Saturday, May 10, 2008

Herbs or History First?

I am sitting here with the same satiated glee that I enjoy every year after spending a day at the Landis Valley Museum's Herb and Garden Faire. This year I was determined to be a little more thoughtful in my spending and so I carefully crafted a "Plant Wish List" earlier in the spring. I carry it in my wallet so when the inevitable side trip happens, I can be ready. As a small disclaimer here, I should note that having this list does not preclude me from buying 'offlist', it just gives me a bit more focus when that drooling, googly-eye 'herb sale' bug bites! For those who live nearby and have experienced Landis Valley, you know the beauty that serves as a backdrop to this annual Herb Faire. As much as I want to jump right into the show, I make it a ritual to visit the spot in the pictures first. It's right behind the booth of my pal and personal 'rose lady' Ruth Flounders, from "Roses in Thyme". This small museum kitchen garden is not built in the traditional PA Deitsch four square design, but there is something so incredibly appealing about it. The fencing is a sturdy no-nonsense design. The corner pieces measuring a hefty 6X6. I like to imagine myself gardening this plot...sort of my first guilty pleasure of the day. If I could add this little garden and arbor to my herb wagon and take it home, indeed I would! It really appeals to my Deitsch blood. Next stop was the tavern building, which appealed to the MAN (in attendance with me for the first time). Here they were cooking a chicken in the walk-in fire place by spinning it from a long piece of cording. A small chicken cooks in 2-3 hours this way. They were also rolling out homemade egg noodles and making a pie in a dutch oven in the fireplace. There were pewter mugs and ceramic redware pieces on beautifully aged tables. I leaned in and whispered to the MAN, "Can we move in here?" I already knew what his answer would be because both of us were born in the wrong century. It was an easy 'yes'. A look outside the tavern to the neglected hops beds there causes a little self-righteous comparison to the MAN's neatly trained hops vines at home. I let myself imagine how much he would love to wrangle those wild vines here outside of his very own tavern, serving his own hoppy beers in those pewter mugs. He'd be in heaven. Yes, he would. From there he followed his nose to pick out a few new varieties of heirloom tomatoes while I followed the trail of laughter under the tent to say hello to Tina of the Essential Herbal and pick up my highly anticipated copy of 'Under the Sun'. Tina's sister Maryanne of Lancaster County Soapworks and TorchSong Studio was close by with her glorious selection of jewelery. The two day show started out on Friday with less than pleasant weather...high winds and torrential rains. It made for a muddy walkabout yesterday but I was prepared with my pink rubber garden boots. The weather didn't seem to dampen the spirits under that tent however. Those two sisters can laugh at just about anything! Soon after waving goodbye to them, we made our first trip out to the truck with an overflowing wagon to unload and return for more, crossing a few things off the list as I walked. When I got back inside I went hunting for Sarah from Herbs from the Labyrinth who was forced to move indoors away from her usual location because of the heavy rains. Her large store banner caught my eye from far off. Good work, Sarah! We then made our way towards my personal 'broommaker' to purchase a stiff new broom. I found one this year with a spiffy red handle. He doesn't have a website that I can share with you and I'm not even sure of his name, I'm sorry to say, but I have been buying brooms from him for years because they are both so beautiful and well made. His hearth brooms are particularly appealing. After bidding goodbye to the broom man, I found the "Plant Wish List" in my pocket, again pleasantly distracted by history, beauty and old friends. This is not ever a day I wish to race through so I reconnect with the MAN again and we continue on with the plant search...yeah, right after we followed the scent trail to the BBQ Brisket sandwiches and Hot Dogs with 'kraut. Love this place....


Ellen said...

Dreamy stone ;)

How cool! I didn't realise bamboo is cold hearty for PA.

Lorelei Ranveig said...

I had this Faire on my calendar, but things didn't work out and we couldn't go. Which stinks, because I've been wanting to attend for some time now.
That small kitchen garden looks like a dream. Oh, I would love to have that. Both gardens, really. What an inspiration. Indeed, it really is appealing. Perhaps we'll bump into each other next year! =)

Aunt Jenny said...

Oh wow..wonderful looking place..I am so envious...that picket fence is exactly what I want..and it looks like such a wonderful place!! History and herbs both..what more could you ask for????


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