Thursday, September 20, 2012

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/21/12

What a lovely time of year. The weather couldn’t be nicer, the rains have greened things up, the pumpkins and mums have arrived and Sammy and Suzie Scarecrow are back on their park bench at the market.

Sammy and Suzie have been fall fixtures at the market for 11 years now. And though their outfits change, their bodies just get a little more stuffing every year and their faces get a good scrubbing – in the washing machine.

(That's Devereaux Lewis of Oronogo, giving Suzy a hug, while his big brother looks on.)

We’ll have a scarecrow building workshop at the market on a Saturday in October but here’s the basics in case you want to start early. Gather up all those plastic shopping bags and two sets of old clothes – either your own or from a resale shop. (Well, I guess you could raid your spouse’s closet.) Regardless of scarecrow gender, you start with one pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Those form the body. Just pin each leg bottom and wrist opening shut with a safety pin and stuff with the bags. Start with the pants, then do the shirt, then tuck the shirt into the pants, pin them together, and add a little stuffing to fill everything out. I always use old boots and gardening gloves for hands and feet, again pinned to the body. For the head, stuff a plastic bag with more plastic bags, put it inside an old white pillow case. Draw or paint a face on a piece of old white sheet, wrap around the head, tie at the bottom and tuck into the shirt, pinning to keep the head in place. I’ve nnever figured out how to keep the head upright, so I just use a stick along the back to keep the scarecrow’s head from lolling about.

Now you’re ready to dress your scarecrow and top with an old hat. The outer garb will fade in the sun but that’s perfect, because changing the outfit each year is great fun. The inner body will be fine for reuse year after year.

Now all you need to do is give your scarecrow a name, add a few pumpkins and mums and celebrate fall. Don’t forget the festive ornamental corn decorations grown and made by our youngest vendor, 13-year-old Lane Luthi. You’ll find him at his sisters’ mum stand.

The market is open today from 11 to 2 and is loaded with beautiful produce. It is amazing how quickly plants perk up with some rain. You’ll see a wide selection of eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and squash. Today we’ll have the first of the sweet potatoes. And of course we’ll onions, green onions, radishes, Swiss chard, and other greens – basically a ton of local, fresh vegetables. Our pumpkin grower, Webb Citian Heath Reineke, is selling all his pumpkins for $3 each regardless of size. There will be baked goods both today and tomorrow, including Hazel’s Bakery with pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and fruit breads.

Granny Shaffer’s at the Market is serving chicken tetrazzini, green beans, dessert and a beverage for $6 today. Center Creek Bluegrass plays.

Tomorrow we celebrate Market Roots. This Webb City original has been copied across the country and celebrates where our food – and we – originated. The Historical Society will have a world map where everyone can mark their ancestral home. The Genealogical Society’s books will be for sale: Families & Histories of Webb City, Carterville, & Oronogo Vol. I for $65 and Pictorial History of Webb City, Carterville & Oronogo Vol II for $30.

Every vendor will have a sign with their birth place and where their ancestors came from. In the case of our immigrant farmers, we show when and where they became US citizens. There are always several tables full of produce currently in season and where scientists think they originated. Sure hope we have watermelon so we can have Africa represented on the table. The table also has artifacts from around the world just to give the display a little more flavor – after all, you don’t get to taste the display so you’ll have to savor it with your eyes.

The Carl Junction Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star serves breakfast tomorrow and will give their profits to one of the many charities they support like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Society. The Green Earth Band plays. Be sure and ask them to play “The Market Song” written especially about the Webb City market.

There’s a lot going on in Webb City tomorrow with the market open from 9 to noon, Webbstock all day at the high school and Minerva’s open house downtown in the afternoon. Why not make it a Webb City day and visit them all?

On Tuesday, Granny Shaffer’s at the Market serves hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken salad sandwiches and chef salads. Gospel Strings performs.

It’s a wonderful time of year to visit the market. See you there!