‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ A Garden Stroll

Dear friends and followers of Sandra’s journey toward making the world a little more beautiful. She so loved writing and trying to inspire people to not only look, but to see the beauty around and to  share it with others. Oh, the hours she spent on each post. looking for the right quote and photo.

When she wrote this post, her health was failing, but her spirit kept blooming. Less than a year later, she was gone. I guess God needed her more than I did.

Nevertheless, this story is about her special love for beauty. She takes you on a spring tour of her beloved gardens and sprinkles in some amazing quotes.

Walk with her …and not only look…but see the beauty in her gardens, but also the beauty in your own life.

 Sandra, “I love you more.”



“This magnetic pull toward beauty is an inclination most of us carry but too few of us acknowledge.  Even if we are aware of it, we seldom honor it as something planted in us for a purpose.” ~ Christie Purifoy

Iris ~ Cheryl’s Big Blue (Named for my dear friend who gave her to me.)

Good morning, dear friends.  As I write this (Saturday, 5-21) I am under blue skies, lovely warm temperatures, the window by my desk is open and the birds are singing, the peonies and lilacs are in bloom, and on a gentle breeze, the luscious fragrance of the garden drifts inside ~ all just for me.  Believe me when I say, “I am grateful for every sound, sight, and smell.”  This morning, I hope you will join me for a bit of a stroll in the garden.  You may want to find your coffee/tea before we go.

“I opened the large central window of my office room to its full on the fine early May morning. Then I stood for a few moments, breathing in the soft, warm air that was charged with the scent of white lilacs below.” ~ Angus Wilson


‘Madame Lemoine’, a French hybrid lilac.

“I cannot understand why my arm is not a lilac tree.” ~ Leonard Cohen

“Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands:  Perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths.  To creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.” ~ Neil Gaiman

It is Rhododendron time in these West Virginia Hills.  The rhododendron is our state flower and was a favorite of my mom’s.  Along the back of her garden, she had a stand of Canadian Hemlock Trees with native rhododendrons in front of them.  It was truly a magnificent sight.

This is a rather new beauty in our garden, which I believe was planted about three years ago.  This spring she has decided to ‘show off.’  Her name is ‘Bright Eyes.’

“May, and after a rainy spring We walk streets gallant with rhododendrons.” ~ Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“The immortality of Flowers must enrich our own. . .” ~ Emily Dickison, In a letter to Edward Tuckerman ~ Jan. 1874

This photo of the peony and delphinium made my heart sing.  The peony is ‘Faith Fenton.’  She is the most fragrant peony in the garden, plus she is a big girl.  Standing at least four feet tall.  The blooms on the delphinium are as tall as the peony.  I do believe it is because we have had a wet and cool spring. Plants have opened gradually and did not feel rushed.  No one likes to feel rushed.

An up-close photo of ‘Faith Fenton.’  She has a long vase life and does not drop her petals.


“And the wind upon its way whispered the boughs of May, And touched the nodding peony flowers to bid them waken. ~ Siegfried Sassoon

Most of our peonies are awake.  However, there are many still in the bud stage.   To avoid their feelings being hurt, I will share a few currently in bloom.  I have referred to peonies as “Queen of The Garden” for so long.  Honestly, I do not think they believe there are other flowers that compare to their beauty.  In all seriousness, in my mind, they are quite special. 

May be an image of flower and indoor In the vase are, clematis~’Josephine, peony~’Command Performance(red),  ‘She’s My Star'(pink), Iris~’Black Knight,’ and Baptisia.  

Peony, ‘Chiffon Clouds.’

Chiffon Clouds’ is fully open and in a vase by herself.  Do notice the darker pink speckles on her petals.  God gave her special attention.

Peony, ‘Red Grace’ and my grandmother’s white ‘Chestine Gowdy,’ and Baptisia.

An assortment of pink ladies.  The iris is ‘Beverly Sills.”  She shows more color toward the peach side, where actually she is pink.


