Letters from Home
December 10, 2015
Howdy to one and all,
I'm hoping you all are having a great December. Sure seems a bit more bearable so far weather wise compared to the past 2 years. I'm fine with some snow but I'm also grinning inside with every beautiful day we are experiencing here in December. One less day of winter, what a great treat!
It's hard to believe that the older I get the faster the year goes by and Christmas comes around once again. I'm thinking by the time I'm 80 it might seem like I'm celebrating Christmas every other month.
For many of us Christmas is a great time with family and friends and it's no different in our home. Yet, we don't have to look far to realize that there are many people during the Christmas season that are also going through difficult times. One of those times for me came 11 years ago when our family went through our first Christmas after my dad died. I was reminded of this in the last 2 weeks when I was made aware of 2 of our long time regular customer friends who had suddenly died of heart attacks. My heart grieves as I think of this loss and their families going through this first Christmas without them. Our prayers will be for their families that God will give them "peace that passes all understanding".
Something my Father modeled to us as kids so well was reaching out to those who were in adverse circumstances. One of these particular times happened on a wonderful Christmas afternoon while all sitting around eating food and playing games. Somehow the subject came up of those sitting in our local jail over Christmas. Now I know these people have made choices that have landed them where they are but hey, they are human souls that need to experience someone caring about them as well. My Dad, recognizing this, called the local Jail and our family was granted the privilege of going to the jail that Christmas day and Caroling for all the inmates. I'll never forget the responses we got from them. Some of them had tears and were amazed that someone would take the time to care about them like this on Christmas. I'm sure my dad now knows how much of an impact this had on his family as he celebrates eternal life with his Creator, God himself.
So I will end on this note today, reach out to those around you this Christmas, just "give" and forget about "getting". It will change your perspective. I have also come to believe that we are not capable of giving what we have not been given. With that in mind I would like to tell you of the best gift I've ever experienced. It is the gift of Salvation (The forgiveness of my sins and the promise of eternal life) through Jesus Christ the very essence of Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Curt
Letters from Home
November 24, 2015
It was such a beautiful morning I decided to go for a walk and as I was looking out over the countryside I remembered it is "Letter Time" again. It is already Thanksgiving time and the cows still have green grass to eat in the fields.
It is interesting to hear about the variety of things people are planning for Thanksgiving Day, but most are getting together with family for a bountiful meal of turkey, pumpkin pie & all the trimmings in between. Let's remember to give praise & thanks to God who gives it all to us so plentifully.
This is also time for fall cleaning and tonight the majority of the employees will be at the Store to do some cleaning. The store gets cleaned from top to bottom. We will all be glad when that job is done!
The youth girls hosted an annual Ladies Dinner for widows & singles, etc. on Sat. which is always interesting and good.
Parboiled rice might sound like it's precooked, but it's not. Instead, it's processed quite differently from other types of rice. The resulting grain is cooked and served just as you would white ore brown rice. However, because of the special processing, parboiled rice is a better source of fiber, calcium, potassium, & vitamin B-6 than regular white rice. After rice is harvested, its inedible hull is removed to produce brown rice. If rice is put through a second step of processing to remove the bran, it becomes white rice. Unlike brown and white rice, the process for parboiled rice begins before the hull is removed. The complete grain of rice is soaked, steamed and dried, then the hull is removed to make parboiled rice. The steaming enables the rice to absorb nutrients and changes the starch so that it cooks into a firmer, less sticky dish of rice than regular white rice. The steaming does not precook the rice, so it still takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
Here is a unique recipe i found in a magazine that I enjoy:
German Potato Soup
Dice 4 medium potatoes and add 3 c. water. Boil until tender but not mushy. Melt 2 TBS butter, add 1 medium chopped onion. Stir until lightly brown. Add 1 TBS flour, stir until thickened. Add a small amount of the potato water to flour mixture. Mix well and bring to a boil, add to the potatoes. Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Add 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced. Add salt & pepper to taste, 2 TBS chopped fresh parsley, and 1/2 tsp celery salt (opt). Good served with cornbread and sausage patties.
