Tuesday Tunes: The Grapevine

  Over the weekend, 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 […]

Read More →

Tuesday Tunes: Along the Crooked Road

The Crooked Road is a place of beauty and a place of song.  It’s also known as Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail which winds through almost 300 miles of scenic terrain in Southwest Virginia.  Here, music is woven into the rich tapestry of tradition.  Passed down from generations, these mountain ballads and toe-tapping, old-time dance music continue to echo across the […]

Read More →

Tuesday Tunes: The Whistling Tree Frogs of Bermuda

The song of the Whistling Tree Frog is one of the infamous sounds of a Bermuda night.  These tiny creatures create a beautiful evening sound as they accompany the gentle breezes with their sweet symphony—all from the sound of a cent!  “Gleep, gleep.” Only about the size of a thumbnail, the tree frogs are slight in stature but big in presence. If you’re lucky enough to see one, you’ll be surprised to discover that such a big noise can come from such a small amphibian. There are two species of Whistling Frogs (Tree Frogs) in Bermuda. The Eleutherodactylus johnstonei and Eleutherodactylus gossei, the first of the two is more common and smaller while the other has almost disappeared. Both are brownish, nocturnal, living in trees near the ground and by day hiding under stones and leaves. They are one of the most characteristic night sounds of Bermuda between April and November. They can be heard island-wide when the weather is warm enough (above 69 degrees) but are most common in the Parishes of Devonshire, Paget, Pembroke and Warwick. They are not indigenous – both were introduced accidentally sometime prior to 1880, most likely on orchids imported from the Lesser Antilles. They can be found elsewhere in temperate and sub-tropical regions, but mainly can be found singing loudly at night. Here’s a snippet of the enchanting Tree Frogs’ melody.  Enjoy!

Read More →

One More Reason to Love Italy

In May, Scott and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in Tuscany, specifically Cortona and Florence.  We chose Italy, because it’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited, and the people are lovely and welcoming.  From the breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside to the art, culture, and history of its towns and cities, Italy offers so much.  And, […]

Read More →

Something Refreshing

I’m not much of a mixed drink connoisseur.  I usually find that I enjoy wine more:  sparkling, white Burgundy, and Bordeaux styles. However, a few years ago, while visiting with friends in Yorkshire, England, I discovered a cocktail that I enjoyed so much that I asked the bartender for the recipe. It’s called a Hendrick’s Collins.  This cocktail is delicious and refreshing—perfect for a summer afternoon in the garden. Hendrick’s Collins *Slightly modified Ingredients: One 12 ounce Collins glass One shot of Hendrick’s Gin (distilled Scottish gin infused with rose & cucumber) 3/4 shot of St. Germain elderflower liqueur Dash of lemon 3 Cucumber slices Ice cubes Soda Water Cucumber and lemon wedge to garnish *Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Presse *Special Note:  This is a sparkling beverage that’s handmade in the U.K. and mixes well with gin.  I originally had it in England; however, I have purchased it at The Fresh Market grocery store in my area.  It can also be ordered online at amazon.com.  My preference is to use half soda water and half Belvoir Elderflower Presse in this cocktail. Preparation: Fill the Collins glasses with ice.  Full size ice cubes will melt more slowly and dilute the drink more slowly. Add the gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, and cucumber slices into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.  Cover and shake for several seconds.  Strain into a Collins glass and top with soda water (and Elderflower sparkling beverage […]

Read More →

Tuesday Tunes: Melt With You

  Basilica di San Lorenzo Chapel of the Princes Florence, Italy   It’s summertime, and the living is….well, HOT!  Hot enough to melt! The temperatures have been soaring into the 90 degree F. range not only in the Southern United States but in many other places as well.  So, the idea (or at least the memory) of something cold and […]

Read More →

Shattered

 Startled, I sat up in bed.  “Scott–did you hear that?  I just heard glass breaking,” I whispered.  My heart was pounding uncontrollably.  Living in a 227-year-old house, I’m well-accustomed to the quirky noises that it makes, but this was different.      “You were dreaming.  It’s nothing,” he assured me.      “I was not dreaming,” I hissed.  I heard […]

Read More →

Got Merlot?

Farmgirl in Saint Émilion (right bank of Bordeaux) November 2016   Dorothy Boyd, the love interest in the film “Jerry Maguire,” made the following line famous: “You had me at hello.”  However, if Dorothy had been a sommelier, she may have uttered these words instead, “You had me at Merlot.”  And, with good reason.  Merlot, French for little blackbird because […]

Read More →

So Many Reasons to Love London

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” ~Samuel  Johnson   I first visited London when I was 21 years-old.  I was on a study abroad program while an undergraduate at Hollins College (now Hollins University)—a four-year, private women’s college in Roanoke, Virginia.  To this day, I believe that my time living and studying abroad had […]

Read More →