Father’s Day Weekend

(Father and daughter enjoying an evening at Blossom.)

To all you dads out there:  Wishing you a happy and wonder-filled Father’s Day!

Yesterday was a very full day.  I spent about 90 minutes picking strawberries out at Hilgert’s farm.  I brought home a large mound of strawberries.  I’m not quite sure how many quarts are in a large mound of strawberries but I think it’s about 6 quarts.  M picked about 4 quarts of raspberries.  We’ll be making preserves later today.

The weather was hot but there was a nice breeze blowing while I was picking.  It was hard work for the old knees and back, but I didn’t really notice it until I finished and realized I was tired.  I can’t imagine doing that all day long.  When I was younger I could.  One of the wonderful side-effects from being out in the strawberry fields was having the scent of strawberries linger in my nose for an hour or two after I finished.  Lovely.

At lunch time a friend stopped by with the sammie ingredients for our picnic at Blossom that evening.  We ate lunch first, and then put together delicious sandwiches of provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, sweet red peppers, black olives, and giardiniera (using a hot giardiniera on one and mild on another). We used loafs of sourdough and roasted garlic breads, spreading on a goodly amount of pesto before adding the cheese and other ingredients.  After assembling the sandwiches we bagged them up for transport to Blossom.

The weather predictions got steadily better throughout the day.  In the morning strong storms were predicted.  By the time we left (around 3pm), the radar was clear and the chances of rain had decreased considerably.  It was hot (in the 90’s), but look at that beautiful sky above the pavilion at Blossom.

We picked up one friend at her house on the way over to Blossom and met other friends there who were wise enough to find us an excellent spot on the lawn in the shade.  We picnicked, talked, had some wine, and enjoyed a tasty dessert of strawberry shortcake (brought by the wise friends).

During the warm-up for the show Garrison Keillor and Andra Suchy walked through the pavilion and to the edge of the lawn, singing a romantic medley.

We all hoped they would come over in our direction but it was not to be.  Most of the photos I took during the warm-up and the show had to be taken with the zoom since I couldn’t hobble over quickly enough for a better close-up.

It was a most enjoyable evening.  Those of you familiar with, and who like, A Prairie Home Companion know why I like it.  Those of you not familiar with it ought to hop on over to the website and check it out.  As for those of you who don’t like it (is it possible??), you are probably related to me in some way so I will excuse you.  The cast of usual suspects (Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Fred Newman, and The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band) were great, as always.  The guests — Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Andra Suchy, and local girl Jessica Lea Mayfield — were great too.  And nobody can host a radio show (and all the parts that go with it — Guy Noir, for example), sing, or tell a story like Garrison Keillor.

Gotta love those trademark red sneakers.

Near the end of the show a large card was passed over to us from our neighbors on the lawn (who, by the way, were friendly and good sports, giving as good as they got from us in terms of joking back and forth).  The card included a note asking everyone to sign the card and then pass it along.

Rumor has it that the card was for Garrison Keillor as this was his last performance at Blossom.  I have not been able to verify that rumor.  Written on the note:

Hi  Please sign card and pass it on … When full take to stage and [paraphrasing here as I’m missing part of the note] give to usher Rick.

The wording may be off.  It’s possible it should be “give to usher.  Rick.”  It’s hard to tell from the photo.

Rumors are only rumors.  For all I know, the card is for an usher or another member of the Blossom staff who was working their last night at Blossom after years of good service.

Based on some of the messages, a lot of folks believed the rumor as they addressed their notes to Mr. Keillor and the cast.

After the show M and I came home and sat on the porch and listened to the green frogs ponging and the Great Horned Owl hoo-hoo-hooing as the bright light from the half moon peeked out from behind the clouds every now and then.

It was a full and fun day.  🙂

It’s strawberry season!

I’m excited.  The lack of exclamation points might make it seem as if I’m not all that excited but I am.  The strawberries are ready for picking at Hilgert’s Farm.  Or you can go to the market and buy already picked berries if you’re not up to picking your own.  M and I stopped by the market yesterday to buy a quart to sample.  I’ll be joining a friend on Wednesday to do some picking.  I’d like to freeze a bunch of them this year.

The reason strawberry season excites me so much is because it is the beginning of the fresh, locally grown, produce season.  The peas and sugar snap peas will be coming in next.  Some of the other farmer’s markets have lettuces, green onions, radishes, and fresh herbs that are locally grown.  From now until sometime in November we’ll be eating plenty of fresh fruit and veggies.


We also went to the Hartville Marketplace to see what was available there.  As usual, we loaded up on lots of goodies such as red leaf lettuce, radishes, green onions, and new potatoes.  We came home and made a lunch that was a feast of mostly locally grown vegetables and fruit (with a few not-local nuts thrown in for good measure).

The rains continue, almost unabated.  I’m beginning to feel as though we live in a rain forest during the monsoon season.  Everything is lush and green and beautiful.  And wet.  The pond is filling up nicely.  We decided to raise the water level this year to see if that helps with the weed and algae control.

The rain has also brought something that the birds are attracted to and that something is on our deck.  I don’t know what it is.  There were dozens of birds pecking around on the deck and under the porch, seemingly enjoying whatever it was they were feasting on.  Bugs of some kind, perhaps.  Or seeds from the trees.  I’m not sure.  Whatever it is/was, it gave me the opportunity to practice with the zoom on the new camera.  Most of the photos were pretty bad.  I got lucky with one or two fairly decent shots.

