Breakfast at the Lodi Rod and Gun Club

Dad at the Rod and Gun Club Breakfast

Dad at the Rod and Gun Club Breakfast

This past Sunday the entire Covert clan headed up for the Lodi Rod and Gun Club Breakfast. The breakfast itself is delicious and plentiful, but the experience is more than a straightforward meal. It’s a great way to meet friends old and new and get caught up on all the local comings and goings.

Now let me start with the setting: this biweekly breakfast feast is held at the Lodi Rod and Gun Club, which is a lodge and meeting place for members of this club. As is logical, the room is decorated with various taxidermied wildlife, trophies of the club members. It’s a big, open room with lots of tables and when we arrived it was packed and noisy with entire family units with the full range of ages.

I had heard about this famous breakfast and I’m thrilled to report that it lived up to its reputation completely. One of the major features of the breakfast is the fact that you can select a number of different breakfast items or simply check the box “select all” for the entry price of $5.50. We’re talking eggs, pancakes, toast, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, bicuits with sausage gravy OR ALL OF THE ABOVE. I was tempted to select all, just to see if I could do it, but my common sense prevailed and the delicious breakfast I chose lasted me straight through to dinner.

I have clear memories of similar breakfasts taking place on a regular basis when I was little. These Pancake Breakfasts were put on by the Lodi Historical Society that took place on Sunday mornings. I even remember being a “waitress” at these breakfasts, training for my very short-lived and mistake-laden career as a waitress that never managed to extend much further than the Lodi Historical Society Pancake Breakfasts, much to the greater health and well-being of the diners of Eastern North America.

More than just a meal the Lodi Rod and Gun Club Breakfast is a community experience. This kind of a community meeting and communal eating place is the something I miss living in the city most of the year–we just don’t do things like this that often. The tradition continues every second Sunday through to the middle of October and I will be there as often as I can.

Oh, and Vegetarians? You might want to stay home.


The Infamous Eagle Hotel

Eagle Hotel

Originally uploaded by j-co

Lodi is a small town with a population under 400 year-round. If you’re travelling on Route 414 in the North-South direction you don’t even have to stop at any point as you travel through Lodi. Many people don’t even slow down much.

There isn’t much commerce on Main St. in Lodi. There’s a Post Office, an ice cream stand, a printing shop and a den of ill repute: the infamous Eagle Hotel.

The Eagle Hotel is a building with an incredible amount of history–it’s been around as long as Lodi itself. The Eagle is a bar with a dining room that’s open on Fridays and Saturdays but those two areas are worlds apart, as far as I can tell.

I have been to the dining room a few times for the Friday Night Fish Fry which was great. The ambiance is set with a woman playing old-timey music on the piano as you enter the building. The rest of the experience is just about as old-timey; the food is good and the service friendly.

I have never–and proabably will never–set foot in the bar portion of the Eagle Hotel. This is the kind of place that has regulars, a horseshoe pit out back and neon signs blinking incessantly. There is no really good reason that I couldn’t go in there, except for the fact that I’m not sure it’s really my kind of place. It’s just that I can’t imagine what my grandmother would say if she knew I’d done such a thing (she passed away 15 years ago).

My grandma was Temperance Union and abhorred alcohol in her house (sorry Grandma, that rule’s been broken!). The Eagle Hotel represented a repository of all that was unacceptable in my grandmother’s eyes–or at least that’s how I remember it from when I was little. You could often, and still can, hear the Eagle’s loud, pulsating music from our house a block away and hear the revellers getting into all sorts of mischief. It all just seemed like a *bad* thing when I was little.

Often when my friends come to visit they really want to go to the Eagle to get some local flavour and enjoy a cheap beer. My brother’s had the same experience. But if they are able to get up the nerve to go we refuse to go with them. I just can’t! I can’t bear to think of Grandma’s reaction, looking down from wherever she might be!

Keeping up with The Coverts

No more weeds

Originally uploaded by j-co

One of my major accomplishments during my recent Lodi stay (a working holiday, if you will) was clearing out many of the weeds surrounding the home farm. The clear ground that you see in the photo was covered in weeds, all about 3 feet high. There were a few different kinds but they were all very easy to pull up, thank goodness.

Dad says that this area hasn’t seen the sunlight in about 30 years. Grandma used to have lilly of the valley in this area, until, as the story goes, Stony Covert dumped a load of coal on them. Not sure what vintage we’re talking here, but old enough that people were called Stony (no relation to us Coverts). I have a shaky understanding of how the whole coal-burning scenario would have worked, but I think it’s fair to say ole Stony overshot the delivery by about 50 feet.

