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Upper Shirley Plantation August 2017

 Upper Shirley

Upper Shirley

 The James River

The James River

 Channeling the Old South

Channeling the Old South

About thirty minutes away, on the James River, are several infamous plantations - some of which have been restored and repurposed. Upper Shirley is now a fully functional winery and restaurant, featuring excellent food, lovely vistas, and a relaxing adventure.

This past Sunday we drove over in Cherie's new car. Beautiful day for a drive, we discovered that there is a well built and well maintained bike path all the way from downtown Richmond out to Shirley plantation - and beyond. Well over thirty miles, and not an afterthought, as it has custom bridgework, signage, and has been kept up beautifully. Something like this instills pride for your home town.

The "plantation" is really just a winery with a restaurant. All new building and wine growing setup. Pretty veranda with a view of the river. Really, really good food at reasonable prices. And...Cherie enjoyed the wine so much we brought a bottle home!

Spring 2017

 Cherry blossoms mark the coming of Spring!

Cherry blossoms mark the coming of Spring!

Spring is the loviest season at Copperpenny Court. Usually is is heralded by the blooming of the yellow daffodils, the chrysanthemums, then the cherry blossoms. The grass becomes greener and most of the dried leaves have blown away. There is a promise in the air.

The local farmer's markets open in Spring, and herbs, vegetables, and fresh ingredients become plentiful. My cooking is resurgent. The two girls get to spend more time outside, and the golf clubs come out of storage — well, hopefully. Next the trips to the gardening stores increase, and the search for plantings, yard maintenance, and decorations. Spring is the time for soil at Copperpenny Court. Soil, and soul.

 Here they come!

Here they come!

 Is this snow?

Is this snow?

 Everything smells so good!

Everything smells so good!

 Pretty, but for only a very short time.

Pretty, but for only a very short time.

Birthday Girl Once Again

 Got to have a candle for  every  year!

Got to have a candle for every year!

The first big event of any new year is always Cherie's birthday! Due to the date of her emergence, the poor girl has always suffered in the shadow of the Christmas holidays. We try to make a special day even more special in return. Not always easy!

This year Cherie opted to return some bling gifts in favor of more practical items. No matter. We had a fun dinner, cake, candles and a special restaurant visit later in the week.

Like a fine wine, Cherie ages with grace and beauty, making everyone's life just that much better....

 It's the thought that counts!

It's the thought that counts!

 Her favorite - coconut!

Her favorite - coconut!

25th Anniversary Where It All Started

The Homestead has been around for 250 years, we've been married for 25 of them.

Older, wiser, and still together...

Back in the famous chair

On April 27th we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and decided to return to The Homestead, where we were married. So, on June 7 we drove to Hot Springs, VA for a mid-week visit with the grand old lady. As always when we return to the Homestead, we stayed in our old room, home of Cherie's favorite chair, and a wonderful view.

We played golf at the Old Course and The Cascades, took many photographs, enjoyed a variety of spa treatments, and, for Cherie, some well deserved relaxation. So — a celebration, a refueling, exercise, and reminiscence. The Homestead never lets us down. We hope we don't let The Homestead down, either.

Orlando 2016

Ready to rumble!

Another opportunity to enjoy the Spouse Program turned a bit hairy as our fun trip to Orlando coincided with the snowstorm of the decade back at home base. No worry. The truly lovely Loews Portofino granted us the extra stay at reduced rates, we were able to link up with cousin Amy, and finished our trip with a sun-filled excursion to Winter Park.

We took in all of the theme parks, had some excellent dining, and, thanks to wonderful neighbor Craig, found out driveway plowed when we returned! All in all a memorable vacation to a lovely destination, where we hope to return.

Palladio Pleasures

What a lovely luncheon guest!

We have been traveling northwest to Barboursville vineyards for several years. Usually we have such at their fine restaurant, Palladio, and tour the gift shop and ruins on site. Very picturesque, relaxing, and the food is outstanding. This year Cherie discovered the house olive oil, which she particularly enjoys with a crust of fresh country bread. We now have a bottle on hand at home whenever possible.

Blueberry Bonanza!

Is this one big enough?

When blueberries come into season, Cherie has an internal alarm clock that goes off. And the message is: corral David and let's go to the blueberry patch! We get a bucket each,walk down the rows of blueberries and sadistic insects (who, for some reason, only go after David) and spend the next hour or two in oppressive heat to pick about $1.49 worth of blueberries. David would just as soon buy the bulk packages at the check-in. Or, better yet, at the Fresh Market. Now, if we can get home in time for the afternoon siesta....

Kidding aside, we usually get about a year's supply of fresh blueberries, which Cherie freezes in two-cup packs. Just enough for a serving of the famous blueberry sauce!

Fripp Island Vacation

Welcome to vacation fun!
Tan, rested, and happy.

This year we joined our Missouri and Florida family in a new spot: Fripp Island, SC. We were pleasantly surprised: very private location, rustic, two fine golf courses, nice beaches, swimming pools and all water related activities. Only thing lacking was food — available shopping and dining. Never mind, we had a great vacation and plan a return soon!

Happy Birthday Lillie Mae!

Special Cake for a Special Pup
Where's my treat?

Stretching as far as she could, Lillie Mae reached out for a test of her special birthday cake. It was yummy! The girl turned three in May. She has been a joy to us and, no kidding, the best behaved dog we have ever had. Well. Considering she is a Golden Retriever, after all.

