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Bridal Shoot at Moss Mountain

The gorgeous scenery of Moss Mountain Farm makes it a virtual wonderland for photographers and videographers, and when you pair this stunning backdrop with a beautiful bride, the results are breathtaking.  Jake Reeves from Betwixt Magnolias shared this beautiful behind-the-scenes footage of a recent bridal shoot at the farm, and we were struck by how gracefully the bride interacted with the gardens.  It was like watching someone float through a dream. Take a look!

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Flock around the Clock: Poultry Workshop

If you’re raising chickens or think you might add birds to your backyard in the near future, the Poultry Workshop is for you. It’s ideal for everyone from small-scale chicken farmers to novices wanting a pet bird. Guest speakers throughout the day will discuss techniques for breeding and raising heritage chicken breeds as well as egg production, housing, predator control and more. You can also expect seminars on humane poultry processing, biosecurity and how to choose the best birds for your home flock.

You’ll also learn about the differences between a home flock and choosing birds for the show ring using the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection. Young chicken enthusiasts can learn about careers in animal science.

Best of all, you can meet Allen and tour the grounds of Moss Mountain Farm, which is the staging area for his Garden Home and Garden Style television shows. He will take you on a tour of Poultryville, and you’ll see how he feeds, nurtures, and protects his own flock of heritage breeds. And he’ll be on site answering your burning questions and sharing his long-standing love for chickens.

Lunch will be provided, and some great prizes will be given away. You could even purchase chickens to take home and add to your flock! This workshop is quite a deal! Reserve your spot today before they’re gone!

For budding poultry enthusiasts and 4-H members, P. Allen Smith is offering a limited number of scholarships to attend the workshop. Call Joyce at (501) 519-5793 to reserve your spot.

Click here for event details.

Make Your Coffee with Cold Brew-sion

The idea of hot coffee in the middle of summer is not appealing at all. However, with a little bit of planning, you can enjoy the smooth taste of cold-brewed coffee. It’s all the caffeine, with less acidity. I actually look forward to summer and the opportunity to make it!

Our friends at Westrock Coffee have shared a very detailed method for cold brewed coffee on their blog, and their method guarantees the very best flavor out of the beans. We can attest to their passion for coffee. (More on that below.)

However, sometimes I don’t have the usual implements and need a cold-brew alternative! So, I’ve discovered a few simple methods for cold brewed coffee for those on the go.

Big Batch of Cold-Brew:
1. Finely grind 1 cup of beans.
2. Add to a pitcher with a tight-fitting lid. Then add 4 cups of room temperature water. Attach lid securely. This prevents refrigerator flavors from affecting your cold brew.
3. Let sit overnight, or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
4. Strain the mixture through a filter.
5. This mix will be concentrated. I typically put it in a mason jar with a lid, and dilute it in my cup each morning with more water and ice to taste. Add milk and sugar, if you like. And you’re ready to go!

This method makes about 5 to 7 servings!

 

No Filter, Small-Batch Method:
For this, you’ll need a ceramic teapot with a strainer.
1. Grind a handful or two of beans.
2. Add to the mesh strainer section of your teapot.
3. Fill with water. Cover the end of the teapot with a plastic baggy or a dish towel to keep refrigerator flavors out of your coffee.
4. Set it in the fridge overnight.
5. Wake up and pour coffee into your mug. This will be fairly concentrated, so add water to taste. Then add ice and milk and sugar, if you’re so inclined.

 

 

Westrock CoffeeI can’t help but recommend Westrock Coffee for your home brew. It’s what we drink in my office because of Westrock’s passion for coffee and commitment to fair-trade practices. The company improves the lives of the farmers they partner with by paying them a fair price for their coffee as well as offering training and support to increase yields. And I’m grateful for the ability to enjoy a great cup of coffee and help others at the same time.

Fresh Iced Tea Popsicle Recipes

Our episode, featuring a trip to Charleston, S.C., brought us to the only tea plantation in the United States. Tea is so Southern and so delicious, and we got a closer look at how it’s grown and processed on the plantation. And we’re so thankful tea is still around. We can’t get enough of it, iced or hot!

This episode and the heat of summer, prompted a search of the internet for iced tea popsicles. We were inspired by some light and healthy recipes online, especially those using fresh fruit and one with matcha, a green tea super food. These two recipes were tested and approved in our kitchen.

