Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Lawn Jockey, Again

The blog posts I've written about the lawn jockey are some of the most read, most popular and likely most controversial.  I understand why people today get upset about this icon but two things immediately come to mind.  First, none of us can alter the past and our nation's history and tolerance or intolerance of civil rights. It is what it is, we cannot change the past, period.   Second, I look at the icon of the lawn jockey as a piece of social history and how this unlikely figure became such an integral part of the cultural history in the South during it's time period. So please don't read into any of these posts from any other angle. 

Every now and then I go out and peruse the internet and see what I can find.  I'd love to know if anyone has ever seen a book on this topic. If you have one I'd love to borrow it.  If you see one please buy it and I can reimburse you. I have looked high and low, far and wide to no avail.  But I get intrigued when I find pieces out there like this one and I wonder how and why......

This is a small dish for sale on Etsy.

See it here

This fabric is also on Etsy from the 1950's.

See it here.

You see old advertisements with the lawn jockey prominently displayed, maybe as if to denote wealth or status?  I wonder....

And you still see the Jocko's for sale, the real ones.  This one appears to be the real thing.

The controversy still reigns but if you read the history, you may come to understand that these icons have an historic past that is worth preserving and it has nothing to do IMHO with supporting slavery or advocating or not advocating civil rights for all of our citizens.  Embrace the past and learn from it.

Here is some recent controversy.

If you would like to learn about the history of the lawn jockey read this posts.  Part two is here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Historic Bath Alum Springs Estate to be Sold at Auction

The historic Bath Alum Springs estate near Warm Springs, Virginia will be sold at auction in mid-April.

The manor house was built in the 1930's and is situated on a site that once was the spot of an elaborate hotel that housed the hundreds of visitors who came to take the water at the springs.  Bricks from the hotel were used in the house and the barn.  

The "springs" business was huge up until the Civil War and revived for a bit there after.  The springs here date to 1740 and were visited by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and many other famous people of the day.  By 1849 the complex held ten brick buildings, 98 large rooms each with a fireplace.  The buildings were torn down when the current manor house was built.  Even today the estate boasts over 800 acres.

If you want a piece of it, you can have it now that the entire estate is up for auction in numerous tracts.  There are many houses on the property. The main house comes with airplane hangers and an air strip that goes right through the property.  See more about it here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meet Charlotte Moss

If you happen to be in Central Virginia in late April then you won't want to miss this opportunity....

She came to the Caspari store for a book signing when her last book was published and I did not go then but now......I'm in.

Friday, March 27, 2015

All About April

I haven't blogged about April in ages mostly because there hasn't been much to report.  She's been turned out now for over two years, not sound on her left front foot with no real chance for a life as a performance horse, sadly, due to her size and the soundness issues which are mostly genetic.

So we have been contemplating nerving her as a last resort so we can ride her and give her a job, which she seems to want badly. The vets have looked at her and I tried this winter to make the plunge but the winter weather was always an issue.  She has to be in a stall for a month and then slowly brought back into work after surgery.

But all of a sudden she is sound.  We pulled her shoes, gave her a new farrier and now she seems to be sound.  The vet is coming to see her in about ten days and then we'll see if we can just put her back in slow work (with a trainer, with a round pen) so that by early summer Ron will have a horse!  Stay tuned.

NYT Article About the Winter Equestrian Festival

This article is quite entertaining, found in the New York Times about competing in Wellington. 

Interestingly, it interviews some of the most wealthy members of the sport, all hailing from Manhattan no less.  Trust me, this is not reality, no where close.  This article should be titled, "How the One Percent Who Ride Spend Their Winters in Wellington."  Oh, well, entertaining to say the least.  Enjoy!  It would be nice to be in Florida this weekend as our temps hit the 20's, again here in Virginia.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring into Equestrian Fashion

I am loving the new fashions coming out for those of us who ride.  The options now for clothing are endless as long as you have endless pockets.  Here are some of the fun items out there for those who ride (or for those who want to look like they ride):

Love these vintage-inspired riding breeches from Tailored Sportsman. The Tack Room in Camden, SC had these in stock but am told they have sold out. Will find out for sure.  These are lovely!

Love this Coolblast shirt from Dover, for much less than the EIS version. Love the aqua one and the orange.  If you live outdoors in the spring and summer these shirts are great for anyone who gardens, rides, mows the lawn, anything.  Look good, stay cool and keep your skin in tact.