So we’re trying to restore the grounds to the way that my Grandma used to have them with lovely vegetation that enlivens the property, not chokes it. This is the aspiration, and a pretty lofty one. I have a feeling (which may be completely untrue) that things like gardening were second nature to people (women?) of my Grandma’s generation. It was a neccessity in some cases: a person needs to grow vegetables to feed yourself and their family in leaner times. These are not things that come second nature to me, but I’m learning as I go.

In addition to clearing the weeds we’ve planted a few new flowers and ground cover: lilly of the valley, myrtle, hollyhock, campanula, hydrangea and some flower seeds that I’m holding out hope will survive–blue salvia, poppy, shasta daisy and dahlia.

Grandma reportedly kept roses as well, but I feel like I should mangae my own expectations here. If we can keep the weeds away and keep some control of the vegetation I will be happy. If my flower seeds make it, there will be a higher power at work.Now, if I can grow something from seed then maybe I’ll be ready to move on to roses.

The Barn Star

The Barn Star

Originally uploaded by j-co

A few years ago our friend gave us the lovely gift of a decorative star for our barn. It had been sitting in the parlour in the house in town for a long time not fulfilling its duty (it wasn’t a desk star, after all) and along with a number of other improvement projects around the Home Farm we installed the barn star in its rightful place a few weeks ago.

The tradition of barn stars is specific to the North Eastern US states and you see them often on country drives. Each colour of star represents a different set of attributes and our red one, as it turns out, stands for emotions, passion and creativty. The barn stars in general are meant to be a symbol of good luck and to ward of nasty spirits that might try and mess things up.

Our barn is a sturdy but aged thing and perked right up with this little bit of decoration (and added good luck). The barn dates back to the 1900s and has an upper hay loft, which is where we installed the star. The barn is still in pretty good shape and mostly serves as a storage facility at this point in its lifespan. In addition to masses of lumber and building supplies that are frequently used there is an ancient wooden speedboat, a doodlebug of a similar vintage and an even older tractor in many parts.

It wasn’t too much trouble to install the star, even though it’s made of heavy-duty wood. Dad insisted that it be screwed in on two sides to ensure stability. The extra-long ladder was procured and Dad clamboured up while I remained on the ground as the alignment consultant. It was quite a cinch to get it secured in place, the only tense moments coming when Dad moved the ladder WHILE STILL ON IT based on my comments on the placement. Yes, he scooched the ladder by little shuffling hops to get it in the right place so it was correctly lined up. Is this another one of those country things? Crazy behaviour involving power tools? Sheesh.

In any case, the star is up and the good luck is flowing, the evil spirits have been leaving us alone and our emotions and creativity are off the charts. Now all we need is some kind of a talisman to ward off the woodchucks that are causing all sorts of havoc in our garden.

Garden Hits and Misses

The Deer Repellant

The Deer Repellant

The garden has been in full swing for about a month and things are going well so far… for the most part. We’ve had some great triumphs and a few challenges, mostly of the pest variety.

The tomatoes and the potatoes are going great guns. They are getting the most sun and they are growing tall. We’ve been dilligently tending to the garden and I’ve found that removing the suckers is an important chore on the tomato plants. These are little baby leaves that grow between the larger branches and they are called suckers because they suck nutrients away from the plants. We have lots of flowers which I hope will yield a fantastic crop of tomatoes.

Some unfortunate victims include the coriander, lettuce, parsley and nightflower. We thought at first that the culprit was deer, then slugs clearly were feasting on the lettuce specifically, but I also caught some birds munching away. So it’s safe to saw we’re being ambushed on several fronts. We took some preventive measures which seem to have worked to varying degrees. To repell the deer, we fashioned a kind of a stick with aluminum plates that clang in the breeze. For the slugs we sprinkled crushed eggshells. All in all we have to face the fact that some of our crops will not make it, no matter what we do to prevent assault.

The beginnings of a cuke

The beginnings of a cuke

A few vegetables are definitely starting to grow and turn into actual vegetables. It’s kind of amazing! We have one small tomato and the beginnings of a cuke. There are also many squash blossoms, little buds on the peppers and zuke flowers. It will be really great to watch as everything grows and at some point we’ll need to read up on how to harvest our earthly riches!