Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lucia Celebration Continues in Bishop Hill

The weather is unseasonably warm and contributes to the festive mood here in Bishop Hill on the second day and night of our Lucia festival, Saturday, December 13th.
Before I moved to Bishop Hill and was charmed by its culture, I was aware of Lucia and even recalled a Lucia Betsy McCall paper doll that was created in the early 70's. It makes a lovely memento of the day and I include it HERE TO DOWNLOAD with an invitation to join the crowd tonight as we celebrate the darkest night and the bringer of light, Lucia.
 Enjoy these offerings:
- the Peoria Cooperative Academy Chorale will perform at 6pm in the VagnHall Galleri
- the Mountain Men will entertain visitors in VagnHall Galleri at 7pm
- Brian “Fox” Ellis will share traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories and lead a  sing-a-long of favorite carols at the Welcome Center from 6pm-9pm 
- Hammer and Pick will be play from 6pm-9pm at the Steeple Building
- Woodcarving Demonstrations will take place at the Steeple Building from 6pm-9pm
- Soup and Chili Supper at the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will begin at 4:30pm and continue until the pot is empty! A free-will donation is appreciated.
An Old Fashioned Barn Dance will be held at the Colony School featuring The Rusty Pickup Band on Saturday, December 13, at 7pm. All dances will be taught and called by Gail Hintze and Jim Hicks. Admission is $5 per person, and beginners are welcome. No partner is necessary.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Market continues in Bishop Hill

Grab some goodies at the Chocolate Walk when you visit!
I made them again: crunchy butterscotch nests with gumdrop cardinals. These, are part of a tempting array of chocolates and other confections that await you in the Bishop Hill Welcome Center this weekend Saturday, 12/6 and Sunday, 12/7 from 10am - 5pm. Fill a plate or a box; the goodies are sold by the pound. The proceeds from the Chocolate Walk will fund public events and Arts Council programs in the year ahead.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bishop Hill Cookie Walk This Weekend

held at the Colony School
Friday, Nov 28 and Saturday, Nov 29
 9am to 4pm
This is a fundraiser for, and sponsored by,
The Bishop Hill Old Settlers' Association
       The Bishop Hill Community Methodist Church         

There are many many superlative bakers who contribute their cookies and sweets to this event each year. I strive to keep up with them but know have a way to go. This year I made the delicious cutout shortbread cookies shown above. They are flavor-packed with almond and coco and the combo is the best tasting shortbread I have produced yet.

However, in the presence of such seasoned bakers, I generally opt for no-bake confections that please the eye and palate but also fall in the no fail category of desserts. This "recipe" is great to make with children.   It's also great for folks that don't bake but want to make something festive.

Because my business is  The Feathered Nest, and I sell all sorts of eggs, it's only natural that I make these: I just finished a batch of gumdrop chicks in haystack nests for the Cookie Walk and plan to make a chocolaty version for the Chocolate Walk next weekend.
Not able visit Bishop Hill to pick up some goodies at the School? Try your hand at making a few nests! You can find a pictorial instruction sheet HERE. Very easy to do and nice for any holiday. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Photos of Bishop Hill - Do you see what I see?

I had fun taking pictures this past weekend in Bishop Hill. The weather was beautiful and the town was filled with gleeful guests enjoying the harvest celebration. I remember a time when cameras held film and every shot was executed with care because to print photos took time and money. Digital cameras have changed all that. In two days I clicked hundreds of pics expecting to use the best of the best here for your perusal online. When I got home and  reviewed my photos I laughed at my folly. Because I was hasty,  many of my shots contained unattractive modern elements like coolers, speakers, and trashcans. Only a decade ago I would have framed each pic to avoid such blemishes but I thought it would be easy enough to crop or erase them. But it's not so easy. Other views of the crowd often captured at least one person in an unattractive pose or gesture. Lots of oops here and there.
And finally, what made me laugh the most, was discovering that a many of my photos contained one or more photographers front and center, snapping the subject I was focused on!  If you would like to see some amazing Ag Days photographs, courtesy of Lou Lourdeau, (no butts, coolers, or photographers) check out this posting on the BHHA website!

