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Iris are not deer’s choice for dinner. Photo by Lynn Stayton-EurellDeer and voles are the bane of gardeners everywhere. Fighting them has not worked for me so I do my best to discourage them. Dogs help keep deer out of the garden and so do fences, but planting things that are not their favorites is a good place to start. They will eat anything when they have to, so know that nothing is truly deer proof. At Lake Monticello, a true test for deer resistance, barberry and its relative the mahonia are not tasty. The amaryllis family includes belladonna lily, known as ‘naked ladies’ or ‘resurrection lily’, which are not eaten by deer or voles. If you use mulch, make a pocket of sand and chicken grit where you plant to discourage voles. Many plants are listed as resistant but have they passed the Lake Monticello test?
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Where do you live?
Lake Monticello
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
Fourteen years ago, my husband transferred from North Carolina. We made the move in order to be closer to family in Pennsylvania.
Tell me about your work.
I work in Fluvanna county government as clerk to the board of supervisors/administrative assistant. As such, I am responsible for any needs the supervisors may have.  In addition to finding and delivering whatever information they ask for, I put together the detailed packets they consult at their meetings.  I am present at all board of supervisors meetings, recording everything done and said in the form of meeting minutes. I also maintain the county web site, send out press releases, and serve as a notary of public.
Tell me about your family.
In June, my husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  Our daughter attends Ferrum College and our son is in the Virginia Air National Guard as an F22 crew chief.  We have a daughter-in-law and two wonderful grandchildren, a 4-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl.
Tell me about a hobby you have.
I love kayaking the Rivanna: it’s nice, peaceful, and slow. Another love is spending time with my grandchildren, so my favorite pleasures combine when my little grandson comes along on the river.  I can’t wait till the 1-year-old can join in.
Describe one of the highlights of your life.
Becoming a grandmother was definitely a huge highlight of my life.  It’s the best thing ever. If I had known it was this great, I would have had the grandkids before the kids!
Describe one of the biggest surprises of your life.
Life itself is a big surprise.
Describe one of the tragedies/struggles of your life.
I am in the Virginia Air National Guard and have 21 years of service. Before I transferred I was in North Carolina stationed at the 145th airlift wing.  Last July, the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) unit had a plane crash in South Dakota while they were fighting fires. Four soldiers were killed.  I knew the flight engineer and also the loadmaster, who was injured. It was a terrible tragedy. They were a part of my military family and will be extremely missed by many.
Describe a dream you have for your future.
Someday I hope to go see Australia. On a more personal level, I am working towards living life day by day.
Describe a fear you have for your future.
Losing my children. It’s an unwritten rule: You go before your children.  Upsets to this natural order are among the most shattering of personal experiences.
Here’s your chance to sound off. If you could give one public service announcement/word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
I’m pulling from a favorite Alabama song and a book by Richard Carlson: Life is short. Don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff.

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The sunflower is the backbone of the heliotropes. Photo: ©istockphoto.com/ SalawinOur wonderful sun, Helios to the Greeks, is so beautiful he turns heads. Especially in the world of flowers. Heliotropic plants turn their faces during the day to follow the sun. Alfalfa, soy beans and cotton are heliotropic but they are not ornamenting our gardens. The backbone of the heliotropes is the sunflower. Planted at the back of a garden facing south, their huge heads turn from right to left as we look at them seeming to be reading the garden before them like a book. Okra also follows the sun and is so ornamental in the vegetable garden.

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Burtons Grill
The Shops at Stonefield
2010 Bond Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-977-1111
www.burtonsgrill.com
Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 11p.m.
Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m
By now, everyone has watched Charlottesville’s expansion of stores, restaurants and a multiplex movie theater (finally) at the Shops at Stonefield on the corner of Hydraulic Road and Rt. 29. This is what you call an abundance of riches for someone like myself as I look for good places to eat lunch and write about in the Let’s Do Lunch column. So expect to see some reviews of new restaurants at Stonefield in 2013, starting with Burtons Grill. Recently, two people approached me about reviewing Burtons Grill and I am so glad they did.
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Having had some success growing the normal assortment of fruits and vegetables, I now include some more exotic homegrowns. Many gardeners have thornless blackberries which are big and juicy and dependable. The same is true for the paw paws, popular for their custard like flavor and consistency. The hard seckel pears are producing well this year and I use them for chutney but I’d rather make brandy. Young bamboo shoots are steamed and served. Currants and gooseberries, goji berries and josta berries are all grown here in Virginia. Even a non-bog type of cranberry graces my garden though my first harvest was less than a cup. My new shiitake mushrooms will take a bit longer to produce.
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