The Shoffice Beside My House

The Shoffice Beside My House

I stole my home office from my daughter. 

I suppose that makes me a bad father but when I found her cleaning out the garden shed beside our garage a few years ago – her plan was a clubhouse – I immediately saw the potential for my own home office,  a quiet repose from the upstairs echoes of our basement.  Because it was a shed and is now an office I’ve taken to calling it the shoffice.  I suppose a more exotic name may be in order but it is a quiet place to work and write and read. I had once dreamed of building a strawbale office, but this was less costly and more expedient.

It has been a step by step journey toward completion.  Each successive year I’ve done a bit more to make it an efficient and comfortable space.  At just over five feet wide and nine feet long, it is not an overly spacious office, but as someone who generally works from home four days a week it has been increasingly the right office.   

I plug the shoffice into the house electricity with an extension cord.  This adequately runs the lights, my computer and a space heater in winter.  I installed a small window air conditioner this past summer making year round work a reality.  I’m still working to finish out the ceiling, the trim work and a standing desk.  Next summer I hope to refurbish the exterior as well and add a small portico over the front door to prevent rain from running down the front door, between the crack and onto the floor.  I’d like to add a window or skylight in order to let in more natural light as well but we’ll see.

The shoffice is the place I go to work.  My family is far too fun to work inside anymore. With two high schoolers studying at home, the distracting temptation to join in the conversations is just too much and so I escape out to my little shoffice beside the garage for much of the day.  It’s my place to get things done.

Schmechfest: A Festival of Big Tastes in a Small Town

It is a grey, windswept and cold day with intermittent flurries breaking forth here and there, not so gentle reminders that winter’s grip remains still.  I’ve been hoping for spring, for a warming of days and a thawing of the ground, but it has not yet come.

Today we traveled over to our old town, Freeman, for the annual event that is Schmechfest.  For a small town it is an amazing event, held on the Freeman Academy campus and featuring a yearly musical and the Schmechfest meal, a smorgasbord sampling of German Mennonite food.  This year’s musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is once again being hailed as a masterpiece for a small town to put on.

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Sausage Making! image credit

One of the more important stops while taking in Schmechfest is at the German Sausage making presentation.  Not only can you watch them pack intestines with sausage, you can pick up some the best tasting and freshest sausage around, you can get it for a really affordable price.  In the same building you can get delicious sweets like New Years Cookies and Rosetts – you’ll just have to come down next year to see what those are.

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Tevya talks with God.   image credit

The idea that a town the size of Freeman can put on such amazing musicals year after year is truly remarkable.  There are few in the area who haven’t at one time or another been a part of a Schmechfest show.  This year Fiddler is getting the rave reviews that all shows get.  I was able to write the review for Cinderella a few years back – that was a fun challenge.  While each years production does happen in a small town, the quality of the productions are far from small town.

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Homemade jams, jellies and other good treats! image credit

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One of the servers who helped feed nearly 1,000 people a night.  image credit

Schmechfest means festival of tasting and this is one area that – for fifty five years now – Schmechfest really shines.  There is so much food and so much of it is so good.  I was able to serve coffee at the first evening’s meal and enjoyed seeing nearly 1,000 happy and well fed people eat family style.

Schmechfest happens over two consecutive weekends each spring.  It will happen again next year, the third and fourth weekends in March.

Mark your calendars!