Grateful Praise

Farmgirl and Buttermilk Green Hill Farm Summer 2019 PC: Alison Creasy Photography   “I do not understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are, and does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamott, author      Enjoy your week!

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More Treat Than Trick: Sauternes and Sage Jelly

Growing up in the country and on a farm, it was commonplace to preserve as much of the summer’s harvest as possible. My parents and grandparents worked all spring, summer, and fall planting gardens, picking vegetables, tending fruit trees, picking berries, and then canning, freezing, and storing much of it for future use.  I can still see kitchen counters covered with Mason jars of green beans, tomatoes, and black raspberry jam, and the beauty of the jewel-tone colors as the sun shone through the glass and its hard-earned contents. It’s because of this seasonal tradition that I observed and participated in as a child that I appreciate the work that goes into preserving as well as the delight in enjoying something homemade. That’s why I love using a familiar recipe or even finding a new one each year to preserve something special to share. So, when I was leafing through epicurious cooking magazine recently and discovered a recipe for wine jelly–specifically, Sauternes and sage jelly, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve made fruit jams and jellies, pickles, and even chutney in the past, but I’ve never tried making wine jelly–until now.  The cooking magazine raved about this jelly, describing it as “sophisticated and subtle.”  It also stated that it was a delicious substitute to the green mint jelly that traditionally accompanies lamb. Actually, this sublime jelly is wonderful with any roasted or grilled meat and is a fantastic […]

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Tuesday Tunes: The Grapevine

Meadows of Dan, Virginia  Blue Ridge Parkway   Recently, Farmguy and I participated in the grape harvest at a local winery just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwestern Virginia.  Located in the Rocky Knob American Viticultural Area (AVA), Chateau Morrisette Winery sits at an elevation of nearly 3500 feet.  Boasting spectacular views, it’s amid one of the most rugged and mountainous parts of the state.  Although the winery is at 3500 feet, most of its vineyards are down the mountain at 1600 feet. Chateau Morrisette Winery was founded by David Morrisette in 1978, making it among the oldest wineries in Virginia.  It has 13 acres of land and produces approximately 70,000 cases of wine each year. Chardonnay, Viognier, Chambourcin, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Petit Manseng, and Vidal blanc are among the varietals used in making Chateau Morrisette’s wines.  Besides growing many of its own grapes, the winery also buys grapes from other vineyards in Virginia.  Due to the state’s climate and growing season, Viognier and Cabernet Franc are some the winery’s most successful varieties. In the photos, Farmguy and I are harvesting Niagara grapes—a variety of the North American grape species Vitis labrusca.  Niagara grapes are one of the few grape varieties that can grow at such a high elevation. These green grapes are table grapes and are also used in making jams, juices, and wines.  They are mainly used in Chateau Morrisette’s sweet/dessert wines—Sweet Mountain Laurel and Red […]

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In the Garden

  As she sat looking out the window, her gaze settled on the sunflowers blooming in the garden below her room.  She watched as a light wind caused them to sway back and forth in the afternoon sunshine. Becoming entranced with the movement of the flowers, her mind drifted, but only for a moment.  When she looked up, she saw a figure in the distance walking up the path towards the house.  It was Graham. They had only known one another for a short while, but her heart jumped at the sight of him.  He was well-mannered, possessing a gentle nature that had impressed her from the beginning of their acquaintance. And, he had the most delightful smile. She always looked forward to their walks together.  They often took the same walk:  up the hill, past the folly, and through the meadows of blooming wild flowers.  As they walked along, chatting, he smiled affectionately at her, and she couldn’t remember feeling happier.  Being in his company felt so natural. Walking past the tulip populars, they finally arrived at the boxwood-enclosed rose garden.  Boxwoods, only about two feet high, formed a perimeter around a spacious area filled with pink and red roses as well as French lavender. Upon entering the garden, she felt a faint, heady sensation.  A feeling she wasn’t sure she should attribute to the fragrance of the flowers, or to the fact that she was falling in love. […]

