Letters from Home

December 14, 2016

Dear friends from near and far,

Snow! We got some snow on Friday then more on Saturday night and Sunday forenoon. It really looks like and feels like winter. I'm glad winter is here. We have had a very nice, long & warm Fall season.

Winter is also butchering time for some folks in the area. We butchered beef last week and it is nice to have the freezer stocked full!

A lot of family Christmas gatherings are being planned, which always makes for an exciting and memorable time together. Also, a lot of cards get exchanged or sent in the mail. Schools have Christmas programs that the students study for and then their families are invited to come and see it. Young folks and others will be out carolling. Many churches and youth groups sing Christmas carols for widows, shut-ins, families in the ministry, etc. Curt is planning to treat the employees to a Christmas supper on Thursday evening, Dec 15th. We look forward to that. This is a joyful time of year and we want to thank God for the wonderful gift of His Son Jesus that He gave to us.

Two different rare birds for this area were reported and it is always fun to see if we can find them. This morning I went with friends to look for them and sure enough we saw both! A Western Tanager was near Alpine coming regularly to someone's feeder and we just sat in the vehicle in their driveway and watched the birds at the feeders until it came, fed a little while, then flew back into the woods. A Summer Tanager was near Trail, also coming to someone's feeder. When we arrived there the folks invited us into their house where we waited until it came and perched in a rhododendron bush right outside the kitchen window.


Here is a recipe that I found in Healthy Choices cookbook that I like to use for garlic bread served with soup, etc.:

Herb Butter

1 cup butter softened

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp dried basil

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

Mix it all together and serve spreadable.


"Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy; which shall be to all people. For unto you is born...a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."  -Luke 2:10-11


Wishing you all a joyous Christmas and blessed New Year, Sovilla

Letters from Home

December 06, 2016

Preparing Through Reflection

Every year as we approach the New Year, my heart is drawn to the following words: new, fresh, future & unknown. As I ponder the thoughts that these words produce, my mind comes to rest on another word: reflections.

Growing up there was only one person in our home that I remember changing the calendar from one month to the next. It was my dad (the late Cecil Yoder). The main reason for this? He beat everyone to it! ☺ I remember often on the last day of the month, dad would be walking through the house and flipping the calendar page in anticipation of what the future would hold.

Maybe it's a bit inherited but there's something inside me that loves to turn the calendar page. ☺

Reflection is fun if we think of all the good times and blessings. However, it can be difficult when there have been times of pain & loss. Sometimes things feel messy. My personal experience has been that the peace and joy in my heart directly hinge on my willingness to truthfully face the ugly.

This year as you flip the calendar page to 2017, I encourage you to make yourself a pot of coffee (or your favorite hot drink) and spend the day reflecting on the past year. As you ponder the new, the fresh and the unknown may the still, small voice of Father God be your guide.

Happy Trails, Curt

Letters from Home

November 14, 2016

Good morning everyone,

We had 31° the last 2 mornings and the ground was white with frost. Then the sun comes out and warms up the air and the days are lovely. The clear call of the Blue Jay and the sweet song of the White Crowned Sparrow are a few things that I enjoy during the Fall.

As I look out over the countryside there are still a lot of trees in the woods that have leaves on them, although most of them are now brown. It is already the middle of November and we still have lettuce growing in the garden. I just took out the last of the radishes. It is time to cover the carrots and beets with leaves, hay, etc. so they don’t freeze. They keep best if they are left in the ground and then we dig them out as we need them. I took out the biggest red beet I’ve ever seen! It weighed 6 lbs and measured 23 inches in circumference.

Most of the corn and soybeans have been harvested, but I see one farmer picking the last of his corn and he might finish today.

It is hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving already and that means Christmas is just around the corner.


Last month I put in a recipe for pumpkin pie. This time I will include a recipe for gluten-free pie crust that turned out well for ,me.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 1 tbsp. water, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt

Mix flour, salt and baking powder together, cut in the cold butter, mix until fine crumbs. Beat egg, add egg and water to the flour mixture. Mix well. Form a ball and roll out between waxed paper on plastic wrap. Fit into a 9” pie pan. For a baked pie shell prick bottom and sides of crust and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. If using filling bake at 425° for 10 mins on low shelf, then reduce heat to 350° until done.


Here is a little story that I would like to share with you all as it was told to me. The account took place in Hillsboro, Wisconsin one day in May.

