Sunday After Pageant

I think we might have had record attendance at sacrament meeting.  We filled the building.  Brother and Sister Pitt talked.  They recently returned from serving a mission where he was mission president of the Utah Provo Mission.

Most of our house guests left this morning.  The Pauleys are still here as they had their last assignment as site volunteers.

The full-time missionaries and the Pauleys joined us for dinner.  I fixed BBQ ribs. (I was a bit disappointed in the poor quality meat however.  I’ve now bought about every type of meat Breen’s sells, and I’ve been disappointed every time. )

We are supposed to start getting rain.  We really need it.  The lawn is so dead.

Pageant Ends Today

The Hill Cumorah Pageant 2012 ends today.  Tonight is the last performance of the season.  So, if you are interested in next year’s pageant, and want to be a part of it, watch this link for the application:

Elizabethe and I took the Pauleys to see Corbet’s Glen and High Falls in Rochester.  We had lunch at Dinosaur BBQ.  I went for the brisket sandwich.  The Pauley’s are here serving as site volunteers.  They help guide people at the various church sites, and help maintain a spirit of reverence at these sites.  (It is a great two week mission.  This is their second year doing it, and their second time staying at the Beckwith Mansion.)

The Pauley’s at Corbett’s Glen

The rest of my afternoon and evening was spent retouching photos.

Final Day of PPSNYS Workshop 2012

There are only two more nights left for Hill Cumorah Pageant. The crowds are really big this year. Start making plans for Pageant 2013 now.

We wrapped things up in our workshop today.  It will be nice to get back to things that have been neglected, but it was also nice to learn how to be a better painter.

Smiths’ Cooper Shop, Palmyra, New York

Based off a photo I took, I painted the Smith Family Cooper Shop.  It’s a sketch/paint combination.  I’m not sure if I’m going to turn it in to a limited edition print, or just keep the original in the mansion, or sell the original.  I really like it and it has some great details.

There are only two more nights left for Hill Cumorah Pageant.  The crowds are really big this year.  Start making plans for Pageant 2013 now.



Day 4 of PPSNYS Workshop 2012

The Hill Cumorah Pageant continues.  In fact, on my way home from Geneva today, I could see the lights on the hill and the traffic control.  I went around the hill for safety purposes, but when I got to Temple Road, I was startled by a group of teenagers, all dressed in dark clothes, wandering across the street.  The speed limit at that location is 45 mph, and I was doing about 40 and had to break suddenly.  (Folks, if you’re going to walk rural farm roads at night, please wear something reflective, or dangle a white hankie from your pocket, or something!!!)  Needless to say, and thank goodness, I did not hit any of them.  (There were about 40 of them crossing the street.)

Workshop today went great.  Here’s a painting I completed today…

Instructor Assigned Painting

After class we had a buffet dinner, an awards ceremony, and class slide shows.  I’m glad I picked this class.  Ours were the best images.

Day Three of PPSNYS 2012 and Pageant

The Hill Cumorah Pageant is moving right along.  We have a full house, but I hardly see any of our guest because I’m attending the PPSNYS Workshop at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York.

Gypsy Lady in Pastels


The above is proof that I’m paying attention in class.  I think the most fun part of doing this painting was the detail in the jewelry.  When looking at it closely, you can see the brush strokes that make up the detail.  Her hair was the most difficult part.  I’m not sure if I’m 100% satisfied with it or not.  I don’t like the way it hits her shoulder, and the color and textures aren’t quite there.  But, it is a work in progress.

D. Brent Walton, cpp, is owner of db walton – CAPTURING BEAUTY Studio in Palmyra, New York. Brent is working on his Master’s and Craftsman degrees.  Visit his web site at and his fine art site at

Choir Sings and PPSNYS Workshop

Our Sacrament Meeting was wonderful.  President and Sister Christensen talked as did Elder Evans (??).  The choir sang two numbers from From Cumorah’s Hill, and they also sang a descant part during the closing hymn, The Spirit of God.

