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Category Archives: Ilion

The Garlic Pickles

Anyone who knows me knows that garlic is one of the guiding forces of my life. Regular readers of the blog may have noticed that garlic plays a part in nearly all my recipes (after I let it “breathe” for fifteen minutes, of course). Imagine my delight when I found garlic pickles at the Ilion Farmer’s Market last Saturday.

Parker’s Historic Cider Mill and Farmer’s Market on Otsego Street in Ilion, NY is one of Steve’s, Tabby’s and my favorite places to go. Naturally we like any place we can bring our sweet little schnoodle Tabby, and Tabby’s favorite places are those where there are many interesting smells and nice people to pet her.

I know I’ve given many shout-outs to the Ilion Farmer’s Market. It runs year round on Fridays and Saturdays in a barn built in the 1800s. I just never get tired of going there.

On this visit, we particularly noticed works by folk artist Jim Parker, prints, t-shirts, mugs and note cards. I have a t-shirt of a print of Ilion but I’ve had it for a while and I recently noticed some discoloration along the collar. I informed Steven I will be needing a new shirt, perhaps with a different print. Do you suppose he’ll make my wait for my birthday?

Allowing Tabby time to sniff and be petted, we made our way to the shelves at the end of the barn where I always check the canned (jarred?) goods for garlic pickles. A long time ago, I found some garlic pickles there and loved them. I have not seen them since.

Until last Saturday. Eureka! Hot and Sweet Garlic Pickles! I chose hot, telling Steven I would probably return the following week to purchase sweet.

The pickles are crisp, tasty and hot. I think they would be very good in a sandwich or salad. So far I’ve eaten them plain and in a bologna-cheese roll-up. Yum!

My only fear now is that local readers will all dash to the Farmer’s Market and buy up all the garlic pickles, leaving none for me. Oh well, if such a thing happens, at least I will have spread joy and happiness.


ILT is a Blessing

Last weekend Steven and I had the pleasure of attending one of the performances of Bless Me, Father, Ilion Little Theatre’s first production of their 2013-14 season.

I feel a little bad that we did not attend the first weekend, because if this post had run a week ago, local readers would have had a chance to see the show. Then again, there were full or almost full houses every night, so some folks may have been doomed to disappointment in any case.

It was a very entertaining production, with plenty of laughs and a few touching moments. The cast was a nice mixture of new faces and old favorites (um, not so very old). I love community theatre so much, I probably would have enjoyed a mediocre or even a bad performance, but this one was top notch.

I guess I don’t want to say too much about it, though, because anyone who did not get to see it might feel bad. Let me instead, give a general shout-out to Ilion Little Theatre (ILT), a real gem of the Mohawk Valley.

The theatre is located on Remington Avenue in Ilion, NY, just behind Remington Arms (it’s a factory, not a hotel, for any non-local readers). The building is called The Stables, because it used to be the stables of the Remington family. It’s a small theatre, seating less than 100. That makes the performances intimate, and every seat is a good one.

The season is four shows, so anyone who missed Bless Me, Father still has a chance to catch Wait Until Dark, Don’t Talk to the Actors, and Funny Money. For more information, check out their webpage at Or you can like their Facebook page.

“Dirty” Update

I seriously intended to write an update on how our play is coming along. Well, theatre people know, when you are working on a play, things get real busy, real fast. I spent my blog-writing time this morning working on a press release that Steven (the director and my husband, in case you didn’t know) started but got stuck on (see previous post about Writer’s Block, I suppose). In lieu of a regular post, I offer that release.

Enjoy an evening of romance, intrigue, music and mayhem when the Ilion Little Theatre (ILT) presents Dirty Work at the Crossroads, a gay ‘90s melodrama by Bill Johnson May 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18. Performances are at 8 p.m. May 10, 11, 17 and 18 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Mother’s Day. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students.

Audiences can cheer the hero and boo the villain during a tear-jerking story in which, after many vicissitudes, good triumphs over evil. Like all 1890s melodramas, Dirty Work features extreme situations and an exaggerated acting style. At times the characters address the audience in an “aside,” unheard by others on stage. According to notes in the script, the play was adapted from a melodrama written in 1867. The original script featured many scene changes and far more actors.

