Collections and Obsessions, country, Design, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Museum Monday, orchard, organic

Nun Playing A Violin

Although this is a print, it is an antique print. The original was a painting from the Italian Renaissance. The painter and subject are unknown. The face of the nun appears very young. Which is not a surprise, since families often sent a daughter to the convent. Often, the families just couldn’t afford a dowery for more than one girl, and sometimes they couldn’t afford one. A young woman would go to the convent ready to serve the church. Gardening, cleaning, praying, helping the poor. Mother Superior was in charge of the fate of the young lady.

This print reminds me of an educated lady, grieving for her family. Maybe it is an evening of a full moon where the light hits the courtyard just right, and the echo of her violin playing brings tears to the eyes of the other young ladies that have come to the convent. Young ladies that miss their families, and their old way of life.

Of course, there were young ladies that came to the convent and had a better life after they were surrounded by other young ladies. There would have been young ladies that would be able to eat good food once they were in the convent. I was once told that city poor was much different than country poor. If you were poor and lived in the city it was a little tougher to obtain fresh food. If you were poor in the country one could glean from neighboring farmers, there were eggs from chickens, and one could grow some of their own food.

Looking at old images really makes me grateful to live here and now. I am so thankful, and appreciate our ancestors, each and everyone of them. The lives they had were not easy! The choices they had to make were so different, and so far removed from the world we live in today.

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Finally Done

San Marcos Creek Villa is done, and here are the results of all our hard work…

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When Life Gives You Sh*t…

When life gives you sh*t, you make compost. Farm life isn’t always about the cute animals, they have a lot of crap. We compost all our garbage, and even the poo. Nothing, really goes to waste. LOL!

Not only do we compost, but we also have a vermicompost. What is vermicompost? So, we have been utilizing this system since our eldest child was 18months old. We wanted our children to understand the cycle of life, as well as start them young with finding an alternative to the landfill. This is such a great way to incorporate your shredded paper, coffee grounds, apple cores, banana peels, etc. I don’t mix the two systems. The animal waste products and the vermicompost.

The bigger pile has to be rotated, and it takes about a year to use in the garden. So, it may not be pretty, but it is a part of farm life. Sustainable practices like our grandparents and great grandparents used as they farmed. Caring for the land, and not striping the land. Every living thing is important, including the worms.



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Aflac at the Winery

The other day, a lady comes to the winey and ask me to allow her to release her duck. The name of the duck Aflac. She even brought a giant bag of food to feed her duck, and ask me if it was ok to bring some apples to feed Aflac. We took the very large cage over to the pond to allow Aflac to see the water. Here are some of the photos of his release…

The other duck with the red bill is Matilda, and she is the other loner that I believed might be a friend or buddy to Aflac. The two mallards are the bullies of the pond. Once Aflac got into the pond the two mallards went after Aflac. I have found myself looking for Aflac in the afternoon, and making sure he has food. It is a little heartbreaking that he hasn’t made any pond friends. Maybe, he just needs time to fit into the pond with the other ducks.

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Well, ok, this one is not a murderer that I know of, but this is the face of what took our flock of chickens. I know it’s so darn cute, but 100 chickens over two years? C’mon! It’s pretty cute…I might give it a chicken…nah! I only have one left. YIKES!

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Ducks Saved


When I set out to write about the duck and her babies it was such a happy story. Our winemaker found the ducks, lost and scared by the big house on the campus of the winery. He captured them, and put them in a nice little box.

My daughter and I came over to the winery to pick up the ducks and the babies. We put them in a dog crate, and took them home. There we put the in the container above, and added some food and water. It had been about two weeks since we had them, and they were in container that was in the stable.

My husband suggested that we let them out of the container, and allow them to have all the space in the stable. The momma duck was finally starting to allow us to the baby ducks without hissing. We tipped the container on its side, and added some new fluff (pine shavings).

My daughter thought it would be nice for them to have a little more water. She left a pan of water with pine shavings all around the dish. They were swimming around, and she told us about them getting in and out of them dish. This morning, my daughter asked “You want to go see the babies swimming in the dish?” Yes, I said, first let me take this to my office. As I was coming to the stable I could see the look on her face was pure heartbreak. I went over to peek in the stall, and all the baby ducks were in the dish DEAD.

