Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God's Reward for Working Outside

August 16th - Tuesday - Beautiful Sunny Day

Today was a wonderful day to work outside and I took full advantage of it this afternoon.

As long as we have had such a dry summer I am getting my flower beds ready for fall early, and today while I was working in the flower bed the furthest from the house and while I was working I trimmed the butterfly bush and these butterflies were feasting on the bushes while I was trimming. Of course, we all recognize the Monarch and the black one is the
White Admiral. He really shows up on the White butterfly bush. Thought you might like to take a look at them.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day to be outside, so plan on doing just that.

We enjoyed the fruits of our labor tonight for dinner, fresh tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and green peppers. Tomorrow night I am going to fix stuffed peppers, and dinner will have to be early as we have square dancing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

SMART Muster - Sills Family Camp Ground

August 15th - Monday - Rainy

We have just returned from a weekend in Southern Pennsylvania at a SMART Muster. This is the first one that Lou and I have been able to attend. This was held at Sill's Family Campground which is located near Ephrata, PA. I always enjoy this trip as this is familiar territory to me. My aunt and uncle lived in Ephrata and as a child we visited them often and I always enjoyed the country and and the Pennsylvania Dutch.

It was good to touch base with the other SMART members, many we had not seen since last October when we met at this same location. We have two members that live here year round and they open up there home to all of us. This year we were all able to camp near their home and enjoyed their back yard each evening for a campfire and listening to "war" stories and the happenings of the past year.

Our hosts, June and Steve along with Joan and Bill provided us with a welcoming dinner on Thursday night and Friday evening we all met at 4:30 and drove to a local restaurant for dinner. I chose liver and onions and the portions were huge, many of us carried home boxes to be enjoyed later. Friday was Lou's birthday, so as we gathered by the campfire, we celebrated his birthday by enjoying his favorite cake, German Chocolate. The group gave him a card that they had all signed that even included a dog, as Estee is always along as one of the group. Lou is the one remaining charter member of our group.

On Friday, some of the members that didn't come to camp drove down to spend the day with us, one was Fred Winner and his wife Joyce, Fred is the wood carver and he brought some of his more recent projects. The Goldfinch is one of the birds that he had entered into competition and had won a blue ribbon on, if you could see the detail you could understand why. The other thing he has been carving is golf balls. He does them often for golf tournaments. We all thought they were rather interesting.

Saturday was a free day and we relaxed and chatted with different folks and decided after lunch to go for a ride. We ended up doing some Christmas shopping for the great-grandchildren. Arriving back to the Clubhouse in time for our scheduled Pizza party and a down pour of rain, which continued throughout most of the evening.

Janet and Brion drove out from Camp Hill later in the evening to bring Lou his birthday card, which was really cute with a flying airplane with an attached "happy birthday" greeting and his present. They also brought along fresh produce from their very prolific garden. It is always good to chat with them. They had finally gotten a weekend away from their many duties and spent some time at the beach.

We awoke Sunday morning to wet ground, but no flooding as many places had. We all quickly broke camp and we were on the road for home by 10:00 and arrived home around 4:00 yesterday afternoon.

We have many camping opportunities coming up. Square dancing campout is next, then another SMART muster, and back to Ives Run with friends the end of September into October. The RV goes back to Camping World the 30th of August for repairs, but still not the bed, the saga of the bed continues!!!

Now we are going to work outside and get things done there, have a fence to get scrapped and painted, bushes to get trimmed, house to get washed down, windows to wash, cause you know what winter is coming......

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bus Trip- South Shore Wine Company and Mazza Vineyards - Riverside Inn Dinner Theatre

August 7th Sunny Day - Perfect day for a bus trip

Our day started early - Lou and I boarded the bus at 6:15 am and departed on our journey. Our first stop was at Chat-a-While Restaurant in Bath, NY where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. Many of us chose the breakfast buffet that included my favorite, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. After we had eaten our full we were back on the bus.

As our journey continued, many played bus bingo to pass the time and later we enjoyed a DVD of the Christian comedian Ken Davis until we arrived at the first winery.

The first winery was South Shore Wine Company which is owned by the Mazza Family and is located in North East, PA. It was originally established in 1864 by grape growing pioneers William Griffith and Smith S. Hammond. The breathtaking stone wine cellar, now home to the newly re-established sister winery of Mazza Vineyards, stands testimony to the beginnings of the now flourishing grape and wine industry in Erie County. The winery had been closed during Prohibition and then purchased by a gentleman from Pittsburgh who transformed the upstairs space into a popular restaurant, inn and ballroom which remained in operation for nearly a century.

We were able to taste a new and unique selection of wines while taking in the grandeur and silent history hidden within the original stone walls, whose architecture was inspired by the wine cellars of France.

