Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trip to Charlottesville

A few weeks ago on a beautiful day, Chad and I went to Charlottesville to visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.  The weather was perfect; sunny and 72 degrees with a slight breeze! We started off the day with lunch at a little roadside cafe, Salt.

What an adorable place; it's a 1930's gas stationed turned into a cafe, and the food was local and delicious! We dined outside on the little patio tables sprinkled around the yard and enjoyed the sunshine and soft breeze. I had a chicken salad sandwich and Chad had grilled ham and cheese on artisan bread.  I highly recommend this little spot if you ever head to Monticello!  From there we headed down the road to Monticello where we spent the afternoon touring the estate, including a 45 minute tour of the house.

We walked up to his estate from the visitor's center which is a pretty, 1/2 mile walk through the woods.  We stopped briefly at the cemetery where Thomas Jefferson is buried.
He felt being the third president of the United States was not noteworthy enough for his tombstone.  Did you know he wrote the Declaration of Independence when he was 33? 33!! And he died exactly 50 years from the date when it was signed.  His good friend, 2nd president John Adams, also died the same day.

The grounds are gorgeous! If only I could have a garden like this!!

The peonies were in full bloom!

I have always wanted to try my hand at growing grapes and making wine....maybe someday!

Thomas Jefferson's home was very cool, and I love the fact that it has been so perfectly preserved! Pictures were not allowed on the inside, but the clock that Thomas Jefferson had installed, Elk antlers from the Louis and Clark expedition, and paintings that hung on his parlor wall were a few things that I loved on the inside.

We spent some more time walking around the grounds before heading back to our car.  We want to go back again someday, it was too much to take in just in an afternoon.

We stopped at Jefferson Vineyards on the way back to Charlottesville to relax a bit before heading into town for supper. It is a winery on the land where Thomas Jefferson started his own winery in 1773. The grounds and scenery are lovely and they had a cute little patio under the trees hung with little lights.  Perfect for relaxing! 

For supper we went to downtown Charlottesville where the roads have been blocked off from cars, and restaurants and shops take to the streets. We saw people walking their dogs, runners, hipsters, and families all walking up and down the quiet streets surrounded by beautiful old buildings.

A folk singer had his banjo and accordion set up on a street corner, and we had live music during our meal!

To top off the evening we made a stop at Sweethaus for a little dessert! It was a hard decision!! But what a delightful little shop!

 Of course I forgot to take a picture of what I chose.....I was SO excited to eat it, it slipped my mind! ;-) But rest assured it was delicious! 

So that is a little recap of one of our fun trips this spring!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Spring Recap

Well, hello! So much for my regular blogging...... It looks like my blog is just a place for me to recap our lives periodically since I don't really have much to say on a regular basis anymore. I am still struggling a bit with life stresses and health issues, but hopefully the warm weather and sunshine will help and I'll get some inspiration to write more.

This has been a pretty good spring! Nothing life changing has happened (for once!) and we had a fairly good routine going on. May was a beautiful, relaxing month and we were able to do so many things we've been wanting to do.  Rem is finished with school now, so a new routine will need to be established.  Most likely that will consist of sleeping in, hanging out on the porch, and working in my garden.  Nakoma's baby is due any day, so I will be traveling out to Tennessee to spend some time with her and our granddaughter after she is born.  Naomi will hopefully get some free time this summer to come home for a visit, and we hope to see Oksana as well.  So anyway, on to the spring recap!

The spring started out right for Rem with the purchase of a bow and arrow.

He has been saving for months, and actually had a setback at Christmas when he lost his wallet with all his Christmas cash! Not to be deterred, he started over from scratch and in April he was able to buy a gently used bow from a friend.  Now he has one other weapon he can use to provide meat for the family. (His words, not mine.)  He has been working hard, especially over Memorial weekend, haying with our neighbors, helping with their cattle, and mending fences. Now he is saving for his next piece of hunting equipment. (To be determined....)

I planted my garden again this year in April.

My garden is three times bigger this year as last, although still comparatively small.  It is about 12x15 feet and has 6 tomatoes, 3 bell peppers, 1 jalapeno, 2 different kinds of lettuce, green onions, spinach, carrots, and radishes.

Here is our first harvest of spicy radishes; I picked a huge bowl of lettuce yesterday, too.  Hurrah for salads! I also have my herb pots going again and made a quart of basil pesto yesterday as well.

I spent a few days in Tennessee last month to be with Nakoma for her baby shower.  I was able to help her get some last minute things ready for the baby and we had a good time sharing our last girls' weekend together before her baby comes!  Isn't she cute?

Chad had a couple free weeks after school ended for the semester and we took advantage of his time off to do some sightseeing. Being the history buff that I am, I've always wanted to go to Gettysburg. So, we spent two days there in early May.  The weather was beautiful and we stayed in a pretty little bed and breakfast in downtown Gettysburg. 

We had a lovely time walking around downtown, eating at a little French Cafe, and relaxing on the porch of our B & B the first night.

The following day, after a delicious breakfast, we hired a 3 hour private tour of the battlefield.  Since I have a great-grandfather who fought there the tour guide spent extra time taking us to where my grandfather fought, as well as a monument erected for his company. What an experience! We need to go back because there are still many museums we want to go to.  I highly recommend a private tour if you ever go to Gettysburg.  For less than $100 it was SO worth it!

We also spent the day at Monticello in Charlottesville during the middle of May. (I'm working on a blog post all about it that I will post later this week.)

I have never learned much about Thomas Jefferson, so seeing his home and learning some history was quite fascinating.  SO much so Chad and I promptly came home and watched two documentaries on Thomas Jefferson's life and downloaded several books on our kindles.  We are such old people......

Chad and I spent an afternoon at the park on a sunny day a few weeks ago.  We took books, kindles, a blanket, and ice tea and relaxed under a pine tree for a few hours.

It's been a long time since we have done anything like that, and found it so nice we continued it into the evening at home.  At dark, we all laid out and looked at the stars, something I haven't done since childhood! :-)

Finally, the month of May saw many after-supper evenings spent here.

 I was able to do some minimal landscaping around the house and plant a few pots of flowers.  With the wind chimes and rocking chairs, it is quite nice in the evenings and often times we sit there until the fireflies come out. Rem has been practicing with his new bow and arrow so we have entertainment while we sip our drinks and rock......

Now I know it seems like we live a life of leisure, and I'll admit, May really was leisurely; but we prefer to spend our money on experiences such as sightseeing rather than things, and our time spent together as a family.  Now the days are more "normal" as Chad recently got a full-time job at the school he attends. He will still continue towards his degree this fall, it will just be at a slightly slower pace. (He has about 2 years to go.)  We are thankful for income the job will provide and the benefits as well. I have been looking into a volunteer job at a local historical monument and will pursue it further once I get back from Tennessee and having my "Granny" week. :-) I am also considering taking classes towards a degree, too. We have decided to home school Remington one more year, but for high school he will go to a local private school a few miles a way.  If it works with his home school schedule next year, I may take one class a semester, just to get back into it after a 22 year break! Since Rem does a correspondence course for school it should work fine with our schedule - I don't actually have to "teach."  Rem will be working some over the summer for our neighbor, fishing, and preparing for bow season.  He will also start soccer later in the summer, so he has plenty of things to keep him busy!

So that is the spring recap! Hope you all have a lovely summer!  I will say again, I hope I can post more often...but we shall see! :-)