Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A small town dilemma

This morning at breakfast we were having a discussion with our guests about Port Wing, small towns and what holds a small town like Port Wing together as a community.  It was informally decided that it might be all the community events that bring people together, whether it's the town baseball team at their weekend games, the museum's Harvest Festival dinner in October, the Fish Boil and the Lions Club Fall Festival coming up on Labor Day weekend, or any other event that asks people in town to donate a pan of bars, a salad or a few hours of their time.

In my last post I talked about being "too busy."  Besides running a B&B, we have a few other activities that keep us occupied.  The most recent event we helped with was the Port Wing Plein Air Painting Festival.  About twenty-eight artists came to Port Wing to paint area scenes outside--en plein air--and it culminates with a judging and then a public exhibit of all their entries in the Town Hall on Saturday afternoon.  Our contribution to this event was supplying the opening morning registration day with two pans of pecan caramel rolls, and setting up and managing the food table at the exhibit on Saturday.

Here are some photos of this year's Festival.  First, a few of the artists out painting...

And a few from the exhibit...some with ribbons!

So here's the dilemma.  Each of the major town events requires people--people to do the baking or cooking of all kinds and people to work MANY hours for events to come off successfully.  And in a small town, there aren't THAT many people.  And many of those people who have been volunteering and holding things together for many years aren't as young as they used to be!

Then you start thinking of alternatives.  Wouldn't it be just as easy to make a $20 donation to whatever group rather than making two pies, or a salad, or bars, or working all day at an event?  I know I've thought that many times for fundraisers my daughters did for school or Girl Scouts name it!  Keep the Christmas wrap, magazines, candy bars, and let me just donate!  But in the case of events in small towns, just paying my way like that does nothing for community.  All of these events bring lots of other people into town and carry on some long-standing Port Wing traditions.

So, we'll gear ourselves up for these last big summer events.  The pickled beets are ready for the museum Harvest Dinner, we'll plan what pies we'll make for the church stand at the Fall Festival, and at the same time remember to hold on to and savor these last weeks of summer, 2015!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Trying not to be "too busy"

Back when I was teaching, working as a school media specialist, one of my goals every year was to work on my tendency to appear to be "too busy"--"too busy" to get to know students better, "too busy" to stop and chat with other school staff more, "too busy" to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Well, not much has changed except that I'm no longer facing a year with 800 middle school students.  I still feel like I always have things I "should" do instead of all the things I planned to do when I retired up here three years ago, which mostly had to do with...reading.  But fortunately, most of the things I feel I "should" do here are as enjoyable as reading.

I have several times of the year here that I consider my favorites--maple sugar time in March/April, apple blossom time in May, fall color weeks in September/October, and the first big snowfall whenever it hits.  But maybe my favorite "favorite" time is right now when the gardens are producing and the flowers are beautiful.  We've started some canning already--six quarts of pickled beets, 4 pints of dilly beans, can't remember how many jars of strawberry jam.  We've picked our first cucumbers and had the first "gurkensalat"--cucumbers & onions in a vinaigrette, almost like Germany.  And the first tomato is just about ready to pick!

Here are some picts from our gardens:

Butterflies on the echinacea

Day lilies going strong

Monarchs on the milkweed in the Monarch Station

More butterflies 

Petunias happy on the south side 

Peppers, garlic & shallots in front - Tomatoes behind

 Herbs & peppers

Tall ones are the tomatoes - I had to go through and hack out all of the extra foliage so the tomatoes could see the sun!  Also with the cucumbers.

Impatiens are happy on the north side

Too much fun!

And Astro Bob from Duluth says peak night for the Perseid meteor showers will be Wednesday night.  Our guests saw a few already tonight and I think I saw one, too, but the sightings should be great by Wednesday!