Letters from Home

December 09, 2014

Greetings to all and a Merry Christmas,
I trust this finds you and your family doing great!

     We just recently held the Grand Re-Opening of our new expansion and had a tremendous turn out. A huge thank you to all our customers and everyone who came and showed your support on those days. We are really excited about the things we see in store for the Ashery!

     Something I really enjoy is to hear everyone’s suggestions and input on things, like new items, how we are or are not doing something, what we need etc. Keep giving the feedback, we are blessed with some amazing employees that will work hard at providing the best experience we can give.

     Every year during the Christmas season I find myself trying to step back, slow down and enjoy the things that matter most during Christmas. It sure is easy to get all caught up in the festivities & planning. One way I’ve found to do this is to get up earlier then everyone else, stoke the fire, grab a book & cup of coffee, sit by the window & think. One of those books that I’m just completing has got my attention very well. The book title is The Way of the Shepherd by Kevin Leman, William Pentak. A short easy read, addressing some very practical ways on how to lead people.

     I’ve also come to see and believe that the greatest leader of all time is Jesus, the one who is the very core of Christmas. We live in a world that is very top down when it comes to authority and leading people. (The Boss is up here and everyone else is down below) I just love the example of Servant Leadership  that Jesus left for us with his disciples. Jesus came to serve and is calling us to do the same - Serve. I believe this world would be a better place if we would “serve” instead of looking to “be served.”

      I really hope you all have a Great Christmas! After you have served your family and others this Christmas season, grab a cup of coffee, a book, sit down, and think.

          Merry Christmas - Happy Trails & See You all Soon,
                             Curt

Letters from Home

November 20, 2014

     Wow! We are having winter weather and no doubt about it! Although according to the calendar it is still Fall. I believe we got everything that was predicted on Sunday evening. Lots of snow, wind, and cold. I am thankful for a warm house and good food.

     One morning last week the temperature dropped to 20F and we did not get our squash put indoors. now we need to use them soon or they won't be much good.
 
     The time is here to begin winter activities, sewing, card making (for those who enjoy that), reading, writing, and of course the daily cooking, etc. It's a good time to browse through cookbooks and try new recipes.

     The church ladies got together to work on a quilt to sell at one of the benefit auctions next summer.

     To help use up the butternut squash I cooked one and used some to make Gluten-Free whole grain pancakes. Here is the recipe: 100 grams flour mix *, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg (separated), 2 TBS pumpkin, 2 TBS oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 c. homemade coconut milk. Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl and in another mix the liquids. Stir the two together until blended. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Fry on a buttered skillet and serve with warm maple syrup.
*The flour mix is equal amounts in grams of Teff, Millet & Buckwheat, or you can use Teff, Amaranth & Quinoa.

     Some years ago a friend gave me a Birds & Blooms daily planner and in it there are facts with questions and answers about birds or flowers. I am going to put a fact with with the question in each letter then the next month I will put in the answer. If anyone wants to send an answer I will let you know if you were right.
      Its a fact: Nearly as touch as plywood, gourds make good birdhouses, especially for house wrens, bluebirds, and purple martins. What entrance hole size do these birds require?

     Our Grand Re-Opening at the store went well and it was good to see a lot of you here to help us celebrate.

 

"Encouragement is awesome. It can actually change the course of another person's day, week, or life." C.R.Swindell

                  Have a warm day,  
                             Sovilla

Letters from Home

October 23, 2014

Good Morning,   

 

    It certainly feels like winter is coming. We had a chilly temperature of about 43F this morning. At least we know that Fall is here. It looks like it will be partly sunny today.


     I was looking out my window on the back side of the house and noticed a few small birds flitting around and by looking with the binoculars I could see they were yellow rumped Warblers. I suppose they are on their way south.

     Silos have been filled and most of the corn has been picked. Now some odd end jobs are getting done.

     Cellars and freezers are well filled. We have been blessed with lots of fruits and vegetables this summer.

    We still have some pepper plants and cabbage in the garden, otherwise it is pretty well cleaned out. The red beets & carrots that are still there will get covered and we will dig them as needed.

