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Category Archives: Mohawk

The Meating Place

The other day as I was driving home, I remembered that Steven and I had not planned anything for dinner. This has happened a lot lately, and we’ve either gotten delivery or just not eaten very well. Then I remembered that I drive right by Mohawk Village Market on my way home. We still had macaroni salad that I had made earlier in the week. All I needed was some meat.

A long time ago in this blog, I noted that on the outside of Mohawk Village Market, they advertise themselves as “The Meating Place.” Another sign declares, “You Never Sausage a Place.” I do love a good pun (although some sources say there is no such thing). I had heard from several people that the Market had a good butcher section. I would check it out.

The meat counter runs across the whole back wall. The selection was excellent. I had barely started pondering my choices when a man asked if he could help me. I had been thinking sausage (because of that sign), but some quite beautiful pork chops caught my eye (Steven loves pork chops).

“But they’re so big,” I said.

“So only eat one,” he suggested.

I could probably eat half of one and be content, but I got two. I don’t think our finances are so bad that Steven and I need to be splitting a pork chop for dinner. While the man was wrapping them, I noticed some Spiedie Beef and Pork Chops. I love Spiedie meats! (Although I’m not clear on how to spell “Spiedie” and we have since thrown away the package.) I got the beef, so as not to be getting too much pork.

When I got in line to check out, the other customers were making funny jokes with the cashier. They were obviously all acquainted. I do love a small town atmosphere. I was quite pleased with my purchases. We fried up the Spiedie Beef right away and froze the pork chops for future consumption.

Mohawk Village Market is located at 24 West Main Street, Mohawk, NY. Phone number is 315-866-3344.

Final note: I searched “spiedie meats” on my computer when I typed this in. Spiedie is the correct spelling.

Fun Date at the Farmer’s Market

Wednesday was fun because Steven brought me to work and picked me up so we could go to the Mohawk Farmer’s Market. It’s these little breaks in the routine that keep me happy (I know: it takes so little to please some people).

All day at work I told people I had a date. They were suitably impressed. I know some people dress up for a date. I still had on my army camouflage pants and t-shirt which I normally wear to work. I did change my steel-toed work shoes for lighter weight running shoes, for which my feet thanked me. I had had the foresight to put my crazy old lady hat in Steven’s car. Love that wide brim on a sunny day.

Tabby looked very pretty when she and Steven met me after work, because she had been to the groomer. She sported green bows and her usual sweet, happy expression.

Mohawk Farmer’s Market is at Weller Park, next to the Library on Main Street. We easily found a parking space and walked over to peruse the vendors. We purchased two frog magnets from the first booth we came to. You can’t have too many refrigerator magnets, or so I’ve heard.

I was pleased to see Thousand Islands Winery present. I told the guy I had missed them at Ilion Farmer’s Market. He said he would probably be back there for the winter. For the summer months he also does farmers markets in Rome and Whitesboro. I’d like to check those out sometime. I told him how my mom and sisters and I used to go to the old Farmers Market in Rome in the days of the Living Bridge and quite a different looking downtown. He agreed that was a long time ago. I didn’t mention that his winery had been replaced in Ilion by Herkimer’s own Domnhall Vineyards. Probably he would have been pleased to hear it. I don’t know how much rivalry exists between different wineries. I would imagine they could settle their differences over a nice glass of pinot, wouldn’t you?

Moving on down the row of vendors, Steven and I considered some frozen blackberries and lovely bracelets but decided against them. Tabby was interested in some border collie puppies. Steven and I petted them; they were so sweet and silky. But we did not buy Tabby a brother. Tabby got a few pets herself from various shoppers and vendors.

It is a small but fun market. I look forward to seeing if more vendors join as the summer progresses. The Mohawk Farmer’s Market runs from 2 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday. Check it out!

Fun at the Fundraiser

Saturday Steven and I attended a fundraiser to help with medical and living expenses for a gentleman who had suffered a motorcycle accident. The fundraiser was held at the Mohawk American Legion from 1 to 5 p.m. Steven worked till 1:30, so I picked him up and we joined the function already in progress.

I always like these fundraisers. I think they show people at their best: having a good time to help somebody else.

We paid for our admission, got in on the 50/50 raffle, then made a beeline for the buffet. You can always be sure of a good meal at these events. Sausage and peppers, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, several salads and more. Filling a plate was not difficult; finding a place to sit was. We managed to find two unoccupied chairs.

