Tuesday Tunes: A Girl Like You

Birth of Venus  by Sandro Botticelli, 1486 Uffizi Gallery Florence, Italy         Liberty of Poetry by Pio Fedi, 1870 Santa Croce Florence, Italy   Atop playwright Giovanni Battista Niccolini’s tomb in the basilica of Santa Croce is a statue remarkably similar to New York’s Statue of Liberty. Both depict a woman in neoclassical robes with a crown of rays, standing on a broken chain, her right arm uplifted.  Pio Fedi started to design the Florentine statue, known as Liberty of Poetry, in 1870.  It was the same year in which Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, designer of the New York Statue of Liberty, was in Italy, fighting alongside General Garibaldi during the Franco-Prussian War.   The Coronation Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown English artist oil on panel, circa 1600 National Portrait Gallery London, England   Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss Front view Marble by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) Musée du Louvre Paris, France   Venus Bordeaux, 2001 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte by Jim Dine (American, b. 1935) Bordeaux, France   The Kiss Bronze by Auguste Rodin Outside the Musée de l‘Orangerie Paris, France  

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Friday Farm Favorites: Cheerfulness

“Cheerfulness,” 14 X 18, acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer   “Daring enthusiasm And abiding cheerfulness Can accomplish everything on earth Without fail.” ~Sri Chinmoy Farmguy and I love England, especially the Cotswolds, and one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon is Kiftsgate Court Gardens.  It’s located very near Hidcote Manor Garden and is situated above the village of Mickleton in the county of Gloucestershire, in the far north of the county close to the border with both Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The gardens, famed for its roses, are the creation of three generations of women gardeners. Started by Heather Muir in the 1920s, continued by Diany Binny from 1950, and now looked after by Anne Chambers and her husband. Kiftsgate Court is currently the home of the Chambers family. My latest painting, “Cheerfulness,” was inspired by a photograph I took during one of our visits at this lovely garden.   *As always, lots of gratitude to my friend and art teacher, Janet Wimmer for her input and guidance. 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!    

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Tuesday Tunes: Caledonia

Scotland 2012   Every day, I walk/run on the dreadmill–I mean treadmill and listen to all kinds of music; however, lately, I’ve been listening to Pandora’s 80’s station. And, the song, “In the Big Country” by the Scottish rock band, Big Country kept popping up.  I liked it, especially the bagpipes, so here it is along with some of my favorite quotes by Scottish novelist and poet, Robert Louis Stevenson. 🙂   “Make the most of the best and the least of the worst.”   “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”   “Wine is bottled poetry.”   “Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”   “The saints are the sinners who keep on trying.”     Wishing everyone a beautiful day!   *Many thanks to friend and talented photographer, Doug Frassa for his lovely photographs.

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Chateau Carbonnieux & Thomas Jefferson

Château Carbonnieux and Thomas Jefferson’s Visit in 1787     Jefferson himself said it best:  “…so ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?—certainly in my own, where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of life.—Which would be your second choice?—France.”   In 1740, the estate was sold to the monks of the Sainte-Croix abbey in Bordeaux and a new era began for Carbonnieux.  Initially purchased to be ‘a mother earth’ for the abbey, the Carbonnieux estate soon became the major investment of the Benedictine monks who did not hesitate to borrow huge amounts of money to take their Carbonnieux growth to the very top of white Graves wine ranking.  Don Galléas was one of the first to blend varieties and to bottle wine which made it easier for it to be transported and kept for longer before being drunk.  His vinification methods and his cellars were among the most modern in the region.  In the ranking of the Guyenne Intendance, published in 1776, the white wines of the “Aux Bénédictins de Carbonnieux” were very much appreciated.  Although the “premier cru de Pontac” (Haut-Brion) was the reference for red wines at the time, Carbonnieux by far led the ranking of white wines from Guyenne.  Thanks to the talents and entrepreneurship of the Benedictine monks from the Sainte-Croix abbey for half a century, the domain […]

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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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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 and a lot of travel, 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 […]

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Through the Garden Gate

  “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace.”   ~May Sarton   Photographs taken by Tonya R. Hengerer at Hidcote Manor Gardens and Kiftsgate Court Gardens in Gloucestershire, England–the Cotswolds

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