     I heard that National Geographic rated Holmes County the 3rd best place to see fall color in the world!

    Last week a group of Ladies took the day off from work and wend for a drive to see the beautiful colors. The best view was along route 643. Although the sun was not shining it was still very colorful.

     If you happen to burn yourself while working in the kitchen or where ever, put honey on it. One lady said she decided to try it because she heard it works. It took the pain away and there were no blisters.

     Now is the time to be creative with recipes for squash casseroles. I tried one the other day with an acorn squash, but need to tweak it a little before I try it again.

     A friend left this thought with me so I decided to pass it on:
"What if we only received today what we thanked God for yesterday?"

                  You all have a Blessed Day, 
                             Sovilla

Letters from Home

July 31, 2014

Good afternoon to all our friends of the Ashery,  

 

     We are blessed with another beautiful day. I hope everyone is well and enjoying summer as it is slipping by very fast. We have had a couple days already that felt like fall is coming.

 

      The gardens are doing well except the tomatoes are slow in ripening. The green beans are almost done. My green bean plants were very nice and bug free. It must've been the cold last winter that froze out the bugs. Late cabbage has been transplanted and carrot seed put in the ground for a fall garden. I want to sow radish seed again, also.

 

     This was a good year for lilies. Must be they like moisture because my Day Lilies were very nice, big, and bright.

 


     Does anyone have an idea how to get rid of quack grass runners in a perennial flower bed? They keep getting worse even thought I pull some out.

     Horse Progress Days at Mt Hope was well attended with a report of having 20,000 people there on Friday, July 4th. A lot of people also enjoyed the Family Farm Field Days on July 18th-19th.

     The Annual Haiti Benefit Auction is to be held at Mt Hope on Labor Day weekend.

     On Sat, August 2nd, from 10-4 a diversified farm near Wilmot hosts their third annual Threshing Day, an event for the whole family.
  
    I picked my first ripe tomato today so I had a BLT for supper. With fresh homemade bread still warm from baking, romaine lettuce, no nitrite bacon, Heidi Ann Lacey Pepper Cheese, and fresh cucumbers it made a delicious meal. The bread was made with 100% Organic sprouted whole wheat flour.

 

             "If you want to break a habit, drop it." 
                       God is faithful   - Sovilla    

Letters from Home

July 21, 2014

Hello again to all of you! Hope you all are doing fine and enjoying your summer.

I've always wished that I could have a long fall season and in some ways I feel like I'm getting that wish with the fabulous cool weather that we've been having. Life continues to be interesting around The Ashery with our expansion due to open in September! (stay tuned for exact date) Painting, drop ceilings & finishing floors are the activities of the day right now. Coming right up we will be moving our current warehouse into the new facility and converting our current packaging and warehouse into retail space. We will be doubling our retail space and adding 100s of new items!  So excited to see it all come together and share it with you!

This week has also been a sad week over the recent years for me and my family. As many of you know my father passed away in July 2004. July 22nd marks 10 years that we buried Dad. As we visited his grave a few days ago I stood there and recalled the darkness if that time and how God has made a way in the past 10 years through that darkness. It brings me to realize again that all I ever have been and all I ever will become is only because of the goodness and mercy of God! My mind also went to the book of Isaiah in the Bible chapter 53 verse 5 where it says, he was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities and by His stripes we are healed. Not only did Jesus die so that I could be forgiven of my sins, I find that by his stripes I am healed. I have found that as I have taken the pain of loss and the pain of the past to Jesus I have found healing beyond what I ever felt possible. There’s not enough ways to say thank you to God for this. 

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon, have a great day!

Happy Trails, Curt

Letters from Home

June 23, 2014

A Hearty Howdy From Everyone at The Ashery,


     Our lives around here this summer are consumed mostly with the expansion that we are working on here at The Ashery. We are well on our way to opening the expanded retail area by end of August – first of September. We will be doubling the size of our retail floor and greatly increasing the variety of bulk foods to choose from. Our goal is to add a minimum of 250 – 300 items.
 
