Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Congratulations, Angelica! MASH 2018

The 144th Annual Commencement ceremonies of Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School took place last night, Tuesday, May 29th at the Sollenberger Sports Center at Messiah College and we had one very excited graduate in attendance.
       Congratulations, Angelica Bertha Reppert Brill! You did it!

Sporting her hand decorated mortarboard with a favorite quote from the musical Hamilton, a few photos were snapped in the gardens before heading to the graduation.

The teachers in their scholarly garb lined the hallway and applauded and recognized the students accomplishments before they entered the arena where proud family and friends gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion. Angelica was spotted among the sea of maroon gowns and the moment captured as they waited for the vivid strains of Pomp and Circumstance to begin.
With front row stadium seats, we had the best opportunity to see the soon-to-be graduates proudly march past as they entered the arena. An evening that acknowledged 13 years of hard work that passed much too quickly for parents and not quick enough for students, coupled with uplifting student speeches that demonstrated wisdom and poise in presentation, amazing musical talent, and words of hope and inspiration from the administration for these young adults  marked the end of an era and the beginning of a bright future. A milestone achieved.
Onward and upward!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Congratulations, Eagle Scout Cedar!

An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held on Monday, May 28th, 2018 to acknowledge the achievement of Cedar David Brill to Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. A member of Troop 190, Cedar is the 113th scout in the 69-year history of his troop to achieve this honorable rank.                             Boy Scouts of Troop 190 present the colors at the opening ceremony.
Family friend, Steve Nissly started the fire using a primitive technique, fire by friction using the hand drill method with yucca.

Family and friends gathered at Memorial Park, Mechanicsburg, to witness the ceremony under the guidance of Scoutmaster Jeff Stoner, and assistant scoutmasters Pat Grill and Dave Goss.
Thomas Little Thunder and Frank Little Bear performed a ceremonial Order of the Arrow Dance. 

 Scouts of all ranks participated in the ceremony. A range of scouts shared the Fire Ceremony by Ranks to Eagle: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle.

                    Proud parents, Susanna and David Brill after pinning the Eagle Scout award.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    PA State Representative Sheryl Delozier presented citations from both the PA House and Senate in recognition of this achievement. In addition, Mayor Jack Ritter presented a citation from the Borough of Mechanicsburg for this accomplishment. The community continues to enjoy the benefits of the Gaga Pit that Cedar and fellow scouts built in the park.
Memorabilia gathered during the years of scouting was on display at the pavilion. 

A celebratory picnic followed the ceremony.  Congratulations, Cedar!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day!

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay." -Barack Obama

Monday, May 21, 2018


In another few weeks, the Elder (Sambucus Canadensis) in our garden will soon be in full bloom as in the picture. 'Tis said the Faerie Queen lives under the elder bush and one should ask permission and give warning before pruning, harvesting or otherwise trampling in the area so that the queen has time to get her subjects to a safe place. Each of these flowers will later yield quite a few elder berries which we will use in pies, jellies and wine  and also to make Elder Berry Syrup. 
Elder Flowers are delicious frittered. If you want a recipe for frittered elder flowers you can find it in the classic Joy of Cooking cookbook. They are also excellent in facial or skin care products. It has some anti-viral properties making it a good herb for mouth washes and gargles as well. Some say it helps support their immune system alleviating some allergies.

Elder flower liqueur, St. Germain or St. Elder, was one of the ingredients in the Royal Wedding Cake. Elder flower cordial was also used in the recipe, brushed on the cooled cake so it could soak into the cake before frosting.

Another liqueur, Sambuca. is an anise flavored liqueur that often contains elderflower also.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Royal Wedding Celebration

In celebration of the royal wedding of Meghan and Prince Harry that took place across the pond in Windsor, England, the scene was set with banners hanging in the tea room and the wedding cake in place. Every one was abuzz with wedding chatter, happy to have experienced this festive occasion, and ready to party wearing colorful fascinators and stylish hats. Once seated, the Markle Sparkle, served in wine flutes, a blend of Sunset Blush Wine, Cranberry Shrub and Seltzer Water was served. A sweet and delicious way to toast the wedded couple.
Once tea flavors were ordered and poured the first course was served. It featured a leafy green salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was topped with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese crisps, and an edible heart wafer.

The Sandwich Course included:
  • Onion and Olive Tapenade in Petite Phyllo Cups
  • Pine nut & Pimiento Cheese on Rye Bread 
  • Sliced Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Sandwich
  • Mango Raisin Cashew Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Bread 
  • English Cucumber with Lemon Pepper Aioli
  • Turkey, Asparagus & Goat Cheese on Potato Bread.
Next, we served London's Famous Claridge Hotel Cream Scone with sweet cream, jelly, and fresh fruit.

Dessert included a slender and elegant sugar cookie bride alongside her handsome prince, a chocolate dipped strawberry. The specialty cake was Lemon Elderflower Cake with fresh herbs and edible flower garnish. Their was elderflower liqueur baked in the cake and an elderflower syrup glaze brushed atop the tiers before being frosted with a creamy icing with lemon zest. A lemon curd whipped cream filling was in between the layers. The idea was to incorporate the bright flavors of spring. We made the recipe shared by the Washington Post.

