Category Archives: Home & Garden


DIY Cleaning: Using Essential Oils

By Susan Hilton RN, MSN and Certified Aromatherapist

Nearly everyone has heard about the virtues of common items such as baking soda and vinegar for scouring and absorbing grease. Adding essential oils enhances a formula’s cleaning value and leaves behind a soothing, natural scent. It’s not just an advertising gimmick that many commercial products contain citrus oils such as lemon or lime—they are natural degreasers and have antimicrobial properties. Using natural products instead of chemical-laden commercial ones makes household tasks almost a pleasure to tackle. I know it’s hard to get excited about cleaning a bathroom, but when you realize that the surfaces are germ-and toxin-free, and the soothing aroma of cedar or lavender lingers, you won’t be able to suppress a smile of satisfaction. And that enthusiasm is contagious—even the kids will want to pitch in!

cleanersMaking your own natural cleaning recipes is not time-consuming or expensive. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It only takes a minute or two to fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water and add a few drops of essential oil. Bingo—instant glass and appliance cleaner! Having done that, there’s one less aisle to visit in the supermarket. Most commercial cleaners are quite expensive. You will save a lot making your own cleaners, plus it’s better for you and the environment. Other all-natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, water, and liquid soap are also inexpensive.

Let’s look at some easy recipes that you can make yourself to clean your home.

2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1 teaspoon natural dish soap (NOT castile soap)
30 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops tea tree essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe on counters, cabinets, sinks, toilets, and anywhere else.

3 c. distilled water
1/4 c. rubbing alcohol or vodka
1/4 c. vinegar
20 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine, and then spray on mirrors, windows, or stainless steel. Wipe off with paper towels or old newspaper for streak-free shine.

1 c. baking soda
1/4 c. unscented liquid soap
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lime essential oil
10 drops orange essential oil
Mix ingredients together to form a paste (add more liquid soap if needed). Apply with rag or sponge, and then rinse with clean water. I especially like to use this on my stovetop and on grimy sinks.

1/2 c. baking soda
1/3 c. liquid dishwashing soap
1/4 c. hydrogen peroxide
30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3/4 c. water
Mix together in a squeeze-type bottle, and then squirt into toilet. Scrub and let stand 20 minutes.


½ c. baking soda

½ c. 3% hydrogen peroxide
10 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all ingredients to make a paste. Use a cloth or sponge to scrub the tile and grout. Rinse thoroughly. You might leave it on the grout for 5 – 10 minutes if it needs extra attention.

It is easy and less expensive to make your own cleaning supplies. You’ll also have more room under your cabinets. I like what Sharon had to say about this, “I started making my own cleaning products recently. I love the money I save, and I love that I’m helping the planet by reusing containers instead of buying new ones. But most of all I love that I know what is in the cleaners and that I’m saving money on such an easy and fun task.”

You can find your essential oils for these products at The Nature Cottage at 21 S. Main Street in Lexington. Contact us if you have questions or need other supplies. 336-843-4297.


Lick Your Chops Tailgate Wings

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 lb chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats



¼ c. butter

¼ c. hot sauce, Louisiana Style

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce



Rub: In a small bowl, mix together baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Rinse chicken wings and pat dry with paper towels. Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle on rub, tossing to coat evenly. Set a wire rack inside an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Arrange wings in a single layer leaving a little space between each wing. Place baking sheet with wings in refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.

When ready to cook, start smoker or charcoal grill with lid open until fire is established (4-5 minutes). Preheat with lid closed, 10 to 15 minutes. Smoke wings for 30 minutes or grill directly on grilling surface. After 30 minutes, increase temperature to 350 degrees F and roast for 45 to 50 minutes. If grilling, remove from grill once cooked through. Transfer wings to a large bowl. Add sauce and toss to coat wings thoroughly. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with carrot sticks, celery sticks, blue cheese, ranch, or  other desired dipping sauces. Enjoy!



Humane Society of Davidson County Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Animals

By Becky Everhart

In the summer of 1977, a notice appeared in The Dispatch from Jane Arey, a member of the Humane Society of Rowan County, asking if anyone was interested in beginning a humane society in Davidson County. “Corky” Briggs, Vicky Green, and I responded. A handful of people attended the first meeting, and the Humane Society was born. The tenets the society holds dear are simple: alleviate animal suffering and promote humane treatment of animals. Corky worked tirelessly for the organization for almost 20 years. Vicky, as Secretary, served more than 30 years. Both are now deceased. I served as Treasurer for 36 years and continue to be active.

