Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Serendipitous September ...

My emails this morning brought a delightful surprise from one of my most talented friends of the blogosphere. Patsye, to whose charming blog "Whimseytopia" I subscribe, awarded me an honor (pictured at the right, and now ensconced on my blog with my other 'gadgets'), along with the following deeply moving words:

 " ... Of all the blogs I follow - and there are not that many - you were one of the first. And if I recall, you taught me how to link to you. That was a big step for me. I was such a neophyte. I still am. But in these 9-10 months I've learned much about the world of blogging, life on Jolico Farm, fracking, and how to make the blogosphere a better place - I hope. You're the best Max. I think of you every day - especially when I see one of those horrifying commercials about gas deposits in western Pa. It must be driving you mad.

I made this award and hope you'll accept it and use it on your blog. And share it. There's nothing required. No lists. No secrets to divulge. Just a huge thank you for all your posts, and your friendship. I would be singing like this crow if I stumbled upon this image, given to someone I don't know by someone else I don't know - all because we're kindred spirits."

I am smiling, my heart is full of the warmth of Patsye's kindness; I am very touched. To learn one has made a difference in the life of another person is a great honor in itself. To unexpectedly receive an award and the beautifully heartfelt words that accompany it, well, that just totally made my September!!! Thanks Patsye, you are such a special soul; you shine!

Among other serendipitous things that have occurred this month - I took on a part-time job! Yes, I have returned to the ranks of the employed as an editorial assistant at the Somerset Daily American newspaper. I work from 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, with an occasional Saturday thrown in when I'm needed. My duties are varied but I feel like an integral part of the team that publishes Somerset's daily morning newspaper. Those who know me and my love of words (and newspapers) will understand why this type of work is so enjoyable to me. I have a large group of very kind, very capable co-workers who are eager to be helpful to a newspaper neophyte. New opportunities for learning await me every day I step into the newsroom. We use Macintosh computers and software programs with which I was totally unfamiliar but have come to like. While I've been typing and editing obituaries, announcements, school menus, letters to the editor and other items of interest, interspersed with lots of proofreading, I look forward to learning how to enhance photos in Photoshop and work with In-Design, both programs I've used before but never worked with in their Mac versions. I'm sure there will be other interesting responsibilities that will come my way in time.

Just about the time I started my new job, I received another serendipitous honor from my friends at Sipesville VFD. In 2009 I had written a FEMA grant for a new tanker. The estimated cost for the truck proved to be too expensive and the grant was not awarded. So in 2010, we sharpened our pencils and re-submitted that grant for a 3000 gallon tanker with a more economical price tag. We were notified at the beginning of 2011 that the grant had been awarded. The truck was ordered up, built in Missouri and was finally delivered at the end of August. I was invited to share in the delivery celebration at the fire hall on the evening the truck arrived. Imagine my surprise as Mandy Shroyer led me over to show me some of the details on the truck and she pointed out two small but very important emblems. On both sides of the truck, just behind the cab doors, emblazoned in gold for all the world to see was the prettiest, wholehearted 'Thank-you' a grant writer was ever rewarded with! I am blessed to continue to be a part of this wonderful group of volunteers since writing my first grant for them in 2003. In turn, they have honored me in the most rewarding way with their deepest gratitude.

Beyond all of the excitement of the world at the end of the lane, life at Jolico Farm follows its familiar patterns. Through a wetter than normal early and late summer with a very dry mid-summer, we have had an abundant harvest and squirreled away lots of tomato products, peppers, pesto, potatoes, pickles onions, garlic, carrots and pears. Our flowers were spectacular this year! Our woodstove and chimney installation earlier this spring and our gazebo rebuild were our two major projects of 2011. An early August trip to Washington D.C. to see our nephew Sgt. Michael Blank off to his new posting in Germany was another highlight for us. Now, as we put another summer behind us, we are left with these beautiful memories:

Art, Mike and Hank in D.C.

Wonderful veggies!
Early morning wonders...

Spectacular colors and scents.

Huge elephant ear plant!



  1. I almost fell out of my chair with your email and this post. My heart stopped when I read the "Thanks Max" on the side of that truck. You must have just flipped! I can't imagine the excitement of it all. I remember you speaking of the grant. And I knew about your new job and have been waiting for stories. Oh, you must be so happy. What a wonderful job with such opportunities, not just to grow but to learn new skills. I'm so happy for you.

    I meant every word of what I said (wrote) this morning, but to read it on your blog actually made me cry. I will always be grateful to Ellen for introducing us. You just don't know where things will go unless you take the first step. It was your step that started this, and how lucky was I that day.

    The pictures are beautiful. You have complimented me again so my heart is full. I am so glad you like the award - which in reality is a big hug from me to you. And in fact you do have a fantastic blog that everyone should be reading! Everything looks so BEAUTIFUL on Jolico Farm!!!!

  2. What a bountiful post! From the mutual love between bloggers to the bushels of fresh goodies I wish I were close enough to partake in to the spectacular flowers and more. This is a rare (of late) cornucopia of good news!

  3. So I loved this post of celebration, Max! And the beautiful white dog at the close ... hello Moses! Awards, newspaper production, grants and farming ... whew. That's a fall harvest if there ever was one. So congratulations and may the good fortune continue forever more. And may the force be with you! Best always, Daisy (and Noah :)