While we ate we marveled at the size of the Chinese Auction. I had been feeling a little guilty, because I had not seen the flier in time to donate an afghan (I’m actually a little behind in my afghans since Christmas; I’ll have to work on that). I soon realized, I had no reason to feel bad. That auction was HUGE. As soon as we had eaten we got tickets and wandered the tables, deciding what to try for. Alas, we did not win anything, but we enjoyed the feeling of possibility all afternoon.

We didn’t stay too long after that, but we paused on the porch so Steven could smoke a cigarette. I admired a couple of wooden glider swings.

“Maybe they’ll have a fundraiser here this summer,” I speculated, “and we can come out here and sit on one of these benches.”

We chatted up a couple of people who were also on the porch. We all agreed that the fundraiser was a resounding success. Then Steven and I were on our way, in search of further Mohawk Valley adventures.

Pre-Superbowl Errands

Superbowl Sunday, I perceive, is a good day to avoid certain retail establishments. Accordingly, I made sure I had all the foodstuffs I wanted ahead of time (Hannaford), and, well, I just decided I could wait to purchase more yarn (Wal-Mart). Still, I had a couple of errands to run, and that forms the subject of today’s post.

My first stop was Hummel’s Office Plus in Herkimer, NY (of course NY, I’ve pondered the necessity of including that and still have not decided) to purchase a sympathy card. Of course I like to walk to Hummel’s with my dog, but that’s more for a short stop to say hello, not standing for any length of time pondering sympathy cards (does everybody have as hard a time deciding as I do?).

I had a nice conversation with the girl working upstairs. My blog came up in the conversation (OK, I bring it up whenever possible; you never know who might like to read a blog). She offered to show me how to download pictures from a smart phone. If I ever get a smart phone.

I wanted to use a card rather than cash, so I went downstairs to add some office supplies to my purchase. Much more fun to look at. I have a definite thing for office supplies. I found a clip board such as I have been wanting and a black gel pen with a comfort grip.

Next I went to Ilion to gas up my truck. I’d heard that gas in Ilion was eight cents cheaper than in Herkimer, although I confess I did not look particularly to make sure that was true. I thought I might go out to breakfast in Ilion or Mohawk to write the day’s blog post. I love writing in restaurants.

I could see from Citgo that the OPEN sign at Farm House Restaurant was not lit, so I drove past Remington Arms and on into Mohawk. Mohawk Diner did not look open. The Family Fun Center was open, but I was well beyond it before I saw a parking space. On into Herkimer and my old stand by, Philly’s Breakfast House.

Philly’s was crowded, as usual for a Sunday morning. I sat at a wobbly table by the window. It shook quite a bit when I cut my Eggs Benedict, but I managed not to spill my coffee. I warned the fellow that cashed me out that the table needed a screwdriver or something. He promised to take care of it.

I headed for home to look for something more useful to do before it was time for the Superbowl. Like take my dog for another walk or watch more crime shows on cable television. And of course prepare some Superbowl-worthy snacks. Could that be the subject of the next blog post? Stay tuned.

Humane Society Santas

The best thing I did yesterday was go to the Open House and Indoor Garage Sale at Herkimer County Humane Society in Mohawk, for a few reasons.

To do the story justice, I must first tell a story of my past. Growing up, I remember having a beautiful stuffed Santa Claus that was always out at Christmas time and only at Christmas time. When I was quite small, I remember playing with him like the rest of our dolls and stuffed toys. As we got older, Mom started putting him on a higher shelf, “Because he’s old.” I believe Mom and Dad had originally purchased him for my oldest sister, Victoria, at her first Christmas (the only one she didn’t have to share), but it soon became a family decoration. And when Vicki moved away, she did not get to take him with her.

When Steven, then boyfriend now husband, began to spend his Christmases with my family, he fell in love with the Santa Clause. It became a recurring joke that Steven was going to hide Santa Claus in his suitcase and leave all his clothes behind. Not a fair trade. We always looked for just such a Santa Claus but never found quite the right one. Eventually Steven bought me a very nice stuffed Santa Claus which I love. But Mom’s Santa is still the best.

Fast forward to December 2011. Steven had to work, but I always want to support the Humane Society as well as feed my addiction to buying other people’s junk (that’s what we call a win-win situation). As I drove out, I was pleased to see that lots of people were supporting the Humane Society. I knew many people were picking up pictures of their pets with Santa, taken at an earlier fundraiser which Steven and I sadly missed. I finally parked in the Parking Area near the canal trail. That way I was facing back into town, and it was only a short walk down the highway to the Humane Society.

A couple of volunteers were dressed as elves, and Santa was present. I made my way through the crowd to where the garage sale was. They were doing a booming business! People were nicely letting each other through. You often run into more politeness at these fundraisers than you do at normal retail establishments.