“My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.” ~ E. Lockhart

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your garden stroll.  Spring truly is such a magical time of year.  One can leave the garden in the evening and in the morning all sorts of magic has occurred through the night.  The fairies are certainly busy little souls.  
Speaking of magic, I have been thinking of something to add to my post each week, but I am uncertain how to refer to them.  I have thought of several things, ‘Godwinks, Butterfly Kisses, An Angel’s Touch.  You get the idea.  They are special things that may have happened to me or my husband during the week.  In our crazy world, I believe it is important to note such things and share them.  I hope you will share yours as well.  
Also, many thanks to those of you who commented on my blog last week.  I now have my “readers” and am back to normal (whatever that may be).  I love reading your comments and missed being able to reply.
The week of May 15,  2022 ~ ‘Godwinks’
1) As you know I had cataract surgery recently.  Now, this is not major surgery, but our eyes are vital.  The surgery was done in a small hospital about 25 miles from our town.  Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.  My impression of the small hospital was totally amazing, in such a positive way.  Every person we came in contact with seemed only to care about me.  Such was the case with my wonderful nurse.  My goodness, she was well trained, not leaving even a tiny mark where she inserted my IV.  When I was leaving the hospital she met me at the desk and gave me a big hug and told me it had been her pleasure to take care of me.  Oh, but it doesn’t end here.  A few days later, I received a hand-written note from her saying the same and wishing me well.  It was short, but the fact that she took the time was just overwhelming to me.  This beautiful nurse had to be extremely busy, but she thought I mattered.  What a thoughtful and caring act from truly a remarkable soul.  
2)  On another day, I had injections in both of my knees for arthritis.  Now, if you have never had these injections they are not pleasant.  Anyway, we were getting ready to eat dinner that evening and my sweet husband went to the garden and cut a vase full of brilliant yellow irises for our table.  They would make anyone feel better.  He also planted my zinnia seeds after he had been working in the garden all day.
3)  I had a special book dropped in my lap.  It was not recommended to me but it appeared on my screen when I was looking for the name of my lilac that I couldn’t remember.  The book is titled “Placemaker” and the author is Christie Purifoy.  This is my first read by this author, but I simply felt a nudge to order the book.
Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.
May the week ahead bring you love, joy, and kind souls.  Be well!


“Sacred spaces need not be perfect, but they cease to be sacred if no one cares for them” ~ Christie Purifoy




Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte
















































Opening The Door To – Maison De Jardin

She Opened the Door

“To all who knew, loved, and followed Sandra’s inspirational posts over the years:  This was her very first blog! “Sunday Thoughts.” She was so excited. I remember her asking, “Do you really think I should do this? Do you think people will read my posts?” I found it as I was going through her years of writings.   It was dated, January 29, 2017.

And now…, please join me as we take the first step into “Where InspirationBlooms    whereinspirstionblooms.com” – Mike

In her own words…

Good Morning Everyone:

Thank you for visiting this morning!  If I appear a bit nervous, that is because I am.  This is my first post on my own website.  This is a WOW Moment for me!  Do take a moment to look around the site.  There is a brief note About me, my Welcome to the blog and a special Events section.  I will do my best to stay abreast of special happenings around our country and keep this section updated.  Also, there is a Contact section, should you want to contact me personally.  And, you will also see names of some wonderful books I have recently read, along with several lovely blogs I follow (click on the blog, to go directly to the site).

There is so much I want to say and so many things I hope to inspire.  I want this blog to be special for you – something you look forward to in our crazy world, a source of inspiration.  Susan Branch tells us, “It’s a toxic world but you have the power to protect yourself.  Feed your life from the well of sweetness.”  Those are certainly some thought provoking words.

What is in this “well of sweetness?”  For each of us, the answer will be different.  For me, it is:  Beauty, my husband’s laugh and his crystal blue eyes, nature, the morning, the laughter of children, the voice of my dear friend Janet, good design, all flowers – especially peonies, great books, lovely poetry, gorgeous fabrics, good wine and food, all things French, the smell of rain and fresh cut grass, the feel of the earth in the spring, beautiful music, hearing from you,  and my list goes on and on.  How about you?  Write me – tell me.

Personally, I believe the love of beauty lies in each of us.  I believe it is truly in our hearts – even if we do not know or recognize it.  Often, a moment of grace opens our eyes to beauty.   Beauty is everywhere, in everything and in everyone.  It inspires us, moves us forward, enhances our homes and therefore makes life sweeter for ourselves and those we love.  It holds power.  And therefore, by being open to and aware of beauty, we can change our world.  Because, beauty and grace make us a kinder people.

