May 2012

The Anderson Mansion at this year's Strawberry Festival

The Anderson Mansion at this year's Strawberry Festival

The Anderson Mansion is a beautiful two-story mansion that is now home to the Macoupin County Historical Society. Open during the Spring festival that most of the locals call the Strawberry Festival, we again toured this lovely mansion that is home to a unique stained glass window bought at the World-Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

Touring the home, seeing the tractors and vendors is high on the list of things to do at this site that sits on 16 busy acres, but eating our way through the event is at the top of our list. With a choice of chicken and noodles, ham and beans or grilled pork chops visitors often have two complete meals then top it off with strawberry shortcake. Then after all, who could resist the kettle corn?

The mansion is open for touring June thru August on Sundays from 1-5 or by special appointment. Call 217-854-2850 or 217-854-3916 for information. The next big event at the Macoupin County Historical Society is the Fall Festival which is always held the third weekend in September.

One of the courses of the First Harvest meal from American Harvest

One of the courses of the First Harvest meal from American Harvest

The American Harvest restaurant in Springfield, Illinois celebrates the farmer and supports locally grown products. On May 24th, American Harvest restaurant offered a wonderful six-course meal that Chef’s Jordan and Aurora Coffey was aptly titled, “First Harvest”.
The food on the menu celebrated the first harvest of spring and my husband and I enjoyed every bite!

American Harvest’s motto is “True to the Season, True to the Region”,The next scheduled meal will be with a New York theme. “We do this every month and always on a Thursday,” Chef Jordan said.

To learn more about these great dinners and their everyday meals that also promote the freshest ingredients from local farms, check out the website http://www.americanharvesteatery.com and their goal is a simple one, to offer the freshest ingredients, sourced from local farmers in Illinois

Florida Flywheelers plan ahead for a winter getaway.

Florida Flywheelers plan ahead for a winter getaway.

The third week of February, the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club hosts a giant flea market and antique tractor show. If you are looking for a great winter getaway keep the show in mind. We stay in Sebring and this year we took time to tour Florida Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park. They offer a trolley tour and we were able to see the natural flora and fuana as well as an alligator or two!

At the Flywheeler’s show, the non-profit organization was founded to promote interest in restoring, preserving and exhibiting antique internal combustion engines, steam engines, antique tractors and autos and more. The show offers a large flea market and a very neat village
with a myriad of different and unique buildings filled with collections and historic items. The Flywheelers shiow is set on almost 240 acre. Log onto the website at http://www.floridaflywheelers.org/ for event dates. and details about upcoming shows! See you there!

Downtown Springfied's Art Fair & Farmer's Market

Downtown Springfied's Art Fair & Farmer's Market

Sometimes the best places can be right in our backyard. Every year Springfield, Illinois hosts a fine arts fair around the Old State Capital. The historic building is a beautiful background for the artists that set up with their pottery, paintings, jewelry and more. Along with the art fair, the farmer’s market lured us to check out their wares and contemplate fresh fruit, baked bread and those fresh ingrediients that make the best meals!

Bailey Shea Williams is the Dixie Chopper-sponsored ATV quad racer

Bailey Shea Williams is the Dixie Chopper-sponsored ATV quad racer

Bailey Shea Williams drives her ATV Quad Racer at harrowing speeds. However this young woman thrives on the speed and has won several titles including the first female to win a National contest. Bailey was set up at this year’s 2012 National Farm Machinery show in Louisville, KY. She was signing autographs in the Dixie Chopper boot. Art Evans, founder of Dixie Chopper took a few minutes to share the history of his development of the revolutionary zero turn mower. Watch for the whole story in the September issue of Lawn & Garden Collector Magazine!

To learn more about Bailey and Dixie Chopper, check out their website at http://www.dixiechopper.com.

Reflections of the Florida Flywheelers, Virgil Butler's toys

Reflections of the Florida Flywheelers, Virgil Butler's toys

February means heading south to the Florida Flywheelers for tractors, toys, touring to see whats new in the Village and what the flea market has to offer. This past February I had to pleasure of checking out Virgil Butler’s converted Indiana barn where the building is stocked with his beautiful one of a kind wooden models.

Virgil, grew up and farmed in Indiana, then in 1959 moved to Florida to build houses. Once retired he started creating toys for his 17 grandchildren. Soon he moved into detailed models like the one above.

Virgil’s building is just one of the amazing places to stop and oogle during the Flywheelers shows. Add a stop to an upcoming show to your calendar, we do!. The website is http://www.floridaflywheelers.org. for more information.

Rockome Gardens, a place of flowers and stones

Rockome Gardens, a place of flowers and stones

Rockhome Gardens began as a farm. Located in the heart of Illinois’ largest Old Amish community Amish buggy’s and their beautiful farms surround this tranquil place. It all began when Arthur and Elizabeth Martin had a dream of creating the largest flower garden in Douglas County and purchaseda 208 acre farm.

Using sevan acres for flowers and rock sculptures, the Martins also built a loverly summer house that is currently under reconstruction. The Martins sold the property and it ened up in the hands of Elvan and Irene Yoder in 1969. It was the Yoders that realized the potential of the land and opened the gardens to the public and expanded adding structures like the beautiful barns.

Now owned by Steve and Bev Maher they are restoring the garden to its original beauty.

Those that love old iron will enly the amazing array of old mostly horse pulled machinery. There is also farm related items in the Amish museum as well. We enjoyed strolling through the gardens and eating the amazing food that reminded me of Keith’s grandma’s! http://www.rockome.com/ for details!

Old Iron Everywhere!

Old Iron Everywhere!

Winter holds on a bit longer to winter than central Illinois so I was not quite prepared for the chill of the35th Le Sueur County Pioneer Power Swap Meet, but as a flea market junkie, I attest that you could find almost anything you were looking for at this event! I was delighted I added a gardent art pig to my turkey first thing. After shopping for my favorite garden artist, I purchased a lovely rag rug and I was a happy camper. I was even happier when I spied these beautiful Ford tractors under the trees. These were rather rare models and the kit to make this Ford a hicrop is an unusual commodity by itself!

My husband found some tires and a driver of a loader convenintly loaded them right into the back of our pickup truck.

Although the swap meet is over, there is still plenty of time to plan to attend the upcoming fall power show scheduled for August 24, 25 and 26, 2012. This year’s featured brand is Massey Combines, tractors and Wallis equipment.

For more information about the event, check out their website http://www.pioneerpowershow.com/swapmeet.html.

Scenic Byways!

Scenic Byways!

The Honey Locust trees exploded into bloom on I-74 just south of Galesburg last week. We noted this beautiful site heading north. The Lord blesses travelers on occasion with His glory!