Sunday, September 28, 2014

The kettle is empty; the Colony Stew was a big hit.

Fun was had by all this weekend at Bishop Hill’s 43rd annual harvest celebration, Jordbruksdagarna. If you left town hungry, it was not the fault of Bishop Hill cooks! Delicious food tempted visitors throughout the village. 
In 1972 the Bishop Hill Old Settlers’ Association participated in the first Jordbruksdagarna by preparing and serving a Swedish style meal. Each year since then The Old Settlers have set up their tents and huge black kettle outside (this year on the west side of the park) to cook this traditional Colony Stew which has, in time, become a festival favorite. Crowds lined up for a hearty meal of beef and barley stew, hardtack, and rice pudding.

Many of the dishes prepared by the Old Settlers use simple fresh ingredients that would have been available to rural folk generations ago. The recipes have been passed down through Bishop Hill families and this Colony Beef Stew recipe is a perfect example. It was published in a Heritage cookbook decades ago, attributed to Beverly Spets, longtime resident and former Postmaster. Though it is scaled for a crowd, the proportions are easily converted to make a family sized meal. The original recipe is available at right to download; click the stewpot to print!

Have you enjoyed time in Bishop Hill? Even more fun than being a guest at our many events is being part of the team putting on the show, cooking up the delights, and rolling out the carpet for new friends. The Old Settlers are always happy to add new faces to their ranks. Good news: You don’t have to be old or a settler to hitch up to this group. We welcome anyone who wishes to keep these traditions rolling. Fun and fellowship are free to all interested – just use the email form to contact us. Next year you could stir that stew!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Old Settlers' prepare for Jordbruksdagarna

The weekend forecast calls for splendid weather! Come join us at Bishop Hill's harvest celebration this Saturday and Sunday. Read all the details HERE.
Hot and delicious stew for you!
Stew, hardtack, rice pudding - mmmmm
Since 1972, on the last weekend in September each year, Bishop Hill has celebrated the harvest festival, Jordbruksdagarna (pronounced yord-brooks-DAH-ga-na), Swedish for "Earth Work Days.” The park and locations about town are now being readied for this weekend's festivities. The Bishop Hill Old Settlers are hauling the old stew cauldron to the park and setting up tables for the traditional meal they prepare for festival guests each September. On the menu is colony stew, hard tack, and rice pudding.

Enjoy your meal in the beautiful park
Many family and  kids activities are planned
Shop our fabulous selection of harvest produce
Music for your enjoyment
Come and enjoy 19th century agricultural and artisan demonstrations, food, music, children’s activities, and a hearty colonial meal. Shop vendors selling produce, antiques, and baked goods. See firsthand what our ancestors did to create the world of luxury in which we live today!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Old Settlers' Day Reflections

Old Settlers' Day Past
The caption on the photo above, which is on display at the Henry County Historical Museum, indicates it was taken at the 70th Anniversary of the founding of Bishop Hill. The Old Settlers have held many, many celebrations honoring the history of this community. This year’s Old Settlers’ Day program was especially poignant.

Randel J. Anderson, Our Last Postmaster

The keynote speaker, Randel Anderson, delivered a brief history of mail service in rural Bishop Hill, citing all our preceding Postmasters and the contributions they made. This long list ended with Mr. Anderson’s own name and years of service; he is the current and, and sadly, the last Bishop Hill Postmaster. He will officially retire on September 30, 2014. Due to nationwide cutbacks by the USPS, the hours of operation of the BH Post Office will be reduced to half days and the position of Postmaster will be retired. His presentation was met with applause and expressions of gratitude from the audience. 

The day was sunny and warm and both the dinner and program were enjoyed by all. A dedicated group of volunteers keeps this event going and growing. A delicious chicken dinner was prepared and served by some of Bishop Hill's finest cooks. Nearly 100 supporters and friends attended. Participants travel to this annual event from distances near and far. They come to reflect on the past, enjoy the fellowship, and share thoughts on shaping the future of Bishop Hill. The simplicity of this ritual and the sincerity of this generous group is what launches and sustains lifelong friendships. Missed it? Add the date to your calendar for next year: September 12, 2015. If you’d like to be part of this “in crowd,” join the Bishop Hill Old Settlers' Association today. Use the contact form at right to request an application. New members are always welcome!

The Bishop Hill High Society Band
Preparing For The Feast
Chicken, Chicken, Chicken
Tables Ready For Guests
Serving A Delicious Meal
The  Room Was Filled With Diners
Warm Pie In A Sunny Window
The Hardworking Cleanup Crew
Knock On Our Doors. New Members Are Always Welcome!