Monday, May 13, 2013

News From Bloomfield

Interview with Lynn

Had to skip last week because of some news we received about our town and B&H publishers. The book about Lynn Myers and the one about Caroline Short plus one more by Debby Mayne may be the last of the books about our town.

As I said earlier, Lynn moved back to Bloomfield to settle her brother's estate. She came into the tearoom with her daughter, Rachael, for lunch and Bailey, the reporter from the Gazette met her and interviewed her on the spot.

Since not all of the information will appear in the paper, here's the full interview and information about Last Chance for Justice.

1.     BaileyLynn, tell us about your association with Bloomfield.
  •  Lynn: Bloomfield is the small town where I was born and raised and where I thought I would spend my entire life. Then I met Daniel, a handsome visitor to our little berg. When he left town he took my heart with him, and we were soon married, requiring me to leave Bloomfield behind. When Daniel died recently, I was devastated. Not long after that I got the news that my only sibling, Myron, had died as well, leaving his entire estate—including a creepy old house right next to the cemetery—to me. Thankfully my just-graduated-from-college daughter, Rachel, accompanied me back to Bloomfield to settle the estate.

2. Bailey: Returning to your hometown after all those years must have been traumatic for you, particularly after your two recent losses.
  • Lynn: It sure was. I don’t think I could have done it if Rachel hadn’t come with me. I hadn’t even been back to Bloomfield in nearly ten years, since my mother died. I felt so guilty at not having gone to see my poor brother in all those years—and now he’s gone, just like Daniel. And most of the Bloomfield residents remember me as “the Bloomfield girl who abandoned her family and ran off to marry a stranger.” That’s not the way it was at all, but I’m still trying to live down that reputation, even after all these years.

3.   Bailey:  So even after being gone from Bloomfield for decades, you still have some emotional baggage to deal with there.
  • Lynn: Absolutely! I thought I had outgrown that peer-pressure stuff when I got married and established a family of my own. I never thought it would come back to haunt me, but the closer I got to Bloomfield, the more I felt it trying to worm its way back into my life.

4. Bailey: Now that you’ve completed the business of settling your late brother’s estate and left Bloomfield behind once again, what would you say was the most surprising thing you learned while you were there?
  • Lynn: I came back to Bloomfield with great hesitation, not wanting to stay a minute longer than absolutely necessary. But as I began to face and deal with the peer-pressure issues that had kept me away from Bloomfield for so long, I discovered that I really did miss that little town and all of its warm, wonderful people. And here’s the most surprising thing of all: Rachel and I are planning to move back to Bloomfield permanently!

5.Bailey: Do you have any final words you’d like to leave with our readers?
  • Lynn: I surely do! If you’re still dealing with peer pressure, adopt my saying:

“I can’t wait to get old enough that I no longer have to deal with peer pressure!”
Stick around long enough, and it will happen. And if you get a chance, please stop by my Facebook page and “friend” me, will you?
  Here's the cover about Lynn and her return to Bloomfield. It's a great story and one you don't want to miss.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.
Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.
It isn't long before Rachel has two men -- a handsome CPA and the youth pastor -- seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn's attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.
As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.
Last Chance for Justice

We love to hear from our readers. Let us know if you've read any of the Bloomfield books as yet. This week we'll give away a copy of this book, but we need at least 10 comments from different readers. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you in case you win this book.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

News and Tidbits

It’s another Saturday in Bloomfield, and the Inn is full. Mayor Hansen would really like for visitors to our town to decide they like it well enough to come here and live. He’s been trying to get our population up over 10,000 for years, well, ever since he came into office. Seems like just about the time we get a few babies born or a new family in town, someone passes on or a family moves away. So, we’re always hovering just below that mark by anywhere from ten to fifty people.

Mayor Hansen loves our town and wants what’s best for it. My great-grandparents help found this town, so I have a great interest in keeping it a great place to live. I told you last week about their home, Founder’s Cottage. It sits in the middle of town where it was when my grandparents donated it to the city in their will. It’s on the courthouse property and the gardens around it are the responsibility of our garden club. It's a small house, but well kept by the city and the garden club. 

We’ve applied for it be registered as a National Historic Site, but haven’t heard anything about whether it’ll be accepted or not. I sure hope it gets approved. That would make my family very happy and proud.