The HSDC’s first full year of operation was 1978, with a total income of $1,270. In 2016, it topped $109,000. We are an all-volunteer force; approximately 90% of funds collected are used directly for program services. They include the Spay/Neuter and Sick/Injured Animal programs, Foster Care/Adoptions, Investigations, and the Pet Food Pantry.

Whitney Pope holds a loving cat during an adoption event.
Whitney Pope holds a loving cat during an adoption event.

Kristie Miller, the Secretary of the HSDC and one of the coordinators of the Pet Food Pantry program, said she knew we helped a lot of animals, but until she became a Board member last year, she had no idea how much people benefited as well. Help, we did. Last year, the pantry distributed over 10 tons of pet food to hundreds of animals.

In 1978, our first investigators traveled 1,270 miles. In 2001, we logged 8,000 miles. Currently, our president, Bruce Kingsbury, along with Gay Hutchins and Donna Harrington, travel to all corners of the county checking on cases of potential neglect or abuse and offering help.

Janet Fluharty, one of the HSDC Foster Care providers, loves cuddly puppies. She and other volunteers have placed hundreds of dogs and cats over the years into forever homes. Angie Byerly, a cat adoption coordinator, has found homes for more than 20 cats this year alone, thanks in part to our adoption fairs at PetSmart. Both volunteers love what they do, but admit fostering is hard work. Last year we spent over $23,000 on the program, rehoming over 100 dogs and cats. Foster Care/Adoptions is labor intensive and expensive to operate, but it is also deeply rewarding.

I serve as the coordinator of the Spay/Neuter and Sick/Injured Animal programs, allocating funds for veterinary care for many animals yearly. In 1983, the year the Spay/Neuter program began, the amount spent on both programs was $462. Last year, the total was more than $46,000, helping hundreds of animals and people, too. Countless times we hear a tearful “God bless you,” when funds are allocated for owners who struggle on a fixed income to have their pets fixed or to provide emergency veterinary care.

Conservatively, over 15,000 animals have been altered through our Spay/Neuter programs. Adding in the number of kittens and puppies not born, the number becomes exponential! Reimbursement for some surgeries from the State Spay/Neuter Fund helps to maintain the program. Another resource we utilize is a transport to Planned Pethood in Greensboro, a low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter clinic. Through this partnership, over 2,000 animals have been altered over the last five years.

Helping the helpless yesterday, today and tomorrow

In the 1980s, we focused on helping animals surrendered to horse show 2014 zthe local shelter. We convinced Sheriff “Jaybird” McCrary to discontinue selling shelter dogs to Leach Kennels in Virginia, where they were then sold to research labs for experimentation. We pushed to have all shelter animals kept at least three days. We took “Pet of the Week” pictures weekly in hopes of saving animals’ lives and drawing attention to the tragedy of pet overpopulation. We developed an adoption fee waiver program whereby the cost of adopting an animal was waived if the adopter deposited the fee at a local veterinary office toward the cost of spay/neuter. We paid the balance of the spay/neuter fee.

In the 1990s, we were instrumental in making the public aware of the need for a new animal shelter to replace the antiquated “dog pound.” The newly formed Animal Center of Davidson County (ACDC) began the daunting task of fundraising for a new shelter to be owned and operated by Davidson County. We worked hand in hand with the ACDC, donating $12,000 for the new facility and thousands of volunteer hours, as well. In 1999, after four long years of fundraising, the new Animal Shelter was built on Glendale Road.

In the 2000s, we continued to work to alleviate animal suffering. We also participated in the creation and review of multiple animal ordinances for the City of Lexington and Davidson County. We finally purchased property on Piedmont Drive, where we run our Spay-Neuter Transport and operate our Pet Food Pantry monthly, as well as hosting fund-raising events.

What’s ahead? We are helping the City of Lexington to build a dog park! As past president and long-time member Gay Hutchins recently noted, “The dog park will benefit more than just the dogs in Davidson County. The health and well-being of all the citizens that use the park is a huge plus.” She is right. Not only will dogs enjoy the freedom to run and play and socialize with other dogs, many of which spend their days on tethers or inside apartments, but also the park will provide an opportunity for people to socialize and form the bonds that tie our community together.

Working for the animals and for the people of our cities and county is what we have done for the past 40 years. The next 40? We are just getting started!

