Tag Archives: Ashland Rotary Garden

You say it’s Pi Day? Seems like it’s always Pie Day around here!

15 Mar

A few weeks ago, my husband Emile read an article about the Ashland Emergency Food Bank in the local paper.  The focus of the article was that the food bank was going to hold an open house/pie social to launch a capital campaign to purchase the facility where they are currently housed.  If they succeed in doing this, the food bank will attain a permanent home and thereby ensure its presence in our community for years to come.

After he read the article, Emile turned to me and said, “Don’t you think you should help with that?”  There he goes again… always thinking up good things for me to do!  But his suggestion intrigued me enough to call Pam Marsh, the director of the food bank and ask her about her plan for making pies for the social.  Pam’s response – “I haven’t gotten that far yet!” was something I could easily identify with.  I’m not big on planning which sometimes can be problematic.  However, most of the time things work out just fine.   Pam and I talked a bit over the next week or so and we arranged a day to meet at the First Presbyterian Church with as many people as we could gather together to bake pies!

Pie Baking for the Food Bank

The morning of the bake-fest I showed up early and brewed some coffee and waited hopefully.  Soon Pam arrived with loads of ingredients (including a case of apples) and for a few minutes it was just me and Pam.  Then, one by one, the ladies showed up.  They came carrying rolling pins and aprons and were ready to work.   It was absolutely wonderful!  In no time at all, we assembled 24 beautiful pies.  Most of the pies were apple, but there were a few berry pies in the mix as well.   I’d like to offer my deepest thanks to each of those ladies for putting their caring hearts and valuable time into this event.  The “Pie” volunteers are (listed alphabetically): Carol Baker (perfect name for the project, no?), Patty Chase, Barbara Hanson, Linda Lanzhammer, Barbara Marsh, Kathy Sager, and Leslie Sargent.

The Pie Social was held on Sunday, March 10.  It was  a beautiful day and many people showed up to show their support for the food bank,  to visit with like-minded individuals, and (drum roll please!) to enjoy a piece of pie!  It was a terrific event and I am so glad that Emile suggested that I get involved.  Because of his idea I met Pam… and got to work on a fun project with a great bunch of women.

Another team that I am proud to be a part of is the volunteer group that works at the Rotary Garden.  This is the fourth year that the Ashland Rotary Club has been growing vegetables for the food bank.  One of our Rotarians came up with the idea and from that flash of inspiration we have raised thousands of pounds of fresh produce that has benefited the needy people of Ashland.

Ann Marie and me at the Rotary Garden

Ann Marie Hutson and I worked yesterday at the garden sifting soil.

As great as that is, I have discovered a personal “perk” from volunteering my time for the garden.  I’ve found that by working side by side with my fellow Rotarians we have become better acquainted, and true friendships have developed.

Yesterday, on International “Pi Day”, I baked an Apple Blueberry pie for Mark Jaffe, the current coordinator of our garden project.  I want to thank him for taking the helm of this very rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

apple blueberry pie

Apple Blueberry Pie

“Candy might be sweet, but it’s a traveling carnival blowing through town. Pie is home. People always come home.” ~ Pushing Daisies

 

Why Rotary?

5 Oct

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Ashland Rotary Club.  To be more precise, I am an Honorary Member of that club.   Here is how the Rotary International website describes what that means:

Honorary members have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in support of Rotary’s ideals. They’re considered friends of Rotary for their permanent support of Rotary’s cause and are elected by the club.

To tell the truth, I’ve never read that before tonight.  I thought I was chosen to be an Honorary Rotarian because I made the monthly birthday cakes.  But I know that it there is more to it than that.  Since my husband joined the club more than 16 years ago, I’ve participated in the club in one way or another.  At first I only sang with “the Rotary band” at the annual Holiday Party for shut-ins… but over time I found a number of ways to make a difference.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been very active at the Rotary garden.  Just last week I learned that over the last four years our efforts have resulted in more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce being donated to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.  How wonderful is that?

