I absolutely love fizzy and sparkling wines! And, since New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, I thought it may be fun and helpful to share some information about Champagne and sparkling wines. I’ve also included a few of my favorites. Champagne: First, all that sparkles isn’t Champagne. Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s from the Champagne region in France and made in the traditional method (méthode champenoise). The traditional method is a labor intensive, multi-step process (two fermentations) that contributes to the expense. Champagne can be made from three grapes: chardonnay and red-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier. Sometimes the label will use the terms “blanc de blancs” meaning the wine was made from white grapes, or “blanc de noirs” indicating that the Champagne is a white wine made from the dark pinot noir and pinot meunier varieties. There are also different levels of dryness/sweetness in Champagne: **Grower Champagne refers to sparkling wine that is not only made in France’s Champagne region (as a protected designation of origin), but is also specifically crafted by families who are cultivating the grapes on their own land. It is made in much smaller volumes, and can really showcase the terroir of each farm. Since the elements that inform the terroir can vary (sometimes slightly, sometimes dramatically), each year’s output is different than the one before. Brut Nature/Brut Zero: Bone dry. No residual sugar. Extra Brut: very dry Brut: very […]
Life isn’t perfect. It’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be REAL: a messy “learning lab” of experiences, mistakes, and practicing our ability to reflect on all of it—hopefully cultivating a positive outlook. An outlook that creates a meaningful, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind life. A life we can share by loving and uplifting others…..and, ultimately, ourselves. So, here’s the thing: Life isn’t a picture-perfect bowl of cherries, but with the right perspective, we just may end up with a banana split. Yes, a messy dessert to be sure, especially with all of the gooey and sticky syrups, melting ice creams, and whipped cream; but, you know what? Those garnishes sure do make that banana a lot more interesting….and definitely worth enjoying! After all, it’s the messy stuff that teaches us to be our best selves. And, let’s be real….being our best selves is truly the “cherry on top” of the banana split of life.
“La Vie en Rose” performed by Catherine Carraway Quartet “La Vie en Rose” is a song that expresses the bliss of being in love. It brims with pure emotion and beautiful sentiment. To me, it’s one of the loveliest songs ever written. “La Vie en Rose” or the English translation, Life Through Rosy Pink Glasses, was released as a single in 1947 by French singer, Édith Piaf and is one of her most famous and beloved songs. Édith Piaf, also known as “The Little Sparrow,” became an icon of France during World War II. She was a symbol of French passion and tenacity. Piaf’s signature song was about finding love after a trying time, and many people saw it as an anthem of hope as it was released shortly after the end of World War II. Here’s the thing: “La Vie en Rose” isn’t just a song about romance; it’s an anthem of love for life, especially when everything around you is considered a source of joy. Life through rosy pink glasses isn’t about being foolishly optimistic. Instead, it’s about a state of being, where we stop…and, are truly grateful for the many blessings and small miracles that occur in our everyday lives.
*This post originally appeared in September 2014. I was celebrating ten years of living on Green Hill Farm (purchased in 1912 by my great-grandparents) and the restoration of my family’s homeplace. I thought remembering this milestone seemed like a good way to start the blog, Fourth Generation Farmgirl. Every May, I like to re-publish this post for new readers. It’s an introduction to this blog, but even more, it’s a nice reminder for me of the importance of continuity. May 2020 marks the 16-year anniversary of living in my ancestral home (circa 1790). For those of you who may have already read this post, I apologize for its repetition; however, if you choose to read it again, you have my thanks. : ) There’s a sign that hangs in our vestibule or small covered porch that reads “PERSEVERANCE,” and it’s been our mantra since moving to Green Hill Farm. My husband and I were in our early 30s when we decided to take on this project. Sometimes when we look back at pictures we say, “WHAT in the world were we thinking? Were we INSANE?!!” Whatever the answer, it was the path taken. This path has lead us on a journey that has been difficult and challenging at times but rewarding and enriching, too. Anyway, we all know that anything worthwhile isn’t easy. Which brings me to the next piece of our story. The first day we visited the house after construction […]
“Cheerfulness,” 14 X 18, acrylic on canvas by Tonya Rieley Hengerer “Daring enthusiasm And abiding cheerfulness Can accomplish everything on earth Without fail.” ~Sri Chinmoy I love England, especially the Cotswolds, and one of my 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 painting, “Cheerfulness,” was inspired by a photograph I took during one of my visits to this lovely garden. *As always, lots of gratitude to my friend and art instructor, Janet Wimmer for her input and guidance. 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful day!
*This is a post I wrote several years ago about my pet chicken, Honey. I’m sharing it today as a reminder of the many beautiful lessons I’ve experienced since having this little hobby farm. Having just fed the barn kitties, I headed toward the chicken coop to gather eggs. On the way, I stopped and looked up, closing my eyes. I stood for a moment, letting the warmth of the afternoon sun wash over me. When I opened my eyes, I saw an autumn sky that was clear blue with wisps of clouds like white gossamer. The burnt colors of foliage lining the sheep paddock caught my attention; too little rain late in the summer had muted the usual fiery, fall palette. It was still a lovely sight, and it was perfect weather for Honey Hen to be outside in the fresh air. But then, I remembered. Honey Hen, a pet chicken unable to walk well or lay eggs anymore, had become part of my day-to-day routine. Although she didn’t have perfect mobility, Honey was still a fairly healthy, hearty bird. She enjoyed being outdoors in her favorite spot near the corncrib that Great-grandaddy Rieley built as well as pecking at clover and fanning out her wings in the sunshine. Everyday I prepared a plate of fruit and vegetables for her–especially when she couldn’t go outside. On warm days, when Honey was able to go out, I constantly checked to […]
Hamish watching the Hens chasing bugs and dust bathing Green Hill Farm Summer 2020 “The world is quiet here.” ~Lemony Snicket “Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.” ~Amir “Our task is to say a holy yes to […]
Green Hill Farm “Thank You” by Tonya Rieley Hengerer Taking an opportunity to Honor someone by Acknowledging Noble or Kind gestures… Your gift of this One small phrase of gratitude is significantly Uplifting to the spirit of the recipient. Wishing you many thankful moments this week!
A wonderful combination of berries and red wine, this easy and elegant sorbet has aromas and flavors of blackberry cobbler and strawberry preserves. So refreshing, it’s the perfect light ending to any holiday meal. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover wine. 😉 Berry and Red Wine Sorbet: *Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Makes: 12 Servings Makes: 6 Cups Prep: 20 minutes Stand: About 1 Hour Freeze: Overnight Ingredients: 1 pound fresh strawberries, chopped 1 pound fresh blackberries 2 cups sugar 1 1/4 cups dry red wine 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla 1/2 teaspoon salt Whipped cream Black pepper (optional) Ground cinnamon (optional) Method: –In a large saucepan combine the first eight ingredients (through the salt). Cook and stir over medium-high heat until fruit softens and sugar is dissolved. –Remove from heat; let mixture cool to room temperature. Remove ginger slices; discard. –Working in batches, transfer wine mixture to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Strain wine mixture to remove seeds. Transfer blended (seed free) mixture to a 13 x 9-inch dish or pan. Cover and freeze overnight. –When ready to serve, scoop sorbet into wine glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with black pepper or cinnamon, if desired. Nutrition Facts: (Red Wine Sorbet) Per serving: 208 kcal, 3 g fat, 8 mg chol., 102 mg sodium, 41 g carb., 3 g fiber, 38 g […]
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ~Umberto Eco