We looked at the dish, and concluded that the momma must have drank the water from the dish, therefore the babies could not escape. Farming has real heartbreak with it, sometime bad things happen. My baby cried about the whole thing, blaming herself for the accident. I told her that the momma just didn’t know there would be repercussions from her drinking the water that the baby ducks were swimming around in.

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Beauty at the Winery

I thought maybe you all would enjoy some great shots at the winery. Sit back and relax for a few minutes and behold these wonderful distractions…IMG_8104

We have lots of ducks at the winery, and if they are not fed by the time everyone is leaving they will block the road so we can’t leave without feeding them. Here they are walking to the tasting room, probably because we didn’t leave at the our usual time.


One of the male peacocks on the lawn. IMG_8247

Same one different pose.


The female with her baby. It is starting to get it’s little crown on it’s head. Not sure if it is a male or female yet. I just have not been able to get close enough to the baby. IMG_8256

This guy was sneaking up on me. I was just crouching down taking photos, minding my own business. I happen to look up, and this one was coming at me. I am concerned that the thing can smell my fear.  I like birds, but I do have boundaries.


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Today, it has been a week now that we are owners of a winery. San Marcos Creek Vineyard . We have some new members, and have had friends come and visit too. We already have work being done on the bocce ball court, and some new plants put in the yard.

By next week, I will show you all the new court. This week we will be starting on the bed and breakfast. Painting the rooms will be the first stage, and then flooring, and then furnishings. We will add “Reale Leone Suites” to Air B & B. My niece is working on the artwork, so I am anticipating our royal lion to look fantastic.

Last week, I also took a cases of wine to some choice restaurants. I will be doing that again this week too. I hope to hear that at least one will choose our wine to pair with their food.

Here is a peek at the “Reale Leone Suites”…

Reale Leone

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Jeanne Illenye (Exuberance)

When I was younger, I dreamed of being like the Medici family. Buying spectacular art, and helping the artists that I purchased from in any way I could. Having a blog has allowed me to do what I have dreamed of doing.

I have commissioned many paintings from Jeanne, but the one that is the most special is the one here. It has the mixture of everything I love about a still life, little insects, that are representative of life continuing and renewing itself. Little drops of water for the iridescent and fragility of life and the dependency of those little droplets for every living thing.


There are books in the painting, as a reminder how important learning is at any age. Severs porcelain vase that are rare and amazing. Lemons and fruits that are from California. The peonies are reminders of my home state, Indiana. Where we always had Peonies growing in our yard. We would spend hours watching the ants work on the peonies, like they knew the flowers would not be open for very long. One month, which may arguably be the most important month in Indianapolis, May, race month.  Jeanne Illenye got everything I ask for in the painting. Now, it hangs in my dining room as a reminder of beauty and fleeting moments.

If you are interested in the work of Jeanne Illenye, here is her website.

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Collections and Obsessions…birds

IMG_0216 Roosters are given to couples for good luck in fertility. It is a very old custom, and at one time a phallic symbol was given instead of a rooster. This particular rooster is from Murano, Italy.

IMG_0219I have two cranes that overlook the dining room.

IMG_0220 There are three of these little birds that are from France. I purchased them at an antique store, and since they were so fragile I had to hold them in my lap the entire flight.

IMG_0221 Swarovski crystal humming bird

IMG_0222 Birds on a branch.  IMG_0224 He is from Murano.IMG_0226 Blue jay with an acorn. IMG_0227 Parrots from Murano.IMG_0228Twin birds on perches…from Murano.

IMG_0229 Swarovski birds on a branch.

IMG_0230Kingfisher bird, from Murano.

IMG_0232  Birds on celery, Murano.

IMG_0234Capodimonte birds on a branch.

IMG_0236The little bluebird in the background is known as a happiness bird, and the foreground is a brown bird. The blue bird is a Tay, the artist is from Italy.

IMG_0237More Swarovski birds.

IMG_0238Kingfisher birds, from Swarovski

IMG_0239The chicken is from Murano, Italy,. The red bird is from a glass company in West Virginia, and the little blue bird is from Russia.

The featured birds are Boehm hummingbirds.