Session 2: Paper-Making, Natural Pigment, & Nature Journal Workshop (FREE)

Join park staff and rangers from both Elk Knob and Grandfather Mountain State Parks in this collaborative, multi-disciplinary workshop. Participants who attend will paint with natural pigments, bind their hand-made paper into journals with upcycled materials, learn about nature journaling, and take their hand-made journals out into the park for a journaling excursion!

Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting stained, or bring an apron!
Appropriate for ages 8 and up. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets, please.

Meet at the park interim office.

This session will include:

  1. Decorate the artisan recycled paper that we made in Session 1 with paints and dyes wildcrafted with natural pigments. If you did not attend Session 1, don’t worry- there will be plenty of hand-made, recycled paper for those only attending Session 2. Participants will be using various objects from nature to apply color with stamps and impressions
  2. Learn about environmental sustainability, resource conservation, and discuss key differences between upcycling and recycling
  3. Bind paper into booklets or journals using entirely upcycled materials
  4. Explore ways of observing and relating to nature through journaling, note-taking, drawing, poetry, and other art forms
  5. Go for a short hike and nature journaling activity. Witness your love of nature come full circle through expressive art; write or draw in the journal you made and/or decorated using sustainable, recycled, and upcycled materials!

Workshop and all materials are provided free of charge, but space is limited! Please RSVP by e-mailing, or calling 828-963-9522 to reserve your spot.

Date of Event:
Fri, 08/09/2019 – 11:00am to 3:00pm
Start Location:
9872 Hwy 105 South, Suite 6, Banner Elk, NC 28604

Daniel Boone Native Gardens Host 5th Annual Fairy Day

Daniel Boone Native Gardens’ most popular summer event is aimed for families this Saturday, July 13th! Children and families are encouraged to wear fairy or superhero costumes and bring a picnic. The entire family will enjoy the festivities. This event is free!

Come and meet the wandering “fairy lady,” enjoy face painting, learn about the life cycle of live butterflies.

The Children’s Playhouse and The Watauga County Library will also offer activities for children. Make a fairy garden with natural materials.

Please note that certain options are available for a nominal fee. reports that the event is a day dedicated to teaching children about the fascinating aspects of nature. Dr. Annkatrin Rose, botany professor at Appalachian State University, will engage children in learning about the life cycle of monarch butterflies. Children will also be able to “meet the bugs” and learn about pollinators and their importance in nature.

Watauga County Needs Residents Input Regarding Broadband Service

Watauga CountyIf you live in Watauga County, please take the time to fill out the below survey to identify areas in Watauga County where broadband service is limited or lacking all together.

Please complete the survey to help the County to identify businesses and residences that are unserved or underserved by current broadband Internet service. Please complete separate surveys for each physical location that is unserved or underserved.

You do not need to list your name, but your address is required in order to create a clear picture for providers where gaps in service and Internet speed exist. Information from this survey may be shared with potential service providers. For more information, please call the Watauga County Manager’s Office at (828)265-8000.

Please click here to access the survey and read more information.

Locally Made Body Wash and Lotion for Sensitive Skin

I know there are many families dealing with sensitive skin and eczema. You will enjoy this post.

Recently, I was contacted by a local mom to inform me about a new product line in the High Country. Wild Mountain Ash is a globally inspired, locally formulated essential body care. My oldest daughter has extreme sensitive skin and we are not able to use any perfumes or “nice smelling” products on her. You can imagine our reaction when we heard about Ashley Furman, Pharm. D concoctions for sensitive skin.

Wild Mountain Ash

There are two concoctions, Safi and Abhaya. My daughter really enjoyed the smell of Safi. She has been using the Safi body wash for about a week and half and in her own words say, “it’s so refreshing.” In the description on the website, Safi essential care products are formulated with gentleness and restoration in mind. The clean scent balances the delicate and the sensual, while smoothing and soothing skin. The purity of the oils in this formula evoke a sense of modesty and the sweet kiss of salty ocean air. The big amazing news is she does not break out with this scent. Do you know how many products we have tried for her? Also another bonus is the scent stays with you unlike other body washes. The bathroom door will open after my daughter is done with her shower and the scent begins to fill the house. It is glorious and refreshing. Yes, I will admit I will walk by her to just smell her skin. It truly smells that excellent! Both the body wash and lotion will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. My daughter is happy to finally have a product that has a scent that will cooperate with her skin.

