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Amish Country Owl Safari!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Working hard to bring you Bird Watcher's Digest doesn't leave a whole lot of room for the staff to play. 
But in an epic snowy owl invasion year, how could we not make a try for the nearest bird?
Which happens to be in Amish Country, just two hours northwest of us in Ohio.

Bill threw together the company van and Marcy (Mrs. Tools) brought her big Suburban, and I trailed behind in my Subaru for reasons of my own. Mostly because I knew I wouldn't be able to leave a snowy owl and return to Marietta by 2 pm, nuh-uhh. 

We looked for a bird near the intersection of Kidron Rd. and Route 250. Dipped out for the better part of an hour. And then Bill spotted it atop a silo, of all places, where it looked like a blinding white decoy. The bird spooked when we pulled over, and sailed right past our vehicles, the sunlight coming through its great white wings. 

It landed in a cornfield and there it sat, turning its head occasionally, for at least the next four hours. Kyle phonescoped this image. What a thrill to see! Six of our party had never seen a snowy owl before, so there was a lot of celebrating to do. There's Marcy at far left, Steve with the Fudd hat, Carol, obscured, Ann with the green gloves, our new Managing Editor Dawn with the red coat and matching shoes (!), Kyle just right of her, Melody, a guy from Indiana, and me, with my giant brown hands. Function first, fashion, dead last.

We repaired to the Country Crossroads for lunch, parking alongside the transportation standard in the area. 

I'm glad Amish horses don't mind having their photos taken.

Perusing the menu, many of us regretted coming on a Thursday.

There would be no noodles, home fries or Manager's Favorites. That's OK. That Manager's Favorite sounds kiiinda heavy. The waitress explained that they don't have much room in the kitchen on Thursdays because that's when something or other gets delivered. Sorry. I'm foggy on the details. I love idiosyncratic menus and hidden basement cafes. I heard Low German being spoken among the regulars, more than half of whom were Amish. It was like walking into another world. 

We all got admirably fed anyhoo. Blackberry pie, mmmm.
I was teleported right back to the cafes of North Dakota.

After lunch, the staff returned to Marietta, as it was production week for the magazine. My adventure was just beginning. I continued less than a mile farther down Kidron Rd. to Lehman's Hardware, dodging buggy teams all the way.

This place, this place. Woodstove and cookstove showroom. Propane refrigerators, too.

Cookie cutters, organized by genus.

Just the ladles made me dizzy. This is a place for people who still cook. A lot.

I went a little nuts in the popcorn section. To see all the red, blue, purple, yellow and rainbow popcorns all laid out and labeled...I succumbed. And picked up some nifty kale and lettuce seeds and my favorite Kirk's Castile Soap and strike-anywhere box matches while I was at it. I could easily live at Lehman's Hardware. It's my kinda stuff.

My day was to get even better from there...


You went to Lehman's Hardware WITHOUT ME?!

A few years back when I had 35 acres, 35 goats and 35 children, (well, maybe only 11) that was my go to shopping catalog, entertainment and wish list.

I eventually purchased my dream wood cook stove and clothesline. (clothesline!)

When we moved to Loveland in 2005 we didn't bring the stove. I still mourn it's loss.

Those pump at Lehman's were pretty impressive as well! And for a minute I thought you might have gone to look for the Snowy in a carriage!Now that would be a birding commitment! Congrats on the Snowy!

Posted by Claire Baker January 19, 2014 at 5:26 AM

Those pump at Lehman's were pretty impressive as well! And for a minute I thought you might have gone to look for the Snowy in a carriage!Now that would be a birding commitment! Congrats on the Snowy!

Posted by Claire Baker January 19, 2014 at 5:26 AM

Ooh, I must go. I love the stoves, and the multicolored hand pumps, and of course, the cookie cutters. I still remember homes where those woodstoves were for both heat and cooking (and for cats to sleep under), and cabins where hand pumps were essential. Places and times where people knew that nature was essential to survival.

Lehman's?! THE Lehman's? ::swoon::

Love seeing the Amish parking lot. My parents lived in Nappanee, IN (and my sister still does). Around there, the businesses have Amish parking lots--you provide what your customers need.
I also love the cooking store--I love ANY cooking store--but with wood stoves, etc. Love it!

I hope you had "Owls or Bust!" decals on your vehicles.
Twenty yrs ago or so my son and I took a day trip to the Amish quilt auction out there and stopped at Lehman's. Bought my son rubber boots. They did *not* have slatwall then, as I recall.

Sue G. said

Wren's mom here; LEHMAN"S oh my!!!love their catalog.
I keep checking
for updates on the Snowy owls.

How fun to see the snowy owl! Celebrate is right!! And I've never been to Lehman's store but got turned on to their catalog several years ago. sigh. Good stuff and one can never have too much popcorn! My bucket list is modest and don't even like to call it that--too trendy--but I would like to make it to Lehman's non-virtual store some day. And oh yes, drive to Alaska to see the aurora borealis. My uncle lived his adult life up there as a fisherman but our family never made it there. Want to go check out his stomping grounds of Homer.

We have to mail order from there! What a great to be able to go inside! Our historical parks buy equipment for our hands in school programming from them. Best place to go back in time.

My grandfather had a wood stove in his kitchen. It was the only heat in his little house. A back entry/utility room opening into the kitchen, bathroom of the kitchen which seemed odd until I visited in the winter.
A sitting room, no living rooms back then and one bedroom.
He baked the most wonderful breads and sweet buns in that wood fired oven. All the basics, non of the frills. Just what you might expect from an Elder of the Presbyterian Church.

He was a ships cook on the laker boats that plied their trade from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior down to Brockville on Lake Ontario. The St. Lawrence seaway wasn't built when he worked on the iron boats.

Thanks for the memory stoked to life by the photo of the stoves.


I immediately flashed back to those wonderful North Dakota cafés, and Potholes & Prairies. You make me hunger to go back. :)

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