Monday, July 21, 2014

Biltmore House & Gardens, NC

A visit to North Carolina isn't complete without a tour of the impressive Biltmore estate, America's largest home and acres of historic gardens located in Asheville. This fabulous destination was created in 1895 by George W. Vanderbilt as an escape from everyday life for family and friends.
Interior photography is not allowed, but know that their is grandeur spilling forth in every room. Your tour includes access to three floors, including the basement where the domestic staff kept the house functioning in perfect rhythm. The indoor pool, also in the basement, was quite impressive.

The gardens feature an Italian garden, a Shrub garden, walled gardens, and a rose and azalea garden. Simply beautiful

A quick visit to the farm, offered a peek into the earlier days of the Biltmore era where families lived on the estate raising livestock, tending crops and working on the dairy. Today we visited the farmyard where they have a wide variety of free range chickens and goats.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grandfather Mountain, NC

A family vacation took us to North Carolina recently where we visited with the younger generation. Eldest sister Carrie and husband Phil joined us as we journeyed to their daughters home. A day excursion from her home included a visit to Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC.

We arrived in time to observe 'enticement' time for the bears. This activity is meant to break up the day for the animals, and may include a variety of different activities, such as offering a board with an unusual scent for them to sniff out and enjoy, or tossing cake crumbs into different areas of their housing so they are encouraged to pursue the pieces of cake. When we arrived, as the crowd gathered, the bears seemed to know it was time for a special treat. 

In addition to an informative nature center  and gift shop, a wide variety of ranger activities and trails, there is a mile high swinging bridge that offers majestic views of the mountain. The bridge swings freely, but the movement isn't noticeable unless you stand still.

Once you are on the other side of the bridge, you can climb further along the rocks and crevices until you are on top of the world. Cautious older cousin Cedar protected his younger cousins as they made the trek to the highest peak.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Culinary Herbal Planter

 A week or so ago we had a workshop to create your own culinary herbal window box. The participants could choose from  Dwarf Sage, Basil, Parsley, Burnet (which tastes like cucumbers), Curry plant (which isn't where curry comes from but smells/tastes like curry), Par-Cel (looks like parsley and tastes like Celery), Rosemary, Thyme and many others.
First we put in coffee filters so the soil doesn't wash out through the drainage holes.  Good drainage is a must with herbs.  Then we filled the box part way with organic soil/compost mix.  Next we tucked in 4-5 herbs and a cheerful pansy for some color.  
When they get home they are instructed to put the planter in full sun (5-6 hours of sun) and water daily.  It is also extremely important to clip and use frequently!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wild Foods

Rick Hueston of Primitive Café recently spent some time in our gardens introducing us to backyard wild foods.
He brought a variety of his favorite Foraging Field Guides.
And a delicious sampling of  a wide variety of goodies for us to try including pickled milkweed capers, cornelius cherries, Hemlock Wine and Wild Cherry Mead, Sow Thistle with pine nuts and yellow peppers,  Wild garlic mustard and dandelion pesto.
If you are interested in learning more about wild foods Rick Hueston keeps an active and interesting facebook page called Primitive Café.
Rick believes wild food needs to be 2T - Tantalizing on the plate and Tempting to the taste buds. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blue Willow Tea Room, Petersburg, VA

We recently enjoyed Afternoon Tea at the Blue Willow Tea Room in Petersburg, VA. This tea room, located about 4 hours south of us, was a fun stop en route to our final destination. Since we were traveling on a Sunday, we were excited to discover a tea room that was open!

Nancy and Susanna

Any tea room that offers lemonade puts a quick smile on Cedar's face! For the tea drinking crowd, Republic of Tea blends were served. The tea bag was left in the pot, and additional hot water was added to the pot when it was empty.

Scones, plain and with berries accompanied with cream and jelly, were served first. Following the scone course, we were offered an assortment of soups including a chilled cantaloupe soup, a tomato bisque with gouda cheese pieces, or a mushroom soup.

Brill-Reppert-Sears Families at The Blue Willow Tea Room
The three tiered tray, on blue willow, offered an abundance of tea sweets and savories. There was a cucumber sandwich on pumpernickel, an egg salad on a croissant, chicken salad, and a ham and cheese on a slice roll. Savories included a petite crab cake, a cheddar cracker, mozzarella and tomato in a petit tart, and a spinach filled Phyllo triangle. There was a nice variety of sandwiches.

The dessert array included a tiny chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate drizzled macaroon, fresh fruit skewer, raspberry tea bread, and a tiny cheesecake. Yummy!

The tea room was very busy the day we were there. That's always good to see! We were on a tight travel schedule, so there wasn't much time for shopping, but there is a large antique mall right beside them with easy access from the tea room.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fairy Teacup Swing

Lots of Fairies will have a new place to relax thanks to a recent craft class held in the backyard gardens of The Rosemary House. A wide variety of Fairy Teacup Swings were created by young and old.  Some included a soft little felted pillow along with a mossy perch and pretty beads, shells, and flowers.
Others were crafted with feathers and some were dusted with sparkly glitter. Even others will swing gently in the breeze.
And many tea cups with little chips or no saucers will live another long life of purpose as a Fairy Tea Cup Swing, thanks to this industrious crew!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fairy Furniture

Linda Haas of Tree Star Hollow came to The Rosemary House to teach us how to make Fairy Chairs.  Once you have the Fairy Chair method down you can use it to make benches or beds.
Linda has created a lot of Fairy Furniture and has written a book about making your own Fairy Furniture which is available on Amazon.
You can find more of Linda Haas clever work at Tree Star Hollow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fairy Fun!

Talented Author and Fairy Crafter, Linda Haas was here at The Rosemary House for an evening of Fairy Crafting Fun.

She has written a book the Seven Gypsy Fairies of Garden Harmony. Each Fairy has a purpose within the garden.  Seed saving, watering, harvesting, etc.
She originally found 7 neglected dolls in a store, similar to the basket full shown here. Giving each one their own personality and glamorous look, she made new outfits for them, spruced up their hair, and crafted wooden block stands, transforming them into creative and unique garden fairies.
 Find more of Linda's work at Tree Star Hollow.