Best Wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. We wish them much happiness!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ladies-in-Waiting Tea

In anticipation of the upcoming nuptials of Meghan and Harry, the tea room has been decorated with banners and transformed into a festive and royal destination. The first of our celebrations was a Ladies-in-Waiting tea, honoring all those that serve the royals.

Menus featured the British flag, a sweet photo of the soon-to-be newlyweds, the menu announcing what was to come, and a brief explanation of a lady-in-waiting, someone who serves as a companion and personal assistant to attend to their every need. Colorful red, white and blue floral arrangements were on each table, and the tea list for the day featured banners across the top.

Tomato Spinach Caraway Soup was the starter for the event. Topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh spring onion, it was a nice warm soup for a chilly spring afternoon.

A plate of assorted Tea Sandwiches garnished with edible wafer hearts was served next. The sandwiches included Traditional Egg Salad on Butter Bread, Pimiento Cheese on 12-Grain Bread, Cucumber Sandwich on Sourdough Bread, Herbed Party Sandwich on Honey Wheat, Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich on White, and Turkey and Basil Pignoli Cream on Tomato Basil. Many loved the ribbon-like look of the assortment of sandwiches.

The extra large scone was a Kensington Palace Scone (a traditional English cream scone) served with sweet cream and apricot honey butter alongside fresh fruit.

And dessert included a nod to the British and American union with miniature flags atop a white cake with cherry topping, a shortbread cookie in the shape of a heart, and a blushing pink cream macaron. Yumminess on a plate!

Prior to meeting the queen, the soon-to-be royal, Meghan Markle, studied proper English tea etiquette from Edmund Fry owner of the Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena in California.

Happy to link to Bernideen's "Tea in the Garden".

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Themed Tea - Shakespeare!

During her senior year of high school, Angelica had dual enrollment in both high school and the local community college. It's a perfect way to experience college expectations, and to get a few college credits under your belt. Her first course, in the fall, was a class on Shakespeare. When we asked her if she would do a presentation in the tea room, she was quick to respond affirmatively. What fun to welcome her as a speaker!

Shakespeare frequently includes herbs and flowers in his plays, and the menu for this event was centered around that theme.
Setting the Scene
Guests were offered a cup of Shakespeare Tea, a delicious blend of fragrant herbs, full of flavor developed by Bertha Reppert. Lavender, mint, savory and marjoram combined in just the right amounts to transport you to Elizabethan times.

Act 1, Scene 1 – First Course, Soup
“The strawberry grows underneath the nettle; And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best, Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality.” King Henry V. Act I. Scene 1.
Chilled Strawberry Soup

Act 1, Scene 2 – Second Course, Sandwiches
“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.” Hamlet (4.5.170-1)
Apple Rosemary Chicken Salad
“I think the king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the element shows to him as it doth to me.” Henry V (4.1.155-7)
Petite Violet Sandwich with Mascarpone Cheese and Violet Jelly
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.”  Romeo and Juliet (2.2.45-7)
Cucumber, Radish and French Style Cheese Rose on Pumpernickel Round
“ Me thinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a great eater of beef and I believe that does harm to my wit.” Henry IV, Part 1: Act 2, Scene
Roast Beef and Provolone on Puff Pastry with Pepper Mayonnaise
“I would give all my fame for a pot of ale.” As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 2
Swiss Cheese, Spring Onion and Bacon Melt atop Beer Bread
                                                                                     Act 2, Scene 1 – Third Course, Scones
“And, most dear actors, eat no onions nor garlic, For we are to utter sweet breath.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 4, Scene 2)
Sweet English Cream Scones
“He’s the colour of the nutmeg” King Henry V
Cinnamon Chip Nutmeg Scones
Act 2, Scene 2 – Fourth Course, Fruit and Toppings
“I saw good strawberries in your garden there I do beseech you send for some of them.” Richard III (Act 3, Scene 4)

Act 3, Scene 1 – Fifth Course, Dessert
“Here's flowers for you; hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold that goes to bed wi' the sun, and with him rise weeping." The Winter's Tale, Act 4, Sc.4
Chocolate Mint Cake
Buttery Lavender Cookies
Edible Flowers garnish the plate

The program followed afternoon tea. Poised, and well prepared, Angelica was thrilled to share her love of the Bard. According to the speaker, the only disappointment was that the tea room menu did not include eye of newt.

Linking to, and celebrating  "Tea in the Garden" with Bernideen.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Revamping the Pond - A Summer Project!

Every few years we give the pond a make over, and last summer was the year for just that. It was dug just a bit deeper, fresh lining was replaced, and a good cleaning was in order. The plants were divided, and a stronger new pump replaced the older one we had thus creating a new waterfall.

The fish and the plants were safely stowed in a bucket until all of the renovations were completed. Once the base rocks were in place, the waterfall flowing, and the fish situated in their revamped habitat, it was time for the fun part!

Ornamental and sentimental rocks and stones were placed around the pond. Several rocks discovered while on vacation are a quiet reminder of journeys taken over the years.
Colorful plants were tucked around the edges of the pond, and a collection of lizards and turtles were interspersed among the rocks.

There are lots of hidden treasures to be spotted while watching the fish.

Summer, 2017