Saturday, April 28, 2012


The port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, lies near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Until last weekend, I hadn't visited since the mid-1990s. I'd heard about the Riverfront, so I couldn't wait to check it out.

I found a charming, vibrant place with lots of restaurants, shops, and energy. After a nice walk around the perimeter of the Riverfront, we had dinner at The Little Dipper, a fabulous fondue restaurant where the food was divine and the service was outstanding. If you ever go to Wilmington, you've gotta go to the Riverfront!

Paddling with alligators

Last weekend, we drove down to Wilmington, North Carolina, where I lived for several years as a little kid. My first memories occurred there, and my parents have plenty of cute/funny stories about things I did when we lived there. One of those, um, legends, occurred at Greenfield Park, a city park that looks kind of like a fancy swamp. See above. Greenfield Park is a very nice park, with a playground, lots of walking/running trails, and a lake that you won't want to swim in . . . but you can rent a paddle boat or canoe (we rented a paddle boat!) However, be warned:

We saw three alligators while paddling, but didn't get close enough to take photos. OK, the truth is, we did get closer that I would ever want to come to an alligator. But I didn't want to rock the boat by reaching into my pants pocket to get my phone, thinking that the extra movement might result in the loss of a treasured limb. Or something.

After our time at Greenfield Park, we headed down the to Riverfront, which you can read about in the next entry. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Red swing, blue ceiling

We added a little color to the farmhouse this weekend.

First, I painted the front porch ceiling a color called Perfectly Blue. Why, you ask? Well, I've read in gardening magazines that wasps (and other nasties) won't build nests on a blue ceiling, because they think it's the sky. Is this true? I don't know yet, but I guess I'm about to find out!

Next, we primed and painted the front porch swing. Here's what it looked like before the paint:

I liked the original well enough . . . but I LOVE my red front porch swing! :-)

Belated Easter greetings

I totally meant to post this photo late last week and wish everyone a Happy Easter and Happy Passover, but things got crazy and I forgot. So Happy Belated! I found these cute little marzipan lambs at Enzo's Italian Market, a delightful little shop in the Stallings area owned by my new Sicilian-born friends, Enzo & Josephine.

Just in case my friend Rosa from Canada happens to read this someday . . . heheh . . . Enzo's has TORRONE!!! (I always asked Rosa to bring me some Canadian maple nougat when we used to work together.) And, Rosa, dahling, this photo is for you . . . 

Ciao for now! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter bunny

Our neighbor at the farm found this cute little baby bunny Friday night, but couldn't find the mom, so brought it over to see if we could help it. Baby bunny was so tiny, I could hold him or her in the palm of my hand, and feel its heartbeat. We called him/her the Easter bunny, and tried keeping it healthy with fresh water and clover. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday went by and we thought bunny was adjusting to captivity. We had even found an adoptive home for the bunny, and its new human "mom" was going to take it home soon.

Unfortunately, baby bunny passed away today. I'm not sure of the details, but perhaps he or she just missed his mom and old life too much. This is the way of nature sometimes. I'm glad that I met the Easter bunny, and glad it made it through the Easter weekend . . . but I'm sad now. :(

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Belle et délicieuse

Voici, la poire belle avec cardamome crème anglais sauce de Brasserie Georges. Il était si parfait et délicieux. Si cette traduction est incorrecte, vous pouvez blâmer Google Translate.

A glimpse of my "city" life

I've been writing so much about the farm lately, you probably forgot that I actually work in the city four or five days a week. The weather has been so perfect lately, my colleague JB and I decided to dine al fresco yesterday at one of the restaurants near the office. I LOVE sitting outside when the weather's nice. It's so relaxing, and it reminds me of Europe. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The amazing and super-talented "Miss S" decided she wanted some hydrangeas at the farm, so she created this lovely hydrangea bed. (There are actually five plants, but the fifth one is to the left of the stairs, so not visible in this photo.) I can't wait to see these bloom. It'll be very interesting to see if the flowers turn out blue/purple or pink/salmon. (I'm betting on blue/purple.)

By the way, if you'd like to see what this area of the farm house looked like just over a year ago, click this link. One hundred percent of the improvements to the farm house have been done or led by "Miss S." Like I said, she's amazing and super-talented.


This is Lucky, the newest addition to our farm family. A German Shepherd mix, she's approximately 10 weeks old and has a very pleasant personality. We're all in love with her already!

Dogwoods & azaleas

Big azalea bush by the hammock
This is the time of the year when a lot of people are sick with pollen allergies, but it's also the time of year that gives us the beautiful azaleas and the pretty flowers on the dogwood trees. Both plants are native to this area, so they grow really well here. Azaleas are a type of rhododendron, and the flowering dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina.

Beautiful (and very old) dogwood tree
As for me, I'd rather take my Zyrtec and have these beautiful flowers, than to not have them at all. In fact, last weekend we planted three more dogwood trees . . . so hopefully this time next year, they'll be blooming!

Raised bed gardening update

OK, folks, here it is, the Now Growing versions of the new raised beds we installed at the farm a few weeks ago. Visit the entry Gardening prep work to see a photo of what it looked like two weeks ago, and to read what we planted.

Auf Wiedersehen

I said goodbye to Greta, the trusty Volkswagen GTI that I'd been leasing since April 2009, last week. It was a hard decision to let her go, especially when I could've purchased her for way below the retail value. But . . . the girl drank premium fuel only, and the last time I filled 'er up, it was almost $50 out of my pocket.

When I came back to the States after my time in Europe, I wanted a little red German car, and by golly I got one.

Greta was a great car and will be missed. Those heated seats, the great sound system, the peppy little engine, and of course, the AUSTRIA sticker on the back . . . yeah, I know she's German, but it was hard to resist.

Auf Wiedersehen, kiddo.