Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seeds and celebration

Our anniversary was last week so to celebrate we went to St Andrews-by-the-Sea for a great lunch. I had the best seafood chowder while the carnivore I married had what looked like half a raw cow on his plate. He enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed the very chocolatey cheesecake that I just couldn't say no to. Then, groaning somewhat, it was off to Seedy Sunday...
This is an anual event we were checking out for the first time. Gardeners who save their seed or have leftover seeds from last year bring them along and everybody helps themselves to whatever they like or want to try. What a good idea! I met all kinds of interesting people into organic gardening and sustainable living. Some were doing farmers markets, some supplying weekly csa produce boxes, and everybody, like me, cant wait for spring to come so we can get at it.
Back at  home it was back to work to try to keep ahead of the latest snow dump. We have an enormous amount of snow. Most of the horse fences have disappeared so its a good thing they stay near the barn.
One thing a snow bank is good for, I found out is butchering a chicken. Or what I thought was a chicken til it grew up into a rooster. The bird is cooling in the snow all the time I'm processing it and of course no flies. Much nicer than doing it in the summer.
The last rooster, cooked in the oven was tough and stringy so this 5 pound guy, after a rest in the fridge for 3 days, went to pressure cooker camp. Twenty minutes later he's in the large crock pot for most of the day and smelling really good.
From one rooster we got three chicken pot pies with cornmeal crust, a plate of breast meat for sandwiches and in the freezer, two containers of stock plus meat for future soups or stews.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some things started, some things finished...

As the snow piles up deeper and deeper I spend more time thinking and planning for spring and summer. Its my sanity preserver I guess, I've never been a winter person and this is just too much winter.
This porcupine looking wooden gadget was the result of a pleasant day's puttering in the workshop whilst hiding from the latest blizzard. It's a bunch of quarter inch dowels cut an inch long and glued into a scrap of plywood made the right size for a standard bedding plant tray. One quick press and voila! Little holes evenly spaced an inch apart in the potting soil, awaiting seeds to be dropped in. It saves an endless amount of time and the seedlings come up looking ever so neat and precisely laid out.
 Another project out of the way is the painting I began before the last blog post. I wish I was not such a procrastinator, the trouble is it's easier to go up to the studio and cut mats for next summer which requires no
thinking, than it is to work through all the planning that goes into each stage of a watercolor. Maybe that's laziness plus procrastination.

One of the considerations we've been turning over this winter is the fact that we're not getting any younger and by the end of the last two summers we've been completely worn out with 7 days a week of non stop work. Something has to give. And we've decided that after 10 years of running our B&B that's enough of that. I feel positively euphoric at the idea of no more extra cooking, cleaning, laundry, bedmaking, staying up past bedtime waiting for latecomers, and  and having to get up way too early  for earlybirds. The thing I will miss the most tho, is meeting wonderful people from all over the world. The adventurers who show up with their worn copy of "The Lonely Planet Guide" in hand, the art buyer from the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art who gave me amazing insights into my favorite painting, Rosa Bonheur's "The Horse Fair", but most of all the children.
The little horse lovers, the bold ones, the shy ones, the ones who let me read them bedtime stories and begged for "just one more". The families who came back year after many times have I said to gangly kids on the doorstep "Oh look how you've grown!" And the special moments I've been priveledged to peek in on...sending a child into the henhouse with a basket and watching the delight spread over her face as she spots the eggs. I guess they will still drop by, but it's a little sad that the sleepover is over.