Dean and Bevaria come to visit

1058 Old Country Club Road

       Roanoke is north of Florida which puts us on the path our friends have been taking from where they are to where they are going in Florida.  In September cruising pals Linda and Michael stopped by for a few days and this week cruising pals Dean and Bevaria stayed with us.  We met Dean in China when he visited Seahorse Marine checking on his boat during the time we were there while ours was being built.  Dean helped us move DoraMac from Hong Kong to the Philippines and during the voyage took time to share his knowledge of how to change from autopilot to hand steering, a good thing that prevented us from running down a fishing boat.   But what I remember most is the shopping expedition Dean and I made to Gongbei while we were all in China.    Gongbei, which at the time was (and may still be) the knock-off capital of the world is a 45 minute drive from the boat yard. There are hundreds of shops so it was a great place to stock up on gifts especially lovely shawls and handbags.   We were in one shop looking at some handbags to bring home for gifts when the shop attendant motioned for us to come closer, hit a secret button opening what looked like a wall of shelves, and motioned us into the room behind.  We entered; another button was pressed and we were enclosed in a room with even more handbags.  All I could think was, thank goodness Dean was a retired FBI agent so if we end up in a drama here, he can get us out.  But all that happened was shopping and then we exited the secret room.  Memories of China!

The weather has put us behind schedule on land clearing.  But it could have been worse.  Roanoke was spared though the poor folks in South Carolina were not.   Dean and Bevaria brought the good weather of Maine with then for their visit so we made a trek up to “the land.”


Bevaria, Randal and Dean standing up by the bolder on the left.  The bolder is now named “Frog Bolder” because there was a small frog hiding in a hole just near it and it sort of looks like a frog from certain angles.  Some trees are gone but we still have 100 acres full.  About half of the clearing has been done but the weather has made a mess of the schedule.


Randal, Dean and Bevaria


Bevaria’s beautiful hair reaches below her knees!  But just the past year it had been cut to the middle of her back. 

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A visit to the Mill Mountain Star and the overlook just across the way giving a view of the Roanoke Valley.

Words of wisdom from our friend Heidi Trautmann

1058 Old Country Club Road

Roanoke, VA  24017


Hi All,

    I add the USA because we still have many friends around the world.  And because we have traveled we know the world is the people we met and not what we see on the news. 

I recently received an email from our friend Heidi Trautmann.  We met her and Kalle, her husband while we were in North Cyprus.  Heidi is an artist and writer and very wise woman.  I asked if I could share some of her email to me about the release of her most recent book about the arts of North Cyprus. 


Terra Firma


If you want to paint a chair, you must become one …….

Heidi Trautmann’s new book: ‘Art and Creativity in North Cyprus,  Volume II’

Presentation of the book and Exhibition at the National Archive and Research Centre in Kyrenia on September 29 at 17.30 hrs.

“If you want to paint a chair, you must become one or if you want to paint and describe a tree in a painting or in a poem, you must become a tree to know its roots, to feel its skin with scars and knots and to know why the branches reach high to learn the rules of the kingdom of the winds….and if you want to know a people you have to become one of them.

You have to sit with them and talk, see their eyes change colour when you ask questions; you have to visit their homes and drink their coffee and see their souvenirs on shelves in their home; you need to know the games they played as children and the books they have read and the hopes they had from the very beginning till now, the tears they spent on mishaps in life, the anger or pride they have felt when things went wrong.

I learnt to read their paintings and their poetry, in them I found their ways of judging the situations they live in.  I went to see their theatre plays over many years. ……”


Heidi with her newest book ready for distribution. is Heidi’s website which is filled with art and wisdom.

“You will live among so many beautiful trees. I love trees, they were my first friends and I hid all my treasures among their roots.”    Heidi Trautmann in a recent  email to me.


Heidi’s lino cuts of her trees. 


1058 Old Country Club Rd

Roanoke, VA 24017

L’shana Tova to all of our Jewish friends. It’s the Jewish New Year which ended tonight at sunset. Hopefully by next Rosh Hashanah our house will be underway. Beginning this week there’s lots of activity at the site. Yippee. And Randal and I have moved into our temporary home which is lovely and roomy. We had cruising pals come visit for several days. All in all, it has been a really good week.


Terra Firma


I’m lying in bed reading. The painting on the wall is by Byron Dickson who with his wife Edwina are our landlords and neighbors. I’ve set up my art table by the window which overlooks the golf course. Very very comfortable here while we build our home. Byron is both artist and architect and will design our home.


The drive up to the house site is being cleared.

Trees are taken down and then fed into the chipper. The chips will be hauled to Westvaco where they will become fuel. We have over 100 acres most of which will remain forested. These machines will be leaving when the project is complete so we’ll only have a big and little dozer and not enough equipment to start our own tree removal service.


Bear cub tracks. I am definitely looking forward to wildlife watching .


Lunch break during Old Salem Days

Long-time cruising pals Linda and Michael were our first visitors! On their way from Oshkosh to Florida they stopped to visit a few days. We were together in Johor, Malaysia, Cochin India. The Maldives, and then Turkey. Away from cruising for family issues, they hope to return to the sea and continue their travels.

The rest of the story

Good Morning (although part of me still wants to say Günaydın as I did in Marmaris.)

What’s up with our land permits?

As of this Tuesday we have our land permits!!!!!!!

Next the “tree man” goes and clears what will be the drive to the house site and the house site itself.  Then Randal will use his new tractors  to prepare cleared land for grass seeding to prevent re-growth and erosion.  (Other erosion prevention measures will be implemented too which was what took so long getting the plan approved.)  Next spring house building will begin; at least that’s the plan. 

And here are some Pimento Cheese Memories in response to my pimento cheese story….

First from the ‘southern born folks’ who should be the experts according to everything written about pimento cheese now.

“When I drive south I know exactly where the Pimento Cheese line is! (The point where I can stop at a grocery store and get me some pimento cheese!!) Forget the Mason-Dixon Line.

     I also know where the Cheerwine line is too. It is a little lower than the Pimento Cheese line.  Cheerwine is a soft drink brewed in my hometown of Salisbury, NC. 

     Cheerwine and Pimento cheese together!  Heaven!!!

Living up north without them: hell!

Kathy now lives ‘on the Cape’ up north in Massachusetts.  We met in Roanoke bike riding!  She was born in Salisbury, NC  and after Roanoke lived in Seattle and many years in Alaska!

“Growing up in the South and having a maternal grandmother who country wood stove cooked for thirteen I consider myself a bit of an authority. The two best pim cheeses I have ever had were made with Velveeta and smoked Gouda. Not together, of course.”

Dick from Salem, VA who is a famous bike person in these parts. 

And from folks born ‘up north’ some sure they know it and others are sort of vague about it like me. ( I may have been thinking about icky olive loaf.)