     Currently we have the electricians, plumbers & heating/air crews at work. Next week will be the drywall followed by painting. Things look to get pretty interesting around here in the next few weeks.

 

Summer Picnic Days Sale…… 


         Just around the corner we have July 4th and our annual Summer Picnic Days Sale. The sale will run July 3rd and 5th. (Closed July 4th) We have several exciting features of our Sale this year.    


New Item Sampling - In our upcoming expansion we are adding a bunch of new Items and we will be sampling some of those items during this sale!

    

Callie the Cow - Callie is a life size ceramic Holstein Cow that will be sitting in front of our store. The great thing about Callie the Cow is that you even get a chance to milk her!! Yep that’s right, pull up the stool and milk a cow…. without getting kicked! Come on out, stock up on some great buys, taste some of our coming-soon items, and milk a cow. Can’t get any better than that!

                                

                 Life Is Good Because God Is Good

                        Happy Trails, Curt    

Letters from Home

May 07, 2014

Good Afternoon, 

 

    I hope this finds everyone well and enjoying the Spring weather. The early flowers, tulips, daffodils, etc. are blooming, and the red bud trees are also beautiful.  

 

    We have started planting the garden, transplanted lettuce and broccoli plants and put plastic jugs over them to protect them from possible frost. The farmers have gotten some of their crops into the ground.  

 

    It creates a pretty scene to see the black and white cows grazing on the lush green grass in the fields that are speckled with the yellow blooms of the dandelion.  

 

    Migrating song birds are also coming back from their winter havens in the south. If plans hold out I will be taking vacation next week to go to Magee Marsh at Lake Erie. We are going especially to see the different birds before they migrated on over the lake to get to their nesting grounds in Canada. 

 

    Theis week the neighbor ladies are getting together to make 75 dozen donuts for the annual festival and benefit auction at the Holmes County Training Center which is to be held on Sat, may 10th.  

 

    On June 7th the Annual Kidney Fund Auction will be held at the auction barn in Mt hope.  

 

    Following is a recipe for Granola I really enjoy and is good for a snack when traveling or hiking.  

 

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup pecan pieces

3 cups quick or reg oats

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 stick butter

1 cup maple syrup  

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup dried cherries or raisins

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. Melt the butter in a saucepan over med heat then add the maple syrup and cinnamon, stir well to blend. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour and spread evenly into 2 greased baking sheets. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool then break it apart over a large bowl. Gently stir in the dried fruit. 1/2 tsp salt may be added to the dry ingredients if desired.  Store in an airtight container.  

 

If you use gluten free oatmeal you'll have a gluten free treat!

 

"A smile that lights the face also warms the heart."

 

                    Until next month,  

                     Sovilla

Letters from Home

April 23, 2014

A Hearty Howdy to everyone,

     Hope you all are enjoying the Sunshine in more recent days! We certainly are around here. It’s been a long time coming.

Some of the more exciting things happening around here the past few weeks include the developing expansion and our upcoming 35thANNIVERSARY SALE! 

     Concerning the expansion, the footers are in and the blocks are in the final stages of being laid, getting ready for the roof. Once the roof is on things will develop a little more slowly in the coming phases.

     In my last letter I asked for input on lines of product and received lots of tremendous feedback. To those of you who sent in your suggestions a hearty thank you for your great ideas. WE CONTINUE TO BE ALL EARS TO YOUR INPUT AND IDEAS FOR PRODUCTS TO ADD, Keep it coming.

     35 years ago (1979) The Ashery opened its doors in the front part of our current building which was 960 square feet. Thanks to all the sweat, blood & tears that Dad & Mom (Cecil & Freda) put into the place, it grew into the current facility we now call The Ashery.  

     Coming right up here on Saturday May 3rd we will be celebrating this mile stone Anniversary of number 35! We would love to see you all out here that day celebrating with us as you enjoy your FREE CHICKEN DINNER! (see attached Anniversary Ad) We will also be giving away a dish of Soft Serve - Cecil’s Frozen Custard that day!

