Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Water Wading

The weather was once again trying to make up its mind between winter and spring. During the night we got a couple inches of snow, but morning brought a steady rain. This not only added the rain water to the fields and creek, but also all that melted snow. It looked like a Spring thaw!



When the rain stopped at noon, I decided to take a gander at the "back 40" and test out the waterproof-ness of my new Keens from the Westerner.


There was an impressive amount water out back. The creek is suppose to run in front of those yellow garages!



A flock of geese flew overhead - possible suddenly deciding that it was high time they moved to a drier and warmer climate.


With the sky lightening, the reflections in the new "swampland" water was quite beautiful.


The colors of the wet grass and bark of the Dawn Redwood were amazing.


The dampness of the outside did not dampen our holiday spirit though! We set up our Christmas tree in the front dining room and strung it with lights. This is a pic pre-lights.


Decorating with ornaments will happen on Christmas Eve - a long family tradition. A new family tradition is drinking homemade eggnog while we decorate!


This "Star Trimmer", one of the Wee Forest Folk collectables that we sell at the inn. Our shop is open Wed. thru Sun. 10am to 5pm.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Goats & Gourmets - Farmstead Goat Dairy

I love goat cheese, so I was very excited to discover this local goat dairy just 15 minutes away from our inn.



Goats & Gourmets is a small family run goat dairy that follows the true artisan farmstead tradition. They use only the milk produced on their farm and all products are handcrafted on site. This allows them to produce the freshest quality product. There are no added hormones or preservatives in the products.


They offer Chèvre (similar to cream cheese) in an array of luscious flavors, such as Dill Medley or Apricot (my fav), as well as seasonal flavors. Also available are Kefir (a probiotic drink with many health benefits) and Feta. They have also started work on some hard goat cheeses, like gouda.


They sell their products in a number of farmer's markets and grocery store's, but also have "Open barn" days, where you can go to the farm and see the goats and buy direct! On "open barn" days, you also could be luck enough to be there to snag one of the freshly baked breads from a local bread bakery. (We got the yummy potato bread that was perfect with the apricot chèvre.)

When we visited the owner even gave a tour of her milking and processing facility. It was easy to see why she was so proud of her spotless and efficient facility.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Innkeepers Thanksgiving

For the first time it quite a while Mark and I were alone on Thanksgiving, except for the inn guests, but they were eating with family in the area and not with us. Even so, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is some thing we love to prepare.

We bought a straight-from-the-farm fresh turkey - a 20 pounder! It was the smallest they had, and we were will to enjoy leftovers for the rest of the week.

The first step was to prepare the stuffing. Mark did all of the chopping and slicing.


The layers build in the stuffing bowl - french bread, parsley, sautéed onions, pine nuts for starters.


I did the sauté work and the mixing.


Once the stuffing was done the the turkey stuffed and in the oven, there was time to kill. So Mark decided to finish off a batch of butter crunch toffee for Life By Chocolate. It is a big seller both in our shop, online and to the stores we wholesale to, so Mark is constantly having to make more. Here it is getting the one of the layers of dark chocolate.



Next comes the sprinkling of organic roasted and chopped almonds.



Back to Thanksgiving dinner. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes were one of the side dishes. The sweet potatoes are baked, scooped out, mashed and then sautéed leeks and Italian Sausage crumbs are folded in.


Sometimes I put this filling back in the sweet potato skins, but this time I just loaded up some ceramic boats. They are topped with cheese and then baked to warm and melt the cheese.


The other side dish this year was sautéed brussel sprouts with hazelnut butter.



I never liked brussel sprouts -- until I discovered this recipe. Yum!


Finally the turkey was done to a delicious turn! Dinner is served.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ladybug Soaps - Handmade in Greenville

On a rare day free at the inn, we drove the short distance to the Ladybug Soaps store. They make handmade soaps, face/body cremes and lotions, bath salts, lip balms, body sprays/mists and soy candles.


The idea for the shop came about because the owner suffered from eczema and couldn't use any commercially made soaps because of all the detergents and perfumes that are used in them. So she set about learning how to make a natural product that was free of all these harsh chemicals -- and so Ladybug Soaps was born!

She now makes a wide array of soaps and other products with wonderful natural scents.

The first thing you notice when walking towards her little shop is the fabulous scent wafting in the air all around the place.


The shop may be a small, but it is packed full of all sorts of delightful products. Here is a photo tour of the shop.



Candles and more soap.

Gift assortments.


Lotions, balms, shampoo, and more.



The happy friendly owner!


and me, the happy shopper!



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cluckin' A Critter Farm

We recently had the chance to get away from the inn for a moment and visit a local farm - Cluckin' A Critter Farm. This year we wanted to get a Thanksgiving Turkey from a local farm, and Delores, our office assistant, suggested the Cluckin' A Critter Farm, which happens to be just down the road from Delores' home.

According to their website the farm is a "continuing story of two people, four dogs, three barn cats, 1 pet turkey, 30 guinea fowl, 75 ducks, over 225 chickens, 5 German Angora rabbits, 7 alpacas, two sheep and their life long dream to run a little 9 acre farm in upstate New York."

Skip and Vicki sell farm fresh eggs, maple syrup, honey, raw fiber (from sheep, angora rabbits, and alpaca), yarn, free range chickens, chicks, ducklings, Vermont cheese, and in season produce.


It is fun just to visit the farm to see all the animals!





Besides the farm, Skip and Vicki operate Nature's Friend's of Hospice. This is a registered not-for-profit gift shop to benefit the Community Hospice program. As a former nurse, this is a program close to Vicki's heart.


The gift shop features donations of art work, knitted items, and a wonderful selection of gifts of all sorts. Definitely worth a visit and you'll know that your purchases are going towards a good cause!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Color Still Abounds

While we've had an early start to Fall, there is still plenty of color around the inn. Enjoy this little tour around the grounds.










This week there is an appliqué portrait workshop going in our studio. The faces are starting to take shape.


Our workshop program, the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, offers about 38 workshops a year in painting (oil, watercolor, pastel, etc) and art quilting.