Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cheer


The week before Christmas and I'm almost ready. I have picked out all of the gifts that I'm giving (except for the Hubster). I've ordered some gifts that are supposed to be here on Tuesday.  These are for Daughter and Son In Law. They are leaving to visit his family before the weekend...so my gifts for them will get here just in time! I'm excited for these gifts.  I hope they love them. I had a fun time choosing them.

 




I've also been enjoying some hot tea in the cups that were gifts from the Dtr & Son 'N Law.  I was craving a lemony tea similar Russian Tea.  I've been drinking a lot of bottled citrus green tea lately and decided to have it hot. It was super fast and easy.

When I was growing up, my mother used to have different ideas for homemade gifts for Christmas presents.  One year it was Russian Tea Mix. I remember making the mix and packaging. We also kept a mix in our kitchen and often enjoyed a cup on cold afternoons. The warm green tea that I had this weekend reminded me of the warm and comforting citrus taste. 

Danielle, of the blog Runs With Spatulas, posted a Russian Tea on recipe.  I'm so delighted that it looks quite like the recipe Mom and I used when we made our powdered tea mixes.

I remember once trying to make the mix and improvising with non-sugar substitutes. All I can tell you was it did not work. The substitutes simply did not produce the same volume of mix.  I have wanted to find this recipe so that I can give Russian Tea gift jars. Since I just found the recipe, and I work all of next week, I think this may be a gift project for next year.

If you are not on Pinterest you totally should be. It's very fun.  It's like a virtual scrapbook of ideas.  I'd be delighted if you followed me.  And, of course, I want to see your boards and follow you as well.


Quick Poll:  Which is better:  Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie?  For me the answer is hands down Sweet Potato Pie.  It's sweeter and creamier.

A restaurant owner in a near by city was featured in the local Indy Week paper. The name of her restaurant?  Sweet Potatoes.  I must go try this.  The article is here: A new book by N.C. chef Stephanie Tyson: Tyson shares about 100 recipes of the Winston-Salem restaurant's famous dishes in Well, Shut My Mouth! The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook.

Ms. Tyson also shared a recipe from her new cookbook.

This weekend I saw the article, The Rise and Fall of Recipe Cards, A Brief History in the Slate Ezine website. The article has a fairly interesting point of view and is somewhat interesting. I realized that it has been forever since I've seen a real handwritten recipe card. The thought of a physical recipe card made me nostalgic. So, in honor of the not yet lost art of the Recipe Card, I put Stephanie Tyson's recipe on a Recipe Card for you.

Enjoy your week!


Kimberly's Note: Anytime I have made anything with sweet potatoes, I've used the potatoes I buy in a can from the grocery store.  It cuts out the majority of the time and I think it's just easier.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hello December!

I wonder how it can be so! A little over two weeks away is the big celebration in our family. This year it seemed to slip up on me. This may be because we seemed to have such a busy year with family festivities. 



One of my sisters plans to spend the holiday out of town with her husband's family as well.  Both daughter and sis will be in the colder northeast for the holiday. This will leave my hubby here with 2nd sister and our parents. I had so much fun at our Christmas gathering last year that I can't help but be a little disappointed that we won't all be together on Christmas day this year. --But that is me being selfish and I don't mean to be. This year will be wonderful in a different way.

Last year was the first Christmas that my Hubby and daughter were back in the town that I grew up in. Our house is less than a mile from my parents' house and about the same distance to daughter and her husband.  I love that!  Both my sisters live within 10 miles of me. This is so nice after being on opposite coasts for 7 of the past 8 years.

Hubby and I had the family to our house for lunch and presents. Hubby and I had been in the house only six months when we hosted the Christmas lunch. Hubby actually had only been here two months. We were in the midst of our home updates. All of the new paint was complete, but not the rest of our projects. And, to say that I'm not good in the kitchen is an understatement.  Lunch would have been supper if not for Sissy!  She deserved her "ta-da" moment. --But crashing the photo just had to be done.
Hubster and Daughter~~and a yummy glass of wine
Last year was a truly wonderful first Christmas "back home". 

Hope everyone is enjoying this part of the holiday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Painting....

I want to share some of the things I've been working on. --After all, my posting has been erratic...sometimes with an entire week between posts.  I have a new obsession (sort of). I have been all about hobbies and other amazingly fun things. You may remember, back in October, I went to a Painting Party Studio (October 12th Post ) and painted my first painting on canvas. I loved the process of painting. I also love that there is a tangible product within 2 to 3 hours.

