Monday, July 28, 2014

I'M TALKING ABOUT FOOD AGAIN

The Yard Man's aunt and uncle invited us to what she called a "garden picnic".  Aunt Carrie thus termed the meal because nearly all of the food she served came directly from their garden.  But I am giving it the title of "Old-fashioned Picnic" because that is just how it impressed itself upon me yesterday evening.



For one thing, the location of the picnic tables was under spreading linden trees that were estimated to be over a hundred-and-fifty years old. (In full disclosure, I helped with the estimate.)
 
For another thing, Aunt Carrie and Uncle Leo's house is less than a mile from a mile-wide river, and (think about it) the pleasant river breezes that wafted over the tables yesterday evening had been doing their job of summer air conditioning for...well...forever! (What could be more old-fashioned than that?!)

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Then, too, the delicacies offered were not fancy new recipes off the internet.  Carrie's been making her applesauce, pickles,  pickled beets and cucumber salad for decades (scores, even!)!


And, finally, even the desserts were long tried-and-true favorites!
Aunt Carrie made the terrific shoo-fly and blueberry pies.  Aunt Becky carried in the peach pies that brought cheers (they've been showing up at family meals for years and years!)  Add ice cream and hot fudge sauce, Reader Dear, you've got absolute (and definitely old-fashioned) yumminess!

Okay, I rest my case.
Just like I rested my paper plate in my lap and relished that good Old-fashioned Picnic food!
......

(I'll try to refrain from talk of food for the next little while, Reader Dear.)

…...
Just look at Aunt Carrie's flowers!

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

I'D LIKE TO GO TO SOMETHING

called Family Farm Days," announced The Yard Man this morning.
"Shall we?"
As you may soon correctly surmise, Viewer Dear,
we did!
And, oh, the signs and wonders at Family Farm Days!
Take a look:

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Take a look at this sign!




Fresh-cut french fries.  The sign may not have been so impressive, but the fries sure were!














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Due to my diligent photo-shooting,  some of my comments are going to be obvious to the diligent viewer  (perhaps, in particular, the first one and the last one):

1.  This event was organized by persons of the Amish community.
2.   There were various seminars and presentations throughout the day.  They were held in nine areas, including these:  Keynote Tent, Homemaker's Tent, Gardener's Tent, Human Health and Nutrition Tent, and the Horse Arena.
3.  There were children's activities throughout the day.
4.  All food served was free to all comers.  That's right--all the delicious home-made foods and all drinks:  Walk right up and help oneself!  (Please leave a donation at one of the boxes scattered about for this purpose).
5.  (Did I already mention the food?  I can't begin to list all the foods from which one could choose!) .
All of it that I sampled (Hmm.  I had a pretty good sampling) was superior.
6.  The weather was fantastic. 
7.  Ditto for Family Farm Days.
…...

Friday, July 25, 2014

MY ROYAL HIGHNESS

"It's time to start treating me like royalty!" I told The Yard Man.
"Today I was crowned!"
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There was nothing off-the-shelf about my crown, Dear Reader.  It  was meticulously hand-crafted, custom-made!
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And there was nothing run-of-the-mill about my self-procurement of this video clip of the event, either.

"This is a first!" exclaimed the man who was preparing me royally for my crown.
"Why, I had dental work done  myself last week," the good doc said, "and I took a selfie while I was in the chair.  (You know, he explained, he had to put it on Facebook.)

But this!...Taking a  video!  No one's ever done this before!
This is great!  I'm going to have to tell my colleagues about this!"
He laughed delightedly.*

*Well, here's the thing, Reader Dear.  It makes me smile when I manage to make any of my subjects happy!**
......

**I just wish my royal
mouth didn't hurt so darn much!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

REPORTING ON A LACK OF

reporting by The Reporter (who appeared on behalf of the local newspaper to cover that reception attended by the mayor of the city and The Small Actor).

Following our activity at that wine-and-cheese-and-bread-and-beer-tasting event, The Yard Man and I were privileged to escort The  Small Actor across the street to the Tap Room, where we had supper.

To our good fortune, The Reporter was also able to join us at this restaurant (after stopping in at the Demuth gallery presentation)!

He did not, however, report on our meal together.

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A raging thunderstorm was going on throughout our dinner.  Also unreported!
Lastly, at the conclusion of our time together, there was a very delightful post-dinner piano concert by The Small Actor.  Can you believe it, Reader Dear, not a word of it reported to the paper!