Happy Birthday, Lils! May 1, 2014.

Herb Festival 2014

Shopping for fresh herbs

Just about every April we head to Maymont Park for the annual herb festival.The park is filled with vendor stands for fresh herbs, plants, garden accessories, and the assorted junk that shows up at all of these events. But, when the weather cooperates, and we can find a good parking space, it is a fun day in a lovely setting. The smile that remains on Cherie's face the entire trip makes it all worthwhile. April 26, 2014.

Easter 2014

What an Easter Cake!
Her real ears are much funnier
Where is that darn thing?
After a hard day's Easter Egg hunt.

Another family tradition, going back to St Joseph and the Borghoffs, is the Easter egg hunt. Since we don't have children, we involve our two dogs. And since they don't really like hard boiled eggs, we get them treats that look as close to eggs as we can find. This year, just like every year, Lillie Mae was the big winner, 18-2. April 20, 2014

Spring is Here!

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The cherry blossoms are in bloom and I am wearing a short sleeved shirt!

Naples Florida: An Embarrassment of Riches

Looking South We had a lovely trip to Naples, FL — the first time either of us had visited there. Fine weather, the beaches are great, the food was the best, and the ambience was other worldly. So much money: luxury automobiles, multi million dollar homes, and high ticket restaurants. in other words, we fit right in!

The week was just about perfect. The only glitch was the surprising absence of sea shells from the sands of Captiva. During our last vacation there, about the same time of year, there were hundreds; not this trip.

Oh well. We did have several nice excursions, to the pier, the (multiple) shopping areas, and the many restaurants. We even made it to the beach! All this during a dreadful snowstorm in Richmond. We thought we had beat Old Man Winter: not! It snowed the week we returned, and every week since! Can we go back now?

See more photos on my Flickr stream.

Birthday Week Begins!

Make A Wish!

Smack on the heels of Christmas comes Cherie's birthday. Well, it happens every year, doesn't it? Of course some of us are very keen to make it a special day for a special person, despite the lingering traces of Christmas festivities.

This year your humble chef prepared prime rib (from Belmont Butchery), twice baked potatoes, and green beans. This was succeeded by the traditional ice cream cake, and the traditional full candle regalia, complete with multiple blow-outs. Certainly there were gifts, including jewelry, sweaters, skirts, pants, and, most cherished to be sure, a new sand wedge.

The festivities were enjoyed by all. Even The Neighbor Dog stopped by for some prime rib and a piece of cake. Icing was deposited on dog's noses for great fun!

Disclaimer: no references to actual age at time of birthday were implied, nor are these comments solicited by readers of this post.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013Alma and Cherie, Kansas City 2003

Our 24th Christmas together is here. Has it been that long? I can still remember, as if it were yesterday, getting off the plane in Kansas City and driving up to St Joseph for this first time. It was cold, very cold, and snow was on the ground. Dark, cloudy, and blustery. Priding myself on following directions (this was long before nav systems!) I pulled up to a cozy rancher on a short street with a school at the end. Knocked on the door, and Mr. Borghoff appeared, with these words: "Welcome, David."

And there was the entire Borghoff family! Alma, who always acted a little shy but was easily the wisest and toughest of the bunch, Sandra and Karen, the older and younger sisters, eager to appraise the "New York Jew", and, of course, my wife to be, decked out in one of her famous, and thankfully now packed away, Christmas sweaters. It was quite a lot for me to take in at one time, let me tell you!

And now, these years later, we miss it so much. It was always a good time — lots of laughs, not many tears or shouting, few surprises, but even fewer disappointments. The trips to the Plaza in Kansas City. The nighttime drive around Krug Park. The big party at Bob and Janet's, featuring refreshments taken on ping pong tables. The many trips up and down the basement stairs, loaded with presents while Alma and Cherie kept up late Christmas eve, wrapping and reminiscing.

Christmas morning. Presents stacked waist high in the seldom used living room (where the second Christmas tree resides.) We each had our own place to sit, carefully refined over the years. As the family grew, some of the younger, and some of the more picky, stood during the gift exchange. Then it was off to church (second time in two days) and then the party for the aunts.

There was a particularly nice time for me, when the three sisters went off to visit friends or their own homes, and just Alma, Floyd and I were left behind on Scott Street. Soon Floyd and I would depart for our annual Christmas drive along the neighborhoods of St Joseph, but, for a time, the three of us got to rest, and got to know a bit about each other. It was peaceful there, in the family room with Mr. and Mrs. Borghoff. I hope they knew how well I thought of them, and I wish them another Merry Christmas, as we all remember them, and thank them for their grace and kindness. Merry Christmas.

Thanksgiving 2013

Admiring the table...

After a lot of hard work and preparation, we were happy to welcome our relatives from Missouri and Florida to our home for Thanksgiving. I think everyone enjoyed the menu:

  • candied sweet potatoes
  • potato gratin Parmentier
  • cranberry Cherie
  • summer corn with red bell pepper
  • green beans with garlic and ginger
  • bread, sausage, cherry, nut stuffing
  • turkey Extraordinaire.

Prior to and after the Thanksgiving feast a plethora of activities were enjoyed, including lunch at CanCan, a pizza feast, roasted hot dogs, the inevitable auction (with surprise bidding!), a bowling competition, scrabble, pet hospital, photo opportunities, etc. We certainly hope everyone enjoyed it as tremendously as we did!