Phew! A tornado whipped through Ohio on Thursday with at least 7 touchdowns in the state, several in nearby Athens. Some buildings were flattened and damage to a school caused a fire, so that teaching was cancelled on Friday. Many shops were closed because power supplies were disrupted too. Although we had rain, and a severe weather warning, at the Plant Sanctuary and an amazing evening sky, there was no sign of the tornado near us, thankfully, and this appears to have been an unusual event.

This weekend sees the Paw Paw Festival, a substantial happening based on grassland by a lake near Athens. Many visitors come over a 3 day period to hear all about the Paw Paw, state fruit, and for music, crafts, plant sales, kid’s rides, community groups, entertainment, workshops and more. The Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) is a widely found under-storey tree with a slightly oblong shaped pear-like fruit that tastes something between mango and custard. Some people camp for the whole weekend. If you volunteer to help in the Paw Paw Festival for 4 hours then entry is free – so that is how I became a Parking Helper, directing cars with my distinctive balloon headwear. There is a lot to see and I enjoyed finding the Herbal Sage Tea Company and other herby soap and cosmetic stalls. Fascinating talks about growing paw paw, brewing mead and ale, the use of elderberries, community farming, dyeing and spinning wool and more all competed with loud live music and delicious food suppliers, from lemon smoothies to chicken wings and paw paw chocolate brownies – yum! The afternoon was rounded off with a paw paw eating contest.