Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Remembering Spoutwood Farm Fairy Festival

For over 25 years the Spoutwood Farm May Day Festival has heralded in the Spring.  This annual event began as just a small group of friends and family.  While it began with just 100 people over the years it grew to 10,000 attending the 3 day event.

We have been the herb plant vendor there for years.  Our booth was located in Rainbow Court.  These snap shots are of a few of the patrons who wandered into our booth.

Our parents where the first King and Queen of the May at Spoutwood Farm and we were honored to be a part of this event from start to finish as alas the festival has outgrown the charming farm and 2018 was the last year for this special weekend. 

We will certainly miss the creativity and energy that this fun weekend always had.  And are so grateful to Rob and Lucy Wood for beginning this event and sharing their farm with everyone.  They will continue to share the farm through their CSA and other activities.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

In the springtime garden

Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, 
all last winter we slept in the seeming death 
but at the right time God awakened us, 
and here we are to comfort you. 
~Edward Payson Rod

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Victorian Ephemera in the 21st Century

This lovely collage of sweet remembrances was hand crafted by Bernideen of Bernideen's Tea Time Blog and carefully shipped from MO to PA. Bernideen collected a variety of pictures from our blog, snipped the photos with pinking shears and attached them to silver paper, added a variety of tea cups and tea pots and attached it to a ruffled background to create this collection of treasures that truly represents Sweet Remembrances and all that we love.
Ephemera, or a collection of papers and bits and pieces that are saved, have been tied together with a theme centered around afternoon tea. I love the photo of my sister Susanna and our mother placed at the top of the medallion. Just below center is a photo of Nancy holding a tray and a pot of tea.

This photo was taken when Tea Time Magazine had their photo shoot here. It was a memorable day, and the photo captures the excitement of knowing that we were going to be included in a national magazine. Bernideen selected my favorite photo of the front of the tea room when the red bud tree blossoms forth in Spring. There is also a photo of one of the tea rooms our family visited while traveling through England. And tea cups and tea pots carry out the theme. 

The back is covered with a musical score, and her hand made signature stamp, Victorian Ephemera in the 21st Century by BernideenWhat a real surprise to receive this work of art, a true labor of love. Many heartfelt thanks, Bernideen. Your Victorian Ephemera is proudly on display in the tea room.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Preparations!

Family traditions are a big part of our holiday celebrations. Eggs that are boiled in onion skins are ready for Easter morning breakfast. This year, I didn't accumulate many onion skins, so I tossed in some loose leaf black tea to the boiling mixture of eggs, onion skins, and water. Not only are the eggs beautiful, but the kitchen was so fragrant!
Stuffed bunnies, stitched years ago, grace the table in the tea room, gleefully tucked among daffodils. Dear old mom found the stamped bunny pattern at a long-closed downtown mercantile, purchased them and the batting needed to stuff them, and handed Nancy a little job. They have held up well.

And bunny cakes! What would Easter be without bunny cakes. The days of having four bunnies are long gone, but we always have two of them, one with a coconut covered body and the other without coconut. Jelly beans become eyes and noses while toothpicks are added for whiskers. A large clump of icing (or a fluffed cotton ball) makes up the tail. The jelly beans surrounding the cakes help to assure that the eyes and noses remain intact!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wedded Bliss!

On this day, fifty years ago, Carolynn Elizabeth Reppert married Philip Connington Sears in serene Peace Church. Much love and happiness to the bride and groom as they celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary today.

They were originally planning a June wedding, but Uncle Sam presented Phil with his marching orders and a stint in Vietnam. Wanting to be married before he left, after a harried phone call to the mother of the bride, a family wedding was pulled together in two weeks, in between attending classes at Marietta College where they met. Carolynn made her wedding dress complete with a row of silken covered buttons cascading down her back with a lacy Spanish mantilla atop her head. (That curly head in the corner is the flower girl, Susanna)

Calling on friends and garden club members, the house turned into a florist shop days before the wedding. The flowers featured hundreds of daffodils, bridal veil spirea and lemon balm; from baskets full for her attendants to boutonnieres for the gents, and bunches tied gaily to the pews, with bouquets throughout the house, and surrounding the base of the cake, it was a daffodil wedding with the reception at home. Subsequent anniversaries have been celebrated in their home in New York on what they called 'Daffodil Sunday'. The beautiful cluster of long stemmed lilies that the blushing bride carried was later presented to her Grandmommy Reppert, unable to travel the distance from Reading, PA to Mechanicsburg.
 An overnight stop in Pittsburgh counted as their honeymoon as they headed back to Marietta, Ohio to finish classes and celebrations there. They have been blessed with two children, Jessica and Jacob, and are even more blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Arielle and Gracie. 
Here's to the happy couple! 
Love, love, love, love.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pennsylvania Magazine

Al Holliday, founder and publisher of Pennsylvania Magazine was the featured guest at our recent "Pennsylvania Proud Tea Party". As part of the program, Al presented each attendee with a sheet of 25 Pennsylvania Trivia questions. Some had multiple choice answers and some were open ended, all lead to an interesting discussion on Pennsylvania. Many had the guests exclaiming "I didn't know that".

Pennsylvania Magazine is published every other month and features interesting and informative material pertinent to our keystone state. Beautiful photography, frequent contests, and a peek into people, places, events, and history complete the information found within the pages of this beautiful magazine. Everyone received a current copy of the Pennsylvania Magazine with the invitation to receive two more free issues, such a lovely gift to round out a delightful day.