A man went outside, thinking we would try and clean up his property. Some time ago he had gathered some brush, twigs, etc onto 4 different piles and had let them set. By now they were well dried out so he decided he would get rid of them by burning them. At the first pile he came to he held his torch to on side and also to the other side and the fire blazed and soon the pile was all burned up. At pile number 2 he held the torch to both sides but the fire did not burn. He tried again but still it did not burn, only fizzled a little at the leaves along the edges and dried out. Puzzled, the man looked at the pile and wondered, why does it not burn? It looked the same as the other pile.

He went to the 3rd pile, held the torch to it and it burned up without any problem. (He had given up on the 2nd pile) Also, the 4th pile burned up quickly. Going back to the 2nd pile he thought perhaps if he would push it down somewhat it might catch on fire easier. He picked up his foot and stepped on it to crush it together a little and out flew a Brown Thrasher. Upon closer inspection, he found a nest with 4 eggs.

One could think - it was only a bird, only a nest, only 4 eggs. But if God takes care of the birds, He will most certainly take care of us.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Sovilla


Letters from Home

October 18, 2016

Good morning everyone,

Warm weather is still with us and we are certainly enjoying these beautiful autumn days.

In looking out over the countryside we see the trees are beginning to be quite colorful. Here and there are some bright orange ones, but there are still quite a few that are green. The Spruce/Cedar tree outside my living room window is at its peak — a mixture of golden brown and green.

More of the garden is being cleaned out and we sowed oats in the bare spots for a fall cover. Hopefully that will grow instead of chickweed and purslane. The petunias and the dahlias are still pretty. Dahlias make a nice bouquet when cut and brought inside.

The farmers are taking advantage of the warm, sunny days and some are making 4th cutting hay.


Following is a recipe a friend/customer gave me to make a deer repellent. If you have problems with deer eating your plants, you may want to try this :

· 6 eggs

· 4 hot peppers (or enough to make it really hot)

· 6-12 cloves garlic (enough to make it stink)

· 5 cups warm water

Put it all in a blender and liquefy it. Pour into an old milk jug. Set it outside in the sun for a couple days to let it cook and really get stinky and hot. Strain it well if you want to use it in a sprayer. You can also pour it on and/or around the plants directly from the jug.


Now for a recipe for the fall season that humans like to eat  :-) :

        · 1 cup pumpkin pulp

· 2 eggs

· 1/2 tablespoon flour

· 1 cup brown sugar

· 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

· 1/4 teaspoon cloves

· 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1 1/4 cup milk

Mix flour, sugar, salt & spices together and set aside. Scald milk. Separate 1 egg & beat the white until stiff, then set aside. Beat the remaining egg & yolk in a large bowl. Stir in the pumpkin. Add the dry mixture, stir well. Pour in the hot milk, stir while pouring. Lightly beat in the egg white. Pour into an unbaked 9” pie shell. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375° and bake until set. Enjoy!


“Small service is true service while it lasts;

Of friends, however humble, scorn not one;

The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,

Protects the lingering dew drop from the sun.”

-William Wordsworth


Have a good day!


Letters from Home

October 03, 2016

Fall Time, Sports & the Ashery

I’m hoping this finds you all doing great on this amazing Fall day.

Here at the Ashery we are all set for our Fall season. If you haven’t gotten a chance to come see us lately, now is a great time to come and enjoy the beautiful leaves as they are beginning to slightly tint themselves in red, orange & yellow. Growing up, Fall was always my favorite time of the year and now Spring has pretty much earned it’s right for a tie on my 2 favorite seasons of the year.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m getting older and the season after Fall has gone from sledding and ice skating to shoveling snow and navigating slick roads.

There’s few things, though, that compare with the crisp, cool nights of Autumn and the harvest of pumpkins, apples, apple cider, gourds, corn stalks and all that good stuff.

I’ve probably told you before about my memories of my dad and us boys being fans of the Cleveland Indians. Growing up in our Mennonite family we didn’t have a TV but our church at the time allowed us to have radios. We made good use of the radio following the Cleveland sports teams. Because of this I still often would rather listen to the games instead of watching on TV. In fact the first time I went to a live game I remember thinking, "Wow, this isn’t as fun as I thought it would be because I didn’t have to imagine anything."

You might be surprised to know that many of the Amish community enjoy following sports as well and there are some highly talented baseball, basketball & volley ball players that are Amish or Mennonite. They will probably never be known about because of the fact that almost none of them would pursue it further than local pickup games or leagues.

