Saturday, December 10, 2011

Online Gun Auction in Jamesport

We had a guest at the Arbor House last night who works for a  online auction company called He was in town to link a gun auction into the internet for online bidding. This is just another example of how living in a very small town is no longer a reason to be isolated from the larger community which is America.
I just came from the auction site where bidding started at 11:00am CST. I found out that this is the second time this year that Jamesport has gone online for an auction. Maybe the 2012 Quilt auction will benefit from this technology next year???

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Arbor House Construction

We were hoping for good weather today because we are pouring concrete on our expansion project. Meno Graber and Paul Yutzy (right to left) are the  two Amish men working on the concrete. The temperature is about 34 degrees, but it should get up to a toasty 47 degrees by 2 PM. We are adding 2 rooms and a living quarters to the old restaurant building.
We should have the new addition framed and weather tight within a week at the most. We plan to finish the project in the Spring.
Follow our progress as we work to get our new rooms completed and open for the next season.
Framing Begins
Gail and I will be living in the new quarters and renting out the Arbor House as a cottage. We are calling it Grandma's House! It is also getting a face lift and will have 4 bedrooms and sleep 8 comfortably. We hope to get more family business next year with the cottage open. We get a large number of Mormon families traveling through Jamesport and they usually travel in large family groups. Hoping for a great 2012 season. Come visit us if you are in the neighborhood.
Framing: Framing began Friday on the new room additions at the Arbor House. Paul Yutzy is busy, but he won't get the building closed in until Tuesday. Of course, we are scheduled for a big rain storm on Saturday.
The temperature has been below freezing for the past week, but framing has progressed at a fast pace. As of 12/10/2011 the roof is up and the structure is covered.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving at the Arbor House

Turkey Day at Last! I am the designated cook on Thanksgiving. When Grandson Noah lived nearby in Chillicothe, Missouri, he used to come by the Arbor House to help me cook. He was always a hit with the guests. This year I will miss him and the other grandchildren because they live in California and Florida.
I still enjoy cooking and plan to cook a lot this weekend. We are having a dinner party at the Arbor House and I will be cooking all Mexican Food. I will probably make turkey enchiladas with Thanksgiving leftovers.
The Arbor House will be shutting down for the Winter, so this will be our last party with our local friends. After this month we will be packing up and heading out for California for a couple of months. We are looking forward to returning to the spring and expanding the Arbor House with three more units. Plan to visit us in 2012. It promises to be a good year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Most Important Man in Jamesport

Davey Davis and Roy Bontrager
One thing evident in this small town is that there is a strong work ethic among the local tradesmen, and foremost among our local tradesmen is Davey Davis. I don't think you could find a single long term resident who has not dealt with Davey at one time or another. Davey is the man behind Davis Plumbing and Heating.
Taking a Smoke Break
Most Important Man in Town
It isn't everyday that you get excited over a plumber, but Davey is the exception. His brand of service is part Will Rodgers and part magician. He appears as if by magic when he is needed and makes you smile with his wit and good natured ribbing, while at the same time making your plumbing nightmares disappear. As if that wasn't enough, he and his crew are the backbone of our First Responders and Volunteer Fire Department.
Davey obviously loves his work and does it in a way that reminds you of how great everyday life can be, even when all you are doing is working on your plumbing.
I am currently working on adding rooms to the Inn and during the process we needed to reroute the water mains under the building. The day these photos were taken, Davey and his wizard's apprentice Roy Bontrager were tunneling under the building and encouraging me to grad a shovel and join in the fun. Davey is a modern day Tom Sawyer. He made the job seem like a great opportunity to have a good time. It made my day!
If you ask me who is the most important man in town, I would have to say, without a doubt, Davey Davis.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yoga in Jamesport

Jamesport Yoga
Yes Virginia, there really is yoga in Jamesport. It never ceases to amaze me that in such a small town (population 500) there is such an abundance of cultural activity. The Jamesport Yoga Studio is one example of that. I love this town!
Check out the Jamesport Yoga web site and prepare to be impressed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin
One thing you will learn, sooner or later, is that everyone in this area of the Midwest knows what a pork tenderloin is! It didn't take me long to find out once moving to Jamesport, Missouri.
Every local restaurant knows how to make a tenderloin and the locals all have favorites. I get mine at the Country Cupboard Restaurand in Jamesport. Since I am myself a cook, I do have my own recipe to share.
The most distinguishable feature about a pork tenderloin is the size. Most restarants use a 5-7 ounce slice of the tenderloin and then run it through a meat tenderizer a few times to get it good and flat. The local Jamesport Grocer has a butcher department and will tenderize tenderloins to your specifications. After running through the tenderizer the pork looks somewhat like a waffle. The tenderloin is dipped, breaded, deep fried, and served hamburger style on a bun with all the fixins. The reason everyone likes them is that they are cooked fresh and taste delishious. Here is my recipe:
I use a 5 ounce tenderloin. If I cannot get one at the market I will get 5 ounce loin steaks and tenderize them with a tenderizing mallet (works fine and the pounding gets out aggression). The tenderloin is first floured (season the flour with salt, pepper, and other spices you like, such as garkic powder), then dredged in egg wash, then dredged in saltine cracker crombs (trust me on this, you want to use fresh saltines that you crush in a baggie). The crushed saltines will have lots of chunks but that is OK. Deep fry the tenderloins at 300-325 degrees until golden brown.
You can make more reasonably sized tenderloins by using 3-4 ounce tenderloin slices, but what is the fun in that? If you don't have a deep fryer, just fry it the way you would chicken in a skillet. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nobody Home! Deer Season Begins