“My parents loved pimento cheese and they often ate it for lunch at the office.  Kraft’s made a variety that came in a glass with a metal cap.  I remember having a full set of those glasses that were the perfect size for morning oj.  I think the Kraft’s variety was simply soft velvetta with pieces of pimento floating in it ~ not exactly a high quality rendition.  I just asked the friends with whom I’m visiting if they remember the stuff.  Both did, but the Northerner said she never really ate it and the Texas/OK/NM man said he used to eat it all the time.  They both remembered the Kraft juice glasses.”

Deb, a growing up in New Bedford friend.

“I can’t say I remember pimiento cheese as I’ve had it in the South, but I do remember olive loaf and pimiento loaf, the former a square deli meat which you’d have sliced while the latter was a square deli (again sliced) yellow cheese flecked with red bits of the mild peppers. Then again, I could be hallucinating and none of this ever happened.

   I do remember the explosion of ‘port wine cheddar’ sometime during my high school years, and if I recall correctly the brand was Wispride. To all of us, it was the height of sophistication to spread it on crackers, though the REALLY fanciest ones were made in a softball sized ball and rolled in chopped walnuts”.

Beth, a growing up in New Bedford friend

“Interesting story. Kraft has Pimento Cheese Slices available, as well as spreads…” QjRxqFQoTCIXDhdO6_8YCFUuZHgodrfQO6Q&–oz%2F24597&ei=gFC4VYWDMcuyeq3pu8gO&bvm=bv.98717601,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNFyg6FCuDyLaY2ymemyF30Z9XDUdw&ust=1438228976140335

Cousin Ernest who grew up in NYC and tells the best family stories about my mom and all the New York relatives.

From the Mid-west…..

“I’ve heard of pimento cheese (before I went South).  It could have been the southern influence of my mother, but I don’t really think so.  I was never a fan. “

Martha who grew up in Southern Illinois, lived for years in Roanoke where we met working at the Roanoke County Public Library and now lives in Brookline. 

And coincidentally in the summer issue of Roanoke Valley HOME Magazine; a recipe for pimento cheese!


Here’s the recipe which they suggest can be used for a burger topping

¾ cup mayonnaise

4 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons grated yellow onion

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

16 ounces cheddar cheese, freshly shredded

¼ cup chopped roasted red pepper (from the jar kind is the classic0

In a mixer combine the mayo, cream cheese, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne and Dijon mustard.  Mix on low until smooth and combined.  Add cheese and peppers and mix just until blended.  Refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Optional, updated add-inns:  ½ cup drained and chopped martini olives, ½ cup roasted and chopped pecans, or 3 slices crisp bacon crumbled.

Lexington’s Righteous and Rascals

Our land plan has been re-submitted making this the 3rd attempt which hopefully will be the charm! Randal is, as I type this, taking possession of another small tractor. And last Wednesday we bought a van! Our Israeli friend Eve said she knew she’d stopped being a ‘liveaboard’ and become a land lubber when she had lots of keys. Keys to an apartment; keys to a car, and other assorted keys. We definitely have lots of keys at this point.

While we were in Lexington with Linda and Ken I noticed some dedicated pavement blocks. It immediately brought to mind the Stolpersteine pavement stones Randal and I saw in Germany in memory of the Jewish families who had lived at that location. The Lexington paving stones tell a variety of stories about heroes, villains, and the horses they road in on. link has a short entertaining video about the historic paver blocks. I picked two pavers that peaked my interest.



Lexington, Rockbridge pay tribute to righteous and rascals

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 10:00 pm

By Luanne Rife | The Roanoke Times

“ LEXINGTON — When it comes to name-dropping, Lexington and Rockbridge County folks do it up righteously, laying claim to headliners of American history — Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lee, Marshall, Lewis and Clark — and for two of them, at least, the horses they rode in on.

Come spring, those names will be dropped among the brick pavers along Main and Washington streets in Lexington. It’s all part of a legacy project called The Righteous and Rascals of Rockbridge County…….

…….For now, the committee is using a website at to explain the project and solicit funds. Many of the pavers have already been funded, but opportunity to fund a particular paver still exists.


“As you walk through the streets of downtown Lexington discover our historic pavers. Each one commemorates a “significant, deceased person in our local history whose work and deeds have left an important, interesting, and/or colorful mark on the Rockbridge community and beyond.”

To learn more about any Righteous or Rascal click on the STORIES tab. There you will find links to short biographies that expand on each paver’s engraved information with details about the person’s life and their connection to Rockbridge County. Also included are maps that direct readers to physical sites associated with that person.”

It also discusses how they distill the major facts and/or personality quirks to one small square.


I found a better write up about her on roots web so that’s what I’ve included here.

“James and Mary Greenlee settled near what is now known as Timber Ridge. Here they ran a Tavern until James’ death in 1763. Mary Greenlee was known far and wide as a crazy lady, or even sometimes referred to as a witch. Since the Indians regarded crazy people as untouchable, she was allowed to move easily in and out of their camps. This proved to be a valuable asset to Mary. When Alice Lewis was captured and scalped by a band of Indians, all hope was lost by John Lewis and his wife Margaret. Mary Greenlee offered to go into the Indian camps and rescue her. Her price was a horse upon which to bring the girl back and which she could keep on return. The Lewis’ were elated, and Mary was able to perform the rescue. Contradiction occurs when one tries to decide if Mary was actually crazy, or merely feisty. The author concurs on feisty and intelligent. At age 97, the county courts called upon Mary Greenlee to give depositions regarding land ownership. They again requested her testimony three years later. Mary amazed the Justices of the Peace with her astonishing memory, giving many details of the early settlers. Her depositions left us much history which would have otherwise been lost to time. Mary moved near Natural Bridge to live near her son in 1780, she died on his farm at age 102. Her grave is located on his farm and marked by a larger marker. John McDowell lived in Borden’s Grant for only five years. He was killed in the first Indian/settler altercation within the present bounds of Rockbridge in 1742. Depositions given many years later by his son Samuel McDowell, have also been preserved among the Augusta County, Virginia Court records.


Jewish history always attracts my attention and I found this all quite interesting so followed the story along to several internet sites.

“As a VMI cadet, Ezekiel fought and was wounded in the 1864 Battle of New Market. He graduated in 1866 as the first Jewish cadet with a diploma from VMI. An internationally trained sculptor, Ezekiel was the first foreigner to win the Prize of Rome. He was widely known for his larger-than-life statues, such as Virginia Mourning Her Dead, placed at the VMI post next to the resting place of six cadets killed in the Battle of New Market. He died in Rome in 1917 and was buried there, later reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery. His grave lies in the Confederate section where the graves form concentric circles around Ezekiel’s work Confederate Memorial.The graves are marked with pointed headstones; it is said that Confederates believed that the points would stop the Yankees from sitting on them.