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At any rate, The Yard Man and I, we had a fine evening!  Although these post-reception details were omitted from The Reporter's report, I'm still maintaining the local newspaper is fortunate to have him* on their team!

......
(*Oops, see here, my job of reporting has a gap, as well!  I guess I neglected to inform you---The Reporter is also known to some as  Only Son!)

.....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A WINE AND CHEESE


and bread and beer tasting party! Oh, the delightful benefits of hanging out with The Yard Man (aka The Cheese Man at this event)!  I got to go along and assist with the setting up and toothpicking of Oasis cheese samples (a very easy job). 
videoI also got to do a lot of tasting.
(Er, also easy [One could also easily say it was fun!])


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This event was arranged by Tim Carr (Carr's Restaurant*) and was held at the Lancaster Hotel,* in advance of a function at the Demuth Gallery.* (If I'm not mistaken, several Charles Demuth paintings were to be donated by Eric Demuth* [a great-grand-nephew of Charles, he told me]. He's the friendly guy who is giving out samples of three of his California wines (ah, Reader Dear, the pinot noir had me wishing for samples-gone-wild!)]). 



....
*classy restaurant in the city
*classy hotel in the city
*classy gallery in the city
......
This event had class, Reader Dear!
V.I.P.s attending included such dignitaries as the Mayor of Lancaster and The Small Actor (ahem, explanation later).





...to continue...

Monday, July 21, 2014

DEAR ME, DEAR ME, TIME TO STOP

this evening-after-evening eating of ice cream! 
(I've been looking for a  place to hide the bathroom scales).

Saturday night:
We got a call, "Wanna go get some ice cream with us?"
(not the Wednesday night friends)



Another lovely evening of
friendship and ice cream!
..…
Sunday night:
There's the Sunday night concert, as usual.

(Don't know the meaning of CFC.  Wondering if it might stand for "Count your Frickin' Calories!"
[Is it possible you know, Reader Dear?!  (even if you don't)
Please tell!)])!


There's the ice cream truck, as usual. (It's the one, of course, with the super-long line).
There's me with a cone,
(Uh, er) as usual!
......



Saturday, July 19, 2014

LEFTOVER FIREWORKS

Last Saturday night The Yard Man and I ate corn-on-the-cob on the porch.  It was late in the evening, and it was already dark by the time we finished.  But I could still see that there was a buttery mess on the floor!  I'll have to admit, Reader Dear, I was very tempted to shrug my shoulders.  But I got out the hose and was in the process of hosing off the porch, making things tidy.  All of a sudden, congratulatory fireworks exploded nearby!
  
videoWow.  I felt so rewarded for doing the right thing!
Well, and then tonight, I haven't done
a lick of work since it got dark.
There are fireworks bursting in air
once again!
......

Friday, July 18, 2014

HMM. I DIDN'T EXPECT



quite such speedy results!
As  I pondered yesterday...If I were to scream, would I get to eat ice cream again with my friends?*

I screamed.



And, AHA!

"Come on in to the city** and enjoy Music Friday with  us," I said to the very same ice-cream-eating friends of Wednesday evening.

They did.

And the rest, as they say, is history.
(We've got some pretty historical spots in this city of ours!)

(Directly across the street from the ice cream shop [where we happened to find ice cream] is the Fulton Theater.  Just the other week,  Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain were preforming here [well, actually, it's been quite some time ago, many weeks]!)

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Similar to Wednesday evening, the four of us  listened to music together (from numerous sidewalk musicians).  And, then, how surprising...we also ate ice cream together!




 *So I suppose the answer would be YES.


......
**(On my way into the city, I stopped off to do a little breaking and entering. But, far be it from me to bore you with details....[if my butt hanging out of a window makes you curious, consider it a plain and simple bribe for comments, Reader Dear!])

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM,


We all scream for ice cream!

Actually, no yelling or lifting of voices was needed.
"Do you want to go to Mount Gretna with us, and get some dessert?" our friends inquired of The Yard Man and me.

As to our response, you can pretty well put two and two together, Viewer Dear, and get three desserts! 

It was Wednesday evening (last night) and the weather was superb! As for the ice cream...ah, the ice scream...just look, Viewer Dear!  This flaming concoction* was eaten by The Yard Man (it's Baked Alaska).

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One of our friends split the Strawberry-Shortcakey-Doughnutty-Ice-Cream-Swoon-Worthy dessert with me**.  The third dessert was not very impressive (it was in a glass) but it was exactly what that other friend wanted!