“This script makes for a more ‘doable’ production without losing the flavor of an old melodrama,” says director Steven Quackenbush. “This kind of play is just a lot of fun to do and to watch.”

The production features several newcomers to the ILT stage as well as old favorites. Newcomers Stephanie Chimento and Chuck Carr play the innocent country lass and stalwart blacksmith’s son, whose idyllic romance is threatened by the machinations of the villainous Munro Murgatroyd, played by ILT veteran Ron Creighton. Murgatroyd is assisted by the viperish and vampish Ida Rhinegold, played by Julianne Allen, another ILT favorite. Newcomers to ILT also include Penny Zugner as the Widow Lovelace, Kayla Morrell as Leonie Asterbilt, Olivia Klein as Little Nell, and pianist Caroline Gardner. Jim Mills as Mookie Maguggins and Cynthia Quackenbush as Mrs. Upson Asterbilt round out the cast.

For more information on Ilion Little Theatre, you can visit their website at

A Word with the Fat Man

Yesterday my headache felt better as the afternoon wore on. I wanted to have just one little Mohawk Valley adventure, so I put Tabby in the car and headed to the Farmer’s Market at Clapsaddle Farm, Otsego Street, Ilion, NY.

I know I’ve talked about the Ilion Farmer’s Market many times, but yesterday there was an added attraction: Santa Claus! I had seen a flier posted on a bulletin board at work earlier in the week. Saturday morning while writing a note to my sister, I mentioned it.

“I’d like a word with the fat man,” I wrote, just to be nonchalant about it. In fact I didn’t know if I’d get to talk to him at all; he’s a popular guy this time of year.

The flier had said to bring your camera and take a picture, but I stupidly forgot mine. No matter. I don’t know how to post a picture on a blog or Facebook anyways.

Tabby was very excited when she saw where we were. She loves the Farmer’s Market. Lots of exciting smells and nice people who like to pet her. She pulled me to the door most insistently.

It didn’t take me long to find Santa. He was walking around, and he looked remarkably similar to a guy I know from work (although I would certainly never describe that guy as “the fat man”). His suit was beautiful, definitely a cut above the one I bought for Steven at Wal-Mart some years ago. He told me it had been made for him some years ago by a lady now deceased.

I chatted with him and his wife for a while. There was a picture of the two of them dressed as Santa and Mrs. Santa, but Mrs. Santa was in civilian clothes yesterday. She told me they would also be at Weller park next Friday, the seventh, in the gazebo for a tree lighting. I dug a notebook out of my purse and made a note of the date.

As we walked back down the market Tabby got a sample of bacon from Mike Champagne. I had purchased a yummy piece of chocolate covered bacon from him during a previous visit to the Farmer’s Market, but I need to go back on the South Beach Diet.

It was an unusual visit to the market in that I did not purchase anything. I did see some jewelry I admired and some baked goods that looked yummy. I may return next Saturday. For one thing, Santa said he’d be there. Maybe I will remember my camera.

Marina Meanderings

Saturday was a beautiful day: sunny, not too warm, low humidity, and Steven got off work early. A perfect day. What to do with it?

Steven was in the mood for a burger, so we decided to check out the Dockside Cafe at Ilion Marina. Naturally we took Tabby.

Ilion, NY, for you out of area readers (Hi, Rachel!), is almost immediately adjacent to Herkimer via State Route 5. The entrance to the marina is right next to the exit. It’s not a large marina, but it is a pleasant place to walk around.

We admired some of the RVs parked in the lot. What a great vacation: park your RV at the marina and sail off in your boat. I’m afraid my getaways are more pedestrian. Drive my truck to the marina and walk around with my husband and my dog. Still, that’s a pretty good thing to do, too. I was happy to be there.

At the window of the Dockside Cafe we ordered cheeseburgers. Steven also got macaroni salad and we both got bottles of water. We brought our water out the the deck and sat down to wait for our food.