All this to say that there is some excitement in the air around here with the Cleveland Indians heading into the postseason and maybe for the first time ever I’ll get a chance to go to a playoff game.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about trying out as a walk on for the Kicker position with the Browns. I think I could do it!

See you soon and Happy Trails,  Curt  

Letters from Home

September 12, 2016

Good Evening,
     We certainly enjoyed a beautiful, sunny Fall day. The dew lay heavy on the grass this morning when I hung the laundry on the line. Now this evening the moon and and the stars are shining and it is still warm enough to sit outside. It is calm with not much moving air and I enjoy listening to the night sounds. The insects are buzzing, a cricket is chirping and in the distance the neighbor's dogs are barking.
     Silos and silo bags are being filled with corn. This morning I saw a farmer getting his 5 horse hitch ready to disk the cornfield where he had cut the corn. He then sowed oats that he plans will grow yet this fall to provide pasture for the cattle.
     The lawns are very nice and green again since we received some good rains. The weeds are growing again in the gardens which is good, now we have hopes that we can sow lettuce for this fall and possibly radish also. The tomatoes are still slowly ripening.
     This summer there have been a lot of benefit auctions in the area. On Saturday, Sept 17th there will be one at the Holmes County Home. Mt Hope on Sept 15th, 16th, & 17th will have the Alternative Animal & Bird Sale and on the 26th the Back to the Farm Feeder Sale. Then starting October 3rd - 8th is the Mid Ohio Horse Sale at Mt Hope also. That will bring a lot of people into the area. On Sat, Sept 17th the little town of Winesburg will have their Fall Festival. And last but not least here at the Ashery we will have our Fall Harvest Sale on Sept 22nd - 24th. If you stop in at the right time you may taste the delicious Harvest soup. You probably won't want to go home without a bag of the mix!
     My last birding excursion was on Friday eve and we went to Waburn Reservior. We saw 11 different species of shorebirds. Just listening to the sounds and calls of shorebirds and watching them scurry along on the mud flats in and out of the water pecking and feeding is worth the trip. With the sun shining on we were able to see clearly the blue, white and green colors on the wing of the Blue Winged Teal.
Did any of you ever make Kale Chips?  
Here is the recipe I had when I tried it.  
1/2lb Kale 
1 TBS coconut oil 
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp hamburger seasoning 
Wash and dry the Kale leaves and cut out the hard stems then weigh them. Drizzle oil and sprinkle seasoning over them and toss well to mix.  
Divide onto 2 cookie sheets and bake at 250F for approx 1 hour or until crisp.  
You can use your choice of seasonings. I baked them for an hour then turned the oven off and left them in overnight. The next morning they were crisp.
Quote: "Wise sayings often fall on barren ground: but a kind word is never thrown away." 
-Arthur Helps 

                        Have a good day, Sovilla


Letters from Home

July 07, 2016

Well folks here we are half way through the year, can you believe that? Before you know it we’ll be watching the leaves turn color and picking pumpkins. July and August are a great time of the year in our home as we often have family from out of state stopping by to spend some time together. The week of July 4th I have been able to spend a lot of time with my younger brother Norvan & his family from VA and also my oldest sister Cheryl and her family from SC. Cookouts, (Cecil’s frozen custard :) ), yard games, fun times and reminiscing.


    I’m sure I’ve wrote about this in the past but July 18th marks the day 12 years ago that my Dad Cecil died from his short battle with cancer. It’s always a sad time of reflection and also a time of realizing how good God is and has been. God has made a way for me and my family when it felt like everything fell apart and the future seemed very dark. Our family has changed a lot and we have experienced God in so many amazing ways. Some days I find myself thinking, “Man, I would love to take dad on a tour” and then I think of Dad saying “hey, I like to give you a tour of where I’m at”  and I realize again that the here and now is temporary and the only thing worth investing in is what lasts for eternity. That’s really a pretty short list with one of those things being relationships.

