Blooming Spring – Ahh Choo!

By Susan Hilton, RN, MSN – The Nature Cottage

It’s spring time again! Most of us are so glad winter is gone and warmer temperatures are coming back. That is until we start thinking of our seasonal allergies returning.

Blooming flowers and trees are nice to look at for most people but not to people with allergies. Pollens from trees, grasses and flowers are the common causes of spring allergies. When they are inhaled and enter the body, the immune system treats them like bacteria and viruses, causing the immune system to release antibodies and attack the allergens. This reaction of the immune system triggers the release of histamine in the blood causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing and watery eyes. People who are prone to allergies during spring time should know how to deal with it to avoid further health issues. The following tips can be very helpful to survive spring allergies.

Many people will want to consult their doctor. This is perfectly fine, especially for those with other health issues like respiratory illness. Spring allergies can be dangerous to people with asthma which can lead to narrowing of the airways making it difficult to breathe. Your doctor or allergist can perform skin tests or blood tests to determine if you need to be treated with allergy medications.

There are also many allergy nasal sprays and medications over the counter that can be used to lessen the allergy symptoms. Some allergy medications have side effects and cannot be taken for more than a few days, so always seek your doctor’s advice. Allergy shots may also be recommended by your doctor to help your body to eventually develop tolerance to allergens. Shots will require you to go to the doctor’s office to receive them or you can give them yourself.

Keep your home clean and pollen-free. Cleaning the areas of your home where dust and pollen can settle, places like shelves and carpets, will help. Vacuuming carpets more frequently and wearing a protective mask will help keep you from breathing the particles in while you clean. Remember your animals will bring in pollen when they come back inside. Wiping off their paws with a wet paper towel will get the dust and pollen off your floors.

It can also be helpful to have an air purifier to control airborne pollens inside your home. Make sure to clean air filters on a regular basis and keep the doors and windows closed. Wash your bedding, pillow cases, sheets and clothes as often as possible because pollens have the tendency to stick on fabrics. Controlling pollens in your home can be very helpful to survival of spring allergies.

Get new filters for your central heating and air conditioning and install them now. This is also a great job to ask someone else to do. Having fresh new filters will help filter particulates. The windows need to remain closed. Have the normal maintenance done early so that when the first hot day happens you can turn on your air conditioning with confidence and have it work the way it should.

Stay indoors, especially in the morning when airborne pollens are usually high. To avoid them altogether, just stay indoors. If it cannot be helped and you really want to go outside to enjoy the beautiful day, try to schedule your outdoor activities later in the day or go outdoors when the pollen count outside is low. Wear a protective allergy face mask if you have outdoor activities like gardening and grass mowing. Take a shower after your outdoor activities and wash your hair thoroughly. To survive spring allergies, you have to avoid exposing yourself to airborne pollens as much as possible.

Consult with The Nature Cottage in Lexington for ways to use 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils to control and combat your seasonal allergies. We have many oils that help reduce the symptoms or completely remove your allergies. Our special Allergy Bomb uses three essential oils: Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint. Using these oils once or twice a day can keep you smiling through spring and summer.

Also, consider starting to remove allergens and chemicals from your home and replacing the chemicals with clean essential oil products. You can use an essential oil diffuser to clean the air in your home and office using essential oils such as Purification. I was once terrified of spring coming because my allergies where so bad. I used nasal sprays and medications that my doctor prescribed but never got complete relief. After getting most of the chemicals that I cleaned with and used personally out of my house, my allergies started to improve.  Adding essential oils to help with my prescriptions was next. Now I only use essential oils and I’m pretty much allergy free. Contact The Nature Cottage to see how we can help you.

Remember, spring and summer allergies affect so many of us. Use these suggestions to combat the symptoms of allergies. And you, too, may be able to enjoy each day of the spring and summer!

