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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, […]

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Tuesday Tunes: The Concert

  Last Tuesday, I mentioned that my friend, Rhonda and I were planning to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in concert on Saturday.  Well, we set off from Virginia early Saturday morning and arrived in Philadelphia that evening.  It was a long drive and day, but it was worth it.  The concert was fantastic, and we had so much […]

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Green Hill Farm in Bloom

Our garden has been really lovely this spring and summer.  Actually, I think it’s the prettiest it’s ever looked.  We designed and planted our flower beds around 2005, and every year they’ve filled in a little more. Of course, all the rain we had in April and May certainly helped to create such a colorful palette of blooms. Have a […]

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Friday Farm Favorites: There’s No Place Like Home

I’m truly grateful for this place…Green Hill Farm.  And, what I’ve come to realize is that no matter the challenges of living here, my love for this farm is constant and irreplaceable.  I love it for its enduring ability to lift my spirits, fill my heart, and give my life direction.  The very thought of it…is joyful.   I hope these photos of Green Hill Farm bring a bit of joy to your day.  Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂    

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Tuesday Tunes: Optimistic Defiance

My good friend, Rhonda and I are going to see Tom Petty in concert this weekend.  So, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite Tom Petty tunes as well as the answer to a question that was part of an award from a fellow blogger.  A while ago, the joyful and effervescent Ritu of the blog, But I Smile Anyway, nominated me for the STARLIGHT Blogger Award.  She asked, “Which song would you use as the soundtrack to your life?”  Here’s my answer. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to just one song.  I’d probably choose a couple from the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album called, Anthology: Through the Years, namely:  “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “Learning to Fly.” I chose these songs, because they speak to me about the journey of life.  I like how the metaphors of driving down a road, weather, and flying are used regarding life’s ups and downs as well as encompassing the lessons of faith and perseverance.  I also really LOVE the note of optimistic defiance in the lyrics. I think most of us can identify with the metaphor of life as a road in the song, “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” We start out on a sunny day, believing in our goals and dreams and that “anything is possible.”  And, as we’re heading down the road of life, we run into those people or circumstances that are stumbling blocks rather […]

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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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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 […]

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A Lesson

As a child growing up on Green Hill Farm there were two things that I looked forward to the most: visiting with Grandma and Granddaddy Rieley and summer time.  The thing I liked best was neither required dressy outfits or shoes.  I also relished the freedom of an undetermined day, one without rules or routines.  I’d run around the farm sometimes barefoot and still in my pajamas or a mismatched outfit chosen by me; one which usually included an article of clothing made of terry-cloth, a Mork and Mindy tee-shirt, and maybe even knee socks.  I probably resembled something akin to a cross between Little Orphan Annie and a peasant.  Nevertheless, I didn’t care.  I had Grandma to visit, stuff to get into, and I was comfortable–a formula that equalled happiness in my world.  Of course, those days are long gone, because I’d never go outside today without at least a pair of flip flops on my feet.  I also don’t wear terry cloth shorts or knee-socks anymore, either–at least, not together.  However, I still prefer jeans and tee-shirts to dressy outfits, and I’m known to wear my pajamas outside the house on occasion (but never off the farm).  As for those undetermined days, well, I still love them, because you just never know who you may meet or what you might learn. It was a glorious summer day like the ones depicted in those old Country Time Lemonade commercials: […]

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Shhh….We’re Hunting Wabbits

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 […]

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