Finger Lakes Wines I’m Loving

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I seem to be on a foodie trail lately, so I’ll just go with it. I wanted to share my current favorite local wines with you. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Finger Lakes Region, you already know how much fun we have here. New wineries seem to spring up overnight around these lakes.

Last year, for Mother’s Day, we went over to Keuka Lake to Hunt Country, Dr Frank’s, and Heron Hill for a tasting at each. That was my first time at those wineries and I enjoyed interacting with the staff, tasting their delicious offerings and the views of Keuka Lake as well.

So here are my late winter picks:

Wagner Vineyard’s Vintner’s Riesling is one I picked out at Trumansburg Wine & Spirits about a month ago and immediately fell in love with. Sorry, out-of-towners, but you can only purchase this at local stores. Which means you will have to come visit! It’s a great price and easy to pair with light meals.

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Six Mile Creek Vineyard’s Ithaca Red is all berry jam and spices. Yum. This wine was one of the only things I could sample at last year’s Downtown Ithaca Chili Festival. It’s a fun wine to share with a friend on a cold day.

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Hector Wine Company’s Soul White is a semi-dry blend that I enjoy drinking anytime. Alan and I brought a bottle to the first Big Mean BBQ that we attended together to drink along with our fare from the Silo Food Truck. So it brings back happy memories for me whenever I taste it.

Hector Wine Company’s 2016 Riesling is their semi-dry wine that Jason served us after our show there a couple of weeks ago. Cheerful, fruity and perfect for a celebration.

There you are, dear readers! It’s Friday, so pick up a bottle of fabulous Finger Lakes wine, make a delicious dinner and enjoy your evening.

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Songwriting Madness in Winter

 

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At Hector Wine Company November 2017

We were at Hector Wine Company two days before Christmas, listening to The Blind Spots when the owner, who is friends with Alan, asked when we were going to play there. He said he had openings on all the Friday nights in February and we could have our pick. So Alan told him that we could do the last Friday night, February 23. I was inwardly panicking, my heart pounding and dread replacing the happiness I had felt at being out, enjoying the evening during the holiday season.

Here’s why I panicked: it’s an all-originals show that we’ll be putting on and we only had a handful of originals penned. How were we going to write 20-25 songs in two months? Alan, ever the optimist, thought it was completely within the realm of possibility. So is being stressed to the max and writing every spare minute we have!

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My songwriting notebook

Fast forward to this week, by which time we’re nearing fifteen completed songs. Completing the number of songs we need feels more like a possibility, but it’s going to continue to be stressful. I need to be disciplined to write during my mentally sharpest hours, while making time to create new products for my Etsy/craft business Delicata House, spend time with my kids, exercise, cook, clean, etc.

It’s a huge challenge, but we will meet it–we have to–and the reward will be that we’ll have access to several more local venues that only allow originals to be played. So if it’s been quiet on the blog lately and if it continues to be for the next three weeks, blame it on Alan. No, just kidding, it’ll just be that I’m songwriting my heart out. When we get some of these tracks recorded, I’ll share a link. In the meantime, if you’d like to check us out, here’s a link to the covers and one original we currently have on SoundCloud.

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At Home in the Finger Lakes

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A few days ago, I spent an hour or so on Instagram adding several hundred accounts to the list of those I follow. The photos from Europe and the UK in particular have me itching to pack my bags, cross the ocean and immerse myself in the beauty of otherness and be thrilled with whatever is new and foreign to me. I’ve been waiting to travel my whole life, but refuse to give up on my goal. Trying to be patient in the meantime is tough, but at least I can see through the eyes of other world travelers any minute of the day on Instagram.

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Do you ever feel discontented about where you live and wish for some fresh landscapes to inspire and refresh you? But as I wait for my opportunity, I will be thankful for the wildness, drama and variety of this region I live in. I’ve visited unremarkable places, but the Finger Lakes region is not one of these. Waterfalls, gorges, wooded hills, valleys, lakes and streams, farm fields and meadows stretch in all directions. Small town life definitely still exists and I live it. Small villages and towns are to be found every few miles. Biking, hiking, boating, fishing, skiing, and plain old walking can yield an abundance of breathtaking beauty.