Mixed Berry Pie

Apple Almond Pie

One of the Rotarians who works with me at the Rotary garden made this special request, “Could we please have pie instead of cake at the birthday table in October?”  Of course I was happy to comply!  The only thing I did in advance was to send an email to the “other” October birthday folks asking if that was okay with them…. and I was not surprised to learn that it was.

Early yesterday morning I prepared two pies for the meeting – one a Mixed Berry Crumb Crust Pie… and the other, an Apple Almond Pie.  Then, to top it off, I picked up some vanilla ice cream so that the pies could be served a la mode.  Almost as soon as they were delivered to the birthday table, the pies were cut and distributed all around… and it warmed my heart to see everyone devouring them.`

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked by curious friends if “it helps” being a member of Rotary.  What the question means (to me) is “does it help your business.”  Perhaps it does… but if you’re asking that kind of question, I don’t think you understand what Rotary is all about.  Again, from the RI website: The Rotary motto Service Above Self conveys the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members. Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.  

By being a member of Rotary I have met people from all over the world – and have had the opportunity to help make a difference in some amazing ways.  And I’ve gotten to know my fellow Rotarians better by working alongside them to do good.  And so, if you were to ask me “Does being a Rotarian help?”  I’d have to say “Yes. It helps so many people… and it will help you too… but probably not in the ways that you expect.”

Tonight I would like to dedicate this post to a friend and fellow Rotarian, Hal.  He was a great man and will be greatly missed.

Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.  Minor Myers Jr.

Serendipity?

12 Sep

Pear Upside Down Cake

Last Saturday it was my turn to bake the treat for the volunteers at the Ashland Rotary garden.  As I looked around the kitchen at the items that I had available, I saw the pears that I’d picked at the garden a few weeks earlier and noticed that they were ripe and ready to be used.  At first I thought I would find an apple cake recipe and just substitute the pears for apples but then I thought of this recipe from Fanny Farmer’s Baking Book (I found it on a website called “365 Days of Baking“. (Holy cow – that sure sounds familiar!  I need to get in touch with this woman because we have a lot in common!)

Back to last Saturday…  Once my cake was baked, I placed it in my car and began my drive out to the garden.  As I headed up the street I saw our friend Steve setting up a yard sale.  I pulled over (no screeching brakes I swear!) and noticed he was selling mostly toys that his grandson has outgrown.  Since my ‘kids’ are 19 and 23, I wasn’t in need of toys, so instead Steve and I started chatting.

He told me that he made a quiche recently but he wasn’t thrilled with the results and asked would I share my recipe with him.  I told him that I relied on a ratio for my quiche filling.  For the custard portion of a 9″ deep dish pie, I use 4 eggs, 2 cups of half and half (or whole milk if I am trying to lessen the caloric content) and then add 2 cups of grated cheese (usually cheddar or swiss).  Of course, you’ll still need to add some sautéed vegetables (and cooked sausage or bacon if you’re so inclined) but that’s about it.  Just about then the yard sale got busy.  I knew I had to get to the garden so I promised Steve I’d write the recipe down and get it to him later.

Spinach, Onion, and Pepper Quiche

Well, a few days later I still  had not written down the recipe, and I thought of how amazing Steve and Ellie are for adopting their grandson and putting all their time, love, and energy into raising him… and before you could say “Jiminy Cricket” I had a quiche in the oven for them.  A short while later I knocked on their door and handed Ellie the quiche still hot from the oven… with the promise that I would get the recipe to Steve soon.   Ellie thanked me and gave me a big hug and I was off.

The very next day I wanted to prepare fresh tomato sauce for the Baked Manicotti that I was making for guests that evening when I went into my pantry and found only one onion when I really needed two.  I began thinking of who might have an onion I could borrow when there was a knock at the door.   When I opened the door, there was Ellie handing me several paper bags filled with goodies from her garden… including 2 onions! 

The bounty from Ellie’s garden!

This sort of occurrence might fall under the heading of serendipity or luck, but I like to think that there is a grander scheme that we are all a part of and that sometimes – if we are lucky – we get to glimpse its magic.

Coincidence is the word we use when we can’t see the levers and pulleys.
-Emma Bull

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