Lake Life

& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 498-4351.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405. Saturday is a 10 p.m. candlelight meeting.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday and fourth Saturday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943 or Malisa Bilberry at (903) 340-7451, or email
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Tuesday at the Nutrition Center in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Everyone is welcome. Email  for more information.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For more info, call (903) 498-2140.
SUICIDE SURVIVORS GROUP for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
TAMARACK LADIES CLUB meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 489-2259.



Troubadour Farm furnishes blackberries by the bushel
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

PRAIRIEVILLE–A petting zoo, walking trails, picnic areas, these are all a part of the dream for Troubadour Blackberry Farm, owned by John and Amber Mize.
The dream is taking shape in the rolling hills outside of Prairieville.
“We plan on opening a store, in a year to a year and a half, similar to the Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom,” John said.
The store shelves will be stocked with homemade preserves, and jams and jellies Amber makes.
Cold treats will include blackberry flavors of ice cream, ice cold teas and lemonade.
But that’s not all, already Amber is busy baking cobblers and cheesecake with a smoothness, flavor and texture to die for.
“I used an old family cheesecake recipe, added the blackberry syrup (she swirls it in for a ribbon affect) baked it in and then poured more syrup on top,” she explained, as she handed the sample to this reporter.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Exploring the rows of ripening blackberries can be an adventure. Pictured are (from left) Gracie Mize, mom Amber, dad John and brother Caden. Big brother Camden is not pictured.

The luscious, smooth, not too sweet blackberry cheesecake is bound to be a top seller.
People have been coming in from everywhere to pick their own berries out of this little patch of 2,100 plants.
The bulk of the berry ripening is just starting, he said.
“At the end of June we were getting seven to eight gallons a day. By the end of the first week of July, that’s when the crop really comes in,” John said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there won’t be 40 to 50 gallons a day, during this period,” he added.
The berries are all picked out for the day by 10 a.m. so he advises pickers to come early.
The best thing about the six varieties of blackberries is they are thornless, he admitted, making it a lot easier for folks to pick their own.
“And we are planning on expanding – we’re probably aiming for 5,000 plants,” John explained.
His dream began about three years ago when they thought about blueberries, but a soil test soon showed them it would not work on the sand hills and clay where they are.
It took a little more research to find just what they wanted.
Their plants are less than three years old, and they were told not to expect a crop this early, but Mother Nature had other ideas, he said.
The couple have been married for eight years and have three children, Gracie, Camden and Caden.
They moved from Kaufman just three years ago, to 10 acres with a country house built in 1957. They both said they love it.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Amber Mize (far left), a young visitor, husband John Mize and son Camden show their visitor how to tell when a blackberry is ripe at Troubadour Blackberry Farm.

“We were living in downtown Kaufman, but that was just a stepping stone,” John explained.
Berry picking is not the only career John has. He is a music lover and teacher.
Several years ago, John introduced the Panther Marching band to music with a different beat.
Now he is teaching the Lions a new roar, as head band director at Kaufman High School, where he’s taught for the past seven years.
Amber was also a teacher with Kaufman ISD, but the couple wanted to find a way for her to be a stay-at-home mom while raising their three small children.
Amber home schools her children, now.
These big changes, effected their lifestyle.
“We had no idea how much work was involved in farming,” John said.
He also plays the trumpet and the piano at their church. Amber sings and plays the flute.
The couple loads up their children and drives to Landmark Baptist Church in Tyler, every weekend and every Wednesday.
That explains the name “Troubadour,” as well as its old English spelling, harking back to the musical bard heritage.
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