Matcha and Milk Popsicles
3 cups almond milk
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
Zest of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Fill molds with mixture and freeze until completely frozen, 3 to 4 hours.

 

16_05041Blackberry Black Tea Popsicles
3 cups black tea
2 tbs honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pint blackberries

Reserve 1/4 blackberries. Mix all other ingredients until smooth in a blender.  Divide remaining berries between molds and top with tea mixture.

 

A Guide to Gifts Dad will Dig

Let’s agree dad deserves something nice this year, not the same-old, same-old. Put down that chain-store leather wallet, and let this be the year you go above and beyond for your old man. Start your shopping right here. And if you’re celebrating, check out our Dad’s Day Brunch Menu.

 

AM Leonard Stainless Steel Soil KnifeAM Leonard Stainless Steel Soil Knife
Buy

Every gardener needs one of these for those tedious tasks in the yard. This tough tool can dig into the dirt, slice through thick stems with ease, and the orange handle makes it easy to find if you set it down. The built-in ruler helps you measure the proper depth for seedlings.  It comes with a sheath for storage and to protect this knife from the elements.

 

Cork and Canvas Dopp KitCork and Canvas Dopp Kit
Buy

Dopp kits are trending very hard in the world of men. And this one can work as a toiletry kit, cosmetic bag or shaving kit. It has a cork top that’s water-repellent and stain-resistant. Sleek, durable and made with sustainable materials.

 

Green Envy Garden HoseGreen Envy Garden Hose
Buy

Though attractiveness may not be the most appealing quality in a hose for dad, you can back up this purchase with a lifetime warranty. This hose won’t kink under pressure and remains flexible in sub-zero temps, but let’s hope it never comes to that. It’s drinking water safe and lightweight.

 

Sweet and Spicy Glazed PecansSweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans
Buy

Lambrecht is a company committed to quality, and by that, we mean they consider every aspect in making these incredibly addictive Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans. Southern-grown pecans are glazed in sugar and salt, then given a pinch of heat from red pepper, black pepper and chili powder. Dad will inhale them so fast, you might consider buying two. He might remember to savor the second package. Maybe.

 

Pop Top CoastersPop Top Coasters
Buy

You need coasters to protect your furniture, and this one is made to look like old pop tops. It’ll make dad smile every time he sets his drink down. These reproduction soda caps have an aged finish to add authenticity.

 

Folk Art Crows Wall FountainFolk Art Crows Wall Fountain
Buy

This authentic –looking homage to folk art sculptures becomes animated as a wall-hanging fountain. Plug it in to watch the crows move when the pump activates a trickle of water through their beaks. The closed system recirculates water to cut down on waste.

 

Long-Handle Cape Cod WeederLong-Handle Cape Cod Weeder
Buy

Ideal for row crops or raised beds, the steel blades are nearly indestructible and the handle will save your back during long weeding days. This tool is effective, comfortable and durable. Built to last a lifetime.

 

Garden Home Travel MugGarden Home Travel Mug
Buy

Fans of P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home show will love this mug. It has a bright, spill-proof lid that’s easy to spot among the lid drawer. Holds approximately 12 ounces of caffeinated goodness.

Dad’s Day Beer Brunch Menu

Dad’s Day is on the horizon.
It’s time to celebrate the man who taught you to change a tire.
How to hang level photos.
How to pace yourself with alcoholic beverages.
How to avoid being electrocuted … just after you managed to accidentally shock yourself on an unsecured outlet.

Next weekend, return the favor and teach dad a thing or two – about brunch. Start with coffee. Brunch is about being civilized.

16_02926Then, take your cues from Little Rock’s rustic, man-centric Lost 40 Brewing Company and create a Beer Brunch for dad with dishes like Sausage and Grits, Beer-Battered Waffles, or Farmer’s Hash with roasted onions, potatoes, red bell and poblano peppers, white cheddar, breakfast sausage, topped with over-easy eggs.

Then, for the final flourish, introduce dad to the Brew-mosa (aka Beer-mosa). Basically, a light beer – Lost 40 uses its Day Drinker Belgian Blonde — mixed with orange juice.

Official Brew-mosa Recipe:
16_02911Pour beer into glass. Add orange juice to taste.

It may not be dad’s thing, but you weren’t really into shop class, either. And he’ll appreciate your efforts.

And check out our shop for gifts dad will love.