     So why “Cecil’s”? For those of you who knew my Dad you probably already know so bear with me. Dad (Cecil) was always fond of homemade and soft serve style ice cream and our family recalls many great ice cream times together. One of those memories for me was in the summer coming into the house at dark after doing yard work and having a bowl of ice cream together while listening to Herb Score call the Cleveland Indians game. Now I can assure you that the great times had nothing to do with the quality of the Tribe teams that were playing in the 80’s or even the fact that the Ice Cream was great. (It was Goshen Dairy ice cream, no longer in business.) The great times obviously were made because Dad took the time to sit down and enjoy something with his family. Just writing this inspires me to do more of this with my kids. Hey, for that matter, how 'bout we ALL take the time to sit down with our kids, or if you don’t have any, a kid, and invest in their lives.   

     Ok, how did I get on this subject, oh ya, “Cecils”. So there you have it, that’s why we choose the name, Cecil’s Frozen Custard, a product to remember all the great times together with Dad                     

Thank you all so very much for your support over the past 35 years,

See you all at the Anniversary Sale,  Curt

 

Letters from Home

April 11, 2014

Good Morning Everyone,  

    This is Monday morning and we are having Spring! Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day but the air was still cool. This morning it is cloudy with a slight breeze blowing from the east, making it feel like we will be getting rain.  

    On my walk I saw a couple farmers plowing, a pair of ducks flying overhead, and a bluebird flying across the road twice, approximately 20-30 ft in front of me. It was close enough that I could plainly see its bright blue color. I was nearing home and thinking I hadn't seen anything unusual when a bird song caught my attention. I listened hoping it would sing again; it did! I soon spotted the bird, a Savannah Sparrow! That was the first one I heard and saw this year. Purple Martins and Tree Swallows are also back.  

    Last month I wrote about marshes that are good spots for duck migration. I spent one day with friends at those places to see what we could find. We had a very good day seeing a total of 29 different species of waterfowl and some of them in large numbers.  

     One of the first things we do outside when the weather gets warmer is trim the grape vines, which was done last week.  

    Some of the farmers use a 2-bottom plow and hitch two 3-horse teams to it. One team gets hitched in front of the other. After they are hooked up to the plow the team in the front is the lead team. The farmer needs to only guide the lead team and the 2nd team follows, although he handles two sets of reins.  

    The grass is getting green and if we get some warm days it won't be long until we can fix that delightful dish of Dandelion gravy. I like it served over boiled, steamed, or baked potatoes.  

    Last fall we sowed spinach and lettuce into our cold frame in the garden. The spinach survived and is big enough to eat but the lettuce froze out.  

    The Amaryllis bulb I brought up from the basement last month is now blooming. It took about 3 weeks for it to bloom.  

In this Easter season may we all rejoice Jesus has risen and is Alive Forevermore!                    

                           May you all have a blessed Spring,  

                           Sovilla   

Letters from Home

March 28, 2014

A Good Day To All,

    It's been good to see some of you since I last wrote and hopefully the predicted warmer weather will bring a few more of you around to say Hi in the coming days.

    I ended my last letter with a "stay tuned" for the upcoming opportunities that we have here at The Ashery and I'd like to take the time to clue you all in on the latest and solicit your input!

    I'm really excited to inform everyone that beginning this past week we broke ground for a New Expansion here at The Ashery! Plans are to  expand Bulk Foods, Deli, Seasonings & Spices, Fresh Ground Flour, & Cecil's Frozen Custard (Beginning Saturday April 5th 2014)  to name a few!   

    This is an exciting time as we have been dreaming of this as a family for the past several years and it's finally coming together!

    Our goal is to be in our new expansion by late summer - early fall. We are adding a warehouse, offices, new restrooms and prep area and our current packaging and warehouse area will be turned into retail.

