Farewell 2017: A Look Back

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year has been good but kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! 2017 went by so fast, I actually had to pull up my photo archive from this year to help jog my memory and remind me exactly what happened this year. Luckily I was able to catch you up back in July, but a lot has happened since then.

I apologize in advance for such a long post, but I wanted to take a look back at the year and reflect on what happened, to prepare for the exciting things 2018 could hold. I have broken it down into sections for things that may interest you the most.

Let’s take a look back at 2017:

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

The Biggest “Thing” of 2017

I mentioned earlier in the year that we were planning to build a new deck with a covered screened porch this summer. The deck project was completed this fall and we are very excited about our new outdoor space. This deck project took a lot longer to get done than we expected, but we love it and cannot wait to spend more time outside now that we have some protection from that evil fireball called the sun.

Having the extra space triggered us to celebrate by hosting our very first party for our friends and neighbors of the mountain. You may have seen the video I posted on Instagram.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Normally I would have written about it here, but since it was our very first party, I didn’t want to be distracted with taking pictures and focused all my time and attention on our guest and taking care of them. We had a great time and we look forward to hosting more parties in the future.

In case you missed it, you can see the deck project reveal and even take a video tour here: The Spivey Deck Project 2017 {The Reveal and Video Tour!

 

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Virginia Wine

One of the reasons why David and I decided to settle in the mountains where we did is because of all of the Virginia Wineries that surround us.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

The year always begins with lasagna lunches on the weekends just ten minutes from our house at Naked Mountain Winery and Vineyards, in Markham, Virginia. Naked Mountain is the first Virginia winery we ever tasted at, and yes, the name had a lot to do with it.

Each year from January until the end of March, you can enjoy lasagna lunches paired with wine. It’s a very popular event and many look forward to it.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

We are members of Fox Meadow Vineyards, also only ten minutes from our house. Fox Meadow was the second stop that day we went out wine tasting for the first time all those years ago. It just so happened it was Fox Meadow’s opening weekend and we have been visiting ever since. We attend many of their events, which include live music, special pairings, such as Fudgeapalooza (Fox Meadow wines paired with Nibblins fudge) and even attend a blending session in the early part of the year in which we are able to blend and bottle our own wine. We have a lot of fun!

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year we attended a Vertical Tannat Tasting at Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint Winery and Vineyard and a Ridel Wine Glass Tasting.

The vertical tasting was interesting because we were able to taste in order of year of several different vintages of Howard’s Tannat. Virginia weather is challenging for wine makers and it is so interesting to experience how the wine changes from year to year.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

From the Ridel Wine Glass tasting, we learned just how much the shape of a glass can change the experience of wine tasting. We each received a set of Ridel Wine Glass Set to enjoy at home. If you think you can pour wine into any old glass and it will taste the same as any other, you really need to attend one of these tastings!

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

In April we visited a new winery that our friends Jim and Beth are members of called Doukenie Winery. After participating in a Heritage Room tasting with our very good friends, we joined the wine club on the spot. I signed up so fast, David’s head spun around. There was not a wine poured that I could not drink. That just doesn’t happen often.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

I could talk for hours about our local winery outings. If you would like to read more about the local wineries we visit, please email me here: debbiespivey@themountainkitchen.com

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Local Restaurants

David and I love to eat out almost as much as we like cooking a home-cooked meal. We are so fortunate to have so many good local restaurants. The restaurants we frequent all inspire us with new dishes and there isn’t a single restaurant we visit that we don’t try something new.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year David and I attended our first opera, well sort of…

One of our favorite local restaurants Osteria 510, hosted an opera night in which some wonderful singers came out and performed La Bohème while we enjoyed a farm to table four-course meal prepared by Chef Vincenzo Belvito. This restaurant is a taste of Italy on the steps of the northern entrance of Skyline Drive. Vincenzo, greets us with a smile and quickly goes to the bar for our favorite beverages. We almost always order the special, but sometimes enjoy specialties from the menu. It is important to mention that I always save room for Lemoncello Cake, which is in my opinion like biting into a lemon cloud.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Among our favorite local restaurants is Element, where we indulge in their delicious dishes inside a comfortable and modern atmosphere. Element also includes a full bar, with beer on tap, and an extensive wine list. They always have great specials to try and my favorite menu item is a salmon dish, while David’s is the fillet.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Besides their offering of delicious entrees and spirits, Element offers the most decadent pillowy soft and luxurious chocolate mousse pavlova paired with a glass of Tawny Port. Once you have taken a bite of this dessert you will crave it forever!

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Another local favorite restaurant very much worth mentioning is Field & Main. Located in Marshall, Virginia, this unique restaurant is run inside of a building which is still standing after two centuries, just 20 minutes from our home. The Wavra’s restored this unique building and Field & Main Restaurant was born. This restaurant provides a relaxed gathering place for community and while offering patrons unique bounty of the region sourced from local sustainable farms using seasonal ingredients. Fueled by oak, hickory and cherry wood, many of the entrees are prepared in cast iron or directly from the coals of a 10-foot wide wood-fired hearth designed by Chef Anthony Nelson. David and I reserve seats at the kitchen bar, where we dine from the delicious menu while watching the inner workings of the kitchen. It’s really awesome to watch the kitchen prepare your food right before your eyes. It’s like dinner and a show and I am sure the kitchen staff is glad when we leave because we ask so many questions, which is mostly, “What is that?!” Some will pose for the camera if you ask!

