Ah, autumn in Landgraff, WV... the air gets crisp, the leaves change colors, and people steal your political signs off your property...
I start this post with the unhappy news that our McCain-Palin sign was stolen from our side lawn the other day.
Either a desperate McCain supporter, unable to find ANY PLACE IN WEST VIRGINIA to buy such a sign, felt they had no choice but to swipe ours, or a disgruntled Obama supporter decided they had to personally "change" reality, but in any event it's gone- & I am NOT a happy camper. Here is photo of what it looked like Before it was stolen, and if anyone has a Great Big "Veterans for McCain-Palin" sign they can get us PDQ, Please send it to: Elisse Clark, P.O. Box 100, Eckman ,WV 24829.
No kidding- you really Can't buy one in WV.
Dan & I went ATV leaf-peeping the other day, and had a great afternoon riding through the gorgeous mountains, thru Ashland and past the infamous "Stair-Steps", all the way to "ATV Paradise" for hamburgers and fries. We then got help fixing a flat on our ATV from a Great Guy at the Wagon Wheel, just down the road, where we got hot coffee to warm us up (3 layers is NOT enough once the sun goes behind the mountains!), and then rode home- Really Cold!
Yes, it's Fall... it may be 77 in the sunshine, but it's Damn Cold in the shade! The down quilts and our Korean "mink" blanket is back on the bed, the heaters are on, there's a fire burning in the fireplace almost All the time, and I'm layering... Ugh! I know this is "four seasons" country, but I could live nicely without 7 months of winter!
Other signs of fall: We just harvested the last of our watermelons, and have a pumpkin to go pick & corn stalks to cut down and do fall decorating with... Our "Grim Reaper" Halloween inflatable arch is up, and the dining room tables are decorated with Martha-esque centerpieces of mini-pumpkins, gourds, cider-scented potpourri, and out little pumpkin breakfast plates... And I'm watching the Weather Channel for frost warnings, lest we lose our herbs- I'm determined to "winter them over" inside on the windowsills, so I can harvest herbs all winter for Chef Dan!
Our other Gourmet News is that Dan has started making real, crusty Italian bread (the likes of which you literally Can Not get here) in our Great Bargain Of the Year: the "$200 50-cent bread machine"! Dan came home a couple of months ago with one of his flea-market finds at which I rolled my eyes: a never-used West Bend bread machine- no box or instructions, of course- for 50 cents. While trying to find the instructions on the internet I found that it had been recalled, and duly called it in. West Bend, while rather surprised we had a new bread machine they hadn't made for 5 years, did send us the UPS return label, and we returned it. And last week we were rewarded with our brand new, AbFab digital bread machine- and this baby does Everything except sing "I'm a little muffin"! It is SO great to find another company that stands behind their products! It is such a great machine that even I can make bread with it! (I am determined to make Italian Herb Bread with rosemary and other fresh herbs from our garden, and to try my hand at the Prosciutto Bread I remember with great fondness from Balducci's in NYC...) Even the Easy Bread that comes out of it is totally wonderful: crusty on the outside, warm & soft on the inside... SO good, in fact, that I couldn't help myself: I ordered a selection of Italian cheeses (plus some truffles and anchovies and saffron...) from www.igourmet.com, and now we'll have THE bread for them!!!!! All we need is some of that Montefiorelle Chianti Classico...
This past Friday (Oct. 18) we went to an opening at Gary Bowling's House of Art in Bluefield, WV, and I was VERY impressed. Gary, his wife, and their artist friends, have done Amazing things with the space, and created a truly professional gallery and special event space in Bluefield! The opening, for Richard Shrewsbury, a West Virginia-born artist, was great, with an artsy, upscale crowd enjoying wine, yummy hors d'ouevres, and a band, and best of all, the work was selling, which bodes Really well for the future of art in our neck of the woods! The gallery has a cafe, as well, so you can have lunch or a snack, surrounded by some really fun artwork; I especially liked Gary's work, much of which is made with "found" items; I loved his hand-painted chairs, and the dragonfly (with fan-blade wings) hanging from the ceiling!
After the opening, Dan & I went to my Absolutely Favorite Restaurant in West Virginia, the excellent Kimono in Princeton, and had a bang-up sushi-saki feast! Oh, those luscious, buttery scallops!!! Dinner at Kimono always cheers me up!
On another happy note, the Sweepstakes Queen of Landgraff, WV just won another contest: the www.Brickfish.com "Shoe" contest, to which I submitted a photo of & story about the fur high-heels I bought in 1985 with an entire month of my IDF salary- and which I still have! I posted my entry on our www.facebook.com page in the hopes that friends would vote for it, and today found out I've won a Marshall's Shoe Shopping Gift Certificate! And I am WAY excited about that! We've got happy guests at the Elkhorn Inn tonight, including 2 journalists from Virginia; the puppies are curled up in their little beds and snoring, and the Inn is toasty warm and smells great from the logs burning in the fireplace... And so, to bed! :-)