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The leaves are mostly off our trees, the fields are either harvested or being harvested, squirrels are collecting their last store of food for winter. We’ve had a dusting of snow and have woken up to frost-covered cars several times already. The wind has taken on a cold and blustery Northern edge.

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We are discussing Thanksgiving recipes and preparing for the Advent and Christmas season. Wooden angels and pine trees already decorate my mantel and I’m researching where I can get some evergreen shrubs for the front door. In a week, I’ll be getting an evergreen tree for the library as well. Here is where I live and love, so I will notice the goodness all around me and be grateful.

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What do you love about where you live and where would you like to travel next?

 

Curiosity and a Cob Oven

 

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According to www.dictionary.cambridge.org, one of the definitions of the noun renaissance is: “a new growth or interest in something, especially art, literature, or music.”

This word renaissance has stayed with me since the end of 2015 as I felt a shift taking place in many areas of my life. Sure, “midlife crisis” may be the term used to describe major changes that humans undergo in an attempt to find meaning and satisfaction in their lives. To me, though, I began to “choose the path of curiosity instead of the path of fear”, which were words used by author Elizabeth Gilbert to describe creative people in a recent On Being interview with Krista Tippett.

To me, though, I began to “choose the path of curiosity instead of the path of fear”.

This meant doing new things through my anxiety and fear of the unknown. And I have a boatload of anxiety and fear. Some of my everyday anxiety includes when I have to talk on the phone–both calling and answering the phone, going to the bank or post office (I haven’t analyzed this, I just know it happens), going to large-ish parties or gatherings even if I know a good deal of the crowd, basically, introvert problems.

This week I was mulling all this over because I bumped into a girl I met at the Cob Therapy cob oven workshop at Hawk Meadow Farm that I took in June 2016. We stood in Greenstar and chatted. I asked her if she’d done anything with the knowledge we gained and she shook her head. Neither had I, I told her, but Alan has a pile of field stone that would be perfect for the base of a cob oven if we had a team of people and Matteo and Peaches from Cob Therapy to oversee the project.

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On the other hand, that workshop taught me things I have carried into this last year and a half. I helped a team of people build a beautiful and useful cob oven with my own hands. We worked at least 7-8 hours in the summer heat making cob, hauling stone, lifting, stacking, mixing clay, straw and sand with our feet and hands yet we all were positive and downright happy from start to finish.

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Although I respect and admire nature, I’m not inclined to get myself dirty, but it felt good and I won’t forget it. We worked together without jealousy or squabbling of any kind. We blended together and worked peacefully. It’s a cliché to say we felt like family for those four days, but there was that sense.

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Since that class, so much has continued to change in my life and I’m still following curiosity’s path. I am trying new things: a craft business, NaNoWriMo, becoming pescatarian, writing more poetry, challenging myself to publish a blog post daily, attempting to learn about marketing on social media, trying watercolor, and figuring out what I want to do next. I’m still faced with anxiety, but I have the solid memories from the positive experiences I’ve had to spur me on new experiences. My personal renaissance will continue, hopefully throughout my life.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

–Walt Disney

Where are you with your personal renaissance and with choosing curiosity over fear?

 

Local Wines I’m Drinking Lately

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Photo credit: http://www.winemaps.com

I am privileged to live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Specifically, to live between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. I can drive to a winery in ten minutes or less. They’re so close and there are so many.

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Photo credit: http://www.glenora.com

This summer and fall, I’ve been into whites and Rieslings in particular. Here are a few of my favorites:

Glenora Lake Series Riesling

 

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Wagner Vintner’s Riesling (only available in stores)

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Red Newt 2016 “Circle” Riesling

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Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling

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Although they are all from different vineyards, they all are easy to drink, medium-sweet, go with lighter fare and are inexpensive.

(I buy my wines from Trumansburg Wines and Spirits or from Northside Wine & Spirits in Ithaca.)

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Photo credit: http://www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com

Do you have a favorite wine you are drinking right now?

