The Corner Cafe Where I Fell In Love…

As the summer days shorten and that crisp autumn season seems to emerge from nowhere, I am reminded of a favorite summer full of charm. I was nineteen and I had just been hired at my first job. It was a corner cafe in a sleepy town right off of a busy bike trail. Most of our customers were on summer vacations and they would peddle up for a nice lunch or just a slice of our iconic square pie, on their way down the bike path.

drew swing.JPGCall me old-fashioned. If you know me well, it is easy to do, I don’t try very hard to hide it at all, I am truly an old-fashioned soul.

The charm of era’s past call to me and I can’t help but be drawn in by the mood and comfort that old music, movies  or even antiques evoke. My sister is the same way, we love “old stuff”. Summer is nearing its end, my day’s are filled with canning and picking produce but when I can, I try to slow down and enjoy the charm of summer.

As I am writing this, Dinah Shore is crooning Johnny Mercer’s “Skylark” on my Pandora station, warming my soul with those “old-fashioned feelings”!Angel

“Oh skylark,
Have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a-journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom-covered lane
And in your lonely flight
Haven’t you heard the music in the night
Wonderful music
Faint as a will o’ the wisp…..”
 
-Johnny Mercer , Skylark.
Take a listen, you’ll see what I mean about that “old-fashioned feeling”.

The corner cafe, where I fell in love with cooking

As the summer days shorten and that crisp autumn season seems to emerge from nowhere, I am reminded of a favorite summer full of charm. I was nineteen and I had just been hired at my first “real” job. It was a corner cafe in a sleepy town, right off of a busy bike trail. Most of our customers were on summer vacations, and they would peddle up for a nice lunch or just a slice of our iconic square pie, on their way down the bike path.

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I am in blue, this was my last day! Moving on to a new job to manage and help open the Cold Stone Creamery in  Onalaska, WI.

The cafe was an old general store, that served as both antique store and cafe. The walls  on both sides lining the restaurant and the upstairs were stacked with antiques. Eclectic style was personified in both the antique pieces in the booths and the wonderful people who I worked with there.

This special place  was called Gina’s Pies are Square. After a half hour drive through Amish country to get to work in the mornings, I would help open up this quaint shop with friends, a cup of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of Frank Sinatra playing on the radio, filling the old store front with the warmth only music  can bring, floating  all the way up to the pressed tin ceiling.

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A postcard tucked in my recipe scrapbook of Gina’s Pie’s R Square. This picture of the old store front in Wilton, Wisconsin was drawn by one of my favorite people who I worked with there, Rochelle!

I had so much fun working at Gina’s and I know that the atmosphere  and the people I worked with was why it was  so easy to fall in love with cooking there. Gina ran her cafe and managed her employees with love and laughter and she taught her passion for simple, delicious food to me, with patience. The menu was homemade  soup and sandwiches, and pizza’s, coffees, Italian soda’s and homemade, from scratch pies, that were baked in square tins. Old fashioned favorites like sour cream raisin and blackberry pie, along with more unique ones like Oatmeal Guinness Stout Pie! She had a nick-name for every local who walked through the door and you felt like you knew them from the lively stories she would share about their lives in the little town of Wilton and beyond!

This was the summer I got engaged! I started buying antiques for the first time that summer as well, many from the shelves at Gina’s and just about every surrounding antique store, for my future house and life with Drew. And this was the summer I learned how to cook new exciting things I had never tried to make before, I fell in love with cooking. 

It was such a great summer!

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 Remember those old Country Time Lemonade commercials way back in the 1990’s (some of you younger readers have probably never seen) the ones that made you just want to hang onto summer forever?

“Due to the scheduling of fall,  Summer will be a short ninety-four days…… So while there’s still time, take the long way home…..For these day’s are best enjoyed slowly……”

Those warm and homey feelings  are echoed in the simple moments these late summer days here on our farm. Drew working down in the barn, the sound of the milker on the cow at evening chores, the kids playing on the tire swing after school, the sideways light of dusk hitting them in golden streaks and the clip clop of our Amish neighbors driving by in their buggy, going home after a day of work down the road. These congenial, summertime habits are so beautiful to witness.caleb swinging.JPG

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.  -Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Enjoy the rest of summer!