    Several years after my Dad died I came to believe deep in my heart that the reason we have been able to own a business is because of you, our customers & friends and I realized that we are here to show the goodness God has shown to us, to the people that are coming through our doors. In the way we do business, the words we speak and the service we offer on a daily basis. What an honor to have you as our customer & friend!
       Looking forward to seeing you all in the near future,
                            Happy Trails, Curt


Letters from Home

June 14, 2016

Good Morning Everyone,

    This is Monday morning and the sun is shining out of a clear blue sky. It is another beautiful day for us to enjoy. The walk I took this morning was around the outside of the store building. A Warbling Vireo was singing in the tall tree at the corner of the parking lot and Chimney Swifts were in the air. Two of the neighbors had laundry on the line and two others had their diesel engines running at their wood shops and the sound of the power saws could be heard from inside the one shop. One little barefooted boy was mowing lawn with a reel push mower and on the other side of the road a young girl was also mowing lawn. A young girl and a little boy came coasting down the road on their little scooters while 3 children went out the other way on a pony cart. This is just part of a peaceful summer morning at the Ashery.
     Summer time is also time for garage sales. On Fri & Sat June 17th & 18th the little town of Winesburg will have garage sales. Winesburg is on US 62 and 1 mile west of town is Ruby's Country Store. They are having a 10% off sale on those days. It is a very interesting store and well worth your time to visit.  
    A Machinery sale will be held at Mt. Hope on Sat. June 18th and a swap meet on July 15th & 16th.

    Strawberries are in season and peas are also being picked. Corn is planted and growing and some hay is being made. We have had nice drying weather for hay but the gardens are also very dry. Hopefully we will get rain soon.

     One day a few weeks an Amish school went on a field trip. There were 44 pupils and 16 sets of parents. They hired 6 vans for the occasion and visited Zoar Village and as a treat before going home stopped at the store for ice cream.
   Other customers of interest we have and recently were; folks from CA that originally came from Vietnam, folks that originally came from Germany, a few Amish couples from KY that came for horse sale, another couple from Beckely, WV and a lady that had never been here before from a local town of Apple Creek.
Quote: "Even the flowers don't try to compete with the ones beside them, they just bloom."

                     Have a good summer,


Letters from Home

June 01, 2016

Greetings to all our friends, It’s another great day to be alive!

     In looking back at these letters from home I’ve realized that I’ve been sort of absent in holding up my end of the deal in writing my letter from home. Maybe I should do an annual “book from home” The other thing that I realized is that the popularity of my letter is down quite a bit from the “Letter from home” that Sovilla writes very consistently on a monthly basis. So, my lack of writing may or may not have to do with that fact. :) I’m really just kidding about this. The one thing I’m not kidding about though is the fact that your responses to Sovilla’s Letter from home are great as Sovilla is very deserving of this in the fine job that she does for us all here at the Ashery Country Store.
     This year has started out in an exciting way for us here at the Ashery Country Store as we have expanded with the purchase of Ashery Farms, a bulk food store in Heath OH. Formerly owned by my sister Norita and her husband Marcus since 2009. Ashery Farms is a smaller version of the Ashery Country Store and though not able to carry the full line of everything we offer here, Ashery Farms will be looking to add as many of our popular items as possible to their product line. Find out more about Ashery Farms at asheryfarms.com
     A lot of people have asked, why Heath OH.? The reason is simply that Heath is where my sister and her husband had the opportunity to start a bulk food store while finishing their Bachelor degrees at OSU Newark. It all seemed like a good fit when the opportunity presented itself. We are very grateful for the wonder business Marcus and Norita built along with their employees and the opportunity they provided to us in purchasing Ashery Farms. Marcus is now serving as director of the Behalt Amish & Mennonite information center in Berlin, OH. Behalt tells the story of the Amish and Mennonites and is a wonderful place to stop and learn more.

     It’s been exciting to meet some of the same great customers at both stores this year as I have spent quite a bit of time there since the first of the year. If you get a chance, stop by Heath, Ohio and look up the great team of employees at Ashery Farms on 30th street.
   Thank you so much to all of you who are a part of making it possible for us to open our doors each day. Without our great customers and friends there wouldn’t be a whole lot to do around here.
                 God’s richest blessings to you all
                      Happy Trails,  Curt Yoder


Letters from Home

April 20, 2016

Good Morning Everyone,  
      Did everyone enjoy the sunny, warm weather we had over the weekend? It is easy to forget about the snow we had last weekend.

     The gardens are getting plowed, tilled and folks are planting the early things.

     Oats have been sown and the cows turned out to feed on the fresh green grass in the pastures. Spring is here in full swing.