     Here's where we really need all your input, We would like to fill our store with the items you want and would like to hear your suggestions on what specific items you would like to see us carry. While we can't guarantee we will be able to carry everything suggested we would like to do our very best to offer you what you are looking for!  So go ahead think outside the box and give us all kinds of ideas. It's fun to brainstorm together. To request an item or line of products, please email me at bulkfood@asherycountrystore.com or stop by The Ashery and tell one of our great Employees what it is that you would like to have us carry.

      I would like to end here with giving Glory to God our Creator for his blessings on our family and the opportunities he has given us to meet so many incredible people through this business. Many times things don't go as planned and blessings come disguised through hard times and things we don't see as good. Today I'd like to testify to the fact that no matter what the day may hold God is Good!   

                                Have a great day! 

                      Looking forward to hearing from you,

                      More coming about the expansion.  

                                              -Curt

Letters from Home

March 13, 2014

Hello Everyone,  

     After a day or two of springlike weather, tonight it seems like winter has come back. It is again snowing and breezy from the north. This morning I thought it really seemed like Spring. It was 41F and the meadowlark was singing and the Killdeer were calling. I noticed the Red-winged Blackbirds are also back. I heard geese honking but didn't pay much attention to it since they are so common in this area. When I did look up there was a large flock of them flying in a big V formation. Since they were quite high in the air and heading north I assume they were migrating.  

     During March when waterfowl migrate through this area to their nesting grounds up north, the Killbuck Wildlife Refuge near Shreve and Funk Bottoms are excellent areas to visit for birders to see how many different kinds they can find.  

    Let's rejoice, Spring is coming!

    Farmers are busy hauling manure and hoping the grounds will soon thaw and dry up enough so they can start plowing.  

    This past week the Mid-Ohio horse sale was held at Mt Hope. A lot of people from out of state come for that event.  

    Last month I wrote about the neighbor men needing to dig a grave in the frozen ground. Someone told me the ground was frozen 14 inches deep and they used a cement saw to breakup the soil.  

    I brought two of my Amaryllis bulbs up from the basement and am looking forward to having beautiful flowers indoors in a few weeks.  

    Here is a little poem on kindness I saw on a wall motto:

Kindness

A kindly word so often helps

A sad heard on it's way,

Although we cannont always see

The good it does that day.  

                                              God is good

                                              - Sovilla

Letters from Home

March 04, 2014

Greetings to all our great customers!  

      Well, the last letter left you staying warm and thinking about custard. I'm wondering how that worked out for everyone

      It's all worked out pretty good around here and I think for the most part no one gained too much weight because of eating custard.  

WELCOME Conrad!    

    Today begins a new part of our lives here at The Ashery as my brother Conrad begins working with us here at the business once again. It's very exciting to have him on board! I have 2 older sisters and 2 younger brothers and Conrad is the youngest of us all  (we're all getting pretty old).

      Conrad spent most of his growing up years living here at The Ashery. He knows the neighbors and may even remember a few of our customers faces as well. He got married about 10 years ago moved to the Hartville area and has 4 children.

       Conrad will be in training to serve as our retail floor manager so you should have plenty of opportunities to meet him and strike up a conversation, stop by and welcome him to The Ashery.

         Super excited for all God has in store for us at The Ashery. Stay tuned & have a Great Day!

                Happy Trails, Curt

PS.   Plans are to be offering "Cecil's Frozen Custard" the first weekend in April.  

Letters from Home

February 12, 2014

Good Morning Everyone,   

    

      What a beautiful morning! Icy cold at 0 degrees with a clear blue sky. Smoke from the neighbors' chimneys is drifting lazily up into the sky giving the air a frosty look.  

 

     It has been cold and snowy for so long I have actually gotten used to it and am enjoying the beauty of the glistening white snow. This brings back memories of how the winter of 1977-78 had been. I hear comments of how this is an old-fashioned winter.  

 

     This is the time of year when a lot of folk go to Florida to escape the cold and receive the benefit of the warmth and sunshine.  

 

     We left our carrots and red beets in the garden and covered them well with leaves, etc., and plastic to keep them fresh all winter, but with this intense cold the tops of some of them did freeze. Even though we have to work hard to get them out it is still worth it to have fresh veggies.  

