Horse Logging by The Healing Harvest Forest Foundation (HHFF)

Story by Jason Rutledge, President, BOD • www.

HHFF is one of the oldest community-based sustainable forestry groups in the country. The group acquired 501(c)3 Non-Profit, Public Charity status in 1999 through a grant from the Ford Foundation, to develop replicable community-based sustainable forestry models for the world. We did this within the vision of our mission statement: “To address human needs for forest products while creating a nurturing coexistence between the forest and human communities”. We promote and practice “Restorative Forestry”.

The practice of Restorative forestry is defined by our organization as being “worst first” single tree selection, with skilled directional felling and the ultimate low impact overland extraction technique of modern draft animal powered methods. Our group educates the public as to the benefits of restorative forestry for the public good and specifically trains “Biological Woodsmen” through a network of proven practitioners that act as mentors to willing apprentices selected through an application process that is approved on an individual basis by the board of directors.

The skills necessary to do this work are varied and complex. The combinations of talents needed to accomplish the tasks of restorative forestry are informed by science and experiential learning from the years of practice and observation of natural conditions revealed by individual trees. This cultural approach is unique in the world of forestry. HHFF has influenced the forest products industry through the development of techniques and language specific to the practice of restorative forestry. The demand for the services of the “Biological Woodsmen” far exceeds the number of people trained to do the work.

In order to train more practitioners funding is sought from multiple sources. There is a great deal of community support in various ways.  This includes a long tern relationship with the Natural Woodworking Company as value adding facility that stores and processes lumber through their solar kilns at the Franklin Pike shop. The Natural Woodworking Company serves as a distribution center for “DRAFTWOOD” forest products as a community “green certified” lumber source. The use of this lumber for many of their products and availability of high quality hardwoods to other craftsmen and fabricators that are concerned about the source of their materials is a growing market development. The brand name and logo are becoming well known throughout the local, regional and national markets. The network of producers is also steadily growing.

HHFF promotes bottom up change in natural resource management though a whole forest, eco-system based approach and is very thankful for the support of our local community and customers of DRAFTWOOD. Consumer driven change in protecting the environment is an innovative approach and is the goal of our organization and group of practitioners. We define “social capital” as making people worth money, which this system does. It is not possible without visionary landowners, craftsmen and a community that values environmental protection – through restorative forestry.

Please contact us if we may help you with your forested land, need for forest products, or if you have any questions about our organization and work: email or phone 540-651-6355. Thanks to FLOYD VIRGINIA Publication!

Don’t miss a great opportunity to get an up-close look at sustainable horse logging! Healing Harvest Forest Foundation’s Jason Rutledge recently finished up filming for the History Channel series ‘Ax Men’.  Episodes of The Healing Harvest Crew series are set to start in January 2012.  This will be the first time that horse logging has been featured by a major television network!

Jason Rutledge and his son Jagger gave interview to a local TV station to proclaim the viability of the practice of horse logging.  He told Melissa Gaona of WDBJ7 (

It’s a … “green” alternative to mechanical skidding. “Beyond the animal power, we’re just as modern and maybe even more modern, because we’re practicing restorative forestry.”

Using machinery is another option but horse loggers say it’s expensive and causes damage to the forestry. Jason Rutledge explains, “Horses have much less impact on the ground with a horse’s foot, as opposed to a big skidder that tears things up.”  Unlike machinery, horse loggers are not dependent on foreign oil or fossil fuel for power. All that’s needed is hay and grain for feed and the horses are able to work 6 to 8 hours a day in comfortable temperatures.

Dead, damaged and dying trees are the only ones ever cut. Horse loggers say it’s not a lot of money initially but in the long term, better trees will grow and it’s good for business.

The logs are used for things like timber frame homes and natural woodwork. Currently the Rutledge’s are working on two local projects; a retirement home and a meditation room.
Check out the video clip by WDBJ7 posted on Jason’s website to learn more –

Then mark your calendar for October 15th to see the action live at Chantilly Farm (!  They are holding Fall Open House from 11am to 3pm – This is a FREE event and everyone is welcome to stop by!  Professional photographer Sarah Greene will be on hand to take Fall Family Photos ($20.00 for 8×10 photograph OR image on CD for use in Christmas cards, etc.  $5.00 from each purchase will go to charity).  There is pumpkin painting for the kids – let them paint their pumpkin however they wish!  Pumpkins will be provided.  Best of all, they will feature LIVE horse logging demonstration by Jason Rutledge and the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation!!

