and double digging — the kind where you tell yourself you’re just going to do
so much and then find yourself in a panic to do twice that just to finish faster
– we have finished the vegetable plot. All that remains is to plant. We put in
our Mung bean sprouts yesterday, and now we have cucumbers, peppers, and French
beans left to go in.
hang-up when we couldn’t find graham flour) with three recipes baked. So far
Alton Brown’s recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/graham-crackers-recipe/index.html) is our taste favorite, but we now have to make the sacrifice of making pies and taste-testing them to see which works best as a crust.
starting to come in. The farmer’s market yesterday was boasting the first summer
squash and some beautiful baby carrots. For us that means it’s time to start
changing up the menu to incorporate all of that fresh veggie goodness, so stop
by and check out our changes!
all of the grass still in place, house-candied oranges, the after: fully
double-dug vegetable plot, graham crackers.
I Double Dog Dare you to Double Dig that Dirt!
As you might have guessed from the title, the last few days have been filled with double digging. The soppy soil that resulted from this last week’s rain gave us a brief respite, but the minute the sun did shine, Victoria, Adam, and I were at it again.
Double digging is a process for preparing beds for plants. If you would like to know the specifics of the process, here’s a video for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W85QmZgDxFk . If not, all you need to know is double digging requires you to dig into a row more than two times.
While very helpful to the plants, double digging also helps us gardeners get back into tip top shape! Those shovelfuls of dirt aren’t light, you know! I’ll admit that, in a moment of weakness, I was tempted to run to the road, flag over a truck and get one of the shipbuilders on their way to Bath to help us speed up the process a bit. But, alas, I decided the U.S. Navy could have their ships and I could help our garden. Pretty generous, right?
Luckily, this intensive work is all but finished. We have two and a half more rows to dig, compared with the seven we had a few weeks ago. Now if only the summer rain would let us finish…
although it is breaking up our final push to get the vegetables happily situated
in their plot. We settled for making the goats happy instead by giving their
barn its annual de-spidering. Turns out that cobwebs are pretty good at clogging
vacuum cleaners, but in the end we prevailed!
since there is always something to do around the inn, but rainy) day, so I
restocked chocolate chip cookies for the cookie jar – a popular tourist
attraction For the first time in my life I actually hit the recipe yield more
or less on the head, so my venture must have been blessed by the cookie
crackers and to figure out the perfect pizza dough and then a little friendly
competition for best toppings combination, but since we have to taste-test all
of them, everyone is a winner!
Working in any part of the kitchen can be stressful; pans sizzle with scalding oil, knives race up and down skinned onions. All the activity creates a microclimate in the kitchen similar to the deep jungle—only it’s Chef Mario one has to look out for, not big cats.
It’s to be expected that the bustle of so many bodies moving toward the good cause of making delicious food create a pile of not-so-tasty dishes. But that’s what dishwashers are for, right? And by dishwashers, I’m referring to the ten-fingered variety, not the box of chrome. On nights where help is needed, somehow I fit this description.
At first, the mound of metal rounds can be quite intimidating. Sometimes Lara or Mario will rush behind me and yell, “Sharp!” or worse, “Hot” and then I have one more hazard for my ever-hesitant mind to remember. After awhile though, I begin to actually…gasp….enjoy doing the dishes.
This, Mario says, is called the “Zen” of dishwashing. You get into the groove of rinse, wash, rinse, and the whole things feels rather relaxing. In fact, cleaning caked mushrooms out of a pot or scraping greasy pans to a shine (ok, not quite a shine per se, but certainly a nice matte finish) can be more satisfying than a glass of cold water. Some things in life aren’t easy to clean up, but at least we’ve got dishwashing!
the last couple of weeks since I’ve come up to Maine. One day it is sunny and
hot, the next it’s raining and I’m wearing a sweater. The upside is that all of
the baby plants we are transplanting are getting lots of water and doing really
well while we can plant them and not have to stand in a puddle! Today we
transplanted several sages, arnica, st. john’s wort and (my favorite
prospect) some cherry tomatoes in pots close to the guest rooms for some
up-close-and-personal farm-to-table (or mouth!)
working at the Inn. I am a Writing/English major at Northland College in Ashland
Wisconsin. It borders a place not dissimilar from coastal Maine. Our duties as
interns vary widely; some days we weed and plant in the garden, and others we
make (and “sample”) delicious creations in the kitchen.
bloom! Although it is difficult to chose a favorite flower, one of Lara’s top
picks makes its home right in our side yard. It’s a tall, bushy shrub with
delicate yellow flowers that have a smell, Lara says, that reminds her of
summers in her childhood. She didn’t remember the name of the tree, so I decided
to try and identify it. It turns out, however, that blindly trying to discover
the name of a shrub is more difficult than Google searching “yellow-flowered
shrub.” Even with Victoria’s savvy hunting on gobotany.newengland.org, we had to cut
We’ve decided to call it a day for now and get back to back-breaking
plant identification. If you have any ideas, kindly let us know.