We also have Springerle Anise & Orange cookies in stock again.
Quote: "I can live for two months on one good compliment." - Mark Twain
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Sovillla
Letters from Home
September 15, 2015
A cheerful greeting to all on this fine September day,
I hope this finds you all enjoying the end of Summer/ beginning of Fall. It's an exciting time of the year with Fall Festivals, pumpkin pies, & cool nights right around the corner. A perfect time to spend the evening around the campfire with family and friends.
September 15th 2015 is a big deal to us here at the Ashery as we Celebrate with Sovilla her 30 years of working at the Ashery. For those who may not know, Sovilla is the lady that you will find at the customer service desk, roaming the isles at the Ashery, answering your questions, sampling items, running registers, or just being a part of a conversation with a customer.
I remember when my dad did an interview with Sovilla at our kitchen table. (I was 10 at the time) Sovilla has pretty much seen every change that we have went through here at the Ashery in the past 36 years and has loyally stuck with us every step of the way. Many of you may remember when she did everything behind the counter (because pretty much everything happened behind one counter :) ) ; checkouts, serving ice cream, deli, & packaging.
Over the years many of you have come to know Sovilla as your friend and a person that is there to hear what you have to talk about, not just about food. Sovilla currently works 4 days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and most Saturdays. I'm not far off when I say that every day she is not here someone asks "where's the lady that has always worked in here". Some of our customers wonder if Sovilla is part of the owner's family. Sovilla's last name is Yoder, the same as my families, even though she is not closely related to us. (It seems like every other person's last name in our community is Yoder.) We'll just say she's worked here long enough that she is like family.
Something that has meant a lot to me is the way she was here for us all during the time that my dad passed away in 2004. Sovilla knows what it's like to lose a family member and cared for us all very much during that time.
If you feel the urge I encourage you to let Sovilla know how much you appreciate her. You can do that through an email: email@example.com , card addressed to Ashery Country Store 8922 SR 241 Fredericksburg, OH. 44627, or simply stopping by and congratulating her on 30 years.
Thank you Sovilla for your Integrity & Loyalty of the past 30 years. You have helped shape who we are at the Ashery today and we are very grateful for this. We pray God's richest blessings for you.
CONGRATULATIONS ON 30 YEARS AT THE ASHERY !!!
In other news we are planning our Fall Harvest Sale for September 24th - 26th. Watch for more info on our website about the great deals we will be offering for this event. We hope to see you here!
Letters from Home
August 19, 2015
Good Morning Everyone,
We blessed with another beautiful, sunny morning. The sun shines through some haze and it feels like it will be a warm day. Just right for August. Tomatoes are ripe and are being canned as juice, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. A BLT would taste good for supper.
Now is a slow time for the farmers. There is not much to harvest right now, unless you are a produce farmer. The next thing will be chopping corn to fill the silo.
A lot of the Amish schools will start on Monday, August 24th. Opening day is usually only half a day.
On Saturday, August 22nd, a machinery sale is to be held at the Mt Hope Auction grounds. September 4th & 5th, Friday eve and Saturday, are the dates for the Annual Haiti Benefit Auction also held at Mt. Hope. At this sale anything anyone wants to donate will get sold and the proceeds go to help the country of Haiti. Plus you can look at the quilts, etc, on Friday eve that will be sold on Saturday.
On September 18th & 19th is the Mid Ohio Alternative Animal Sale at Mt. Hope.
Organic Fava Beans is one of our new items in the store. They are a cosmopolitan ingredient, claiming a spot in the cuisine of cultures around the world. It is native to North America. Does anyone know how to prepare dried fava beans? Should we slip them out of their skin before eating them? I cooked some and I skinned them but I wasn't sure if I needed to or not. They were very good.
Quote: "A river is like intelligence - the deeper it is the less noise it makes."
Have a great rest of the summer!
Letters from Home
July 23, 2015
We have had a lot of rain this summer and things are growing fast. Yesterday morning I looked out the window at the exact moment that the sun had fully risen above the horizon. It was beautiful! Now today we have another sunny morning. We have lots to be thankful for, we are so blessed.
