Today was a most joyous day - Bob actually got me out of the house and off my PC. For those of you that know me, you know that was no small feat. He made me an offer that I couldn't refuse - a trip to Gibb's Perennial Gardens. This nursery is located on East Street in LeRaysville, Pa. We go there every year to fill my perennial gardens at the lake and often spend a few hundred dollars each summer. Before we left, Bob looked up their website and found out that they were having a plant exchange today. What????? Today???? And I missed it????? I didn't have time to transplant any of my seedlings because we were about to leave. Grr. Grrrr. And Grrrrrr! The good news was that Gibbs, run by a super nice couple by the name of Sue and Bob Taber, had another nursery listed on their website. We had never heard of the new place. How nice of Gibbs to promote a competitor. There's nobody like country people :)
We drove to the new garden center first. Hearthstone Perennials, Herbs & Everlastings. The name is as long as the area of plants the offer. They’re located on Box 89, RR2, LeRaysville, Pa. Now get this– many of LeRaysville businesses are out in the middle of nowhere on dirt roads, including this one. However, the fact that it was in the woods amazed us. There was a cleared field in the rear, a clearing the to the left of the lot for their house, and so many beautiful plants in front of their house in gorgeous beds so you could see how lovely your plants can look when you take them home. You’re able to walk around the grounds and admire all their serene gardens and listen to the birdies sing. Then for the fun part. You can walk up and down row after row after row of a huge assortment of perennials in every color known to man. Their prices started at $3.95, which is more than reasonable. They even had a few flats of six-packs of vegetable and flower plants that hadn’t sold and they were giving them away for free. We took a six-pack of green peppers. I made my selections of perennials just before we were about to die from the heat, and then we went into the gift shop. I found an adorable cast iron dachshund dog for my friend Jindra’s birthday.
Unfortunately for the owner, she just happened to pop in as we were leaving and I quickly transformed into “sales mode”. I just happened to have the first three books of The Eyes of Innocence series in the van. She was so nice and agreed to sell them for me. We did our paperwork, Bob and I hopped in the van and we headed for Gibbs. (He thought he was going to get out of taking me there because he had just paid for new plants, and it was hotter than you know what out…. Wrong!)
We parked in Gibbs’ parking lot and looked at the gorgeous grounds they have in front of the shopping area. Their greenhouses are out in the back, but they sell everything in a large area that’s covered with some kind of black netting to help protect the plants from the sun. There’s a big fan going, so it also helped keep us cool. We looked in the big Koi pond, as we always do and then went to look at their plants. They claim to have over 450 kinds of perennials, and indeed they may. I was too hot to count. They also sell trees, shrubs, and berry bushes. Their gift shop wasn’t open today, it will be open next week and will be stocked with garden decor, candles, signs…..and hopefully copies of The Eyes of Innocence series! I’ll bet hitting them up on our next trip there. The heat was really getting to me, so we didn’t stay too long. I saw Sue Taber coming toward us to see if we needed any help. She’s always sooooo nice! I asked how her plant exchange went and told her how disappointed I was that we missed it. She said they had a great attendance and lots of plants were traded. Then…..she said, “Look over in front of that building. There’s a LOT of plants left. I said, “But I don’t have anything to trade in.” Sue said, “That’s ok, take what you want.” Are country people great, or what???? On the way out, we stopped where she had indicated and I chose some Stella D’oro daylily plants. Can you believe someone was trading them in? Wow. Lucky, lucky me!
We left Gibbs and Bob asked me if I minded if we stopped at Dotti Lou’s Meats, in Stevensville, Pa. Since the air in the van had cooled me off, I told him I didn’t mind. Now, Dotti Lou’s is located on a paved road their address is Box 15, RD 1. This place is awesome. People drive for miles to come to this out-of-the-way meat market. Their smoked pork chops are my favorite. They sell such delectable delicacies as head cheese, ring of bologna, butt bacon, and other things of the like that I turn my nose up at. However, their pork chops, ham, chicken, ribs, etc. are worth the drive. They had samples of garlic flavored ring of bologna out today and I actually liked it! The texture was more like summer sausage. I made Bob buy some. They have all sorts of grilling sausages like jalapeno and cheddar, hot chicken wing, plain cheddar, broccoli and cheddar. So good. I found one of their recipes and posted it below. Thought you’d get a kick out of it. It sounds good to me!
Beer Drinkers' Stew
Serves 6 with beer and hard rolls
>From Alaska...It's peppy stew that requires plenty of cold beer!!
3 lbs. stew meat cut in 1" cubes
1 T cider vinegar
1 T lime juice (or lemon)
1 T chili powder
1 12 oz. can V8 juice
2 T salad oil
2 C thinly sliced onions
1 4 oz. can green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1/4 t ground turmeric
One and One-half teaspoon salt
1 15 oz. can tomatoes
Combine vinegar, lime juice, chili powder and V8 in bowl. Add meat and
marinate 20 mins. Stir occasionally.
Heat oil in pan or Dutch oven and sauté onions, chilies, and garlic over
low heat. When onions are clear, add ginger, turmeric and salt. Mix
well. Add tomatoes, breaking them with spoon. Next add meat and
marinade to pan and simmer one and one-half hours, stirring often. Add
more water if more liquid is necessary. When meat is tender, stew is
Our last stop was a place that one of Bob’s friends told him about, called the Red House Bakery & Deli. It’s located at Box 15B, RR1; in Stevensville, Pa. As soon as we got out of the car, we heard loud music coming from inside and wondered what that was all about. Peeking in the window, I saw some small round tables and chairs and a juke box. A young couple was pumping money into it. The owner Michael Dreisch was behind the counter, and we must have looked a bit confused, as we didn’t see a deli or a bakery. We did however see some awesome home baked loaves of bread. I asked where the bakery was and he said that was all he had left today. He didn’t sell too much of his baked goods, and was cutting down little by little, as he wasn’t making any money. Nobody can ever say that country people aren’t ingenious. One half of the store was now converted into a little bar! He even had a customer sitting there sipping on his beverage. They had quite a good selection of liquors to choose from, as well as beer. Mr. Dreisch tells us that he’s now making money. He seemed a happy sort and we had a nice visit.
Ain’t life grand?