The 'Did 'Ja Know?' column appears in the back of the magazine and features a series of questions and multiple choice answers. Previous issues featured 'Links to Lincoln', 'Nellie Bly', or this particular one on 'Folk Medicine Plants of the Pennsylvania Dutch' inspired by the late Paul R. Wieand's book with the same title. Al Holliday was in attendance during our Summer Supper on the Susquehanna where Susanna spoke on this topic. Utilizing the book, Al comprised the questions about our Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors and their medicinal gardens.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Pennsylvania Proud! Afternoon Tea

 This was the first time we offered an Afternoon Tea that featured some of the unique culinary foods and Pennsylvania crops that are grown in our area. PA encompasses a large area, and many regional foods represent the state. Since we are located in south central PA, the menu was influenced by the Pennsylvania Dutch foods since that is what we grew up with also. We did try to include other regions in the menu. To start the tea, we featured a traditional wilted salad with bacon bits, asparagus pieces, hard boiled eggs and tossed with Hot Bacon Dressing. A very sweet salad, many were happy to have enjoyed this special treat! The salad represents Lehigh County.

The savories included a Parmesan Cheese Toast cut out in the shape of Pennsylvania thus representing all 67 counties in our beautiful state. To the right is a potato filled Pierogi with caramelized onions representing Luzerne County and the Polish contribution to our cuisine. Did you know that 68 mushroom farms in PA produce 63% of all white mushrooms sold in the United States? That explains the Parmesan Cheese Stuffed Mushroom (Chester County). The Baked Sweet Corn represents all 67 counties as corn is grown in every county throughout PA. The Triple Apple Chicken Salad Sandwich represents York and Adams Counties. known as the heart of apple country. And the sweet and savory Lebanon Bologna Rollups represent Lebanon County.
Celebrating Cumberland County, we served Sweet Remembrances PA Proud Scones (of course!). The scone was served with homemade slow cooker apple butter representing Montgomery County. Little Pretzel Bites served with Honey Mustard featured Philadelphia County. 
An array of tiny desserts completed the Pennsylvania Proud tea. We served Shoofly Pie, a regional treat associated with Berks County. The controversy surrounding what to call the yummy cream filled pie/cookie/cake - are they Gob Cakes (Allegheny County, western PA) or Whoopie Pies (eastern PA) was not solved at our event nor did we discuss whether they originated in Pennsylvania or Maine. Instead, we just nibbled on them and savored their sweet cream filling. The city of York, PA claims to be the Snack Food Capital of the World. As a nod to that claim, the third dessert featured potato chips, specifically Middleswarth (Snyder County) Potato Chip Shortbread Cookie. Amazing that the crunch of the potato chip is easily discerned while eating this shortbread.

What a fun afternoon - visiting 1/5th of the states counties through this Afternoon Tea.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pennsylvania Proud Afternoon Tea - Favors

Sunday, April 14th is our sold-out Pennsylvania Proud Afternoon Tea. This special afternoon tea event will include a variety of foods associated with Pennsylvania. Since the official state colors for Pennsylvania are blue and gold, we utilized the blue teacups and napkins for the place settings. Favors for this event include a small gift bag gaily tied with blue ribbon that holds an assortment of Hershey Kisses and Wilbur Buds. Two well known chocolates enjoyed in south central PA, similarly shaped yet distinctly flavored. 
Which came first you ask? Wilbur Buds developed by the Wilbur Chocolate Company in Lititz, PA (Lancaster County) were introduced in 1893 while Hershey Kisses, produced by The Hershey Company located 20 miles away in Hershey, PA (Dauphin County) were developed in 1907.                                                                                                                          With their similar design, Wilbur Buds feature a sweet little curly cue atop the candy while a pointed tip tops the Hershey sweets. Wilbur Buds have the letters W-I-L-B-U-R stamped on the bottom of the candy, while Hershey Kisses are silver wrapped with the little paper tag flowing out the top. Hershey Kisses comprise 80% of the bite size chocolate nibbles sales while Wilbur Buds make up the other 20% of sales.

The Wilbur Buds are available online, and locally at our Boscov's Store in Camp Hill. Hershey Kisses, well, they're available just about every where!

The proof is in the taste test which is what we are offering to our tea guests tomorrow. The simple ease of not having to unwrap the candy vs. having little silvery pieces of wrapper to dispose of. (Back in the day, Wilbur Buds were individually wrapped also.) The creamy smooth flavor of the Wilbur Buds (associated with European chocolate) vs. the familiar chocolate taste of the Kiss. You decide. Let us know which you prefer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Bloodroot is blooming. Must be spring!

One of the Spring ephemerals which grows on the edge of the woods in part shade, blood root is unique because it flowers first and leafs out second. You need to keep an eye on the bloodroot patch as it will bloom one sunny spring day and only stay in bloom for a day or two so it is very easy to miss!
This pretty little patch of bloodroot is tucked in the back corner of our goosefoot shaped garden.
Like the name suggests the roots drip a red substance that looks like blood. The roots have been used in the past to dye wool or fabric. It is also used as an escharotic or skin eating plant. Don't be afraid as it only eats unhealthy skin such as cancerous skin ailments.
Sadly, bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis is one of our native plants that is being overgrown in the woods by other invasive species. It is also being over harvested as some promote it as a plant to eat skin tags and warts.

(This post is a reprise from March 2016.)