We were even allowed to taste their exclusive Ice Wine Vidal Blanc, which was by far the best wine we had ever tasted, but at $42.95 per bottle we didn't buy that one, even though it did come in a beautiful blue bottle. This wine is made from grapes that are purposely covered with netting and left on the vines to be frozen by Mother Nature to 17 degrees and before the sun hits the grapes they are hand harvested and then processed into wine, hence the price for the wine.

After making purchases and thanking our hostesses we were back on the bus and going a few miles up the road to the next winery. This is owned by the same family and called Mazza Vineyards. This is located along East Lake Road where we traveled mile after mile seeing rows of French hybrid and native American vines. It is from these vineyards that the wine grape varieties come.

At this winery we get to see the crushing and pressing machines, along with the fermentation tanks. Of course, being the wrong time of the year, we can't see the bottling process. Once again, we taste more wine. Here we sample Niagara, Vineyard Country Red, Bare Bones White, which is a specialty. Lou and I ask to sample an apple that we saw advertised and they were so pleased we were aware of it and asked it we wanted it warmed or chilled, so we asked to each. I was thinking about fall coming and baked apples and such. We both found it delightful and purchased two bottles.

At the conclusion of our tour we were back on the bus and on to Riverside Inn Dinner Theatre, where we would have dinner and see Honky Tonk Angels. homeThis is located in Cambridge Springs, PA
I don't know how many rooms this Inn has, I know Lou and I walked the halls of three floors and I don't know when I have seen so many antique beds, dressers and the like. The downstairs were just full of antiques, it was the end to a perfect day.

Our dinner was in the Theatre and we had our choice of Peach Chicken, Catfish or Salisbury Steak. All remarked on good their food was, after we finished our dinner, the show began and it was really good. These three girls gave a great performance, singing the old country songs that us older folks enjoy and they could "belt" out the music.

All in all it was a wonderful day, our hostess, Maria made sure all of our needs were met at every occasion and we arrived home safely and our bus driver Dave, even got us home prior to our scheduled time of arrival, what more could we ask for.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Green Fried Tomatoes and Such

August 6th - Saturday - Rain !!!

We are finally receiving some much needed rain. Lou and I have taken advantage of not having to cut the grass and have started several other projects that have needed our attention.

Several boards on our little barn have needed replaced and Lou has gotten them done and we have many boards on our board fence that needed to be replaced, so I got them painted and then we measured them and put them in place. The next job is to get the rest of the fence and posts scraped and repainted. That is indeed a job, one which Krista and Steve can agree to, as they painted the majority of it last time. We went to purchase the paint today and found that it will be on sale on Thursday so will wait until next week to purchase it and later to paint it. It will take many hours to scrape the barn and the fence.

Our garden has been doing well, thanks to the irrigation hoses. We have made pickles, frozen beans and had fresh salads, green peppers, squash and beautiful radishes. Janet and Brion have been very generous with the contents of their garden also, so we have been richly blessed with fresh produce.

Due to the very dry weather, the wild flowers that grow on the bank have bloomed and dried up, so Lou and I cut them down as we usually do in the fall and we were able to find the wonderful stone steps that Tim built for me in 2008. Hopefully, this spring we will get back from Florida early enough to keep control of the flowers as they come up and not allow them to grow over the steps. Tim did such a nice job constructing the steps. Lou took up the pathway lights that we had along the steps and we will replace them with new ones for the fall and get some new mums to set out along the steps. Will do all of that after we finish the painting job.

Lou was tying up the tomatoes and accidentally knocked off some green tomatoes and brought them into me and asked me if I would fry them for him. I told him that I was the story I always heard from Krista, as she dearly loves them, we had no more than started to fix them and she came in the door. Smell travels next door ........ It is really nice having them next door, we get to see baby Matthew almost every day, and how he does grow, he is full of smiles now, with his tummy feeling ever so much better.

Lou and I have been enjoying watching two flocks of turkeys working in the field across the creek each day, they come early in the morning and stay all day long. We also have a nest of Red Tailed Hawks, which we listen to and watch. On occasion we watch the Bald Eagle as he soars overhead, but this afternoon I saw something that I have never seen before. I thought it was a big black dog under the apple tree, so Lou got his binoculars out for a better view and found that it was a coyote. It was a bit sad, as it went into the woods at the same place where we had just seen a doe and a fawn enter a few days ago. Made me happy that I no longer am raising sheep.

Tomorrow, Lou and I are going to miss church to take a bus trip to Erie for a tour of two wineries and then to a dinner theatre. We will be seeing Honky Tonk Angels. This we are doing to celebrate Lou's birthday a bit early. Next weekend on his birthday we are going on a SMART campout. Of course, we still do not have the repairs done to our RV, but we are hopeful they will be done prior to our time of departure on Thursday.