table manners

Small hands danced beside the dinner plate as if in conversation. Index fingers curled then extended while the other fingertips stood tall on Formica.

“No elephants at the table, please,” said Mother.

Each sounded a final trumpet before retreating to a lap.


yeah write November writing contest

yeah write

My favorite online community, yeah write, has undergone some changes this fall. The site has had a sleek makeover, prompts have been made optional for everything but the microstory challenge, all challenge submissions are moderated, the schedule was adjusted to allow writers more time to craft their best stories and readers more time to vote thoughtfully, and the fiction/poetry challenge has come back home to the main site. To celebrate that homecoming and to attract the best writers to the site, yeah write is hosting a writing contest beginning November 2.

Don’t think you have what it takes to win? Don’t be so sure. This is a two-part competition. Not only will the best writer win the $200 cash prize, but the person who refers the winner can win $200, too! All winners must be subscribers. To subscribe and find out more details, visit the contest page today.


Sunday Slideshow: Wayne County Farm Tour

The weather last Saturday just couldn’t compare to the beautiful day we spent driving around to visit the sites that were part of the annual Ashland County farm tour. And it turned out that the weather wasn’t the only thing different when Peter, Philip and I completed the Wayne County Farm tour. Let’s just say that our running joke for the afternoon was that there was only one actual farm on the tour.

I can’t recall where I picked up the brochure about last weekend’s drive-it-yourself event, but I do remember is that the inclusion of the produce auction just a few miles from our home is what made me think we should give it a try. We went to the County Line Produce auction once this summer, but I thought it might be neat to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more to see on a day without an auction. Well, except the plate of Amish-made peanut butter cookies that I bought.

The second site we toured was probably the most interesting and informative. We’ve driven past the “Winfield Answer Plot” many times, but knew nothing about it. As part of the tour, representatives from Town & Country Co-op answered questions about the research site, plus there were signs along the rows of corn that gave additional background information on the experiments in seeds and fertilizer.

We skipped the saddle club and headed straight for the next business on the tour, Certified Angus Beef. It was a bit too crowded to hear the employees talk about the event center and restaurant. The highlight there was the foam finger they gave to Philip. He played with that thing in the car for the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately, his play ended up in destruction once we got home, and I never got to get a photo of him wearing it.

We continued to visit agricultural businesses including a farm equipment supplier and a meat processing plant. We ended our tour at the only farm, a dairy operation. The visit was a disappointment after the well-organized and informative wagon ride at the large dairy farm included on Ashland County’s tour.

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The weather was better and the sites more interesting the next day when we changed counties and drove the Medina County Fall Foliage tour. Next Sunday’s slideshow will feature pictures and details from that event.


lounge act

Peter is in surgery. I now have at least four more hours to kill. We arrived three hours ago.

I’m in the family lounge waiting. There’s free coffee and wifi. I have two books in my backpack.

I have a pager hanging on my neck. Silence is good for now. It’s too early for updates.

And so I wait.


Sunday Slideshow: Ohio Heritage Days Festival

Last year after completing the county farm tour, we decided that, while we were already in the car, we would continue on to Malabar Farm State Park for the annual Ohio Heritage Days Festival. It was a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon at the end of September, and we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the nice weather for the free event.

We enjoyed the festival and wanted to attend again this year. However, we learned from our previous experience. Instead of tackling both events on the same day, we did the farm tour on Saturday and visited Malabar Farm on Sunday. By going on Sunday, we were able to arrive as soon as the event began. We were able to park closer to the venue, beat the crowds, and beat the midday heat.

By attending when there were fewer people, we got to see many more vendors and demonstrations. We toured The Big House, home of author Louis Bromfield. We watched wood being carved and wool being dyed.

We also didn’t have to wait in line for Philip to ride a horse. A local trail riding group was back again offering rides by donation. My aunt wasn’t there, but the members still were very accommodating, finding a pony for Philip since he is scared of mounting a regular horse. The only thing I forgot from last year was to leave the camera with Philip, so my photos didn’t turn out so great.


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