Lynn Myers did move back to town, and from what I’ve heard, she does plan to stay and live in her brother’s house. It’ll need some work, but it can be a very pretty place once again. Her daughter, Rachel came with her, and it’ll be nice to have them here. Of course, the mayor is thrilled so he can add two more to our population. He likes to go out to the edge of town and change the numbers when they go up, but he sure hates it when he as to lower them again. Soon as Lynn and Rachel have time to come in for a visit here in the tea room, I plan to sit down and have a long talk with Lynn. It’s been awhile since her last visit, and we have some catching up to do.  

Our Spring Fling was a roaring success this year. I told you about Gnorman disappearing, and that was about the most exciting thing in Bloomfield until Andy’s bird got loose and flew all over town with the whole town chasing after him.

Remember, you can read all about these events and characters in our Bloomfield books.

The roses behind the Founder’s Cottage are blooming in full force. We have yellow, red, pink, peach and every variegated color you can imagine. This is my favorite pink bush and the other picture shows several bushes in full bloom.

 All our spring flowers are also in full bloom like I mentioned before and of course all the members of the garden club have their yards in tip top condition since we just ended Spring Fling.

So far Debby Mayne, Gail Sattler, and Kathi Macias have Bloomfield books available. You can find them by clicking on their names on the right and going to their websites.

What's in your garden this year? Tell us about it with your comments and be in the running for the goody box from the Pink Geranium Tea Room and Helen's Bakery. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you after the drawing on May 1. If you want an extra entry, be sure to follow us.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Springtime in Bloomfield

Well, it’s Saturday and Spring in Bloomfield and the Inn is full. Springtime brings people out of their winter hibernation. Our town is beautiful in the spring, so we get lots of visitors taking all kinds of pictures on week-ends. The Bloomfield Garden Club maintains the gardens around the little house my great-grandparents built back when Bloomfield was just the name of a brand new little community. That house still sits where my great-grandpa built it, and my Grandpa Miller donated it to the city in his will.  The trees aren't there anymore since it sits in front of the courthouse and across from city hall in downtown Bloomfield, but it's still painted yellow just like my great-grandmother wanted it.

The garden club also keeps up the flower beds in the park and other places about town, and they do a wonderful job of it. Our Bradford pear trees are in full bloom, and tulips, daffodils, and iris add a rainbow of color all over the park, city hall and Founders’ Cottage.

Springtime weather is perfect in Bloomfield as it never gets much above eighty degrees until May. Our summers may be almost unbearable at times, and our winters sometimes harsh, but Springtime is delightful.
The menu for the Pink Geranium changes with the weather, too. We add more salads and lighter dishes to go with the warmer weather. Our flavored iced teas also are more popular during the Spring and Summer seasons. This is a picture of our Oriental Chicken/Almond Salad.

Our annual Spring Fling is over and Gnorman is back in place where he belongs, and people are already talking about what they’re going to do to make their gardens better for next year’s competition.

Below is a sample of sandwiches and salads for our Spring and Summer menu. Stop by and enjoy a sandwich or a salad one day soon. Selena and I will be waiting for you. In the meantime, don’t forget the first books about our town are available for you in paperback and electronic forms.

Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite flowers or gardens. Remember, at the end of the month we’re drawing for a box of goodies from the tea room and Helen’s bakery.
Pink Geranium Spring and Summer Menu

Salads (All served with our variety bread basket)
Oriental Chicken: Chinese noodles, salad greens, grilled chicken, mandarin oranges
                                 and walnuts with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing
Southwest Chicken:  Grilled chicken, black bean/corn salsa, avocado, Jack Cheese,
                                     roasted red peppers and tortilla strips with Chipotle dressing  
Fresh Fruit with Poppy Seed Dressing
Craisen/Almond Chicken Pasta
Garden Salad
Chicken/Spinach Salad (Strawberries and Almond)
Trio Salad (Choice of smaller portions of three)
Grilled Shrimp Spinach Salad with roasted peppers, pecans, onion and warm
              vinaigrette dressing
Chicken Caesar Salad

Sandwiches served with fresh fruit and Choice of bread: Rye, Croissant,
                        Wheat, White toasted or plain)
Chicken Salad
Turkey or Chicken with choice of American, Cheddar, Provolone or Swiss Cheese
Tuna Salad
Ham and Turkey Club Sandwich

Sandwich/Soup Combo: 1/2 any sandwich and half portion any salad

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sit a spell and let's have a spot of tea

Welcome back to Bloomfield. Glad you decided to visit us again. If this is your first time, you’ll love our town. The people are friendly, loyal and caring. Most of them have come in for a bite of lunch at one time or another that is except for the younger generation. Those twenty-somethings don’t enjoy the tea room like their parents do.

