managing every challenge that arises? While it’s a good thing to be involved in your children’s lives, smothering them — a.k.a. helicopter parenting — can have serious consequences.

The risks
In order to develop autonomy, confidence and self-esteem, children need to learn to navigate trials and tribulations on their own. As kids grow, it’s best to allow them to manage their problems, make mistakes and learn from their successes and failures.

Studies indicate that children of helicopter parents tend to have difficulty developing their independence and regulating their behavior. A young person whose early childhood spats with playmates were managed by well-meaning parents may come to have little tolerance for disagreements and act out in ways that isolate them from their peers.

Children who were raised by parents who continuously spoke on their behalf may also have trouble expressing themselves. In some cases, they may even believe they aren’t capable of being responsible for themselves.

What you can do
Parents can and should be involved in their children’s lives. However, it’s best to offer love and support while encouraging autonomy and self-sufficiency.

If you think you’re a helicopter parent, take stock. Determine what things you’re doing for your children that they can and should do on their own (it may be helpful to write out a list). Gradually, back off from performing these tasks.

Remember, it’s okay for children to make mistakes, take wrong turns and sometimes fail. Undoubtedly, these are the moments that will provide the most meaningful lessons.

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A brief introduction to canning

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Do you have more produce on hand than you know what to do with? If so, canning is a great way to make sure your food keeps all winter long.

Preparing food for canning
Here are some ways of preparing produce before it goes bad.

• Cooking. Turn your fruit into jam, make tomato sauce or blanch your vegetables before canning them.

• Pickling. Vinegar helps produce become acidic enough to be canned in a water bath. Try cucumbers, carrots, green beans or even peaches in a brine of vinegar and water.

Methods of canning
Home canning involves using sealed glass jars to conserve your food. There are a couple of ways to do this.

• Water bath canning. This method uses boiling water to heat jars and seal them. Only foods with high acidity like berries, pickles and tomatoes can be safely canned this way.

• Pressure canning. This technique involves using high temperatures to can meat and vegetables that aren’t acidic enough to be safely water canned. You’ll need a pressure canner, which is similar to a pressure cooker.

No matter what canning method you use, make sure to sterilize your jars and always use rings that are free of rust and lids that are brand new.

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Teaching children to appreciate diversity

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The ability to respectfully relate to people from all walks of life is an essential life skill. To this end, parents should strive to teach their children to appreciate differences in others. Here are some things you can do to ensure your kids respect their peers and understand the value of diversity.

Seek out other cultures
Exploring an array of different cultures is a great way to familiarize children with diversity. Traveling is one way to do this, but you can also attend multicultural events in your area. Reading books and watching documentaries are also good options.

Consume inclusive media

It’s important that children are exposed to diverse types of individuals in the media they consume. Seek out books, comics, magazines, television shows and movies that positively represent a variety of people. Consider who is represented and how in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and ability.

Set a good example
If you demonstrate an interest in others and approach differences with understanding rather than prejudice, your child is likely to imitate you. Teach them to take pride in what’s unique about themselves too.

Children need to be taught from a young age that all people are worthy of consideration and respect. Above all, encourage your children to ask questions and be curious about others. Just make sure they understand how to be respectful when doing so.

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Is the best blueberry fertilizer grass?

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Blueberry bushes are notoriously vulnerable to iron deficiency. This condition causes low fruit yields and can decrease the concentration of antioxidants in the berries.

While the solution is usually to apply artificial fertilizers to the soil, new research suggests there’s a simpler, safer and more sustainable way to help your blueberry bushes: plant grass around them.

Standard ways of correcting iron deficiency

Blueberry bushes can’t absorb iron in the soil unless it’s acidic. Producers have two options to remedy this problem: acidify the soil or introduce artificial compounds that provide easily absorbed iron.

However, both solutions are expensive, difficult to manage, generate toxic byproducts and can harm plant growth.

How grass helps fertilize blueberry bushes
Intercropping, or growing a crop among plants of a different kind, may be a better solution. The roots of some grass species, including the common creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), secrete an acidic compound that forms a soluble complex with iron in the soil and blueberry bushes can easily absorb it.

Researchers found that bushes grown in close proximity to these grasses had higher fruit yields and berries with an increased concentration of antioxidants.

If you notice yellow leaves on your blueberry bushes, consider buying some grass seeds. In addition to fertilizing your blueberry bushes, grasses make a great cover crop and will help reduce soil erosion.

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Into the woods

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Come September, there’s no shortage of reasons to venture into the woods. The leaves are changing color, the days are getting cooler and wildlife is on the move.