Photo Wikipedia

“One of the most striking monuments at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States, is the Confederate Memorial. Commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate Memorial was designed and executed by Sir Moses Jacob Ezekiel of Richmond, Virginia, the first great American Jewish sculptor, who was living in Rome.

Ezekiel was 16 when Fort Sumter was attacked in 1861. An ardent believer in states’ rights, Ezekiel begged his parents to allow him to enroll at the Virginia Military Institute. They consented, and he became the first Jew to attend VMI. Three years later, when the cadets were summoned to aid Confederate General John C. Breckenridge at the Battle of New Market, Virginia, Ezekiel joined the cadet’s charge against Union lines.

When the war ended, Ezekiel completed his studies at VMI and graduated in 1866. According to Ezekiel’s memoirs and letters, which repose at the American Jewish Historical Society, Ezekiel met General Robert E. Lee during this period. Lee counseled Ezekiel, “I hope you will be an artist … and do earn a reputation in whatever profession you undertake.”

Living up to Lee’s injunction, Ezekiel won worldwide fame as a sculptor. Had he been born a century earlier, Ezekiel would almost certainly never have become a sculptor at all. Until the early 1800’s in America, the phrase “Jewish artist” was an oxymoron. American Jewish painters were rare and Jewish sculptors rarer still because of the Second Commandment’s prohibition against making images. By the time Ezekiel was born in 1844, however, most American rabbis interpreted the Commandment to mean that Jews should not worship graven images, as opposed to painting or sculpting them. By the 1860’s, Ezekiel was free to give three-dimensional expression to his Judaism without violating his faith.

Judaism was a major theme of Ezekiel’s art. At age 13, he executed a bust of “Cain Receiving the Curse of the Almighty.” His second work, “Moses Receiving the Law on Mount Sinai,” collapsed during a storm, which disaster his grandmother, who remained a Second Commandment strict constructionist, attributed to divine justice.

In the late 1860’s, Ezekiel studied painting and sculpture in Cincinnati and Berlin. In the latter city, his bas-relief “Israel” won a prestigious prize that enabled him to study in Rome. One critic, who took note of the fact that the talented young winner was a Jew, expressed the hope that Ezekiel “would disprove the prevailing notion that the race of Shem has no genius for the plastic arts.”

Ezekiel became an expatriate, living in Rome for more than 40 years. Nonetheless, his most important sculpture commissions were for works erected in the United States. In 1876, the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith asked Ezekiel to create an allegorical sculpture of “Religious Liberty” for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. The resulting marble statue, featuring an eight-foot tall woman wearing a coat of mail against the shaft of tyranny, now stands outside the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Ezekiel’s work also adorns the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Confederate Cemetery at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, among other sites, and he designed the seal of the Jewish Publication Society of America. In 1899, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the leader of American Reform Judaism and founder of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, posed for Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s father Jacob was the first secretary to the Board of Governors of HUC.

Ezekiel did indeed “earn a reputation” as Robert E. Lee had hoped, and he proved that Jews could be sculptors. When the United Daughters of the Confederacy approached him to execute the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery (1914), Ezekiel felt he could dictate the terms of his commission. He insisted that the Daughters give him full artistic license for the monument, which was based on the words of the prophet Isaiah, “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” They agreed nervously to Ezekiel’s conditions, but were delighted with the results.

As a tribute to the beauty of his work, Ezekiel was knighted by Emperor William I of Germany, and Kings Humbert I and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy –– hence his title “Sir.” Despite his Roman residence and his familiarity with celebrities and kings, no one remained a more loyal son of the South or proud American than this expatriate Jew from Richmond. When Ezekiel died Rome in 1917, he left behind a specific request that his body be returned to America and buried at the base of his confederate Memorial in Arlington, alongside his comrades-in-arms.

Born at Richmond, Virginia, on October 28, 1844, the son of Jacob and Catherine (deCastro) Ezekiel. He served as a Sergeant of Company C of the Cadets, Virginia Military Institute during the Civil War. After that service, he graduated from VMI in 1866.

He then studied antomy at the Medical College of Virginia. He moved to Cincinnati in 1868 and visited Berlin, Germany, in 1869 where he studied at the Royal Academy of Art under Professor Albert Wolf. Admitted into the Society of Artists in Berlin on the merits of his colossal bust of Washington, the first foreigner to win the Prize of Rome. The Jewish Order, Sons of the Covenant, commissioned him in 1874 to execute a marble group representing religious liberty for the Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a monument of Jessie Seligmann for the Ophan Asylum in New York City. After 1886, his work became largely ideal.

Among his productions are busts of Lizst and Cardinal Hohenlohe, Eve, Homer, David, Judith, Christ in the Tomb, a statue of Mrs. Andrew W. White for Cornell University, Madonna for the Church La Tivoli, Faith for the Cemetery of Rome, Apollo and Mercury in Berlin, Robert E. Lee, Pan and Amor, the Fountain of Neptune for the city of Netturno, Italy, a bust of Lord Sherbrooke for St. Margaret, Westminister, London, and scores of busts and reliefs. He also produced the Jefferson Monument for Louisville, Kentucky, the Homer Group for the University of Virginia, Virginia Mourning Her Dead at Lexington, Virginia, Napoleon I at St, Helena, a monument to Senator Daniel, Lynchburg, Virginia, and the Confederate Soldiers’ Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. He was knighted by the King of Italy.

He died in Italy on March 27, 1917, but because of World War I, he was not returned to the United States until 1921, at which time he was buried at the foot of the Confederate Memorial in Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery. His funeral service was the first ever to be held in the Memorial Amphitheater, one of only a handful so held. shows the memorial and discusses the question of whether and how to honor the Confederate soldiers. 2012 article about Ezekiel

This plaque has more of an historical story of our past.


“Rockbridge Building across

Main Street denoting that as

the site of Shield’s Tavern,

where in 1809 William Clark

spent the night on his way to

see Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville.”

Buttons goes home!!!

Hi All,

   Good News!!!   Randal and Button’s owner are friends on facebook where it was posted that Buttons is home!!!  Apparently some folks with higher authority stepped in and righted the wrong and Buttons went home where he belonged.  Just thought you would want to know the end of the story.  Here’s the original story and then the one about his release.  Yay!!!


Terra Firma

This was the original story about Buttons.

“The power of the press has helped free Buttons the sea-dog, whose plight in quarantine was revealed in last week’s Western Telegraph. “


“The power of the press has helped free Buttons the sea-dog, whose plight in quarantine was revealed in last week’s Western Telegraph.

Buttons, aged 17, had spent the last seven years sailing the Mediterranean with his owners, Colin and Jane Spiers and son Tom, formerly of Llanddewi Velfrey.