Since that first painting, I've been back four more times! With each picture, I believe I've gotten better.  But, I keep wanting to go back and start completely over so that I can do each painting better. Below are the paintings I've completed.  They are not in order of completion. 

As long as I don't compare the paintings to the Artist/Teacher's piece, I like my results. It's time to start hanging them.
 
"Almond Blossoms" (11/26/11)

"Moo Cow" (12/3/11)
 
"Girlfriends" (11/5/11)

"Cherry Blossoms" (10/22/11)

"Blue Door" (10/8/11--First Painting)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast and Fotos

See what I did there in the title? A little alliteration. This year the Thanksgiving festivities were at my daughter's house. She had the turkey and the ham with all the fixins'! And it was way yummy.

In my last post I shared some of my blessings that I'm thankful for. In this post I'll share some photos to go along with them. Oh, and I totally forgot to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING on my last post! I hope all had a great time with family and loved ones. And, as Ellen DeGeneres tweeted the other day, hopefully, a few of those people overlap.




And, last but not least (or maybe least):  Check out those slippers!

The bottom of each shoe says something different.  One says "Very" and the other one says "Merry".

I think someone is getting into the Holiday Spirit!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five (Thanksgiving Version)


Hubby & Daughter
Sometimes it is hard for me to be sentimental...so, yesterday, when my daughter asked us to go around the table and say one thing we were thankful for I couldn't settle on one thing. There are so many things I'm thankful for.  Plus, she went first and basically her "one" thing encompassed loved ones...so mine would sound redundant.

So, I will use today's Friday Five to count my  blessings.  These are only a few of my blessings.  There are so many more.  But here goes:

1. I'm thankful for my husband who understands me and loves me and makes me laugh. And I'm forever grateful that God saw fit to bless us with a lovely daughter who has developed into a lovely young woman.

2. I am thankful that Daughter is happy. 

3.  I'm thankful that we have returned to the town that I grew up in. I have my Dad and my Mamacita so close by! They bring me joy and laughter.  Plus, added bonus: Both my sisters live here too.

One Sis recently had knee surgery and because we live in the same town, I was able to visit her in the hospital. And I've been to her house several times to just sit and talk and laugh. I have missed her.  

The other Sis is also quite important to me. She has the gift of hospitality. When I first moved here she brought a bag of goodies to help me start to feel at home. She has taught me where some of the coolest consignment stores are.

4. I am thankful for my job. Let me just say, I am truly lucky. I have a job that I absolutely enjoy! And one that afforded us the ability to move "back home".

5. I am thankful for my friends both close and far! (This includes cousins...).  Growing up I was able to hang out with cousins because we lived so close and were fairly close in age. They were and are very true friends.

My girlfriends from HS!  That's right!! We are able to hang out. Just like old times. I can't believe how much our friendship still works.  We still laugh heartily and empathize with each other.  In the old days it was HS stories that we shared and sought comfort for (and laughed about).  Now, we applaud each other's triumphs. (One just completed a 5K! One is an amazing Kindergarten teacher and helped relocate her displaced program to a new school! Another one is successful in her Non-Profit role and has the beginnings of a plan for another adventure soon.)  We also share our very personal struggles and fears. Just like high school, just having someone who understands the "real you" helps make it feel better.

I also have two special friends that are permanently etched on my heart. One was with me when my daughter was born. She had a young son and we did wonderful things together with our children. We helped each other stay "ourselves" in addition to being mothers.

The other friend has been with me since our children were in pre-school. She is so artistic and creative that I'm always inspired to be near her.

I so miss my friends from Puget Sound.  And because of them, I am immensely thankful for Facebook!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

London IS Calling

One of my favorite bloggers, Tameka at Imperfection is the New Pink posted a really cool photo of London on her post "London Calling".  She totally wants to visit.  I think you should jump over and see the really cool photo.  London Post (with really cool photo).

Tameka's post reminded me that I want to share a little London with you that you can see anytime you want to.

I found this image of what Londoners think of people paying homage to the Beatles at the cross walk that they made famous.

Image source: Happy Place

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Story About My Halloween...(before it's too late)

Sorry so long between posts.  I really should be asleep now.  I have the beginnings of a cold....the kind where it feels like my limbs are coated in wet cement.  I took some sinus medicine last night which helped clear up the congestion...but the fatigue, not so much.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week.  That is sure to be fun. My newlywed daughter is having the big day at her house. I can't wait to enjoy the festivities she has planned.

