I got me a herd!


August has been a whirlwind of a month so far.  I had the joy of churning butter during the Erie County Fair, at the Historical building.  What a fantastic time it was.  I churned all but one day, and manage to churn 90 pounds of Butter this year, handing them out as samples.  The flavors for the fair…. why Black Raspberries and Everything but the bagel topping with parmesan garlic, along with plain.  Everyone loved the flavors and I usually had a line waiting to try some butter.

Along the way…. I gained a herd of cows!  Some strayed so I named them all and they helped me demonstrate the ease of churning butter.  People were amazed at how easy it is and how fast it makes.  Heavy cream, (Upstate is the best) at room temperature, and either in a churn, a mix master, a mason jar 1/3 of the way, a kitchen aide, a whip… and you will get butter and butter milk, the product that is left over which is a creamy skin milk.  Now think about it, you have create the butter, which is fat, the liquid that is left over is skim milk.  You can drink the skin milk, or use it for cooking.  I had my group of folks that follow me, guess you could say my groupies…. Anna who is 10 now, has helped me churn and explain for 4 years now, came several times, and then there were the folks that look for me each year.  Some of them have started to make their own butter, so got to hear how they did, and what flavors they made, help some that tried to make butter and failed, (has to be heavy cream, not half and half) and meet some other great folks, who want to try it on their own now and with their grand children.

All ages loved it, all groups of people, and it was fun to hear their stories of when they themselves churned butter or their parents, of how they always enjoy coming home and having a snack of home made bread and butter or even crackers and butter.  I so loved hearing all the tales and wish I could have recorded some of them.  I also got to hear some stories of when they started coming to the fair, and how they could drive the car straight to the buildings, and the different foods that were available.

In the building I was in were 20 booths and around 10 cases where different Historical Societies and other groups displayed items from the past in their towns they were from.  The theme was World War I and II in your hometown, and what wonderful displays they were.  We even had two booths that displayed medals and uniforms from local men, and two of the men in their 90s came to see them.  There was a display that showed how metal, paper, rubber, drives went on, and so many photos of local men that were in the military, how folks in the home town helped by being part of the Civil Defense and watched for planes. The Legion had a booth in there as well as it is the start of the 100th Birthday for them.  The Legion was started in 1918 and by 1919 the were Post established in towns everywhere.  There was even a display case displaying beach glass from our local area.

Through out the Fair were wonderful exhibits set up, shows running day and night, food vendors where you could eat all types of food… and even… the largest wooden bowl being created and turned outside our building.  Of course we can not forget the animals, from small hamsters to Draft horses.  Many, Many shows went on in the horse rings, arenas where the cows, alpaca, pigs, sheeps and even chickens, ducks and such were shown.

It was a great 12 days of the Fair, and I camped out for 2 weeks , and that was an adventure as 4 of us were staying in a very small camper.  Good thing we all get along so good, but it was so nice to have a camper to run to and cool off on the days that were so hot and humid, and get into and sleep at night.  Giving us a few extra minutes of down time as we were at the Historical Building 10 to 12 hours a day.

We broke down on Monday morning ( August 20th) and cleaned out the building as well as the camper we had rented.  Then I brought all of that home, to unload, and also pack up as I was leaving to go to my son’s house on Tuesday to house sit and keep a eye on their animals.  So on Tuesday morning at 8;51 ( ok, 9:30 am) I got on the Amtrak train and headed to New Hampshire and the next adventure begins!




So much has seemed to happened over the last few weeks… Great things and sad things…. My 19 year old cat, that I had from a kitten, sadly died… It was her time, and I got to hold her several hours before she passed on. She was not in pain, it was just her time. She watched the birds from her favorite spot, she seemed to walk around a go to “her” places to rest awhile, and at the end came to me and wanted me to hold her.. I did, and I cried but held her. We also had visitors coming to the Lucy Bensley genealogy center where I volunteer… a bunch of them… 4th graders, so I had to go in the next day (after she died that night) and talk to them. It was a good thing for me, as it keep my mind busy, so I did not dwell on my loss. Coming home was hard, but I have two love bugs Fraser and Rosebud ( the other cats) waiting for me as well as my small parrot. Then, I had a event I went to at SUNY… a living History day, where I demonstrated how to churn butter and gave out samples and gave a talk on the art work on tombstones ( now isn’t that a combo talk!) I really enjoyed doing that. Then we have had folks coming in to do research on family and the town… 5 to 10 a week since then.

And then it got hot,..I mean really hot for us.. We went up to Old Fort Niagara for the French and Indian re enactment… and it was too hot for me to stay long, that was a first, as we usually go from opening to closing.. not this time. Came home, and AC went in the window, much to the relief of animal and humans inside.