Please contact us if you would like to be a part of making the Lexington Dog Park happen or to support our programs! We always need volunteers, pet food, and monetary donations.


Humane Society of Davidson County

PO Box 1791

Lexington, NC 27293

Regular line: 336-248-2706

Spay/Neuter line: 336-237-0131

Follow us on Facebook! Megan McRee does a great job keeping everyone updated!


Officers and Board Members

Bruce Kingsbury, President

Kristie Miller, Secretary

Gay Hutchins, Treasurer

Jane Blackerby

Angie Byerly

Becky Everhart

Janet Fluharty

Donna Harrington

Megan Williams-McRee

Melody Williams


At Home to Home Away: Bob Timberlake Meets Blowing Rock

By Stacy Hilton Vanzant

Nestled in the rolling mountains of North Carolina sits a 20th century mountain resort with ties to Davidson County. Although the once-named Chetola Estate is located in Blowing Rock, its ties are close to home and now includes the name Bob Timberlake displayed throughout the property.

In 1926, J. Luther Snyder purchased Chetola Estate. Snyder, a self-made entrepreneur known as the “Coca-Cola King of the Carolinas,” loved his family of six children and loved to entertain. Chetola Estate located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, was the perfect backdrop for his personal interests.

Snyder died in 1957 and the family heirs sold the estate in 1982, after which it became Chetola Resort. The group of businessmen who purchased the property at that time had grand visions of an elegant lodge with one, two and three-bedroom condominiums as well as meeting facilities that would be available to the public.

TimberlakeRest-ChetolaIn 1997, Rachael Renar and her son Kent Tarbutton purchased the property and remain as the owners today. Kent Tarbutton envisioned more offerings for the facility, including the addition of a spa and improvements to several luxurious rooms.

Tarbutton soon met local artisan Bob Timberlake and recalls their first meeting. “He was just a common man that had so many stories to tell and I was drawn to his comfortable demeanor and passion for nature,” he said.  Tarbutton knew from the start that their friendship would soon grow into a flourishing business relationship.

In efforts to keep the tradition of the property and to preserve its history, Timberlake and Tarbutton worked to design the Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola. The Inn, which is the original Manor House Estate, was opened in 2004.

92FCB302-40E9-44D8-A08A-0929BF0390B0After the innopened in 2004, Tarbutton continued to develop new embellishments for the property, but he knew there were areas that could be improved upon. In August 2011, the original Manor House Restaurant suffered a kitchen fire. The restaurant was closed for almost a year while it underwent renovations. Tarbutton approached Timberlake again to discuss the possibility of building a restaurant based on Timberlake’sE36126D8-7EC0-414E-904F-307E25B2E6CD art and culinary likes. Tarbutton recalls Timberlake’s chuckle at the idea that people would care what he liked to eat. “Bob is so modest that he pretty much thought I was crazy with the idea anyone would care about his favorite meals, but I knew there was a story to tell about his home cooked dishes,” he said.

Tarbutton was right! Timberlake loved the idea of designing a restaurant and taking some of his inspiration to develop a menu as well. In July 2012, the restaurant reopened as the Timberlake Restaurant, featuring a menu inspired by Bob Timberlake’s culinary favorites. Its hunting inspired dining room includes paintings, furniture, and décor designed by Bob Timberlake.

The beautiful lodge at Chetola Sporting Reserve
The beautiful lodge at Chetola Sporting Reserve

As Chetola Resort continued to grow, a new relationship developed with the Blue Ridge Mountain Club. This 6,200 acre property has home sites, condominiums, a clubhouse, and a fitness club as well as the new Chetola Sporting Reserve. The Sporting Reserve, nestled at the bottom of the valley in the Blue Ridge Mountain Club, is a private club offering exclusive memberships. It is available for limited Chelota guest memberships as well.

At the Sporting Reserve, visitors can enjoy an array of outdoor sportsman activities including rifle and pistol ranges, a sporting clay course, a 5-stay clay station, an archery range, and fly fishing activities. While visiting the property, I even tried my hand at the 5-stand clay stations and it was so much fun. This venue would be the perfect location for a bachelor party, a men’s fellowship gathering, or just a good ol’ guys weekend.

When considering a getaway destination, consider seeing what our local artisan Bob Timberlake has going on in Blowing Rock. From the world class accommodations, spa, and guaranteed mouthwatering restaurant menu to the many outdoorsman activities offered at Chetola, you’re sure to find something that will make your time enjoyable!