I haven't yet posted about my Zombie Lurch.  I figure if I don't post about it before Thanksgiving the moment will have passed.  So I'll post now. (Though, I realize the moment is sort of gone.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

GOAL= Healthy Weight (?)

I was on a weight loss program that lasted an embarrassingly long time. The first 6 months I did great and lost an appropriate amount of weight. Then I plateaued for another 6 months. Flat. Each time I went to weigh in I comforted myself that "No Gain = No Gain", which is a WIN. But I really wanted to jump start to get that next 10 pounds off. That would not have put me at "goal", but it would have put me at a number I would be willing to have on my driver's license.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why I Love Willie...

Many years ago I met my husband. We were both in college and I was completely smitten. Our relationship was born out of pure enjoyment of each other's company. And  it was built on lots and lots of laughter. Hubby and I met because we both worked on the college media floor of the student union.  He was a photographer and I was not.  But I was in need of some photographs for my publication (which was not his publication).  Make sense? Anyway, I sort of stalked him. For the sake of my publication, you know?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Evening with Mary Chapin

 Click here for Image Source
This past summer I was going through the mail and pulling out catalogues to be tossed. I was actually in the car with Hubby and absent mindedly glanced through the one odd size catalogue from Carolina Performing Arts. I'd already decided that this was to go in the recycle bin when I just happened to see Mary Chapin Carpenter was scheduled to perform. What? There is a name I hadn't seen on the music scene in a while.  At least I hadn't seen her name in "my" music scene. I changed my attitude about this publication and immediately shifted into a new gear/task.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paint Like the Artist You ARE

Saturday evening my daughter and I went to an Art Studio to learn (by doing) to create a painting on canvas.  This seems to be a new trend in hobby studios. (Back in the '90s I spent many an afternoon painting ceramics in similar studios). The artist instructor truly did give step by step instructions and we all left with paintings that looked quite similar to what we intended.

If you live in the Triangle Area of NC you should check out the Painting Studio called "Artistic Abandon". What a great name! They are said to have the Best Wine and Painting Parties in Raleigh. You bring the wine (and munchies if you want) and they provide the rest: Canvas, Paint, Brushes, Aprons and amazing instruction. --Of course wine and munchies are completely optional.

The website information is here: Artistic Abandon. They also have a Facebook Page.

Let's play a game:  Below are two paintings from this weekend's painting excursion. See if you can tell which one is mine and which one was painted by my daughter. (Answer is at the end.  --Though my discussion of our painting styles may give you all the clues you need.)




















I sat  beside my daughter and, although the teacher said several times "this is not a competition", I was completely intimidated by my daughter's talent. She has such a steady hand and is able to precisely draw and paint. Her flowers were so much more the look I was striving for. Even though I love precision in paintings, I have not been able to train myself to achieve this. So while my daughter and I were both following the exact same instructions, my piece looks much more impressionistic.

I think it's cool to see how two people can paint the exact same thing and have different results. I know that art is like that...everyone is influenced by a  different point of view. This exercise helped me see that it's not only an artist's point of view that differentiates their work. We can each see the same thing a little differently. In addition, we each have a unique way of expressing ourselves. So, even if we saw it the same way, our depiction of that "thing" will have another nuanced difference. 

Below is the answer to the game above:

We've all heard that point of view is shaped by our experiences. But I don't remember hearing much about artist's representation of that point of view. My weekend painting experience helped crystallize for me that the artist's "expression" may not reflect the essence of what they were trying to create.  For me, it's most likely lack of training and practice that results in a painting that is much more impressionistic than I intended.

Here is a snapshot of how my painting was accomplished:


I had a great time. And I'm pleased with my first attempt at putting a paintbrush to canvas.  I've already signed up for another class/party. There are a few paintings that I'm dying to do! Check out the Paintings Gallery website page to see the current paintings that they offer instruction on. I'd love to hear which one is your favorite.  (I have a few I plan to sign up to paint.)

And, oh....since I will be spending a lot of time at the Art Studio, friends and family shouldn't be surprised if they receive an original work of art from Yours Truly for Christmas.  --Then again, I may become too attached to give them up.   

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kate Reddy: How Does She Do It?

Last weekend the Hubster and I went to see Sarah Jessica Parker's new movie, "I Don't Know How She Does It." I read the book by Allison Pearson when it came out in 2002.