The Abhaya is a scent that I find theraputic which is exactly how Ashley describes this scent. The Abhaya products are formulated to rejuvenate and soothe. The calming and uplifting essential oils meet to balance your mood and provide therapeutic, warming moisture to your skin. Created with ingredients that clarify skin and improve elasticity, Abahaya is the perfect choice to relax your body and mind.

All products can be found at Boone Drug on King Street. Ashley uses natural bases and essential oils in all her concoctions. It is safe to say, your skin will thank you for applying these products to your body!

Looking for enrichment activities this summer? Watauga 4-H!

Watauga -4H

4-H Super Summer is open for enrollment. Join in for fun and engaging activities designed for 5-12 year olds. Click here to see the brochure of all the activities. You can request a flyer from the Extension office at 971 West King Street or call 828-264-3061.

To register, download the registration form and medical release form. You can mail the forms in or drop them off at our office at 971 West King Street.

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum Offers Weekly Doodlebug Club

Let your child have fun using their imagination and introduce basic art skills at the weekly Doodlebug Club.


Doodlebug Club at BRAHM is an hour long class for preschool aged children on Tuesdays from 1-2pm. We start with a fun and educational art project. These projects concentrate on basic art skills such as holding your paintbrush, the primary colors, or holding a pair of scissors. Children are introduced to different art mediums like watercolors, crayons, oil pastels, clay, and colored pencils. We usually have time for each child to create several pieces of art! After clean up it is story time! It’s a great way to introduce your child to art and meet other children and parents.

For additional information, please contact Ethan Brooks-Livingston at 828-295-9099 ext 3004 or email

Michaels Hosts Free Family Craft Time Events

Michaels is hosting three free family craft time events. What a great way to bond with your family and make something home made from the heart. Below are the three craft options with the date and time of the event.

Free Family Craft Time:

Feb. 10 – Love Bug Card

Join us Monday, February 10th, from 5pm – 7pm, for Free Family Craft Time. Use the array of simple craft materials in each can to create whatever you can imagine! Offer available while supplies last.


Feb. 12 – Valentine’s Day Frame

Bring the whole family to craft a heartfelt Valentine’s Day Frame. Join us Wednesday February 12th, from 10 am – 12 noon for Free Family Craft Time. Use the array of simple craft materials in each can to create whatever you can imagine! Offer available while supplies last.


Feb. 12 – Tissue Paper Heart

Bring the whole family to craft a special Tissue Paper Heart. Join us Wednesday, February 12th, from 5pm – 7pm, for Free Family Craft Time


Why I Buy Local

I am very impressed with the support that High Country residents give the local merchants here in Boone and the surrounding areas.  Wow, it seems to me like a local business wonderland.  After living in three other states, two of which were considered rural areas, I don’t feel like I have experienced so much love when it comes to supporting one’s local economy.  With that said, I just might be preaching to the choir, but for those new to the area, vacationing, or just haven’t gotten into the habit of purchasing goods from local merchants allow me to speak my case.

Let me start out by saying that I am in no way opposed to capitalism. Many of the large corporate names in the area add quite a few jobs.  And even though common household names like Walmart aren’t by any means my favorite place to shop and I’m sure would never be my favorite place to work common corporate names do employ lots and lots of people in the area allowing them hopefully purchase from local merchants.  I believe that small businesses should be enabled to grow as their owner sees fit to lead them.  Isn’t that one of the great things about America?