Susan Hilton RN, MSN The Nature Cottage



Business Spotlight – Mountcastle Insurance Celebrates 125th Anniversary

By Andy Calvert

G. W. Mountcastle Agency, Inc. was established in 1890 by George W. Mountcastle, one of Lexington’s founding fathers. Mountcastle came to Lexington from Jefferson City, Tenn. at the age of 18 as the bookkeeper for the Bank of Lexington and rose up the ranks to become president of the bank. As a part of the bank’s function in making loans to customers, he saw the need to insure those loans and started the G. W. Mountcastle Agency to provide that service to bank customers and the public.

George W. Mountcastle helped start or had a hand in bringing many businesses to Lexington during the early 1900s. A few notable businesses included Lexington Light and Power Company in 1894, Lexington Telephone Company in 1896 and Erlanger Cotton Mill in 1914. Mountcastle remained in the banking business through the Bank of Lexington’s merger with the Commercial Bank of Lexington. The agency continued to be operated by his son Charles Mountcastle, who hired Robert Satterfield to run the agency in the 1940s. Satterfield had an insurance background from his days as an adjuster with the Bituminous Insurance Company.

MountcastleThe agency continued to grow, and in the early 1960s Jack Calvert and Eddie Allred were hired as agents and worked out of the office at 18 S. Main St. The ownership of the agency began to change from Satterfield to Calvert and Allred, and in 1975 the current location was built at 307 W. Center St. The agency began to expand, and by the mid 1980s the entire building was filled with 25 employees.

Calvert and Allred remained in the agency until their retirement in February 1999. Current owners are Andy Calvert, Walt Rouse, Chris Call and Pete Schantz, and the agency now has 27 employees, with 21 in Lexington and six in Winston Salem. In 2003, the agency became a partner agency in the Keystone Insurers Group. The partnership with Keystone brings together a wide array of products and services for their customers.

The Mountcastle Agency has always been active in the community through donations of money, time and talent to many civic and charitable organizations. In order to remain a progressive and viable agency, Mountcastle made investments in technology much earlier than their peers, and will be making further investments in 2015 better to serve their customers.

One important investment has been to bring in young and talented employees to ensure continued future success. This milestone could not have been achieved without the hard work of both past and present employees and the loyal relationships they have had with many generations of families and businesses in the community.

The principles of community development that George W. Mountcastle brought to Lexington continue to be a motivating factor in the operation of Mountcastle Insurance today and for the future. Mountcastle Insurance has been blessed to be a part of Lexington and Davidson County and its partners are grateful to the community for helping them reach 125 years of service.


Business Spotlight – G.W. Smith Lumber Company

G.W. Smith Lumber Co., Davidson County’s’ oldest lumber & building materials firm celebrates its 110th Anniversary

G.W. Smith Lumber Company was founded in 1905 by Griff W. Smith, who also served as chairman of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners for over 22 years. The business was first established at 310 East Center Street behind Mr. Smith’s house, presently Tastings Wine and Beer Shop.  At times, Mrs. Smith (Nora) was even called on to tend the planer. She finally convinced Smith to move the business so she could tend to her own “yard work.”

historyIn 1921, Griff Smith moved the original office to its present location at 720 West Center Street. The structure was hauled by wagon across town and set on a new foundation. The old office now serves as the entrance sign and historical museum for the present day professional building supply complex.

The business began with the manufacturing and delivery of lumber for construction with the use of only horse and wagon. J. Frank Smith, former partner and the son of the founder, recalled, “The rocks on Main Street used to make the delivery wagon joggle as the ‘ol horse, Bob, pulled it through downtown.”  From the days of horse and wagon, G.W. Smith Lumber now deploys a fleet of heavy trucks including boom, forklift mounted, covered and four wheel drive trucks to insure proper delivery of materials to professional jobsites.