The flamingos are an easy shot since all they do is stand there.  They don’t seem to mind the rain although they might be swimming or floating soon if the pond gets much higher.

Strawberries: A last hurrah

Strawberry season is just about over here in the Bogs. It was unusually long this year. I think that’s due to the cooler weather, and the fact that it was a later season than years past. The strawberries were, in my opinion, better tasting than usual. Locally grown, freshly picked strawberries are always yummy, but this year they outdid themselves in terms of good strawberry flavor.

I’ve noticed a red trend here since I started food blogging with NaBloPoMo. It’ll be interesting to watch the summer colors as I continue through the month.

In terms of flowers, this is our orange month. The daylilies are blooming and most of the roadside daylilies in this area are orange. I love riding along the back country roads lined with daylilies.

I’ll do my Move 2008 update tomorrow since Sunday is my last day of the exercise week (mine runs from Monday through Sunday). I might get some more walking in today (I did 4 miles this morning). I had an excellent week. My best this year, I think.

Summer Salad

I may have to come up with new ways to pose food. This could get boring by the end of the month. At least this salad combines some of the lovely fruits and veggies that we’ve been enjoying. The lettuces are from our garden, the strawberries from the farm up the road.

M and I went to Akron last night for the Northside July 4th Fest followed by the city of Akron fireworks. We had intended to go listen to the Akron symphony for a little while before the fireworks but we were enjoying the music at the Northside so much that we stayed longer than planned.

We had dinner at the Northside (another plan gone awry as the restaurant we were going to eat at was closed for the holiday). The menu at the Northside was pretty limited due to the holiday. Most people were ordering the sausage and peppers sandwiches. We had the dinner special (about the only other thing being served) which was jambalaya. At first I wasn’t too sure about it as it tasted strongly of tomato soup. (I noticed later that they have a roasted tomato soup on their menu and wondered whether or not they used the leftovers as the base for the jambalaya.) Oddly enough, it was good. Not your traditional jambalaya, for sure. But tasty nonetheless.

We shared a serving of tiramisu for dessert. It was good. I had my first taste of a chocolate covered coffee bean with the tiramisu. I’ve only recently become a coffee drinker and generally chug it down cold for the caffeine rather than for the taste. I’ve never liked the taste. That’s beginning to change a little. I seem to be acquiring a taste for it, especially if it’s a crunchy bean covered in chocolate.

The Akron fireworks were good. We joined the crowd along the inner belt for a good view of them. Certainly a close-up view. One of the children sitting behind us summed it up well when he said “It’s raining fireworks!” Not only were we close but the wind was blowing in the right direction, bringing a shower of cinders down upon us. I can honestly say we brought some of the fireworks home with us (in our hair, on our clothing, etc.). Fortunately the stuff wasn’t hot when it hit. Nobody (that I know of) caught on fire.

I did not take my camera along on this excursion. I didn’t want to have to worry about it while carrying it through the crowds of people. I sort of regret it because there were opportunities for some great shots. On the other hand, going without it meant I could enjoy the evening firsthand rather than through the lens of the camera.

Today we’re going to be chipping and shredding some of the downed branches from around the property. The ice and snow of winter as well as the spring and summer storms have left us with quite a bit of clean-up. We normally do this sort of work in the fall when the weather is cooler. However, I want to mulch the garden to cut down on the weeding I have to do so we’re going to make our own mulch.

Tonight we’ll likely go to Kent to see their fireworks display.  I’ll take the camera and tripod.  I could use some new fireworks captures.

It’s raspberry season!

We stopped by the farm up the road from us yesterday, just to see what’s in and if they had anymore strawberries (they did). M remarked on the way that the raspberries should be coming in soon. And there they were, in the little market: freshly picked raspberries.

I’m not usually a big fan of the raspberry, but I popped one into my mouth to try it and the next thing you know I was having a bowl of mixed berries for lunch.

Hilgert’s farm has, by far, the best berries in the world. They have lots of taste, flavor, and juiciness. Tons better than anything you can buy in the grocery store.

Last night’s trip up to Cleveland to see Jersey Boys was fun. M and I both enjoyed the show, especially once we moved to different seats. The State Theatre, where we saw the show, has horrible seating in the balcony (the cheap seats which, by the way, aren’t all that cheap). You can’t see over the heads of the people in front of you. Well, I couldn’t. There was a man who must have been well over six feet tall who was about four rows down in front of us and his head was blocking pretty much my entire view of the stage. The only time I could see anything was when he leaned in towards his wife/girlfriend/whatever-she-was. The music and dialog were still quite enjoyable, but I wanted to see what was happening on the stage. I don’t think that’s unreasonable considering we paid to see the show.

At the intermission we moved to some empty seats off to the side and at the very back of the balcony where we had a straight-on view of the stage. Much better!! My thanks to the usher who let us move over there. (I did thank him in person.)

All in all, good show. M read a review somewhere that said to ignore the storyline as it’s inaccurate and just enjoy it as entertainment. Since I don’t know the storyline, it didn’t matter to me that it was inaccurate and I had no trouble at all enjoying it as entertainment. I especially enjoyed the music (boomer that I am).

I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended by colorful language (including the F bomb). I thought the language made it all the more authentic, but I’m from Jersey. What do I know?