We frequent many local restaurants and there are just too many to mention here. If you would like to hear more about the fantastic local restaurants you can email me here: debbiespivey@themountainkitchen.com

 

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

2017 Concerts

Recently I sat down and took the time to compose a list of all the concerts that David and I have attended since we became a couple in 2001. We like a wide variety of music from George Jones to Metallica and many genres in between. There are 170 bands on our list. Some bands we have seen more than once.

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

Below is a list of the concerts we have attended this in 2017. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings, which already include Avatar for the second time and P¡nk.

  1. Stevie Nicks ~ 24 Karat Gold Tour at John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
  2. Metallica ~ Worldwired Tour at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, MD
  3. An Evening With Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds at The Merriweather Post Pavillion, Columbia MD
  4. Black Stone Cherry at Phase2 in Lynchburg, VA
  5. Hellyeah at Shiley Acres in Inwood, WV
  6. Matchbox 20 / Counting Crows ~ A Brief History of Everything Tour at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
  7. In This Moment ~ Half God – Half Devil Tour at The Fillmore in Silver Springs, MD
  8. Seether ~ Poison the Parish World Tour at The Fillmore in Silver Springs, MD

 

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

2017 As A Melanoma Survivor: I Am Now A Contributor To The Mighty!

Back in July, I kept the scheduled dermatologist follow-up appointment for the spot I had frozen under my eye. It had disappeared but I kept the appointment because I noticed a small pink spot on my arm. My dermatologist examined the suspicious pink spot and said it was nothing to be concerned about because it didn’t have the typical melanotic macules that would be present if it were something that needed a biopsy. I walked out relieved that there was nothing to be concerned about.

Another month or two went by and I had my usual Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) test done when I went to my primary care doctor to have other bloodwork done. The test came back normal!

2017 was a great year for skin checks! I did not have to have a single biopsy the entire year and by my last skin check appointment in October. I have become comfortable enough to where my blood pressure was not through the roof when entering the dermatologist office now. I am staying out of the sun and protecting my skin if I am out in the sun. I hope and pray that 2018 will be just as good if not better.

Raising awareness about skin cancer is very important to me. I write updated blog posts about what’s been going on since I was diagnosed. My hope in sharing this journey with you is that you can keep your brother, your aunt, your daughter, your neighbor or your friend from having to go through this. Most importantly don’t let the fear of melanoma keep you from getting checked out.

Recently I have been given an opportunity to reach more people and raise awareness about skin cancer. I am excited to join forces with The Mighty! The Mighty is the largest digital health community geared towards people with disease, mental illness, and disabilities. The community empowers and connects people facing health challenges and disabilities. After reading my melanoma story, the Cancer Editor of The Mighty, Trish Broome, reached out to me and asked me to join as a contributor and asked to share my story with the online community. As a contributor to The Mighty, I can share my cancer story with others to help raise awareness about skin cancer. TheMighty.com is a great community and I highly encourage everyone to check it out. The stories about the diseases, mental illness, and disabilities there affects every one of you or someone you love in some way.

Remember skin checks are so very important. Your skin is your largest living organ; it houses all your most vital parts.

Have you called a dermatologist to schedule a skin check?

Before you come up with an excuse not too, I want you to know I didn’t think I would get Melanoma either, but I did. My story has turned out well. So many others aren’t so lucky.

Go get checked. It could save your life!

If you would like to read more about my Melanoma Story, click HERE.

 

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

His Royal Highness

This summer, David decided to make a trip to Ohio to see Mama Rosa. Since His Royal Highness cannot go for more than 24-hours without his medications, I either had to stay home with him or find a pet sitter. His Royal Highness has NEVER liked a stranger, but over the years has mellowed out a lot. Considering that and the fact that fact that he is blind, I thought it would be easier for a stranger to come in and take care of him. I phoned a neighbor to ask him what he did with his cats when they want to go out of town. He very kindly offered but realized he would not be in town either, so he recommended a pet sitter he had used in the past. I decided to give the pet sitter a call. I really wanted to take the trip to Ohio with David to see my mother-in-law. After an interview with the pet sitter and filling out 1000 forms for her, she agreed to watch after His Royal Highness while David and I took the trip to Ohio for a long weekend.

The visits from the pet sitter did not go well at all. The sitter took lots of notes of her visits each day (twice a day, each with meds). Being blind did not handicap His Royal Highness at all, he still managed to hide from her at each visit. He hid in places I would have never thought he could. Places like under the recliner in the living room, the chest of drawers in a spare bedroom, under our master bedroom bed and even behind a shower curtain. How on earth does a blind cat know he is hiding? I don’t know, but His Royal Highness is still as sly as a fox! What made matters worse is that not only did he hide, but he also hissed, spit and growled at her. She was lucky to give him his liquid meds for blood pressure, but he missed some does of his pill for thyroid. The pet sitter said he is still very feisty and has a whole lot of life and fire still in him for such an old cat.