They seem to prefer the Fancy Schmantzy restaurant in town. That’s not the real name, but that’s what folks call it around here. I haven’t been there but once or twice myself. The d├ęcor is rather formal and people talk much more quietly than they do at Burt’s Barbeque. The fancy place uses fine china, silver, linens and sparkling crystal for their tables along with linen tablecloths and napkins. The lights are not bright, but you can see your food and know what you’re eating, and the food is excellent.

The tea room uses fine china for our dishes whether it matches or not. If it’s old, pretty and has a design, I’ll buy it for the tea room. I do love this new pattern we recently started using because it features butterflies, one of my favorite things. Of course when the men have coffee, they are given sturdy pottery mugs. Men don’t cotton to well to dainty cups, but they don't seem to mind these new ones with the larger handles. The pink and white interior with pink geraniums everywhere delights the ladies, but the men tolerate it to have some of Lida Mae’s chicken pot pie or quiche. 

I love our crystal in the Colony pattern from Fostoria. What you see here were my mother’s and she got them in the 1940’s when she married. The tea set belonged to my grandmother.

Winnie’s party was a huge success. We managed to surprise her, but only her closest friends from high school days know her real age, and we’re not telling because then people would know how old the rest of us are. One person missing was our Mayor. Woodrow Hansen had out of town business that kept him away, and frankly I think Winnie was a little disappointed he wasn’t here. I’m not one to spread tales, but if you ask me, now that she and Woody have both lost their spouses, she’d like to ignite their old flame from high school days. Now that’s one fire I’d like to see re-lit.

I hear that Lynn Myers is coming back to town to settle her brother’s estate. He lived in a creepy old house next to the cemetery. I hope Lynn can fix it up to what it was like years before her brother became such an eccentric. Lynn was once a regular patron of the Pink Geranium and it’ll be good to see her again. She’s a widow like me, but her loss is still rather new, so coming back here will do her good. I just hope she’ll feel at home again.

You can read Lynn’s story in Last Chance for Justice. It’ll be available in May and you’ll meet Lynn and her daughter, Rachel next month after they get settled in.

It’s time to get ready for week-end guests, so I’ll leave you for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed our little visit. Do come back as I have lots more to tell you and many more people for you to meet.

Be sure to leave your email address when you leave a comment so I’ll know how to get in touch with you if you win our box of goodies. Also, you can get an extra entry this month by following us if you don’t already.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Time for Spring Fling

It’s Saturday in Bloomfield and the Inn is full. Selena and I just finished cleaning up from breakfast, and all our guests have left for their own adventures today. Ashley is cleaning our guest rooms, so I’m taking a few minutes to tell you more about Bloomfield and some of its good people.

Spring time brings out the best in our gardens as they begin to bloom in a riot of colors. Libby Birdwell trimmed her roses in February and now they are bursting with blooms and buds in all my favorite colors of red, pink,  and yellow, but she has a lavender rose bush that is the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen.

 Here’s a picture of a spot in my own garden out back. I love to sit and swing and read when the weather is nice. Wish I had time now, but we have a special event going on this evening.

 It's Winnie Simpson's birthday and Selena and I are giving her a party. I'd tell you how old she is, but if I did, I might not be around for another post about our town. I'll be using a few of the dishes from the menu on our last post. The Cherry Cheesecake is Winnie's favorite along with a few other desserts. Helen, at the bakery, is making the birthday cake and will bring it over later this afternoon. 

It’s also time for our Spring Fling and the annual garden contest. We have the cutest little gnome named Gnorman who holds the trophy. I mentioned him in an earlier post, and here’s his picture. He’s a cute little fellow, but when he went missing, we had a wild chase on our hands to find him.

Amber, who owns our craft store and makes all kinds of pretty ornaments for our gardens, was in charge of getting him to the event with the trophy, but suddenly he disappeared. Amber elicited the help of Stan, who owns a car repair shop, to help her find Gnorman. That little statue led them both on a merry little adventure. He ended up in gardens all over town where he left clues for the hunt, but just when Amber and Stan thought they had him, he disappeared and once again they followed the trail.

