The day started early - earlier than I'd planned. Jack, our most well-behaved, laid-back member of the kitty family had not been feeling well for several days. Last night, his coughing/sneezing had gotten much worse, so I called the vet a little after 7:00. I had made plans previously with my friend Marsha for the day, so I needed to have the earliest appointment possible. They gave us an appointment for 9:15. I'm seldom up this early, but I was glad for it today.
Before the sun came up to burn it off, there was a beautiful misty fog hanging low, giving everything an ethereal glow. The brugmansias in Max's Garden are in full bloom now and I counted 31 blossoms open. In the heavy damp air, the fragrance was strong and I drank it in. They need to bottle that up and sell it.
I drove to Van Wert with Jack and when Dr. Kleman took a look at him, he determined that he had an upper respiratory infection and put him on antibiotic. I took him back home, then drove back to Van Wert to spend my day with Marsha.
Our first stop was in Celina for lunch at Bella's. This is an Italian restaurant located on Grand Lake, which at one time was the largest man-made lake in the world. I'd not eaten at Bella's before, which is a shame, because it's a lovely restaurant with a full view of Grand Lake and the food is outstanding. Marsha and I had the same thing - spinach salad (my favorite!), a medley of sautéed shrimp, scallops and crab meat, and fettucine alfredo. They've got wonderful yeast rolls with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan mixed for dipping, too.
From Bella's we headed south to The Winery at Versailles, where Marsha had planned for us to do some wine tasting. We each got five to try, with cheese and crackers and we discovered that while we share many interests, our taste in wines is not one of them. Marsha prefers the drier ones, while I like the sparkling and sweeter ones best.
I found some blue bottles for sale there, and chose one for my blue bottle bush that I'm planning to construct. I bought some wine, too, as did Marsha. One of them - Cinq - comes in a stunning triangular deep blue bottle, so after the wine has been consumed, the bottle will take its place in the garden.
I got two bottles of Spiced Apple wine, which is made from Macintosh apples and is served warm with mulling spices. This one was my favorite and that's saying a lot, because I have not ever found a warm drink that I enjoy. Not coffee, tea, nor even hot chocolate, but this warm spiced apple wine was delicious.
As we left the winery, I noticed the blackberry lilies were loaded with seed heads and they were spilling all over the grass. Now we can't have them go to waste like that! So I collected a few of them to take home for winter sowing this coming January.
We kept going south from there, towards Greenville. Just after leaving the winery, we passed a very bad accident in which it appeared someone had run a stop sign. Marsha and I joined hands as we continued down the road and Marsha led the two of us in prayer for their well-being. They were going to need it.
Next stop was Bear's Mill, just east of Greenville. It was built in 1849 and is one of the last operating water-powered mills in Ohio. You can buy grain that has been stone-ground here. We didn't buy any flour or corn meal, but the gift shop had plenty of other things to tempt us.
Local potters and artisans have their work for sale here and I saw many things I could have put in a bag and taken home, if I'd had unlimited funds. There were pots for plants, original framed photographic prints, contemporary handmade jewelry, and various other unique items. Marsha and I both bought leather and pewter bracelets, which we put on and wore right away.
We usually go geocaching on our trips and we had many caches planned for today, but due to both of us having other things going on, we never made it to Greenville to do them. There was one here at the mill, however, and this was Marsha's third time trying to find it.
There's a path through the woods leading to a Vietnam War Memorial. This path follows Greenville Creek and while beautiful and refreshing today, it must be gorgeous in the spring, because I saw little markers where wildflowers are located.
We spent about 15-20 minutes searching for it and Marsha finally came up with it. Usually when we cache together, if one of us finds it first, we let the other one find it on their own, but she was so excited to find it, she blurted it out. I didn't care though, and we decided it was a team effort anyway. I found all the places where it wasn't. That was my valuable contribution to the hunt.
By this time, we needed to start for home. We stopped at the Annie Oakley Historical Site we'd seen on our way down, because our curiosity got the better of us. It was a marker denoting the location of Annie Oakley's birthplace and childhood home. there's a large statue of her in downtown Greenville, and since we didn't get to there as we'd planned, we decided we'd just have to go back another day. Like we need an excuse to get together and have some fun . . .
Marsha, thank you so much for a wonderful day. You've actually helped make turning fifty FUN! Oh, and I forgot to tell you - I love your bracelet.