Healing Harvest Forest Foundation •  8014 Bear Ridge Road Copper Hill, VA 24079  • 540-651-6355

Story by Dee Wallace

Brick Oven Weekend Villa Appalaccia Winery

Our replica of a Pompei brick oven will be baking various Italian flatbreads, weather permitting (no rain). $7 a slice with a glass of wine.

September 24 – 25 Call for hours Brick Oven Weekend Villa Appalaccia Winery 540-593-3100

WOOD-FIRED BRICK OVEN WEEKEND at Villa Appalaccia Winery

Wood fired oven baked breads and classical music. Sampling of 2 different oven baked foccacia or pizza. $5 per person. No reservations required. 12:30-4 PM
Saturday, 23 August, 2008 12:00 PM – 04:00 PM – Oven baked breads available for a modest cost. We may also have the griddle going to make crepes.


Event Contact Info
Phone: 5405933100

Ideas for Warm Weather Outdoor Recreation

We at FLOYD VIRGINIA recognize the right of all Floydians to recreate.  May we suggest a few ways to find happiness outdoors—

Watch Eastern Bluebirds

The next time you head outdoors, take along a pair of binoculars. See if you can spot the birds of blue which are native to our area.  They’re building their nests and laying eggs in territory which male bluebirds select just before springtime.  Their first broods will come during mid-April to mid-May and a second or third brood may arrive in June and July according to a brochure by The Virginia Bluebird Society ( Locally, Christine Boran is VBS County Coordinator (Patrick & Floyd), and she heads up an effort to preserve these beautiful feathered friends that live in our area.  You may establish and monitor bluebird nestboxes – it’s not difficult to learn proper installation and maintenance – and you will derive much enjoyment from doing so. For more information and assistance, contact Christine through her website:
or call (276) 930-9963.

Walk in the Woods

Natural sights and sounds await in the woodlands of Floyd County. Discover various plant and animal species, listen to water that moves so you can hear; pay attention to what gathers on or underneath the rocks and fallen logs.  Gather up a few things without disturbing life or habitat, and learn more about them when you return home. Collect a bug or two in a jar with a poked-hole lid containing some food and observe them for a short period before releasing.

Wind Down a Riding Trail or Fish for Fun

Kevin Walker tells FLOYD VIRGINIA about new opportunities for trail riding with Poplar Run Riding Trails, managed by Michael & Carole Walker ( –see ad on pg.17).  Journey through forests and open spaces which cover many miles of trails open to riding groups and individuals.  Loop roads are for ease in access/departure for trailers – they may pull through.  A 14-space campground and overnight boarding can accommodate a planned retreat.  The Walkers raise trout on the farm.  You may fish for fun or catch and eat – call for information
(540) 745-6815.

Wade in or Row on Some Water

Take a quick, cool dip or a paddle a ways down Floyd County’s Little River.  Either choice will certainly refresh you!  Don’t forget to snap some shots with a waterproof camera – there is lots of nature and memories made that you’ll want to capture.  There are access points for easy put-in and pick-up.  You might be all day enjoying the river, so pack a picnic and include a supply of drinks for hydration.

The 2nd Annual Little River Run is June 4th, with registration at 11am near the intersection of Thunderstruck & Slusher Store Roads – check calendar of events on pgs. 28 & 29 for more info).  Floaters will travel approximately two miles down river after a briefing about safe water passage.  Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  Entry fee is $10 per canoe – if you don’t own a canoe/kayak, Contact Daniel at (540) 267-5565 (see pg. 17, lower left – On the Water in Floyd).  You may fish the river with a valid Virginia license.

Luis A Garcia
Proprietor / Graphic Designer
FLOYD VIRGINIA publication
(540) 320 1045 –

This story was published in Floyd Magazine Spring/Summer 2011 ~Senior Editor Dee Wallace

Floyd County is FLY

When you are driving anywhere in Floyd County, just pay attention … and I guarantee you will cross a river or creek no matter where in Floyd you are headed.

With a base elevation above 2,500 feet, The Republic of Floyd offers the perfect habitat for year round fly fishing.

You see, trout have to live in water that is generally below 70 degrees, and our high plateau elevation supports a great number of endemic fishing populations.

