Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 14, 2012

Tim Preston: Orphan green beans, downtown art, sweet scents and canoe fantasy: 10/14/12

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I get a lot of interesting phone calls and emails, although few that I’ve enjoyed as much as a conversation with Sandra Law of Tifton, Ga., last week. I have a strange fascination with the way certain things are absolute favorites in certain areas, and anyone who has spent any time in these hills knows that when it comes to green beans, white half runners are the hands-down favorites.

Law, whose farming operation 90 miles south of Macon grew extra white half runners this season, explained they had 100 to 125 bushels of the beans to move with no place to market them. She was trying to contact Artrip’s Market in Ashland in hopes it might be able to use the surplus and came across a few of my ramblings about the delicious peaches obtained at the market on 13th Street in Ashland.

Since Artrip’s is really a just-drop-by kind of place, I also don’t have a number for the market so I jumped in the car and passed Law’s contact information along to owner Ken Artrip. I could tell he was sympathetic to the farmer’s dilemma, although he shook his head and said it is simply the wrong time of year to even try moving that many white half runners, even in this market. Artrip said he would call the farmer, explaining he might be able to use about a fifth of their harvest

I have no idea how this all worked out, but I did enjoy talking to the farmer gal in Georgia and wish her operation great success.

The Daft Craft

It took a couple of tries, but I made it back to The Daft Craft on 15th Street near Fat Patty’s in Ashland last week and did a bit of hit-and-run journalism with owner Tiffany Hixon.

Hixon, who is a studio arts major at nearby Ohio university Southern and a 1999 graduate of Ironton High School, said she wanted to open the business to further build community within the downtown arts district and provide an outlet for handmade art as well as gallery space for more traditional art forms.

The shop’s featured artist for October is Ted E. Fosterwelch of Ashland, who has reportedly sold about half of the works he has on display there during the first week of his first solo show. You’ll find a few of Fosterwelch’s painted bottles in The Daft Craft display case, and a selection of his paintings in their gallery.

I asked Hixon to try and describe the “left to right” of things at The Daft Craft and she said, “We’ve got vintage items ... clothing, home wares, upcycled goods ... pretty much anything hand made from soap to jewelry to picture frames and crocheted jellyfish. And, of course, the art gallery part.” I pointed out you don’t often hear references to crocheted jellyfish, and noticed Hixon didn’t even mention the antique wedding gowns and other interesting things the shop has to offer anyone who is in search of something unique, cool and different.

Encouraged by the number of customers in the first days of business, Hixon said The Daft Craft is now a full-time business with open doors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, look them up on Facebook or call (606) 547-8555.

Beary Sweet Scents

After writing a sketchy note from a voice mail message about the opening of Beary Sweet Scents & More at 2009 Argillite Road in Flatwoods, I recently enjoyed a conversation with the silent partner of owner Nora Meyer, who explained a bit more about the new business and gave me a quick education about tarts.

The shop, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, features a staggering variety of candles and tarts hand-crafted by Meyer and offering far more aromatic qualities than commercially-produced candles. They also feature antiques and primitive decor items, some of which are constructed of wood harvested more than a century ago.

The shop also has a display of “Sweet and Sassy” candies created by Kelli Lutz, who is deeply involved with breast cancer awareness events and fundraisers. Lutz’s candy creations include cotton candy available “in any flavor.” To learn more about the candies, visit kellilutz@yahoo.com on the Internet.

Meyer, who also works as a school bus driver for the Raceland school system, is also an Avon consultant and a person who wants to work with community organizations in the area. She offers layaways and takes consignment items at Beary Sweet Scents & More, where she is offering a 10 percent discount on breast cancer support merchandise during October. You can find more information about the shop on Facebook, or by email at norahoward606@yahoo.com or by calling (606) 834-1871 or 465-6472.

My dry canoe

I’m still nursing a fantasy about taking my wife through the Laurel Gorge in our still-new canoe, but the boat remains unmoved in my driveway for yet another weekend. I called Dave Brickey in Sandy Hook for a follow-up report about his new canoe and kayak rental business and he said they’ve had several visitors from the Ashland area since we last spoke.

“It’s beautiful down there right now,” he said when I mentioned a first-hand report describing the color of the leaves along the flat-water route which has been described to me as some of the most beautiful Kentucky country you’ll ever find. I could tell was Brickey was busy, but we still took a few moments to trade stories. He mentioned they recently had a family including one “pretty good sized man” who they had to find a bigger boat for, and another family who ordered a pizza in town and paddled it about an hour upstream before enjoying it at the edge of the water. He also mentioned they do their best to help anyone who shows up for an outdoor adventure but still need things such as life jackets, paddles  or transport from the other end of the waterway at the end of the day. Brickey said he will rent boats and equipment for Laurel Gorge exploration year-round, and points out the narrow creek remains passable even at winter pool.

And, I was thrilled to hear Brickey say he has seen many visitors to the gorge finish their paddling and then make a visit to the nearby cultural center before heading into Sandy Hook to spend a little money. Based solely on what his fishing friends tell him, Brickey said anglers have also been having pretty good luck catching crappie and the occasional white bass from Laurel Creek.

If I’m lucky, I will put my unused fishing pole into our neglected canoe and get down there with my wife this weekend. For more information or to reserve a boat or other assistance for your own Laurel Gorge adventure, call Brickey at (304) 634-8434.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.