I'm sure you already know yesterday was the Chillicothe Social Societies 9th Annual Chili Fest. I mean...really...where else would someone living in our area have been after the Farmer's Market finished? Great food...great friends to visit with...and just an overall great time! Did I mention there was food? If that doesn't get your motor running to attend next year, there was beer, too. Not only that, it was a great way to give money to Rock For Tots, the fantastic organization the Social Society donated proceeds to.
Over there on the right is my friend, Lora Andersen and her husband, Kris. Oh come on now, whether you went to the Chili Fest or not you need to give them a big 'ole wave. They worked hard to provide the masses with Katie's Sunshine Chili, a wonderful chili I wouldn't mind making for my own family (yeah, there's a bit of a hint there, Lora). Lora is also the mastermind behind a wonderful group I belong to, Chillicothe Bucket List Buddies. In fact, she made her wonderful chili so our group could participate in the event. She and Kris were over at the Chili Fest bright and early to set up all the necessities Lora needed to chop, barbecue, and stir her chili into the great chili it was. Kelli Yeager was also there with them to help with the set-up of it all. I must say, kudos to Kelli for the great job she did setting up our tables. They looked wonderful! Lora had until noon to have her chili cooked and ready for everyone to start taste testing. When I got there after the Farmer's Market, my friends Felicia Carey (her daughter) and Susan Hardbarger were already there. Felicia helped Lora and Kris ready the chili for sampling while Susan and I manned the baked sale and drinks table. We were all busy and having fun!
Of course, the only other thing to do while there was take turns sampling chili! I don't know how many groups were there, but I'd say at least a good 20 of them. There was everything from where's the flavor chili to knock your socks off hot chili. There was chunky chili and watery chili. If you wanted chili, that was the place to be. All in all, it was a sampler's feast! Now I must say, and you'll think I'm bias, but I really liked Lora's chili. It was just what I'm looking for in a chili. There were others there I also liked, but if I could serve up a big 'ole bowl of it for myself instead of a small cup, I'd be filling my bowl with hers. I didn't get a chance to taste them all, but there was chili for everyone. I must say, there was one that was so hot I had to go back to the bake sale and take a break until I could feel the lower half of my face again. There were a few that numbed my lips, but one in particular had my esophagus crying. It's all good, though. I made such a nice donation to the Chillicothe Wine Taster's club (all their proceeds went to Rock for Tots) for a glass of wine that they told me to go back for seconds.
Now you're wondering what the Chillicothe Bucket List Buddies is. Well, let me explain...it's like that Bucket List movie a few years back. Everyone has at least something they'd like to do and may not want to do it by themselves, or may just need a little support to do it. That's what we do. Join in on an activity someone wants to do...or at least support them as best we can. For example, if you wanted to skydive out of an airplane or do that base jumping stuff, I'd fully support you...from the ground. I'm positive there's at least a few in the group that would be right beside you on the jump, but my feet would be on the ground as long distance support. Some of the CBLBs have gone to an Aerosmith concert and we've had a yard sale to raise some money for our trips. The group has talked about a trip to Costa Rica, participating in a handgun concealed weapon class, and having a clairvoyant do the woogie-woogie talk at Lora's to see what's up with that ghost that insists on smoking at her house. I've smelled it. I want to know, too. I may live vicariously through others a lot being as we have farm animals that need caring for and I homeschool the kids, but there are lots of things I can also participate in and can't wait to do! Besides, you'll even get a Rosie the Riveter shirt and you know, if she can do it, We Can Do It!
So, there you have it folks. It's Sunday so I've recovered from my chili tasting experience. It was a fantastic afternoon for it. I was full on chili samples, baked goods, and friendship. If you didn't get a chance to attend the Chili Fest yesterday, give it a go next year...and if you'd like to join in on the activities with the Chillicothe Bucket List Buddies, just give a holler and we'll get you going. Besides, we come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ready to be there when you need us. Kind of like the support hose you're always looking for but can't find. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
It's been a wonderfully busy day, and I have a couple of stories to tell, but I'm going to start with this one and give the other tomorrow. Besides, patience is a virtue. Not one I particularly enjoy all the time, but I'm sure you'll be okay in waiting a bit.