Why Gnorman disappeared and what happens with Amber and Stan makes for a great story, full of fun and surprises in Take the Trophy and Run, another Bloomfield book by Gail Sattler.  

Don't forget our give away for April is a box of goodies from our tea room and the bakery. So please leave a comment and there's still time for me to send you a copy of any recipe from our menu that you would like. 

See you next week with more tales from Bloomfield.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pink Geranium Tea Room

Caroline Short here. Welcome back to Bloomfield. My tea room has been very busy lately, and I’ve hardly had time to think straight. What with all the guests we’ve had this Spring and the new recipes Lida Mae is cooking up, we find ourselves a coming and a going.

Seems the younger men in town steer clear of us, but the ones who’ve lived here a long time know how good Lida Mae’s cooking is. They have no qualms at all about eating lunch here on a regular basis.

The Pink Geranium Tea Room is a little bit feminine with all the pink in the napkins, candles, and flowers, but the food is hardy enough for any man’s palate. Of course I couldn’t do any of this without my sweet daughter Selena. She gave up a wonderful job in the city to come home and help me run the Old Town Inn after Clint passed on a few years ago. Seems God needed him in Heaven, so that’s where he is now.

Lida Mae is the main cook, but I’m the pie and other desserts expert. You’d guess that by the few inches I’ve added to my hips since my high school days. We'll share our recipes with you in the coming weeks, but if you would like one now, see the instructions below. We even decided to have a give-away this month of some of those goodies.

On special occasions we plan special menus and our tea room is a favorite place for the Bloomfield Garden Club ladies to have lunch, meetings, parties and whatever else they can think of. Other groups meet here, too such as our Bible study group.

This is our typical menu for Valentine’s Day and hostesses may choose from it to plan menus for their own special occasions.
The Pink Geranium Valentine’s Day Menu 
Chicken with Craisens and Walnuts
Spinach salad with Strawberries and Walnuts
Fresh Fruit Salad with Lida Mae’s creamy dressing
Soups: Served with Fresh Fruit Salad
Soup of the Day: Creamy Tomato Basil
Cream  of  Asparagus 
Sandwiches :Served with  Bread of choice and a Fruit Salad  Chicken Salad
Assorted Finger Sandwiches with Tuna salad, chicken salad,
                          cucumber on flavored cream cheese
Turkey with Cranberry Relish 
Entrees : Served with Fruit Salad
Ham, Bacon, Cheese Quiche
Spinach Quiche
Chicken Crepes with Raspberry Sauce
Chicken  Cordon Bleu
Grilled Chicken Breast
Chopped Steak with Sauteed Red Bell Pepper and Onions
Cherry Cheesecake
Red Velvet Cake
Strawberry Shortcake
Scones with  Devonshire Cream and Fruit Jam
Pecan, Chocolate, or Blueberry Pie
Cherry Cobbler or Pie
Raspberry Ice Tea, Sweet Tea, Green Tea with Pomegranate.
Assorted Hot Teas  Flavored, Plain, Herbal)

Specialty Breads: Croissant, Rye, Wheat, Pumpernickel , White

If you'd like a recipe for any of the menu items, tell me in your comment and I'll be glad to share. Be sure to leave your email address so I can send them to you.

Leave a comment and tell us what your favorite menu or food item is. We'd love your input for new ideas for the tea room. Each comment will give you a chance for this month's drawing of a box of goodies from Caroline's kitchen or Helen's bakery. Follow us by email for another chance. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When Pigs and Parrots Fly

Welcome back to Bloomfield where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared. Today we’re sharing a story about Murray the Parrot. His owner is Andy Barnhart, the town fire chief. Bailey, our reporter from the Bloomfield Gazette caught Andy between fires and interviewed him. Let’s listen in.

Bailey: Hi, Andy. I’m happy to see you up bright and early today.

Andy: I’m always up early. Murray doesn’t like for me to sleep in. The second the sun shines through the window, he starts making all kinds of racket.

Murray: <squawk>Good morning, sunshine!

Bailey: How long have you lived in Bloomfield?

Andy: My parents moved here when I was five years old. I don’t remember much before that, so as far as I’m concerned, Bloomfield has always been my home.

Bailey: How long have you had Murray?