Trying to do business this week is almost impossible. Everywhere I go around town, people are not available. They are all busy preparing for the favorite local sport.
So fall is here again and the locals are all abuzz about opening day of deer season. Tomorrow is Veterans Day in most parts of the U.S., but here in Jamesport tomorrow is the first day of Deer Season for rifles. Bow hunters are already out hunting.
The sound of gunfire has been ringing about for the past week as hunters get their guns sighted in. I wouldn't want to be a deer right now. And yes I know that my animated picture is an Elk  .... not a deer. Alas, it is all I had. BTW, I myself am not a hunter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Iowa Boys

Duck hunting season attracts a lot of hunters to Jamesport. A group of Iowa boys stayed at the Arbor House. I snapped this photo of them while they were here.
We keep a journal in the Inn rooms and encourage our guests to write about their stay with us. This is what the Iowa boys wrote:
"10-29-11. We came, we saw, we conquered. Duck opener 2011 provided us a guys night away. We drank a lot of beer, played some poker, & got up and shot 14 ducks that should have known better than to fly over us. We also hit the local Amish bar & had unbelievable bacon cheeseburger! The End. Iowa Boys."

To be clear about the Amish bar referred to.... They were at the Jamesport Tavern. Amish do not have bars here, but many local Amish youth do go to the bar to play at the pool tables.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Amish Country Stores

One of the benefits of living in Jamesport, Missouri is the abundance of Amish Country Stores. One of the favorite tourist attractions is the H and M Country Store. Located just a mile south of town on State Hwy 190, it is easy to find and has a large parking area.
I first started going there when I could not find certain spices at the local grocers. H and M specializes in bulk spices and baking supplies. When all else fails, I head on over to the country store to find my spices.
The store has expanded in recent years and added some large skylights to brighten up the store. Amish of course do not use electricity, so gas lamps are the primary light source in the building. The skylights were a great addition.
H and M is located right next door to the Countryside Bakery and The Fabric Barn. Tourists can visit all three Amish stores at one convenient location. This is a must see place for any tourist.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fresh Turkeys From Amish Farm

Sometime this summer I spoke to an Amish friend about his poultry. As a sideline he raises chickens, pigs, and turkeys for local market. He mentioned that he was taking orders for his Thanksgiving turkeys and asked if I needed any. Not being bashful, I spoke up and asked for two.
The call came this morning that my turkeys were all grown up and ready to get all dressed up for Thanksgiving. Refrigeration is scarce on an Amish farm, so Gail and I drove over to the farm to claim our prises.
As you can see from the photo, our turkeys are being packaged for us. We decided on the way home to have turkey dinner tomorrow, and save the second turkey for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Change comes slow to the Amish

I was out visiting at County Line Tarps (a local Amish business) and was reminded of changes within the local Amish community that take place once in a blue moon. I was out to see the new windmill that pumps air to run the power equipment.
While I was checking out the windmill installation I happened to notice a wagon with rubber tires. A year ago you would not have seen this. Amish carts and wagons always used the old all steel wheels. As you can imagine, riding on steel wheels can be a bone jarring experience.
The local Amish have approved the use of rubber on their wagon wheels and are now enjoying the benefits of a smoother ride. Older steel wheels are still in common use, but more and more I am seeing them wrapped with old automobile tires.
It isn't much, but it is change.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amish Construction

I have been working on several construction projects around the Arbor House Inn that require help from local Amish craftsman. One of the Amish was telling me about the efforts of Amish house framing crews traveling to Joplin to help rebuild homes destroyed by the tornado.
Amish volunteer crews from Jamesport go to Joplin on a regular basis to help our neighbors in the south of Missouri. Amish framing crews can erect a building in one day if the materials are ready on site.
The Amish employ drivers with 15-passenger vans for transportation to and from construction sites. Jamesport crews are well known throughout the Kansas City Area and can be seen on construction sites all across the area. This winter I will be using Amish crews to build a room addition, pour concrete, and remodel the Arbor House. If you live in Jamesport you eventually find yourself hiring or working with Amish craftsmen. This is one of the things I love about Jamesport!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Good news, bad news!

