Monday, January 10, 2011

snow day in the south

my little spotted snow foxes didn't know quite what to make of their surroundings.

Northerners scoff at those of us who live in the South when at first mention of impending winter weather, the grocery store shelves empty out and everyone settles into their homes to hibernate until the storm is over. Often "the storm" refers to a few scattered flurries or even just a cold gust of wind. Last night most of the northern half of Georgia was lucky enough to be graced with a white blanketing to tuck us all into bed. My husband and I were like little children awaiting Santa Claus. Neither of us could sleep and we kept sneaking away through the dark house to gaze at the glory that covered the woods and creek behind our house. The snow reflected all the light from neighboring houses and nearby streetlights, casting a pinkish glow everywhere, as if we were looking at a day-lit sepia photo rather than just out the window at midnight. By morning, five inches of snow covered everything and the whole state seemed to be shut down.

rosemary peeps through the snow. unfortunately, it is the only plant to make it through the winter in my ill-planned garden.

My husband and I ventured out late morning to see the new forms that everything takes when covered in snow. We met few others along our path. Kroger, Wendy's, the gas stations and Jittery Joe's were the only businesses braving the weather on our side of town. I learned on our walk that trekking in 5 inches of crunchy snow is good for the quads.

Upon returning home, I made a lovely pot of drinking chocolate with a dash of cayenne and cinnamon....mmmm....soul warming.

The best thing about the snow day is that it has given me a little extra bit of time to reflect on where this year is going for me. I have left Ike & Jane to focus full time on our up and coming business venture, and with the holidays following close behind my departure, it has seemed like things have been purely go, go, go since then. Days are full of meetings and phone calls, spent staring at a computer screen and touching base with lots and lots of people. I am so grateful to have such overwhelming support from everyone I have encountered.

In the past month, Heirloom Cafe & Fresh Market has gone from a great set of ideas to a beautiful set of plans, which will soon be followed by a wonderful community gathering place. DOC Unlimited has done an outstanding job putting together our plans, and has been very patient with us in this process, which is quite a learning experience for all of us involved. We passed through the Historic Preservation Board approval without much of a problem, and are almost finished working through the finishing touches with our plans approval from the city. The above drawing shows the southeast perspective of the restaurant, as will be seen from the corner of Boulevard and Chase St. More drawings, including the site plan and interior elevations can be found on the Boulevard Neighborhood Association page at this time.

We put up a facebook page and are ecstatic to have so many likes already. We have had a little bit of press so far, with mention on the blog from Full Circle Realty, the Flagpole and the Athens Banner Herald. We should have a website up and going relatively soon to help keep everyone informed and excited. It is being designed by the lovely and wonderful Megan Boling of Brown Parcel Press and Natasha Murphy. Megan also designed our logo, which can be seen above. She has also recently produced a gorgeous letterpress calendar inspired by her recent experiences running Three Centuries Farm in Sparta, GA. Check out her blog, Brown's General, when you get a chance to read about her adventures in learning the world of farming.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of taking a lovely stroll with Benji Anderson of Anderson Farms in Comer. This is the first contact I have had with potential suppliers for the restaurant, and I have to say I now know that meeting the farmers, seeing their operations and sampling their products is definitely my favorite part of this process. Benji walked me through his fields, pointing out all the different groups of pigs, each separate in age by about two months. Of course, I loved the little ones the most, but I was also charmed by the bigger ones that wanted to sniff me all over with their muddy noses and even tried to nibble on my blue jeans. He has gotten his operation off to a great start, and the pork he gave me to taste is phenomenal. I hope to form a great relationship with Anderson Farms and many other farms soon.

With the clarity of the step back a snow day allowed me to take, I can see that this year is going to be a phenomenal one, and I can't wait for it to roll in.

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