So, won’t you join me on this journey.  Together, let’s create beauty, scatter joy, share ideas and inspire one another to be our very best selves.  Let’s strive to change our own little corners of the world.   And then dear friends, let us stand back and watch – The Ripple Effect of Beauty.  It will happen – I just know it will!

“Beauty hath strange power. “– John Milton

Live well – See you soon,


PS.  I hope you will take a moment to comment.  Tell me your thoughts, ideas you have, issues you feel are important and if there is anything specific you would like to see on this blog.  Just click on the comment section at the bottom of this page.  Also, on the right side you can subscribe to this blog – to ensure you won’t miss a post.









Photo: tea green chandelier.com/ just 4 me flower arrangements/ – Pinterest



‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ “Hope Floats”

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” ~ Alexander Pope

Good morning, dear friends.  Mary Oliver tells us,  ” It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world.”  Her words are so true and notably so for the people of Ukraine. Oliver passed away in 2019, I would love to hear what she would say about our current world.  However, hope moves us forward and to me, spring is the season of hope and renewal.

If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

The following are the words of, Amanda Lea Browning.

” In the spring the earth renews itself once more

with flowers in the tallest wind-blown trees

to the mossy forest floor.  Creeks thaw and gurgle

down babbling brooks.  Bees busily buzz through large open fields

and tiny little nooks.  Geese honk noisily for all to hear.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds magically appear.

Birds flirt with one another in the trees

Soon there will be chicks for them to feed.

Bright shining sun warms the chilly air

Fiery red tulips dazzle with flare.  Sweet is the fragrance

of lilacs and honey-locust trees.  Hyacinths and honeysuckle

are sure to please.  Frogs sing happily in a faraway lake.

Insects hum and groundhogs wake.  Winter is over so we cheer!

Hearts rejoice that spring is finally here!”

If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

As I was writing this post I thought, “How easy it is for me to talk about hope.” Sitting in our sweet home, the sky is blue and the daffodils are blooming.  Anyone could speak about hope under such circumstances.  Mike and I,  as well as most of you, are fortunate in today’s world.

As in any life, I have seen my share of dark days, but hope has always kept me afloat. And may it also keep the Ukrainians afloat.   I pray this gruesome war will soon come to an end and the Ukrainian people will not lose sight of their dreams for themselves and their children.  Dreams are precious, especially those a parent has for their child.

While my first prayer is for Ukraine and its people.  My other prayer is for the remainder of the world.  I have read many times in different publications, that after World War II it was said, “Never, Never, Again.”  When will we learn?  Perhaps, it is because I have read so much about WW II, Hitler, and his friends, that honestly, I can say, “I saw this coming.”  And, I know I am not alone.  But the difference this time is, we all are aware of what is happening and we cannot say we didn’t know. 

If there is any good to come from this, I believe it is to be our wake-up call.  A call to bond us together, to scatter joy and beauty, stand up to hate and horrid remarks, and name them for what they are.  Just as the Ukrainian people are doing ~ what an inspiration and example they are to the world.  They do understand, that if you don’t deal with evil when it is knocking on your door, it will chase you forever.  

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” ~ William Wilberforce


If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.


“. . .Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

The Carpathians in Ukraine

For those who have neven been to West Virginia, the photo above looks very much like our Pendleton County.  I can honestly tell you, anyone would have a dreadful fight on their hands should they try to take land away from anyone in Pendleton County.  However, I rather imagine the same holds true all across our land.  While we seem to have been separated lately, I do believe for the majority of Americans, the appreciation of our freedoms and respect for others who want the same is solid.  If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.

In closing, know I wish you and yours a beautiful day and a spring full of beauty, birdsong, and joy.  And, while spring may go unnoticed by the Ukrainians this year, it will visit them again and hopefully in peace so that they may treasure the moments and enjoy.

Be Well!

Dove of peace


“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




If you love sunflowers in the summer, then this row of sunflowers is going to look so cute on a wall as a border or a sign at someone's house. This reusable stencil measures 16.5" x 6" and is designed by Carmen Medlin for The Crafter's Workshop. This stencil can be used with your favorite inks, paints, sprays, texture products, or any other mixed media products (sold separately). It can be used on wood, tile, metal, plastic, or other surfaces. This stencil is made in the USA.


Images:  Tumblr and Pinterest

Hope Floats is a 1998 American drama film directed by Forest Whitaker.

Sandra Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

Sandra Hahn Lambiotte…truly ‘Where Inspiration Bloomed’

“Wow, the view from this side of the bridge is so beautiful!”