And I have been doing butter churning demostations, getting ready for the Erie County Fair, where I do demos and work at the Historical Building, making phone calls to set up the inside demonstrators at the building, while I was also helping folks with research, both in person and through emails that they submit, writing articles for the paper ( in the Springville Times) trying to get ahead for when I am at the fair, Helping the Civil War Museum in town, working with my patio garden, watering and weeding, and times just seems to be speeding by.

In the middle of all of this I lost a set of keys I use.. that had 8 thumb drives on the ring, with 2 keys… and of course, after 10 days, still have not found them anywhere. I have notified everywhere I can think of to find them and still nothing. On a good note, I have cleaned out several old totes and bags looking for them, and under the furniture and flip and changed the beddings in the process of looking for them, talked to some great people who are helping me look.

Today I go and churn for South Wales old home week, next weekend is booked as is all the weekends in July, August I am at the fair churning twice a day, then head up to stay with my granddog while my son and family go on a trip. September is open… well no it is not, I have several events planned for that month as well… geez… when did I get so busy?! So I will be posting and updating when I slow down… really I will but until then., maybe I will see you at one of the events I do.

Oh… and on a positive note… I am still staying gluten free… getting easier and easier to do .. but gosh darn it, you really have to read the labels on everything.

My GF journey is getting easier!

I started in November going gluten free, thought it was going be to be impossible, but wanted to try it.  I was amazed at how easy it turned out to be.  Every where I went I could find choices that were gluten free.  Some good , some not so tasty.  Some restaurants had complete menus, while others only offered one or two items.  When I went to the store, I again found some had lots of choices to choose from, and some not so many.  Now I am seeing that they have a section of gluten free food in one area, and then scattered through out the store in the aisle with the regular food.  So many brands have hoped on the band wagon and now have gluten free choices such as Hidden Valley bars, you can get regular, or gluten free.

Then I learned that chicken wings are usually not battered.  What!!  I can satisfy my fried chicken taste buds with chicken wings, with no sauce!  Woo Hoo…. I am a happy camper indeed.  Still trying to find a bread I really like.  I have some that are ok, but still not  what my taste buds really want.  so the search is on for that.  Some noodles I like, but take to long to cook, but then I found one that cooks in under 5 minutes, and they are great!

I have learned how to read labels faster, and know what to look for.  That did take some work, but now it is easy.  There is always fresh Veggies and fruit I can have with no problems, and most places, can order a sandwich, hot dog, hamburger with no bun, which is ok.  The Mexican food I like, still trying to figure out what I can and cannot have, but I did find out that, our local Mexican restaurant has a fantastic grilled salmon with veggies that will melt in your mouth! Go figure, never would have thought to go there to have it.

With the heat upon us, I also have to be careful with ice creams, but there are still lots of choices to choose from.  No cones, but hey, less mess!

I do butter churning demos, so I have found some pretzels they could use to try some of the butter which of course I try to keep a little in a small container for just those that are GF to try.  sometimes those crackers are sure tempting.

So 8 months into my journey, and I think I have this.  I feel better, and I did discover that if I do eat something with gluten in it…. I tend not to feel good the next day.  So I know it is working!

As always one day at a time, one choice at a time… learning more each day.

What a whirlwind !

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been!  I have been having fun sharing history with the younger generation.  I went into the Hamburg High School for three days, sharing with them different primary resources that were not found on the computer, cell phones or google… what a shock, there were actually books and artifacts that could be used to learn about the past.  I brought some old atlas of our area, to show how from 1866 to 1880 the town lines changes, town names changes, and you could research different families by seeing who and where land/farms were.  Then they got to use the old bound newspapers to continue their search, also finding old ads, from the area to see what indeed was here. I had two different newspapers from our area that recorded a new firetruck in 1921.  It was like looking at articles for two different trucks, two different points of views, that was fun for them. I took artifacts  for them to see if I could stump the kids, and the one that stumped all the ages I talked to…. a wooden egg on a stick… or as us old timers know,… a darning egg for socks.  Well why would you have one of those?! they all ask, which opened up the discussion of how socks, were not always bought in a pack of 6 or 12 at Walmart, but had to be used and worn for a long period of time, and you did not want to walk on a lump where you mended the sock.  I totally loved the 11th graders I got to visit their classrooms for 3 days, absolutely a joy.  They could think outside the box and were amazed at what all they could find out and learn.  We even went into a discussion of how food was made and stored, learned about “Pop” Warner and the fact that not only was he a coach for football, but he could paint as well, to ink wells and quills to write with, how ink was made and with what, salt wells, candle molds, that had a lot stumped and I learned from them as well.