Thanks for reading,

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.

 

 

 

 

My Farmhouse Refrigerator Pickle Recipe & Homestead Update!

Having a fixer upper farm and a growing family means we don’t always have as much time or the funds to put towards fixing up this place, so it is a real lesson in patience. Tunnel vision also helps a lot! One thing at a time! But whenever there are small steps of progress towards real “fixin up” it is truly a beautiful feeling! Now on to that recipe! I just love having good recipes that are easy and delicious, ones that make putting up garden produce a breeze. It can be super stressful trying to use up all the bounty of the season, so here is one of my favorite easy recipes to use up cucumbers.

 pickles2.JPGWarm summer days are flying by here in Wisconsin and the slightest hint of fall is already in the air. There is so much I want to do this summer still. I really need this season to stretch out longer!

Our produce stand has been busy but even more so than usual today with our Amish neighbors painting the barn roof for us. People are stopping to watch them work on the steep arched roof and to buy slicer tomatoes and grab some of our best sellers, the crisp Norland Red potatoes.

DSC_5306.JPGI can’t believe how this summer is almost coming to an end already! We have completed several projects on our homestead and that does make me feel better about the season coming to an end, but  I still hope we can get more done before it gets too cold!

One small project was a new money-box for the produce cart. I scribbled up a little sketch of what I wanted the box to look like and my Dad built me this within a few days! Thanks Dad!

 

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I had fun painting the sunflowers on it and I love how bright and cheerful it looks too.

Having a fixer upper farm and a growing family means we don’t always have as much time or the funds to put towards fixing up this place, so it is a real lesson in patience. Tunnel vision also helps a lot! One thing at a time! But whenever there are small steps of progress towards real “fixin up” it is truly a beautiful feeling!

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Spraying on primer.

They put on a coat of primer today and are coming back on Friday to paint on the aluminum coat. No more rusty-brown metal roof on the old barn! I can’t wait to get the barn painted red too. Might not happen this year but soon and one day I am so totally going to paint a barn quilt on the side of it as well! If Drew lets me!

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The roof is looking better even just with primer on it! Now the sides look even worse though! Need to paint it red!

amish painting roofYet another sign of summer winding up is the big hogs out in the barnyard and the exorbitant amount of feed they are going through.

 

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Carrying feed bags down to the barn. Drew just loves when I am constantly snapping pictures of him while he is doing all the work! 

The hogs are almost fed out and ready to be butchered. Can it really be that time of the year already? They are eating SO much right now, and are getting pretty big. We will miss having these happy friends in the pen out next to the barn, oinking at us. But they have lived a good, happy life, being well taken care of, and such is life on the farm.hogs and carter.JPG

Now on to that recipe! I just love having good recipes that are easy and delicious, ones that make putting up garden produce a breeze. It can be super stressful trying to use up all the bounty of the season, so here is one of my favorite easy recipes to use up cucumbers.pickles3.JPG

Simple. Sweet. Crisp

Jessica’s Farmhouse Refrigerator Pickles

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced onions

Directions

 

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 8-10 minutes.

Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator making sure that the brine is covering the vegetables. 

Ready to eat once chilled! pickles.JPG

Hope you like this quick and easy recipe! After we have eaten all the pickles I slice fresh cucumbers into the jars to re-use the brine for another batch!

I have another project this week was canning strawberry rhubarb jam. It turned out great and we will enjoy these refreshing summertime fruits in the middle of winter! jam jar 2Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

-J

 

All pictures on The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill blog were taken by and are the property of Jessica Rogers. You must have written permission to use any image/photo. If you want to share the blog post or pin an image to Pinterest please include: https://theyellowfarmhouseonthehill.wordpress.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to The Yellow Farmhouse on the Hill Blog with a link to the original content.