Today is February 27, 2023, and just a few minutes ago God decided he needed a new “chef, head gardener, and inspirational writer. “ He found all three in Sandra Lambiotte. She died at home, peacefully in her sleep Sunday night following after a long, very long, and fierce fight against cancer and other health issues. Her husband, Mike, was by her side, and they were holding hands. She looked at him and said, I Love you.” And he said,” I love you more.” And she followed with,  “I love you more more.”  Later that night, she just closed her eyes.

As she approached the Gates to Heaven”, God said, “Sandra, welcome to my Kingdom and your eternal home. I know you were not ready, but I needed you…we needed you. Mike will be OK; you have trained him well. And, do not be surprised. I have a feeling it won’t be too long before he joins you, but that is a conversation for another time.”

“I have seen your beautiful gardens, the wonderful French meals you prepared, and read your blog.  I needed you. Trust me, Mike will make it.”

“In the meantime, it’s time to check you in. Here is what I have on record.  You were born in Oakland, Maryland on October 11, 1950. Your mother’s name was Louise Fears, from Collins Mississippi. Your father was Cecil Hahn from Oakland. They met while your mother was a nurse at Hopemont Hospital.  Your parents were only married for a few years before they divorced. They both died years ago, and you are the last remaining member of your immediate family. You have no brothers or sisters. Ah, I see Mike was also an only child.”

“Your mother moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia, and then married Lester Ogden, of Enterprise, West Virginia in 1953.  You were a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg. It was there you met your childhood friend Janet when you were both three. Amazing, you two have talked almost daily for 70 years.”

“You went to Towers Elementary School, then to Central Junior High School, and graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1968. After high school graduation, you immedicably went to work for the FBI in Washington D.C. Then you worked for the Letters Carrier Union in D.C. Soon after that, I see you had enough of the big city and its politics and returned to Clarksburg in 1970. A month after returning, you became the bookkeeper for Avis Rent-A-Car and attended business school while with Avis.

On July 1, 1972, you married Mike (Lambiotte) at the First Presbyterian Church in Clarksburg.  You were high school sweethearts, meeting when you were 15 and he was 16. And, you were together for 57 years and married for 50 years and seven months, until you came to live with me in Heaven?”

“A few weeks after your marriage, you moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. While in Virginia Beach, you worked for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools for 30 years: first as the bookkeeper for Kempsville High School, then in the Guidance Department and main office at Princess Anne Middle School. For a while, you attended classes at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Then, you were hired as the office manager at the newly opened 1,500 students, Larkspur Middle School. After some changes in leadership at Larkspur, you thought it was time to move on. You were then hired as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, retiring in 2005.”

“During the last twenty years in Virginia Beach, you and Mike had a small farm where you raised chickens, pigs, geese, Angora goats, two beautiful Labrador Retrievers, and wool-breed sheep (12). You learned to spin and weave, using the wool from your own sheep, and won several awards for your spinning and weaving – “Best in Show, Sheep to Shawl” at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Annual Art Show – two years in a row. You also taught basket-making classes at the Virginia Beach Art Center.

“In 2005, after you both retired from the Virginia Beach school system, you decided to return to Clarksburg to take care of your elderly mothers. That must have been tough, considering everything you had in Virginia, but you were both only children. “

“It did not take long for you to get involved in the Clarksburg community, in between caring for your mother and training Mike. You were a member of the League for Service and the Goff Plaza Garden Club, winning several Blue Ribbons for your flower arrangements and individual entries in area flower shows. You also served a term as the club president. You were also a member of the Harrison County Senior Center and also a member of the Oral Lake Fishing Club. Sandra, you had a very busy and fulfilling life.”

“You leave behind, Mike, your husband for over 50 years. I never blessed you with children. There are some distant cousins on both sides, but you have not had contact for decades.”

“Back to why you are here. Oh, Sandra, I have had my eyes on you for the last few years: following your love for cooking, especially French cooking; the beautiful gardens you created around your home (Maison la Jardin) on Main Street in Clarksburg, and your inspirational posts on your blog (whereinspirationblooms.com). You are creative, caring, a hard worker, and always put others before yourself. Here is your first Heavenly assignment: Look to your right. As you can see, my gardens need hour hands. About your inspirational posts, which helped so many: Together, somehow, we will find a way to continue your writing.”