The first thing I found was a basket of ceramic Santas. We have a few similar Santas. They stand about 5 inches tall and usually have a year printed on the base and sometimes a country. I could see there was more than one layer, and they wanted $10 for the basket. I figured even if I found some duplicates with what we already had, it was a good buy and we could always use the duplicates for presents for others. I picked up the basket, turned around and then I saw him.

An old fashioned stuffed Santa. He was not exactly like my Mom’s, but he was beautiful. Obviously of the same era and in very good condition. $5. I was in love. I picked him up, then I picked up a ceramic church with a place for a tea light. Perfect for my Christmas village which I did not set up this year but intend to set up in 2012. I got in the long, slow line. I checked out some other things as I stood there. Luckily I remembered we do not need any Christmas mugs, because they have a lot of them. A Yul Brenner as the King in The King and I caught my eye, but my arms were full. A volunteer was trying to sell a couple of artificial trees for $10 apiece. If I had not already purchased a tree, I might have been tempted (when I got home and smelled my tree, I was glad).

A fellow ahead of me had $45.50 worth of stuff, but the lady rounded it to $45.

“I’m not so bad,” I mused to the lady behind me.

“No, you’re not,” she said. She had found a tree skirt as she stood in line, which I wish I had seen first. As I often say, you snooze you lose.

When it was my turn I resisted the cookies and cupcakes they also had for sale. For one thing, my arms were full. After I paid and made my way toward the exit, I saw… another stuffed Santa. This one not as big, a similar age, equally beautiful, $2.

“I didn’t see him!” I carefully put down the ceramic Santas and opened my purse. I caught one volunteer’s eye and handed her the $2. “Please don’t make me wait in line again, he’s $2, I didn’t see him before.” She graciously accepted my payment.

A man standing nearby offered to help me carry my stuff to my truck. I thought it was very nice of him, especially as I was not parked close by. He was fine with it.

“If I would have bought cookies, I’d give you one,” I told him. Being a fundraiser, it did not seem appropriate to offer a tip. He told me he had to watch his sugar intake anyways. I’m sure the real Santa was watching and gave him more nice points.

When I got home I found the basket contained 20 ceramic Santas, not one a duplicate of those we already have. Steven was predictably delighted with the stuffed Santas. It was altogether a great experience. I helped the Humane Society to the tune of $18 (OK, not a princely sum; we do what we can), and our Christmas decorations are enhanced for years to come.

The Herkimer County Humane Society facebook page reminds us that every day really open house. Stop in and meet some nice animals. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh Christmas Trees

I drive by Weller Library and Weller Park almost every day after work. Weller Library, if you didn’t read about it in one of my previous posts, is a lovely building, the former home of the Weller family. It is surrounded by a park which hosts many community events. I noticed a sign about Christmas in the Park. Eventually information about a tree lighting appeared on the sign, and a couple of Christmas trees showed up.

I drive by the park slowly due to traffic and a four way stop, but also due to traffic and a four way stop, it’s not easy to read signs. So I wasn’t clear on if the event was Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. or from 4 to 5 p.m. Luckily, the OD (that’s the Utica Observer Dispatch) listed it in their Events Calendar in Sunday’s Paper. 5 p.m.

So Steven and I made sure we got all or most of our stuff done by 4:30 or so and headed on over. We brought our dog, Tabby. We figured there could be no possible objection to a dog in a park, and we had faith in our ability to keep her from peeing on the Christmas trees.

A crowd had already gathered, but we found a parking space without too much trouble. There were a lot of trees, all beautifully decorated. Signs told us who had put up each tree. Local businesses, Girl Scout troops, fire departments and other organizations had participated. We walked around and admired. Several young girls admired Tabby, and petted her.

We ran into a gentleman from our church, and he told us this was the third year for trees in the park. He said anybody could put a tree up.

“You could put your tree up here next year,” he suggested.

That sounded like a good idea to me. I have been toying with the idea of not doing a tree this year. One reason is that nobody ever comes over to see our decorations. Of course we’ll still decorate, because we like to look at decorations, but how many decorations do me and Steve need to look at? Now, to put a tree up in Weller Park, everybody would see it. Most of the trees are memorials. I know some people I could make a memorial to. It’s something to think about.

The trees in Weller Park are gorgeous this year, especially with the lights on. Before the actual lighting, a color guard marched and a chaplain said a prayer. Then they played Christmas carols, which I was not the only one to sing along with (I danced a little, too; I love Christmas carols). Hot chocolate and cookies were served in the library. Steven went in and brought us out some (as well behaved as Tabby is, I did not think she’d be welcome in the library). It was yummy cocoa.