After church I had to head to Geneva for my PPSNYS Workshop.  It is registration and orientation today.  I had mixed feelings about having to do this on the sabbath, as well as missing feeding the missionaries.  (That’s always a highlight of my week — dinner with the full-time missionaries.)

Sunset on I-90 Tonight

I’m glad to report we got a little rain today.  We got enough to cool things down a bit and perk up the plants.  We could use a few more days like today.

Date Day and How to Cook Chinese

So, I am about to disclose the secret for cooking food that will taste like it came from a Chinese restaurant. But, first, you’ll need some ingredients. I’m going to keep this very simple.

The Hill Cumorah Pageant starts in a few hours.  Our house guests left a few minutes ago to watch the pageant.  Hill Cumorah Pageant is a huge deal around here, and the 2012 pageant is the 75th year, so it is even a bigger deal.

Rather than having a date night tonight, Elizabethe and I had a date day.  We returned to the Cantonese Market and bought a bunch of sesame balls to freeze.  We also bought a few other items to restock the pantry.

They did not have any red curry paste, so we headed to Lee’s Oriental Foods (also in Rochester).  I found my red curry paste there, as well as some baby bok choi and chow fun noodles.  (Yes, both ended up on the dinner table tonight.)

I should have been born Chinese.  I love Chinese food.  I realize a lot of what we get in Chinese restaurants is very Americanized, but I love the flavors.

Too many people don’t have a clue about cooking Chinese food.  I remember my mom’s sweet-n-sour was soggy, as were any of the other so-called Chinese dishes she prepared.  The only thing with real texture were those canned fried noodles… which I have never seen in a Chinese restaurant…. ever!

So, I am about to disclose the secret for cooking food that will taste like it came from a Chinese restaurant.  But, first, you’ll need some ingredients.  I’m going to keep this very simple.  Here’s what you want to have in your cupboard:

  1. soy sauce – I like lighter soy sauces.  They have less salt and a milder, but fuller, flavor.  I like tamari soy sauce for that reason.  Also Kikoman Lite is good too.
  2. Oyster sauce – No, it does not taste like oysters, and it is not fishy either.  It is a thick brown sauce with a sweet-salty flavor.
  3. Mirin – This is a sweet rice wine (but you can find non-alcoholic versions as I have).  To me, it taste like very sweet pinapple.
  4. Sriracha sauce – this is a sweet chili sauce.
  5. White (or brown) long grain (not par boiled) rice  – add 1 cup rice to about 1 1/2 cups cold water.  Bring to a full boil.  Put a lid on the pan, and turn off the heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes, covered, while it soaks up the water.
  6. Peanut or cooking oil – just every day cooking oil.  You can use a light olive oil if that’s your thing.

Now, here is the big secret.   It is all in the order and speed in which you do things.  Oh, and a wok or large fry pan with sloping sides is the best way to cook your food.  So, pay attention to the order here…

  1. In a bowl, prepare your sauce.  Oyster sauce by itself is often good enough for newbies.    If you want to jazz up the oyster sauce, add some ginger, garlic, sriracha sauce, marin, etc.  Stir it up, but don’t add so much stuff that it is runny.  You want it thick.  Make sure you taste it so you know it taste good.  But, if you’re just starting, just add some oyster sauce to a bowl (about 1 cup worth)
  2. Get your wok on the stove and add a couple tablespoons of oil.  Heat the wok until the oil starts to smoke a little, and then carefully place your meat in the wok and stir it around until browned and cooked.
  3. Place your meat in a bowl
  4. Place your veggies in the wok and just warm them up while keeping them moving.  You don’t want them cooked or wilted.
  5. Dump the veggies over the meat
  6. Put your sauce in the wok until it bubbles
  7. Pour the hot sauce over your veggies and meat
  8. Toss and serve immediately  (with the rice you already prepared)
Mirin, Sriracha, Soy and Oyster Sauces

If you end up with a bunch of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, you didn’t work fast enough.  Don’t cook the veggies, meat and sauce together.  That will just make a gloppy mess.  Keep it all apart until the end and then toss like you would  a salad.