Green beans have done well and we canned a good supply. Zucchini and summer squash are being picked and they are a good addition to stir fry. The red skin potatoes are also ready to dig out when we need them.
Farmers have had a difficult time to dry hay. Some make large round bales then wrap in plastic, then it does not need to be dry. To look out over the countryside and see oat shocks scattered over the fields tell us we are in the middle of summer. It makes a pretty picture.
I am outside on my back porch writing this and even though the diesel is running at the furniture shop close by I heard the song of the Field Sparrow coming from the fence row on the other side of the field. It has been interesting to see the Chipping Sparrow bring their babies to the feeder.
On Sat, August 1st, is to be the annual Mennonite Relief Sale at Kidron that starts Friday evenings. They auction off quilts, etc. There will be lots of items, plus lots of food.
Here is a recipe for one way to use up zucchini: Zucchini Patties
2/3 cup Bisquick or our bulk Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
1/4c parmesan cheese
2c. grated zucchini
1 sm chopped onion
salt & pepper to taste
Combine ingredients and drop by spoonful into heavy skillet containing a thin layer of hot oil or butter. Spread out & flatten as you turn them with a spatula. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Letters from Home
June 26, 2015
It is indeed a beautiful summer day. After having a rainy week the sunshine this morning is exceptionally nice.
On my morning stroll I noticed one farmer out in the lush, green cornfield with 3 horses hitched to the cultivator. His dog was enjoying itself by coming along behind. Weeds grow fast in this type of weather but so does the corn.
It looks like someone had come along and cut the grass along the side of the road not too long ago as the periwinkle blue flowers were still open on the cut chicory plants. Just the week before there was still a lot of color along the roadsides.
Our gardens are doing well, except my tomato plants are barely 6" high. I guess I started them too late. Strawberries are past and soon the peas will be ready.
On Friday eve plans are to have our church picnic at a local park. It is an evening of food, fellowship, and the energetic ones play softball or volleyball. We hope for nice weather.
On Sat, July 4th, at the Kidron Auction grounds there will be a benefit auction for the Ohio Crippled Children's Fund. It begins with breakfast at 6:30am. The Auction starts at 9am with misc items and quilts, furniture items, etc start at 10am. There will also be lunch and baked goods available. If you are looking for something interesting to do that day you may want to spend your time there.
On Wed, June 24th, Mt. Hope had garage sales throughout the whole town. It is amazing how many people can be in that little town on a special day like that.
I hope you all will have a great summer and I will close with a quote from a perpetual calendar: "Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises."
Letters from Home
June 23, 2015
Greetings from the Ashery,
Hope you all are having a great day today on this Monday morning. If the saying "no news is good news" is true then everything should be going great around here since I'm nearly 2 weeks over due on getting this letter out.
For me it's pretty much impossible to write something over Father's Day and not spend some time reflecting on my Dad's life and the impact that he had on me. On July 18th it will be 11 years that my Dad (Cecil) died. In some ways it seems very long and in many more ways it seems like yesterday.
My Dad and I's relationship was no different than a lot of other Father / Son relationships. There were times we would disagree and me being the mature young man that I was, (feel the sarcasm ) thought I certainly knew a better way of handling situations then Dad. This didn't seem to pan out to well in the end. So ya, I didn't really appreciate Dad very well at times and things didn't go to well through those times..
There were also many great times together. My Dad loved to travel and we did this as a family frequently through the Western United States, creating some of the greatest memories of all together. The highlight of traveling had to be when he decided he loved the West so much that he bought a property and home in NW Montana and turned it into a Bed & Breakfast. We never lived there but spent lots of time there. One particular Christmas was spent there in the mountains with extended family in nearly 2ft of snow along with sleigh rides and ice hockey. It was a sad day in 1993 for our family when we realized that the time had come to move on to a different phase of life and sell the Bed & Breakfast. But wow, the memories. Hunting, fishing & hiking the great outdoors. Watching the sunsets and the majesty of the mountains.