But after Colin, aged 71, died suddenly on the Spiers’ 40-foot yacht in Turkey, the family returned to the UK, leaving Buttons held for six weeks in a quarantine kennel in Bristol bcause of a two-day gap in his rabies vaccinations in 2012.

Mrs Spiers, who feared that Buttons could die before being released, appealed to the Western Telegraph for help, with MP Simon Hart following up the case with DEFRA Minster George Eustice.

And on Saturday, Buttons was allowed home.

“He was filthy dirty, and he has worn away his elbows and his magnificent beard from lying on concrete,” Mrs Spiers said.

“He was so pleased to see me and Tom, but his back end is so stiff he couldn’t wag his tail.

“He’s had a very big bath and he’s a bit happier, but very clingy and sad and he hasn’t made a sound.

“I’m just hoping that by the end of the week we might see his tail wag.

“We are just so relieved to have him back, and would like to thank the Western Telegraph and Simon Hart for highlighting the case, and all Buttons’ well-wishers who have sent us such lovely messages.”

Mrs Spiers – who faces a kennel bill from DEFRA of over £1,100 – is now in contact with Ian Wright, the head of the European Scientific Counsel for Companion Animal Parasites (ESCAAP) UK & Ireland over Buttons’ case.

He has told her: “The whole episode has been an example of the pet travel scheme at its worst.

“I have no doubt that Buttons would not have been released without some pressure from the press, and that is simply wrong.”

Said Simon Hart: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed. As a dog owner myself I had enormous sympathy for Jane and Buttons and I am so glad that this story has had a happy ending.”

Pimento cheese

It was easier to send photos from our wonky wifi in Turkey!!!!!!!  This is actually my second try.

Roanoke, VA  24012

     I had intended to call this email Lexington, VA Part 1; but as I seem to have spent most of it researching and writing about pimento cheese, the subject line had to change.  We went off on this Lexington adventure with Randal’s sister Linda and her husband Ken who I must say was the real instigator behind the whole pimento cheese tale.  Any of you Northern folks remember eating pimento cheese as kids?  Or pimento loaf?   


Terra Firma


This photo was taken the last time Randal and I visited Lexington.  It was with the Friends of the Roanoke County Public Library and it had to be after 2002 because I am wearing pants I bought in Annapolis during the 2002 Annapolis Boat Show.  (I can still wear them on a thin day.)  And it was after Randal decided on DoraMac for our boat’s name because DoraMac is written on his hat.  But it was before I retired from the library in October 2005.  Randal and I now have longer, grayer hair and are a bit less fit and trim.  As for Lexington, the chocolate Elvis has left the building. 


Live entertainment at Hardees! 

Linda and Ken suggested we meet at the Hardees in Troutville where they could leave their car.  Randal and I arrived early enough for me to run in for coffee and be surprised by live music being played!   This band was good!  Linda arrived in time for the final song, “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” definitely a favorite of everyone listening. 

We drove the scenic route to Lexington which would take us past the Blue Ridge Farm Center near in Buchanan where Randal just had to make a stop; but it was so much nicer than going down 81.  Our first stop in Lexington was lunch which is where we encounter the pimento cheese.

The Southern Inn Restaurant  was recommended by Linda, and I pass that recommendation along if you happen to be in Lexington at lunch time.


My bacon/salmon club on a toasted garlic bagel!  Almost kosher…..  But it wasn’t the star of the show.  The four of us shared a Fried Pimento Cheese Skillet Cornbread, Red Pepper Jelly appetizer . 


I’m not sure I’ve ever knowingly eaten a pimento cheese sandwich, but this appetizer was just too tempting to pass up so we all shared.  I do vaguely remember not liking something called pimiento loaf, you know that deli stuff with green bits in it.  Google seems to think pimiento cheese is a ‘southern’ staple unknown above the Mason-Dixon line but I think I remember it and my friend Becky who grew up in Ohio thinks she remembers it. 

    “Pimiento Cheese, barbecue, catfish, and grits— all examples of true Southern culinary icons. Yet despite their humble beginnings, the dixie-born gems have become popular across the country. Enter pimiento cheese. A cookbook containing one true pimiento cheese recipe, let alone the many regional variations such as adding paprika or jalapeño peppers, is almost impossible to find; favorite recipes survive by way of oral tradition. Therefore, the popularity of this unique spread remains largely confined to states below the Mason-Dixon line, where it assumes its place as a Southern delicacy.

“I’ve seldom met a non-Southerner who knew what it was,” says novelist and north Carolina native Reynolds Price. But once the unfamiliar have a chance to sample pimiento cheese, Reynolds adds, “They take to it on contact.”

What is Pimiento Cheese?

To the uninitiated, it’s little more than grated cheese, chopped pimiento peppers, and a little mayonnaise. However, to those fans who rank pimiento cheese right next to cold fried chicken and deviled eggs as essentials at any proper country picnic, it’s much more. To devotees, pimiento cheese becomes a must-have—elevating an ordinary grilled cheese to something heavenly and dramatically raising the bar on cheeseburgers and omelets.

What Cheese is Best for Pimiento Cheese?

Admirers agree that sharp Cheddar cheese is pimiento cheese’s backbone. High-quality mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s or Duke’s, is also a given. But here’s where the opinions begin to fork off. On the issue of texture, Southern cookbook author James Villas shares common questions such as should the cheese be grated or mashed? If grated, coarse or fine? If mashed, is the fork or the modern food processor the best tool?

In our search for the definitive blend, we asked Senior Food Editor Mary Allen Perry for her secret pimiento cheese recipe. She agreed, but admitted, “My recipe was originally that of my great grandmother Kersh, who lived until she was 98 years old—slim, trim, and fearless of fat content.”

Mary Allen drew upon childhood memories to record this fabulous formula. So, whether you use pimiento cheese to fill celery sticks or to spread on crackers or a slice of your favorite bread, you should feel confident with this terrific version and its variations.

Basic Pimiento Cheese Recipe


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. finely grated onion

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheese. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.”  from the New York Times also proclaims pimiento cheese southern fare while trying to identify what can be easily pointed to as “northern cuisine.”

A Pimiento Pepper is…..

Pimiento peppers, also commonly spelled pimento, are red, heart-shaped sweet peppers that are about 2 to 3 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches long. They are barely spicy, very mild and sweet in flavor, and actually register the lowest on the Scoville scale (which measures heat). Fresh pimientos are harvested late summer to early fall, but most of the harvest is canned or bottled.

And the Scoville Scale is…….

“When the scale was invented in 1912 by pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in search of a heat-producing ointment, it was based on human taste buds. The idea was to dilute an alcohol-based extract made with the given pepper until it no longer tasted hot to a group of taste testers. The degree of dilution translates to the SHU. In other words, according to the Scoville scale, you would need as many as 5,000 cups of water to dilute 1 cup of tobacco sauce enough to no longer taste the heat.

