Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just-In-Time Roofing Project

          Alan (son) and Liz (granddaughter) spent the last warm day of Autumn putting a new roof on the farm shop.
          We're sooo glad we got it finished before the wind, rain, frost and snow moved in.  What a relief!
          I'm fairly certain the shop roof hadn't been touched since my dad built it around 1975.  That makes it 38 years for those old shingles.  Amazing!  Twenty to 25 years is generally considered the maximum life for this form of roofing.
          Admittedly, the old shingles were worn out, but nearly four decades is almost unheard of.  Earlier this summer I'd noticed several spots where time and weather had worn through the asphalt/fiberglass backing and pinholes were showing the plywood sheeting beneath.
          I patched those spots with roofing cement to avoid leaks until a time slot materialized for the roofing project.  A few weeks ago, old friend and master handyman Atlee Burkholder helped tear off the old roofing, replace the drip edge and lay down "ice guard" underlayment. 
          He's a big fan of the sticky-backed ice guard and assured me, "It will be all the roofing you need for a year or so . . . if necessary." 
          We did have to wait a few weeks, but once we got started, Alan, Liz and I had the shop's new roof buttoned up in about four hours. 
          Alan gained lots of roofing experience during high school summers spent with his granddad.  Liz learned the skill over eight annual stints to the gulf coast area, rehabbing and rebuilding storm-destroyed homes.  That's how she spends her spring breaks.
          And I . . . became the gofer.  Running tools, cutting starter shingles, using the front end loader to lift bundles of shingles to the roof's edge.
          Another clear sign of advancing age - - roofing role reversal.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Let's Celebrate Tonight, Honey - At The Hospital

          How many guys can say they took their wife out for a special dinner last evening - - - at a hospital?
          Not the most romantic, or gastronomically exciting, idea, right?
          If you said "right," you haven't been to "Virtues," restaurant at the Summa Health System's Critical Care Center in Akron.
          Tucked into the second floor, just inside the Critical Care Center's entrance, Virtues is no one's typical hospital cafeteria.
          We met Dottie and Jim Steel at the entrance, where a crowd of med. and pharma. types were sipping their way through a private reception.  Dottie's been a staffer since long before quick-swipe ID cards, in the days when it was called Akron City Hospital.
          She had suggested the out-of-place but very "in" restaurant and we jumped at the opportunity to try something new.
          Dottie also arranged for a very private alcove table where we could sip, share and sample from the ample menu.
          Nola started with cream of roasted eggplant soup, which I greeted with skepticism . . . 'till I tried it.  Then I tried to talk her out of the rest of it, but failed.
          I called out a half order of house salad and Cory, our waiter, brought a salad big enough for two.  Yes, we shared and . . . Nola begrudgingly allowed me two more tastes of her sublime soup in exchange.
          She ordered the Ohio Grass-fed Sirloin Burger, which arrived with chipotle mayo and cheddar cheese on a garlic Ciabatta roll.  I love burgers but "Charlie Cholesterol," forbids that I partake so I could have but a nibble.  It more than lived up to its menu hype.
          Nola raved and I envied . . . but all that disappeared into my Grilled Chicken Penne.  It arrived with Arugula, Artichoke hearts and oven dried tomatoes, sweet peppers and mushrooms in a roasted tomato cream sauce.  It couldn't have been better and half an order was more than ample.
          Everyone was already stuffed when the enticing dessert menu came 'round so it will remain a mystery until we return.
          The quiet, unhurried feel in our corner of the restaurant encouraged nearly an hour of gossip and giggling after we had finished our food.  We forgot we were in a hospital.
          Total for our two dinners, with soft drinks, was under $25 so we walked out feeling mellow and pleasantly satisfied with our "discovery."   Reality hit us as we stepped through the huge revolving door beside several medical types still in scrubs and skullcaps.
          The $3 parking fee in the adjacent deck was a mild shock but only because we've become so accustomed to free parking throughout Amish Country that the realities of urban driving had faded from memory.
          The memorable evening with good friends and good food was made even more so by the sight of the big city lights in our rear view mirror.