Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Plantin' Party

I'm tired this morning.  Okay, beyond tired.  But it's well worth it.  The planting party has started.

I get so excited when it comes time to plant the garden over at mom's (she has the space and equipment to plant a large garden) and somehow we just can't fathom the thought of a small veggie patch.  All of our projects are big and I'm so used to it now, I pretty much like keeping it that way. 

Our veggie line-up from my Green Thumb Fever post has changed slightly.  Last night we planted peppers (hot and sweet), tomatoes (Heinz), cantaloupe, butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini, Casper (white) pumpkins, assorted gourds,  and Cinderella pumpkins. 

Cinderella Pumpkin -

Soon we'll finish with with carrots, beats, a larger variety of pumpkins, Indian corn, and sweet corn.  We do buy a certain type of sweet corn.  It's called Illini.  The seeds aren't exactly cheap and can be difficult to find, but we've had really good results with that type over the years.  Aside from having the pleasure of walking right out to the garden to get corn that you know is  going to be delicious - you can only eat so much of it, we'll also freeze it. 

Illini -

I can't wait to do a post about how we prepare it for freezing.  It's relatively simple, and I'll give you a hint:  since we pick so much of it at once (remember, large projects), we utilize our turkey deep fryer.  The deep fryer comes with an enormous  stock pot (the pressure canner and cold pack canner also  sit perfectly on the burner's frame).  We'll boil the corn all at once if we can (outside on the deck, of course), let it cool enough to handle it by hand, and run it over a corn cutter that sits over another pot.  Scoop into freezer bags, and DONE.  I'll be sure to take pictures when we do this.  I can't begin to explain the difference between the frozen corn from the garden versus what's on the store shelf in a can, especially during the winter months.  I can barely stand store-bought canned corn anymore.  You may think I'm spoiled, but after all the work of getting that corn in the first place, I say I'm far from it.

As soon as the remaining seeds are purchased, the planting party will be over.......

Then the weeding party begins!

P.S.  Tonight is craft night.  Can't wait to get started with my new supplies from Fancy Gap!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fancy Gap UPDATE!!!

Our girls trip to Fancy Gap, Virginia was a blast!  So many great memories have been made, but....

Remember from my last post that I stated that when we usually get together, something odd generally happens?

Well, odd would be an understatement.  Get your banjo out, because after this one you'll know what song you'll want to play!

It's a seven hour drive from Northeast Ohio to Fancy Gap, Virginia.  Antsy from being cooped up in a vehicle for seven hours, we arrived at our hotel.  We decided we didn't need anything elaborate as we didn't plan on spending time in our room other than just a place to crash.  As we pulled into our hotel's parking lot, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "There's nobody here!"  When I mean nobody, I mean it.  No customers, no cars, no employees.  I walk to the front desk to check in and ring the bell, ring the bell, ring the bell....there wasn't anyone there!  I won't bore you with the details as I left a serious thumbs-down review on TripAdvisor, but one thing to point out was that when I was on the phone with corporate customer care, I had a hard time getting across the fact that there were no employees at the hotel.  To make a super long story short; an hour an a half later I demanded in writing to someone who did finally show up at the hotel that I would be canceling our stay at Days Inn and I would not be charged.  We ended up at different hotel just north of Fancy Gap. 

To sum this mess up:

First Lesson: DO NOT STAY at the Days Inn in Fancy Gap, VA.
Second lesson:  Don't let Miss Lindsey book the hotel.
Third Lesson: Call your hotel prior to arrival to make sure someone is actually at the hotel.  Hey, you never know!

Once we settled that ordeal, we grabbed a bite to eat and crashed early Friday night so get well rested for our shopping expedition at the Fancy Gap Fabric and Pottery Outlet.  I must say, they have awesome varieties (an entire warehouse full!) of fabrics and their prices were excellent.  The other part of that same building had craft supplies at ridiculously low prices.  We checked out and walked across the parking lot to their pottery section.  They have a lovely shop full of creations, tons of silk flowers, grapevine wreaths galore, and a ton of other various supplies that I could have easily gone home absolutely broke if I didn't manage to put myself on a budget before hand.

Three hours later we decided to hit up a few more shops along the way and made a wrong turn.  I must say though, we took advantage of the views that Fancy Gap has to offer:

We were trying to find this little shop called Mountain Plain Fabrics.  It is easy to find, we just turned off on a road too soon.  I have to admit, it's a real gem once you walk inside.  They, like the outlet store, had a ton of fabric.  It is quaint, family owned, and the people in there offered their genuine southern hospitality.  It's the type of place where you can find that item you've been searching forever for, and then could just sit down down and talk with the folks that run the shop.  It's hard to find places like that anymore.  I could have spent the whole day there just looking through their stuff.  I'd like to offer a special thanks to the generosity of Mountain Plains Fabrics.  Please take a moment to look at their website: 

Those two places, have made Fancy Gap an annual (maybe more) destination.