     And while the Scoville scale is still widely used, says Dr. Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University and author or several books on chile peppers, it no longer relies on the fallible human taste bud.

Read more:

And this being the South, we’re almost, but not quite related to our lovely waitress Nadia.


Ken and Nadia laughing over family stories; Nadia being the daughter of Sonia and the granddaughter of Eunice both longtime friends of the Johnson family. 

Thinking about pimento cheese reminded me of pimento loaf which I do think I distinctly remember disliking.  is a very short funny history of deli meats and how spelling Oscar Mayer can be a challenge.

The ‘not so secret’ garden

Roanoke, VA  24012

    Thanks to my friend Sarah I learned about a very interesting garden and the homeowner who has created it. 


Formerly DoraMac; now Terra Firma. 

(Terra Firma is the name given to our land plans so that’s what I’ll use from now on.  DoraMac was a part of our lives but is now the memory rather than the reality.  Terra Firma is definitely now the reality!  Years from writing something it’s easier to find with the tag added so that’s why I do it.)

     There are lots of lovely homes and gardens in the Old Southwest section of Roanoke City; but you’re not invited to sit in them any old time you please.  Recently, however,  the owner of the ‘sort of hidden garden’ invited my friend Sarah to visit his garden any time she wanted.  And bring a friend!  This past Friday Sarah took me to visit the ‘hidden garden.  Afterwards we took a short tour around Old Southwest stopping for an early lunch at Wildflour Restaurant. 

The house had an Historic Preservation award displayed on the front porch so I thought I’d look to see if information was available about it.  I got a bit tricked by the address but used my former Reference Librarian hat to figure it out.  Quite an interesting man owns this house.  You can read about him below.  You certainly never know what you might find when you go looking!


The house of the ‘hidden garden.’  

This is the first time in years we’ve been home to see the trees and flowers in bloom!

I think the trees are Crapemyrtle.  There seems to be various spellings; mine comes from the US National Arboretum. 


The front which wouldn’t lead you to suspect the surprise behind and from what I discovered about the owner, the surprises within.


The front of the house shows off the oval green and white Preservation Award.

I have to say that I used my somewhat rusty reference skills and looked up the owner of the property. .    Makes me really want to see the inside of the house  talks about Jim Hyams and his home.  It is reprinted at the end. 


Welcome to the garden…..

During her first visit Sarah was told that the double balconies were added to be reminiscent of New Orleans.


A Japanese Garden!


Peeking in from the alley-way behind the house.  Most Old Southwest blocks are divided by old carriage alley-ways which are really quite nice for walking. 


An example of the carriage alley which borders the back yards of two rows of houses.

At Home with Art: A Collector’s Paradise

Feb 29th, 2012 | By Patricia C Held

(I have not included the pictures (other than one of the garden;)  but you can see them if you go to the link.

      Jim Hyams genuinely enjoys opening his home and art to others. Over the years, Jim has amassed quite a bit of fine artwork and furnishings that he happily shares. Friends, neighbors, art students, or anyone interested in his collections are invited to tour his home and garden. Indeed, they are worth exploring!

Jim Hyams’ home is located in Roanoke’s Old Southwest, a historic neighborhood that celebrates the history and architecture of the area. Last year his home was recognized for its design and renovation work with the Old Southwest Preservation Award. Residents are drawn to the neighborhood because of the mix of homes, churches, cafés, and businesses. With various porch styles, towers and dormers, intricate roof lines and homes in many colors, the area is considered one of the most architecturally exciting in the Roanoke Valley.

An asymmetrical variation of the American four square, Jim’s home has stone piers, a wraparound porch and double-deck back porches. A popular style around the turn of the century, it features plain styling and simple design. The goal was to provide a maximum amount of interior space on a small city lot. Jim’s house probably was built as a duplex, and while it is no longer a two-family home, it retains its exterior double entranceway and the city still classifies it as such.

The home is filled with Jim Hyams’ magnificent art collection. He embarked on a project of collecting very good art at a young age while still a student at University of Richmond. Jim’s first major purchase was an original print by Andy Warhol. Since then his collection has grown considerably.

Collecting high-quality art is an important part of Jim’s life. “The artwork that I collect is original contemporary printwork from about 1960 until today,” says Jim. He says he settled on prints for several reasons. One was very practical—that they are less expensive than original paintings. Jim chooses to collect artwork of his generation, since “it reflects current culture,” he says.

The teacher in Jim compels him to explain the difference between an original print and a copy of a painting. This question comes up quite often. According to Jim, “An original print is an original.” It is not a copy of something else. Usually there are multiples of an original print. Using a variety of print techniques such as wood blocks, silk screen, and etchings, the artist can create multiple copies in a limited edition.

Jim keeps the tradition of the duplex alive for the comfort and enjoyment of his out-of-town visitors. The lower level has its own private entrance. “I call it, quite pompously, the guest house,” says Jim. Guests can visit, but have their own space in evenings and mornings.

Jim explains, “I have not changed the architectural structure of the downstairs as I have upstairs.” Jim has decorated the guest quarters in the manner typical of the period. He makes use of porcelains and furnishings from his late mother’s home. The artwork in this section changes from time to time. Of particular note in the guest quarters is Damien Hirst’s Valium. Hirst was part of a group known as the Young British Artists and he dominated the scene in the 1990s. Jim includes a short written description about each work so guests can learn more about the pieces of art and artists.

All four fireplaces are faced with tile of a different color. “Originally they were painted over,” says Jim. “I had no idea that it was there.” Jim did most of the renovation work on the house himself, and while he was working on one of the fireplace covers a screw driver slipped from his hand and hit the painted face of the fireplace. The sharp edge scraped the surface and revealed the tile underneath. Paint stripper, a razor and elbow grease revealed the rest!

In several rooms, the walls are painted with a variety of faux techniques. Where walls had previously been covered with grass cloth, Jim painted over them to create a warm, textured look. He enjoys design and architecture, and did most of his own renovations and decorating. He deems himself “self-taught” and has learned most of his decorating and remodeling skills the old-fashioned way—by doing them himself!

The rear portion of the guest quarters contains a comfortable kitchen. In fact this kitchen is much roomier than Jim’s personal kitchen. As he explains, “I don’t cook at all, and go out for all of my meals.” But Jim’s sister is one of his most frequent visitors, and she loves to cook. “I inspire her to cook for me and provide her with a nice place!” says Jim.
A separate entrance and a flight of stairs lead to an area described by Jim as “more me, and much more contemporary.” Jim has transformed the second floor into a stunning loft.

Jim commissioned a stained-glass window along the stairwell that is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. And at the last step hangs his first acquisition, the Andy Warhol original print. This serves as a preview of the wonderful artwork ahead.

Jim explains that he originally purchased the house with a friend, Lynn Warren. Lynn is a local interior designer and came with a wealth of experience and ideas for the renovation.