I remember being enthralled and telling anyone that would listen what a good book it is/was. The main character is Kate Reddy, a successful working mother.  I wanted all of my friends to read it. --I thought it spoke to women in the career world regardless of the parental status.

Kate works as a manager of a hedge fund for an Investment Firm.  She is also happily married and the mother of two children. The first scene of the book shows Kate trying to wear her "Perfect Mother" hat. That's who Kate is, really. Perfect. Or at least striving for perfect. She is, at the very least, very very competent.

I hesitate to capsulize the "what the book is about" because it the book is so well done it surpasses the cliché. If I were to give a capsule, it would be: "Kate tries to balance her roles of wife, mother and career woman. She struggles with competing priorities as she tries to be successful in each of her roles. The goal? Be successful at everything at the same time".

I, too, am a wife, mother and career woman. --Surprise, right? My day job is banking. When my daughter was in 4th grade, I tried to balance being a good mother (and wife) while working full time at a large Commercial/Investment bank. I was also in MBA school full time. My Hubby had a high-stress job that required him to travel across the country a couple of weeks each month. It was wonderfully crazy.

Someone once said to me, "The key to 'balance' is to recognize that you must balance your roles over time". There is no such thing as perfect balance at any one point in time. I carried this like a mantra while I was going to school.

For me, the most important thing to keep in balance ALL OF THE TIME was my daughter. I wanted to make sure that she did not feel she was missing out on having her mother's attention. I wanted to make sure I DIDN'T MISS OUT on having my daughter's attention.  These are special moments that we don't get back.

I combined activities so that that D and I could have parallel time together as well as *Quality Time*. My nights were spent at the kitchen table doing homework while D was also at the kitchen table doing homework.  When D needed my help, my homework waited until she was in bed.  Weekends were about balancing play dates and activities with D and her friends while I continued to squeeze in study time.

One of my more creative combinations was taking D and her friend to the movies. While they watched "Babe" or "Toy Story" I was using my pocket flashlight to read my textbook assignments. --Yep, I carried a book bag everywhere. I'm pretty sure that D's memories are simply that "Mom took me and my friend to the movies".  I don't think she was aware that I wasn't watching the movie.

There's a line in the "I Don't Know How She Does It" movie that I really love.  I think it's also in the book. The line is something like: "I love you. I love our life and our kids. But I also love my work. I know you want more time with me. But, me without my work isn't me."

That is how I felt when I was working on the "fast track". (Side note: It turned out it wasn't so fast.)  This is what spoke to me when I read this book. Allison Pearson was able to create a world that I could point to and say: "See...this is what it's like".  And I pointed to it not to say, "Woe is me", but to say "These feelings are all genuine".

The movie? Well, some of the critics didn't like it so much. I think they saw it as Carrie Bradshaw does "Married with Kids and a REAL job". I liked it. Not love...but like. I actually didn't see Carrie Bradshaw.  But I did see someone that sort of stressed me out. I may have identified too closely when I watched it on the screen (versus reading). You know, when Kate is running from appointment to appointment and moving from crisis to crisis...got my heart racing. 

The only down side of the movie:  I was feeling so much kinship to book Kate. But seeing movie Kate with her big lovely home? Not so much. And movie Kate's part time nanny crises...also annoying. (Although, in fairness, book Kate had a part time nanny too.) I guess I was ticked off because THIS "working to have it all mother" was also responsible for getting child to school on time and NOT being late for pickup from after school care. --If you've ever dealt with after school care, you know the threat of expulsion due to excessive tardiness is just as scary as the $1/minute charge for being late.  So, while I did not see movie Kate as a Carrie Bradshaw. I did see Kate, "I'm a working mother 'just like you'. Only I have Charlotte's house. You know, Carrie Bradshaw's friend Charlotte".

I'd love to hear what you think. I'd love to hear if anyone has pulled a "Kate Reddy" similar to the opening scene of the movie and book.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Starbucks on a Rainy Afternoon

So it's been like a week since my last post. That doesn't seem right...does it?

I have things I've wanted to explore here...but when I got ready to write about them they felt too heavy for the time I wanted to spend. So, instead, I will tell you about my nice Saturday. The Hubster has a class this weekend, so he had to leave before I felt like getting up. Yep, I slept in!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Walk-a-Thon

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Danielle signed up to participate in the Ovarian Cancer Walk to raise money for research and to raise awareness. (I signed up with D.)
 
