An Evening At the National Hamburger Festival

Our evening in photographs:

Don’t worry, Eric brought appropriate reading materials for this festival.These are the last two burger halves from Menches Bros, which Eric (after some prompting)  promptly ate.  Eric is our resident plain burger connoisseur. I believe he said these landed somewhere near the top of his list of favorites. Also note the Football Hall Of Fame t-shirt, which has nothing to do with burgers but is always an appropriate shirt to be wearing.


Beautiful Lock 3 Park, in the wonderful city of Akron, Ohio!
We did not try any of the Max & Erma’s burgers, since we’ve eaten there before and already know how good they are (which is quite good). And those are lights, not barbed wire. I checked.
STD burgers. They do in fact brand each bun with the STD logo. 
“Dad, you ruined the brand!”
This STD had onions and a spicy chipotle sauce on it, absolutely delicious.
Marching off to the next burger stand.
Megan spins the wheel in hopes to win a fabulous prize!
Instead, she wins a bottle opener and a coozie.
New word of the day: Grillebration.
Also: Whitney, you might be receiving a coozie care package in Kentucky sometime soon… we might have gotten a few more of these than we really know what to do with (which would be 3).
Green means go! We’ve got more burgers to consume!
Ah, the Civic Theater, the site of many years of dance recital memories. Almost makes me want to dig out my old dance shoes and bust out some lyrical moves, of which I remember about five. Lyrical is a mix of ballet and modern dance, for those of you who didn’t know. Which is usually about everyone.
All in all, and excellent way to spend a beautiful Sunday evening in Ohio. Sorry Dad, but your burgers at home just can’t compete.
If you’re interested in actual information about the National Hamburger Festival 2012 and all of the deliciousness you missed, here’s the website:
If you’re interested in reading the book Hamburger America, or watching the documentary (of course there’s a documentary, and yes Eric does own it), here’s the link. The author also has a burger blog.

Adopt a kitten, get some sweet corn!

Is anybody out there looking for a new pet? I know some kitties that need good homes!

You know you want to take me home.

My aunt and uncle live on a farm near Hartville Ohio that is a magnet for stray cats. We adopted our Jasper kitty from my aunt two winters ago. The other strays decided they weren’t going to let him near the food she’d set out, or on the porch to keep warm. She’d run the dryer with nothing in it so that he could huddle under the vent outside. Needless to say, his life at our house is now much cushier, and he only has to put up with one 19 year old cat who is the definition of the word crotchety (her hatred of the new cat has given her extra pep, I swear. She was much less active before Jasper came, now she’s all full of energy to hiss and torment).  He is currently sprawled in the middle of my bed, taking up as much room as possible.

As my brother says, my uncle farms the vegetables and my aunt has a cat farm. There are lots of stray cats that have ended up at my aunt and uncle’s farm, and it would be wonderful if some of them could find homes before it gets cold out. In particular, she’s worried about these three gray cuties, all siblings, one boy and two girls, probably 4 or 5 months old. They were born in the duck barn and sleep there every night with the ducks (who are not exactly pleased with the arrangement).

Frolicking in the garden.
Hide and seek.

My aunt calls them her Peaweeds, and they come streaking across the yard to get put away every night. The ducks also come when she calls, but at a much more sedate waddle. The gray kitties are very playful, and my aunt can pick them up and cuddle with them. It’s pretty adorable.

Look into my eyes and take me home.
I spy a little gray kitty who needs a good home.
None of these cats have had their shots or been fixed, but you get a free dozen ears of sweet corn with each cat you take home! Well, that part may not be true, but I can certainly get you some produce I’m sure. I’ll even deliver the kittens to you, as long as you’re within reasonable driving distance from Ohio.
Not only are they cute, but also thrifty! A plastic bottle cap is just as good as any fancy toy from the pet store.
Treat time in the duck barn.
This callico is also very much looking to be a house cat, she tries to sneak into the house every chance she gets. However, with 6 cats already inside, my aunt has drawn the line at any more coming in. Not sure how old she is, perhaps a year or so.
I don’t know who you are, but I suppose I will allow you to take my photograph.
All cats, even strays, know how to sit like royalty.