The two received additional help from Richard Adams. A good friend from New Orleans, Richard came up to help and stayed for eight months. He has a great deal of experience with fine restorations and worked with Jim on the laborious tasks, such as tearing out walls and gutting rooms. Lynn contributed artistic design and ideas, and Richard offered a lot of hard work. The ideas are a culmination of working together. Other friends came and added their ideas and muscle. “The final result reflects all of us,” says Jim.

“This was an unpleasant little room,” says Jim, describing a small office at the head of the stairs. A wall and a small door led to a tiny closet-like room. After tearing out walls, the room now opens directly into the hall and living room. To define the office and isolate it from the adjoining living room, Jim installed a wall of glass. It extends vertically about half way, and it has an irregular border appearing like broken glass. This clever use of negative space makes both rooms look bigger and adds a sense of fun to the design.

The office and living room are painted white, alternating between glossy white and matte-finish vertical stripes. Jim points out that this is something anyone can do for an elegant effect without much expense. And it provides a lovely backdrop for the artwork— which is an “overriding factor in much of what I do,” says Jim.

The furniture throughout the house is architecturally designed by well-known artists. The office is no exception. A Harry Bertoia Womb Chair with a diamond pattern of metal was designed in 1952. Another chair made of elm and designed in 1918 by Gerrit Rietveld, is known as a ZigZag Chair. Jim points out, “The designs in the home surprise people, especially when you think of how old they are.”

A zebra rug sets the black and white theme in the living room. Not a fan of square corners, Jim added a diagonal wall in the corner for the couch. “I like things angular,” says Jim. “I don’t like four walls!” A Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer is constructed of metal and leather and is far more comfortable than it appears. Nearby, an Eileen Grey E1027 Table serves as an end table and can adjust to varying heights.

The artwork includes One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank by Jeff Koons, and George Febres’ Fingerbowl ceramic. Acclaimed for his imaginative style and visual puns, Febres created a piece that is literally a bowl of fingers! Another piece by Charles Bell pops out with its vivid colors. One of the original photo realists, his large-scale paintings feature dolls, toys and gumball machines.

“I don’t buy pieces that I don’t like,” says Jim. “But I do have a purpose in my collection. I am interested in buying key artists from the period.” And because Jim’s collection is so complete, museums and universities often borrow his pieces for their exhibits.

The master bedroom is a study in black and white. The works of Elsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Richard Artschwager and Lesley Dill hang on the walls. A large armoire takes up much of the room. Jim found a photo of the piece in Architectural Digest. He liked it so much that he decided to copy it, expand upon the design and build it, making it large enough to fit his television and other video components. His curiosity for angles is evident in this room as well. The armoire is set at an angle and the bed is on the opposing side. For added effect, a convex mirror is set directly over a much larger mirror to create reflecting patterns and interesting rays of light.

The guest bedroom is decked all in black, creating a very dramatic effect to highlight the artwork. A semicircular mirror spans one wall and reflects the art and furnishings. A few remarkable pieces include the Red Blue Chair by Dutch furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld (designer of the ZigZag Chair) and a chaise lounge by LeCorbusier, who was a pioneer of modern architecture.

The gardens are again an expression of Jim Hyams. “A few years ago I decided to redo the entire landscape,” says Jim. Landscape architect Dan Chitwood drew some plans, and Jim hired Daybreak Water Features to do the work. The end result is an enchanting garden inspired by the Far East.

Fencing seems to add a touch of charm and mystery to any garden. Using narrow strips of wood, Jim constructed an enclosure around the entire back garden. He added a matching gate and small pergola to one side for chairs and a table. A storage shed of the same design is attached to the pergola, and the whole effect is charming.


A small stream and waterfall create the perfect restful environment. A bridge spans the stream, and walking paths take visitors past a variety of plantings including Hinoki Cypress, bamboo and dwarf willows. Decorative balls are placed selectively throughout the garden. While these items are available at landscape and garden centers, Jim says that he created these with cast-off bowling balls that he sprayed with granite paint.

With benches, tables, paths and garden ornaments, Jim has created a peaceful retreat. He encourages the neighbors to come visit the garden, sit down, and relax here. Jim takes pleasure in seeing neighbors and friends enjoy this space and use the garden as a respite.

A tour through Jim Hyams’ home is truly a remarkable experience. A born educator, Jim wants nothing more than to share with his guests his lovely home and outstanding collection. Guests depart with a clearer understanding of the pleasures of collecting. After seeing art through the eyes of a collector, perhaps they too will be inspired to begin a collection of their own. Jim Hyams would surely like that!

This link takes you to a story about Jim’s collection. 

“Get Real: Photorealist Prints from the James W. Hyams Collection features forty-one prints by leading Photorealist artists that explores the enduring interest of this American art movement thirty years after it came to prominence. The selection includes a variety of printmaking media: lithography, screenprinting, etching, digital inkjet printing, and, in the case of Chuck Close’s portrait of contemporary composer Philip Glass, woven silk tapestry. ……..”

A vist to the town of Floyd with my friend Becky

I don’t know if I have nothing to write about or I’ve just gotten out of the habit and lazy. It is easy to get lazy. I need to remind myself to go exploring around town because Roanoke is no less interesting than many places we visited on DoraMac. I certainly learned more about Floyd than I knew just by a quick visit one afternoon. The house project is on hold until our engineers and Roanoke County can agree on our land plan. Hopefully it will be settled before August. In the meantime, Randal bought himself a truck so now he feels he’s really home.


I met Becky so long ago, I can’t remember exactly when. I think I remember exactly where though. It was at a Roanoke Valley Library Association meeting at the Salem Turnpike branch of the City Library. I can even picture us loading stuff into the trunk of my car. And even if my memory of the where and when is not quite how it truly happened; I do know it was friends at first sight. Now, so many years later, we’re both retired from our respective Reference Librarian jobs, mine with Roanoke County and Becky from Roanoke College. This past Tuesday we went off to visit the town of Floyd in Floyd, County about an hour ‘down the road’ from Roanoke.

Floyd County and Town

…..Floyd is a county of small mountains, valleys, ridges, and small streams. The county’s terrain is rolling and the official elevation is 2,500 feet. Buffalo Mountain, at 3,971 feet, is the highest point in the county.

Shaped like an elongated triangle, the county lies between the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and two interstates. No four-lane highways are within our borders, but 31 miles of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway form the majority of the eastern border of the county.

The county seat, The Town of Floyd, is 41 miles – about an hour’s drive- southwest of Roanoke on U.S. 221. …..

The Little River, the county’s largest waterway, is formed by three main branches, or forks: the East, West, and South (also known as Dodd’s Creek) forks. The County is situated atop a high plateau of the Blue Ridge Mountains which divides the eastward flowing from the westward flowing waters. It is said that no water flows into Floyd County. The county is drained primarily by Little River and its tributaries which flow into New River below the Claytor Lake Dam and, in turn, by way of the Kanawha, the Ohio and the Mississippi, into the Gulf of Mexico…….