“Well Sandra, that’s about it. You have had quite a rewarding life and touched the lives of so many. Look down, yes, that is Mike. No, he is not really alone. You have left a little of you everywhere he looks, around your home and gardens. He will manage the pain.”

Sandra spoke up, “God, make sure Mike honors my wishes: I want to be cremated and buried in the plot not far from our home, the plot Mike and I bought a few years ago. He can walk to visit if he chooses. He is to bury me when the peonies bloom, with a small private graveside service and church service. Ask him to see if the minister at the First Presbyterian Church could say a few words. No flowers. Mike will make sure I have plenty of peonies, daffodils, Irises, and some French poppies from our gardens.”

“Instead of my friends sending flowers, ask them to make a contribution in my name to the West Virginia Botanic Garden in Morgantown, West Virginia. Mike said he will match all donations and create something special, inspirational, and permanent within the Botanic Gardens. Here is their address:  West Virginia Botanic Garden, 714 Venture Drive, PMB 121, Morgantown, WV 26508. This is the link for donations: https://www.wvbg.org/tributes-and-memorials/   Make sure to enter my name.” “ Do not worry, Sandra, I will send my most dependable Angel to make sure your wishes are carried out. Right now, Mike is trying to pick up all the pieces, pieces scattered near and far, large and small.”

“Well, Sandra, it is about time.  Fear not, notice you are now pain-free and walking like you did when you were 20.  I know enduring cancer, crippling arthritis, kidney and bladder issues, and other serious health problems was not easy on you and Mike. You wanted to keep everything private. I understand. Keep in mind, my son was beside you every day of your suffering. Remember how he suffered on the cross, the pain he endured. You did not suffer alone. He rose with you and opened the gates of Heaven for you.”

“Welcome, Sandra Lambiotte to your eternal home…enjoy the beauty and inspiration of these heavenly gardens. Rest today my child, for tomorrow, you go to work. “

For those interested, online condolences may be expressed through the Davis – Weaver Funeral Home, 329 E. Main St., Clarksburg, West Virginia         www.davisweaverfuneralhome.com.   Note: Davis-Weaver has been proud to serve Mike and Sandra during this difficult time. Mike would also like to thank the doctors at UHC, especially Oncology, those who attended to her, WVU Home Health Services, and Amedisys Hospice. All the nurses were caring and gentle while caring for Sandra and counseling Mike.

It may take a while for Mike to respond to the condolences, but he will. Sandra will see to it! Right now, though, he is experiencing a bit of a major problem…fitting some of the pieces back together again. He is a bit like Humpty Dumpty! However, unlike Humpty, “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men will put Mike back together again.”

And finally, “Rest in peace my precious. There will never be a peony bloom, a daffodil open, an iris show its beauty, a hydrangea reach to touch the sun, nor a field of lavender dance in the wind, that I shall not think of you and the love we shared. I love you more” –  Mike

I know God is Listening

For my wife Sandra:

“For those who know and love her and have been following her beautiful words over the years, I am asking for a collective prayer at 12:00 p.m. today. That was the time we were married (July 1) over 50 years ago. Her health has taken a major turn for the worse. I have been praying every day. I know God is listening, but I am hoping, with your help, if not for one more miracle, he will grant her peace.

If you chose to respond, please understand, emotionally, I am unable to respond right now.” – Mike

Taking a Wee Break

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.  ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Good morning, dear friends. I hope this finds you well and enjoying this beautiful season ~ it moves too quickly.

Some of you may have thought that when you didn’t hear from me last week, I was ill.  Not true.  Just doing a little rethinking ~ about many things.  Such as the things I love to do, the things I need to do, and what I actually can do.  After all, I am no longer forty.  I know you have heard me say, “I no longer whirl and twirl like I once did.”  Truer words were never spoken.  

I very much enjoy writing my blog, but it does take time, as all of you know.  Cooking and trying new recipes is a total joy for me, as is our garden and reading.  Again, they all take time.  And, I am one of those strange people who enjoys keeping house and a tidy one.  Perhaps, it was all the years I worked outside our home and didn’t have the time to spend where I wanted to.