The pastel colored breeches are my favorites.Tailored Sportsman makes some great colors, loving the aqua ones.  Can you tell that is a favorite color?  The shirt is from EIS, which I also love. These are from The Tack Room in Camden, SC.

I love these helmets from Samshield with the bright colored trim but these are not hats to wear in the show ring. So this would be an extravagant purchase to say the least but are they not cool? They come in four colors off the shelf or you can order one as well.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Equestrian Finds - One Kings Lane

There's some great stuff today if you like equestrian decor.

Join the Club

For generations, country clubs have been a home
away from home—a place of leisure, sport, drinking,
dining, and socializing. Accept our invitation and
bring their stately comfort and tradition to your home
so that you too can enjoy the good life.

Happy hunting!

Much More Than March Madness

March Madness is upon us and there are three NC-based teams still in the hunt:  UNC, NC State and of course, Duke.  As a young girl I attended the ACC tournament in Greensboro many times and was reminded last night (thanks to ESPN) of the history that unfolded in my backyard that is now legend, NC State's 1983 run to the Final Four and a National Title game against UNLV which they somehow managed to win against all odds.  Coach Jim Valvano's vision, courage, enthusiasm, leadership, and whatever other words you chose to use to describe him at that time, are unfathomable and a model for all of us, not just in our sports endeavors but in how we approach anything we do. 

You can view his speech at the ESPY awards in 1993 on YouTube.  He was so sick he threw up on the plane the entire trip and Coach K (who was one of his best friends) said he didn't know how he made it to the awards at all, not to mention that he was able to walk to the stage (with help) and deliver one of the most iconic speeches given by anyone associated with the sports world. I love stuff like this.  He passed away not long after he gave this memorable speech.  His players said that he gave a version of this speech at every game.  No wonder they played their hearts out for him.

There are other things that come to mind when I think of how some people, sports teams, horse/rider combinations are able to achieve what others can only dream about.  George Plimpton calls this The X Factor Serena Williams calls it just another day at the office, I mean tennis court.  Andre Agassi calls it just "focusing" every now and then so he can win The Australian Open when most thought he was over the hill.  I recall a sports psychologist saying that you have to learn to focus and practice how not to become nervous at the big moments, because no one, not even Michael Jordan, can play at the top of their game when they are nervous.  Then you view videos of the clutch shots Christian Laetner made again and again, so Duke could make it to the Final Four for four straight years, winning two national titles along way.  Focus was never an issue for him when it mattered the most.

We should take the lessons we learn in sport and use them every single day.  I want to win at whatever I do, don't you.  I want to be a better person every day, no matter what the odds.  Don't you?  Use the lessons of Laetner, Valvano, Coach K, Serena Williams, McLain Ward and his iconic horse, Sapphire and put them to use.  While I'll be hoping for a WVU upset on Thursday night, I'll also be thinking of the other lessons from March Madness.  Thank you Coach V for giving us so much to think about this March.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time Capsule Tuesday - Vintage Sega

Now that Sega has retired (she is now 21), I appreciate the many years we had on the horse show circuit even more.  Looking back on our 10+ year horse show career (a long career for a AA show horse), I know how fortunate I was to have such a special horse.  We conquered many goals together and it was more fun than words could ever describe.  If you are lucky you'll have the gift of one special horse in your life. I am truly blessed.

This photo was taken at one of her last AA shows.  She was very "up" that day and was spooky in the ring which was unusual for her (you can see it in her eye), but that being said the train that came through near the horse show ring did not phase her in the least.  At this show your horse needs to be "train proof."  Sega loved the show ring, she was like a diva walking the red carpet at horse shows.  She just performed and loved every minute of it. We went out twice last year in the pleasure division (she won the tricolor both times) and am thinking that we may try again once the weather warms up, just for old times sake.

This was taken in Ocala, FL much earlier in her career.  She was so good in Florida and when she won the circuit title there when she was eight, I never took her back, that was my promise to her, although she probably would have loved doing it a second time. 

This was also taken in Ocala, very early on. She would flop her left ear over the jumps so it was always difficult to get a good photo of her over the jumps.  This was probably her first or second year showing at 3 feet.  She got better every year.  Her best horse show year was at age 13 when she won classes everywhere.  Some just get better with age, like a good wine.