The next group of kids I talked to was the 7th graders.  They were a little tougher, They also got to see old photographs, and learned that you had to sit still for up to 2 minutes for the photo to come out, and how the photographers would sometime travel around and take photos, and you can age the photographs by looking at their clothes, hairstyles and other items that were in the picture. They too also enjoyed the old papers, the old car ads, (learned they were also called automobiles) were amazed at how articles were written, how many cars brands there were, the size of the tires and then they learned about type setting that the newspapers had to use to print the papers.  They got to learn about the schools around here and what classes were offered.  I had fun with them as I took a artificial arm with me to show them.  The person it belong to had loss his arm during the Civil War, but came back and lived a long and productive life as a farmer.  At the time, they were not paying much attention, and you know raising your voice does not always work, so I used the arm as a selfie stick, putting a cell phone in the hand ( had a very strong thumb spring still) and extended the arm to be straight.  When the kids ask me what I was doing, I told them I needed a hand to take a selfie with a cell phone.  Then one student looked up more about the arm and discovered that it was designed in 1857 and patented in 1863, told us what kind of wood it was and paint.  I was very impressed by his research..  I was only with them for one day, but think I got them thinking of primary resources away from the computer, cell phones and Google.

We had a group come through from Clymer Historical Society to see what all we had at the Mercantile/Heritage Building and us at the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center.  They seem to enjoy all we had to offer and look through some of the books and items we had at the building.

This last week, was 4th graders came in all 3 days we were opened.  So much fun again!  I love sharing my enjoyment of History with kids.  We played a game that I called, what is in Grandma trunk?  I started with .. If you found this trunk ( a large suitcase) in the attic   (and explained what was a attic for those that may not know) what are these items and how do you think they were used.  I started off with a rug beater.  It was fun to hear them try to figure out what it was… Why not plug it in a vacuum cleaner ? was asked., Were they even invented yet? into what? I replied, and then went on to explain, there was not electricity in the house then.  What?!  and then told them how you would pull the rug out (not beat the rug on the floor in place) and beat it outside and then take it back in.  That’s a lot of work, one little boy said. I had some tin type photos, followed by the 3 X 5 photos that the photographers would take in the 1880s, some pieces of a quilt were in there as well as other items.  Then I went into a what is genealogy?  I had created several forms for them to take home, a family tree, questions you might ask your grandparents, old photos, and to try to get the information, do you have a favorite food item your grandmother or Aunt makes, some fun facts and such.

Through all of this was laughter, and great questions and maybe, just maybe, I opened some eyes and minds for these kids to look back into their families, or learn a little about the history of the town.  I did have one student that told me, I made history interesting…. Now that I will take as a compliment!

My Passions, My Love

Many of you that know me, know I have a passion for History.  Now when I was young, I did not enjoy it at all.  Funny as you get older you have different likes, different taste.  I moved to Springville area 30 years ago, not knowing anything about this area.  The last few years, I have enjoyed learning the history of the area and what a wonderful history it is.  So full, so much this town and village has gone through.

The stained glass window in the above photo is from the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center.  The Universalist Church was built in 1897 and the window installed and has been up there in the eaves ever since.  The building itself has been several things… after the Church disbanded it was then the public library, ran by Lucy Bensley herself for almost 50 years!  Then it was a BOCES class room and then the Genealogy Center.  The Chamber of Commerce also has its office there. You can stop by any Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am to 3pm and learn about the history of the town and the folks and businesses that were established and ran.  A rich history indeed.

This week a member that lives out of town, sent back this horse statute that once was behind the bar at the Leland house.  How exciting that was, as some books as well.  We also get folks that bring in photos and quilts, tools, kitchenware, and their own genealogy research they have done.  We love having that.  Photographs… well, we have lots and lots and lots of them… only problem is .. back in the day, they would only put the names of the cats, dog or cow that was in the photo… with my sisters, or grandmas and nothing else.. so we are always looking for someone to help us to ID these people.

We have the old bound newspapers from the town digitalized and make searching so much easier.  How fun it is to sit and read these papers from back in 1868, or 1844, 1900s…. as the events of the area built up, from measles and small pox, to the railroad coming and being built, the GAR being formed, then the Legion, VFW, and all the social organizations…. The Odd Fellows .. IOOF, the Knights of the Maccabees (KOTM) the Free and Accepted Masons, Womans Relief Corps (WRC) and you had to know what the initials stood for… as that was what the columns were titled. You could read about the meetings, who attended them, what they talked about… and when they were going to meet again.  You could read when family came in to visit, or friends from other towns, who had the best cows, or the largest vegetables in their gardens. You could pay for a subscription with a cord of wood or by writing an article or brief article on what went on in your town the previous week.  I so love learning more and more about the town, so much so, that I now create a story for the Springville Times each week titled Looking back.