All said, I have decided to take a wee break. I want to read and enjoy your blogs and take time to make sincere comments, write notes to dear friends,  watch my stove dance, and when spring arrives, reacquaint myself with our precious garden.  I want to “sit and watch the leaves turn!”  And, when the holidays arrive, I want to sit with Mike, sip hot chocolate and enjoy Christmas music and twinkling lights.  I know you understand.  

Not to worry, I will see you “At Table” soon and we will enjoy the holidays together.  I know your blogs will be beautiful and bring me and all those who are blessed to read them,  the holiday spirit.  I hope you also will take time to “watch the leaves turn” and especially take time to enjoy all the things you love.


 “Take rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” ~ Ovid


À bientôt,



Images: Tumblr


‘Sunday Thoughts’ ~ It Is October and Time to Make Apple Butter!.

“Apple butter is not a combination of apples and butter. Let’s just get that out of the way. There is no butter in apple butter, which does make it seem like whoever named the stuff could have done a slightly better job. But if it has nothing to do with the creamy dairy product, then what is apple butter? ” ~ Bon Appétit Magazine

Good morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and enjoying these autumn days.  Life is good here in ‘The Hills.’  We have been notified Jack Frost will pay us a visit tonight ~ so we know for certain October has arrived.  I hope you will enjoy your visit, as something a bit different is in store for you. 

Along with the arrival of October comes apple butter and the Salem, WV Apple Butter Festival.  West Virginians will look for any excuse to hold a festival.  There seems to be a festival for every berry, season, and occasion.  Even ramps have a festival.    Festivals are in every town and community.  Goodies and recipes abound.  From violet jelly to . . .apple butter. 

My husband belongs to a group known as the Salem Rifle and Pistol Club.  They gather for different events at their club ~ target shooting, learning new skills from skilled and certified instructors from their club, other clubs, and members of various law enforcement agencies.  They are quite a diverse group and personally, I believe they also gather to ‘shoot the breeze.’  Their backgrounds range from educational professionals, farmers, skilled craftsmen (who can build and fix anything), retired military men, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and businessmen.  There are a few ladies in the group, who joined mainly because they want to know how to properly and safely hold and fire a weapon.  

In order to help support the club, one fundraiser each year is held and that is making apple butter ~ the old-fashioned way.    The apple butter is placed over an open fire, in its copper kettle, during the wee hours of the morning, then the members of the club take turns stirring.  The club holds two to three “Apple Butter Kettles” (and a demonstration kettle at the festival) each October in order to have enough to sell at the festival.  In addition to the festival, the apple butter is most usually sold at a local grocery store.  However, there will not be any available for sale at the grocery store this year ~ they sold out.

Mike Lambiotte stirs a demonstration kettle at the festival.

The Mountaineer is not just a mascot. It is a leader. And I will proudly lead my University and state with love and passion ~ my home among the hills,” Roush said. “I also hope to serve as an inspiration for young girls for generations to come.”  ~ Mary Roush

Mary G. Roush, West Virginia University Mascot ~ 2022~2023. “The Lady Mountaineer”

The photo above is of Mary Roush, stirring apple butter.  She is the 2022~2023, West Virginia University Lady Mountaineer and the third female in nine decades to don the buckskins and carry the rifle as the 68th Mountaineer Mascot.  She fires the rifle at athletic and other various events, and public appearances throughout the state.    For those of you who are not familiar with WVU, this is quite a coveted position.  I would imagine Roush could hold her own against any of the men in the Salem club.


“Aim to be the blue ribbon best. Have high standards and work to be exceptional. Develop yourself from practice to be a winner at what you do.” ~ Mark F. LaMoure

These two fine-looking gentlemen are standing in front of the blue ribbon won by the club for their outstanding apple butter. Winning a blue ribbon is quite an accomplishment, whether one is sixteen or sixty ~ you or the group represented is always proud.

“Being a festival queen is a remarkable opportunity for a young woman.  It teaches a lot of life skills.” ~ unknown

There certainly can not be a festival without a queen.  And, this gentleman looks happier helping the lovely queen stir the apple butter than he did standing with his friend in front of the blue ribbon.   Pretty girls do have an amazing effect. 

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit.  Should you live near and may be looking for a road trip,  Go to festival.Net for a list of current fairs and festivals in the ‘Mountain State.’

Know, I wish you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.  

And. . .

Enjoy the falling leaves!

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” ~ Siddharth Katragadda




Note:  Inspiration for this post came from my dear friend, Janet.

Photos:  Mike Lambiotte