The good news about fall is the great abundance of leaves for our grandchildren to play in. Preschool age kids seem to love jumping into piles of leaves. This is grandson Noah during a visit to Jamesport.

The bad news is that I have to rake leaves from four giant trees at the Arbor House. I worked at it for six hours yesterday and did not get the job done. I have to burn the leaves after collecting them. Our trash collector does not accept yard waste.

Fall is a beautiful time of year, but for those of us with large trees, there is a price to pay in labor and chance encounters with garden snakes. I uncovered two types of non-poisonous snakes this year hidden beneath the leaves.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Annual Amish Quilt Auction

Every Fall people come from all the surrounding states to participate in the Amish quilt auction. The event has grown as the number and quality of the quilts has increased over the years.

The event is sponsored by the Jamesport Community Association (JCA). The JCA purchases a quilt each year and conducts a raffle to raise funds for local events. The JCA quilt is displayed at City Hall where raffle tickets can be purchased.

This event is one of the highlights of the year in Jamesport. Other events during the year include Heritage Days, the Antique Consignment Auction, May Days Festival, All American Handcrafted Auction & City Wide Garage Sale, Christmas Craft Festival, and annual Amish Farm Consignment Auction for the benefit of the local Amish school.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reason to move to Jamesport #2

AMISH CULTURE.  My wife Gail and I brainstormed for years about where we would like to live after we left the Silicon Valley. We wanted to get away from the overcrowded city and from the rat race of urban life. Sound familiar? We wanted to live in a small town, but one with some sort of cultural attraction. In our hunt for our future home we looked at college towns and places that offered some kind of ongoing intellectual interest. The Amish community in Jamesport was more than we could have hoped for.
Now that we have lived here for 10 years we feel a part of the community and have a deep appreciation for all things Amish. Yesterday I stopped in at the Amish produce auction to take a few seasonal pictures of the fall produce. The colors were spectacular. Mums and pumpkins were in abundance. Jamesport Amish make good friends and remind us everyday of the excellent quality of rural life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reason to move to Jamesport #1

The four seasons! Growing up in Los Angeles I can remember longing as a child to see snow. I dreamed of making a snowman and throwing snowballs. I could hardly appreciate at such a young age the true meaning of "four seasons". Looking at the cottonwood tree outside my front door today reminds me that Fall has come again in all it's glory. The countryside is coming alive with color and the dog days of Summer are gone at last. Sitting on the porch at the end of the day is always a favorite activity. The seasons are especially important here because of the local agrarian society. Harvest time is here, pumpkin patches are overflowing, apple cider is in the make, Mums are everywhere, and everyone is buzzing about how great the weather is. Fall is our favorite time of year. I can't imagine not living with the gentle rhythm of the seasons to guide my days.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Barn Cats

You can't live in the country without finding kittens. I found one near dead in the middle of the road a few days ago. His eyes were stuck shut and he was too weak and dehydrated to move. After a trip to the vet and $60 dollars later we have a rescued kitten living on the sun porch. In two weeks he should be well and then back to the vet for neutering ... sorry kitty.
The first question grandkids ask when they come to visit is ... Do you have any kittens? You just can't have enough kittens.
Sidney Update: Sidney was rescued about 5 weeks ago and is now a healthy little kitty. He has recovered from worms, respiratory illness and an ulcer in his eye. He has had all his shots and seems to be a normal house kitten now. He is however missing a few parts. Sidney lost his male reproductive organs! Sidney is officially neutered and available for adoption.
Sydney is currently living at the Arbor House, awaiting adoption.

Final Chapter: I am happy to report that Sidney has found a good home. We took him to H&M Country Store in Jamesport with a sign explaining that he needed a good home. Within 20 minutes he was adopted by a man from Kansas City.  We will miss Sidney around the Arbor House, but we are happy that he has a permanent home.

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The Amercan Heartland Dream

Back in the 1950's I was daydreaming while attending Saint Mary's Grammer School in East Los Angeles California. I was studying U.S. geography and developed a facination with the Ozark Mountains in the "Heartland" of America. I could feel the word "Heartland" beginning to pull me in the direction that would eventually result in my journey to find my own piece of the American dream.

Fast forward to 2011 and here I am in a small Amish town in Northwest Missouri running a country Inn. The journey took 40 years and included multiple wives, careers, children, and countless misadventures. This blog is about my experiences living here in rural Missouri and about the culture of small town America.

My wife Gail and I live in Jamesport, Missouri. Population 500. Hope you enjoy our stories about our life among the Amish.