 

16_02905

Gold and White Table

High Low Golden Rule

Gold and White Table
An elegant tablescape at Moss Mountain Farm.

The golden rule right now in weddings is to give your neutrals a makeover with pops of metallic and our Moss Mountain brides and planners have mastered this rustic but elegance look.

Here’s an example: This all white tablescape used varieties of flowers such as hydrangeas, roses, stock, and lilies in faux-mercury glass bowls along the long rustic farm tables.

Gold Pumpkins
In the fall, you can add metallics into your decor by painting pumpkins and mixing them with grass plumes.

High-low is something the Moss Mountain Farm event team does expertly. It’s bringing something elegant to something rustic like adding silver candelabras to a farm table or using tablecloths on rounds under our Big Sister Oak. If the high-low style appeals to you then you’re going to want to check out our Pinterest Board for more looks from the farm sure to inspire.

Burying the Bourbon at Moss Mountain Farm

Here comes the bride… and the bourbon. Some say it’s an old Southern tradition, and many of us have never heard of it. However, we love the sound of it because it involves bourbon and getting your hands in the soil — two quintessential things we Southerners enjoy.

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When a Moss Mountain groom living out of state approached us about Burying the Bourbon on his behalf before his wedding day, we said we’d gladly do the honors. So, James Sumpter, Director of Weddings and Events at Moss Mountain, and Mandy Shoptaw, our Wedding and Event Coordinator, got to work.

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According to our friends over at Southern Living, “Southern folklore says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon at the site where the bride and groom are to be married it won’t rain on their wedding day.” Furthermore, the tradition says the wedding party digs up the bottle and drinks the bourbon after the ceremony.

Rain or shine, everyone at the reception will be a winner when this bottle is retrieved from the orchard along our stacked stone wall. And what a fantastic photo op for our beautiful couple!

 

If you’re interested in weddings or special events at Moss Mountain you can be sure our staff will honor your special requests. Contact us at events@pallensmith.com to plan your big day.

 

 

Purple birthday party table

Leap Year Birthday Party Tablescape

Leap years only occur once every four years. The reason is that it actually takes the earth 365 days and 6 hours to make a revolution around the sun. That adds up to an extra 24 hours at the end of every four years, so we tack on a leap day to align our calendars with the sun’s position. You might think this extra day is exciting and rare — it comes with all kinds quirky traditions and folklore — especially if your birthday is on a leap day. Can you imagine only getting to celebrate once every four years? So if you are part of that less than .07 percent of the US population whose birthday falls on a Leap Day, then you better go all out when you finally get to celebrate. We’ve designed a leap birthday party celebration of our own to get you started …
Purple and yellow birthday table

Gift Element

If you can wrap a gift then you can create this charming birthday party tablescape. Start by making the box for your centerpiece.

  1. Just a regular box such as a brown shipping box is available at most office supply stores. Ours was 12×12 inches.
  2. Fold in the tops of the box to make a flat top edge.
  3. For the wrap you can use gift wrap or colorful vinyl on a roll. This worked well because it is lightweight and flexible. Lay the box down and bring the paper around the box and secure with tape leaving the top and bottom open and unattached.
  4. Next trim off the excess on the bottom of the box and fold the edges in and secure with tape.
  5. Fold the top paper inside the box. If using wrapping paper you may need to cut slits down the edges so that the paper doesn’t rip. Secure with tape if needed.
  6. Now for the fun part, embellishing the box. We used a simple silver ribbon.

Wrapping a box with purple paper

Silver ribbon wrapped around a box

Floral Element

Our centerpiece arrangement is made up of a base of boxwood, myrtle and rosemary. The floral elements include creamy white hybrid tea roses, Stargazer Barn purple and yellow iris and orange tulips. For added drama, curly willow branches were worked in. When arranging flowers, it is nice to use items that are in bloom. In essence, you are making a mini-garden on the table.

We created this arrangement using two blocks of floral foam resting on a dinner plate. We elevated the items on a cake stand inside the “birthday box,” but you could also use a tall cylinder vase or whatever you have handy because the nice thing about this arrangement is that the stems and the mechanics of the arrangement aren’t going to show.

Iris, roses and curley willow

Want to keep your centerpiece simple? Pop a couple of florist bouquets into a vase within the birthday box and presto, instant success.