People were still enjoying the trees and the music when we left. We drove around a couple of blocks in Mohawk, admiring the lights on people’s houses. We don’t have snow yet, but there is plenty of Christmas spirit in the Mohawk Valley.

Renewing Local History

I recently gave a shout out (I love that expression) to Weller Library in Mohawk, NY (just two weeks ago, in fact), but I think a plug to a local library is always in order.

I have been enjoying the book I checked out, Liberty March: The Battle of Oriskany by Allan D. Foote (North Country Books, Utica, NY, 1998). I’ve been reading it in the break room at work, where several people have expressed an interest. One young man had seen a presentation by Allan Foote. Almost everyone has been to the Oriskany Battlefield. I mean to re-visit it myself one day soon.

The book was due Tuesday, and I wanted to renew it. I drive right by Weller Library on my way home from work, so I figured I was all hooked up. Had the book with me since I was reading it at work, library card on my key chain which I would have if I was driving, all set. Then I remembered — and felt really stupid for forgetting — I had gotten out two books two weeks ago. MacBeth was sitting on my coffee table. Damn! I wondered if modern technology could help me. When I got to the library, I explained that I wanted to renew the book in my hand and hoped to also renew the book on my coffee table. It was no problem. Let’s hear it for computers!

Actually, I could be exaggerating the role of technology here. Now that I think about it, I remember that Jervis Library in Rome, NY had renewal by phone when I was a little girl. In those days, when you checked out books they stuck a card which kept was in a pocket on the inside of the book’s cover into a machine that went ka-CHUNK. In the school library, you wrote your name on the card. For my younger readers, that was a history lesson. For my older readers, a stroll down memory lane (look at me pretending I have all kinds of readers).

I was sorry to see the library was practically empty, and even sorrier that I couldn’t stay. I mean to go to Weller Library to sit and write sometime. It is the most beautiful setting. For anyone who missed my original post about Weller Library (and who reads every post? Not me), I’ll re-iterate that the library was originally the Weller family home. I don’t know from architecture, so I can’t say the style or period, but it is gorgeous.

I thanked the library lady for helping me solve one problem so easily, then headed home. Now I can continue to enjoy reading about Mohawk Valley history. Perhaps a future blog post will be a book report.

Lame S****, Different Day

For those of you who missed Lame Post Friday as much as I did, here is some rather foolish commentary about my ride home Thursday.

When I left work on Thursday, I was on a mission to procure a special snack for my husband, Steven, and I to share when he came home for his dinner break at 5:30ish. I though I might go to Melrose Market in Frankfort and see if they had anything.

I work at a certain factory in Ilion. Now, there are a few different ways to get from Ilion to Herkimer or Ilion to Frankfort, as the case may be. The most direct route to my house is out State Route 5. That is a very busy route between 3:30 and 4, so I usually go through Mohawk. It’s kind of fascinating to me how Herkimer, Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort kind of run into each other. You can go on one of two highways — State Route 5 or Route 5S (east or west) — or you can go through the villages. It’s fun. Or am I too easily amused?

And here’s a related question, why is there a State Route 5 and a Route 5S so close together? You can’t run out of numbers. That is a recurring theme around here. For example, Ilion has a Second Street and a Second Avenue. I can understand being just too tired to think up another street name. But numbers are infinite, and we all know the order they go in. Just move on to the next number! How hard can it be? Apparently too. If anybody out there knows the very logical, understandable reason the streets are thus named, I would be interested to hear it. But I will not feel the least bit chastened, and I will not cease to poke fun.

Now then, where was I? Ah yes, driving around the block in Ilion. I didn’t quite explain that, did I? I took a right rather than a left out of the factory parking lot when I really wanted to go left. Just go around the block, right? How hard could it be? Well, Ilion is a little like Rome: screwy. None of the streets are quite parallel, and nothing comes out where you think it ought to. “Going around the block” in this case necessitates two right turns, one left, another right, another left, and two more rights. On the brighter side, this brings you out right next to the liquor store. I stopped and got a bottle of Pinot Noir. Not Vampire Pinot Noir, which would have been seasonal, because they didn’t have any. Still, Noir is dark. But I digress.