 

     The church ladies have gathered again to work on a quilt today that will be sold at one of the benefit auctions this summer.  

 

     Our neighborhood has the sad event again of having a funeral. To dig a grave by hand surely won't be an easy task with the ground frozen. I am confident though that they will get it done. 

 

     This morning I enjoyed watching the Belgian horses that a farmer had turned loose out in the pasture, as they ran, jumped, and rolled around in the snow. They were thoroughly enjoying their freedom from being cooped up in the barn. They might even have a touch of cabin fever. :) I think everyone will be looking forward to spring this year.

    

                 Have a good day!  

                    Sovilla

 

Letters from Home

January 31, 2014

Greetings,   

    

      Wow folks, you are probably wondering if I’ve fell off the face of the earth. Some accuse me of sleeping and some accuse me of always being on vacation. If you want to know the facts, check with my wife. It’s been since early December that I wrote a letter from home and a lot of exciting things have happened since then.

 

      We were able to spend some great times with family over Christmas & New Years that we don’t get to see too often. I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas time and a great beginning to 2014!

 

      Like pretty much everywhere else we have been trying, with a degree of success, to stay warm around these parts with the brutal temps. It would seem most of you have been doing the same as the Ashery has been kind of quiet with the weather beinga little challenging for getting out on the road. Just know, as soon as you’re ready to come, we will be here to see you.    

 

      Speaking of being here, a heads up to mark on your calendars. There are 2 days that we are closed in the Spring that people often do not realize. The first one is Good Friday, April 18th, the day we commemorate the death of Jesus, and the second is Ascension Day, Thursday, May 29th, the day we celebrate the ascension of Jesus as spoken of in Acts 1:9-11. These 2 days are kept as holidays by the Amish and you won’t find a lot of places open around these parts on those days. Just thinking of Easter makes me shiver wishing for warmer weather.

  

      As we are looking forward to the last 11 months of 2014..... yep, one month is gone already, we are excited for the opportunities we see coming up here at the Ashery. It’s almost too cold to talk about the one I’m thinking of right now. Beginning this Spring, The Ashery will be offering a soft serve frozen custard. The employees are all very excited about this as they will be involved in the perfecting of the recipe. AKA Taste Testing!

  

      Around here though, it’s never too cold for Ice Cream, just the thought makes me smile.  We are looking forward to seeing you all.  

    

                   Until then, Stay Warm and think about Ice Cream!

                     Happy Trails, Curt

 

Letters from Home

January 15, 2014

Good Evening Everyone,   

     I hope everyone is doing well on this mild winter day. How many of you noticed the sunset? I was pleasantly suprised when I looked out the kitchen window. The western sky was colored in shades of orange and then it turned into a pinkish red as the sun sank lower. I believe God enjoys sharing His beauty with us. It inspired me to go on a walk, but by the time I was ready to go it was dark. The moon was shining and only a slight breeze was blowing. By the light of the moon I could see the exhaust of a jet streaming out behind it. A few stars were twinkling and the longer I stayed out the more they became visible. It was an absolutely beautiful evening to be outside and I was refreshed in the quiet and peacefulness of it all.   

    Outside work is pretty much at a standstill except for farmers hauling manure and doing chores. NOw is the time to get some sewing done and any inside work. Also time to try out new recipes. Since wintertime is a good time to make homemade ice cream, using the snow we get, I am including a receipe.  

Homemade Ice Cream

6eggs  

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar  

2/3 cup instant vanilla pudding

1 TBSP vanilla extract

2 cups half and half

4 cups milk

Beat eggs for 6 minutes until light and fluffy. Add sugars, beat well. Add vanilla pudding, vanilla extract, half and half, and milk. Pour into a 6qt ice cream maker. Serves 6-8
Note. This receipe includes raw eggs. You may want to make sure your eggs are fresh and you know where they come from.  

"Obstacles are the things we see when we lose sight of the goal."

                                Have a healthy winter,
                                Sovilla