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You’ve Got This

  For those of you who follow this blog, you may remember a post titled, Above and Beyond:  An Everyday Hero.  Last year, a major water pipe in our home broke, and a very kind and determined person rescued us. We thought he was just our plumber, but he turned out to be much more.  He was our hero…answering an emergency call late on a snowy, Saturday night, problem-solving a difficult situation, and working undeterred until, once again, we had water.  During this dire situation, our plumber, Mike Walker dug five gallons of dirt out of a tiny access hole, and then, climbed into this small, dirty space. He ignored his own safety, well-being, and comfort to repair our out-of-reach pipe, but also to preserve the hardwood floors in our 200-year-old family home. He did all of this, unselfishly, to save us from a significant amount of stress, inconvenience, and heartbreak–a true hero. Since that night, I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of  “everyday heroes.”  And, here’s the thing:  Heroism lies within all of us.  Each of us has the power to make our lives and the lives of others better.  Sometimes we may feel that life is always trying to “start something” by throwing a challenge or a truly dark situation at us.  However, it doesn’t matter if the problem is “too high to get over, too low to get under, and we’re stuck in the middle,” […]

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So, What Vintage Are You?

Farmgirl celebrating her 4th birthday   September is my birthday month, and thankfully, I’m turning another year older.  I am now firmly into my fourth decade–or as Farmguy corrected–fifth decade, because you count 0 to 10 as your first decade…..okay—whatever!  The bottom line….I am forty-something and well into the journey of my life.  And, with this understanding, I started considering […]

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Georgia Caprese Salad

This is the second recipe I’ve shared from the fantastic cookbook, Southern My Way—Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors by Gena Knox.  However, I have to say, this Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette is my very favorite.  Not only is it simple and delicious, but it also makes an elegant entree to serve to company. This Southern spin on an Italian classic screams summer.  And, when it’s made with fresh, local peaches, you can’t stop it.   Georgia Caprese Salad with Lime Vinaigrette *Use organic ingredients when possible Prep Time 15 minutes Yields 4 servings Ingredients: Dressing Juice and zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil (Everyday Sommelier’s Bramasole olive oil from Tuscany is perfect) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint Salad 2 (4-ounce) balls fresh, water-packed mozzarella cheese 4 (room temperature) ripe peaches, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves Method: First  To prepare dressing, combine lime juice, zest, vinegar, water, honey, and salt.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and set aside. Next  Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and gently toss with peaches and basil leaves. Last  Whisk mint into dressing and toss about 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) with salad.  Season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.   The vintage linens and lovely rose print plates belonged to my grandmother, Lois McManaway Rieley.   Also, this peach caprese […]

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GRATITUDE

Farmgirl and Dash All photographs courtesy of Alison Creasy Photography   “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” ~Brother David Steindl–Rast       Wishing everyone a wonderful week!  

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A Summer Fling

I’d like to start with the fact that I don’t normally get emotionally involved or gush over dessert.  Yes.  I enjoy decadent treats in moderation: a piece of Victoria sponge or chocolate cake on occasion.  I don’t, however, just lose my mind over sweet things…….until last week. It started out innocently enough.  My dad is a fine gardener and always has a bounty of vegetables to share with friends and family.  Every summer, he sends my in-laws squash, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, etc. from his garden; and, in an act of reciprocity, my mother-in-law bakes bread or makes a special treat for my parents.  About a week ago, after receiving an installment of vegetables from Dad, my mother-in-law sent my parents fresh berries with a homemade “cream” topping.  Bless her heart, she even sent some for us. Of course, Farmguy and I had no inkling this wasn’t any normal berry and cream combination.  After dinner, we dished out some berries and dollaped the “cream” on top and proceeded to enjoy our desserts.  After one bite, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh–This. Is. SO. Good!!  It’s not like any cream I’ve ever had! We’ve got to get the recipe from your mother!”  The next day, I called Farmguy’s mom to thank her for this unexpected treat and to get the recipe.  I went on and on about how much we enjoyed it, and how it was the best thing EVER.  The memory is blurry now, […]

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