I drove through Ilion into Frankfort, not needing to go on one of the highways. I passed a sign that said “Saranac Tasting 4 to 7.” It was 3:55, which was just as well, because I was on a time budget. Unfortunately, when I got to Frankfort, there was not a parking space to be had anywhere near Melrose Market. I love that grocery store, but the parking situation leaves something to be desired. I drove past and got onto State Route 5. From here I could go back to Ilion and try again. This would bring me near that Saranac tasting at four. I was tempted, but like I said, on a time budget. I opted to drive into Herkimer and my old stand by, Hannaford. From there, I went home and fixed roll-ups, as described in yesterday’s post.

I hope this satisfies everybody’s need for my weekly silliness quotient. It certainly satisfied mine.

Weeknight at Weller, a Lovely Library

On Tuesday when Steven and I were looking for some not too expensive entertainment, it did not take us long to decide on a visit to the public library. We had never been to Weller Library, 41 W. Main St., Mohawk, although we have attended events in the adjoining Weller Park, so that is where we headed.

After driving by a student athletic event, locating a parking space and having another discussion of didn’t we look at a house on this street (we looked at 33 houses before buying one), we walked into the library.

What an incredible setting! It looks as if it should be a museum of an historic home, like Fountain Elms in Utica. The woodwork is ornate, and the floors are a work of art. The children’s room has two window seats. Two of the rooms have fireplaces.

I wandered the whole library (it isn’t very big) before actually looking for books. One room, which has one of the fireplaces, has no books. There is a large wooden table in the center and two smaller ones under the windows. A young man had a lap top on one of the smaller tables. I was enchanted.

“I must come here and write,” I told Steven. Of course, nothing was stopping me from sitting down and opening my notebook right then and there. But we did not intend to stay very long, and I wanted to look for books.

I found a history on the Battle of Oriskany. Since I intend to do a blog post on the Oriskany Battlefield one day, I thought I’d read it. I also picked up a copy of MacBeth with scholarly commentary. Every so often I get a craving for Shakespeare.

I asked the lady who checked out my books if the library was the Weller family home at one time. She said it was. I believe there is an historic marker in front of the library that could have told me that as well. I think some history of the Weller family would make good material for another future blog post.

On the way back to the truck we checked out a couple of left over scarecrows from the Fall Fest we had missed on Saturday (we went to a Fall Fest in Herkimer) (So little fall, so many fests). We also walked a little ways down the sidewalk to admire someone’s awesome Halloween decorations.

I was quite pleased with our little library jaunt. An excellent way to spend a week night in the Mohawk Valley. For more information on area libraries, visit midyork.org.

Walking By Water

I’d been thinking for a long time that Tabby would like to walk on a path I saw along Route 5S. Saturday Steven suggested we check it out.

The path begins where Mohawk Street crosses Route 5S, between Herkimer and Mohawk. Parking is available near MOVAC, but I did not point that out to Steven till we had already driven by. He knew there was a parking area near the Humane Society, on the opposite side of the highway, so he drove there.

We walked back towards Herkimer, Mohawk River to the right, highway to the left. At least, I think it is the Mohawk River. It could very well be the Erie Canal or even the Barge Canal. Computer literate people will tell me “just google it.” I tried, but I am not very adept at these things. Can we just say it was one of those three bodies of water and have done with? Thank you.

After a short distance the path is a little further separated from the road. There are even a few houses in between. Steven pointed out that if we had bought one of those houses, I could have run on the path every day. I pointed out the great view of the water we would have had. Luckily, we like the house we did buy just fine.

We were soon being bothered by mosquitoes. I blame it on the damp weather. Mosquitoes are not usually a problem during the day, and in many places around here — notably my back deck — they aren’t too much of a problem at night, either. At first we slapped and persevered, then we turned and walked back to the car.

Our original plan had been to then walk in the other direction, and come out at German Flatts Town Park, where Living History Weekend was taking place. Of course, if we did this we were hoping not to walk into a battle reenactment. For one thing, Tabby would not like the gunfire. However, with the mosquitoes what they were, we got back in the car and drove back to town.

We felt we had not seen enough water, so we first drove to the Ilion Marina. We’ve taken Tabby there before and walked up and down. It’s not large, but it is pleasant.

Saturday it was much quieter than when we were there previously. The Dockside Cafe was closed for the season. We saw a few RVs, but no people. I speculated they were out boating. I suppose they could have been hanging out inside the RVs, perhaps playing cards and having a beer. I know some of these RVs have all the comforts of home and probably some have more comforts than mine (my home, that is; I don’t have an RV).

We started to walk down a path near some trees, but were once again driven back by mosquitoes. Really, we should have known better. Are mosquitoes likely to be in Herkimer and Mohawk, but give Ilion a miss? But we’d gotten some good exercise, so we felt pleased with ourselves. We’ll check out those walks again, on a drier day or with bug spray.