Category Archives: Virginia

A day to myself

I’ve got two days off after a seven-day stretch, and the husband’s at work. What to do with myself? Make a list of all the plant and food projects I want to do this summer, of course!

I have this irrational need to make taffy during the summer, which is silly because it never works out (but it tastes so good). I think I’ll settle for making candied ginger today, and doing something with the chocolate I keep hoarding – chocolate-pretzel bites? Violet-infused chocolate truffles? Ooh, chocolate-dipped mint leaves!

The herb garden is going strong again, so I’ve got a bag of dried violets to find a use for and a much larger bag of dried marjorum that I need to process. Chive blossom vinegar is going strong, need to switch out the blossoms for some fresh ones. Think the basil needs a little TLC, and the rosemary bush is getting out of control.

Found soap bases at the craft store, maybe the violets can go into that – I know some of the old-fashioned roses growing in the yard are definitely going into a soap, they’re so incredibly fragrant! Soaps may be the Christmas gift of the year, this time around – fresh fruits and juices, dried herbs and flowers, tons of possibilities. Pretty sure I can make a chai tea based soap, which would be heaven.

Cooking stuff: sometime this summer, I’m hoping we’ll be able to do a big crab/crawdad boil here at the house, maybe get some of mine and the hubby’s friends over to supplement the family members we usually do these things with.

In June, I’m planning on ordering a pack or two of pickling cucumbers and getting the supplies together for a massive How To: Pickles and Preserves. Definitely want to do dill pickles (Small Family style, of course!), maybe daikon pickle and one other, then strawberry jam or jelly and maybe a fruit butter.

The father-in-law found a good source for bulk mustard seed online, so some experimenting in mustard-making will happen this summer, as well! I’ll be sure to track the results and send out samples for “taste-testing” once I’ve got it down.

I’m going to need a bigger kitchen.

~Mountain Girl



Leave a comment

Filed under Food and such, Virginia

New Everything

Last episode featured an explosion of all things life-related, mostly the devastating end to the Shipwreck Tavern.

Now, a year after that doomed plan was set in motion, life has (mostly) settled back to normal. I went back to work at WM in August, and survived yet another set of holidays living with my in-laws (I love ’em, but there’s only so much we can see of one another). Just before the New Year, the beverage head position opened up rather suddenly, and I found myself with a raise, a shopping cart full of paperwork, and a slew of new responsibilities. Yay?

Yes. It’s been hectic and crazy and the ordering program doesn’t really do what it’s supposed to do, but we’re getting there. Paperwork’s been trimmed and organized, and almost everything has a home. So on that front, life is good.

The husband has himself a new and exciting job, as well! He’d gone through a couple of bars once we got back to Virginia, and picked up a Fri-Sat-Sun bartender gig last month that has damn near doubled our income (go team booze!) all on its own. As of this past Monday though, he’s also teaching occasional Scotch tasting and other alcohol-related classes in the DC metro area. It’s awesome, he’s getting paid to teach people how cool booze is, and he doesn’t have to put up with crazy customers! They are paying him (just a couple of classes right now, but the company’s repeat customer rate jumped at the end of his first class) to do what he loves to do already: talk about why the art of distilling is so incredible.

Who knows, we may even get him blogging about it on his own site!

I think the incredibly beautiful weather today has bolstered my mood. The creativity is flowing, and I feel like this spring is going to be fabulous (and yarn filled). So many projects!

Leave a comment

Filed under Barfly life, Virginia

Bait and Switch

Since early November, I’ve been working at World Market, and Jared has been trying to find work. He’s gotten a few bartending or landscaping gigs, but nothing remotely stable. In the DC Metro area right now, if you don’t have 5-10 years experience, companies don’t even bother looking all the way through your resume, let alone call you back. So it’s been a tight couple of months.

Back in February, Jared’s parents had a ridiculously horrible dining and bar experience, and came away saying “Jared could do better than that while blindfolded.” They approached the two of us with a business proposal: Susan would give us a private loan in monthly installments, if we could find a bar/restaurant & bar location and plan that blew her away.

A couple of weeks ago, Jared and I drove up to Federalsburg, MD near the Eastern Shore to look at a potential bar. The place was such a dump that we said “No freaking way” without even getting out of the car, but talking with locals along the way, the town desperately needed another watering hole. We decided to focus our search on the Eastern Shore, finally convincing Susan that there was no way we were going to find a rentable location in the DC Metro area for what she could afford each month. Jared and his dad put together a Craigslist ad, and we started to get responses from all over the eastern shore of Maryland and Deleware (and one in Reno!).

Last Sunday, March 20, Ken got a response from a guy in Crisfield, MD – the southernmost Maryland city before you start ferrying to islands. He was looking for someone to either lease the top floor as a bar, or buy the whole building. We emailed back and forth with him on that Monday, and when he sent us photos of the space, we were blown away.

The whole top floor? That’s the bar. The right side of the upstairs is set up as a banquet room, and the windows continue all the way around – it’s almost 360 degrees of bay views.

We drove down to Crisfield the next day to take a look at the place and talk to some of the locals. This town is a watermen’s town, about 2600 people, and very few of the bars in the area stays open after September. Half of the restaurants are only open for half the week, once the tourists leave, and the bars all close at 9 p.m.

More later, but I’ve got to finish getting ready for work. I’m staying with World Market through the Easter season, if I can swing it.





Filed under Barfly life, Virginia

I really am alive, I just don’t have a life

It’s been a long, long, long summer. Jared and I moved from Kentucky to Virginia at the beginning of August, and are currently living with his parents. Most of our stuff is in storage in Kentucky ($44 a month ftw! Greenwood StorPlace rocks.), so we’ll be back out that way some time after the wedding.

That’s where my life has gone, by the way. Between job searching, landscaping and construction in the back yard, and cleaning and reorganizing the house, it’s been pretty much nonstop since we got back to Virginia from the move. We’re hoping that after October 10, things will get back to relative normalcy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Virginia

Heat wave

It’s been too long!

Jared and I are in the DC metro area for a while, catching some shows, spreading the resumes, and getting everything lined up for our move out of Kentucky.

Valkyrie is learning to live as an outside dog, mostly because she’s covered in mud and not allowed to stay in the house because it’s a daily thing with her.

The camera battery needs to be charged, so you’ll have to wait for photos of the in-law’s garden and the current project, an atrium. When I finally find the charger, you’ll also get a look at life behind the sound wall – the 495 expansion is practically in their back yard, despite the documents that put the sound wall about ten feet in the other direction (Somebody snuck an extra lane in. Bad senators, bad. Go sit in the corner.).

But life in NoVa isn’t bad, we’ve got the house to ourselves while the parents visit family on vacation in Canada and the brother spends most of his time at his girlfriend’s place. There are more tomatoes than I know what to do with (literally. They’re practically rotting before we can eat them), and either tonight or tomorrow, I’m making plum butter. I promise, I’ll get the camera charged!

Leave a comment

Filed under General, Virginia