If you want something more spicy, add a squirt of sriracha sauce right before you toss.  Sweeter?  Add a spoon full of mirin before tossing.

It’s really pretty easy.

Here’s a suggestion for your first attempt:

Meat:  chicken breast (raw) cut in to bite sized pieces

Sauce:  Oyster sauce

Veggies:  1/2 onion cut in to 1″ squares, 1 baby bok choi head (leaves separated in to individuals), 1 small zucchini cut in to 1/8″ slices

Cook the chicken in the hot oil, and then put in the bowl  Place the veggies (except for bok choi)  in the hot wok and warm them up. Dump them in the bowl with the meat and bok choi and cover with the oyster sauce and then toss.  Serve with steamed rice.

Told you it is easy.

Pageant Duty

Tomorrow, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) will present the 2012 Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Today I volunteered to help with security on the hill.  They stationed me at the base of the hill to help control traffic to the top of the hill.  It was a nice place because I had a lovely shade tree.

At My Security Post

I love the people I meet while volunteering at pageant.  I met a family that knows my brother.  I met a family from Benicia, California.  I met local people whom I hadn’t met until today.  It’s fun and so cool that this all happens here… in Palmyra.

Comes tomorrow, the village will be full of tourists (more than the last few days), as people prepare to watch the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

By the way, people are already starting to ask about staying at the Beckwith Mansion in 2013.  May this serve as a suggestion to contact us EARLY if you would like to stay at the Beckwith Mansion and Estate during Pageant 2013.

D. Brent Walton is a Certified Professional Photographer ( and who resides in Palmyra, New York.  Brent and his wife, Elizabethe, own and operate the Beckwith Mansion and Estate.  They offer no-frills affordable housing in our 19th Century Colonial Mansion.  (

Pageant Temple Schedule

We started the pageant temple schedule today.    For the next two weeks, the temple will operate from 7am to 7pm.  I signed up for the 7am to 1pm shift for today.  It was pretty quiet, but we did have a family of 5 from the Shetland Islands visiting.

We had another couple arrive today.  They are from the mid-west and serving as site missionaries.  They were here last year too, so it is nice to see them again.

After dinner Elizabethe and I went to find the family whose barn burnt down a few months ago.  The first stop was the lady’s mother-in-law so that made it easy.  When we finally found the family, the kids came running out too.  I gave her two copies of the watercolor I did of their barn.  She was extremely grateful.  Elizabethe gave her a bottle of our peach preserves too.   The two little girls ran and picked some tomatoes and cucumbers and gave them to us.  We had a nice visit with them.

Pre-Pageant Sunday

It’s too bad many of our tourist spend such little time here. Stop. Spend time. Catch the flavor of our little village. Even our mayor was there grabbing photos with her smart phone.

Hill Cumorah Pageant starts this week.  This is the last Sunday before it starts.  We had overflow crowds at church, and probably will until the end of summer.  Next week will be very crowded.

The choir practiced after church.  We will be singing next Sunday and the Sunday after.  We still have sacrament meeting and the rest of our meetings.  We just have lots of visitors.

After church and choir practice, I took a walk down to the village park.  They had a local group doing Beatles covers as well as other hits from the 60s.

Inside Out – Palmyra 7/8/2012

Inside Out performed songs like Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There.  In addition to some Beatles, they performed songs like She’s Not There (the Zombies) and other songs from that era.

There was a small dance area set up, but most people were staying in the shade.  It was a bit warm.

Listeners Enjoying the Shade

The American Legion also was there selling hots and burgers.  These two stopped and posed for the camera.

Cheese Burger

I love our Village’s little events like this.  This small town is friendly and it shows.  It’s too bad many of our tourists spend so little time here.  Stop.  Spend time.  Catch the flavor of our little village.  Even our mayor was there grabbing photos with her smart phone.

Mayor Vicky Daly Takes Photos at the Concert

I noticed one man came to this concert prepared…

A Beatles Fan

To experience Palmyra, you need to spend some time here.  This is a great place with lots to see and do.  Who knows.  You might even catch a concert in the park.