Hug your horse, your cat, your dog, your spouse today and be thankful that you have them in your life.  Life is short and oh so sweet!  Ride on Sega!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Two Extraordinary Homes on Tour

This weekend I ventured to North Carolina for a quick visit and was lucky to find the annual Junior League House Tour in full force on Saturday.  We went last year and loved it, this year was no exception.  There were two extraordinary houses on tour this year and I snapped photos of the exteriors of both homes, interior photos were not allowed. The first one is about a year old, sitting in the middle of the nicest area in town, down a road with maybe five houses on large parcels of land.  I could have moved in.....

 My other favorite was totally different, built in 1988 and it is for sale. The photos do not do this house justice, it was charming beyond belief, well lived in, cozy but fine.

 The owner has an active blog and you can see more photos of this treasure here.  Enjoy!

Welcome spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Maury

Last week was one of those tough times you'd rather forget, reminding us of how short life is and how we're all getting older whether we succumb to the aging process or not.  While the new face cream that costs more than my first car may help with the wrinkles, it doesn't alleviate the pain and suffering we endure as we lose those we love.  Maury, a cat, was loved, more than she realized.

If Maury hadn't been at death's door, she would have surely died.  Her sister was a bit stronger and faster, surviving the chase in the dilapidated chicken coop one dreary October day in 2003, losing in the end, as she surely didn't have a chance as a sickly unwanted feral kitten.  Maury lost the battle, with us, but won the war.  We took her home (we weren't living on our farm yet) after a trip to the local vet, who chided that she wouldn't survive the five-hour drive, only to meet vet number two who said she wouldn't live through the week.  Happily, both were wrong as Maury lived for 12 years in two states.  Life does come full circle as she's now buried in the same hallowed ground that her sister is likely in somewhere on our Virginia farm.

When something or someone dies there is often regret.  Not the kind of regret that you wished you hadn't enjoyed that last glass of wine the night before, or you shouldn't have bought that ugly green dress on sale after all, but the kind the lingers inside like an ulcerThis is the worst kind of hangover, it's terminal, there's no cure and it never leaves you for good, cerebral baggage if you will.  That's how I feel about Maury, the dilute calico, that's what the vet termed her unique color, and I wish now in retrospect that I had outwardly loved her and doted on her like I did with some of our other cats (we have several).

Maury was not maltreated, just the opposite.  She dined on grilled chicken and processed ham and turkey, her favorites, had regular shots, was wormed and "Frontlined" like her unrelated siblings and slept indoors or out, her choice, with the run of acres of farmland full of mice, birds and other temptations.  She never wanted for anything but she was a loner. Her early life seemed to dictate her behaviour for the rest of her days, for better or worse.

(Maury and Morgan, 2011)

She didn't ask for much, so we didn't give very much.  She wasn't needy or vocal, she wasn't the type to jump in your lap everyday for a facerub.  She lived her life in the shadows, you knew she was there but you didn't have to acknowledge.  Now I ache when I don't see her in the mornings and when the sun finally warmed the earth earlier this week in a brief show of spring, Maury would have been lounging in a chair on the patio where remnants of her grayish fur still clung to an old cushion.

Many tears have been shed this week and many more will flow but somehow I believe that Maury is watching and understands......now.  Love all of your animals please!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vineyard Vines Unveils 2015 Kentucky Derby Attire

The Derby is a mere 45 days away (or very close). So it's not too early to hone in on that special outfit made just for race day by Vineyard Vines.

You can see the entire collection here.

Easter Parade

I love the pastels of Easter and could use these colors all year long, even in the dead of winter.  It's sad that we pull these out in March or April, then put them away until next year.  Williams-Sonoma is offering a great collection of dinnerware and linens, for Easter, but use these luscious linens, plates and accessories well into summer. please.

These dinner plates anchor the smaller bunny plates and they are reasonably priced. They come in sets of four, with each plate a different color, all in pastels.

These jacquard napkins are lovely.

The bunny plates will look good with plain white dinner plates.  Or you can use them alone as dessert plates.  There are other accessories to match, platters and bowls.

These yellow bunny plates are also cute:
And I love these too:
And if you love the egg plates then you'll also lust after these napkins which come in four colors just like the plates:

 You can see the entire collection here. Thank you Williams-Sonoma for making the spring tabletop a little brighter this year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Harry & Snowman - The Movie

The documentary about Harry deLeyer and his famous horse, Snowman, is in the works!  Cannot wait to see it......

