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 the passing years and what “age” means to me. As someone who’s interested in wine and recently completed the WSET Level III Award in Wines through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust this year, I started thinking about aging in wine and aging in life. I thought about the grapevine’s journey versus our own journeys. Young grapevines have vigor and brightness, but it’s the older vines that are the most sought after to make the best wines. This is partially because the vines take on the nuances of their environment: herbs, mushrooms, and flowers as well as the minerality of the soil; and, as vines age, they produce a delightful complexity and intensity in their fruit. These extra years are prized and celebrated, because in viticulture, time is allowed for character to express itself. It’s understood that many vintages will pass before a vineyard will start to show its magic. From the vineyard to the cellar, respect for the aging process continues. A particular set of environmental conditions is cultivated to help the wines age: dark cellars, correct humidity, constant and perfect temperature, and no excessive […]
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 […]
Our new lambs–Tino, Sweet Pea, Butterbean, and Truffle Spring 2018 Please bear with this somewhat stream of consciousness post. I kept going around and around about what to say, how to say it, and whether to even say it. But here it is. Suffering at the hands of someone you love and who is supposed to love you, […]
Dash and Bizou There is no shortage of rabbits on Green Hill Farm this summer. I’m not kidding! We are Plum. Covered. Up. There are big rabbits, little rabbits, and even teeny-tiny rabbits. They’re everywhere: running across the driveway, darting into bushes, chasing each other around the vegetable garden, sunning themselves on the lawn, hanging out in the sheep pasture, munching on clover in the back garden, and sitting under the window in the dogs’ play room—tormenting poor Bizou. We simply have too many rabbits! Don’t get me wrong. I love all critters, especially cute, furry bunnies. But, lately, they’ve been making our lives somewhat stressful. These wascaly wabbits are driving Bizou and Dash to distraction, and me right along with them. Bizou is completely obsessed. Once in a while, I’ll hear a groan and a moan and then a whimper. This melodic trio quickly escalates into many high-pitched whimpers, followed by lots of frantic whining and running around the room. And, of course, jumping up on window sills—all in a vain attempt to glimpse rabbits. Understandably, this behavior isn’t good for Bizou, the window sills, or my nerves for that matter. So, whenever the rabbits decide to hang out under the windows, I usually encourage Bizou to leave the room, and I shut the door. The other day, Bizou was so wound-up, running in circles and launching himself at the window to get the rabbit that no amount […]
I really love it when ALL my ducks are in a row. 🙂 Ducks taking a stroll at Painswick Rococo Garden The Cotswolds, England Have a wonderful weekend!
“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
“Lightning Over Atlanta” Many thanks to my friend and photographer, Rhonda Gardner. After an hour and 300 photos, she captured this amazing shot! “The feeling was wild and sort of unpredictable, like a good summer storm.” ~Ashley Herring Blake Happy Tuesday!
“A flower doesn’t lose its beauty because weeds mocked it.” ~Matshona Dhliwayo Thanks to all the rain we had earlier this summer, our garden has been an explosion of color—especially the lilies! It’s also been an explosion of weeds. As with everything, we take the good with the bad. However, one bad thing Farmguy and I like to avoid […]
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. I’ve already made it twice this summer: a few weeks ago when I invited a friend to have lunch, and tonight for a simple weekday dinner. 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 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 […]
For those of you who follow this blog, you may recall that I am a speech and language pathologist. Since May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and ASHA, or the American Speech and Hearing Association focuses on autism during part of the month, I thought I would share some information with you. According to the organization, Autism Speaks, autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder (sometimes referred to as “classic autism”), Rett Syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math, and art. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that autism spectrum disorders are the fastest growing developmental childhood disability: a research study from 2000 indicated that 1/150 children were diagnosed with autism, and more recently, 1/68 children were identified with this developmental disorder. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. ASD is estimated to […]