It's one of the greatest things I loved about my Dad, an adventurous spirit. He was always dreaming of what he could do with a place or thing and experimenting with this and that. (we were lucky if 1% of it happened and glad that 80% didn't happen.) It's called living life to the fullest.
As I ponder the previous paragraphs it dawns on me that there are sort of like, two worlds there. One of bad relationships, hurt & pain, the other of life, affirmation and empowerment. I believe the reason I am able to enjoy the second of those two worlds is because of a very profound virtue that my Dad modeled to me and that is the power of Forgiveness & Humility.
I remember many times Dad coming to me after a days work and apologizing for the way he had talked to me that day and asking for forgiveness of how he treated me. I could never sit here today and be filled with love & respect for him if he wouldn't have pointed me to the perfect Dad, Father God. It's because of the Forgiveness that my dad found through Jesus Christ that he was able to admit his wrongs, Forgive others and ask for forgiveness. it's because of the Forgiveness that I have found through Jesus Christ that I have been able to Forgive Dad and enjoy the lifetime of great memories and endless amounts of good that Dad gave me. I'm just sitting here thinking......What if I would have chosen bitterness & anger?
Here it is now, 2015 and I'm a Dad too. There's relationships to be had with my beautiful wife and 4 children. With God's Grace it is my desire to pass on the baton of Forgiveness and Humility.
Thank you Jesus & Thank you Dad,
Happy Trails, Curt
Letters from Home
May 19, 2015
Good Morning Everyone,
I hope you all are well or well enough to enjoy the nice spring weather we are having. It has been invigorating to get the garden planted again and looking forward to eating fresh veggies once more. I am enjoying fresh leaf lettuce, radish and asparagus. The ground has been dry, but now with the recent rains things are refreshed again.
Now that we have fresh asparagus, it is a good time to try our White Cheddar Asparagus soup mix to use as a base for asparagus soup.
Farmers are also getting their field work done and I noticed someone mowed grass for hay.
Some folks have been asking how my vacation was. I enjoyed it very much. We had nice weather for the most part and being able to be outdoors everyday and enjoying God's creation was great. We saw lots of birds. A few of the rare ones were: Marbled and Hudsonian Godwit, White Policans, and White faced Ibis. We stayed at the Maumee Bay Lodge, at the edge of Lake Erie.
Benefit auctions are coming up again. The Kidney Fund Sale is scheduled to be held at Mt. Hope on Friday evening & Saturday, June 5th & 6th. There will be lots of items available to buy. On Friday evening you can buy baked goods, food, and see what will be sold over the auction on Saturday.
Fresh strawberries will soon be here. This is my favorite recipe for pie: Boil together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2 level TBS clear jel, 1/4 tsp salt. Add 2 rounded TBS strawberry jello, stir till dissolved. Cool, then add 1 pint strawberries. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy! You can do the same thing with fresh peaches and peach jello.
I will close with a verse written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
" 'Tis easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows along like a song;
But the man worth while is the one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong."
Enjoy the sunshine, Sovilla
Letters from Home
April 23, 2015
Spring is here and it sure feels good! I hope everyone is able to enjoy it!
Yesterday I went for a walk to a small wood lot that had a pond at the edge. I was hoping to find some migrating birds and I was not disappointed. The first one I saw was the tiny, energetic, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher and it was low enough that I could see it's back. Usually it is up in the top of the trees and you almost have to break your neck in order to see it. Just listening to all the twittering, chirping, bird songs told me there is something going on. I soon saw quite a few Yellow Rumped Warblers flitting around and one was chasing another one and they almost flew into me. My guess is they were only about 2-3 feet away from me for a split second! A pair of beautiful Wood Ducks were on the water and being shy they soon flew off. Eastern Phoebes were there and a Singing Yellow Warbler. The highlight was the Ruby Crowned Kinglet that I saw and heard singing. I did not know they have such a long and lovely song.
I know there are some birders that will read this and I am looking forward to perhaps meeting some of you at Magee Marsh in May. I plan to be in that area May 5-13th.
