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!!!!
When I came down to let the dogs out the morning after the snow started on Friday February 8th all I saw was this wall of snow.
Yesterday night we had our first snow fall. It came with a winter storm. (now they name them…this one Athena!). While New York and New Jersey received up to a foot, we only got 2-3 inches. Our hearts go out to all our friends and family in the greater New York area, that are only just beginning to recover from Sandy and now get another blast from a winter storm.
Here, it is peaceful and quiet. The inn is cozy and warm with fires going, and the birds outside are searching around for crumbs in the already melting snow. Our young chickens experienced the snow for their first time today. They eagerly ran out of their pens only to be shocked by the strange feeling under their toes…many of them kept flying to a new spot hoping it would feel different…it didn’t I found them sitting under the dry barn most of the day! Alas it is the beginning of the turning of another season…fall is half way past, and starting to show the hints of winter. We seal up the doors and windows, bring in the wood, and get cozy! As I have just joined my parents here, this is my first real winter in Maine. I can only hope that while it may indeed be…ahem…chilly, it also holds up to the locals’ claims of being the best season here!
I have to admit the idea of the holiday season in such a chilly climate sounds fabulous! To me it holds truer to my preconceived notions of a brisk turkeyday football game, St. Nick on a snowy rooftop, and sparkly streets at the turning of the year. I look forward to celebrating!
So we have been very fortunate this year with all the animals that have been sharing our midcoast Maine inn’s property! We ALWAYS have turkeys on our property, but they have thrived this year and I have seen baby after baby :) Very cute…Lately we’ve also had quite a few deer munching in the back field….they’re beautiful, but it makes the gardener in me worried….We had a pair of geese that we were hoping would nest in our pond, but I think they thought of it more as a weekend home. I’ve seen a few porcupines here, too, and they seem to have a taste for fruit tree branches :( Yesterday I saw a pair of osprey that both had fish in their talons, and tried to land on a branch but the turkeys chased them off….I think they were protecting their babies! While I am no bird expert, I have also seen a ton of beautiful songbirds…lovely little yelloe ones which I think are finches, some cardinals, and a few other interesting black birds with orange on their faces. It makes me so happy that we have an environment here that is so welcoming to the animals…it suggests we have created an oasis of peace and tranquility
So we had a great memorial day weekend, with just fabulous guests! Summer is starting to roll in, as days get warmer. We have had some very monstrous thunderstorms too, with the contrasting airtemps. But, that means good things in the garden, and hence the kitchen. Our chives have been flowering, the tomatoes and squash are leaving the warmth of the greenhouse, to head to the garden this week. This will make room for a whole new round of seeds :) Basil popped the other day, parsley close behind, and the cilantro is just about ready for the garden!! Yay!! My husband will try his hand at some giant pumpkins this year. While I doubt he will get a record setter, I am hoping for something big enough to enter into the Damariscotta Pumpkin Regatta….yes, people attach outbord motors to halved hollowed pumpkins!!! http://damariscottapumpkinfest.com/ Its loads of fun!! Plan a visit now!!! I planted two kinds of calendula, some hollyhocks, and marigolds the other day. I also planted some hot peppers into the planters by the deck. They are a stunning flower, as well as smell really nice when blooming before the peppers form. Then a fun display of colors! I did plant some sorrel and arugula, but I put them in a bed where the chickens like to scratch in, so I think I have to try again with some netting or chicken fencing laid over them :( Other than that, we are just chugging along keeping up with all that has to be done round here, enjoying the rain, as it saves me one extra chore of watering but can’t wait for more good sunshine days!!! Oh. and here are some examples of the giant pumpkin carvings from last year’s festival…yes those are pumpkins!
I went to meet Stu last week, and had a great time! Stu Silverstein is the gentleman who will be teaching our class on earthen and brick wood fired oven building! As I arrived, he had a fire already going in his large permanent earthen oven sitting in his back yard. After introductions, we went inside to find a dough rising on the kitchen counter. He chopped off a small piece and flattened it out and we went outside to bake. Within a few moments, the bread was in the oven browning, and after a quick turn and maybe five or six minutes later, this lovely crusty yet soft bread was done. We went inside to eat…I had brought a cream of mushroom soup with me, and they went perfectly together! As I made the drive back down to the midcoast area from Augusta, I had the smell of another loaf of bread Stu had givien me wafting through the car, and I was filled with sweet visions of our own home baked bread, and pizzas coming from our soon to be oven at the inn!!! Mmmm….
But alas patience is a virtue, so in the mean time we look to what we have, plant like fiends, so we will have lots to work with this summer, and wait…..
Maybe a good time to make some bread dough, so I’m ready for our upcoming class…..
If you’ve ever wanted to have a pizza oven in your backyard, then join us and learn how to build various types of wood-fired pizza/bread ovens. No experience required.
Participants will work with clay and brick and construct low-cost ovens that will make the very best pizzas and breads. Discussions include techniques for making pizzas, flat breads, sourdou
Stu Silverstein, instructor, is an artist who bakes a lot of bread, builds earth ovens and writes about the process. He co-owns Railroad Square Cinema, Maine’s premier art house and for many years owned a brick oven cafe. Stu has also co-produced and directed the award-winning film Dead River Rough Cut, that happens to be the most requested movie at the Maine State Prison, no joke. Just recently he finished his latest book, Bread Earth and Fire. Way before that, after deciding against a career with the FBI, he finally got serious about his life and spent a lot of time driving VW buses across the country searching for great bread, but he never found any, and that’s why he learned to bake. Stu maintains the lively blog: www.iBreadhunter.blogspot.com
Food and lodging included