Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Counting sheep...

From farthest to closest: Sassy, Champ, Zoey, and Shawn.

I recently had a fun visit with a family who frequents the market and are involved with Gar-Pal (Garfield/Palouse) 4-H/FFA. There are several animals kids can raise in the program. For this family, sheep get the nod. I got to meet their lambs, as well as a few others who are kept on their property. Here are a few things I learned from my visit:

  • These kids work hard! Caring for livestock is no easy task.
  • 4-H is for younger kids; FFA is for high school.
  • Lambs weigh about 10 lbs when they're born in the early spring and reach 135 lbs or more by fair time in September.
  • Lambs must be fed twice a day in addition to grazing. Their diet includes grain, grass, hay, and alfalfa.
  • Lambs are typically a bit skittish (except for Champ – to say he LOVED the camera is an understatement - see if you can pick him out of the photos below).
  • Lambs are often twins. In fact, the four lambs pictured here are two sets of twins.
  • Apparently, Woolite--you know, the soap that gently cleans clothes--gently cleans lambs' wool, too (now, that's just too funny).
  • I'm told that training the lambs for fair includes “countless hours” of walking with them (30-60 minutes per day). In Palouse, you can see these dedicated kids walking their lambs in and about town. I'm told folks still pop out of their houses to snap photos of this not-something-you-see-everyday activity.
  • 4-H/FFA strives to teach kids respect, responsibility, and commitment - now, that's a good thing.
So, here are my new friends:

On a side note, if there's a talent scout out there who happens upon this blog and is looking for a lamb for the movies, I'm pretty certain Champ would fit right in to Hollywood:) 

-The Grocer's Wife

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The ultimate sacrifice...

On our trip to Washington DC in 2009, Arlington National Cemetery left an indelible mark on my psyche. Like most Americans, I had seen the iconic images in photos and on movie screens, but nothing prepared me for seeing the wave upon wave upon wave of endless white headstones - each representing the ultimate sacrifice. 

I was overwhelmed by the sheer number (veterans from every war, beginning with the American Revolution). It seemed to go on as far as the eye could see. It truly is hallowed ground.

Guarded 24 hours a day 365 days a year through every type of weather, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns) is a moving and beautiful tribute to those whose remains could not be identified. 

Visually, it is stunning in its simplicity.

Its words - reverent and poetic. 

The precision with which the Tomb Guard sentinels execute their duties - breathtaking.

As I sit here writing this post, I think of all the men and women who risked and gave their lives to protect and defend our country, and whose deaths ensured that their fellow citizens could pursue their dreams - even the dream of owning a grocery store in an idyllic place like Palouse. 

Memorial Day honors those who died serving their country. 

I can't help but think that we are here...because they were there.

Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. 
-The Grocer's Wife

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A little nip and tuck...

The Grocer and I are extraordinarily lucky that our small town market is housed in a building that is fairly new (by small town grocery store standards). 

All in all, our building is in GREAT shape. But, just like a home, it needs constant and ongoing upkeep to maintain. Things wear out. They take a beating. And, in the case of our awning, it just flat-out outlived its lifespan. Fact is, it held out a few years beyond what is typically expected. 

If you look closely, you can see a repair I made a year ago wielding upholstery needle and thread following a particularly brutal windstorm. The storm left a large vertical rip straight up the awning. I never could get it completely sewn closed (the fabric was too worn), but it held on an extra year. Not bad.

So, coming into this season, we prepared to bite the bullet and get our tired awning replaced.

At the market, there's always something to be repaired or replaced, so we categorize: what 'must be fixed TODAY' - things like refrigeration and compressor problems (the ongoing scourge of grocery stores everywhere); what we'd 'like to fix' - assuming we haven't exhausted our maintenance fund on refrigeration and compressor problems (that's where the awning went); and, last but not least, 'our dream list' - what we'd fix if we won the lottery, inherited a million dollars, or if a wealthy philanthropist decided that endowing a small-town-market-revitalization-and-enhancement-fund was just exactly the type of project he or she wanted to establish.

So, last Friday, with no catastrophic compressor failures in sight (and, unfortunately no wealthy philanthropists either), the awning company came out and removed our old worn out cover and took it to create a template for a brand spanking new one. We hope to unveil it shortly! Yay!

Even markets need a little nip and tuck now and then:)

-The Grocer's Wife

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thank you for your service...

All down Main Street, Palouse, the flags are flying. Didn't realize until this afternoon that it is Armed Forces Day (the third Saturday in May)! Our heartfelt thanks go out to ALL of our military members! We thank you for your service!

-The Grocer's Wife

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not just for the birds...

I always anticipate the return of the birds following a long, cold winter. And, it occurred to me recently that I've learned a lot from watching my feathered friends over the years. See if any of this rings true to you, too:

Part of parenting is knowing when to 'nudge':  

Once, I watched transfixed as a mama bird was quite literally using her beak to nudge her little ones right out of the nest (perched precariously above our concrete driveway). Had those little guys been ill-prepared to fly, they surely would've met their demise. 

Though they struggled a bit at first, squeaking and squawking all the way...every single one of them flew. That mama bird understood that part of parenting is knowing when to nudge.  

Amid loss, find new focus: 

Years ago while living in the country, one of our ducks lost its mate to a coyote. That duck stood at the edge of our little pond and quacked the most mournful noises I've ever heard - as if its little duck heart was breaking. It was inconsolable. A few days later, we added some baby ducks to our animal menagerie and, lo-and-behold, that widowed duck 'adopted' the babies and from that point on had a new lease on life. 

While humans are undoubtedly more complicated, something tells me that finding new focus amid loss is as true for people as it is for birds.  