It was perfect weather for eating outdoors. We looked out over the water then admired the nautical decor on the deck. I especially liked the carved wooden sailors on the railing. The tablecloths had a lighthouse design. I wondered if they got those locally. I have a couple of sisters and a cousin who would like such a thing for their outdoor living spaces.

After eating (excellent burgers, and the salad was yummy) (yes, I stole some), we walked down the path we hadn’t been on yet. We gave the people fishing a wide berth, in case Tabby picked that moment to start barking and scared the fish. As it happened, she kept quiet. After a while I suggested we drive to Frankfort, another short jaunt down Route 5, and check out their marina.

The stretch of river (or is it a canal? I ought to research these posts a little better) that Frankfort Marina is on is much quieter than in Ilion. A wooden dock lets the fishers get closer to the water. The dock went all the way around to the other side of the water, but we didn’t walk on it. There were a number of people fishing. Tabby had kept quiet in Ilion, but that was no guarantee. Also, you can’t count on strangers being happy to see a cute little dog when they are pursuing a hobby that calls for quiet.

The restaurant here looked a little fancier. At least, it was indoors and there was a stern sign reading, “No Dogs Allowed.” Well, if you don’t want me to bring my dog on the porch, I won’t bring my dog on the porch.

We wandered around between the fishers and the No Dogs Allowed area till my sinus headache started to kick in (see Sunday’s post). We drove home feeling we had taken at least a little advantage of the beautiful day.

Wine for Ilion Days

I’m missing a lot of the Ilion Days events — most notably tonight’s delightfully named Doodah Parade — but Steven and I did make it to a wine tasting at Ilion Wine and Spirits Thursday night.

I started with the Tanto Trabbiano d’Abruzzo 2010 from Italy. It reached my ultimate accolade of “yummy.” The hand-out said it was “floral, fresh and very well balanced.” I’m not sure about the floral — I almost never taste the notes of whatever, either — but I found it refreshing.

I continued on whites with the Indaba Sauvignon Blanc 2010, France. It was yummy, too; I usually like Sauvignon Blanc. I liked the d’Abruzzo a little better, though.

The last white I tasted was the Sauvion Vouvray 2010, France. I got a little silly (who, me?) declaring, “Vouvray! It’s fun to say!” Nobody seemed to mind. The Vouvray was a little sweeter than I like, but other people at the tasting were highly recommending it to each other.

I skipped the last two whites they were offering, because they were definitely on the sweet side. I nibbled some of their munchies, which Steven had already raided (he only comes to these things for the food) before moving on to the reds. Crackers with two kinds of cheese spread (one with horseradish. Yum!) and that divine warm dip with cheddar, onion and mayonnaise, which they have had at the last few tastings.

I started my red sampling with Vina Borgia 2010, Spain. I asked if it was any relation to Lucretia Borgia, but of course I was still being silly. Those Borgias were Italian. The hand-out promised “light peppery notes,” which I think I tasted. I marked that one “yummy” too.

Also rated “yummy” was Snap Dragon Pinot Noir 2010, California. I almost always like Pinot Noir. The other two reds were all right, but I was not loving them.

I don’t always try the “Other Offerings” but decided to take a chance. They were Sips Sparkling Cocktails: Cucumber Mojito and Pineapple Mandarin Tropitini flavors. I know some girls who love this kind of thing. I had never had a Mojito before. Who knew they had mint? I know, probably everybody but me. The Tropitini tasted very orangey to me. Both were bubbly. I’m sure they would be good to serve at a party.

When Steven and I returned to the main part of the store so I could make my purchases, I was delighted to note that all my favorites were quite reasonably priced. We also purchased raffle tickets for an artist-painted Adirondack chair.

I enjoyed the wine tasting very much. As the weekend wears on, perhaps I can take advantage of other Ilion Days events. For a complete listing I can log onto

Just Another Little Taste…

In addition to tasting wine and cheese at Vintage Spirits in Herkimer, NY, last Friday, I tasted some wine at Ilion Wine and Spirits. Steven accompanied me to the second place.

