Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas!

PLACE...
CHARLIE BROWN FARMS - NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS, THOUGH
My friends and I stopped at this roadside store in the middle of nowhere (sorry to the folks who live somewhat around there!) kind of on a whim. I had heard of this place - that it was a fun stop off with lots of eclectic things to purchase and unusual food products for sale, like alligator meat and ostrich eggs. It sounded like a place right up my alley!

We were already in the area, having explored several other fun places around here, so we assumed (and yes, I do know what happens when one assumes and I proved it true, again) that this would be a quick stop off on the way home. We were delightfully wrong! Although this innocuous-looking store appears to be a kind of old-fashioned, general store, walk through its doors and you will be utterly amazed at its massive size (it's on six acres!) and the astonishing variety of goods offered here.

The section immediately through the door has an impressive selection of over 1,000 food items including nuts; dried fruits; pretzels and chips; candy (the owners claim over 1,000 kinds) - a multitude of flavors (over fifty!) of just saltwater taffies, plus fudge, brittle, horehound candies, chocolate, hard-to-find speciality and novelty candy; locally grown fruits and vegetables; a plethora of honey, molasses, and jams and jellies; sixty kinds of jerky; home-made cookies; ostrich eggs; sodas flavors and brands that are not readily available at most other stores; and so much more.

Walk on uneven floors and through some hallways from one room to another; rooms that are filled with vast assortments of everything under one roof. One room is devoted to collectible, porcelain, and vinyl dolls - over 1,000 of them to purchase. Another room is packed with games and toys, including reproductions of classics, collectibles, and newer ones, in addition to too many choices of marbles. Another is devoted to hundreds of teapots, plus dishes, cookie jars, and home products. Christmas ornaments and decorations are available year round in a room towards the back.

Another quirky room features larger-than-life-size statues of pirates, penguin butlers, Betty Boop, and cavemen, plus an old English phone booth and more. Dinosaurs from miniature to life-size are ensconced in yet another room, while fake animal heads (for sale) hang on some doorways. There are also rooms filled with all things military; one that holds just gnome statues and trinkets; another that has gift items; another with jewelry; and much, much more! And all this is really just a summary of what the store has to offer. You really can do all your Christmas shopping (especially for that hard-to-buy-for person) at one location.

The small, inside restaurant boasts a Western theme, while the outside seating area is harder to catagorize as although there are tables and chairs, there are also large statues of zebras, knights, lions, elephants, etc. The decor in this huge, but homey-style store and restaurant is both odd and fun. The food is delicious with a choice of Texas barbecue tri-tip, barbecued chicken, pulled pork, or baby back ribs, plus a choice of two sides for about $9.95. Burgers of venison, ostrich, buffalo, or ground steak are an average of $7.95 per. (Alligator, elk and rattlesnake meats are also available.) And there’s more! The snack bar offers breakfast and sandwich wraps (average $7.95); bread bowls (about $6.95); a slew of salads to chose from (average $6.95); and deli sandwiches (about $6.75); side orders (sweet potato fries, cowboy beans, chili cheese fries, pepper bellies), plus the good stuff like date shakes, frozen custard, kettle corn, pie shakes (with flavors like cherry pie, banana cream pie, etc.), deep-fried Twinkies, Hawaiian shaved ice, funnel cakes, and lots more. The coffee menu is also fairly extensive, of course.

Charlie Brown Farms is an eclectic treasure trove for collectors, anyone who wants a unique gift, or a hungry person with a hankering for some good (and maybe unusual) grub.

WHEN YOU GO:
What: Charlie Brown Farms
Where: 8317 Pearblossom Highway, Littlerock
Contact Info: (661) 944-2606 / http://www.charliebrownfarms.com/
Hours: Open daily, 8am - 8pm.

PERSONAL...
I recently had major surgery and have to admit that having surgery really wasn’t that much fun! Not that I thought it was, but now I know for sure. Recovery wasn’t any more fun than the surgery. So, on one hand, without trying to whine (although whining is one of my gifts), I just have to say - YUCK.  On the other hand, there were some definite benefits, like losing weight from not being interested in eating. (There is a first for everything!) Alas, once I got my appetite back, that benefit was sidelined. (sigh) Another benefit: My doctor told me that I couldn’t lift anything remotely heavy for a while or even push anything - I understand this to mean that I can never push a vacuum cleaner around again. Ever. I’m pretty sure that’s what my doctor actually meant, although she didn’t say so in so many words.
I do have a question, though: What does the word “rest” mean to you? I’m genuinely curious. I was told to rest. No elaboration. Does that mean stay in bed? Sit down a lot? Lay around and watch others do all the chores? Or, do what you can, then take it easy until you don’t hurt anymore, get up and do some more; repeat?
The greatest benefits of the surgery include being thankful that I could afford to get the surgery, knowing my life will be better for having had it, and being completely healed now. Yahoo! While there was a temporary sense (albeit a seemingly longish temporary sense!) of not enjoying my life, the long term effect is feeling, and living, like I have a new lease on life! Double yahoo!


PROFUNDITY...
We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.  - Frederick Keonig

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