See that boy over there? Yup, that's right. That's my friend Little Yoder. He and his dad, David, were at the Chillicothe Farmer's Market today. I must admit, Little Yoder is one of the nicest kids I've ever met and he truly makes a Farmer's Market day brighter.
This morning when I turned around Little Yoder was standing on top of the horse trailer they use to get their greenhouse goodies to the market in. I asked David if I could take his picture and when he said that'd be fine, I yelled up there, "Stay right there!" I had a plan. I wanted to get a silhouette of him with that sun in the background. As I grabbed my camera and started getting a few pictures, the woman that had set up next to Yoder's Greenhouse saw what we were doing and I think she freaked a bit. Ok, I don't think she did, I know she did. As I was saying stay up there like that she was wanting him to get down. Being as this was her first time at the Market what she didn't know is Little Yoder can be found sitting up there, standing up there, and laying up there. It's a boys birds eye view of the world around. If I could have hoisted myself up there without looking too foolish I'd have done the same. When he's not up there, he's helping carry goods folks have bought to their cars and visiting with other Market members. He can be quite a hard worker!
Next weekend they won't be at the Farmer's Market. Either will I, by the way. You see, next Saturday is Yoder's Greenhouse 5th Annual Appreciation Day. It's also their Salt Creek School benefit. That means you'll not only have a great time, you'll be helping out a great school, too. They have this event in the spring and the fall and I highly suggest whether you're looking for something to do or not you go take a visit. Their greenhouse will be open and they'll have beautiful fall flowers like asters and chrysanthemums. Yes, if you're wondering if I spelled chrysanthemum right, I did. Spell checked it just to make sure. And for those of you that think you're not familiar with them, they're "mums." Now that that's settled, they'll also have straw bales (they had these cute mini ones at the Market today, by the way), gourds, and corn fodder. Oh, and my particular favorite...the food. Oh my goodness sakes, the grilled chicken dinner and multitude of desserts is wildly incredible! Trust me, I know. And while you're there they'll even have free homemade ice cream to fill in the cracks...but you can eat that beforehand if you want, I won't tell. When it's all said and done and you can't eat anymore you'll want to head on over to the horse-drawn hay ride to the pumpkin patch. I haven't even touched on the quilt raffle, the other raffle, and the deep fried pies. Oh...well, I suppose that's a dessert, but hey - they'll have deep fried pies, too! Lastly, I thought I'd mention I'll not only be there to support Yoder's Greenhouse and Salt Creek School, I'll be there when it starts at 9:00 a.m. spinning on my spinning wheel and will hang out until I can't spin any more or it gets dark. Hon and the kids will even be there for a while to enjoy all the happenings going on.
So, there you have it folks. Yoder's Greenhouse. Beautiful greenhouse items and a lovely family I enjoy spending some time with on Saturday mornings. You can find them on your way out to Tar Hollow State Park on Eagle Mill Road. Look for the signs and you'll find your way out there. Trust me, you'll be glad you took that drive! Smiling & Waving, Sharon
You may not know this about me, but I like sweets. Scratch that. I LOVE sweets!! I just can't help it. Cake, cookies, pudding...they're all good. My #1 favorite, next to my chocolate obsession, is pie. It doesn't really matter what flavor, or if it's a fruit or a custard type pie, I'm more than happy to cut myself a slice and dig in. Shoot, sometimes I'm even game for a good chicken pie...and I get meat and vegetables with that one, so there's an added bonus. Besides, I can get to the sweet pie afterwards.
Over there to the left is Ashley of Ashley's Confections. She's been a wonderful member of the Chillicothe Farmer's Market for years. That's her mom to her right, by the way. Don't forget to wave. It was cold out this morning so I don't blame Ashley a bit for having her hands in her pockets, but you're inside, so crank up those manners and give a little wave. They're both absolute sweethearts!