This brings to mind something I read last week. According to the latest statistics in a recent Wall Street Journal article by Eben Shapiro, smartphones have exponentially increased the amount of street photographs taken. In the piece he goes on to report this jaw-dropping statistic: Every two minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s. 

Ah, but I wonder how many of these images have the ability to provoke thoughts or start a conversation?

That said, I am always interested in how visitors “see” Bishop Hill. I live here and often overlook the corners of the community an out-of-towner includes in his snapshots. I would love to view the pictures that Bishop Hill guests wish to share. I am working on an online album to which folks can add their best. Please email me for details if you have something to contribute. Want to share images today? You are invited to add your photos to the Bishop Hill Arts Council Facebook page. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When folks see Bishop Hill at its best, they are far more inclined to visit!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkins galore in Bishop Hill

Bishop Hill's Jordbruksdagarna  celebration delighted all who attended - especially the young and young at heart. Thanks to those who came from near and far and special thanks to all the hardworking vendors and volunteers that made this festival outstanding!
If you missed picking out that special pumpkin from Ryan Werkheiser, owner of Nature's Creations at 21229 North 500th Avenue in Kewanee, his farm will be open to the public on Wednesdays through October 22. For an appointment, call 309-932-3834.

Check out more from Ryan here:
October 5&6 and 11&13, Knoxville Fairgrounds
October 11, Fall Review, Cambridge Methodist Church 
October 18, Craft Show, Galva High School

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jordbruksdagarna - September 27 & 28 Fabulous Family Fun

These last few months I've been delinquent in posting the current events of Bishop Hill. For the first time in nearly a decade I planted a huge garden filled with familiar floral friends and lots of new ones. I am a decade older now and a decade slower. Ouch. Our new patch of land was acquired last year and is conveniently located right next door to our family home on the west edge of Bishop Hill. What fun it has been easing back into the soil!
As much of this new garden is harvested and winterized, I plan to turn my attention back to filling this page with reports and insights into rural life I hope you find interesting. Living and working in Bishop Hill remains a great joy so more accounts on a variety of related projects and subjects will follow soon.
But for now, I offer my apologies to readers looking here for up-to-the-minute info regarding Bishop Hill. Instead, I direct you to these sources: Check out the Old Settles' Blog, the Arts Council Blog, and the BHHA website for all sorts of Bishop Hill activities and updates.
One of Bishop Hill's most important events in terms of attendance and permanence is our harvest festival. Since 1972, on the last weekend in September, Bishop Hill has celebrated Jordbruksdagarna (youd-brooks-DAH-ga-na), which is Swedish for "Earth Work Days." It was reported in this year's press release as hard to pronounce but easy to enjoy! So true.

As my family grows and grand-kids extend our circle, I find myself particularly grateful to be able to share this entertaining educational experience with them. I encourage others to do the same. Check out these hands-on kid-friendly activities behind the Colony Hotel this weekend: They include sorghum pressing and cooking, corn shelling, brick making, corn husk doll making and apple cider pressing. The Burns Boosters 4-H club will host a petting zoo in the Park, Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. 

Bring the family! Exposing children to our rich past in this manner is the best way to ensure these traditions are upheld and carried on!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Midsommar Music Fest, June 21, in Bishop Hill

Celebrate the longest day of the year
in Bishop Hill style at our
Midsommar Music Fest
Saturday, June 21st
Following a day of music in the village park, the maypole is decorated and is carried at the head of a procession to the Colony School. Once there, traditional Swedish ring dances are taught to all attending and dancing around the maypole begins. At 7 pm refreshments are served and a traditional barn dance is held.
The Main Stage Concert
in the village park
This year’s lineup includes:
Black Hawk Pipes & Drums at 11:00 am
River Bend Bronze at Noon 
Jansson Five at 1 pm
Hammer & Pick at 2 pm
Bear Clan of Sweden at 3 pm 
Dressing the Maypole follows the concert at 4 pm
For more information call 309-927-3899