Daughter is quite good at organizing.  She organized me by sending me a schedule so that we were on time to the event. 
 
This is what she sent: 
 
Wake-up: 7am
Leave your house: 7:45am
Be at my place to pick me up at: 8am
Breakfast at Ricks: 8:20-9:20am (should be plenty of time to relax and enjoy a nice breakfast)
Leave for Raleigh (40min drive): 9:20am
Arrive: 10am
Sign in: 10:15am
Walk Starts: 10:30am
We followed her timeline to a "T" and were quite pleased to actually show up early to the event. The light drizzle did not dampen our spirits.
 
The DJ played some great music which helped keep our energy up.
 
**Awareness Raising Info**: Ovarian Cancer symptoms are easily mistaken for benign conditions. The symptoms can be a subtle as heartburn. The most universal symptom is bloating. --But as women, feeling bloated is rarely something that would cause us to raise an eyebrow. 
 
Early detection and treatment is the only way to beat this. I recommend that you know your body and pay attention to symptoms that are unusual for you or that last more than 2 weeks. 

Ovarian Cancer Alliance
My biggest recommendation: 
**Keep your annual exams with your gynecologist**
 
Talk to your doctor about:
 
1. Having an annual blood test for serum CA-125. This can be an earlier indicator of a problem.
 
2. Getting tested for the genetic mutations that increase your risks. Knowing your results gives you the opportunity to work proactively with your doctor to decide preventative measures. 
 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday Recap

Football has begun! And I say: "Yay!" Now that we've moved to NC, where the ACC abounds, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see Duke play against Stanford.  We sat with some friends...all of whom actually went to Stanford, which made for an interesting time. The people we sat with were great! They were good sports and made the game enjoyable for us to watch.

I got us the tickets to see Stanford with my daughter's husband in mind. He had made a special request to see the Stanford game because it was an opportunity to see Andrew Luck on the field in person.

The game did not disappoint. Of course, I was pulling for Duke...I mean that's the "home" team. That's where my daughter works. But, Duke is not known for its football.  In fact, neither is NC State or UNC. These are BASKETball schools.

Our Stanford friends were very fun. There were a few of us locals that were in the group too.  We taunted them a little by asking: "What's with the tree?"  It's their MASCOT!? Ohhhhh "Fear the Tree".  --That's actually their motto! I saw several people with their red shirts on with this motto.  I gotta tell you, the Tree just looked like a Muppet. --Nothing to fear.  But their team?  That's another story.

Stanford won 44-14. BUT, the score wasn't reflective of how surprisingly well Duke played against them.


The game started at 3:30. Parking was not close. And the walk to the stadium was uphill all the way. And it was hot. It's not Fall yet (BTW).  Once we made it to the stadium I felt spent. I was able to find a "mist" tent that I stood under for a minute or twenty. That helped so much. The sun was brutal.

The visitor section is on east side of the field and the sun bearing down from the west was intense. The sun was to the back of the home team patrons and the building with the club suites also blocked the sun for them. So, to recap: Duke Patrons=shade and sun to their back; Visitors=sun in their eyes with no relief from the sun's heat.  Coincidence? I think not.

Sadly, we saw two Stanford patrons being carried out on stretchers.  They were taken to ambulances, presumably for heat exhaustion.


What I learned: 1) I should have worn sunscreen; 2) I should have brought an ice cold wet bandanna to wrap around my neck to help with the heat; 3) If you do get sick from heat exhaustion, Duke is also a hospital...so help is not far.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Labor Day Mini Vacation

Hubby and I used this three day weekend to go to the beach! Yay! I haven't been to the beach since July 2010.  Before that, I hadn't been to the beach in years. YEARS!

In my childhood, going to the beach was at least an annual event. If we were lucky, we got to go several times in a summer.

I have so many wonderful beach memories it seems wrong to try to list them. It would be like I'm choosing one memory over another. When we were kids, Mom and Dad got my sisters and me up in the wee hours of the morning before sunrise. For Dad, the time of arrival was half the fun. If we were going to "go to the beach" we were going to be there "all day". Getting in the car before sunrise got us to the beach before lunch.