Ilion Wine and Spirits has a tasting room that is, dare I say, tastefully furnished. On my way back there I snagged a piece of cheese from the table of munchies. Ilion Wine and Spirits puts out an excellent snack table to go with their tastings. I left Steven sampling the goodies and made my way to the wine.

A number of people were already tasting, but not too many to get through. I’ve been to tastings there where the room was packed. However, people are usually nice about making room for each other. I picked up the print out listing the wines.

I started with a Petra Unger Gruner Veltliner 2010 from Austria. I asked should there be two dots over the u to make that “eueu” sound. There should be. I seem to remember hearing the word Veltliner before and liking the wine. I like the word, too. It’s fun to say. Try it. I liked this Veltliner, although it did not reach my ultimate accolade of “yummy.”

My other favorite of that tasting was the Medinet Blanc from France. They described it as semi-dry, well balanced. I just liked it.

By now Steven was sitting on the couch, observing the proceedings (he thought he should refrain from eating everything on the munchy table). I would get my taste, go sit down next to Steven and sip it, then ask him to hold the glass while I wrote in my little book about it. It’s a very pleasant way to do a tasting. I must get Steven to accompany me to other tastings with couches.

This was a very friendly tasting, with everybody chatting and comparing notes on what they had tried and what they had liked. I refrained from trying the Smirnoff Savannah Tea, but participated in a discussion about Long Island Iced Tea and how it can be difficult to find one made properly. We discovered that several of our fellow tasters were headed to Herkimer next for St. Anthony’s Festival. As that was Steven’s and my next destination, we promised to look for them. I also recommended the tasting at Vintage Spirits.

“Tell them Cindy sent you,” I said, although I doubt that anyone did.

I actually did not buy anything I tasted, but I found a bottle of Twin Vines Vinho Verde, which I like, and Steven pointed out some Baco Noir from Domhnall Vineyards in Herkimer, NY. I don’t like to take advantage of a free tasting and not buy anything.

Ilion Wine and Spirits is located at 10 E. Main St., Ilion, NY, telephone 315-894-8142.

All Harvey and a Short Post

All Harvey All The Time — it’s not just my blog, it’s my life these days.

I work, I go home, I must positively must have coffee. For one thing, it lets me sit down for a few minutes. I have lists of everything I am supposed to remember. Sometimes I remember to consult the lists. Usually, though, I just run around stuffing things in bags and feeling like I forgot something. Then I arrive at rehearsal feeling flustered. Which should help with my character. One would think.

Our last couple of rehearsals have gone very well. Last night (Tuesday) we set the curtain call. I am one of the last characters to go out and bow, and I get to bow all by myself. Scary! What if they boo? An unlikely contingency, I suppose. I will at least get a few polite claps. I have to stand next to a character that my character doesn’t like. Another cast member told me I should give him a dirty look. I give him a lot of dirty looks during the play. I should perhaps mention (or perhaps I don’t have to) that offstage the guy is one of my favorite people and a real sweetheart.

The subject of my reviewing the play in this blog came up in the dressing room. After all, I’ve reviewed other shows Ilion Little Theatre has done (if you can count my unqualified raves as reviews) (hey, Mohawk Valley Girl is a booster, not a critic). I don’t see why I shouldn’t brag on a play I’m in. I can heap praise on my fellow actors and lightly pass over my own performance with a modest clearing of the throat. That may comprise Saturday’s post.

Once again, Harvey is presented by Ilion Little Theatre May 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12; curtain time is 8 p.m. except for Sunday May 6 at 2 p.m. For more information go to or the Ilion Little Theatre Club’s facebook page.

Bringing a Friend to the Farmer’s Market

Saturday our friend Tracy visited. Steven had to work during the day, but Tracy was sure that I would drag her along to Mohawk Valley things (that is how Steven said she put it when he talked to her). I was happy to oblige.

I’m always delighted to introduce people to the Ilion Farmer’s Market at Clapsaddle Farm, Otsego Street, Ilion, NY. I especially looked forward to bringing Tracy there, because I knew she would enjoy it.