For the past four years I've been with the Market (and beyond that) Ashley has been baking and selling pies of all sorts there. Get this. They're $10. That's right...for $10 you can get one of the most delicious pies your taste buds have ever encountered. She doesn't just have apple pie either...she has caramel apple, too...and cherry and peach and blueberry...some has crumb top, some has this wonderful cream cheese stuff drizzled on top, and some even have both. Man oh man, my stomach is growling now! The types of pies she bakes are absolutely incredible!
I know, I know, you're thinking..."But Sharon, I can't get out there at 8:00 to get one before they're all gone..." To you who don't want to join us at the Market that early, I say, "No worries!" Ashley isn't there at 8:00 either. She rolls in a bit later because she's home finishing up baking those pies to get them to you. Sometimes when she gets there she's even got a few that are still warm. And...for those of you that get there and they're all gone, or are working the late shift and still sleeping but want to sink your teeth into a piece of Ashley's pie, you can take yourself down to the Carl's Townhouse (a most excellent diner) on 2nd St. in Chillicothe for a piece, too. So you see, where there's a will there's a way.
Now, before I go, the rest of this story is for my Dad's sake. You see, Dad likes (ahem, LOVES) pie, too. So did my Grandpa Shirk. Growing up when Dad or Grandpa had themselves a piece of pie they'd give the other one a call no matter where they were...Mexico, Canada, Florida, Michigan...no distance was too great to tease the other one about the pie they were eating. If Dad called Grandpa, when Grandpa answered the telephone and said, "Hello," all Dad would say is, "Mmmmmmmm!" That was it. It was like code for ha-ha-ha I have pie and you don't. I decided years ago to uphold the tradition. I make sure when I have a piece of pie I call Dad, no matter where he's at, and when he says, "Hello," I say, "Mmmmmmmmm!" I've even made sure that the tradition continues even further by getting the Kid involved. He's a pie lover, too, and it's tickles my silly to have him call his Grandpa Webb and give him the pie "Mmmmmmmm!" As a matter of fact, Kid is camping this weekend with Boy Scouts...I think I'm going to give Hon a call so he can pass the phone over to him so I can give him a big 'ole, "Mmmmmmm!" Sometimes cell phones are a wonderful thing!
So there you have it folks. Ashley's Confections. Pies. Mouth watering make your taste buds sing pies. I just finished myself a piece of Wild Blueberry pie with Cream Cheese Icing and it was incredible! Hey Dad, hope your ready for that telephone call because...here. It. Comes. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
"Hey Mom, what's for dinner?" I'm asked that question every day...in the morning...before school even starts. That question is the bane of my cooking existence. Don't get me wrong, I'm a good cook. I like to bake much better, but I'm a good cook. The problem is the finicky appetites around here. The good thing is tonight we're having tacos and everyone likes them in one way or another, whether it's on a soft shell, hard shell, or by crumbling up tortilla chips on a plate and dumping stuff on top. I make tacos once a week so there's at least one meal that will go unscathed.
When I make spaghetti Eldest won't eat the sauce, but will eat noodles with butter and cheese. Young'un will eat the sauce, and with the Kid it fluctuates and I have no idea until we sit down to eat. Because of the differences in sauce opinion, as much as I enjoy lasagna, it's a rare treat. I have a great recipe for homemade chicken tenders. Eldest and Kid like them, Young'un says they taste like fish. Young'un doesn't like fish. Or steak. Or hot dogs. Or meat of any kind according to him...but he doesn't eat vegetables either. Now you're wondering how he survives. Bribery. Pure and simple. I'm not above a big dose of bribery. If he wants dessert he has to eat so much of the meat and vegetables to get it, regardless of whether he thinks it tastes like fish. Some days fruit and vegetables are interchangeable around here.
There's one food they all agree on as big negative. Lamb. I know, your wondering how that worked out considering we raise them, but I chalk it up to our kids having very strange taste buds. When I make hamburgers they're skeptical, thinking they'll take a bite and find out that they're lambburgers instead (no, they still do not know they actually ate goat burgers earlier in the summer and you're not to tell them either). Hon grilled marinated lamb chops a few nights ago, which were very tasty, and they still fussed and moaned. Not one child ate dessert that night. Hon and I enjoyed it, though. Nothing like enjoying a yummy homemade pumpkin pie from Mrs. Yoder (not a dump the can of pumpkin in the shell kind, either) with a healthy dose of whipped cream on top.