Floyd County population in 2012 was 15,390 per the Census. This is a slight percent increase and can be attributed to the beautiful farms and forests, the cultural vitality, the advanced telecommunication technology, the strong school system, the availability of local foods and wines and close proximity to Virginia Tech.


According to tradition, present day Floyd County was among the first areas explored when Virginia Colonists began to push into the mountains of Virginia. In the mid-to-late 1600’s, expeditions began to map the area that was then principally a hunting-grounds by Indians, including the Canawhay tribe. The first white settlements in the area occurred in the mid-18th century. By the 1790’s, English, German, French, Scottish and Irish immigrants settled in what is now Floyd County.

One of the first industries, Spangler’s Mill, was also established in this time period. Watermills such as this one continue to symbolize the resourcefulness of residents and the importance of natural resources and living in touch with the land.

Coming onto the crest in what is now Floyd County, settlers were often astounded by the natural beauty, particularly in the Spring when the Chestnut blooms made a sea of white. Writing of their new plateau homeland, they often referred to it as “our beautiful mountain.”

Land in the southwest portion of the County that was ceded by the Cherokee Nation to the British in 1768 was, in turn, part of the large land grant made to Lighthorse Harry Lee, father of Robert E. Lee and Charles Carter Lee. The latter moved to the County and penned what is believed to be the first book written here, The Maid of the Doe. It was a book of poetry about the Revolutionary War. Part of that Lee property, Buffalo Mountain, is now a natural recreation area.

In 1831, Floyd County was established and was named for Governor John Floyd. Governor Floyd was a native the Montgomery County, the parent County of Floyd. Reflecting early and strong commitment to education in the community, the Jacksonville Academy was established in 1846. It served students from Floyd and surrounding counties. The Jacksonville Academy was located in one of the two buildings that is now Schoolhouse Fabrics.

The current County seat, originally named Jacksonville for the seventh president, Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), was completed in 1834. Manassah Tice (5 acres) and Abraham Phlegar (1 acre) gave land for the county seat. The town was incorporated in 1858 and its name was changed from Jacksonville to Floyd in 1896.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the local economy was dominated by agriculture. Textile manufacturing rose and fell during this time. The construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway during the Great Depression brought some needed work to the County, and more importantly created a linear park and access way to introduce travelers to the arts, crafts and music of Floyd County.

Mabry Mill, located in Floyd County, is one of the most visited and photographed sites along the 469-mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Rocky Knob recreation area along the Parkway also features hiking, camping and panoramic views.

By the 1970’s, Floyd County was “discovered” by the back-to-the-landers seeking rural refuge. Many of the new residents were artists or artisans. In Floyd County, they found a land of natural beauty, a unique geography with all waters flowing out, rich hand-craft and music traditions, and open opportunities for creative, rural living. These same assets and the culture of creativity now attract many travelers to Floyd, which has seen a dramatic increase in tourism.

Thanks in part to the natural, cultural and technological amenities; the population of Floyd County in 2000 was up 16% over 1990, to 13, 872 people. Floyd County is served by an advanced and scalable (underground) 200 Gbps backbone on an open-access fiber network giving amazing and affordable access to the world.

From the 1700’s to now, as Americans still seek their own piece of ground, a better way of life, and a safe place to be, they continue to re-discover Floyd County.

Our plan was to visit some of the shops and then have lunch. It’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately many of the shops don’t open until mid-week or later. But that’s a wonderful excuse to go back!

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Bell Gallery and Garden : Closed!

We visited Floyd on a Tuesday. Not a good day to go as many shops were closed. Thursday – Saturday seems the safest days judging from the other closed signs we encountered. But it was a lovely day with overcast clouds changing to bright sun with none of the rain that was predicted off and on for the day.

The central part of the Town of Floyd is very walkable with free parking in the town lot. But it’s not a huge lot so I’d go early on weekends to insure a space. is the website and it looks a lovely shop and garden so we’ll just have to go back.

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New Mountain Mercantile

New Mountain Mercantile had the lovely green dress that didn’t quite fit. And some very lovely tie-dye pieces.


“It’s a Real Country Store

You can’t miss the barrels of old-fashioned candy at the front of the store, and if you explore further you can find everything from old time toys to eco-friendly cleaning products to hard-wearing bib overalls. The store also has a café, The Jingle Tap Café, serving homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, baked goods and more.”

The Country Store

Monkey Business had all kinds of eclectic stuff. Becky was quite taken with the colorful images of the Andes made from bright colored cloth. The wall hangings were made from what were once pieces of clothing.

“We are a small crew of colorful Floyd County Virginia residents who love the mountains and small town life. Our store strives to carry merchandise that is not your everyday stuff at reasonable prices. These items include organic fabrics, hemp, fair trade, made in the USA, low environmental impact, earth based dyes, and other cool stuff. “


Becky and the Mannequin

Handmade Floral Cotton Applique Wall Hanging

Andean Fruit Market – A breathtaking palette of colors greets the viewer in this depiction of an open air market in an Andean village. María Uyauri works inarpillería – embroidered appliqués of fabric cutouts, embroidered by hand – to create a variety of fruits and vegetables and the women who sell them. A display rod can slip through an opening at the top of the wall hanging.

World of Nature – “Nature shows a marvelous range of joyous colors in a world filled with flowers. In this design I really enjoyed thinking of the fresh breeze and the blossoms’ perfume,” María Uyauri confides. An expression of peace on earth, this wall hanging depicts a man who feeds a duck and girls picking flowers.”

Just near Monkey Business was the Floyd Artists Association Gallery.


Marsha Slopey Paulekas in the gallery of the Floyd Artists Association

Each level of membership requires a specified number of hours tending the gallery desk. is a short video talking about the arts and artists of Floyd.

Paintings, jewelry, photography, books and textile art. First Friday: guest artist reception 5-8. Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat 11-5, Fri 11-8, Sun 12 to 4,

Floyd Artists Association: We are a co-op gallery of local artists located in the heart of Floyd, directly across the street from the Floyd Country Store. Our gallery showcases paintings in all media, sterling silver and stone jewelry, photography, books from local authors and textile art. We also offer regular classes in all media. First Friday: A new featured Artist the first Friday of each month. Artist Reception 5-8 Show hangs for one month.

540-745-7367 Contact Information: 203 South Locust Street, Downtown Floyd Gallery Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 11-5, Friday 11-8,Sunday noon to 4, Closed Tuesdays


So this is the dress I did buy! I wanted a sleeveless dress of light cotton. Not rayon, or jersey, but cotton. It actually fits just about perfectly and for $10 one can’t go wrong. And it looks better on me than on the hangar which usually isn’t the case.

