Author Archives: Mike Ward

About Mike Ward

Connecting the digital to the local - website management, social media and event promotion.

Merlefest: Bitten By The Bluegrass Bug

The music was enthralling, but my lasting memory of my first festival was the community around the campfire jam. Being so close that you could almost touch the music, seeing how the musicians who may have only just met each other seemed to easily draw from a common pool of music, seeing the faces of the crowd while they enjoyed the music and outdoors together. That is what really compelled me to learn an instrument and become a part of this community of traditions. Continue reading

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The Local Time Traveller: 8 Historical Sites in Frederick County, Maryland

Spring is a time for growth and revival, so what better time to pull the South Mountain Media blog out of its recent doldrums. Although it’s been quiet here, I have been writing monthly “heirloom” articles for hyper-local news site Want2Dish Frederick, covering historical sites and stories of Frederick County, MD. I’ve always been a student of history, and enjoy learning about the past of the places I live and visit. Continue reading

Posted in Civil War, history, local | Leave a comment

Every Meal A Feast

Having just completed the Christmas holiday and feast, I got to thinking about the ritual aspects of the holiday beyond the presents and sweets, even beyond Santa and Jesus. The philosopher Joseph Campbell described the tradition of decorating the Christmas … Continue reading

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The Christmas Twist: Some Alternative Holiday Songs

According to this XKCD chart, Christmas is music has been stagnating since the late 1940’s and early 50’s. Although I love to sing along with the classics, for the last couple of years I have tried to seek out some … Continue reading


7 Reasons To Pick Your Own Fruit

Gathering your own food is a very basic human survival function that many people never experience in this day and age, but spending some time to pick your own fruit can have other benefits besides the ripe, delicious fruit you … Continue reading

Posted in environment, farming, food | Leave a comment

Civil War? Farmer Fights Town’s Takeover

A gem of green space like Crooked Run Orchard should be cherished and protected by its local elected officials, but unless more citizens and business owners of Purcellville, VA rally to Sam and Uta Brown’s cause, they are fighting an uphill battle against powerful forces that desire their land for development. It is my hope that citizens of both parties can come together to help Sam and Uta Brown of Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville whose land and business are under attack by town officials who seem hell bent on destroying the twenty five year old orchard on historic farmland. For the left, this is an issue of environmental impact and access to green spaces. For the right, this is an issue of personal property and business owners rights against entrenched government power. For the Browns, it is simply a matter of survival. Continue reading

Posted in environment, farming, small business, small towns | 2 Comments

The Real Blueberry Hill: Frog Eye Farm

Gathering your own food is a task that is central to the survival of most species, but for many humans it is becoming lost knowledge. Celebrate this critical survival skill by picking your own berries this summer. For the last … Continue reading

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Happy Twitterversary to Me

One year ago today, I joined Twitter. My growing interest in using social media for promoting my favorite bands and small businesses made me realize that I was being foolish to restrict myself to Facebook, so I finally created a … Continue reading

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Show Review: The Hackensaw Boys w/ The Founding Fathers

It’s not every day that one looks forward to the opening act more than the headliner, but that was me on Friday, July 8 at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA where The Founding Fathers warmed up the crowd … Continue reading

Posted in Americana, bluegrass, music | 1 Comment

I Hear That Train A Comin’: Favorite Railroad Songs

Fascination with trains is in my blood. My grandfather worked in a rail yard for a time, and I remember well when he took my brother and I onto an engine and let us blow the whistle while he drove … Continue reading