Virginia Johnson

08/03/2016 - 9:43am
Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

Pamela J. Toler’s Heroines of Mercy Street is the true history behind the popular PBS series set in occupied Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. Caveat here: I did read the book before watching a single episode. I found Toler’s narrative to be engaging and an excellent window to the time. With wildly varying levels of training (many, such as Louisa May Alcott, had only nursed family patients while another trained with celebrated British nurse Florence Nightingale), they all had a sense of duty and enthusiasm for the job that did not wane as the war ground on—though it did exhaust them and occasionally kill them.

07/28/2016 - 2:41pm
Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories

This ad ran in the newspaper on April 7, 1925

with a sense of adventure! Your own horse, your own dog, and a thousand miles of Kentucky mountains to serve. Join my nurses’ brigade and help save children’s lives. Write to:

Hyden, Kentucky, U.S.A.

It may have been the 20th century in the cities and towns, but in the Appalachian Mountains, it might as well have been the 18th century. Most medicine came from a granny-woman who did her best, but without knowing more or having modern medicines and equipment, a granny-woman’s best often wasn’t good enough to save lives.

Mary Breckinridge trained as a nurse in World War I and started the Frontier Nursing Service. To bring medical treatment to the people who needed it, her nurses would have to ride many miles and endure much hardship. But she and her nurses would also have to earn their trust, for mountain people are wary of outsiders.

07/21/2016 - 2:53pm

Quick Jumps to Recipes
Peach Ice Creams: Low Fat or Low Tech | Western Slope Peach Salsa 

No sodium. No cholesterol. Extremely low in fat. High in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin as well being sweet and juicy—what's not to love about a peach? Unless sugar is a concern, they are certainly a most delightful guilt-free treat. Whether they are in season locally or still available in the freezer section, peaches have many uses and are an excellent addition to your dinner table.

07/21/2016 - 1:52am
Cinnabar: The One O’clock Fox by Marguerite Henry

George Washington, like his English relatives before him, loved to ride horseback through the Northern Virginia fields, jumping over walls and fences, in pursuit of wily foxes. For foxes will grab a farmer’s chickens as a hearty meal, and George Washington was a farmer.

Cinnabar is a red fox who plays his part in the sport and hasn’t been caught yet, though, in this imaginative telling, he carefully keeps what he considers his appointments with the hunters at one o’clock. Told from the fox’s point of view, his happy return to his mate Vicky and his cubs is cause for sweet celebration.

07/21/2016 - 10:59am

The arts of food preservation go back to civilization's beginnings. In ancient Mesopotamia, families saved their produce for lean times. They dried dates, apples and figs. Their meat might be smoked, dried, or salted meat. Softer fruits could be preserved in honey. Now we have cane sugar, pressure cookers, refrigeration, packaged pectin, and so much more to make the process easier. Preserves and pickles have gone gourmet and exotic with exciting flavor combinations to enjoy and share with others.

09/12/2016 - 12:50pm

Did you know?

 — She's known as Jo to her friends. No one's called her Joanne since she was a child, and only then if she was being naughty.

 — Rowling is pronounced "rolling."

 — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 — Hermoine IS based on a real person — J.K. Rowling!

 — The fantastic Ford Anglia featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is similar to one owned by Sean Harris, her best friend at Wyedean School.

07/16/2016 - 1:41pm
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

What would really happen if thousands of people died in a city every day from an illness? Even worse, a city with few to no hospitals and only a bare bones emergency infrastructure? When the illness might leave no mark on a person until he or she fell over dead in front of you? And that’s when you realize, you have been exposed and could be next. What would you do?

07/06/2016 - 12:45pm
Stylistic Architecture in Fredericksburg

From the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

America's Forgotten Architecture by Tony P. Wrenn and Elizabeth D. Mulloy.
This book teaches how to look for architectural beauty in old buildings which may have been forgotten and whose loveliness deserves to be preserved. It features crisp black and white photos from across America. The authors explain early architectural styles and define preservation terms. Wonderful for browsing.
09/12/2016 - 8:43am

With Google's now infamous detailed photos, it's rather easy to see how a town is laid out today. But what about 50, 100, or 150 years ago? Where are the maps that show how the towns and counties grew through the years? One excellent source of information is the Sanborn fire insurance maps.


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