Walking back to the car from yet another “closed on Tuesday” store we noticed this funny fellow! He was a very faded green and looked more like the cement man than any green man. But the Inn sounds quite nice from the write-up and it is in a perfect location.


The Green Man Inn

The Green Man Inn has a unique charm of the kind you’d only find in a little hippie town like Floyd! It’s full of locally handcrafted touches, like the quilts on the beds, the forged iron hooks on the wall, and the soap in the bathroom, plus more modern features like free wi-fi and iPod dock alarm clocks. The proprietor, Pat (Robin) Woodruff, has that small-town kind of friendliness that makes you feel right at home. She’s an artist, so most of the pictures on the walls are her own extraordinary watercolors, and the décor includes nature-themed decoupage and woodburning.The Green Man doesn’t offer individual rooms as of 2012–you’re renting the first floor of a recently renovated home as a 2-bedroom suite that can sleep up to 7 people. With just one bathroom, there might be some competition if you actually have that many in your party. The location is perfect; it’s right at the main intersection in town, so pretty much everything you’d want is within easy walking distance: coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery, farmer’s market, antique store and so on. Keep in mind that the Green Man provides coffee and tea but not breakfast (there’s a microwave and fridge instead), and soap but not shampoo/conditioner. All in all, I would definitely stay here again the next time I come down to visit my family in Floyd.

Our final stop was the School House


“School House Fabrics A Sewing Paradise”

Three floors of almost all types of fabrics available, craft supplies, yarns and a additional building of upholstery fabrics and supplies. We are located on (Route 8) in the town of Floyd.

220 North Locust St. Our hours are Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:30pm.”

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Rooms and rooms of materials for many different crafts as well as sewing needs. Becky found a lovely piece of blue linen material to make a blouse.

The Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail something I just learned about.

The Crooked Road is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a driving route through the Appalachian Mountains from the Blue Ridge to the Coalfields region. The trail connects major heritage music venue, as well as weekly jam sessions and annual festivals in the region.

Major Crooked Road venues in Floyd County include the Floyd Country Store with its Friday Night Jamboree, Saturday Americana Afternoon music, and Sunday Mountain Music Jam 2:00-5:00pm year round. County Sales in Floyd is also a major venue having the world’s largest selection of Old-Time and Bluegrass music featured in compact discs, books, and DVDs.

The traditional gospel, bluegrass, and mountain music heard today was passed down from the generations and lives on through a wealth of musicians and instrument makers along the trail

A place of beauty – a place of song. This is The Crooked Road.

“Experience first-hand how music is woven into the rich tapestry of tradition in Southwest Virginia. The variety is amazing – old-time string bands, a cappella gospel, blues, 300 year old ballads, bluegrass, and more. Travel The Crooked Road’s 333 miles today.”

A great movie for lovers of mountain music is The Songcatcher. I saw it years ago and loved it. Below are some clips to tempt you.

Plot: After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life – a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted – not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom – a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician – that she’s forced to examine her motivations. Is the “Songcatcher,” as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their land?

A clip of Emmy Rossum in Songcather. Emmy sings snipets of “Mattie Groves” and “Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies” in this clip. The movie is fantastic and Emmy gave an outstanding performance in this movie, as did the rest of the cast.

Not the same story, but the same theme. Sharon McCrumb is a local author who graciously spoke for our local library association and for a Literacy Volunteers fundraiser. I’ve read many of her books and need to go back to them now I’m back home.

And a book of the same name and same theme but different story.

The Songcatcher: An Introduction by Sharon McCrumb

clip_image025clip_image027he Songcatcher” traces one American family from the Revolutionary War to the present by following an English ballad as it is handed down through the generations. is her website.

Dreamhouse in North Cyprus for sale

Roanoke, VA 24012

      When Randal and I first visited Heidi and Kalle at Villa Manzara, we both said, “I could live here!”  It’s a wonderful house on a beautiful piece of property with gardens of flowers and varieties of citrus fruit and grapes!  And you can see the mountains above  or the Mediterranean below.   But Heidi and Kalle are ready for something smaller with no gardens or ground to keep up with.  This is truly a dream home for someone with dreams of life on the Mediterranean.  As for living in North Cyprus, Randal and I really enjoyed our time there and it was one of our favorite stops during our travels. 


Formerly DoraMac/now Terra Firma

House for Sale in the Northern part of Cyprus in Yeşiltepe



VILLA MANZARA  Alsancak, Yesiltepe, Atatürk Cad. 84

Villa Manzara is situated close to the ravine on the road Yesiltepe half way up to Ilgaz, Atatürk Cad. 84. The property is a sort of peninsula with its flanks sloping down to the brook. The land is partly surrounded by a natural stone wall to keep the soil from eroding. The view onto the sea and into the hills and Kyrenia mountain rage is unobstructable. The size of the property is 3 donum.

The entrance drive to the property and further on to the house is generously laid out and offers lots of space for parking. Opposite the entrance gate is a solid garage building built of local stone  with 42,5 m2 used as workshop and with WC.

The house sits right in the centre of the land with a car port provided for two cars. Behind the house is a swimming pool 10×4 m with a spacious technical pool room. Around the house a park- like garden and a vineyard, citrus orchard, olive trees and almond trees.

The main entrance area is sheltered and its door to the house is made of solid wood with glass partitions on the side to be opened. The entrance hall has a WC and cloak space and offers free view onto the sea through a double glass door.

From the entrance hall to the left one enters the living room through a natural stone arch, a space of 80 m2 with open fire place, dining area and open plan kitchen. There are four glass doors, all double doors and double-glazed, leading onto the wide terrace of more than 100 sqm, mainly under arches.

From the kitchen area leads a door to the utility room of 17m2 with a back door to the car port.

From the living room an elegantly winding wooden staircase leads to the first floor with a 56m2 separate bedroom / working area, a separate walk-in closet, a bathroom with corner bath tub and spacious shower room, plus a spacious balcony of 25m2.

Under the roof there is about 50 m2 of attic space with standing height in the centre.

Back to the basement: From the entrance hall to the right are two bed rooms for guests plus one bathroom: 14,8 m2 and 22.8 m2 respectively plus bathroom with bathtub and shower area and WC of 12 m2. The bigger guest room has a double glass door leading on to the terrace.

All windows and glass doors are of modern solid plastic with steel core and are double glazed. All floors, inside and outside are covered with tiles, easy to clean and maintain.

The house has a gas central heating and a jet gas tank of 3000 liters.

There are water tanks, one of 10 cubic capacity close to the garage building and one house tank for the municipality water of 2 cubic capacity. Under the roof above the master bedroom are there are a two tons water tank and the warm water tank.  for more pictures and to contact Heidi or Kalle


Wonderful living room


Swimming pool


Randal and Kalle walking at Villa Manzara

For more info see the links below.