The first reason that I buy local is probably a no brainer, but the food is amazingly fresher than purchasing it in any grocery store around.  You are getting a better taste, way more nutritional value, fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness and not under ripened so that it will eventually arrive to you ripe.  Plus, many local farmers reduce or don’t use pesticides, growth hormones and harmful chemicals on their produce and animals.  This is all happy and fabulous news to a health nut myself.  I am one that drowns myself in more than enough information with it comes to the harmful side affects of some of that junk in the foods we purchase.  Plus, any products or other items I buy local I know are pure and handmade with love and care.

Another great reason would be building relationships.  I love getting to know my local farmers.  I get excited when I can visit the farm of the one who grows my food.  I love purchasing goods from those whom I know and I can build a relationship with.  I love it that I can appreciate their farming practices and the art that they practice.  I feel as though we are all artists in one form or another and I love to appreciate the trades of these individuals.  I love it when I know where my food comes from and that the farmer’s practice humane farming techniques.

It is a support of our local economy.  Being a business owner myself, I hope that as I support local business owners they will also support me as well.  Support of our local economy can not be outsourced.  It is an important part of our mountain lives and I hope to help keep in business those whom I’ve grown in relationships with, who support me as a business owner and who take pride in the work that they do.  I hope this may even enable them to grow their businesses as they desire so that they might also hire local individuals as well as help me grow my business and employ others in the future as well.

I love buying local and there are so many wonderful places to do it in the area.  Don’t miss out on stopping by local farmer’s markets, local restaurants, Green Mother Goods, Blowing Rock Produce Provisions, and other local hot spots.  Next time you are in need of something, anything to support your lifestyle make sure you consider a local merchant first!

Tools for a Green Clean

Tomorrow, my baby is going to be 3 weeks old.  Just where does all that time go?  Granted, it’s only been three weeks, but it feels like just yesterday that I had her.  You know that if 3 weeks goes that fast than 30 years is going to just fly by.  Eeek!

My husband and I have been facing the challenge of being family-less here in the high country.  We are transplants that moved here a bit over a year ago so that my husband could take a job.  Our families lives hours and hours away, 10-15 hours away respectively.  After two weeks of sitting around holding my baby I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I have had the urge to give my house a drastic deep clean.  Is nesting possible after the baby is born? I have been going crazy wanting to clean this place!  9 months pregnant isn’t the most optimal time to give your house a deep clean, especially when you have two other little ones to chance around.  And, unless you have some serious nesting urge chance are pretty good that the house is not going to get any cleaner before that baby comes.  So, now it is time to get my house sparkly clean.

There are a few tools to help green and deep clean my house that I have been dying to purchase.  Do you have any deep clean green tools that you love?  So, last night I decided that it was time to make the plunge and just purchase some highly reviewed green deep cleaning tools.  Here are a few that I hope will be my favorite green cleaning tools ever:

MUkitchen MUbamboo Dishtowel, Moss – This dishtowels made from bamboo are environmentally friendly, super absorbent, and fast drying.  The fast drying is supposed to eliminate bacterial growth in the towels.  Since our kitchen towels have been around since the birth of our marriage I believe it is time to get some new ones.  There are great reviews on these so i’m excited to green my kitchen with some new towels.




Full Circle FC09200-3C Flip Loofah Sponge, 3-Pack – I really don’t like purchasing the cheap sponges.  They seem to get musty and moldy smelling so quickly.  I am excited about these sponges because they are completely biodegradable and they have a sponge side and a scubber side.  Since we have been using the same reusable paper towels for over a year, I’m excited for a little switch.



Skoy Eco-friendly Cleaning Cloth (4-pack: Assorted Colors) – I happen to love this little product.  These are the reusable paper towels that we have used for quite some time.  They make less waste and they absorb so well.  If you want to disinfect just throw them in the dishwasher or in the microwave for a few seconds and voila!  You won’t be disappointed!




Full Circle FC11126 Lean and Mean Scrub Brush – I desperately need something to scrub the bottom of my bath tub.  I believe this brush will do the trick! It boasts of a comfortable handle and tough bristles, quick drying, and prevents bacteria build up.  I can’t wait to try out this green ditty.




