Archive for bed and breakfast

The Ultimate Goal Of Farming

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,

but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

― Masanobu FukuokaThe One-Straw Revolution

Planning, organizing, geometry and trigonometry

Lay out the tree field carefully  prior to planting

 

Precision equipment, exactitude and care

Planting Trees 6

 

Prepared soil accepting seedlings

Planting Trees 4

 

Anticipation of a future forest

On My Walk Around The farm Today 023

 

From sapling to tannenbaum

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Through shearing and care

Trees spruce 2013

 

Through drought and monsoon

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The farmer’s  job isn’t complete, and vacations are rare

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Until a decade into the future, when with humankind we may share

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The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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From Tree, to Timbers, to Fine Furniture

Have a seat and I’ll tell you a story.

Have A Seat

Have A Seat Walnut Bench By Greg Wood

A customer of mine had a tree which needed to be removed from their yard.  It was a Walnut tree, approximately 24 inches in diameter.  The tree was cut down, sawed in to 2.5 inch thick timber slabs, and then air-dried for three years until the moisture level was below ten percent.

Walnut Lumber Slabs

Walnut Lumber Slabs

The customer called me, with ideas of some furniture they would like to have built from their lumber.  They wanted a bench, two end tables, a desk and a head-board.

Bench design

Bench design

I drew up design plans to represent the client’s personal tastes and desires while simultaneously planning how to best utilize the slabs .  After the plans were finalized, I use chalk to layout the lumber with respect to the grain figure.

Slabs with chalked layout

Slabs with chalked layout

Timber slab plan for bench back

Timber slab plan for bench back

Time to execute the plan.

The very beginning

The very beginning

The beginning stages of the bench and the tables.

Boards glued up for table tops

Boards glued up for table tops

Boards cut in to shape

Boards cut in to shape

All clamped up

All clamped up

And viola, two end tables built from a tree in the yard,

and a bench with contour shaped back.

Walnut bench with contour shaping on the back

Walnut bench with contour shaping on the back

Now on to the desk and head-board.  From tree to timbers to fine furniture.

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The Groundhog Was So Wrong

Spring officially arrived this week, just as Minnesotans were bundling up in their winter coats to brave the near-zero temperatures once again.  This has been the coldest start to spring since 1965.

It was 1971 since the last time that Minnesota had this much snow on the ground so late in the winter.

White Spruce covered with snow

White Spruce covered with snow

I can barely remember what lies just beneath this same snow ~

Echinacea 'Now Cheesier'

Echinacea ‘Now Cheesier’

Perennials; our reward for patience.

Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'

Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.” ~ George Savile

Gaillardia 'Blanket Flower'

Gaillardia ‘Blanket Flower’

Welcome spring 2013!  You are so worth the wait!

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Planning A Labyrinth Vegetable Garden

Labyrinths

Labyrinths have been used by cultures throughout history, but modern labyrinths are built to help people relieve stress by creating a space to meditate. A labyrinth is not a maze even though the two terms are often used interchangeably.  A maze has multiple paths, entrances, exits, and dead ends. In contrast, a labyrinth has one entrance and exit, and a single path that leads to the center.

Labyrinth at Wychwood

Labyrinth at Wychwood (Photo credit: brewbooks)

The goal of the labyrinth is that you lose yourself in the moment and enjoy the journey of the path, relieving stress and enjoying the space.

We have chosen a circular labyrinth shape. A round garden can be a visually pleasing alternative to the traditional rectangular garden. A circular garden can be pleasing to the eye, and also functional and easy to maintain. A circular garden plot doesn’t necessarily use less land, but it can make it easier to reach the  vegetables to tend to them.  Create walkways that are two feet wide to give you room to move and work, and dig vegetable beds no wider than four feet to assure that you will be able to tend the garden as necessary.

Triple spiral labyrinth

Triple spiral labyrinth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Planning

There are endless possibilities for designing your garden.  We chose a spiral design.  The spiral garden creates a labyrinth where vegetable beds encircle the garden paths so as you walk, there are vegetables on either side of you. Planting knee-high vegetables within the spiral allow you to see the spiral shape from a standing position which adds to the beauty of the garden.

Our garden is 25′ X 20′ plot.  We use the herbs and vegetables for our Bed and Breakfast/Guest House meals as well as for our personal cooking.  Since we run a Guest House, we want our garden to be a place that is inviting to our guests, and  a comfortable place for them to enter and pleasing to look at from a distance.

Labyrinth Vegetable Garden Plan

Labyrinth Vegetable Garden Plan

Plants

We have chosen six different plants, based upon what we typically use for cooking.  We cook with tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce and basil.  We will also plant one vine type plant, a pole bean plant, to be placed in the middle of the circle as a focal point.  The vine will be supported by a trellis or obelisk.