Andy: Several years—ever since my sister passed away and left him to me. I don’t think she realized when she got him that parrots live as long as they do.

Murray: Long live the queen!

Bailey (laughing): Or king in your case.

Andy: You can say that again. He pretty much rules the roost.

Bailey: I’m not that familiar with parrots. Tell me more about Murray.

Andy: He’s a macaw, one of the most vocal of all the parrots, and his vocabulary is almost as good as any toddler’s in Bloomfield. He likes to let everyone know too, don’t you, Murray?

Murray (bobbing his head up and down): Murray wants candy.

Andy: I give him carrots and call them candy.

Bailey: How long have you been a member of the Bloomfield Garden Club?

Andy: For about twelve years, ever since Pamela made me go to my first meeting. She’d just lost her husband, and I was the only person who seemed to know how to talk to her since I’d gone through losing a wife, so we became friends. At that time, I would have done anything to make her happy.

Bailey: Oh? How about now? The two of you seem like a matched set.

Andy (shrugging and trying to hide a smile): I suppose it would seem that way. We do a lot together.

Bailey: How about romance?

Andy: Pamela and I are very good friends, and if there’s ever any romance, it’s between her and me. Let’s change the subject.

Bailey: Okay, let’s talk about your career. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been a firefighter.

Andy: Yes, that’s all I’ve ever done for a living. I knew when I was a little boy that’s what I’d be when I grew up, and now I’m living it.

Bailey: I know that firefighters have long shifts. What do you do with Murray when you have to go to the firehouse?

Andy: Most of the time I bring him with me, but every once in a while, I get a sitter.

Bailey: Yes, I’ve heard about that. Sherry told me all about her bird sitting experiences.

Andy: Sherry’s a sweet girl, but she’s too easy on Murray.

Murray: <squawk> Murray wants candy! Murray wants candy right now!

Andy (pulling a carrot stick from a plastic bag): Here ya go. As I was saying, Sherry gives in to all his whims, so I try to find someone who shows him who’s the boss.

Bailey: Like Pamela?

Andy: Yes, as farfetched as this may sound, she’s really good with Murray. They seem to have a deep respect for each other.

Bailey (laughing): I like a bird who knows how to show respect. Thank you for chatting with me, Andy and Murray. I look forward to seeing you at the next garden club meeting.

Andy: C’mon, Murray. Looks like Bailey is done with us. Let’s leave her alone so she can get back to work. Say bye bye.

Murray: <squawk> Bye bye. Don’t let the door hit you in the backside.

Now, as you can see Murray is quite the character. What he did the day he decided to fly the coop so to speak, has our town still talking. You can read all about it in Gail Sattler’s book, When Pigs and Parrots Fly.

Josh Tavendish owns the local pet store, and it so happens he’s right next door to the town veterinarian, Sarah Faire. The two of them have known each other since they were in school, but Josh is best friends with Sarah’s brother and that keeps him at a distance. When Sarah calms down a feisty dog in the pet shop, people are amazed and begin to look to the vet for all kinds of pet advice and dub her the “pet whisperer.” Of course having her next door gives Josh the advantage of supplying all those customers with every kind of pet item one could want.

On a day when Sarah is in the store for a special event, a fire breaks out across town, and she is left to take care of Murray while Andy goes to fight the fire. Well, Murray has ideas of his own and before anyone can react, he’s out the door and off for who knows where.

Through cell phone contacts and cooperation from people all over town, Josh and Sarah are kept aware of where the parrot lands. By the time they arrive and try to get  him, Murray has tired of that spot and takes off again. He leads everyone in town on a merry chase all over Bloomfield. If you want to find out how and where Murray is finally caught and what happens to Josh and Sarah, you’ll have to read Gail’s book. It’s a riot of fun.

A lot of people think the Bloomfield Garden Club set the whole thing up to get Josh and Sarah to see the truth about each other just like they did Stan and Amber. Come to think of it, a lot of the ladies from the club were involved in the chase, but this time I really think they’re innocent of any matchmaking attempts. Only time will tell.
Order this book from: (Use links from Take the Trophy and Run)

Leave a comment for a chance in the drawing for an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (Your choice). Follow us and receive an additional entry. Drawing will be March 31.

One new blog a week and one giveaway per month begins this week.

Thanks for stopping by today. We have a lot of crazy things in our town, but it’s also a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Hope you’ll come for another visit next week.