 How do you give your house a green super clean?  Do you have tools or products that you love to use on a regular basis?

Is Joining a CSA Right for You and Your Family?

Even though I am all about purchasing everything local, I still have my doubts about joining a CSA at least for my family.  There are many families out there that are part of them that love them, but as for us I have decided to opt out of joining one for this summer.  If you have never been part of a CSA and are teetering on the fence hopefully this article can help you navigate if a CSA is right for you.  But, before I get started here is a  question that I know there are a few people out there asking.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Typically when you participate in a CSA you take part in a share.  You are supporting a local community farm by ultimately purchasing in bulk along with everyone else.  Often times when you join a CSA you get a box of food on a weekly basis.  Sometimes the frequency is less depending on the farmer and the product.  I’ve been part of both a meat CSA where the farmer provided a bi-weekly mix of chicken, beef, and pork as well as a fruit and vegetable CSA where the farmer provided a weekly box of a fruit and veggie mix.  Generally you get whatever is in season at the time in your box and don’t know ahead of time what you will get.


  • You are in Full Support of a Local Farm – By joining a CSA you ensure that you get the bulk of your produce from a local farmer and contributing to your local economy.
  • Organic Foods on the Cheap – Often times those in a CSA get priority and if you can eat all the food you get you are often saving a little money over farmer’s market prices.  Although you may be able to find many of these fruits and veggies in the store for less you are often still saving money if you like to purchase organic on a regular or full-time basis.
  • You Get Foods that are in Season – You get foods that are in the prime of their freshness and literally picked from the vine often only the evening or day before you get your produce. You can’t get much better nutritional value than that.  Often times when you are purchasing food from the grocery store it has come miles and miles before you get it and had to be picked early so that it won’t over ripen before it reaches you.
  • You Often Get a Large Box of a Variety of Foods – If you and your family are into trying new dishes and new veggies you will love a CSA.  Often times you will receive vegetables that you may have never before eaten or that you have no idea how to prepare.   Unless you ask the farmer you may not even know what they are.  It was a challenge and fun for me to be able to figure out new recipes and how to try out a veggie.  If you purchase a full share you also get a rather large box.  Depending on how large your family is and how much you can eat or put away this can either be a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Grocery Shopping Done For You – It is nice to just go pick up your box and not have to do all the supermarket shopping.  Ah, I really enjoy much of my grocery shopping done for me!


  • It’s a Large Box – My family consists of me, my husband, and my two little kids.  The box was much too large for us.  And at least half my family is picky eaters so it was extremely hard to conquer the box.  It might have been nice to split the box with another family so that it could all be enjoyed.  It pained me to have to throw away things, but it didn’t always keep well if it was put away.
  • There are a Variety of Foods – Often times I was experimenting with new recipes to find that I was the only one willing to eat them.  Not only is this a complete bummer and a waste of food, but it felt like a lot of work for one person to eat what they’ve cooked.  I love eggplant but my family can’t stand it.  So whenever I’d get an abundance of egg plant there was no way that I could eat it all.
  • Money Waster – Although I love supporting local agriculture I don’t have the money to purchase a CSA and not use all the goods.  Sometimes being part of a a CSA last summer did waste our money.  Often times I could cook the foods to everyone’s liking and I was the only one trying to stuff away all the veggies that we had been blessed with.
  • Hard to Meal Plan – If you are trying to save money meal planning like I am it is very hard to do so when you don’t know what fruits and veggies you are going to get.  I feel as though I was scrounging for recipes at the last minute to please my family when it was rather hard to do.

I want to encourage you to examine both the pros and cons of a CSA and see which option fits your family.  Right now I believe that we are not going to participate because it just won’t get eaten, and I will once again be trying to conquer the CSA box.  Until then you will find me on Saturday mornings shopping the local farmer’s market as much as I can.  I really do love buying local and want to support local businesses whenever I can!  But, I also like making sure our money is always put to good use.

What about you?  Are you part of a CSA or not?  I would love to hear your thoughts on being part of a CSA in the comment section below.