Monthly Archives: March 2009

My First Mud Sale

When you live in Lancaster County, it’s very easy to take for granted you are living amongst a truly uncommon group of people.  You glide by horse and buggies on your way to work with hardly a thought.  The Amish gentlemen and his family standing in front of you at the supermarket checkout are just another roadblock on your way out the door and back to your home.   It takes something extraordinary to help you recall that you’re lucky to be exposed to people with such a different take on the world on a daily basis.  At a Lancaster County mud sale, you can’t help but be reminded.

Mud sales are annual auctions/sales held at a number of local fire companies. The sales attract thousands of locals looking for bargains on anything from Amish quilts and antiques to local produce, buggies and lawn equipment.

March is the start of mud sale season in Lancaster County and this past weekend I took my wife and older son to the Penryn Fire Company near Manheim, PA for their annual sale.  Never having been to a sale before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew there would be thousands of items up for auction and there would likely be a heavy Amish presence there.  While there were plenty of we “English” in attendance being bused in, we were outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks from the Amish community.

Amish children at the Penryn Fire Company Mud Sale

Roaming around the grounds we found there were several auctions going on at once; one for produce, one for livestock, one for large goods like washing machines, lawnmowers and furniture, and one inside the fire station that covered everything else under the sun.  We didn’t end up bidding on anything but it was fascinating to watch.

Plenty of food was available for purchase throughout the sale.  From sausage sandwiches to Amish baked pies, you definitely weren’t going to walk away hungry.  I bought a couple of homemade hot pretzels and some freshly made donuts and we sat down as a family on the grass field to eat.  As we loaded up on carbs, we watched as some Amish men tended to an old-fashioned steam-powered ice cream churner which was producing plenty of the frozen goodness which was selling pretty briskly on an unusually warm March afternoon.

While this was my first mud sale, it definitely won’t be my last. Maybe I’ll even return with an eye on bidding on an item or two.  I’ll be back, if for nothing else than to help remind me that I’m lucky to live amongst one of the most unique cultures in our nation.

Mud sale at Penryn Fire Company

Breakfast at the Brickerville House Family Restaurant

I’m typically not a breakfast person.  My morning routine consists of feeding, clothing, and rushing two young boys off to school, so my personal gastronomic needs often get pushed to the side. However, when I finally do get a chance to eat in the a.m., I like to do it right with as much toast, eggs and pancakes as I can pile on.

After a particularly early morning photo outing nearby, I had the chance to eat breakfast at the Brickerville House Family Restaurant. Because I get to eat breakfast so rarely, It’s extra special when I

1. get to eat outside the confines of my car on my way to work


2. have a meal that is not delivered through a drive-thru window and encased in its entirety in a paper wrapper.

So considering my lofty “special” breakfast expectations, the Brickerville House didn’t end up disappointing.

Their breakfast menu was pretty extensive, offering omelettes, waffles, breakfast sandwiches and their famous “from scratch” buttermilk pancakes. My dad, who had bravely accompanied me out that early in the chilly March morning air, ordered the special of the day; apple pie and cinnamon pancakes (pictured above). I had a hankering for a traditional farm breakfast so I ended up getting eggs with toast, hash browns and some Canadian bacon.

The coffee came out steaming, and judging by our completely empty plates at the end of the meal, the food tasted great.  The atmosphere inside the restaurant was very “Lancaster County.” I felt like I was eating in an old farm house. According to their website, the Brickerville House itself was located on what used to be the main road from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and once served as a stagecoach stop and tavern and that historic feel has definitely been preserved.

I may not eat breakfast often, but when I do the Brickerville House Family Restaurant will definitely be at the top of my list.

The Brickerville House is located just outside of Lititz on Route 501 and serves lunch and dinner in addition to their very tasty breakfast.

Snow Geese Migration at Middle Creek

I was lucky enough to get up to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this past weekend with my photography group. Although, getting up at 5:00 am to get the best sunrise light for photography might not be described as “lucky” by some with a limited worldview.

Middle Creek, located on the Lebanon-Lancaster County line about one mile south of Kleinfeltersville, is set aside by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for the protection of various wildlife. What really sets this location apart from other wildlife areas is the tens of thousands of birds that stop in this Lancaster County landmark during their annual migration.

This past week, the PGC estimated that over 5,000 Canada geese, 3,600 tundra swans and over 80,000 snow geese were taking residence in the Wildlife Management Area. The Game Commission updates the bird totals on their web site weekly, so be sure to check in before you plan your visit.

The waterfowl usually stopover in Lancaster County in late winter (Mid-February to early March) on their way to their mating grounds up north. The Game Commission recommends the first weekends of March as the best time to see the most amount of birds.

No really... THOUSANDS of snow geese.

No really… THOUSANDS of snow geese.

In the past, I’ve driven around the perimeter of the lake and there was nothing but birds as far as the eye could see. Whole fields literally covered in white from the sheer amount of waterfowl present. I concentrated my photographic efforts on the lake this past weekend. Unfortunately, while there where thousands of birds there, they mostly stayed on the side of the lake I didn’t have access to. They never really got close enough to my location to get the close-up shots I was looking for for my photo collection.

However, there was a few times when the birds on the lake took off en masse and the sound of thousands of geese taking off all at once was reminiscent of the sound and volume of a jet airliner taking off. It was really breathtaking to see and hear. My photos from this weekend don’t do this spectacle of nature justice. Look at some of the more interesting Flickr photos from Middle Creek to get a better sense of the sheer amount of birds at the park.


Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

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