By: PenPower | November 10, 2016

Is Old Man Winter asleep at the wheel? You’d never guess that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. The warm weather and James, the infamous Viking Gardener here at Ravens Ridge, have kept us in the green, growing beautiful organic lettuce, arugula, Kale, mustard greens and even tomatoes! Lucky for you, he will be at this season’s last Wine Country Market on Sunday, November 13th at the Trail Smokehouse.

This fun, stress free, open air shopping experience offers local food, crafts, artisans and gifts. You will find everything you need and then some for your Thanksgiving feast (minus a turkey) including green beans and sweet potatoes.

My good friend Trish Perkins will be there offering her incredible sauces, salsas and jams, perfect for party apps (pictured here with my favorite new chips), stocking stuffers, or hostess gifts. 

Before or after, don’t forget to check out the Trail Smokehouse, serving some pretty tasty BBQ and southern classic dishes. Their beautiful patio is the perfect spot to relax, listen to live music and sip on a beverage or an adult libation, beer, bourbon or wine.

Judith Hennessey

November 10, 2016

By: PenPower | May 18, 2016

I’m relieved to learn that I haven’t lost my Viking Gardener to the degradation of – well lets just say – adults only entertainment (please refer to previous post – Who is This Masked Viking?). I’m sure James's lovely wife, Michelle, the mother of his child, had something to do to with him staying on track. Or perhaps it’s just him answering his calling – or one of his callings - to the farm at Ravens Ridge.  


Kale Man has been busy in the garden, planting, wedding - I mean weeding – and now harvesting the cool weather crops that have somehow managed to escape the crazy unpredictable Missouri torrential rains, death-defying hail, and tornados. Seriously, you need to be a Viking Gardner just to survive our up-and-down temps and straight-in-line winds that make me feel like I’m Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Mother Nature flexed her muscles at the Creve Coeur Farmers' Market last Saturday - the first market of the season. The die-hard growers that showed up were busy, all right, but not with customers. James reported tents collapsing and bags bouncing across the parking lot like tumble weeds. It wasn’t a tough call to forget about putting up a sign as most of them were flying off in the wind like kites.

The customers were few and far between. Business-wise, it was a blowout but not the good kind. Heart heavy from defeat, the Viking Gardener loaded up his baskets of lettuce, spinach, radishes, and of course kale, and headed home. Lets pray for better luck and better weather next week!

Judith Hennessey, May 2016

By: PenPower | May 11, 2016

This is the Viking Gardener, my fearless and very strong gardening partner at Raven’s Ridge! For real! When he’s not protecting his clan, swinging his hatchets, chopping off heads (he participates in pretty ferocious reenactments) you will find him peacefully walking behind his tiller or gently planting seeds in beautiful Mother Earth.


Ok – get your mind out of the dirt! I think you understand what I mean.His name is James Miller, now aka Kale Man, since my husband and I had him show up at a bachelorette party my stepdaughter Mia was throwing for her BFF, Christiana Horn. You can only imagine James walking up to the house, in full chain armor, helmet, sword in one hand and a bag of ? in the other. The shocked and somewhat scared posse of young women had NO IDEA what was going on. Friend, foe or stripper?

James is always a good sport – let’s face it, he loved the attention of a group of gorgeous women - played along as the stripper. He swung his sword (no – he was still in his armor) and announced that he would bless the upcoming nuptials by carrying Christiana off to his tent. The tiny bride to be had big, terrified eyes, clearly ready to run for the hills. A few of her friends did leave, I’m not kidding. So James fessed up and told them he was just there to deliver the kale for their Caesar salad. 

A good laugh was had by all. The girls poured him a few beers in his horn stein (stop it – no pun intended) as he entertained them with a few not-so-tame Viking stories, creating a life-long memory for Christiana and the wedding clan! Congratulations and Best Wishes to Christiana and fiancé, Riley!!

FYI – You can meet Kale Man May 14th at the Creve Coeur Farmers Market (see Facebook for more info). I can’t promise that he’ll be in his infamous armor, but I guarantee he will have beautiful, organic veggies! Look for Miller’s Organics at Ravens Ridge!

Ali Cantino, Mia Hennessey, Alex Bryan, Jennifer Nolan, Christiana Horn, Kaitlin Wagner, Casi Stewart, Abby Millman, Louise Bush, and Sarah Tonkin