Going with and without Lamont

My days seem to be filled with quick stops at home to fix something to eat, walk the dog and coax Lamont to come with me somewhere to do a story or go to a benefit I feel is important. If he tires of all the running, I give him a kiss and hurry out the door, leaving him to tend to Ozzie.

He didn’t come with me to the food preservation workshop, hosted by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau at the Old Banatam Ridge School, where county offices are housed. There is a large gymnasium that is excellent for holding parties and seminars. And Indian Creek holds bingo there.

The canning seminar by Kate Shumaker was very informative, and I left the proud owner of six 100-year anniversary blue-tint Mason canning jars manufactured by Ball and a Blue Book guide to preserving.

Shumaker went through a PowerPoint presentation on how preserving food at home can be rewarding, such as saving money if the vegetable, fruit or meat is plentiful; knowing what goes into the canning, such as amount of salt and sugar; cleanliness; for the pride of accomplishing something; and to share with others.

She cautioned there is a need to handle food safely and preserve within 24 hours of harvest. The vegetables or fruit should be picked early in the morning, kept in the shade, kept moist, stored where air can circulate, handled gently and the damaged product discarded.

Before preserving any food, consider the types of foods your family enjoys and the usefulness of the preserved product in your lifestyle, cautioned Shumaker. “If you have tomatoes left at the end of the year, you have canned too much. If you run out in mid-March, you have not canned enough.”

“Methods of food preservation consist of canning, freezing, drying and fermentation. The advantages of food preservation is year-round availability, less spoilage, to eliminate or reduce microbial hazards and increased convenience,” she said.

Three-year-old Delia Wetherell sat through the entire seminar without fussing. She had her coloring book and toys to keep busy and was interested in the goodies from the refreshment table, such as fruit kabobs, cheese cubes and pretzels. She was with her grandmother, Joyce Wetherell, and mom, Monica.

Regarding the refreshment table, Mary Ellen Grafton, our fearless leader, had some cider that tasted better than the processed kind. Irene Sabo and her daughter, Lisa Cline, had goodies made from bread dough, my favorite. Irene had hot dogs in the blanket, and Lisa had pepperoni pinwheels.

Jeanne Roberts made a candy that sends Jennifer Barnett, office administrator, into sugar bliss. It is made by melting corn candy – the orange and yellow variety – and adding a jar of peanut butter. This is spread in a flat pan and covered with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. Yummy. They taste like Babe Ruth candy bars.

My tiny buddy, Dawna Kale, was there wearing her master gardener T-shirt. We formed a friendship during the Jefferson County Fair when my Herald-Star tent was next to the 7th and 8th department building. She helped me carry my table and chairs that were stored in their building overnight back to the tent, and when it got slow, we passed the time by gabbing.

Cheryl Lightfritz didn’t have to go far for the canning lesson. Her office with the Ohio State University Extension is in the same building as the farm bureau. Her friend, Terri Griffith, was with her.

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We went to the Kelly Eddy Breast Cancer benefit at the Richmond United Methodist Church, and the social hall was packed with her friends, relatives and concerned people.

The Purple Circle 4-H Club, where Payton Wood, husband of Cylene Smith Wood, is a member, was evident at every turn. There were Purple Circle ladies spooning out the pasta, members refilling drinks, clearing the tables and filling bread trays. And in the midst of it all, there were the two young ladies who started it all, Cylene Wood and Raelyn Marker, wearing pink shirts with a picture of cowboy boots reading “These boots were made for stomping out breast cancer,” along with lots of helpers wearing the same shirts.

I met Kelly Eddy, a brave young lady who gave me a hug even though she was not supposed to have direct contact with people.

Raelyn has seen the toll that cancer can take on a family as her mother, Lisa, and dad, Ray, have had cancer.

Donnie Smith had a big win in the Chinese auction but wasn’t smiling about it. One of his friends put a bid in for him for a large basket of Steelers merchandise, and it was a winner. But Donnie wasn’t overjoyed. He is an avid Browns fan.

I won a bird feeder and a bag of bird seed for Lamont and got Darin a plastic carrier filled with sports books. He will have time to read them when he is recovering from surgery on Oct. 15. Keep him your prayers.

I spoke with Craig and Debbie Smith who had two of their grandchildren at the spaghetti dinner. I also saw John Boleigh and Wendee Zadansky, young people I got to know through the Soil and Water Conservation District. John was telling how he and our son, Larry, got to know each other through fishing and looking for new species of lizards. The outdoors was Larry’s kind of life.

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The next day, I went to the Fort Steuben Mall to take part in the Ramsey family benefit for Jim Ramsey’s deceased wife, Lois, who died with ovarian cancer on Sept. 21.

They are avid fans of the Buckeyes and had many Ohio State items in the auction. Danica and Jake Ramsey drew tickets for the winners. I wasn’t lucky enough to win, but the money was spent for a good cause, and I admire the family for their work to spread the word on ovarian cancer since it isn’t always found until it reaches a serious stage.

Mary Urban of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition was there and handed me a card telling about the major symptoms, such as bloating, trouble eating, feeling full quickly, pelvic or abdominal pain and the need to urinate urgently. Other symptoms can include fatigue, upset stomach, heartburn, back pain, constipation and menstrural changes. If symptoms persist daily for more than two weeks, ask a physician for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, transvaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test.

A Pap smear does not detect ovarian cancer. Early detection is necessary to increase the survival rate, Urban noted.

Misty Martin, a Kays Jewelers employee, asked Urban why the teal-color ribbon pins, with teal being the color for ovarian cancer, had plastic-looking tips. It was explained that they resemble shoe laces for the many walking benefits held to fund ovarian cancer research.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)