Some early gardens are being planted. I have enjoyed eating fresh lettuce already. Farmers are plowing. Excitement is rising in hopes of enjoying a spring season again. God is good and faithfully keeps changing the seasons on time.
How many of you had the privilege of eating and enjoying the delectable Dandelion gravy over baked or mashed potatoes?
Some of the Amish schools had their last day last week and the school picnic on Saturday.
On Saturday May 2nd is our Anniversary Sale. Mark your calendars and plan your day to include it!
The answer to the question, "Should you cut off the seed heads of the Autumn Joy sedum for winter is : No- they add visual interest to the winter garden.
I want to share a recipe my co-worker Iva gave me for Ranch Pretzels:
3lbs pretzels (Benzel stick pretzels are very good)
1 cup oil
1 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp dill weed
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup ranch dressing mix
Place the oil and butter in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Add the seasoning and ranch dressing mix. Mix well. Pour over pretzels and mix gently. Bake at 250F for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
Quote: "The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
Letters from Home
March 20, 2015
We are having another sunny morning. Yesterday we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day. The wind was cold but the sunshine warmed it up.
I took a vacation day yesterday and enjoyed the weather by going to Shreve, Wooster, and Funk area to see how many different kinds of migrating waterfowl we could fine. We got 25, which was pretty good considering that some of the waters were still frozen and a few of the roads in the swamps were still flooded. A good way to spend a vacation day is to be in the great outdoors enjoying God's wonderful creation with friends.
On Friday eve & Saturday, March 13th & 14th, there was a Ladies Seminar held at Gospel Haven Church for all Ladies that wanted spiritual refreshment and encouragement through topics by speakers and fellowship.
According to the calendar, tomorrow is the first day of spring! The vegetable supply in our freezers is getting low, a sign the winter is about over. A good place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables is at the Auction grounds in Mt. Hope every Wednesday. One way to supplement our fresh greens is to grow sprouts. I did some with mung beans we have at Ashery. Soak a tablespoon or more of beans overnight in water. The next morning drain and rinse with cold water. Put in a sprouting container or glass jar. Put inside a brown paper bag, and set in a dark place at room temperature or warmer. Rinse every morning and evening. Once they have sprouted and grown a little, take out of the bag and let light get to it. Keep on rinsing them, and when they are as big as you want them, keep them in the refrigerator, eat and enjoy!
Now that the snow has melted the farmers will soon be getting their plows out in hopes of soon being able to get into the fields. Although I see there is still a a huge pile of manure in the barnyard that needs to be spread in the fields.
I wish you all a Blessed Easter!
Letters from Home
February 26, 2015
Good Morning Everyone,
This morning we are having cloudy skies with a little snow in the air. Temperature approx 12F. Yesterday someone made a humorous remark about having a heat wave. It had warmed up and was a nice partly sunny day. I hope the coldest days are behind us now for this winter. The sunshine we have had has been very nice and cheery.
We had a very interesting and enjoyable time at the Home and Garden show in Cleveland when we had a booth there. We got to meet a lot of new people and also a lot of folks that have been faithful customers. It was also interesting to walk around and the variety of other booths.
There is a similar show in Dalton at the Buckeye Center March 5th -7th that is also interesting.
The second weed of March is the Mid-Oho horse sale in Mt. Hope which always brings a lot of people into the area, also horses. :)
The answer to the question about the Hairy VS Downy Woodpecker is: The hairy is almost twice as big and has a proportionately longer bill.
Its a Fact: Autumn Joy sedum flowers change color from light pink in midsummer to salmon, coppery red and even mahogany hues as temperatures drop. Should you cut off the seed heads for the winter?
Here is a Gluten free bread recipe I could that I like. It is taken from the cookbook "Gluten Free and Loving It!" By Valerie Nielsen, contributed by R. Naylor
Makes 1 loaf
3 c. gluten free flour blend
2 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 TBS honey
1 TBS yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
2 extra large eggs
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp salt
***GF Flour Blend
3 c. sorghum flour
3 c. garbanzo favo bean flour
1 1/2 c. potato starch
1 c. tapioca starch
Mix all ingredients. Use as a substitute for wheat flours at a 1 to 1 ratio.