She loved the old barn that houses the market. As soon as we walked in we noticed two young pigs. Somebody told us that last week they had goats (oh sure, the one week I don’t go!). The live animals were a new thing for me. The kids were really enjoying them, but I like to see them too.

My main reason for going to the Farmer’s Market was to purchase a couple of fancy handkerchiefs from the antique booth. I thought my character in Harvey might carry just such a handkerchief, as opposed to the plain white or army brown ones I carry myself. I chatted with the lady at the booth about Ilion Little Theatre and the play (I did say I was going to make this blog All Harvey All The Time for the next two weeks, didn’t I?). After much deliberation I selected a pink handkerchief with embroidery and a white one with scalloped lavender trim. I thought it would be a good idea to get two, for ease of laundering. The lady gave me a discount, because it was for Ilion Little Theatre. One great thing about this area: people really support community endeavors.

Tracy and I sampled some fudge, cheese and wine. The wine was from Domnhall Winery in Herkimer. They intend to open a tasting room sometime this year. You can bet Mohawk Valley Girl will be there.

We got into a conversation with one lady about farming, fresh eggs, and quilting. Tracy had a lengthy discussion with Jim Parker about the Amish. Jim Parker is, as I have no doubt mentioned before, the folk artist who runs the Farmer’s Market. Steven and I often chat him up when we are there. Jim teaches art to Amish children, among others. He mentioned the different venues where he has taught, but of course I neglected to write them all down. I’ll have to go back with my notebook and do a real write up about it.

We talked about art as therapy and about the diversity of some of his classes and how valuable that was to the students. Jim also told us some stories about some Amish children who deliver goods to the Farmer’s Market. Tracy was especially interested in the Amish stories, because she is involved in a project with TAUNY making a display about the Amish in New York State. I mean to find out more about that (including what TAUNY stands for). I think it is an excellent topic for Mohawk Valley Girl.

We had a great time at the Farmer’s Market. I left with a bottle of wine, two handkerchiefs and several ideas for future blog posts. Tracy left with plans to return. That’s how I get my friends to visit more than once.

The Play’s the Thing

Ah what a weekend I had. And I feel utterly incapable of writing a blog post about it.

I mentioned going All Boilermaker All The Time after the play. I can’t help thinking that until the play I ought to go All Harvey All The Time.

That said, I’m not sure what to write about Harvey at this time. I’ve written about working on the set (I was no help). I’ve given a bare bones plot summary (not very definitive). I’ve given dates and times (May 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12; at 8 p.m. except Sunday May 6 at 2) and location (The Stables, Remington Avenue, Ilion, NY). For those details you can also go to the web site, or Ilion Little Theatre Club’s Facebook page.

This being a personal blog, I suppose it would be legitimate for me to write about the difficulty I’ve had learning lines, my lack of self-confidence, my stress levels — in short all the angst or, dare I say, drama that comes from being in a play. But who wants to read about that? I don’t even want to write about it. I’m still pretending that it’s been a breeze to learn lines, that I exude self-confidence; stress, what’s that?

Rehearsals are going pretty well. The set looks better every day. I’m pretty impressed with the set. Ilion Little Theatre stage is not that big, and there is not a lot of space back stage. It’s not easy to do a play with two completely different sets. The last play that needed more than one setting, Old Ladies’ Guide to Survival, accomplished it by utilizing the space in front of the closed curtain. This time the problem has been solved by… but I’ll wait, and let the audience be surprised.

And that’s the problem with talking about these things ahead of time. When I am in the audience, I like to be surprised. I don’t want to sit there thinking, “Oh, this must be the part where X does Y.” So I find it difficult to say too much. But perhaps you have seen the movie numerous times and have attended other productions of the play. Perhaps you can recite some of the lines along with the cast. If that is the case, well, you don’t need me to say much about it. And I think you will enjoy our production. Come see us.

Only two more weeks till Harvey, just over two months till the Boilermaker, then I can be back to my Mohawk Valley Girl Ways.