Floyd’s aquifers and mountains provide clean cool water, with the gradient to produce rich oxygen and the trees, and meadows to provide cover, spawning beds, and most of all bugs (which us anglers in our infinite wisdom have renamed “flies”) for their food source.

As a long time angler, I think fly fishing is one of the misunderstood sports in the world. Fly fishing is quite simply a cross between conservation, the art of angling and the natural songs of the water.  A “fly” is a just handmade imitation of what a trout eats.

Floyd trout are active all year long. They feed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and their diet is mainly the small larvae that are born along the banks and under the rocks in the stream bed.

To make this part extra easy (are you paying attention Orvis?)… there are 3 flies that catch 90% of the trout… a prince nymph, a hare’s ear nymph , and a pheasant tail nymph.

Fly casting is like your signature on a letter you write to your Creator… it is really an individual thing… intuitive to learn in five minutes and its goal just softly deliver the fly..

So, there you have it… Not so hard huh?

As far as gear, it is not how much you spend on your gear, but how you use it.

One of my favorite rods is an Eagle Claw I bought for $19.99 in a Floyd hardware store.

If you are starting out, go on the internet, and get the cheapest thing you can get – because a trout only cares about your fly, certainly not the brand name of your gear.

While most people respect the art and poetry of fly casting, trout eat flies based as much on presentation as fly selection… so another hint: cast upstream, fish water at least a foot deep, go slow, and enjoy your self.

It is this Zen of fly fishing is what appeals to me most:  the mystery, the cycle, the seasons of life are what grabs me – a world where all things are bound by bugs, water, trees, fields and fish.

Fly fishing shows that we really are all connected… how perfect the balance of life is… how that little bug is really a critical piece of the cycle of life… how beautiful a fish is, and how precious it is to be able to catch a trout with a barbless hook, and gently release him back into his world, which you are just visiting.

One of my favorite things to do in Floyd when I am fly fishing is walk the banks to be present in the moment.

As an angler, you learn the relation of the seasons to the hatches of insects, the length of days, the movement of shadows, the wind, the temperature changes, and the fact that while nature is timeless, your time in it is not.

In the late summer, I love walking the tall grass and seeing squads of grasshoppers shoot away underfoot, reflected in the golden light of an ever shortening day.

In early spring, I notice the birds chirping and diving across the water to pluck the iridescent green drake flies out of the air, knowing this gigantic mayfly has once again hatched in our mountain waterways.

In the dead of winter, the solace of fly fishing is what I like the best.

I have always made a point to fish on December 21st for this reason… knowing tomorrow will be a smidgeon longer, and relishing the drive home through Indian Valley, seeing Christmas lights welcome me back to a warm farm house, and loving family.

In the winter, I will just fish for maybe an hour…almost just to check in with the trout, to bundle up, throw a few flies and call it a day.

On a cold winter’s day, there is something exhilarating about just being outside… it is hard to explain but is reassuring to know that when everything else is dormant, the water is alive with midges, stoneflies, ants and beetles with the mid day hatch of the beautiful blue winged olive mayfly.

In Floyd, we are blessed with an abundance of natural riches, beyond belief.

The Commonwealth of Virginia stocks Goose Creek, The Little River, Howell Creek, Burke’s Fork , Mira Fork, Rush Fork with rainbows and brown trout – but there are myriads of mountain and farm streams everywhere with wild brook trout.

The Floyd angling protocol is simple… wherever you fly fish, you leave the water in better shape than when you got there… If there is trash, you pick it up. If you meet someone on the water, you are friendly, and give them the right of way, since there is so much water to fish.

If you see a creek you want to fish, and you do not have permission to fish it, you leave a note, and say, “If it would be possible, I would like to fly fish on your stream sometime, and I promise to always carry a trash bag with me, and never harvest a fish under any circumstances.”

I make a copy of my driver’s license and leave it with the owner, if I am given permission, and I never take another angler there without permission, and any guest of mine understands they are to never return unless they have the owner’s consent.

Our sport is defined by humility to our water and to each other, and I love fly fishing in Floyd for this season.

It is a sad fact that our culture has changed… and that our streams are not as pristine as they once were, but in Floyd, we stand for something different.

