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
Can’t believe our 3 1/2 months “off” is almost over. For the last 6 or so weeks we’ve actually been working down at the Inn both outside & in, doing some fresh paint & wallpapering around the place as well as cleaning up the grounds. Polishing the floors & furniture is still to be done! At least our days are a lot shorter than when we are fully up & running. 2012 looks to be a good year with old & new faces coming to our bed and breakfast. It seems to be a year for weddings on Westport Island & we are getting a lot of reservations for different events. We are hosting a 3 day wedding in September for a best friend of Lara. They live in NY but love our Inn so much they are wanting to do the wedding here which we are thrilled about.
Lara will be home in another 10 days from her 5 1/2 month apprenticeship in Switzerland. We’re excited to see what she has learnt. Jay, her husbamnd, has already been planting seeds in our little greenhouse for all the veggies that Lara would like to use at the Inn this year.
Build your own earthen oven! Weekend class where you will learn how to build your own earthen oven, and even take it home with you! Earthen ovens are an ancient way of cooking, bread, pizza, and much more. Spend a weekend with us and learn all the intricacies of building one, building the fire, and cooking in one! Stu Silverstein, author of Bread, Earth & Fire, will be leading the class, and we will cook pizza and more! Class, lodging, breakfast, lunch and refreshments included! Check in Fri afternoon, and the class will be Saturday, and Sunday morning, June 8, 9 & 10th! See you there!
What an amazing early Spring we are having here in Midcoast Maine.
This weekend I am in Barcelona for a few days visiting my cousin Leo who lives here for now. Beautiful spring weather compared with the cold we’ve been having in Switzerland.
I am looking forward to coming home again on April 16th in time for opening! I have spent the winter (while the inn is closed) in Switzerland! I came here to learn how to really cook! As I have a bachelor’s in nutrition and a dad I could always call for direction, I’ve never been to shabby in the kitchen, but there is a huge difference in cooking for four or 25+….So, I came here and worked for 5 months in my uncle’s restaurant! It has been great! I have learned many little tricks, and understand what it really takes to cook for lots of people! I have copied quite a few recipes, and look forward to cooking them at the inn….some of my favorites are an orange,
walnut ricotta cake (I may try an adaptation with almonds, lemon and thyme). Another favorite is a chestnut soup that is to die for on a cold day! A tartar with olives, dorado, and cilantro…a ceviche of sorts! Some lovely sauces; a morel sauce that is to die for, and olive tapenade, and many more! Any way, I look forward to returning, getting the gardens going, and then harvesting all those lovely veggies and cooking up a storm for you at our restaurant! Till then, take care!
So, my name is Lara, and I am the daughter of the innkeepers Mario and Roni, that many of you have come to know during your stays at The Squire Tarbox Inn! After 8 years of hard work they are beginning to think about retiring, and have put the inn up for sale, but alas in this climate, that may take some time, so that’s where I come in to the picture! I have moved to Maine from Oregon to join the team, and help them take a break from the maddening pace of
an innkeeper’s life! I spent last summer there, working side by side with them, observing and thinking about what I’d like to see happen at a place like that.
As many of you have seen, it is incredibly beautiful, with it’s historic buildings, and it has all the infrastructure to be a working farm. Some of you may have been lucky enough to visit when my brother’s organic vegetable gardens were in full swing, and it was stunning…he has since outgrown the acreage, and moved to another piece of land just down the road! We are very happy for his business success, but we miss the incredibly satisfying feeling of being able to see, touch and smell all those gorgeous vibrant organic veggies on site! We hope to re grow the land he left. I have my bachelors in nutrition, so love veggies, and especially odd, obscure and heirloom types, and we will focus on those alongside many of the important restaurant staples! We have always used some of his vegetables in our cooking, but I would like to produce enough that after a year or so, we use almost exclusively our produce (alas we can’t grow lemons in Maine without greenhouses)! I also have a passion for incorporating herbs into cooking, so we will be planting lots of beautiful, healthy medicinal herbs in our gardens as well! If I stay long enough, I would like to start creating our own animal products too! The previous owners made and sold goat cheese, so that would be the first place to start, and we already have chickens in charge of the breakfast supplies…aka farm fresh eggs! I have thought about starting to raise meat birds as well, and even perhaps some sheep for milk and mutton….my brother raised pigs on the property, and I would like to do this again….the quality of the pork is UNBELIEVABLE!! My basic philosophy on cooking and eating healthy is that if you raise it yourself (or visit an inn where someone else lovingly raised it) you can eat almost whatever you want, including butter and cream and the likes, and not only is it healthy for you (within reason) but without having to do too much to it in the cooking process, it TASTES fabulous!! Some other fun projects we have in mind are to build an earthen oven for wood fired pizza and bread, to have canning parties, to have a roasting spit in the restaurant where we carve your dinner for you right in front of the fire, and many more ideas….keep checking our website as we start to update about all the changes we will start to make this year! www.squiretarboxinn.com We are a family that loves food, and we look forward to sharing its beauty, vitality, and even sensuousness with all of you!