(Here's a guy [just a stranger] who was also enthralled by his ice cream delight***)








Okay, now, as fantastic as those desserts turned out to be, they were not the highlight of our evening.  (Well, I can only speak for myself.  So, be forewarned) I'm only speaking for myself:  

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The high point of my evening was the Bullfrog Serenade!

The four of us strolled down to the lake in the gloaming and sat on a tiny bench for this unannounced performance.  (So surprising!  Frogs [did you know?!] are musicians!)
It was magnificent! 
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Most of the numbers sounded awfully similar. But, even so, I hated to leave before the creatures were finished with the concert.****
......

*Although on rare occasions he seems to be a fire-breathing dragon, The Yard Man did not eat that flame.
**Not it's official name.
***Perhaps he's got a blog. He seemed to be pleased by being photographed photographing his dessert.  He took a photo of me photographing him photographing.
****The other three members of the party wanted to stroll around the town.  We did.  I really enjoyed that, too!

All in all, the entire evening was a pretty sweet treat!*
If it takes a good scream to get more of this stuff--hold your ears, Reader Dear. I feel a good scream coming!
......



(*Thanks, friends!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Storm

It was big news in the county, if not the whole eastern seaboard  (Last Thursday [Sigh. This news is old (Seriously, Reader Dear, you know you do not come for current news!)])

But I was only aware of it later, after I'd heard the reports of roofs ripped off, downed trees, power outages, and other nasty damage.  
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What was surprising was the speed at which it departed, leaving a stunning sky behind!*
*I missed the rainbow.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

wedding.*

The Yard Man and I drive through this covered bridge so often that I think of it as ours.  Each week, I'd say we traverse it about forty times.  Or possibly sixty times  (I'm trying to calculate each of our trips--our trips together, our trips going out, and our trips coming back)  Whatever the number, it's a lot.

This bride by the road, she's a first!


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......



*While I wished to hear that a ceremony was about to take place, the bride told us the wedding would begin an hour later at another venue.  This visit to the bridge was for photographs only. (So I took some photographs)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

AFTER THE SAVORY

home-cooked meals served to me earlier this week, now it was my turn to feed a group.  Fortunately, the group was of a manageable  size (the thought of more than a dozen around the table makes me long for smelling-salts [I mean, I've never actually had any experience with smelling salts [nor have I had any experience with cooking for that many people by myself] but you get the idea [I'm hoping] Reader Dear! )

I didn't have to give much thought to planning the menu.  The birthday meal menu was chosen by First Daughter and has endured through the ages (her ages):  Ham, green beans and potatoes.

It's certainly a great time of year for this menu. (How serendipitous that she showed up when she did!)

I added coleslaw and corn-on-the-cob.  First Son-in-Law added the wondrous cake and the homemade mojitos!  Mmmm.

Birthday Coleslaw:
1 Small head of cabbage
1 Small carrot
1/4 Cup chopped onion
…...
1/3 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Loosely chop the head of cabbage, carrot and onion.
Mix together ingredients for the dressing and stir to thoroughly blend.
Put vegetables into bowl of food processor, pour dressing over vegetables, and pulse until of desired consistency.*
*I had to divide ingredients into thirds, and do this three times, as my food processor would not hold everything at once.

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Reader Dear, I'm wishing many happy returns of the day to my dear First Daughter (and yes, of course, Happy Birthdays to you, too [whenever they may occur]!)





......


Saturday, July 12, 2014

CARLA AND ERHARD

were overnight guests of The Yard Man and me last night.  These two were part of the German group who came to the U.S. for the same horse event The Yard Man attended last week. 

Carla and Erhard have traveled to this event when it was held in previous years, and we learned to know them and have a great time visiting with them.  Erhard publishes a German magazine, Starke Pferde,  that focuses on draft horses and draft horse equipment, and Carla raises sheep and oversees the butchering and sale of the meat.  She told me that she currently has approximately 100 sheep.  Later she revised this figure to 250 (I almost fell off my chair!  Reader Dear, that's a lot of ovine, wouldn't you agree?)

Now, when I can get around to it,  I'm going to tell you three things I learned from Carla and Erhard regarding German customs.

Right now I've got to go back in time and take you with me to the state (wine and liquor) store, Dear Reader.  "We will be entertaining guests from Germany," I explained to a store employee.  "Can you help me find a good dry red, and also a German wine?"