I saw on The Pioneer Woman's website earlier this week that a new child oriented cookbook titled "Weeelicious" by Catherine McCord is coming out. Maybe it already is now. Who knows. What I do know is next time I'm in the area of a bookstore I'm going to make it a point to stop in and check it out. Maybe I'll find something else to add to the food repertoire that everyone enjoys because.....Young'un doesn't like the pizza but will tolerate it with sausage and Eldest will only eat pepperoni, Eldest doesn't like Chinese food but Kid and Young'un do, Eldest will only eat raw carrots, Kid hates them raw....
So, there you have it folks. My sorry food plight. On a positive note, the one thing everyone does enjoy is breakfast for dinner and although Kid likes burnt bacon and Young'un wants it floppy, everyone likes mild sausage. That's life on the farm...or as my dad would say, "Life in the swamp." Smiling & Waving, Sharon
Now that you've read the title of this story, you're thinking I spent my time daydreaming...or running around the field catching wool that had been blowing around in the wind again...but alas, you're wrong. I know, sometimes it's hard to admit, but I've learned I'm wrong lots of times and it's okay to admit it when I really want to.
Months ago I reserved this past weekend on the calendar for a day to myself to go visit A Wool Gathering festival at Young's Dairy in Yellow Springs. The calendar is an important tool around here so everyone knows when the rare occasion comes up for me to do something sans family. I've tried to go with the family, but quite honestly, they just don't understand the excitement I feel when I immerse myself in yarn, roving, loose fibers, and other fiber artist goodies. Instead, they indulge me for about 10 minutes and then decide it's time to race through the festivities and then go play miniature golf and eat ice cream. Basically, we're not on the same page...except for the ice cream part.
Saturday morning my friend Cassie from knitting class, and her husband Dana, picked me up and we made our way over to Yellow Springs. I was so happy to go with them because being the crocheters, knitters, weavers and beginning spinners that they are, they understand my need to go and take part in some fiber immersion. I was also excited about finally meeting some of my friends from the Namaste Farms group on a website called Ravelry. We message each other back and forth about things, but there's nothing like finally putting a name to a face. That is important to me because I have a very vivid imagination and usually what I think a person looks like, even if I can squint to see their little avatar, is nothing like they actually look.
Even with all of the fibery goodness scattered throughout four tents, the best part was going with friends and meeting others in person...finally. Up there is a picture of me with some of my Namaste Farms Ravelry group friends. There's me on the left, then with that totally rocking leopard print hat is pixieduncan, and on the right is beccasmom01. Sitting down is Pixie's mom, mimi10knitter. She reminds me of the glue that holds us together, sort of tries to keep us in line, but then can't help but join in. Pixie is a carpenter...not to mention a very cool lady. She's got a start-up business going where she's making hand combs and is working on a spinning wheel prototype. Basically, her woodworking skills are much better than my using a hammer to put up curtain rods. I can attest that her combs are primo A-1 and I feel privileged to have some here. Becasmom is such a wonderful woman and I so enjoyed meeting her. She's so nice and friendly, but also level headed and reminds me of someone that will work hard and go after what she wants and dreams for. Another Ravelry friend, henpecker2, was there, but she escaped before the picture was taken. She's another fabulous friend who has a neat fiber flock and I hope to spend more time with in the future. All in all it was a fantastic day.
So, there you have it folks. I spent time with wonderful friends, got to touch and smell (yes, I do that) all sorts of fibers, and even bought some roving and other goodies just for me to play around with and make something fabulous. Oh, and of course, I ate. What's a festival of any kind without food, hmmmm? I tried fried cheese curds, which I'm still on the fence about, and homemade potato chips. I ate a pulled pork sandwich, that was yummy, but some coleslaw on top would have made it over the top, and of course the ice cream. It was a wonderful day and I'm already looking forward to A Wool Gathering next October. Maybe I'll see you there. Sm
This foggy morning as I was standing outside on the patio with Kid and Young'un waiting for the school bus (yes, in my pj's), Kid saw this massive spider web. He got a stick and was going to lob it through, but then I said, "STOP!" Both he and Young'un turned around and looked at me like I had lost my mind, but I told them to leave it alone because it was eating. To me, spiders are are creepy but they do serve the purpose of ridding us of insects...and providing birds with a crunchy source of protein.
