Washington column for Sept. 12

Eyes behold the beauty

Are you looking to add another dimension to your property with your own two hands? Stacked stone walls add a great touch to flower beds and landscape projects. It is simple enough to do it yourself — although it will involve sweat, back pain and patience.

As you head toward Warrenton on U.S. 211, you might notice a beautiful stacked stone wall on the left, just below Hillsdale, in front of the home of Brian Wayland and Nita Tauteoli. This rugged stone wall surrounding their country home creates a beautiful boundary with an appealing natural material, and edges their lawn perfectly.

Brian Wayland and Nita Tauteoli’s exquisite (and hand-made) stone wall “castle.” Photo by Jan Clatterbuck.
Brian Wayland and Nita Tauteoli’s exquisite (and hand-made) stone wall “castle.” Photo by Jan Clatterbuck.

Back in 2011, Brian and Nita came up with the idea, and Nita took off with it, placing rocks one by one until he was one course away from the finished height he wanted. Working only in the colder months, never in summer, he said fitting the rocks became easier as he went on, and he even discovered the magic moment inherent in the process: a thump that signals a perfect fit.

They call it their castle — and it is beautiful. One look is enough to see how much work and time went into it. “It will never be complete, because I’ll always be adding rocks,” said Nita.

As long as there have been rocks, there have been stone walls. Rocks are plentiful, inexpensive or even free, and strong enough to last centuries. The art of making a real stacked stone wall is as old as civilization. Thousands of them still exist in Scotland, Britain, Italy and Ireland where they were constructed centuries ago to hold livestock, surround castles and enclose fields. Built in the Middle Ages, a dry-stone bridge strong enough for horse and carriage traffic is still standing in Alby, Sweden. Mayan and Inca ruins in Peru contain standing stone walls dating to the 15th century.

Immigrants brought the knowledge to the new country, where “rock fences” are still seen on farms in Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, and as far west as the Napa Valley in California. In Rappahannock, there are many.

Sadly, this ancient craft is being lost as fences are more quickly and inexpensively constructed with wire and wood. Fortunately, there is much appreciation for the landscape value and heritage of old stone walls.

Nita and Brian, you did a beautiful job building a treasure that will remain standing long into the future.

News from Trinity

Russ Collins was elected senior warden by the 2012-13 Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church at their Vestry Retreat at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs. Serving as junior warden is Harold Beebout, a newly elected Vestry member. Marc Felton (finance) and Susan Laing (membership) are the two recently elected members.

They are joined by Judy Segaar (hospitality), Cady Soukup and Mike Mahoney (assessment and evaluation), Linda Brosgol (outreach) and Ruthie Windsor-Mann (communications). Having areas of responsibility for each vestry member helps to make the church run more efficiently. As senior warden, Collins oversees everything while Beebout focuses on the grounds and physical plant. Trinity, in its commitment as a church for the community, has planned many interesting activities for the coming year and its members are looking forward to the 2013 House Tour and Dried Flower Sale as well as Halloween.

WVFR buffet

The Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue company hosts its monthly all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 a.m. next Saturday (Sept. 21) at the station. All the favorites you’ve come to love — scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, sausage gravy, biscuits, hashbrowns, fried apples, coffee and orange juice — prepared by your local volunteer fire and rescue personnel. Adults are $8 (kids 10 and younger eat free). All proceeds fund WVFR daily operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615.

Blue Ridge Heritage Project

Don’t forget the Blue Ridge Heritage Project! Bill Henry gives a presentation on the project, a proposal to establish a physical memorial recognizing the sacrifices of the families who were displaced by the creation of Shenandoah National Park, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rappahannock Historical Society (328 Gay Street), followed by refreshments and a tour. For more information, call 540-675-1163.


Roger Roller from Lynchburg is the guest preacher for the 2013 Homecoming service on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Washington Baptist Church. There will be a potluck dinner following the homecoming service. Revival services starts on Monday, Oct. 7 and Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Revival services

Barbara and Leon Slawecki visited their 6’7’’ grandson, now a plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, on Labor Day (Sept. 2). Photo by Tim Hanlon.
Barbara and Leon Slawecki visited their 6’7’’ grandson, now a plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, on Labor Day (Sept. 2). Photo by Tim Hanlon.

Gid Brown Bible Baptist Church in Washington holds six evenings (Sunday, Oct. 6-Friday, Oct. 11) of revival services starting at 7:30 p.m. each night. The guest speaker is Evangelist Mark Rogers from Fairbanks, Alaska. Pastor John Burke invites all to attend. There will be special singing and nursery provided each night. For more information, call 540-937-4944.


Happy anniversary to Barbara and Leon Slawecki, who are celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary today (Sept. 12). May you have many more to come!