A Grand Thing

Green Hill Farm Spring 2020 “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” ~Agatha Christie       Sending lots of love and good wishes from all of us at Green Hill Farm! xoxo

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Paris’ Village on a Hill

Farmguy and Farmgirl standing in front of Le mur des je t’aime or the I Love You Wall in Montmartre Paris, France   A while ago, Farmguy and I spent several days in Paris.  We decided to include a walking tour of Montmartre, or the “neighborhood on the hill,” which is in the 18th Arrondissement.  Our first stop was the I Love You Wall, a love-themed 40 square meters (430 sq ft) wall in the Jehan Rictus garden square.  The wall was created in 2000 by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito and is composed of 612 tiles of enameled lava, on which the phrase “I love you” is featured 311 times in 250 languages.  The red splashes on the wall symbolize parts of a broken heart. A few of the must sees in the area include the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the vineyards, and the Montmartre museum.  However, it’s also worth the time to explore the charming streets and quaint village atmosphere that Montmartre offers. The 18th is a delightful mixture of lovely old houses and a place to discover farmers’ markets, small art galleries, and bistros.  In the area of Rue Poulet toward Sacré Cœur, away from the tourists and busyness, you’ll see the quintessential Paris referred to as “the village.”  It was home to many families as well as intellectuals and artists (Claude Monet, Amedeo Modigliani, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, August Renoir, Henri […]

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Still Looking Up….

       UNDERSTANDING                   GOODWILL   PEACEFULNESS            COMPASSION                           UNITY   FORGIVENESS                  FAIRNESS                       HUMANITY  FAITH          EMPATHY                                GOODNESS                 PATIENCE            FRIENDSHIP                  BROTHERHOOD PERSEVERANCE                 EQUALITY    COMMON SENSE                   HISTORY                DIALOGUE JUSTICE                         HARMONY              CITIZENSHIP               DILIGENCE COMMUNICATION                    GRACE  RESPECT                          LOVE     TRUST  COURAGE         KINDNESS          DECENCY    TOLERANCE  

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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Got Merlot?

  Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016   “You had me at hello.” A line made famous by Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire.” However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have said, “You had me at Merlot.” And, with good reason. Merlot, French for little blackbird because of its very dark fruit, is naturally versatile, acclimating to different climate zones and soil compositions, which, over time, have made it the second most planted red grape on the planet, behind its brother from Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot can be big and rich, but also fruity and soft, without being overly high in acids or tannins. These characteristics make Merlot an elegant and easy choice to drink as well as pair with food. If that doesn’t spark your interest in Merlot, maybe this will.  You know all those famous red wines from Bordeaux? Wines that are considered some of the best in the world?  Well, they’re all blended with Merlot.  And, many are mostly Merlot—especially, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in the Bordeaux appellation, where it’s the law that Merlot has to be the predominant grape.  Of course, the most famous Merlot wine is undoubtedly Pétrus (100% Merlot) from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux.  This highly collectable wine can fetch several thousand dollars, depending on its vintage. You may not be as familiar with Merlot’s positive attributes, especially post “Sideways”—a 2004 film […]

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Wine Basics: The Five Ss

Wine requires two assessments:  Subjective and Objective.  Just because we like a wine, doesn’t mean it’s a great wine.  One way to illustrate this point is with art.  You may not want to hang a reproduction of a Claude Monet painting in your home, but you agree that Monet is a great artist. So, getting to the point where you have both a subjective and objective opinion is one of the most rewarding stages in developing knowledge and comfort in wine; thus, allowing you to separate your liking of something from its quality. So, the point is this:  You can love a wine but understand that it’s not a great wine.  For example, I have weekly wines and weekend wines.  Weekly wines are inexpensive wines ($15-25) we enjoy with our simple evening meals; however, weekend wines are the special ones ($50 or more) we may take to a favorite gourmet restaurant that has a corkage fee. Most of us know what we like, but having an objective opinion means increasing our knowledge base. So, let’s get started! The Five Ss: –See –Swirl –Sniff –Sip –Savor All together, they’ll enable you to maximize your enjoyment of your next glass of wine. SEE A wine’s color can tell you a lot: Taste, intensity, condition, and most likely, its aromas and flavors. The best way to examine the color is to tilt the glass over a white surface, such as a white table […]

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More Than A Memento

In life, we often go through our days interacting with others, but not really connecting.  It’s just the way it is.  Most days we are busy, stressed, and distracted—replaying yesterday and worrying about tomorrow.  It can be difficult to be in the moment, to observe and listen, to be present—to look and actually see.  Not that we mean to or want to, but sometimes we operate on a superficial level.  This is partly because we are so engaged in our own worlds, disconnected and unable to relate to something outside of ourselves. I’m reminded of an experience I had one summer while visiting my favorite place—England.  My husband and I were spending the day in a Cotswolds market town in Gloucestershire, a charming place with honey-colored, stone architecture and baskets full of colorful, cascading flowers adorning the front of every other building.  As we made our way along the busy highstreet, a courtyard with shops and galleries caught our attention.  We walked into the brightly lit space with sunlight streaming down from the skylights above, illuminating the shops before us.  I immediately noticed the simple but stunning jewelry in one of the galleries.  I walked in and began to browse.  My gaze landed on an understated, wide, silver band with an anticlastic shape. It was lovely.  I wanted to try it on, but I didn’t see anyone.  I looked across the hallway, and sitting opposite the gallery, in a studio, […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Feeling Festive

I LOVE wandering around vintage/antiques stores.  You know the kind—where there’s everything from beautiful, old quilts to those tacky Smurf drinking glasses you just had to collect when you were a child. The fun thing is you never know what you may find….treasure or trinkets.  But, it’s all good stuff! Well, recently, while enjoying a lazy afternoon in one of these delightful shops, I discovered an item that grabbed my attention…a pillow with small, red bells on the corners and the phrase, “Get Your Jingle On.”  I laughed out loud! Anyway, the more I thought about this whimsical pillow, the more I decided that I really needed it.  I thought, “What a good reminder of this season of love and goodwill.” So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, tired, or stressed-out, put on some festive music, remember your blessings, and think about all the wonderful things you can do to reflect light into our world by offering a kind word, a bright smile, or a helpful hand. Go ahead, “GET YOUR JINGLE ON.”     As you can see, Clementine, Dash, and Bizou love the pillow, especially the bells. 🙂 Wishing you a week full of joy and lots of jingles! 

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