Archive for guest house

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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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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Greek Flat Bread Pizza

 

Greek Flat Bread Pizza

Greek Flat Bread Pizza

*Italian herb flat bread

*Cherry or Grape tomatoes

*Quartered Artichoke hearts

*Pitted Kalamata olives

*Feta cheese

*Fresh Rosemary

*Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

 

I like to use Sun Gold tomatoes, a sweet and pretty variety of cherry tomato, to make this dish.

Sun Gold Tomatoes

Sun Gold Tomatoes

 

Any good cherry or grape tomatoes, or a chopped large tomato, will work too.

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes and Grape Tomatoes

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes and Grape Tomatoes

Slice tomatoes and place them on an Italian herb Flat Bread.

Tomatoes sliced on Italian Herb Flat Bread

Tomatoes sliced on Italian Herb Flat Bread

Add quartered artichoke hearts.

Artichokes and Tomatoes on Flat Bread

Artichokes and Tomatoes on Flat Bread

Add sliced pitted Kalamata olives.

Kalamata Olives, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes on Flat Bread

Kalamata Olives, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes on Flat Bread

Chop fresh Rosemary or another of  your other favorite herbs.

Fresh Rosemary snipped from the garden

Fresh Rosemary snipped from the garden

Sprinkle fresh Rosemary over the flat bread.

Fresh Rosemary sprinkled on the flat bread

Fresh Rosemary sprinkled on the flat bread

 

Crumble Feta cheese over the top.

Crumbled Feta cheese over the top

Crumbled Feta cheese over the top

And a pinch of kosher salt and some fresh ground pepper.

A pinch of kosher salt

A pinch of kosher salt

Place the pizza in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.

Baked pizza ready to cut and serve

Baked pizza ready to cut and serve

Serve with your favorite red wine ~ magnificent!

Greek Flat Bread Pizza

Greek Flat Bread Pizza

 

 

 

 

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Bed and Breakfast on the Farm

A double garage with a space above was a likely spot for a Guest House.

Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast

The front (lake side) of the guest house.

The guest house is licensed as a Bed and Breakfast.

Front picture windows at the guest house.

Front picture windows at the guest house with shade sail sun protection.

Guests park behind the garage and stroll a wood plank path, past espaliered apple trees and a perennial garden, to the entrance stairs.

Wood plank walkway entrance.

Wood plank walkway entrance.

The guest house offers a private entrance,

The private entrance.

The private entrance.

living room,

Living room

Living room

dinette,

Dinette

Dinette

kitchenette,

Kitchenette

Kitchenette with a stocked refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker.

and then on the way to a queen size bedroom.

Bedroom entrance

Bedroom entrance

Queen size bedroom

Queen size bedroom

and a full bathroom.

Full bathroom

Full bathroom

The guest house views overlook the lake.

View from the guest house

View from the guest house

And breakfast is served in the screen porch overlooking the lake.

Breakfast served on the screened porch

Breakfast served on the screened porch

We’d love to host your stay at the Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast!

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Planting Christmas Trees on the Farm

One of our favorite times of the year at the Dutch Lake Farm is Christmas season.  Every year on Thanksgiving weekend we open the farm to families in search of a Christmas tree, to cut their own tree.  We  offer free hay wagon rides out to the tree fields to select and cut their fresh tree, then enjoy a free cup of cocoa with all the fixings at the cocoa bar!

For every tree that is harvested we replant five.  This year we’re planting 500 Balsam Fir.

The small seedlings were first planted in to 2 gallon pots  two years ago.  We keep the young trees in pots for two years so they are easier to weed and water.

Seedlings are started in 2 gallon pots.

Seedlings are started in 2 gallon pots.

The most import step in planting is to layout the planting grid.  We carefully measure the field, marking each spot where a tree will be planted.   We use a 100′ rope, marked every 10′ indicating the spacing.

Rope used to layout tree spacing.

Rope used to layout tree spacing.

We use spray paint at every 10′ marking so the post hole digger will be easily placed in the correct location.  I’m sure there is some way more sophisticated, techy way the larger tree farms do this, probably using GPS or some such technology, but ‘the rope’ has served us well over the last ten years.

Spray paint indicating the 10' spacing.

Spray paint indicating the 10′ spacing.

Once the field is marked we use a John Deere 3010 tractor with a 3 point hitch, power takeoff post hole digger with a 12″ auger to drill the holes as indicated on the grid.  Be careful!

There’s only one thing that feels better than planting a tree; and that’s planting five hundred!

Newly planted two year old Balsam Fir

Newly planted two-year old Balsam Fir

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Rum Cake Recipe

Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast Rum Cakes

Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast's popular rum cake

Our Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast rum cake recipe is our most requested recipe of all.  It’s been our tradition since we opened our doors in 2009, to serve a personal size rum cake with every meal!  And since I’ve gained a few pounds over the past year, I feel that now I’m legitimately able to share the recipe.

Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast's kitchen sign

Dutch Lake Guest House Bed and Breakfast's kitchen sign

So here we go.  The recipe first came to us from my sister-in-law Nikki, so, among family, we call these treats “Nikki’s Rum Cakes”.  Thank you Nikki!!

Ingredients:

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package vanilla instant pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

11/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup dark rum, divided

Glaze:

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour 10 mini cake pans.  Set aside.

Butter and flour 10 mini cake pans

Butter and flour 10 mini cake pans

To make cake, in large mixing bowl combine cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, 1/2 cup cold water, oil, and 1/2 cup of the rum.  Beat at high-speed for 3 minutes.

Fill the 10 mini cake pans half full with the batter.  The cake batter will rise as it bakes.  Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove cakes from oven and let them cool for 15 minutes.

To make glaze:

In sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in the 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar; bring to a boil.  Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup rum.

Glazing the rum cakes

Glazing the rum cakes

To complete cake:

Invert cake on to foil or wax paper.  Prick all over with toothpick.  Use pastry brush to brush gaze all over warm cake.  Allow cake to absorb glaze for 5 minutes.  Repeat brushing on glaze and letting cake absorb glaze until all glaze has been brushed on to cake.  Cakes may be frozen.

Prepare to fall in love!

Prepare to fall in love!

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For Those Who Love Miniature Fairy Gardens

Detail picture of a fairy sitting on her bench

Detail picture of a fairy sitting on her bench

If you’re like us, and love to plant and accessorize miniature fairy gardens, then you’ll enjoy this blog linked at the bottom of this post.  Here are a few of our favorite photos for inspiration and to help hold you over until spring!

Miniature fairy 'rose garden' with fountain

Miniature fairy 'rose garden' with fountain

 

Miniature fairy cottage and gazebo

Miniature fairy cottage and gazebo

 

Miniature fairy relaxing near a stream

Miniature fairy relaxing near a stream

 

A troll's cabin in the woods

A troll's cabin in the woods

 

A troll's entrance found to be built within the foundation under our stable!

A troll's entrance found to be built within the foundation under our stable!

http://ottenbros.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/building-a-fairy-garden-part-3/

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