MCFD in Action

flaming vehicle

Mountain City firefighter Capt. Johnny Roark works to extinguish a car fire last Saturday afternoon at the Marathon gas station across the Pioneer Village Shopping Plaza on South Shady Street. According to Mountain City police officers that were first on the scene, the vehicle owned by Tommy Johnson, 51, caught on fire while he was repairing the fuel pump. It took a little more than a half hour before a pair of MCFD units, and the assistance of firefighters Mark Arnold and Kenneth Dickens were able to bring the flames under control following the call to dispatch around 5:30 p.m. No injuries were reported. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

Harvesting fruits and fun with You-Pick farms

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

Autumn is right around the corner and with it cooler temperatures not to mention harvest season. Many are rediscovering the joys of harvesting their fall treats with the help of you-pick farms that bring the fun of the season to families and friends looking to get out and experience the old-time joy of gathering fruits to enjoy together. For some in Johnson County, apple-picking season is a time of traditions and remembrance. Such is especially the case for the Guy family of Mountain City. Bonnie Guy, along with her children Grace, Rosie, and Jaylyn look forward to this time each year.

“Every fall my dad, myself, and my kids go and pick apples to use for apple butter,” Bonnie said. “Together as a family, we make enough apple butter to use for the year and to give as Christmas gifts.”

In the Appalachian Mountains, fall brings the ripening of heirloom variety apples as well as pumpkins of all sizes for decoration and delicious recipes. Not only is there fun to be had at the farms but also in most cases, the drive to the farms offers great views of fall foliage and the chance to leave behind modern-day distractions.

The Internet offers a number of directories featuring nearby farms and what products they have available. The website has a searchable database you can use to find farms in any state. The farms listed on the site give an overview of what items or services they offer, growing methods, hours of operation, and directions to the farm, and contact information. A quick call to the farm is advised to ensure that the listing is still valid and that this year’s crop
allows for the fun farm festivities. Also available online are guides to help you know how to choose the best produce as well as recipes for baking, canning, and other tasty treats. Many of the fruits and vegetables harvested in the fall months are well suited for long-term storage or preservation. For example, apples can be used to produce jam, apple butter, cider, or dehydrated for easy snacking. The National Center for Home Food Preservation website at offers free food preservation guides for download. Other preservation guides and ideas are provided at local county extension offices.

One of the biggest benefits to harvesting your own produce from local farms is the opportunity to taste heirloom variety fruits that most grocery stores do not carry. Apples with names like Carter’s Blue, Crow Egg, Dixie Red Delight, and Virginia Beauty, promise a world of taste outside the rows of ordinary Red Delicious in the mega-mart as well as a link to the past when early settlers began propagating these hearty varieties. Pumpkin farms are another popular destination for those seeking autumn activities. Some nearby pumpkin farms offer hayrides, corn mazes, picnic areas, and fresh baked goods to enjoy while you visit. The site is a great way to find local fall festivities to enjoy on an area farm.

Whether your family wants to browse the branches of an apple orchard featuring heirloom apple varieties or search the field for the biggest pumpkin in the patch, you-pick farms are an excellent choice for family fun and lasting memories.

“My dad and I began our yearly apple butter tradition some 15 years ago after my mom passed,” Bonnie added. “It was a way to keep her with us one spoon of apple butter at a time.”

Exceptional service recognized


At a special meeting recently held at Taylorsville Lodge #243, Brothers James Lefler (left), Vince Boag (center) and Clay Cochrane(right) received recognition for exceptional service to the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee and were presented Fifty-Year Service Awards from Taylorsville Worshipful Master Brian Eller (back). Submitted photo

Living history

eva sue

In honor of her parents Ray and Rena Robinson Shoun and Macon L and Mary Dougherty Shoun, Colorado resident Eva Sue Shoun Littleton is standing in front of a quilt she donated to the Johnson County Welcome Center museum. Johnson County Historical Society president Kathy Terrill and vice president Bob Morrison was on hand to accept the quilt, which was given to Littleton’s grandparents as a wedding gift made and signed by neighbors and friends in Johnson County around 1896. Photo submitted