G. W. Smith Lumber has sold over one billion board feet of lumber since 1905. Millwork became so important to the business that it started a separate operation named Smith Millwork at 920 Robbins Street in 1979. Over 19 years through the able leadership of Ellis Myers, Smith Millwork outgrew its parent. The operation now wholesales moldings, door parts, columns, railing, and decking throughout the Southeast. Smith Millwork specializes in the manufacture of fine custom moldings and presently has over 1,000 custom knives.

In the beginning, G.W. Smith Lumber manufactured framing lumber, but now inventories over 4,000 items with over 120,000 items available upon special order. Recently, the firm has become more dominant in the finish end of the home with a design showroom featuring kitchens and baths, windows, doors, counter tops, molding, and builders’ hardware.  G. W. Smith Lumber is a complete builder’s supply that caters to professional builders with “everything for the home from the tree to the key.”

GWSmith_MenThe management of G.W. Smith Lumber Co. has passed through four generations. Founder Griff W. Smith turned over the business to his sons Griff, Jr., Frank, and Bruce in 1940, with Bruce eventually becoming sole owner. Upon Bruce’s untimely death in 1966, his sons Jerry, R.B., Dan, and Steve gained ownership, with Jerry and Dan directly involved in the management of the company. In 1985, Dan sold his share of the business to his brothers. Jerry Smith serves as president of Smith Companies, Inc. with Steve Smith serving as vice president.

Mark Smith is president and general manager of G.W. Smith Lumber.  Ted Smith is president of Smith Millwork. In 1997, the Smith Brothers established the Bruce and Eleanor Smith Charitable Foundation that supports many Davidson County charities and continues the company’s policy of community involvement.

The Smith Companies work as a team to serve the needs of their customers. “For the past 110 years, our customers have always been the chairman of our board,” states Jerry Smith. G.W. Smith appreciates the support it has earned from its many friends and customers over the last four generations and pledges to prove “There is a material difference” for generations to come!


A Time to be Silent and a Time to Speak

By Donna Tobin Smith

“Do you ever wonder whether or not to say it?” I was looking for a little empathy, a listening ear. For some reason, I had assumed that as my children grew into young adults that my distinct, audible instructions would gradually transform into a still small voice in their heads.

Surely twenty-something years of a mother’s words would be plenty of time to teach, advise and direct. But as a parent of three grown sons, I continue to find myself in situations when I feel the need to say something, to make some kind of comment. Sometimes it is just a fleeting thought in my head and I am able to dismiss the words rather easily. But sometimes the urge is so strong that I catch myself mentally clamping my hands over my mouth, willing the words not to escape. Then there are the times when I just say it. Not sure whether I should or not, I just say it.

“I do,” she answered. “In fact, let me tell you about last night,” she explained, as she recounted a conversation that she had had with her adult daughter.

“That’s exactly what I mean,” I exclaimed as my friend finished her story. “You do understand.”

I had a story of my own. I had measured my words too. I had avoided the temptation to tell my son what he already knew. I was aware that he had a midnight deadline for a college class that he was taking. He had told me earlier in the day that he had a paper to write, a quiz to take, and another assignment, all due by midnight. I watched as the hours ticked by, mentally noting that he had made not a single attempt to stroke the first key toward completing the assignments.

I stayed out of his room, trying desperately to hold my tongue as the midnight deadline approached. All the while my mind was screaming, “Are you nuts? What if the computer dies? Why are you waiting so late when you know the work is due?” When I nonchalantly sauntered into his room a few minutes after midnight under the guise of putting away laundry, he announced. “11:57. Assignments complete.” Believe it or not, I had not spoken a word

Do you see what I mean? Does it happen to you?

In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, Solomon penned these wise words of counsel. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Fortunately, I know the words that have been spoken in our home. I know the godly instructions that have been given to these sons through the years. I am also aware of the times when wise counsel has been ignored and careless words have hurt.

So the next time I wonder whether or not to say it, I will remind myself again of the words of Solomon. And when I speak, I will pray that my words will be “aptly spoken, like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)

But most of all, I will pray that one day the words I have spoken to my sons will help them hear God’s words just a little clearer.