Gardening in Ohio

Good Sunday afternoon!

What a glorious day it is in Virginia. If you don’t look across the holler to the hillside in the shade with all the snow on it, you could almost believe it’s spring. But my mom always said, “Don’t’ wish your life away,” so I am happy to be present in the moment on this last day of January.

Last summer I had the blessing of spending time in Ohio with Sue Gipe, among the amazing gardens that she and her husband Don have created. I have never seen anything like it.  I can’t even begin to fathom the work involved initially, or the mere upkeep on a daily basis. But it is truly a passion for Sue and it shows. They live on a beautiful creek (or maybe river) and they own land on both sides. The couple erected an amazing bridge, not only suitable for passage to the other side, but a beautiful garden feature and a place to sit high over the water and enjoy the sounds of it meandering its way downstream. Once across, there are several garden rooms and secret sitting areas.

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Sue sells architectural elements for the garden, garden antiques and also does design and consulting. Many homes we’ve featured in the past have some of Sue’s wonderful finds in the gardens.  Watch for many more photos from our wonderful day together in the SUMMER issue of A Simple Life!

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I wanted to mention for some of you who might be like me and not that familiar with all the fancy technology available to us these days, that you can subscribe to my blog by using the button in the bottom right hand corner, and that way you will receive an email each time I add a new journal posting. Don’t worry, by subscribing I won’t be contacting you for any other reason, other than just updates!

As always, I’m go glad you came by for a visit. I love having you!

Morning Train

Music is a huge part of my life. I can’t imagine a day without it or a minute! Although I have to confess … I’m getting old and it’s getting harder for me to concentrate on certain kinds of work when my music is on. So sometimes I have to have silence. My brother could listen to music and do anything at the same time. I wonder if it’s because I love it so much I get lost in the music and lose my focus on my job at hand? I am thinking about the words and the banjo licks instead!

I literally can’t carry a tune in a bucket and it’s so unfair! I wish I had some kind of musical talent! But when I’m alone (and most especially in the car) I am the greatest singer of all time! I can really belt one out. (ADMIT IT – YOU DO IT TOO!)

My ipod has 1000 songs on it and I’d have another 1000 except for it’s full. I grew up on old time country that my mom listened to – Ray Price, Eddy Arnold.  In High School I listened to country music and then when country became rock I started listening to Bluegrass and Folk.  I don’t like contemporary Bluegrass as much as the old stuff. But my one true love is Old-Time Music. Ralph Stanley literally is the BE ALL AND END ALL for me. Remember those 1000 songs on my ipod? Probably 200 are Ralph Stanley or Ralph and his brother Carter. I won’t start on that or we’ll both be hear all day. (Yes, I do know the difference between “hear” and “here” but I thought “hear” was more appropriate!)

So what’s on my ipod right now? A song I dearly love called  “Morning Train.” Others have recorded it, but the best, for me, is the one by “The Kickin Grass Band.” I can’t really say I love all their music – but THIS SONG … oh my!  AND you don’t have to love Old-Time Music, Bluegrass or Country to like this one so don’t be afraid to hit the play button!

Take a listen and let me know if you like it! What is playing on your turntable today?

Winter in Virginia

Good Evening!

I know ya’ll are tired of seeing snow pictures! But humor me – we didn’t get snow like this in Texas! ha!  But I’m from New Mexico so I know what it is, and Todd is from Canada so he is no rookie. But the first snow on our new farm is kind of a big deal! Here you can see a couple of our cows getting a drink from an underground spring that is stored in a tank. Thankfully we have a lot of live springs and creeks here so we don’t have to worry about the horses or cows in the pasture having water at all times and not having to break ice for them.

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This is our little cabin from the back, but like most of us, that is the entrance we always use! Our fireplace keeps the small space really warm but we do have propane heat too just in case!

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Down the hill you can see the start of  Todd’s horse barn. You can’t see it in this photo but the end is log. The logs are 34′ long! It’s a long story for another day but for now I’ll just tell you that the barn came from a farm about 85 miles from us and Cheryl’s Grandpa helped cut the logs and build that barn many, many, years ago.  The tree is not our Christmas tree! ha! But instead a tree that we brought from New Mexico. I am waiting to plant it near our house someday.

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And last but not least here we are this evening, thawing out with the most beautiful painting from the Master’s hand. I want to tell you how much I appreciate you coming by for a visit. I wish you were here on the mountain tonight ~

Dreaming of Summer

The magazine business is funny, in that we are always working on a different season than we are experiencing in real life. So while the winds howl, I’m looking at beautiful garden photos. This time of year, it’s a good thing. Doing Christmas layouts in August is a tad more difficult!  The SPRING issue is just a couple of weeks from shipping, but I’m laying out the summer issue this week and reliving all the wonderful photo shoots I was on last year. I am very excited about this issue – there are three homes that I love, with beautiful gardens surrounding them, plus one special garden that is amazing on top of those! By being a blog visitor, you’re privy to things you won’t see anywhere else, as well as super early sneak peeks! So if the temperature is a little chilly where you are today, I hope this slideshow of photos from the home and gardens of Jim and Patti Agnoletti will warm your heart!

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First Ever Journal Entry

Good snowy morning from the mountains of Southern Virginia!

After doing a little updating on our website, I decided to take the plunge and start a journal. My biggest fear is not having enough new things to share to make it interesting, but being the Publisher of A Simple Life, there is usually a lot going on behind the scenes that I think you will find fun and worthy.

It would make sense to post a pic of our tiny cabin here in Galax, Virginia (pronounced GAY-LAX) under nearly a foot of snow. But I’ve loaned my camera to a friend and since I don’t have cell service here on Walkers Knob Road, I can’t upload the photos from my phone either. But I will put some snow pics on in a day or two when I can get down the mountain and have some service. So for today I will show you a photo of our farm from the first day we saw it.

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We had been looking in Tennessee for a farm for nearly three years when we decided to look in Virginia. Our friends KC and Cheryl Jones were with us on this particular day and as soon as we got to the gate, Cheryl said, “This is it.” She was right. About three hours later we were calling the Realtor to make an offer. Once you get where God wants you to be, things fall into place easily and quickly. I’ll never forget what KC said that day, “God has had this farm hidden just for you.” It had everything on our wish list and so much more.

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This past summer our builder friend Glenn Wilson and Todd, built what will ultimately be my office, but is currently our tiny home for now. It is an 1800’s tobacco barn they moved here from the Lexington, VA area. We added a teeny tiny kitchen area (complete with dorm fridge and hot plate) and a small bathroom. It is perfect for the meanwhile, until we build our house (much more on that another day).

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So I dearly love Virginia more than I ever thought possible – even when we get all this snow and Todd is in Oklahoma at a horse sale and I am here feeding livestock.

I hope you will visit with me again, as I continue with my online journal of places I go, things I see, and things I think about from time to time.   Until next time  … Jill