Thinking back on my years of schooling and year of teaching high school science at a residential treatment facility for boys, I can tell you that spiders are NOT insects. Sure, they look like the should be, but they're arachnids (that's pronounced araknids) - like creepy blood sucking ticks and scorpions. So, here's your ever so brief spider vs. insect education of the day - spiders have 8 legs, insects have 6. Also, spiders don't have antennae (that's plural for antenna) and their bodies have two segments, whereas an insect has three. See, I do retain some stuff. Anywhoo, spiders secrete different kinds of silk from their spinnerets, which just happen to be located at their behind. Some is sticky, some isn't. Of course, when I walk through one they all seem sticky to me.
This morning I decided to share my fascination with spiderwebs. That's because they are dripping wet from the heavy fog so I can see them all. Of course, I still walked through at least a dozen, but that's because I was focused on other things, like trying to get Rain in her stall to eat instead of running around the field, along with generally not paying attention to where they're at. There were webs of all sizes to be seen. I was able to avoid the two man-sized ones that reminded me of some particularly scary movie scenes. If you've never stopped to really take a look at the spiderwebs, give it a go. Spring and fall days when it's foggy or there's a heavy dew are perfect for it.
So, there you have it folks. Spiderwebs galore out there this morning. I took a bazillion pictures of them and made a slide show of a few short of the bazillion on the home page. If you'd like to check them out, click on the "home" section up there at the top left of the page and you'll be whisked over there lickety split. Have a wonderful Wednesday, be careful driving in that fog if you're going out in it, and I'll catch up with you later. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
The first and foremost thing on my mind on this Memorial Day is to thank all of the men and women in our United States Armed Forces who gave up their lives for not only our freedom, but the freedom of others around the world. I would also like to thank everyone who is currently serving. May you be safe wherever you are and may you come back to us safe. Our family appreciates all of the sacrifices made by the people that make up our Armed Forces every single day.
Today is the day people all over the country celebrate not only the men and woman who have died serving our country, but it's also a day of BBQ's, the last horray for many swimming pools, and for many children, the last day of summer vacation. In our neck of the woods it is also a rainy day. Am I upset? No, not at all. I am absolutely ecstatic over the rain! We got a paltry rain shower out of the stuff that blew through a few nights ago, but I was happy with it because at this point anything wet from the sky is much appreciated. Before that there was a bit of rain that brought the grass back in August, and looking back even further...nada since May. We've had a slow steady rain since about 4:00 a.m. If it wouldn't look so weird and be embarrassing to the kids, I'd be out there twirling around in a dress and apron while singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music...," just like Julie Andrews. Okay, so my voice doesn't compare, but you get the idea.
Instead I am preparing for an indoor BBQ. I got up early and had the macaroni salad made by 7:00 and it's chilling comfortably in the refrigerator. I've also made six apple tarts and a blueberry cobbler. I decided to go for the cobbler and use the smidgen of blueberries I had left from the pancakes I made for breakfast yesterday. Hon has made some stuffed peppers, too. For our kids, the cousins, and anyone else who wants something else for dessert, we'll have ice cream sundae fixings. We are going to have a yummy tummy filling time...even if it will be indoors. As far as I'm concerned, it can rain like this all day. It can rain like this through 'til Tuesday even. I think I heard the trees crying with relief earlier.
So there you have it folks, a gloriously wet Memorial Day. We're going to celebrate it with an indoor BBQ, complete with all the BBQ fixings. I'll worry about exercising with that Jillian Michaels gut busting tape tomorrow. In the meantime, happy Memorial Day and happy eating! Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I'm the queen of our farm, although the animals wouldn't agree. My title is Head Chicken Wrangler, but most days I'm just called Mom. Life on a farm is full of family and hard work and I wouldn't have it any other way.