Table Setting

The cream roses in the centerpiece echo the creamware plates used on the table. The plates are resting on top of custom-made placemats, which coordinate with the floral box. Here are the simple steps for making these colorful placemats:

  1. Cut out the cardboard placemat.
  2. Cut wrapping paper to fit.
  3. Secure paper around the cutouts with tape, or if your wrapping paper is thick you can use a spray adhesive to attach it to the poster board, but we encourage you to test this out first to see the results before applying adhesive all of the placemats.
  4. Embellish with a ribbon.

Tracing a placemat shape on yellow paper

Cutting yellow cardboard

Wrapping purple paper over cardboard

Purple placemat with silver ribbon

Lavender Champagne Cocktail
Liven the setting up with a colorful napkin topped with a Lavender Champagne Cocktail garnished with a fun paper straw. The recipe (borrowed from handmademood.com) is easy!

Champagne coupe

  1. Bring one cup of water to a gentle boil.
  2. Add in one cup of granular sugar, reduce heat, and combine until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and add in 3 drops lavender essential oil.
  4. Transfer still warm liquid to a container for storage in the refrigerator. A glass vessel with a cap (such as a mason jar or a vintage soda bottle) and a funnel make this process easier.
  5. Once cooled, fill about 1/4 of a glass with your lavender simple syrup and then top with a dry sparkling wine, such as La Marca Prosecco.

Tip: Be sure to use food grade lavender oil.

Party Favors & Decor

Since our birthday boy or girl only has a party every four years on their actual date of birth, a fun party favor for all guests is a pocket calendar. Place the gift on each seat for a festive touch.

Purple gift bag with silver and gold tissue paper

Instead of tea light votives on the table, we used cupcakes on stands and topped them with assorted silver and gold birthday candles in varying heights. What a way to say welcome to dinner! The candles produce a festive atmosphere, and after they are blown out, serve for dessert.

Cupcakes on cupcake stands with candles

Essentials from Shop.PAllenSmith.com

Cupcake Stand
Creamware Cupcake Stands
Creamware Plates
Creamware Dessert Plates
J Schwanke Book on floral arranging
J Schwanke’s Bloom 365
Iris bouqet in a French flower can
Stargazer Barn Teslar Iris Bouquet
Cake and I Do Birds by Kari Nichols of Cottonwood Studios

“Will You Marry Me,” She Said

Marriage Proposals By Women

Cake and I Do Birds by Kari Nichols of Cottonwood Studios
Photo by: Cottonwood Studios

In the Runaway Bride (1999), Julia Roberts’ character Maggie finally finds out who she is and even which type of eggs she likes after numerous failed attempts to walk down the aisle. Then SHE proposes to the man she truly loves. You might remember the scene. Maggie hands Ike, played by Richard Gere, her running shoes as a token of her affection and then gets down on one knee for a proposal full of the wit and wisdom Ike had dispensed previously in the movie.

Maggie Carpenter: I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is going to want get out. But I also guarantee… [starts to cry] …that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Because I know in my heart… you’re the only one for me.

Guess what, ladies, proposing to your man isn’t just a movie plot device. In fact, Leap Day (February 29th) has a strong tie to marriage proposals from women to men so ladies if “Happily Ever After” has been on your mind, today might really be the time to broach the subject with the one you love.

You see, Irish legend says that Saint Brigid and Saint Patrick came to an agreement and that agreement was that every four years WOMEN were allowed to propose to men.

Photo by: Lyndsey Sullivan Photography
Photo by: Lyndsey Sullivan Photography

Today, in more liberated times, more and more women are popping the question to their mate. Sometimes the proposals are simply the result of marriage coming up in casual conversation and the couple pulling out their calendars and picking a date. Other times these proposals are elaborately planned weekends away with a ring or other gift.

You might expect a queen to extend an invitation of marriage and that’s just what Queen Victoria did when she proposed to Prince Albert. Several other famous women have taken it upon themselves to pop the question, including Elizabeth Taylor to her second husband Michael Wilding.   But if you’re interested in checking out real life proposals from women this fantastic article by Jolie Kerr at jezabel.com is a great read.

2016 Bride Guide
P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm’s 2016 Bride Guide

Now once you’ve set the date you’re going to start looking for the perfect wedding venue and if you’re reading this blog you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm (if you’re not then cruise around the site and you’ll fall in love, we’re pretty sure). Well this picturesque property is now available for weddings and event. You can download our 2016 bride guide here and then contact our wedding specialist to help you plan the day of your dreams.