Harry & Snowman

(2015) In Production
Harry & Snowman is a feature length documentary about international show jumping rider Harry deLeyer and his famous horse Snowman. Harry & Snowman were the Cinderella story of late 1950's and 1960's. Snowman was an old Amish plow horse that Harry rescued off a truck that was bound for the meat and glue factory for $80. In less than two years after his rescue, they were the national show jumping champions and had become national celebrities.
Very few horse stories have been able to truly touch the hearts of a nation. Seabiscuit did it in the 1930's, Harry & Snowman did it again in the 1950's and then not again until Secretariat in the 1970's. This documentary will be the first time that Harry & Snowman's remarkable and heartfelt story will be told by 85-year-old Harry himself.

There is a short trailer on youtube:


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Georges - A Boutique Hotel in Virginia

A few years ago a couple from Richmond with ties to Lexington, bought two buildings in the quaint downtown area and refurbished them both in the most wonderful today.  We're lucky to have The Georges, two inns, one across the street from one another, that are getting rave reviews.  Here's what the web site says:

The Georges occupies two buildings on opposite sides of Main Street in Lexington, Virginia, a special town steeped in history and, for us, many wonderful memories. Located in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Lexington is truly a charming small-town escape. We love that the two buildings that make up our inn are unique pieces of the past, revitalized with fine accommodations for our guests to enjoy today. The Georges is home to Haywood’s, our casual yet lively piano bar serving farm to table cuisine and TAPS, our lobby lounge and special events venue.

When we acquired these buildings, we wanted to devote our resources, passion, and energy toward creating an inn and restaurants we think you’ll really enjoy. Our intention is to offer a place of comfort, traditional Virginia hospitality, and delicious food with regional ingredients—all in an environment that carries the history of the last couple of hundred years in its bones, and now with every modern amenity and convenience.

The gray building on the right is one of the hotels, with TAPS, the restaurant.  The owner is a VMI grad (Virginia Military Institute) which is less than a mile away.
 This is the other building, across the street, with Haywoods, the piano bar.

 Lexington is a lovely town to visit, filled with history.  It's the home to Washington & Lee University and VMI.  Traveller (Lee's horse) is buried here and Little Sorrell, Stonewall Jackson's beloved steed, is in the museum at VMI.  Want to learn more at The Geoges?  Book well in advance. Go here.

And who are The Georges?  

 The answer lies partially with the two wonderful schools that call Lexington home and which are our neighbors: Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. We feel a connection to both (and some of us even attended one or the other), as our two buildings on Main Street are so closely located to both campuses. It also crossed our minds early on that Washington and Lee owes part of its name to George Washington, and VMI’s most famous alumnus was George Marshall. Those are two very important Georges—with a lot of personality and accomplishments between them, to understate it just a bit. We are honored to name our hotel after them both.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Living Room Renovation, Part Two

In January I blogged about the living room renovation, and it continues today.  I've made a little progress but the extreme cold and two feet of snow we had in February slowed things down a bit.  But here's an update.

I ordered these lamps for the end tables. If I don't like them (they have not arrived yet), then I will go to plan B.

This is Plan B, albeit, MUCH more expensive. I would use a different shade.  A great lampshade makes a lamp so I update lamps by purchasing a new shade. It's truly amazing what that can do.

I am going to hang draperies in the room and am looking at rods. I like these bamboo ones a lot.  I am also using the roll-up bamboo shades underneath the drapes, from Home Depot for under $50 a window. Who says you can't save money but get a great look?  The Smith and Noble ones were almost $500 a window.

This is the fabric for the drapes.  It took a long time to find the right fabric and I need 40 yards so price was a huge concern. We ordered this about a week ago.

 This small cocktail table will go between the two wooden, painted chairs.  I am painting the wooden chairs a cream color to match the Clarence House fabric that will go on the cushions.

 Just to refresh, here's my rug (still waiting for the larger size to arrive):

Chair and ottoman fabric:

Sofa fabric:

Fabric for two wood chairs, pillows for the sofa"

I saw this cute lamp in Atlanta, it would look like on a secretary in the room.  Just an idea..

The room will need some accessories and the walls will be painted a shade of blue at some point.  Stay tuned....
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