Hello lovely peonies!
I know it has been far too quiet hear on P&P, and I do apologize for totally disappearing for almost two months. Honestly, I simply got so caught up in transitioning to farm life that I just haven’t had the energy for anything else.
In May, I made the thrilling and scary decision to leave the fine art/ auction world to help run my family’s two farms in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We inherited 150 acres from my grandfather when he passed away almost two years ago. The acreage is split between two farms: one in Tuckasegee where I grew up and we raise cattle and one in Glenville where my grandfather grew Fraiser Fir Christmas trees for almost 30 years.
My mother and her brother and sister decided to revitalize the farms and transition them to thrive in the 21st century with new agricultural products following a farm to table model and keeping organic practices in mind. We are now raising 100% grass fed Wye Angus cattle to sell for beef and industrial hemp to produce CBD oil.
These transitions are significant undertakings that my parents and aunt and uncle have tackled with verve and passion, but each of them is over 70 years old. As S. and I began talking about the future and where we saw ourselves in 5…10…20 years we couldn’t deny the call to return to our Carolina home and help continue the farming legacy of my family.
While we are maintaining our home in Clinton, TN for the time being and S. is still working a full time job, I am spending almost 80% of my time on the farms working on the marketing and sales initiatives, including selling at area farmer’s markets as well as cultivating and growing industrial hemp. Gardening has also re-inspired me as I’ve been growing our summer veggies!
I simply cannot describe how fulfilling and edifying this transition has been. The work is hard but the rewards are tangible and so satisfying. I truly feel this is where I am supposed to be:
Humming to the bees as I weed the cucumbers;
Walking the hemp rows;
Talking with customers at markets;
And playing cowgirl as we work the cattle.
Now on to this month’s charming index…
Charming | ADJ. | The power or quality of giving delight…
Your monthly guide to charming things, people, places, reads, eats, and style!
No. 1 Farm Life
Farm life is ever changing. There is something new to learn and experience each day from the changing of the seasons to the dynamics of our herd. Honestly, it isn’t always charming, but it is home. Check out our new website: Sycamore Hill Farm.
No. 2 The Romantic Floral Designs of April Cornell
What is more charming than vintage, romantic floral dresses? Absolutely nothing! I am newly smitten with this clothing line. Most of the summer styles are on sale now, so head over and check out my favorites this dress and this jumpsuit.
No. 3 The Southern Fried Chicken Salad at Cornacopia
This salad is so delicious you won’t want to eat anything else for lunch once you’ve tasted it! The crispest-crispy fried chicken sits on a bed of greens topped with cranberries, fried onions, and pecans with a light tangy honey mustard dressing. Seriously, you must try it the next time you venture to Cashiers!
No. 4 The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
This is my latest audio book obsession. I love to listen to audio books when I’m driving or doing repetitive, mindless tasks. At the heart of The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a mystery – a jewel theft and murder(s). It is a complex story with multiple perspectives, times, and entanglements interwoven. I love Morton’s gift for description and turn of phrase.
No. 5 The Fragrant Scents of Feather & Pearl’s Candles
I cannot stop burning Mountain Birch. It’s woodsy and bright – a perfect counterpoint to all the floral, fruity scents of summer. All Feather & Pearl candles are soy and long lasting without phthalates.
No. 6 Trips to Lake Glenville
A tiny lake tucked in the highlands of Western North Carolina filled with beautiful homes and waterfalls. We love to rent a boat and cruise the day away splashing in the water, taking a picnic (fried chicken included), and sipping on cocktails!
No. 7 Drinks on the Patio at Old Edwards Inn
The best wine bar and patio in the area! I love the black and white stripes and the beautiful water garden filled with moss and fern just like a walk through the forest. The cocktails are delicious too! I am particularly fond of this blackberry tea one.
No. 8 Wicker…Wicker…Wicker!
Always a decorating staple in my book and oh so charming for summer. I’m obsessing over wicker everything this season from wastebaskets to lamps. I just added a wicker lamp to my living room that added beautiful texture and a neutral accent to the room. Below are some of my top picks for wicker decor accessories:
The most comfortable, flexible and cheap leggings you will ever find! I have now bought three pairs! Three pairs! I’m wearing them constantly on the farm to work outside in because they stretch and move with you. Plus the version I linked here has pockets that will hold keys and cell phone.
No. 10 All Things Nautical
Blue and white stripes, sailboats, seashells, anchors, etc. Give me all the nautical accents. For some nautical decorating inspiration check out my summer mantle! Below are some of my top picks for nautical fashion and decor: