I’ve been having fun helping get the grounds at the Governor’s Residence ready for spring and Easter.
This year at our Easter egg hunt with the kids, we will also preview our Story Book Trail around the gardens featuring Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” one of the Imagination Library books that children are receiving this year. The trail goes around the back side of our Heritage Garden with child-height panels for each page. The first panel starts at our giant willow oak tree which looks just like the giant fir tree pictured on the first page of the “Tale of Peter Rabbit.” The next panel tells about Mrs. Rabbit going through the woods to the bakery, with her umbrella and basket to get a loaf of brown bread and currant buns. I just knew that what I needed was a bakery in the woods. In my imagination I envisioned a dome bread oven made with little bricks and stones and other treasures that a bunny might have. So last weekend I made my oven for the Bunny Bakery.
I rummaged around in my shed for a flower pot about the right size and shape. It was very heavy plastic with rounded sides. My brother John helped by cutting the arch opening and wrapping the pot with chicken wire. He also brought me a bag of thinset and a bag of grout.
I had a box of mini Belden bricks, made by The Belden Brick Company close to Canton. Each one was about 3 inches long and I thought they would make the perfect arch opening. I also gathered up lots of little stones and other treasures with the help of my little grandkids. We included a broken arrowhead, some broken pieces of Blue Willow China, some fossils, and a bright red heart-shaped glass stone.
First, I coated the entire oven with thinset. Then, I started setting the bricks around the arch opening. On the back of the oven I decided to make a special design. I took some of my roof’s broken tile pieces and used a semi-circle and straight strips to create a sunrise. I love the sunrise in the state seal and I really think that this truly is a sunrise time for Ohio! I filled in the rest of the design with fun rocks and China pieces set in thinset. When the whole pot was covered with bricks and stones and pottery, I filled it in with grout and carefully washed off each section.
My Bunny Bakery oven is complete. Of course, I had to make some tiny loaves of brown bread and currant buns to have ready for Mrs. Rabbit when she comes! Floppy, Mopsy and Cottontail will have to wait a bit to pick the blackberries nearby because they are just beginning to show a little green. Peter is not going to find much in Mr. McGregor’s garden yet; we just planted the lettuce and carrots this week. But the kids can certainly use their imaginations!
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.