We’ve been busy this spring! We opened on mid April, and have had some good busy nights at the restaurant so far. We are still only serving Thursday, Friday & Saturday till Memorial Day weekend. We have had just a sprinkling of inn guests, so far, as is the norm for this time of year. With our “free time” I have been getting busy in the garden. I have Calendula, Spearmint, feverfew, hollyhocks and goji berries planted out by the old well. There is mullein, skullcap, and elecampane next to the trellis. I just planted some amaranth by the parking lot, and spinach, dandelion, and a spinach substitute by the willow tree. I have nettles planted, and more sprouted, ready to go into the ground. This is one of my FAVORITE greens… Most of my tree seeds popped, and they will spend the year in the protection of pots, and get planted next year! I have chaste tree, sea buckthorne, slippery elm, and horse chestnut. I’m having a hard time getting the ginko tree seeds to pop, but no wonder, they are huge and solid, so I can see that it would be difficult to sprout!!! I have lots of other seeds popped in the green house, just waiting for the garden beds to be ready for them…more weeding and spreading compost!! Then I will start again with more herbs and veggies!! The vegetable garden is getting plowed today, so will soon be ready for the veggies…any ways…back to work!!!! Happy spring
Spring is here (ahem…kind of, well it is Maine:) and we are officially open!! We opened for our first dinner service on April 18th, and all went well! We had a few tables Thurs, Fri & Sat which was perfect to get the ball rolling.
We are still working on classes here at the inn, but have confirmed a few. On May 18th we will have a cheese making class for feta, ricotta, chevre and mozzarella. The teacher is actually a woman that worked with the previous owners, when they made goat cheese in house…something we hope to do again soon The other class we will host is an earthen oven building class, on June 8th and 9th. This should be a fun two days where participants build a large oven that will be used here at the inn to make breads, pizzas and more. As well as building small personal ovens that will be available to take home. Of course, we always have Mario’s cooking classes, but he can also do different stuff like butchering (a major money saver) and smoking meats!
As spring comes around we are busy in the garden too…we are sarting seeds in the greenhouse, such as nettles, red celery, lovage, salad pansies, goji berries, linden trees and much more. All to be incorporated into our cuisine!! Its an exciting time here in Maine. Happy spring!!!!
Yay, I planted my nettle seeds the other day, and they are starting to sprout! Nettles are a nutrition powerhouse, yummy, and can be used like cooked spinach. Don’t eat them raw, or else you’re in for a prickly surprise Nettles are extremely high in vitamins and minerals, and in Chinese medicine they are said to help tone the blood, and strengthen the liver and kidneys. I can’t wait to make not only soup, but raviolis, and souffles out of these nourishing spring plants. Here is a simple recipe for a nourishing spring soup!
12 oz potatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp high heat oil such as sunflower or grape seed
6oz of nettles, coarse chopped (wear gloves, or use a plastic bag to handle when raw)
2 pints of veggie or chic stock
1 tsp nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
S&P to taste
Soy sauce to taste
Cook onions in oil until golden, add finely chopped potato, stir frequently for about 5 minutes
Add the nettles and a splash of stock and let sweat for another 5 min
Add the rest of stock, simmer for 15. Add nutmeg, then blend. Add lemon, salt and pepper, finish with a dash of soy. Don’t over season or else you will overpower the simple earthiness of this spring soup! Enjoy
-From Recipes for Self Healing by Daverick Leggett
The other day was the first day of only one or two days, since about mid December where there was no snow on the ground, and the chickens were ecstatic. In summer they eat some feed, and lots of bugs. In winter we almost double their feed cause there is nothing moving around in the frozen solid soil of Maine from December to March. But the other day, the ground was muddy, and grass shoots were exposed . The chickens went to town eating the bugs and tender green shoots! So much so, I barely gave them any feed! Ahhhh, the first few signs of spring!….it’s such a tease as today we are getting several inches of snow again