Home is worth fighting for: 

In nearly every place we've ever lived, spring brings at least one tenacious bird bound and determined to build a nest in a less-than-desirable (by our account) location. It appears, our business (the market) is no exception. 

Lately, we've been waging a losing battle with a bird above our back dock delivery door. The first nest showed up May 4th and The Grocer quickly took it down. It's not that we have anything against birds, but the back dock of a market really isn't the best (and safest) place for them. This week, the nest was back, bigger and stronger than ever. 

I'm not sure how this story will end, but birds seem to get it: home is worth fighting for.

Happy Weekend (hope yours includes some bird-watching:)
-The Grocer's Wife

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer's coming to the market...and it's all NEON!

So, I'm walking through the market the other day checking out some of the new summer items that have arrived and I noticed something: they're ALL bright, neon colors! It started with the Freezer Pops (the first to arrive), and it has just continued from there. See what I mean:

When The Grocer and I spotted this display of neon water balloons at last fall's buying show, we thought, "Yeah!..nothing says summer fun like water balloons!" (Now, when I see this display, I feel like I owe every parent who comes in the market a personal apology.)

Honestly, I am sooo sorry. (Our kids are grown...I have forgotten what it's like.)

In addition to our neon water balloons, we have neon fly swatters...

neon ring flyers (akin to a frisbee)...

neon jump ropes...

neon sidewalk chalk...

neon citronella wrist bands...

neon stunt gliders...

And, yes, even neon can cozies...

I have no idea what to make of all this other than: it's a grocery thing:)
-The Grocer's Wife

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beautiful soil...

This past week, The Palouse really began to come alive. Everywhere you looked, fields were being tilled. 

Until we moved here, I never would've thought that soil could mesmerize a person. But, this time of year, it's as if the landscape is dotted with giant zen sand gardens...I could stare at it forever. 

Wishing you some relaxation this weekend.
-The Grocer's Wife

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today is WHAT???...

chocolate eclairs from scratch...YES, please

So, this morning, I'm perusing the Internet as per my normal routine...catching up on the news, seeing if I missed any (ahem) critical pop-culture happenings, and checking the weather...you know, the usual stuff.

And, as I'm surfing the Net, I stumble upon THIS...today, May 11, is...(drum roll, please) “Eat What You Want Day”!

Eat What You Want Day???? When did this make its way onto the calendar? And, how is it that I've missed it until now?!

Now, as The Grocer's Wife, I feel it's my duty to share these types of earth-shattering informational tidbits with you. After, all, we are in the food business at the market, you know.

Man, I don't know about you but this could well become my new favorite holiday!

Happy Eating!
-The Grocer's Wife

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being wrong is great...

I often mention how much I love the fact that the town of Palouse lies in such close proximity to so many other interesting towns and cities, each with unique things to see and do. 

In Lewiston, Idaho (one hour south of Palouse), catching the blooming Dogwoods is one of my favorites and--because of the strange belated spring--I thought I'd missed them. But, a week ago on a run down to Lewiston, I discovered I was wrong...Yay!

Sometimes, being wrong is great!
-The Grocer's Wife

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Because of moms...

That's me--the painfully shy girl with blue glasses--and my mom, circa 1971.

Of all the things--both large and small--that moms do for us, in my mind they are the ultimate keepers of the details. They maintain the schedules, connect life's dots, and ensure that the little things aren't forgotten. 

And, like the variety of tasks they perform, they come in a variety themselves. Some 
are conventional moms like mine. Some are step-moms, adoptive moms, grand-moms, dads--who must be both dad and mom, and some are special souls who step into the role simply because it's needed. 

With that in mind, here's my short list of things we have because of 'moms'.
Because of moms, we have...
  1. clean sheets
  2. new school clothes
  3. Easter baskets, Halloween costumes, and Christmas stockings
  4. birthday parties
  5. notes that make it back to school signed
  6. new socks and underwear
  7. photo albums and scrapbooks
  8. hair that gets combed (and washed)
  9. that special treat that no one else makes quite like her (for me, it's my mom's cinnamon rolls...TO...DIE...FOR)
  10. the feeling that--out of all the people in the world--no one will ever love you quite like she does  
Thanks, Mom:)
And, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms everywhere!
-The Grocer's Wife

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gifts for mom? We've got 'em...and a 3-day sale, too

Mother's Day flowers have arrived, and our case is FULL! We've got bright bouquets, 
our popular 'Sweet Petite' mini-arrangements, as well as their larger-and-equally-lovely counterparts.

And, if flowers aren't your mom's thing, how about a caffeine fix, instead? 
Our over-sized Crate Label mugs have a specialty package of Lowery's Perfect Pot brew and a gourmet biscotti tucked inside (mug designs, coffee varieties, and biscotti flavors vary). They're wrapped and ready-to-go for easy gift giving. 
Stop by the market soon for best selection!

And, my goodness, I almost forgot...for 3-DAY SALE info, click HERE!

-The Grocer's Wife

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On your marks...

Recently, I was asked to take some photos of the run route and bicycle route for the upcoming Palouse River Duathlon. For those hardy souls participating in this race, the course is simply lovely and takes you through quintessential Palouse scenery (both town and surrounding area). 

For those of you (like me) who admittedly are not hardy enough to participate in such an event, I thought I'd share a few pics.

Scenes from the Run Route (starts at the Palouse City Park pictured above):

Scenes from the Bicycle Route:

See what I mean...simply lovely.

The Palouse River Duathlon is Saturday, May 14th. See the Palouse Events tab at the top of the blog for more info on the race, or visit palouseriverduathlon.blogspot.com

Good luck, athletes!
-The Grocer's Wife