A perfect day for a concert

Harbin Hill Farms

Residents are enjoying a perfect day for a concert on The Mountain Stage at Harbin Hill Farms last week. Nearly 100 attended the event that featured the Kody Norris Band and the Johnson County JAM kids, raising $1,000 for the Johnson County JAM Program. Photo by Dennis Shekinah

Ready for the school year…

Back to School Fred's Brittany Dunn

Brittany Dunn fills up a display case with school supplies near the entrance of Fred’s in Mountain City. Fred’s is just one of many area stores that is now gearing up for the 2018-2019 school year. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

The winner is our community

Jim Vincill, right, Treasure of the Johnson County Lions Club presents a plaque to LuAnne Suba of Subas Restaurant for sponsoring the winning turtle “Otis” in the2018 Annual Lions Club Turtle Derby. Photo Submitted

A beautiful day for a festival

eghan Murphy and Kaitlyn McCord at the Sunflower Festival

Appalachian University students Meghan Murphy, 23, and Kaitlyn McCord, 22, of Boone, NC try on summer hats during the 14th Annual Sunflower Festival held last week in Mountain City. The pair were among the nearly three thousand from near and far that attended this year’s festivities making the events a success. See page B-3 for story and photos. Photo by By Jinifer Rae

Full of imagination

Damascus Motor Sales owner Tim Brown is reading one of this month’s free books, I Hear a Pickle by Rachel Isadora to his grand children, Chloe, left, and Carson. The Johnson County Imagination Library Board thanked Brown for his participation in its Hometown Book Labels program. The program currently serves 719 preschool aged children with one free book per month.

It was a “dandy” Independence Day celebration

Members of the Johnson County Children’s Choir perform a musical piece, “Yankee Doodle” during the Fourth of July celebration on the Ralph Stout Park stage in Mountain City TN. The song was appropriately performed as it is often sung patriotically in the United States. While the song dates to before the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution (1775–83), the melody is reportedly thought to be much older than both the lyrics and the subject, goingback to folk songs of Medieval Europe. Photo by David Holloway

Splash time at the pool in downtown Mountain City TN

Local toddlers Christopher Dugger, 2, Christina Dugger, 4, and Rowan Winebarger, 4, are enjoying splash time last week at the public pool in downtown Mountain City. Summer is a great time for outdoor fun as well as to be aware of water safety promoted by the Tennessee National Drowning Prevention.


A winning smile

Nola Furches smiles after winning a bicycle during the 14th Annual Turtle Derby held last week at Ralph Stout Park. Joe Herman of Herman Trucking donated a pair of bicycles that added to the door prizes awarded during the race. Matthew Forrester had the winning ticket for the boy’s bike contributing to another successful event. Submitted by Joan Trathen

Longhorns’ Big Night Out

It must be Puppy Love

Madison with Rescue dog

Girl Scout Madison Johnson, 6 enjoys some puppy love during a special presentation at the Johnson County Public Library last week. The new group is the first to locally represent the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians in Mountain City.

Cosplay Heroes

Cosplayers at the first annual Comic Con held last week at Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon line up for a photo as the judges select the winners. Comic Con., allows comic book enthusiasts and fans to gather and meet creators, experts and each other was a success. Organizers are promising to make the free event a community tradition. Johnson County High School is also hosting its annual Longhorn Comic Con., scheduled for June 2-3, 2018 in Mountain City, TN.      Photo by Tamas Mondovics



Good morning, Mountain City

Mountain City sunrise

Sunrise greets Mountain City teasing residents with the arrival of spring following a pair of late winter storms that brought several inches of snow, which slowed traffic and closed area schools. Much-welcomed warmer temperatures are now expected to dominate the season. Photo by Rita Hewett

Some Late Winter Fun…

Nine-year-old chocolate Lab, Emma, enjoys her favorite time of year as she runs through the snow that blanketed the region earlier this week. The late winter weather that pelted the area came on the anniversary of the infamous blizzard of 93 and brought several inches of fresh snow, closed local schools for several days as daily temperatures hovered in the low 30s. Photo courtesy of Sarah Feid