Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nature's Springtime Blush

Some trees are fairly plain for most of the year, but at one point or another during the seasons they usually put on a show of color that delights us all. The Eastern Red Bud is one of those trees that turns spectacular in the early spring. When most other trees are budding in various shades of green, the Red Bud puts on a bright rose colored blush that catches the eye. I caught these three trees at the post office this morning.
I have never seen a forest of Red Bud trees, they seem to be more like loners in the tree world. I usually see them scattered sparsely among the other forest trees.
As you can guess from the name ... the springtime color of the tree comes from the profusion of red buds. The buds don't last too long, but while they last ... they are spectacular. One of life's simple pleasures.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Estate Auctions

Rural America thrives on garage sales and estate auctions. On any given weekend you can drive around the countryside and attend any number of public auctions. This weekend Gail and I attended a local auction to see what we might find. We saw a few things we needed, but they were not quite right, so we did not stay to bid on them. Today's auction was at the home of some folks who were leaving the area.
Every local paper and ad newsletter lists auction bills. The auctions are always well attended, and everything sells. At the end of the day, nothing is left. It is the ultimate garage sale.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Construction Project Update @ Arbor House, by Gail Ledesma

New Roof Line and Paint Scheme
Recently many people have asked, "What's happening at the Arbor House?" Last year Ron and I were deciding what to do with our old Restaurant building. This is the building at the Arbor House that started out as a horse stables, but never stabled horses. In 2003 we partially remodeled the stables to house our very rustic restaurant. The restaurant was not a profitable venture for us, so we closed it several years ago. Since that time, the building has been empty and crying for either a new use, or demolition to make room for better landscaping. Last Fall, we decided to remodel the building again.

A Kitchen in the Making
The newly remodeled building contains three distinct areas: 

1.  A new living space for Ron and me, complete with living room/bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, Inn office, and utility room. All these are contained in the former dining room, and main hallway in the building. We enclosed the space between the old restaurant dining room and outside restrooms (tore out the old restrooms), and it now contains the kitchen and bathroom for our living space. It's a mess right now, but it is taking shape nicely as the drywall, lighting, and water are all in place. We leveled the floor in the former restaurant dining room and added a large walk-in closet and covered porch for our entrance on the southeast side of the building.

2.  In addition to our living space, when we enclosed the space that houses our kitchen and bath, we added another large (20 x 12 ft) Inn room, The "Garden Room", and ensuite bathroom, with private entrance on the east side of the building will be completed by April 2, 2012. The interior of the room has "carsiding" on 3 walls, and drywall on the 4th and in the bathroom. We will be varnishing the carsiding today, and I have already painted the newly added bathroom. This room will have a king-sized bed, with large ornate headboard, and colors that are earthy and natural. I'm excited to see the room when it is finished. It will have the same level of elegance as do our other Inn rooms. When it is completed I will post pictures on this website.

3.  We have another space in the newly remodeled area (the former commercial kitchen) that will remain unfinished as we contemplate whether or not to add another Inn room, or make this into a dining room to serve breakfast again for our guests. We will make that decision in the next year or so.

You may be asking yourself, "What is happening with the main house over there?"  Our former residence will be available as a Guest Cottage for large groups or families that are traveling together. With 4 sleeping areas  and 2 newly remodeled bathrooms, the house will accommodate up to 8 guests in one party. There is a full kitchen, dining room, and living room that are completely furnished with linens, cooking and eating utensils, and other amenities that will be detailed on the http://www.jamesport.net/ website. There is a storm shelter in the basement of the main house that all guests will have access to if needed.

New Front Door to Our Living Room
Look for our announcement this Summer of our "Open House" celebrating completion of our new project, as well as our 10th Anniversary of doing business in Jamesport. Everyone will be able to tour our Inn Rooms, Guest Cottage, and our "new" home at that time.

Until next time . . . Gail Ledesma

New Life Celebrates Spring

The warmth of Spring is here early this year. With a warm Winter behind us, the grass is turning green, the trees are budding out, and the animal population is expanding. Yesterday I took these pictures of these newborn sheep at the Danny Bontrager Farm. Danny said that his small herd has been birthing all this week and only a few are left to drop their lambs. Danny also said that the black sheep is the first he has had in his experience.
The lambs are cute, but as with most farm animals they are being raised as a food source. Danny has a small store on his farm and sells eggs and meat to local Amish.
Gail and I got our Thanksgiving turkey from the Bontrager farm last year and plan to have lamb in the Fall.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

North Missouri Produce Auction - 2012 Schedule

It's Spring and another produce auction season is about to start. The North Missouri Produce Auction is one of the most successful Amish ventures in the past 10 years. We are looking forward to more expansion of the facility and increased participation from regional buyers and sellers.
2012 North Missouri Produce Auction 2012 Schedule
The Produce Auction is one of the favorite regular events for tourists and locals alike. Soon the auction will be filled with potted flowers and starter plants for gardeners, great and small. Please make it a point to attend the auction when you visit Jamesport.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jamesport map of Amish businesses

Jamesport Amish Map
I created a custom google map for use by tourists looking for Amish businesses in the Jamesport countryside. Hope you like it. Click on the link above to see it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Haystack Supper - Rural Fire Department Fund Raiser

One of the favorite meals in our Amish community is the "Haystack". I must confess that before I moved to Jamesport, I had never heard of a haystack that you could eat. It wasn't till I was invited to eat at an Amish home that I discovered this interesting style of serving a one plate meal.
This evening Gail and I attended a benefit Haystack Supper to raise funds for the building of a new fire house. Tonight the supper was taco haystacks and home made ice cream.
To make a haystack one grabs a plate and then goes down a line and puts all the ingredients in a pile in the center of the plate. The food line included Frito corn chips, hamburger with kidney beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onions jalapenos, nacho cheese, and bell peppers. The idea is to pile the food on until it resembles a "haystack". Haystack suppers are only limited by the imagination of the folks setting out the ingredients.
The event tonight was well attended by both the Amish and English town folk. The food was provided by the Amish community. The fire department is a rural volunteer group that serves the town as well as the surrounding Amish and English farms. When it comes to supporting the rural fire department, everyone pitches in.
Fire fighter boots were set out at the front of the food line to collect donations. The event was a great success and a welcomed opportunity to visit with friends and neighbors. You can't help but feel a sense of community when attending local events like this. This is one of the things we love about living here.
No Amish event would be complete without home-made ice cream. Tonight the ice cream was made in two ice cream makers driven by a gas powered engine. The Amish men fed ice and salt to keep the process working. During the summer a horse powered ice cream maker is often used in stead of the gas motor version.
We invite our Inn guests at the Arbor House to attend these benefit events. We get a few takers, but most guests feel like they would be intruding. We don't feel it is an intrusion and if you should happen to be here during such an event, please feel free to join us.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Opening Day at the Arbor House

Our 2012 season begins today with the arrival of our first guests. We have been busy getting the Inn cleaned and  polished. My big task for this season was changing the rooms over to High Definition TV. I rewired the satellite system with new equipment and was happy that after the installation was complete, it actually worked!
This should be a great year for us. We are expanding the Inn by opening the Arbor House Cottage (sleeps 10) and 2 new single rooms. Our construction projects should be done by May. Can't wait!