Written by Art Petrosemolo
Well, spring has sprung, finally! This year, right up until leaving on a vacation to Iceland at the end of April, I really wondered if indeed we were even going to get spring or, for that matter, summer. Hey, just having turned 75 Memorial Day Weekend, I am not sure how many more springs are left in the tank and I didn’t want to be cheated out of one.
I struggled getting plants into hard ground at the Sycamore Springs community garden in mid-April before Tina and I, along with Bernie and Bob Collins, left for 15 days on a cruise from Ireland to Iceland and back via the Faro (Scottish) Islands.
Well arriving back in early May, I could see that indeed something had arrived and it was a lot warmer than when I had left.
I have spent the past few weeks catching up on interviews and stories for Lancaster Newspaper’s area weeklies and a “busman’s holiday” to Newport, Rhode Island to photograph the Volvo Ocean Race boats on their U.S. stop before heading across the Atlantic. Photographing the mega sailboats was a real pleasure.
Well, things have quieted down the past week or so and I find I am starting the cycle again identifying stories to write, people to talk to and setting up an interview schedule.
I suddenly realized I had some time to “smell the roses” so I got a chance to visit the three Plain Community families I have grown close to the past 17 months.
Carpenter Mike Fisher who builds the lovely, live edge tables we use at Garden Spot (Harvest Table, Village Square and Mountain View) is expanding. His tiny, 900-square foot shop is now gone and a nearly 3,000 structure (looks like a two-story home) has taken its place on New Holland Road just past the top of Welsh Mountain. When complete later this month, it will give Mike lots of new space to expand his operation, store slabs for tables and other projects and also provide him with a second-story showroom.
I’m excited for Mike and his future. Oh, and to add to Mike’s busy spring, wife Esther (as I write this) is about ready to give birth to their third child. What do they say… “it never just rains when it can pour!”
A week after I returned from the trip, Ruth Lapp (Amish Meals At Home) from Paradise asked me to take her three daughters out furniture shopping. Oldest daughter Liz will be married October 30th and I had the honor to be not only asked to attend the wedding but to help (because of my graphics and printing background) to design and print the invitations. Did you know that is the parents of the groom’s name that goes first on the invitation, not the bride’s as is traditional in “English” weddings? I learned a lot with that project.
Well the furniture shopping trip was a hoot. Tina came along and we drove the Lapp farm (huge) truck. It was so big that Tina needed a stool to climb into the cab and prideful Art refused same and made a fool of himself multiple times getting behind the steering wheel looking like a monkey on a jungle gym.
It was a successful trip and Ruth found furniture for her daughter at Harry’s in Leola and at our own Care & Share Thrift Store during our seven-hour excursion.
The Lapp farm grows some of the best Chandler strawberries in Lancaster County (I think they are the best) so she rewarded me with several quarts that I enjoyed over the next few days.
Today, I went to visit the Hoover (homestead) family farm on Reidenbach Road. It is one of my favorite places to visit in the good weather to watch the non-stop activity of planting, harvesting, horse training and carpentry work. There is no better place than on the Hoover porch in June when the cherries are ripe on the two trees above your head….. they never make it to the bucket for the first 20 minutes and your hands and face are smeared red.
I also visited Marlin Hoover’s farm on Snyder Road off North Railroad Avenue…home of the succulent plants (sign right on North Railroad). Two of the Hoover girls run the greenhouse and it’s fun to help them as I can or play with a new batch of puppies. They were on the Lancaster Best Kept Secrets Tour this past April and have literally hundreds of new customers. They are as busy as they have ever been with both in-state and out-of-state cars. The girls complain that people are arriving in the morning before they get their breakfast dishes washed!
So, I have been busy—in a fun kind of way—enjoying the good weather and late spring. But nothing brought it home to me more than watching the hay being cut in the fields by Plain community farmers and horse teams along the back roads the past few days. And dads with their kids on the hay machines or riding behind on a pony. I actually stopped and watched for 10 minutes and took a few (just a few) photos to share with you.
Enjoy spring, what’s left of it, and let’s hope we all have many, many more to enjoy.