     Spring is the time for bird migration and I had the opportunity to spend a day outdoors to see if we can find the birds that migrate in April. The ones we were especially looking for were Fox Sparrow, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, and Winter Wren. We started out at the Wilderness Center near Wilmot. Before we even got the car into the parking lot we stopped, got out and the first bird we looked at was a Fox Sparrow! We walked on the trails for a little while and found the Winter Wren. By first hearing it sing we knew it was somewhere. We found about half a dozen Golden Crowned Kinglets and also Ruby crowned Kinglets and one Hermit Thrush. Swamp and Field Sparrows were singing and seen. Tree Sparrows were still here and at the feeders. It was interesting to watch the birds from inside the interpretive building. Our next stop was along Prairie Land south of Wooster where we saw a lot of water fowl including Red Breasted Mergansers, Green Winged and Blue Winged Teal, etc. At Killbuck Wildlife area we saw a lot of variety of Ducks including the Horned Grebe plus lots of Coots. At Funk we added the Caspian Tern, 3-4 different shore birds, Northern Pintail, etc. I forget where is was but we saw the Bald Eagle and Sandhill Crane flying. Our total count for the day was 80 different species.

     It is interesting to note where people come from that shop at the Ashery. On Saturday I had the privilege to visit with two ladies from Nova Scotia. It was their first time here. I met a young lady in here that is in the process of learning to speak "Penn Dutch" language. She surprised me by greeting me with "Vie Bist Du?"

     For Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
     the flowers appear on the earth,
     the time of the singing of birds has come,
     the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land.
          Songs of Solomon 2:12

                      Have a good day, - Sovilla  


Letters from Home

March 22, 2016

Good Evening Everyone,  
      We are having a very windy day. I guess this is what you would call March winds. The laundry that was hung outside on the line really got a beating, but it dried nicely. Fresh air dried clothes always smell so fresh.

     Since we are having Daylight Savings time and have more daylight after supper I decided to go on a walk. The sky was overcast but the wind had slowed down a little. I had seen the farmer plowing this afternoon but now the plow was standing idle waiting until the next day. The farmer had quit for supper and was at the barn doing the milking. The Red Winged Blackbirds were singing from their perch on the power lines and a Killdeer flew up out of the corn stalks beside the road. The Killdeer blends in real well with it's surroundings as it runs silently over the ground, but when it flies the white stripe on their wings and the golden brown rump makes it a very striking looking bird. The clip clop of a horse could be heard on the pavement on the other side of the hill. As I crested the last hill before home I could see out over the valley and the woods still look black except for a reddish hue on some of the trees where life is beginning to show. Spring is here!

     This afternoon I dug out some carrots and red beets that were buried in the garden, and noticed that the carrots have started to grow again. When they do that they don't taste quite as good anymore. It is time to get them out.

     Our two weekends of having a Maple Syrup cookout turned out well. Plans are to have a FREE Ice Cream day on April 1st!

     Here is a recipe for a simple Air Freshner from Emily Thacker that you can make yourself.
1 TBS white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups water
After the foaming stops put on the lid and shake well. Spray into the air for a quick freshness.

Easter is coming up, we would do well to remember this little acronym:

G od's
R iches
A t
C hrist's
E xpense

                      Have a Blessed Easter - Sovilla 


Letters from Home

February 23, 2016

Good Afternoon,  
      We are blessed again today with beautiful Spring like weather. It is mostly sunny and a slight breeze is blowing from the east. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.

    I'm back from Florida and looking forward to Spring. Florida weather was cool and wet, but there also were some nice days. I enjoyed my stay but it is good to be back.

    Farmers have been busy spreading manure. They are preparing to start plowing.

    This past Saturday, Feb. 20th, there was a lot of activity in our area. The Air Works sale was at Mt Hope and the Tool Expo at the Buckeye Event center in Dalton and a Health Expo at the Sprunger Building in Kidron. There were vans running back and forth to give folks a chance to get to the different locations.

     On March 3rd, 4th, & 5th, Thurs PM to Sat PM the Amish Country Home and Garden Show is to be held at the Buckeye Event Center in Dalton. If anyone is looking for something to do those days you may want to check it out. There are a lot of interesting things to look at.

     Maple syrup time is here again. On the 2nd & 3rd weekend in March we are planning to have a maple syrup cookout at the Store. You may want to come and see how it is done.

    I appreciate all of you that I have come to know as friends over the past years. here is a short poem I found in my desk drawer:

A little bit of sunshine
and the bud becomes a rose...
A little bit of kindness
and a friendship blooms and grows.  
               Quote: "A friend is someone that says
            good things about you with your knowledge."

                       Bless a friend today - Sovilla