If anyone out there is interested, let me know and I’ll hook you up with some extremely grateful kitties!

Jesus Takes 2nd Place at County Fair

Last Friday my family and I journeyed to the Medina County Fair. As usual, it was an interesting experience. The smells, the people watching, the food… brings back all sorts of childhood memories of being pulled in the wagon with my little sister, looking at the gigantic horses and pigs. The horses and pigs have gotten a little shorter (or maybe I’ve just gotten taller) but everything else is still the same.

After dinner of burbon chicken, rice and beans for my parents and I and a foot-long hotdog for my brother, we split up. Some of us had a strong desire to look at the tractors (because we only have two at home in the barn) and others of us didn’t.

Mom and I wandered over to the barn with the antique displays, where we found a wide variety of things, from beautiful china cups and toys that I played with when I was little, as well as lots of dishes that we’d seen at Goodwill. There were a lot of very nice antiques, don’t get me wrong, but not everything was maybe really that interesting.

After the antiques, we made our way into the barn with the art. I like to think that, with as many artists in our family as we have, I have a fair idea of what constitutes “good” art. I realize that art is very subjective, but still. The painting of Jesus with various grenade-launchers and machine guns, made to look like a violent movie/video game cover, not good art. Also just plain bizarre. Most of the other art had more traditional subject matters, (like the one of Truffula trees made by an elementary-schooler) and was much more pleasurable to view.

Jesus took second place… 
To a Native American. How many times has that ever happened?

After the art, we went for the sweetest part: some local honey. They let you sample as many as you like, and it’s all fantastic. My favorite was the ginger-infused, which is why there is now a giant piece of ginger sitting out on the counter, waiting to be put in the 2lb jar of honey we bought.

After honey, the animals. Wandering up and down the barns looking at cow, horse, goat, and pig butts is always a good time. Made me glad that when I did have farm chores at my one internship, they didn’t involve shoveling anything smelly. However, my main responsibility was working with elementary school children, so I’m not sure which is worse– 10 to 12 extremely energetic inter-city 3rd graders from Dayton who have never been in the woods before, or shoveling manure. There were maybe more than a few days when I would have gladly traded dealing with the kids for shoveling their weight in cow manure.

The line-up of cow butts.
It’s all hog wash.
Food dishes make nice pillows apparently.

Finally, just before we left, the very best part of the fair– milkshakes from the 4H stand. I dream about these milkshakes sometimes. That might not strictly be true, but they are very delicious.

I haven’t been to the fair in quite a few summers, so it was fun to go back and experience again all that is the county fair.

The best milkshakes in the world. Or at least Medina county.

Spring in Ohio

Last week I was in Ohio. Primarily I was there to eat chocolate and ham at my grandparent’s house for Easter, but I also had time to take some pictures of all the beautiful blooming things before I left again for parts unknown. By ‘parts unknown’ I mean South Carolina, which is where I am right now for a 12 week internship. I wish I had more time at home to relax and snuggle with my fur babies (as my friend Angie calls them), but I’m excited to play in the woods with red-cockaded woodpeckers!

Bogie and Jasper joined me for my stroll in the woods
Storm clouds are rolling in
Jasper has fantastic whiskers, don’t you think?
There ARE gators in Ohio!
The gator and the cat (below) were done by Don Drumm, who is a fantastic artist and a really nice person:
We love our kitties.
Don Drumm, the artist who made this, goes to our church. I talked with him on Easter, and he told me to marry rich. It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man, he said. I told him I’ll work on it.
Note: climbing apple trees in rubber boots one-handed (because the camera is in your other hand) is slightly difficult.
Sometimes Jasper and Bogie even let me sleep in my own bed too. They let me have the little sliver left over by the wall and hog all the covers. It’s very cozy in my twin-sized bed, but generally no one falls off.
It snowed one day! I missed most of the cold this winter, so I guess one day of snow in April is okay… I  got to wear my down jacket!
White-breasted nuthatch at the feeder