Blue Ridge, Two Kids: Tales of a Roanoke Dad

Nixtamalization (or, Learning from your elders)

I think about food a lot. This may not be surprising, since food is reputed to be one of the two major preoccupations of males. But I have an extra advantage in the time spent thinking about food, because I’m trying to hone my gardening skills. Recently, I’ve learned some interesting stuff about how many…
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Cosmic Goings-On

It’s been a few months since the last rocket post, so my kids would be happy to give you an update on recent space-related adventures. There have been several breaking news events: First, the SpaceX Starship program. This remarkable research program – intended for use in future moon and Mars missions – has been going…
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Books to Read Aloud – Adam of the Road

“A road’s a kind of holy thing… And it’s home to a minstrel.” This is the great theme of Adam of the Road, a book that reads like a miniature medieval ballad. Of all the books I’ve read to my boys, this one most inspired my own imagination. It tells the tale of Adam the…
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Books to Read Aloud – The Two Worlds of Davy Blount

Like most kids, our boys have a hankering for the beach. Born out of several years of summer vacations ranging from Virginia Beach to Hilton Head – and one memorable winter vacation in Florida – their young minds are full of wonderful seaside impressions: shells, sand, wind, tide, shark teeth, family gatherings, resort pools, beach…
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Things to do for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day may be rather low-key in Roanoke this year, but here are some ideas for how your family can make it a special day, courtesy of our family: Wear a diversity of colors. Here are some samples of this week’s conversations in our family: “ohhh no! Not green again!” … “Mom, can I…
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Illustrious Roanokers: Junius Fishburn(e)

While passing the imposing First National Exchange Bank building in downtown Roanoke, I made a mental connection to another one of Roanoke’s past greats: Mr. Junius B. Fishburn(e) (1865 – 1955) Though perhaps not iconic, Junius had a quite significant impact on the development of Roanoke – and of Virginia. Businessman extraordinaire, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and…
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Books to Read Aloud – The Hobbit

The best children’s books both inspire character and fire the imagination. When I asked my boys (separately) what their favorite book is, they both had the same answer: The Hobbit. This is no surprise, since this book stimulated their imagination like no other book.  The Hobbit, the introductory book to J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth…
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Perseverance Pays Off

As I’ve mentioned before, one bright spot of 2020 has been space exploration (for those into that sort of thing). Among other astronomic highlights of the year, three different spacecraft set out on journeys for planet Mars in 2020. Now, 7 months later, the American mission Perseverance has reached its destination. Last Thursday, it successfully…
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Books to Read on Winter Evenings – Little House on the Prairie

One of the best traditions in our home is evening read-aloud time. This is a time-honored tradition passed down from both sides of our family; my wife and I each have fond memories of family reading time from our own childhoods. It’s no surprise, then, that we renewed the tradition when our kids were toddlers,…
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Roanoke’s Roundabout Roads (and the Ruffians whose names are Written on them)

Roads in Roanoke never go in a straight line, and when they do, they change names. Thankfully, I like Roanoke enough to overlook this quirk, even though I often have no idea whether I’m driving on Melrose or Orange, Apperson or Brandon, Elm or Bullitt. And really, am I on Rt 11, Business Rt 11,…
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