So, What Vintage Are You?

Farmgirl celebrating her 4th birthday   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 […]

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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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What’s At the End of Your Rainbow?

Rainbow Over Roanoke, Virginia January 2019   “Have a sincere desire to serve God and mankind, and stop doubting, stop thinking negatively. Simply start living by faith, pray earnestly and humbly, and get into the habit of looking expectantly for the best. ~Norman Vincent Peale   It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were celebrating St. […]

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Winter Wonderland

It doesn’t quite feel like Christmastime in my community until the Christmas Lighting Ceremony has taken place at the Bedford, Virginia landmark formerly known as the Elks National Home.  The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks is the fraternal organization that has operated the facility for over a century.  The Elks National Home was recently sold and the new owner, English Meadows, has promised to continue the Christmas light tradition.  Although this icon of Christmas has a new name, to those of us who have passed through those festive gates countless times over the years, it will always be ‘The Elks Home.’ This spectacular presentation of lights and scenery has been a tradition every December except one since 1953.  Creating this winter wonderland is a monumental task.  Beginning the first week of November, the Home’s maintenance crew as well as residents work many hours to hang tens of thousands of light bulbs and display numerous pieces of scenery.  According to the Elks National Home, there are upwards of 20,000 vehicles that pass through the grounds each Christmas Season. Here’s the thing:  I wanted to share a Christmas tradition that I’ve delighted in since childhood.  I hope you enjoy this little tour through ‘The Elks Home’ winter wonderland, and may your holidays be merry and bright! If you would like to enjoy a bit of festive music while touring the Christmas light display, just click on the link.  🙂 “Winter […]

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The Weekly Bleat: Healthy Woollies

Farmgirl and Butterbean Green Hill Farm  October 2018   All of the rain we’ve had this year has been good for our pastures; however, constant wet and warm weather is anything but helpful when it comes to managing internal parasites in small ruminants, such as sheep. Normally, Farmguy and I monitor our flock and check their eyes every six to […]

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Wine Basics: The Five Ss

Wine requires two assessments:  Subjective and Objective.  Just because we like a wine, doesn’t mean it’s a great wine.  One way to illustrate this point is with art.  You may not want to hang a reproduction of a Claude Monet painting in your home, but you agree that Monet is a great artist. So, getting to the point where you […]

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So, What Vintage Are You?

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 […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Good Times

Hamish and Friends Green Hill Farm   It’s cold….A-GAIN.  I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but around here, it seems like it’s either 60 degrees or 15 degrees F.  The temperatures have been so up and down!  We began the new year with a lovely polar vortex, single digit temperatures, and pipe freezing winds–just to remind us that, yes Virginia, it’s still winter.  Then, Mother Nature, Father Forecast, or some other maniacal meteorologic relative decided, wouldn’t it be fun to give everyone weather whiplash? So, just like that, we were hurled out of the depths of an arctic blast, only to land in what my grandma used to call “pneumonia weather.”  You know what I’m talking about…first, it’s a bone-chilling 7 degrees, and then, out of the blue, some warm-a$$ El Nino winds blow in a humid 68 degree day—all within a two week period.  Yeah, good times! You see, this warmer weather, while appearing to be a reprieve from winter, actually isn’t good for anyone—human or animal.  It’s hard for sheep as their bodies have trouble acclimating to the changing temperatures.  And, that balmy 68 degrees can feel warmer than it actually is to us as well…so warm, that we’re running the air conditioner or having wine on the patio without coats, hats, and gloves—cue pneumonia weather. And, you don’t have to be a sheep for that difference in temperature to make you feel crummy. Unfortunately, […]

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