Cardinal Point Winery’s Annual Oyster Roast

IMG_5586There are many great fall festivals, but one of our local favorites is Cardinal Point Winery’s Oyster Roast. This event is held over a Saturday and Sunday. This year’s is the 12th annual and takes place this coming weekend, November 14th and 15th , 12:00pm – 5:00pm. There is live music, wine, and lots of seafood from Rappahannock River Oyster Co.

IMG_5589Admission is $12 in advance and $17 at the door, and it includes a wine glass and free wine tasting. Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle, and there is a variety of food for purchase, as well. Last year the food offerings included raw or steamed oysters (of course!), crab cakes, and seafood stew.

IMG_5590This is a great time of year to be outside – a chill is in the air and the landscape has transformed. If you’ve been meaning to take a trip to Nelson County, come on out and enjoy some local wine and oysters. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Fermenting Our Own Hard Cider

This year’s apple harvest was fantastic. Our little orchard produced so many apples – too many even for the deer to keep up with, which means we were able to pick a lot for ourselves. At first we made applesauce. But there were still bushels and bushels of apples. What next? Apple cider! We’ve made applesauce plenty of times but never tried making cider. We were up for the challenge.

IMG_1751We let our apples sit and “sweat” for a couple weeks – allowing them to rest in a cool place before pressing them makes them juicier and sweeter. We’re not sure what types of apple trees we have, but it seems to be a variety of tarter green apples and sweeter red apples. The combination makes for a great blend.

7Josh ordered a nice, sturdy looking fruit press, and we got to work. After some trial and error, we found that quartering the apples and then grinding them in a large food processor worked best for extracting the maximum amount of juice. Some folks have fruit crushers for this part of the process, but we made it work without one.

3We filled the fruit press with the fine apple pulp that we prepared in the food processor. Once the press was totally full, we pressed! The juice was sweet and flavorful. Nothing beats fresh apple cider, and it was really satisfying to work hard and be rewarded with something so tasty.

2We kept a small amount to drink as sweet cider but put the majority in a six gallon carboy to ferment into hard cider. We used some champagne yeast, combined with some wild, natural yeast, and added in a little bit of sugar to help the fermentation process. Over the next few weeks to months, we’ll monitor the sugar content and ABV to see when it’ll be ready to drink. Hopefully we’ll have a nice hard cider to enjoy later this year.


Sewing New Curtains

Slowly but surely I have been sewing new curtains for all the bedroom windows, and they are finally complete. Each curtain is lined with blackout fabric so that if you want to sleep until noon or take an afternoon catnap, you may!

IMG_6970The Tulip Poplar Room inspiration comes from the colorful and whimsical flowers of the Tulip Poplar tree, so for these curtains I chose a green and white geometric printed fabric. It’s a fun and cheerful fabric.

IMG_6977The structure of these curtains couldn’t be more simple: just large rectangles. I used curtain rod clips so that I didn’t need to sew top- or back-tabs. So easy.

IMG_6320Next up, the Walnut Room curtains are a crisp white fabric. Nothing fancy here – just neat and clean, but they are still lined so they keep out the light really well. This room will have bold patterned fabrics elsewhere, in items like rugs and pillows, so the neutral curtain fabric will balance out the room. I love these curtain rods! The ends look just like black walnuts. For the curtain structure, I used a traditional back-tab pattern.

Lastly, and my personal favorite, are the Sycamore Room curtains. The color is so rich and warm, I want to wrap myself up in the fabric. I tried to find a color that matched the Sycamore tree’s seed bombs – the ones that are so fun to throw and watch explode in a puff of gold.

IMG_7084These, like the Walnut Room curtains, are also back-tab curtains.

IMG_7087Lucky for me, I had some leftover fabric from the Sycamore Room curtains and plan to sew myself a pretty infinity scarf for fall!

Eggs in a Cloud with Green Mango Smoothie

IMG_6786Scrambled, over-easy, and hard-boiled are all really delicious ways to cook and eat an egg – I couldn’t pick a favorite, but every once in a while it’s fun to get a little creative. Recently, I tried out a new method that involves whipping the egg whites and then baking them with the yolks balanced in the middle, often called eggs in a cloud. They were really neat! The pillowy whites have a light texture, and it’s nice to add herbs, cheese, or other flavors to this part of the dish. I think a little cayenne would be great, too.

IMG_6780To accompany the eggs, I made bacon and a really fantastic and refreshing green mango smoothie.


Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup white cheddar, finely grated
  • ¼ cup blend of thyme, parsley, dill (or any combination of your favorite herbs)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

IMG_6772And here’s the method of preparation:

  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place in different bowls.
  • Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cheese, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  • Using a parchment lined baking sheet, spoon 4 mounds of egg whites onto pan, and make a well in the center of each with a spoon.
  • Bake at 450F for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and place one yolk in each well. Return to oven for an additional 2-3 minutes or until yolks have set.


Green Mango Smoothie

Adapted from Thriving Home Blog’s Green Pineapple Smoothie.

IMG_6774Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ½ of a large, ripe banana
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or baby kale
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tblsp chia seeds
  • 1 tblsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp honey

IMG_6775And here’s the method of preparation:

  • Combine and puree in blender until consistency is smooth. Enjoy!


Tulip Poplar Bathroom Renovations: Shower, Beadboard, and Tile

IMG_6719During this phase of the Tulip Poplar Bathroom renovations, we installed Kerdi waterproof membrane on the shower walls and floor, sloped the shower floor, installed and painted beadboard, and laid tile. Whoa! A lot goes into building a bathroom, and we’re getting close to completing this one.

IMG_6583We painted the walls of the bathroom a creamy yellow, and we painted the beadboard white. Josh installed a shelf above the beadboard – it will be perfect for holding toiletries or a small bud vase. A big thank you to our friends who helped us paint!

IMG_6642Josh spent a lot of time carefully installing Kerdi membrane – this material covers the shower walls and floor to waterproof it. It uses the “fleece” of either side of the membrane to adhere to the drywall, or backer board, with the help of unmodified thin-set mortar. Advanced putty knife techniques are helpful, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. He also finished a shelf that’s built into the shower wall, and he carefully covered it with Kerdi membrane, too.

IMG_6622Next, Josh sloped the shower floor with “deck mud,” which is about a 1:6 mix of cement and sand. This base will ensure that the water will properly flow into the drain. He calculated, measured, and pounded the mortar into shape with a wood float.

IMG_6656For the floor, we chose a cream colored marble tile and for the shower walls, we selected large white ceramic tiles. The ceramic wall tiles are a neat shape – not your typical rectangular subway tile – these have a more obtuse shape.

IMG_6730Lastly for this phase of the project, Josh installed the cabinet, toilet, and sink. He connected these to the newly installed plumbing. These additions really bring the bathroom close to completion. We’re almost there and are really excited to share the finished product with you!