We’re excited and can’t wait to start planting!  We just need to melt this 23″ of snow first…

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Light and Flaky Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Dish

Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Bake

Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Bake

This version of the Greek cheese and spinach pastry called spanakopita adds three cheeses and fresh dill to the traditional recipe.  Store-bought phyllo pastry makes this recipe easy and the do-ahead preparation makes this dish ideal for bed & breakfasts or entertaining.

ingredients:

10-20 Phyllo pastry sheets, defrosted (quantity according to desired flakiness of the crust)

4 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Onion finely chopped

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, with the moisture squeezed out

1 Cup ricotta cheese

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

4 ounces grated jack cheese

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1/8 Teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and saute onions until softened.  Place in a large mixing bowl.

Three Cheese Mixture; Feta, Ricotta and Jack

Three Cheese Mixture; Feta, Ricotta and Jack

Add spinach, ricotta, crumbled feta, jack cheese, eggs, dill, salt and pepper and stir well.

Fresh Dill

Fresh Dill

Spread mixture over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with Phyllo pastry, layered one by one, brushing lightly with melted butter on every other phyllo sheet.

Bake approximately 30 minutes until phyllo pastry is golden brown.  Use a sharp knife to cut through the pastry, in to squares and serve hot.

Light and Flaky Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Dish

Light and Flaky Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Dish

This dish may be prepared the night before if it is covered tightly.

Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Bake

Greek Phyllo Spinach and Cheese Bake

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Fall Vegetable Sandwiches

I’m a sucker for neatly wrapped packages and smartly presented surprises.  With fall’s harvest so abundant right now, pita bread and wraps are a staple in my kitchen as a way to help this harried cook put structure to my sandwiches.  Stuff a wrap or pita full of colorful roasted vegetables  and top it off with some tangy cheese as a healthy and easy meal.

Use whatever local vegetables you’ve just picked up at the farmer’s market or, for that matter, whatever is in your refrigerator.  Every vegetable’s flavor becomes nearly exotic when it is grilled.  I’ve used;

Fresh Vegetables And Herbs From The Garden

Fresh Vegetables And Herbs From The Garden

1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4″ pieces

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4″ pieces

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 onion cut in to 3/4″ pieces

a handful of Portobello mushrooms, halved

1 stems of fresh rosemary chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pinch coarse salt

Chopped Veggies And Herbs

Chopped Veggies And Herbs

In a large bowl, toss the vegetables and rosemary with the olive oil until lightly coated.  Spread the veggies out on a baking sheet so they are in one even layer, and grill or bake in a 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes until roasted and tender.  Remove for the grill or oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt.  Serve in pita bread, wraps or any other bread of your choosing.  For added zing, stuff the wrap with your favorite cheese, fresh chevre is particularly nice.  Enjoy with wine.  Now that’s a wrap!

Roasted Fall Vegetable Sandwiches

Roasted Fall Vegetable Sandwich

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Caramelized Onion, Pear and Gorgonzola Flat Bread Pizza

Caramelized Onion, Pear and Gorgonzola Flat Bread Pizza

Caramelized Onion, Pear and Gorgonzola Flat Bread Pizza

Here it is;  the creme de la creme, the tastiest, most delectable flat bread pizza ever.  Tastiest ev-er.

 

Ingredients:

Your favorite flat bread.  I use Stone Fire All Natural Garlic NAAN flat bread.

One large red onion, thinly sliced.

Two tablespoons olive oil.

Three tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

Two pears.  I prefer Bosc  pears as they tend keep their shape and not become mushy during baking.

Six ounces Gorgonzola cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Add thinly sliced onions and saute until browned.

Saute red onions in olive oil

Saute red onions in olive oil

When the onions are browned, add balsamic vinegar and saute until caramelized, bringing out the onion’s natural sweetness.

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

While the onions are cooking, take out the flat bread.

Flat bread

Flat bread

Next, the pears.

Bosc pear

Bosc pear

Quarter and core the pears.  Slice thinly and arrange evenly on the flat bread.

Sliced pears on flat bread

Sliced pears on flat bread

Place the caramelized onions evenly on the pizza.

Caramelized onions on pear and flat bread

Caramelized onions on pear and flat bread

Crumble Gorgonzola cheese evenly over the top.

Gorgonzola cheese crumbled on the pizza

Gorgonzola cheese crumbled on the pizza

Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the top and bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes,  until the edges are lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Browned edges and melted cheese

Browned edges and melted cheese

And here it is;  the creme de la creme, the tastiest, most delectable flat bread pizza ever.  Tastiest ev-er.

Ahhh

Ahhh

EV-ER!

Caramelized onion, pear and Gorgonzola flat bread pizza

Caramelized onion, pear and Gorgonzola flat bread pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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