Even though he was just awful to the pet sitter, she agreed to come back again two weeks later when we went to the family reunion in North Carolina. Once again, he was a terrible pet and acted very defensive and mean to the pet sitter, hiding, spitting, hissing at her while missing does of his medication because she feared he would bite her and she did not want to stress him out too much. Needless to say, I haven’t left him in the care of someone else since, and I probably won’t unless there is some kind of emergency.

In November, we were forced to cage up His Royal Highness when we are not able to keep an eye on him. It really hurts my heart to have to do this to him, but he gave us no choice. Due to his age, blindness, declining health and just not giving a shit, he wasn’t using his litter box anymore. We bought a dog style outdoor pin. I set it up on top of a tarp with doggie pee pads for comfort and something absorbent for accidents. I put a box with a towel inside for comfort and security, along with his food and water tray and litter box. I called it the “kitty condo”!

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

According to His Royal Highness, it’s a JAIL!

He HATES being trapped anywhere and he considers it a “kitty jail”! But this jail keeps him safe and makes life in our home a lot less stressful for all of us. Like always he has adjusted well. He gets some time out when we are home. Funny, since he has been put into a cage, he goes to the litter box religiously, go figure! But don’t ask me why he sleeps on top of the box like Snoopy, instead of inside like I intended. I guess it’s because he realizes that there is no top on the cage and knows it’s closer to living room floor above. He’s constantly looking up at the ceiling when he’s inside the cage. He knows when we are home and wants to be out of the cage when we are home.

I also believe if he could see for just a few minutes, he would figure out the latch pins on the cage and he would escape. I know this because I forgot to latch the pins one night. David and I were sitting in the living room after I thought I put him to bed for the night. David and I looked at each other with disbelief at the exact same moment when we heard a loud splashing noise coming from his water bowl in the kitchen. Sure enough, it was His Royal Highness, drinking water from his bowl! I could not believe it! He had pushed the gate open, navigated his way to the stairs, came up through the pet door, I had no idea he even could find anymore and found his way to the kitchen for a drink. All that because the water upstairs is way better than the water downstairs outside of the cage, which is even better than the water inside his cage! He’s a ham!

His Royal Highness has not been doing well recently, the past few weeks his legs began to retain fluid and an x-ray at the vet revealed he had fluid in his abdomen. I realize that he will not live forever and will not torture this very old feline with expensive medical tests to find out what is causing it. The underlying medical issues are more than likely untreatable conditions, such as heart and/or kidney disease. His veterinarian has been wonderful and has worked with me to figure out anything that will help him out. She put him on a diuretic, which seems to have worked! She is truly amazed by this cat, especially when I told her the fluid retention has now subsided. She feels he may be suffering from an underlying heart issue.

Despite it all, he is still acting like his old demanding self and refuses to let his health slow him down. He still makes us laugh daily, even though I spend a lot of time worrying about him, his resilience is something to behold. He’s quite an amazing creature and we are thankful for each day we have with him on this side of the rainbow bridge.

 

This year has been kind of strange. The weather started out really cold and by the time it warmed up all we seemed to do was wait for our new deck to be built and before we knew it Christmas was here! Let's take a look back at 2017. | TheMountainKitchen.com

A Trip To See Mama Rosa in Ohio

As I mentioned, David and I rented a car a drove over 400 miles to see his mother, sister, and brother in Dayton, Ohio at the end of the summer. It had been a long time since he last saw her. We visited a couple of days and had a nice picnic in the yard where David grilled some chicken and pork with some prepared sides from the deli. His sister prepared a few goodies also. The weather and the company were perfect. We really enjoyed our visit with family.

Since our visit, Mama Rosa has been going through a rough time. On Halloween, she fell at home and broke her hip, which led to surgery and a long road to recovery. She has fought through a lot of pain and although it is taking her longer to recover from this injury than expected, each day rehab moves her a little closer to going home. She has had a lot of people pulling for her and we really appreciate the thoughts and prayers!

 

Other Moments Worth Mentioning

I guess this pretty much sums up what happened this year, but more than anything today, I want to thank you for another year together. I cannot tell you what it means to have your encouragement and support. Your faithful readership, your willingness to try our recipes and emails and comments mean so very much to me. Thank you for allowing us into your homes and supporting me to do what I love to do.

Really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

As we say goodbye to another year gone by, we are excited to see what lies ahead in 2018. I have tons of recipes to share with you in the coming year. Thanks for reading this blog and trying our recipes. May 2018 be filled with health and happiness!

From all of us at The Mountain Kitchen, Happy New Year!

Love you all!

What was your favorite moment of 2017? Comment below or send me an email. I’d love to hear what’s going on with you too!

 


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13 thoughts on “Farewell 2017: A Look Back

  1. What a great post, Debbie. Love the look back – love the porch and all the wineries look so fun (even though I’m a Bud Light gal) :D. Wishing you and David a happy, healthy 2018!! Cheers!

  2. Pingback: Spicy Chicken Poblano Stew with Polenta {or not so spicy...

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