It's not all glitz and glam. Quite the opposite more often than not.
I juggle many hats. Hell, don't we all?
My case is not special. I'm one in a long line of adults who are sandwiched between kids, grandkids and parents. Tack on jobs and relationships and it's pretty clear why brown liquor was invented. (I'm joking about the alcohol. However, my college days return should you happen to involve it, football tailgates, friends and laughter. And I'm paying for it for DAYS)
So most days, I'm the busy worker bee mom, business running mom, cooking mom, high school kid mom, college mom, dog mom and cat mom, house cleaning scullery maid. I rarely do windows and matching socks is like hell on earth. I vowed I'd never make my bed because it was an absolute must growing up, and damn it if I don't make my bed every day.
A few days a week I help my mom take care of my dad. Between my sisters and me we care for our dad since he always dropped everything to help us. It's the least we can do.
There are times when I just need to unwind.
I found alone time helps me to decompress and recharge. I used to do that on trail rides with my horses. But they are both gone now. I used to take my husky for hikes; she too has crossed the rainbow bridge.
So now I like to explore. Alone mostly. My solace. I don't have to talk. I don't have to think. I don't have to service. I just have to be. It's all me. Just me.
It's my airplane oxygen mask. If I don't put it on, I can't help others.
And boy, I find it very rewarding emotionally and mentally to help others, but it can be exhausting. I am a Virgo after all. Service is my nature. I also overthink and am critical, especially so of myself. Details. It's all about details. Lists. And perfection. (I've edited this blog at least seven times AFTER it was published-- little things I find, spacing, flow). Shit, I can go on...don't judge me on it. Love me though it. I'm a sucker for a great big long hard hug. I'm a work in progress, even at 51.
So on one of my "Me" days, after burning the midnight oil getting work stuff done the night before I ventured to a small town 35 miles west of Moon Township.
These excerpts are from my Facebook posts.
I had a beautiful drive this morning to Columbiana Ohio. Thankfully no one had to hear me belting out my “Running Sucks” play list. The fall morning drive was much needed alone time.
My first stop was
VanPelt’s Farm Market.
40007 State Route 14
Columbiana, OH 44408
This quaint shop has the most amazing flower arrangements I’ve ever seen at a farm stand.
Their produce was exceptional. I picked up fava beans in the pods, a beautiful cantaloupe, the biggest head of cabbage with extra large leaves, an Angel food cake, Apple strudel for breakfast… and these amazing flowers. They had so much more and I will certainly go back very soon for more fall harvest fruits and vegetables.
(I drove west to Salem Ohio and worked my way back east)
The second stop on my Wednesday morning in Columbiana Ohio was
ST RT 14 Columbiana, OH, 44408
I mean, really, if you desired to have a farm and a farm stand, this would be the quintessential spot. The grounds are meticulously groomed. The flowers adorning the light posts are unbelievable. And the produce, again, like the last stand, gorgeous.
This time I went right for their ”pumpkin” section. I mean look at the stems on some of those big guys!!!!
Really they are all considered winter squashes, not only perfect for decorating for autumn but also for donating to rescue farms for pot bellied pigs (like Hog Heaven or Pigsburgh Squealers). The pigs eat the squashes like candy. And they are a great way to recycle the squashes once fall becomes winter. You can even see pumpkins growing on the compost heaps- circle of life, right?
Did I mention they have the most beautiful garlic braids I’ve ever seen? And wonderful produce and bakery selections. The skies couldn’t have been any clearer as opposed to the rain of today.
Miss Lady Mae and Carmen helped me decorate the front stoop for the season when I got home. June Carter-Cats helped me inside. Her partner in crime, Johnny Cats was off at the vet having his manhood snipped from his body! (hehe) The elders, Pedro(the dog) and Emily (the cat) were inside doing what most seniors do during the day-- sleep!
Heading east toward home I stopped for "dry goods" at
150 East State Route 14
Columbiana, Ohio 44408
It's home to a deli for freshly sliced meats and cheese as well as prepared salads.
Adjacent to the Bulk Food and Dutch Cupboard you will find furniture stores, a hair salon featuring Aveda products and the famous Das Dutch Haus Restaurant.
Then they have sweet and savory snacks. Prepackaged and weighed for your convenience.
But I'm partial to their bulk dry goods. Almost anything you can think of is here, in bulk prepackaged sizes. Not exotic herbs and spices, but a plethora of different pantry staples.
It takes me forever to get through because I look at everything...
I bought dry goods, beans and my favorite micro mini marshmallows - perfect for hot chocolate! I haven't been able to find them elsewhere. I've seen freeze dried ones at the Michael's , but these ones are soft and itty bitty and especially cute in little itty bitty kid hands. 🥰
That's not to say my college girls' and son's NFL sized hands still don't look cute eating the itty bitty micro marshmallows, it's just so cute to remember them so little drinking the hot chocolate and devouring the little baby marshmallows.
My final stop of my solo Wednesday drive was a journey a little closer to home. 5 miles to be exact.
294 New Bethlehem Church Road,
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania 15001, United States
I can't begin to tell you how fortunate I feel having a farm stand mere minutes from my house. The McConnell Farm has been owned and operated since 1787 by the McConnell family when John B. McConnell received 1,000 acres in western Pennsylvania -- including land that remains as their farm today -- as payment for service in the Revolutionary War.
They grow delicious fruit and vegetables, specializing in juicy and delicious hand-picked peaches. They are the home of REAL LOCAL peaches! And, let me tell you, they are not being conceited or boasting when they claim "we grow the best peaches you'll ever eat". They are truly the best peaches I have ever eaten.
But their produce does not stop there. Their apples may be the best I've ever eaten also. How could anything picked and brought to market within hours be bad? Their apples taste like, well....apples. Not bland and tasteless apples from who knows were sitting in warehouses for who knows how long.
I picked up a few items along the way as well as their, which seems to me to be award winning, apple cider. It's just like Goldy Locks...not too sweet, not too tart, but just right!!! (Might be perfect with the Crown Apple that seems to be fitting in the brown liquor category just nicely.)
Thank you for virtually coming on my Wednesday outing with me. If you happen upon beautiful farm stands and unique places, be sure to take me #carolofmoon. I would love to have another adventure suggested by others.
PS, thank you Dan for holding down the fort while I go on adventures!