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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Today's post is just a report of the day.  Today is July 30, 2014 and it happens to be my husband's birthday.  He scheduled today as a vacation day and his employer scheduled him off yesterday and tomorrow so he has a nice 3-day "weekend" in the middle of the week.

Our "weekend" is any two consecutive days he is scheduled off from his retail job.  Anyone who works retail has to live with a constantly changing schedule. If you are paid every 2 weeks, and your "week" is Sunday through Saturday, your scheduled "off days" can sometimes not arrive until you've worked 8, 9 or even 10 straight shifts.  It can happen, fortunately it does not happen often.  

We started the morning by driving about an hour and a quarter to a regionally famous Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbord restaurant in Lancaster County, Shady Maple.  Years ago Shady Maple was nothing more than a little roadside farm stand owned by a young Mennonite couple, where they sold the produce they grew on their farm. It was situated under a maple tree, hence the name.

In 2000 their little stand had grown into an entire complex containing the Smorgasbord, a large gift shoppe on the lower level of the restaurant, a Fast Food Dutchette, a cafe and a furniture store.  The complex is a testament to the faith and work ethic found in this family and very prevalent in this area of the state.  The family still owns and operates this huge concern and to the delight of their customers, you can get a free meal on the day of your birthday!  

If you can still walk after eating all that food (breakfast is a great time to go because you have the remainder of the day to work off the calories), there are so many things to see and do that the rest of your day won't be boring.

We chose to come home after a brief stop at September Farm Cheese in
Honeybrook.  Another Mennonite establishment, their store consists of a cheese factory, a bakery, country store and Sandwich Shop.  The next time we go to the area, we'll make September Farm our first stop.  They have lots of free samples to try, and the last thing I wanted to do after breakfast was sample.   The family has won prestigious awards since they began producing cheese in 2007, and the variety is impressive.  It's a lovely site to visit. (And they sell cheese curds as well.  You have to try cheese curds...a real treat!)

Our dog Mollie was happy we hadn't spent the entire day away from home, and later in the afternoon she got to ride along with us when we did a few errands.  Fred was happy because he got his free birthday water ice from Rita's.  In our area, water ice is a major summertime draw! 

I promised to bake Fred a molasses crumb cake tomorrow, along with a pot of home made corn chowder, and on his way to Rita's he also picked up the movie "Noah" from the Redbox at the supermarket.  Definitely not an exciting day, but a day he could orchestrate.

Today was the perfect weather day for Fred's celebration, one of those days you wish you could order up on demand:  sunny, blue skies, white puffy clouds, moderate temperature (no need for A/C in the car), mild breeze and very low humidity.  Couldn't ask for a better day to just relax and do whatever you wish.  That's exactly how a birthday should be: a day you plan to your specifications and the perfect weather in which to enjoy it.  I wonder if I start now, if I could manifest the same type of weather for my September birthday.  

Happy Birthday, Frederick Achatz!  I love you.