If you’re a hunter or fisher, grab your gear. Enjoy a brief escapade in the wilderness and then return home with food for your family to feast on. Or, if you have a free weekend and a tent, you could turn your hunting trip into an overnight excursion.

Is adventure your middle name? Then consider hitting the trails on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or a dirt bike. If you want to do so with your spouse or partner, take the wheel of an off-road utility vehicle (UTV); it has room for more than one.

Do you prefer a quieter, more contemplative experience? Then enjoy the serenity of the local flora and fauna from a canoe or kayak. If you want to stay on dry land, consider hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding through the woods.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve your mood. So, what are you waiting for? Go head out into the woods!

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How to help your teen choose a career path

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It’s normal to worry about what your teen’s going to do after high school but remember, they’re probably just as nervous as you are, if not more so. Here are some guidelines for helping them make good choices about their future.

Support but don’t hover
Think of yourself as the foundation of your child’s support system. Give them the tools needed to make informed decisions but don’t attempt to make choices for them. Similarly, teach them how resumes and cover letters work, but don’t write them yourself. Let your teen choose and follow their path autonomously.

Identify their strengths

As a parent, you likely have unique insight into your child’s strengths and abilities. Are they good at organizing their thoughts and presenting them clearly? Do they work better alone? These traits can offer clues as to which potential careers would be a good fit for your teen. You might be tempted to tell your child they’d make a great lawyer but try not to box them in. Instead, help them identify their talents and areas where they can be put to good use.

Push passion not prestige
Even if you’re convinced your child would make a great doctor, don’t push them down that path unless they’re interested in it. Spending 40 hours a week doing something they’re passionate about is a lot easier than spending the same amount of time doing something they don’t care for.

In addition to offering your own guidance, encourage your teen to consult a career counselor in your area. These professionals can provide further strategies for choosing a career path.

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Upcoming Events

Sep
21
Sat
all-day Huge Annual Yard Sale @ YARD SALE
Huge Annual Yard Sale @ YARD SALE
Sep 21 all-day
Huge Annual Yard Sale @ YARD SALE
Huge Annual Yard Sale, Sept 19 – 21 Location: 136 Passage Manor Drive, Strasburg, VA Flash Sale: Thursday: 10am – 2pm  |  Friday: 8am – 2pm  |  Saturday: 9am – 1pm
Sep
23
Mon
6:30 pm Monument to Mosby’s Men @ Front Royal's Prospect Hill Cemetery
Monument to Mosby’s Men @ Front Royal's Prospect Hill Cemetery
Sep 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Monument to Mosby's Men @ Front Royal's Prospect Hill Cemetery
The Col. John S. Mosby Camp, SCV, will lead the annual ceremony at the Monument to Mosby’s Men, 6:30pm on September 23rd, at Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery. Past Camp Commander Richard W. Hoover will[...]
Sep
24
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 24 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]
Sep
25
Wed
8:00 am Senior Safety & Health Expo @ Moose Lodge
Senior Safety & Health Expo @ Moose Lodge
Sep 25 @ 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Senior Safety & Health Expo @ Moose Lodge
The purpose of the Expo is to keep our seniors safer and healthier, and to strengthen communication between the law enforcement and senior communities. And have some fun and fellowship along the way! Topics may[...]
10:30 am Children’s Art Class “Back to Sc... @ Art in the Valley
Children’s Art Class “Back to Sc... @ Art in the Valley
Sep 25 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Children's Art Class "Back to School" Session @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
11:30 am Women In Networking @ Middle of Main
Women In Networking @ Middle of Main
Sep 25 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Women In Networking @ Middle of Main
Guest Speaker: Samantha Barber Topic: Voice for the Voiceless THIS IS A FREE EVENT – Please join us and other women looking to be inspired! “More than just another networking group.” FRWRC WIN is open[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Sep 25 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Sep
26
Thu
12:30 pm Watercolor Painting Essentials @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Painting Essentials @ Art in the Valley
Sep 26 @ 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Watercolor Painting Essentials @ Art in the Valley
This class will teach you the necessities to create your own watercolor paintings. Setup of materials and proper studio techniques will be shown. Indispensable ideas about drawing and color mixing as well as paint application[...]
4:00 pm Sketching with Pencils @ Art in the Valley
Sketching with Pencils @ Art in the Valley
Sep 26 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Sketching with Pencils @ Art in the Valley
Pencil sketching is a great way to capture a visual record of your experiences and ideas. This class will give students a strong foundation for making pencil images for a journal or sketchbook. Principles for[...]
Sep
27
Fri
10:00 am The Fundamentals of Oil Painting @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting @ Art in the Valley
Sep 27 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]