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Blue Ribbon Biscuits and Knitted Stocking

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Fireflys Blue Ribbon Biscuits and Winning StockingWhen I was a little girl in North Carolina Santa Claus brought me an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. Oh, how I loved my little light bulb powered oven. I quickly used up all of the little mixes for cakes, pie, and whatnot that came with it so my mother took me to the grocery store and showed me little boxes of Jiffy cake mix and biscuit mix. We bought a few varieties and I got started making more items. I took to baking right away, and soon needed to graduate to my mother's oven. For some reason I got into making biscuits. I'd make cute little biscuits about one and half inches in diameter and quite puffy high. I'd make tons of them, load up a little brown paper bag full of biscuits and go around the neighborhood sharing biscuits with all the other kids. There were probably twenty five children (or more) living on our ldead end, gravel street outside of Charlotte, N.C. and I made plenty of biscuits to share with them all ... often. I was proclaimed the best biscuit maker in the neighborhood. Encouraged by their support, I launched my first business venture by putting on a bake sale one Saturday afternoon. I made biscuits and a chocolate sheet cake with white icing and sold out very quickly. I started putting on my bake sales fairly regularly: this was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I would spend about $5.00 on ingredients and other supplies and gross about $25.00 each time. Not bad for my first entreprenurial adventure, and encouraging also to me as a young cook. Over the past several years, when dreamed about living on a farm, I included in the my dreaming how fun it would be to enter a pie baking contest at a local fair. My dream mostly had to do with the fun of the activity, and being involved in something so wholesome and good natured. I am not, by nature, a very competitive person. I do challenge myself to put my best effort forward in the things I do, but I don't tend to want to compete against other people. I am truly happy being able to do whatever I do better than I could before, and I like to admire the work and creativity of others without comparing mine to theirs or vice versa. When I heard the country village and museum my husband supports as a paid member (he even pays for memberships for other people to put more money into the place and to encourage others to get involved) was having an agricultural fair and calling for entries into various competitions for baked goods and other items I decided to play the game. I chose to enter biscuits, pumpkin pie, the Hugs and Kisses Aran Christmas stocking I knitted for my husband recently, and some photographs I had taken in the village. I wanted to do it for the fun of the game and fellowship and to actively support a group that is obviously important to my husband. Saturday when we arrived at the fair bearing my items to be entered, I suddenly felt a wave of embarrassment that I was entering a compeition. It is so not in my nature to do so that I felt an intense desire to run back to the car and put everything away. If my husband had not been at my side I would have done just that; but he was there and so I confronted my discomfort and entered the building where the items were to be dropped off. Later that day after the judging was completed we went to tour through the various items and see what people had entered and how they had done. Honestly, I did not expect to receive a ribbon for anything ... well, I thought I might possibly get some kind of ribbon for one of my photographs, perhaps. But that was it. Right away we discovered a second place red ribbon on my pumpkin pie, and I thought that was very dear and appreciated the fact the judges thought my pie was worthy of an award. We checked out the biscuit entires and saw a few, but my biscuits were not there which didn't surprise me. I say that because I left them in the oven one minute too long and they were a little too dark. We went into another room where the needle arts and photography enteries were on display and to my great surprise I saw a first place blue ribbon on my hand knit Christmas stocking. Now that did feel pretty special. I did not anticipate winning a ribbon for knitting because I don't actually consider myself to be terribly proficient at knitting. You know how you are aware of every mistake you make in your knitting, and how some stitches come out looking a bit tweaked or funky here and there, whereas other peoples' knitting always looks so even and regular and perfect. Nonetheless, they awarded me a blue ribbon on that stocking which did give me the warm fuzzies ... no pun intended. We also found that two of my four entered photographs received second place red ribbons. Hmm ... I wasn't expecting anything, and here I was with one blue ribbon and three red ribbons. So sweet. We went back into the room with the baked goods, wondering what had become of my plate of biscuits. So we just cruised around again to see if we could find them in a corner with the others that did not win, but to no avail. We looked again at the area where the winners were, and noticed a blue ribbon on top of a piece of paper with the judges marks and scoring, and that piece of paper was on top of a plate that looked an awful lot like the plate my biscuits were on. So we peaked under the paper, and there were my biscuits ... with a first place blue ribbon! Wow. We were both a bit shocked in happy surprise. I do admit, now that it is over, it was gratifying to win first place for my biscuits because the basic recipe is one my mother gave me and then I put a lot of thinking and experimentation into tweaking it to make the biscuits rise as much as possible and come out as flaky as I could get them to. Next time I blog I will share the recipe, in case anyone would like to make my official blue ribbon winning biscuits. They are pretty delightful to bite into and a perfect morning or early afternoon treat with apples and cheese. PavillionLate yesterday afternoon we drove back down to the village to pick up my entered items and my ribbons. The drive was so gorgeous, with the sun shinning at times, covered by clouds other times. Autumn colors are bursting into view everywhere, giving a texture and depth to the landscape that is unique and powerful. On the way home my husband took me to a wonderful family farm business on the side of the highway ... a place I instantly feel in love with and must return to, often. They sell all kinds of gift items perfect for filling a scrumptious gift basket ... chunky chunks of cheese, homemade jams and jellies, dried flowers of many sumptuous varieties, baked goods, baking tins, aprons, towels, fresh fruits and vegetables. They have turned their family farm which is right on a highway into this incredible retail establishment that is rich beyond compare. Surrounded by heirloom cherry trees and a back drop of fields of lavender flowers the place was so gorgeous I didn't want to leave. Down the hill from the "store" is their 200 year old apple barn where they serve delicious meals including such items as chicken pie, turkey soup, hot apple pie, cheddar cheese, hot apple cider, and I don't even know what else. We are going back soon on a Saturday afternoon for lunch; they even said they will accomodate my vegetarian diet if I call ahead. The photograph I show here is a small building they have converted into a sort of pavillion where luncheon parties are served. How beautiful is that? When I go back I will take lots more photos to share. Firefly Knits No Mo Blues ScarfLast thing for today is this silly red scarf I made for my daughter ... it is silly on purpose. It requires less than one skien of eyelash yarn, and knits up very quickly. Incredibly soft, it provides just the right amount of humor to warm the spirits ... so knit one for someone who could use a bit of cheering up. Knit it for yourself if you are ever prone to feeling the "blues". Find the pattern here. Have a delightful day! ~firefly

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