Thursday, May 29, 2014

mille fleurs

yesterday i got to return to pharsalia, a beautiful 200 year old plantation at the edge of virginia's blue ridge mountains. we were there a few weeks ago for the folk life festival.  this time, it was all about the flowers.

foxie morgan operates a flower farm on her property and opened her home and farm for a lovely flower workshop.

we met in the house for a brief introduction to flower cutting and then were set loose, buckets of water and clippers in hand, to gather to our hearts' content from pharsalia's cutting gardens.

once our buckets were overflowing with blooms and foliage, we got to work designing in one of the workhouses on the property.

i was lucky to share my table with three lovely young women who just happened to be floral designers.  they worked intuitively, as artists, rather than by an "arranging" formula.

my kind of people.

we took a break for lunch in the main house.  the menu was simple and spectacular:  avocado and orange salad with almonds and flowers; brie, strawberries and basil on croissant; cucumber gazpacho and icy lemonade.

after lunch we returned to our work space.  i took an alternate route to breathe in just a little more of the beauty of pharsalia.

here are my tablemates' gorgeous creations (they totally indulged my incessant need to photograph all the beauty):

here is the lovely lady i was working on:

we were all very pleased with our results.

i think pharsalia is the most beautiful place on earth.  home and sanctuary to happy and peaceful people.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

sunday grace

{tiny b at pharsalia}

these words keep finding their way into my facebook, twitter and instagram feeds.  normally when this happens with any given quote, i get weary of seeing it over and over again.  but these words, when they appear before my eyes, are always new, always relevant and always make me think, oh yeah...

"whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment."

-pema chödrön

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

picnic {№16}

spontaneous backyard picnics pulled together with simple ingredients are my absolute favorite kind of outdoor living. on this most gorgeous in a string of gorgeous may evenings we enjoyed perfect light, perfect food and perfect togetherness on gypsy hill.

i saw a photo of this dish in a cookbook in the bookstore (now on my wishlist) and, since i LOVE caprese salad more than any salad in the universe, i had to try it:  burrata and heirloom tomato caprese.

so simple:

  • slice a variety of colorful organic heirlooms.  
  • layer in a concentric pattern with a leaf of basil in between each slice.  
  • salt and pepper.
  • drain the burrata and place in the center of the tomatoes, making a well in the center of the cheese with your thumbs to release the creamy insides.
  • sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, basil ribbons, more pepper.  et voilà!

the golden hour:  100% good.

and it's not a gypsy hill picnic without a fox terrier at the table (ahem, the corgi has manners).

the golden light faded, replaced with the darkest indigo sky, lit with a thousand stars and a bright moon.  i love it here.

to see more of our picnics, click here and scroll past this current post.


picnic {№15} happened on easter sunday.  we packed up sandwiches and hot pink deviled eggs and headed out to the blue ridge mountains with the dogs for our first hike of the season.  we were met with picnic grounds not yet open for the season (why?) so we totally had to trespass on government property to have a decent space to eat.  luca ended up getting really sick on this day, we don't know if he drank some infected stream water or what, so the day kind of lost its beauty for me.  gratefully luca recovered and here is a sweet shot of sandwich wrapping that happened before all the lawbreaking and dog vomiting.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

{ f O l k }

we spent the most glorious of saturdays at the folklife festival at foxie morgan's pharsalia plantation.

nelson county, virginia is one of the most beautiful places on earth, still mostly undiscovered (although i predict it will be the next napa valley), and inhabited by a diverse and oddly harmonious population of founding families, winemakers, beer brewers, farm-to-table chefs, friendly locals who drive old trucks with a couple of hounds in the back, artists, organic farmers and appalachian trail hikers.

the gardens at pharsalia are incredible.  foxie works a flower farm on the property.  i've never seen so many peony bushes in one place.   this is the herb garden.

there were several plein air artists scattered about capturing the beauty.

lovely chicken whisperer.

earth medicine.

the blue ridge was flaunting her magnificence on this day.

forager, flower-wearer, wild salad maker.

i had a cup of blood orange/turmeric/clove kombucha and it was amazing.

the early-season flower farm.  i'm taking one of foxie's flower arranging workshops in a few weeks and i can't wait to see how the gardens change between now and then.

shuttlecock catcher.

i am so grateful for this land and these people so near to home.

(not shown:  fiddlers, dancing children, giant bunnies, bagpipers and more.)

more about the festival here and a bit about nelson county's highway 151 (or as this california native calls it, "the 151") amazingness here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

early girl summer

we experienced a few summeresque days earlier this week.  the sun was bright and it was hot.

nothing says summer like iced (hand crushed!) hibiscus-ginger tea in a mason jar.

and watching afternoon thunderstorms through the screen.

and foraging for edibles in your own backyard.

and long lines for ice cream.

thanks for the preview summer.  see you soon.