After all that fun I have there when I came home, I have some of the best pets, Fraser always greats me and wants snuggles right away, which of course he gets.  Then there is Violet, the talker and she makes sure I know when to feed them… Rosebud who is the little princess who rules the roost.  She is talker as well.  Then there is Akela, who is a parrot, but does not realize he is a bird, so reacts when one flies by the window.  Then will sings and whistle while I work around the house… and oh yeah… he likes to take showers with me.

Going gluten free has helped me lower my pain levels so I can truly enjoy volunteering at the Lucy Bensley Center, writing more articles and helping others to do their own research.  We have several folks that now come in weekly to learn more about their family, and some that just come to read the old papers.

Stop down some day and visit with us, learn more about the town, and all the awesomeness it has and share with us your family history, your stories of the past.

5 Months gluten free

We have a new coffee shop in town and let me tell you this… they have super coffee AND the best, they carry the best home made gluten free treats, chocolate brownies with peanut butter icing, or vanilla icing, and cookies. They carry gluten free waffles and bread.  They make a breakfast of gluten free toast, with avocados slices and hard boiled eggs…. oh my, I have had it 3 times now it is so good, the waffles are not bad either.  How exciting that a little coffee shop carries so many choices!

So in the 5 months I have found so many food places that some carry a lot of choices and others that only have one or two choices.  Friday, I got grilled salmon, with steamed veggies all gluten free food and mighty tasty. Choices that I or anyone else can make, just have to take the time to research the food.  I really missed my fried food, but discovered that most chicken wings are fried without any batter, so I can order some wings and enjoy them, satisfying my craving for fried food, without having to attempt it at home as my frying of food never did taste right to me.  I have found that Target, and Wegman’s are the two stores around me that carry the best choices of gluten free food items.  I have bought food online, some I loved and some that I will never get again.  I do feel better, not as gassy, not as bloated and my heart burn is way down, so I am starting to see some results.  Wish my weight would drop some, but I know I am eating healthy and careful with what I eat, so it is, what it is.

My favorite snack is a apple sliced up with some cheese.  Fills me up and is healthy too.  Add a handful of Fritos  and  a tall glass of water… perfect.  Or a serving of raisins, with a glass of ice tea, fruit cut up, or a smoothy made with frozen fruit, and gluten free yogurt. I can always find something tasty to have for a snack.

I am re learning how to cook using gluten free products, re learning how to shop, now I have the items in my mind and do not have to do so much reading of labels, sure makes it easier to shop.  I have discovered that  a lot of the sweet snacks that are process for the gluten free either home made or store bought, sure seem extra sweet to me, some I even threw out, because I knew I would not eat them.. just too sweet!  So not sure if my taste buds have changed or if they really are that sweet.  So many choices I have made in the last 5 months, researching and studying before making them…. one at a time, and learning its ok if the choices are ones that I will stay with, or change again.

I choose to go gluten free to improve my health, and think it was a good choice.  I hope those that follow me enjoy the post and I hope to hear from all of you!

Happy Birthday to me!


So I have been wanting to get a better zoom lens for my camera, but just could not justify the prices they were.  I did some research and most of them ran anywhere from $1,300.00 and $3,000.00.  Yeah, that is not happening.  So Idid a little more research and found one for $140.00.  WHAT!?  looked it up, and yep, that was the price and it had great reviews…. I read almost everyone of them, and the only problems I could see happened either because they did not use a tripod, or the picture was blurry….. ok, that is ok, the lens itself was fine.  Ok, I can afford that. It is a 650/1300 Zoom, the one I have now goes up to 300, so a lot more zoom power with this one.  Now, because of it’s size I did not want to be changing the lens all the time.  I checked online, and found a camera body, the same type that I have a rebel Cannon … for under $100.  Oh boy this is just awesome!  So I ordered both!  For under $300 I have a new camera and zoom lens.

They both came within 3 days, even more exciting.  So I snuck downstairs on our porch and played with it for a little while.  Shoot, I will be able to get a photo of the birds nose hairs!  geez.  I got some practicing to do for sure.  It is manual focus, so I will have to  re learn doing that ( got lazy with the auto focus) but can see where that can be fun too.  Will have to use a tripod, because as you know, the more you zoom, the more you can not move or the subject will be blurry, and the lens itself has a place to mount the tripod.  You mount it that way instead of on the body of the camera as the lens is heavier than the camera and thus could break off if moved around to much. I got so use to the camera choosing the F stops and iso, that I got lazy there as well, time to re learn!

Now I am the search of a smaller suitcase, which I will create as a camera case, cheaper than buying one for cameras and now I am looking for the weather to get warmer (mother nature is playing with us now) so I can plan for some scooter and car trips to go and sit and take photos to learn how to use the camera and lens.  Practice does make perfect…. I got lots of practicing to do!