Chances are, if you tell another Floyd County brother or sister you are an angler, they will recommend a choice spot for inspection.  Here we can celebrate our past, and know that our future is dependent on how we treat each other, our land, and our water… and our beloved trout.

If you want to discover the best of Floyd County Fly Fishing – the coolest angler I know here is Mike Smith–

He is an author of several great fly fishing books, and is famous in our sport, because of his ability to teach, laugh and love. His Company, Greasy Creek Outfitters is 540.789.7811. Mike knows Floyd’s waters like the back of his hand, and if you are lucky, he may just show you some of his special places, known for the monster trout he protects in our beloved sport of fly fishing.

If you are unsure as to how to proceed, here is your answer…. All you have to do is go to your daughter or son, and ask them if they would like to go a walk, and the rest will take care of itself!

Richard Formato is an angler from the Indian Valley section of Floyd. He is a former member of TEAM USA, a former back to back winner of the Project Healing Waters 2 fly Tournament, former Captain of TEAM USA Midwest. He is a gubernatorial appointee, and Member of the Board of Conservation and Recreation, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Shenandoah National Park. He has been featured on the TV Show Familiar Waters numerous times on the Outdoor Channel, and is in his second year at The Harvard Business School.

Luis A Garcia
Proprietor / Graphic Designer
FLOYD VIRGINIA publication
(540) 320 1045 –

This story was published in Floyd Magazine Fall/Winter 2010 ~Senior Editor Dee Wallace

The Crooked Road

“The Crooked Road” is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a 300-mile driving route through the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. It is one of the prides of the Blue Ridge.  Several of our businesses and music venues are a part of this Trail.

As you drink in the pages of this Publication, recognize that preserving our heritage, including our musical roots, is of great importance.  Any support you can give is appreciated. For more information, explore TCR’s website at

Recently, the Trail named musician and former consulting engineer Jack Hinshelwood as its new Executive Director.  Mr. Hinshelwood, from Shawsville, Virginia, grew up in Christiansburg, and is no stranger to The Crooked Road and its communities.  As an award-winning guitarist and fiddler, he has performed at many of The Crooked Road venues and festivals, such as the Carter Fold and the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival.  Mr. Hinshelwood has performed in the U.S. and Canada with New York Times Best Selling Author Sharyn McCrumb, and toured Alaska with the Appalachian and Celtic music group Celtibillies. Since 1988 he has worked as a consulting engineer helping Southwest Virginia communities meet their infrastructure needs.

“Over the years I’ve gained such a respect and admiration for the remarkable people of Southwest Virginia, and especially the musicians.  And now to be a part of The Crooked Road and to celebrate that musical heritage is a thrill and an honor”, Hinshelwood said. “This is an exciting time in the development of The Crooked Road and the entire region, with the creation of Heartwood and the work of other organizations like ‘Round the Mountain and the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission”.

The Crooked Road also announces its Southwest Virginia Traditional Music Education Plan, funded in part by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.  It is a broad educational plan designed to provide support to existing traditional music programs and instructors, to encourage the implementation of new programs, and to incorporate traditional music coursework and instruction in public schools and community colleges throughout Southwest Virginia.

This plan will be developed in a series of strategic steps designed to draw upon the enthusiastic support and vast resources of individuals and organizations who believe in keeping our unique musical heritage alive as a vibrant and essential element of life in our area and passing along traditional Appalachian traditional music to future generations.

The opportunity to learn about and formally study the rich musical traditions of the Appalachian Mountains will benefit students of all ages and levels, from elementary and secondary school students to adults enrolled in community colleges and continuing education programs.

For additional information about The Crooked Road’s Southwest Virginia Traditional Music Education Plan, call Jonathan Romeo at (276) 492-2087 or email:

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, was founded in 2004 to support tourism and economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region’s unique musical and cultural heritage.  The Crooked Road, as designated by the General Assembly, is a 300 plus mile long Trail traversing scenic highways and backcountry roads and connecting eight major music venues, as well as weekly jams and annual festivals.   The Crooked Road Region has been recently expanded to include additional counties and towns in Southwest Virginia and to allow those and other Southwest Virginia localities to join in celebrating their musical heritage.

Luis A Garcia
Proprietor / Graphic Designer
FLOYD VIRGINIA publication
(540) 320 1045 –

This story was published in Floyd Magazine Fall/Winter 2010 ~Senior Editor Dee Wallace