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan or line with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour blend, xanthan gum and yeast. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, water, eggs, butter, and vinegar.
Add the flour mixture. Mix on low until incorporated. Then increase the speed to med. high and mix for 1 minute.
Add the salt and mix 2 more minutes.
Turn the batter into the loaf pan and allow to rice for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Bake for 45-55 mintues until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.
Allow to cool 5 minutes; then turn the pan on its side and loosen the bread but don't remove it from the pan for another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
To store, wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for 3 days or freeze.
Tips: I melted the butter and when the bread was halfway done baking I wrapped the whole pan in foil to keep the bread from getting so dark.
Quote: "We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."
Until next time, Sovilla
Letters from Home
January 20, 2015
Good Afternoon Everyone,
We had a surprise this forenoon when it snowed so fast the grass, trees, and everything outside became white in a very short time. But soon after lunch time the sun came out a little and the new snow all melted away. Changes in the weather keeps the winter interesting.
Is everyone getting into their winter routine now that the holidays are past? I think I am and I believe the winter will go by pretty fast.
Last week the church Ladies had the monthly sewing day and they knotted 9 comforters. Hopefully those will help keep some needy person warm.
I saw one farmer hauling manure today; a chore that needs to be done during the winter.
Perhaps I will see some of you at the Home and Garden Show in Cleveland. Ashery Country Store is planning to have a booth there. Come on over and look us up. I hope to see some familiar faces come through there. The show is from February 6th through the 14th.
It's a Fact: Hairy Woodpeckers are named for the small hair like feathers around their nostrils. These woodpeckers are nearly identical to downy woodpeckers - 'How can you tell one from the other?'
The question last month had a little error; it read, "white animals," and should have read, "white Admiral," which is a butterfly. The answer is: They draw attention away from their vulnerable bodies, and they break up the shape of their wings, making them less discernable to predators.
Quote: "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed."
I hope you all will have a warm and safe winter,
Letters from Home
January 13, 2015
Greetings to all our great friends,
I guess this would be a good time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I always love this time of the year with closure of the past and dawning of the new. It always brings memories of my late Dad. With Dad you never had to worry about the calendars in the house being changed from month to month because he would always go through the house the last day of the month and switch all the calendars with anticipation. I just loved that about him, always dreaming about what's coming and what could be better.
Some of the lessons I hope to learn from the past year.
--Enjoy the process of change because it's a part of life.
2014 was a year of change for my family, a big one being the expansion of the Ashery. Change is something I often find myself trying to hurry through so I can just get back to a new normal. Sort of like diving into a pool and holding my breath. Just get this under the water thing out of my way so I can enjoy the swim once I come up for air. Once I realize that the whole process of "under the water" can be enhanced with goggles, the time under the water becomes much more enjoyable. So much that I might even consider strapping on an oxygen tank so I can stay under longer.
What would happen if I treated change the same way? I think my wife would say I would be less grouchy, my kids would say I took more time to connect with them, and I would realize that some of the most beautiful things are under the water.
--2 ways of dealing with stress
It's been easy for me to think that as long as everything is going good I'm not under stress. This just couldn't be further from the truth. I found out this past year that when there is just too much stuff going on even though it's good, I'm under stress. When too many things are flying around in my head my body can't rest.
The 2 ways i experienced were....
#1 the power of prayer- I testify to the fact that by daily taking the "cares of my world" to the creator of the world, my body can find rest.
#2 stress release through physical exercise- It's invigorating and refreshing to breath deep and sweat.
So going into 2015 it's not that I didn't know these things before, it's that they made a connection from my head to my heart in a new way. Now, if I can just get the connection from my heart to my "do'er" you know.... Go do it now. :)
It's exciting to start 2015 at the Ashery with a new expansion and lot's of new things to be developed. And we couldn't possibly experience it with anyone better then you.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon. It's been a little chilly but I hear this weekend it's going to feel like a heat wave. Come on out and see us.