Tag Archives: Ashland Rotary Club

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.

A Cake, A Cobbler, and Baby Marley

2 Aug

Chocolate Raspberry Whipped Cream Cake

Today is the first Thursday of the month… and that means that the Ashland Rotary Club celebrates the birthdays of the members born in this month.  This day is important to me because for the last dozen or so years I have been the creator of the monthly birthday cake.   It is one of the ways that I serve the club and I enjoy it because it gives me the chance to connect with everyone in the club at least once a year.

At today’s meeting,  the program was given by one of our club members, Tim Simonsen, who talked about Mercy Ships.  Tim’s daughter, Alyssa, is a nurse and last year she volunteered for eight months aboard the Mercy Ship and for two weeks, Tim and his wife, Kathy, worked there as well. The entire crew is made up of volunteers who not only work for free, but  also pay room and board to work on this ship!

Mercy Ships currently operates the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world.

Though I’d heard about the Mercy hospital ship before, today was the first time I saw what it was that they do and I was deeply moved by the stories that Tim shared with us.   The mission of Mercy Ship is “Bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor” and the world is a much better place because of the efforts of all of their many volunteers.  If you’d like to learn more about Mercy Ships, you can see a short video about their mission here.

After the meeting ended,  I went back home with the goal of making a Raspberry Peach cobbler.  My friend Jamey’s son, Ryan, and his wife, Savannah, have recently had a little girl, and I wanted to bring a pie to congratulate them.  And just in case they wanted to share it with Jamey (who is gluten-intolerant), I knew I had to make it without flour!

Preparing the cobbler.

First I peeled the peaches and sliced them into a bowl.  Then I tossed the peaches with a bit of sugar and some cornstarch (not flour). Once this was combined, I added some fresh raspberries and placed it in a glass pie dish.  For the cobbler topping, I combined two cups of gluten-free flour (I use Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix when I don’t make my own) with 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of baking powder.  Mix this together until crumbly and then stir in 1/2 cup of half and half until it just comes together, and then gently plop it on top of the prepared fruit.  Bake for about 35 minutes at 375 and you will find a delicious dish waiting in the oven when you’re through!

This is what I brought to welcome Baby Marley… and to congratulate her parents, Ryan and Savannah.  I wish them all things good and a lifetime of happiness.

A sleeping baby Marley!

PS More good news!  The cake that I sent to my son, Coco, for his birthday TWO WEEKS AGO! has finally arrived… and is still edible.   And for that my heart is happy!




Day 365: A Year of Pies

5 Apr


When I started this journey, one year ago, I had no idea where it might take me.  I really didn’t even think about how I would find 365 people to bring pies to!  I just woke up with this idea… and had a friend (Thank you Debbie) who encouraged me to pursue it.  And once the idea was set in motion, I never really thought of stopping.  Certainly there were times when I wondered if this was the path that I should be on, but I never even considered ending the journey early.


There are so many people who I met this year that I would never have met otherwise.  Often, because I was willing to make a pie for someone in need, I became part of a greater story.  I can’t help but think that each and every time we are willing to give of ourselves… or step outside of our comfort zones… that we have an opportunity to meet people who can show us a part of the world (or ourselves) that until then has remained hidden.

This blog is called “Pie a Day Giveaway”, but I feel that I have been given an extraordinary gift time and time again.  I wish that everyone could know the feeling that comes when you are able to make someone else feel better.  It is overwhelming and wonderful all at once… and I think if you could bottle this feeling, you’d make a fortune.  Instead, the treasures that you gather are unseen, but bring a sense of satisfaction just the same.

Today I wanted to recognize the Ashland Rotary Club for their outstanding service to the community.  I knew I could not give each of them a pie, and so I brought enough pie for all ninety of them to have one piece.  When the president of the club, David, called upon me I explained this to the membership and read from one of the thank you notes that I received this past year.  Here is an excerpt:

“What a way to make someone feel on top of the world!  A simple yet totally generous thing to do…. I continue to feel completely overwhelmed at the honor.  … Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Honestly, I’d have made a pie everyday just to get that one note.  It really meant that much to me.

Finally, tonight I bid you all sweet dreams… but not farewell… for this is a leap year after all!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

PS I was honored to be featured in the local paper today.  You can see that article here.

Day 191: Ramiro and Beatriz

14 Oct

We met Ramiro and Beatriz Padilla from El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant more than ten years ago. Our family would go to their restaurant after skiing on Sundays at Mt. Ashland. We liked the atmosphere, the friendly service, and the fact that El Tapatio was family owned. It became a sort of ritual for us and we enjoyed being among the “regular” customers.

Over time, Ramiro and his family have become more and more involved in our community: Ramiro is an active member of the Ashland Rotary Club, the Padilla family organizes a huge entry in the Fourth of July parade every year, complete with participants outfitted in traditional Mexican dress and caballeros on horseback, and El Tapatio has donated food to such activities as the Ashland Schools Foundation calling nights and the Ashland High School Senior All Night.

Since it had been a while since we visited El Tapatio, and several years since all four of us (me, Emile, Alexandra and Coco) had the chance to go together, Alexandra offered to treat us all to dinner tonight. It was fun to sip Margaritas, listen to the guitar music and share a family dinner.

Tonight I brought Ramiro and Beatriz an Apple Pie to congratulate them on the birth of their baby daughter, Beatriz, and also to thank them for always making us feel like part of the family.

Day 120: SPLAT!

4 Aug

Every so often, you realize that you are really not in control of your life. Or, to put it another way, “life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans” as the late John Lennon once said.

This morning, my first priority was to make a cake for the Ashland Rotary Club‘s birthday table. I took a few photos of the process to share so that you might copy what I did at some point, which is really quite simple. The last photo shows me shaving some chocolate onto the cake with a paring knife – much easier than “pressing” chocolate shavings onto the cake.

After the Rotary cake was delivered I waited for the Marionberry Crumb Crust pie to emerge from the oven destined for a non profit agency in a nearby town. At last it was done and I was carrying it to the car when….. SPLAT!

Somehow I had slipped on the front step and as I stumbled to the ground the lovely pie flew in the air and fell beside me. My son heard my scream and ran outside to find me laying next to the pie. I was laughing so hard he thought I was crying – and the berry juice was EVERYWHERE! It looked as if I was bleeding profusely! The concerned look on his face was priceless. Needless to say, this pie did not make it to it’s intended destination. Instead, it was delivered to the sidewalk outside my house. And even though I thought about trying to deliver another pie today… I had to stop myself. When the Universe sends a message this clear, you should listen.