Day 28: Saturday Meanderings

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This hilltop home is being buffeted by the wind AGAIN. If we have one day per week when it’s still, that is something to remark upon. When my son was leaving Wednesday night, we stepped out into the evening and everything was still.

No crickets or frogs. No bird singing itself to sleep. Not even a jet or a truck. Just the lights twinkling across the lake, the stars winking at us overheard and quiet. “You’re in the middle of nowhere,” my son stated as he got into his car.

Yes, and the middle of nowhere has its advantages and disadvantages. On the pro side, we can play music as loud as we want, keep the property as neat or unkempt as we want and no one approves or complains. We can absorb the tranquility and beauty of nature from our windows and certainly from a walk around the yard or down the road. Lake, fields, hills, valley, farms, and big sky everywhere we look.

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On the con side, you have to drive a long while to get anywhere. Like to Ithaca for groceries or a concert or to a restaurant for dinner. And people don’t always want to come out to visit because it’s a bit of a hike. If they do venture this far, I hope they feel the rewards are many: the view, it goes without saying, and good food and conversation.

This is where I wanted to be when I was six years old living with my parents and siblings in a third-story apartment in Brooklyn. I hoped and prayed for this opportunity. So you could say, I’m living my dream.

Every summer which my mother, siblings and I would spend with my grandparents, flew by with a speed that was stunning and sad. I loved every minute of each day we were given here in Interlaken and every aspect of my grandparents’ home and lifestyle. Although, they were far from wealthy, there was a comfort and solace from the cold, tough and dangerous hustle of city life that I couldn’t wait to run to.

The walks with my grandmother down the lane, into and through the woods are some of my favorite memories of my childhood summers. The sound of my grandparents starting their day in the kitchen, making coffee and eggs, the smell of kerosene when the heaters were lit during cold spells, the feeling of gratitude at twilight as I sat on the tree swing and swayed as the wind pushed me–I hold these dear.

I’m thankful I can go back there and relive those good, wholesome moments and that I had them to begin with. And I’m thankful to be telling my story in the place where my happiest moments live.

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Day 27: Stranger Things, Wizarding Weekend and Wagner’s

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Stranger Things Season 2 was released this morning at 12. I’ve been counting down the days. My daughter and her friend have probably finished most of it by now. As soon as this blog post is done, I’ll be watching episode one. I’m neither a sci-fi or horror fan, last September I binge-watched the entire first season one Wednesday when I was home nursing a cold. Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Joyce Byers, a woman on the verge of losing her mind because her son’s gone missing, plus the great cast of child actors and the creepy plot line all fascinated me. And like everyone else who’s fallen in love with the show, we’ve been impatiently waiting for the next season. I’ll let you know what I think.

This morning I wasn’t watching Stranger Things because I worked out at the gym. Alan and I are members of Seneca Fitness in Interlaken and work out there most mornings. My friends Penny and Doug McGill are the owners. Anything the McGills do is top-notch and the gym is no exception. The color scheme is teal, purple, white, magenta, and lime. The bathrooms and shower areas are downright luxurious and there is an ample supply of cardio and weight machines and free weights. On top of all that, it’s always spotlessly clean, you can come and go whenever as it’s a 24 hour facility and the membership fee is very reasonable. So, we had a good sweat session, went home, showered, ate and drove to Ithaca.

We were supposed to be visiting Wizarding Weekend, which Facebook told me started at 10AM. We got there around 12:30. The side streets, Press Bay Alley and The Commons were their normal everyday selves. No vendors. No music. No people in cool costumes. Our whole reason for going was so that we could see who sells what and if Alan or I should consider applying for a vendor space next year. I guess we’ll have to go back down on Sunday afternoon. As we were already downtown, Alan said, “Should we go into Autumn Leaves?”, which is the used bookstore on The Commons. So we spent twenty minutes perusing the shelves, but left empty-handed. Honestly, we both have a boatload of books we need to read.

 

Back at home, we are doing some work and getting ready to go to Wagner’s 20th Anniversary Celebration tonight, where Mutron Warriors, one of Alan’s favorite local bands, will be playing. It should be fun. I’ll take and share pictures.

Happy Friday! What will you be doing this weekend?

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