My favorite times to go the the beach were the "off season". The beaches were less crowded and the weather more breezy and comfortable. This summer was so hot I couldn't bear the thought of a visit to a place without shade. But this weekend, the weather was perfect. So Hubs and I made a spontaneous trip east.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Where We Write

As I mentioned on Sunday night (Monday Morning), I've joined a Blogging Campaign.  It's my first time so I don't know what to expect. So far, I have been exposed to a core group of bloggers that share some of my interests. In turn, the bloggers are also introduced to me. The theory is that if I share an interest with these fellow bloggers, we may also share an audience.  So, there are several bloggers that are shown in the "Following Me" category on the left side bar.  If you enjoy my blog...or blogs in general, you may enjoy their blogs as well. 

So...after you read my blog post(s), you may want to check out the blogs of my colleagues. I can tell you is that I have read each of the blogs of my followers and I am hooked. The only downside I can see about the campaign is that now I have even more really good bloggers that are grabbing my attention.  Which is not really a downside. I find myself wanting to read not just the most recent post(s) but as many previous posts as I can read in a single sitting. Yeah, like I said, I'm hooked.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils

Don't you love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies:  You've Got Mail.

It does not feel like fall here but school is starting back and that always makes me think of fresh starts and school supplies.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Trip to a Local Vineyard

Last Saturday, some of my new friends and I traveled to Willow Spring, NC to visit Adams Vineyards. The vineyard is primarily muscadine grapes.  If you are from NC, you have probably eaten the native muscadine grapes off the vine.

Photo Credit: GAFRO via Creative Commons
The green grapes shown here are Scuppernong.  I guess I should have known but didn't that Scuppernong is a type of Muscadine. My Mother's parents grew muscadine grapes. My strongest memory of the grapes was that I often sought refuge from the summer heat under the vine. While trying to stay cool, I would often eat a grape or two. 


I want to tell you more about the things I learned and admire about the people behind Adams Vineyard. First of all, Joyce Adams, the owner, sat with us and told us the Vineyard history, which when you come right down to it is her personal history too. Joyce was so open about telling us how they decided to begin the vineyard and some of the things that she has learned along the way. I'm sure Joyce will not mind if I share this history--especially if you decide to try their wine sometime soon. (Check out their website: Adams Vineyards)

The land is over 100 acres and has been in the Adams' family since the 1700s.  It was granted to them by the King of England in a Land Grant and has not left the family since. The Adams family has lived on the farm for nine generations. Joyce lives in the same house that her husband was born in. 

In recent history, the land was primarily used for tobacco farming. Joyce said she knew of a time when there was a dammed creek or river and they were able to grow rice as well. The Adams farm (like most, if not all tobacco farms) were part to the Tobacco Allotment program which ended in a buyout in 2004.  
Photo Credit: Plantra.com

It was then that John decided to begin a vineyard. The first grape was planted in February 2006. It sounds like Joyce did most of the actual planting. John had become ill and was not able to plant himself, but Joyce said he supervised her from the truck. It is fun to hear Joyce tell the story. She says the vineyard was John's dream...not hers, and yet she was the one putting plants in the ground and putting grape grow tubes around the young plants.

Joyce and John had to learn to navigate the requirements of running this new business which includes working with the FDA for approvals as well as obtaining building permits and following a multitude of building codes. This was all in addition to the investment required for the wine tanks and fermenters and coolers. It takes a lot of fortitude to decide to undertake this business from scratch. Clearly John and Joyce had that fortitude. The vineyard began with five acres of grapes that has now grown to eight acres with nine varieties of Muscadine grapes. The vineyard opened their doors to visitors in September 2008.

John had recovered enough to be the primary wine maker of the business. He had been doing well with his illness and had a good prognosis. But in October he became suddenly seriously sick. He was hospitalized and died within a week.

Joyce tells this part of the story sweetly. Being with her husband in the hospital was clearly another paragraph in their love story. They had been married fifty years. Joyce told us that as she sat with her husband he was very alert and still thinking of the vineyard. He kept telling her to remember to do this and remember to do that. Joyce told John not to worry...that the vineyard would be fine. She and their son, Quincy, have made good on that promise.

Quincy took over the management of the grapes and wine making. Quincy's approach to wine making is different from his father's. Joyce says that you can tell from the taste if the wine was developed by Quincy or his father.

My Friends at the Vineyard. Joyce is 2nd from left.
In all, we tasted 8 wines. For me the clear favorite was Papa Johnny's White Bliss (one of their semi sweet wines).  It was crisp and light and not overly sweet.  I liked it enough to get a bottle. I learned after buying my bottle that this was Quincy's first recipe. He named it for his father. Somehow knowing this makes the wine and the experience even sweeter.