"I'm just the one to ask!"  he crowed.  "I grew up in Germany myself!"  He briskly led me back through the aisles, and then he pointed to several green bottles on a lower shelf.  "This is Maywine," he said.  "This is made in Germany, but only in May. They only produce it, only drink it in May! This one you should get.  This will be a good one!"
I bought a bottle.



.
Okay...

now it's a lovely evening, and The Yard Man and I are sitting on the deck with our guests.  We are drinking the Maywine as the full moon rises over Erhard's shoulder. 

Erhard has inspected the label on the bottle, and verified that Germans drink this wine on May Day.  It is when they have celebrations. It is when they have the May tree ("We call it a pole," I say).  He tells us, in fact, that the custom of celebrating May Day originated in Germany.

("Ha.  I didn't know that! As a twelve-year-old, I got to dance around the May Pole at school, along with seven other girls." I tell Erhard and Carla.  "I wore a mint-green skirt, and carried a mint-green streamer. I felt so special, and it was fun; but I didn't know I had Germany to thank!")

1. Erhard further explains that there is a May Day custom in Germany whereby a young man, if he has a lady-love, will bring a small birch tree and secretly place it on the roof of the house where she lives. (Oh, I do so hope that  I am relaying these details correctly. Please forgive me if you know it to be otherwise, Reader Dear!  I urged Erhard himself to tell it to the camera, but he was afraid everyone would laugh [we laughed, though his English is excellent!])

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2.  In the morning, our guests were somewhat pressed for time,  as they needed to pick up their fellow travelers at other locations, and ultimately catch their flight back to Germany.  We served them cereal and fresh blueberries for breakfast, and Carla added oatmeal flakes she had carried with her.  It was simply raw rolled oats.
  "What?" I asked.  "You eat your oatmeal uncooked?"
  "Yes," she responded. "This is how we Germans eat it.  We are not accustomed to cooking our oats."
  "Strange," I said.  What I meant by that was 'fascinating'! (I ate some raw oats.  "Not bad," I said.  "I could eat them.")

3.  "Not bad" is a compliment in Germany.  So is, "I can eat it."
These facts Erhard told me when eating at Melvin and Esther's house.  The German language is not romantic, he said.  They state things simply as they are, don't go overboard with words like fantastic, terrific!*  I tried to explain, between fits of laughter, how hostesses in this country would react to this kind of compliment.


...
*(When Melvin heard this discussion, he mused on the fact that Amish use a similar type of speech.  He was searching for words to describe it, and I suggested that their speech is not flowery.  "Exactly!" he exclaimed.  "That is a very good way to describe it!  We do not use 'flowery' speech." 
He said to me, "That is a very good word--'flowery'!  I will be using that word again!"   [He seemed very pleased by the word.  It seemed to me, he could have easily slipped into floweriness in his delight over 'flowery'!])

Friday, July 11, 2014

BEFORE WE HEAD OUT


for another Amish meal, Dear Reader... 
I've got to show you a quick snippet of my morning (yesterday).  It was spent with two of my actors.
"Do you want to go to the mall?!" was The Little Actor's eager invitation via the phone.
And, shortly after, I joined him and The Tiny Actor at this spot that's custom-made for people of their size!
Furthermore, there are marvelous small plastic toys and doodads that can be won in the nearby arcade (also for folks of their size), and then shared with quickly-made friends.  (These friends may be yearning to take a turn at that great little "popper," the one that must be turned inside-out and then produces shrieks of delight as it thrillingly flies into the air!)


Believe me, it was a poppin' good morning, Reader Dear!
......
The evening was pretty fine, as well.  The Yard Man and I met the German group at Melvin and Esther's house.  Melvin and his son were cooking corn-on-the-cob in a wood-fire-powered outdoor cooker.  Esther and her daughters were in the kitchen, putting the final touches on the rest of the meal.

It was yet another evening of fantastic weather,
and the meal was served outdoors.
Once again, we enjoyed delicious food, but all I've got to show you this time, Viewer Dear, is a box of debris (I was busy helping to carry dishes to the table, and then I was busy helping to eat from the dishes!)

After visiting around the tables for a while, all of us guests walked around the property, a showcase of meticulously cared-for gardens and lawns.  Melvin led the equine-interested party up the hill behind the retaining wall, to where his Belgian horses were pastured.


From this spot at the top of the hill, we had a sweeping view of fields and farmlands.  As the evening wore on, we also had a majestic view of an approaching thunderstorm.*

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*Heading home, The Yard Man and I, we got to drive through the pouring rain.

.....