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The Winding Down of Summer Means Dahlia Season

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Rebecca | 2 comments

 

I don't know what it is about me and Dahlias.  Maybe it is that they are so easy to grow; maybe it is the tremendous variety.  Perhaps it is the vibrant colors.   Either way, I rarely have the heart to pick them.  I leave them in my garden for as long as possible to enjoy the enormous, colorful blooms that are like candy canes in my flower beds.  During the Great Geauga County Fair, I was able to sneak away from the Draft Horse Barn long enough one evening to visit the Dahlia display, the largest entry of flowers at the Fair, by far.  Probably due to the fact that the end of summer is this tuberous's most prolific showing before our first frost.  They are entered and displayed so simply; in a vintage glass milk jar or simple clear bottle.  Some of the blooms are as big as platters - they measure over 12 inches in diameter.  Some are no more than an inch across.  The colors are like a fireworks display, each leaf looks like they have been hand painted, sometimes in multiple colors. There is also a sense of symmetry about this plant like no others that I know.  Doing a little research,  I found that the great variety of these flowers results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes.  Apparently, most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons—genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele—which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.  Who knew?! Usually, there is a hush in the flower barn as everyone assembles their dahlia entries, it is a reverent quiet,  almost hushed environment in the flower barn compared to the vast chaos of the rest of the Fair.  It is my treat every year to go view the splendor of the Dahlias, reflecting and contemplating upon the end of the summer and the arrival of early Fall, one of my favorite seasons.

 

 

 

 

Until next time, Enjoy!!

 

Best - Rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Time of the End of Summer: County Fair Season!!

Posted on August 12, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments
The days are getting shorter and the gardens are in full swing providing us with all of that wonderful produce that we have been working so hard to nurture.  Last night, we had a glorious super moon that was fiery orange in the sky.  There is no denying it.  Fall is around the corner.
 
The end of the Summer in Northeastern Ohio signals County Fair season and in Chagrin, our fair is the Geauga County Fair, the oldest County Fair in Ohio, dating back to 1823.  Over the course of five days, tens of thousands of people enjoy one of America's most authentic agricultural and animal-based events.  Anywhere you can assemble two barns full of draft horses and almost a dozen eight horse hitches is a serious fair.  My favorite time is check in on Wednesday evening, when all of the animals come in and the Junior fair are carrying in their arms anything from turkeys to rabbits to ducks in all sizes, shapes and color.  There are cattle everywhere - pigs with kids chasing behind them and a generalized chaos, but in a good way.  It puts all of our tech savvy world of cell phones, video and Wii games on the back burner - even if just for a few days.  It reminds me of the roots of our country and makes me grateful that we haven't forgotten what farming is or what an impact that animals truly have on our lives.
 
I'm sharing a few photos from last year, including some of our Percheron girls. 
Camlyn at our house, getting ready for Fair!!
 
Derek and Camlyn, ready to go!
 
Did someone say "Fair?"
 
The Midway one evening...
 
Nothing better than Maple Sugar Candy from the Maple Capital of the US!
 
Yummy!
 
Canning for Fall
 
The Flower Exhibit Buildings - one of my favorites!
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I'll take lots of action shots during the fair to share with you as well.  Happy End of Summer!  Find a County Fair near you, enter a pie and take a child with you so they know what Farmers do!
 
 

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Hemlock Lane at Valley High: A Stable 25 years in the Planning!

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Rebecca | 1 comment

As you know, Derek, Lizzie and I moved two years ago to our farm and have been renovating it ever since.  Despite the fact that this was originally a horse farm, the barns were all too small to accommodate the size of the Percheron girls. In addition, we found that all of the outbuildings, as charming as they are, were way too far apart to have animals spread out over 35 acres. Just bedtime check on everyone was an event!  So, we decided to bite the bullet and build a new stable that would house both our English Setters and the Percherons.

 

Both Derek and I have spent a lot of time in both barns and kennels throughout the years so we wanted to build a smart building that accommodated all of our needs.  Frankly, when Derek and I first started dating (we met riding equation for Miami of Ohio), we used to spend evenings sketching what our dream barn would look like.  I know - we were (and are) certainly a little dorky!  However, as our relationship went along and we got married, we kept designing on paper - we are probably both frustrated want-to-be architects!!  

 

So, when we finally were faced with a clean palette and the necessity of putting in a new building, we were able to realize our dream.  The entire project commenced in October of last year and stretched through one of the worst, coldest winters on record; we lost weeks of construction time due to the below 30 degree temperatures.

 

But I am very pleased to announce that 9 months later, we now have the most gorgeous dream bar! We wish we could spend every waking hour in it!!  Builder Bob (whom I've introduced you to in earlier blogs) has done it again and we are so excited.  We moved the animals in last weekend.

  

We splurged on our stall fronts from a wonderful company called Rockin J' out of Oklahoma.  They custom-made all of our fronts and even created matching smaller fronts for the pony stalls. The center aisle is reclaimed road brick while the center hunter green "Gas Station Lights" are an antique find.  The entire building is done in dark hunter green, copper, brick and dark walnut colors.

 

The tack room has a walnut floor plus other equestrian details and antique finds.  

The dogs plus all of the tack and feed rooms are on radiant floor heat, which the dogs adore - I find them on the floor soaking up the heat instead of their dog beds.


The kennel floor is done in a grey slate-like product that our good friend John Fabelo helped us find.  Our kennel runs are all Mason Fencing and the covered outdoor runs are done in a "Doggy Astroturf". These first pictures are hot off the press - I'll continue to update you as we continue to move in!

 

 

 

 

 

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Northern Michigan Travelogue

Posted on August 13, 2013 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Just a few weeks ago, Derek, Lizzie and I took a family road trip to Northern Michigan to visit Derek's parents. Derek grew up in this absolutely beautiful portion of our country, and I always tease him that certainly everyday he lived there must have felt like a vacation! Since his family still resides in Boyne, we spent the week scouting around in Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Sturgeon Bay. Here are a few of my favorites sites and activities from the trip!

While we were in Harbor Springs, I had the opportunity to visit one of our favorite Rebecca Ray retailers Joie de Vie where Valerie has done the most magnificent job displaying our products. Her store is absolutely gorgeous; as you can see below, it's a visual treat!

 

During the evening one night, we went to Elk Rapids Polish Festival for not only the draft horse pull competition but for the Kielbasa, Sauerkraut and noodles - does it get any better than that? Here is the winning team!

Also, I was able to visit Rebecca Ray traveling retailer, Bead by Bead at the Traverse City Horse Show, where Ann has a beautiful set up and display of Rebecca Ray.

Another day was spent at the Petoskey Antiques show - foraging for great finds. It is always fun to be at a antiques show in a different region, as you tend to see different things. I loved this vintage stone stool and had never seen anything like it! As for these antique fishing creel bags, the natural bag farthest to the right reminded me of The Camryn bag! You can see where I get my inspiration from!

And, as usual, we did all of our regular vacation things like Tom's Mom's cookies, Guerney Store sandwiches, farmer's markets and beach time.  It was a great break and fun family time.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Until next adventure, Best!!

Rebecca

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