Thursday, May 24, 2012

Relearning the ABC's


As I mentioned yesterday, there is nothing quite predictable on the enchanted acreage of Miss Effie's in Iowa...thusly, one must relearn many a thing in the way of events and life-living, whilst on tour with the fabulous Effie herself, Cathy Lafrenz. And so, we spent our days this way, conveniently punctuated in alphabetical order...


AMISH ~ whilst most folks might think that the Amish reside amongst the postcard perfect flowing green hills of Pennsylvania, the Amish have strong communities throughout America, and this includes Kalona, Iowa. Kalona is home to both Amish and Mennonite societies and a historical village. I have always respected and waved a certain amount of curiosity at this sometimes secretive and misunderstood group of plain folk, and I did look forward to being amongst them, though I don't know that I was necessarily more the wise to the origins of the Amish and Mennonite orders. If you are interested in learning more, you may find information HERE. For me, it is the simplicity of their lives, their work ethic, strong religious and cultural traditions and, of course, the use of horses and old-fashioned workings in their lives that hold my respect.


We managed to drive to Kalona, firstly to visit the fabulous Amish/Mennonite supply store--an amalgamation of all sorts of food, bulk sweets, endless spices, flavorings, old clock parts, herbs, cooking paraphernalia, jam making supplies, sewing accoutrements, various frippery and miscellany and, of course, whoopie pies (which I have an unreasonable weakness for). There is also a produce section and one for meats, and dairy...all at amazing prices..a wonderland of amazing items. Actually, this would have been my second go-'round, as I was first quickly introduced to this place LAST year when Maggie, my first host, dropped me off to Cathy--I actually met Cathy--a whirlwind of laughter and hugs. Some things never change.


Alas, because the Amish are typical camera shy, and because I was reluctant to show disrespect by even considering shooting a picture, I simply managed to get this shot of a tied horse and buggy during the whole trip...

We also went to the "Bent N Dent," which actually was a store with a different moniker, but for the life of me, I can't recall it, since "Bent N Dent" seemed so..well...apt a name. The store basically takes items that fell off trucks or were otherwise damaged en route to regular sale, and resells at rock bottom prices. There is something strangely twisted about this slate of bad luck into treasure, I suppose, but one couldn't help but be curious, anyhow. Turns out, most of the shelves were covered with--yes--dented cans, some slight, some comical in severity. There were boxed goods with some scrapes, and some packages looked unscathed altogether...very interesting overall.

Finally...across the way from the Amish goods store, there was a giant cheese barn. We went in for cheese curds, but the whole place was a palace of various cheeses, chocolates, and other farm tastiness.

Overall, a fun, festive, and feast-ful day.


BIRTHDAYS ~ I should probably mention, should you be unaware, that Miss Effie's is in fact Cathy's beautifully charmed farm, which you can see more of HERE. Besides selling flowers, eggs, and handcrafted beauty, the place is magical enough to host wedding, birthdays, and gatherings. Luckily for me, I managed to glimpse a small birthday gathering which--coincidentally--was held by an online friend for her grand-daughter! It was quite fun to meet Aprillynn in person, as well as a bevvy of lovely mothers and magical children!

                              The Birthday girl and Right, the resident farm tom cat...


                                                           Fairy wings and dreams....


                                                         More cute kitten holding....



                                                             Party Pretties..........





                                                          Pretty Princesses...



I didn't stay too long outside of taking a few photos as I didn't want to disturb this cute celebration, but don't think I wasn't a tad envious of the birthday setup--how do I procure such a fun and festive birthday setup??


CANDY ~ But before you feel too sorry for me, know that one of our excursions out was to Wilton Candy kitchen. Apparently, it is the oldest continuous running diner in America. The inside was pure 50's kitch with old-fashioned malts and sandwiches. The owner of the shop is "Pop" Nopolous and he is 92 years old. He's still got the hots for the food, though his age makes him more talkative than fast with the orders for Cathy and I, but he was still sweet and had pizzazz! I was sorry to hear that his children are not so keen on keeping up this family owned business, but I hope in some way that this sweet old-fashioned establishment will keep on rollin'! In the meantime there were sweet shakes, and sandwiches to be had!





And that, my friends, is the joy that is Miss Effie's...


TOMORROW --more Iowa excursions...we will continue our Vagabond Tales daily until next week, in order to catch up with some BIG NEWS! 

2 comments:

Unknown said...

The dent n bent reminded me of what we had a kids...I grew up in Leamington Ontario Canada about two doors down from the Heinz plant...most of my relatives worked there. Us kids grew up with DnR (damaged and rejected) cans of food. And look I turned out ok? I think.

Zan Asha said...

Ahhh, that is priceless!