September 10th, 2014
New gardens look like they belong
Many new landscapes take a while to meld seamlessly with their surroundings. I am not a fan of this gardening technique. The three years it takes for most perennials to mature seems too long to realize your vision. Either way, the plants hardly ever behave exactly as you expect. For instance, why did every ‘Overdam’ grass turn brown soon after planting? They flowered just fine, but something seems strange. I never used this grass before, so it will be a lesson that encompasses several growing seasons. I have to learn the nature of this plant.
It is almost mid-September, and soon it will be time to cut back and get this new garden ready for its first winter rest. After a brilliant birth it needs to garner strength for its juvenile season.
July 17th, 2014
According to an article in USA Today, we have the honor of being one of the best B&B’s in the country. What a great way to start our third year at Ormsby Hill. Thank you all for being a part of our journey.
July 10th, 2014
Friday, July 11 is our 2 year anniversary as owners of Ormsby Hill. It seems we have been here a lot longer than that, especially when we try to recount all the changes we have made – big and small. What we never wanted to change, and never will, is the character of this inn, this home. Every day we marvel at the beauty and strength inherent in this home. We are trusted keepers (we know the house has accepted us) of the property, as well as keepers of your stay with us. Everything ties together, as do all things in life.
Today I was thinking about our gardens (haha, no surprise there), and how I might describe their significance to anyone who asked if they had special meaning. They do. Every thought we have, every word we speak, every action we take adds something to the collective consciousness of our world. These gardens were made with love, hope, and acceptance: my love for plants, my hope that they will grow and fulfill my expectations, and my acceptance that many things are beyond my control.
This, I believe, is also how we can describe our inn keeping over the last two years. We love Ormsby Hill, we hope to fulfill our potential and your expectations, and we accept that we cannot control your experience.
June 6th, 2014
Today I gathered the first flower bouquet of the year from our gardens. No more flowers from Shaw’s until frost! That means more time moseying, gathering, and arranging. It is so easy with flowers from your garden, because they all look good together. I love, love, love homegrown flower displays.
First flowers from the garden for the inn.
The new gardens are still a work in progress. At this time we are waiting for several more plant groups (Eupatorium ‘Little Joe’, some asters, and perovskia). I also have to fill in the vegetable section. All in all, it is coming along very well. Many, many thanks again to Equinox Valley Nursery (www.equinoxvalleynursery.com) for searching for, gathering, and delivering plants on my list, even though it is their busiest time of the year. They are some of the best people you could ever meet. I hope you stop in on your next visit to the inn.
Here are a few photos Yoshio took last week of the labyrinth and new gardens.
Pathway to labyrinth connects the gardens
Planting in progress
Mostly green labyrinth with lots of dandelions
If you are not interested in gardens, please excuse me. After almost two years at Ormsby Hill, my true nature has finally found its way home. Indulging my passion will help me honor myself, the inn, and you too.
May 14th, 2014
Between now and our last blog, Yoshio and I went to San Ramon (Jesse, Lisa, and Owen’s house), Mendocino, and Napa California. I ordered plants from Equinox Valley Nursery in Manchester for the new gardens, plants arrived at Ormsby Hill, and plants went in the prepared beds. While we are still awaiting more plants, and have several full days of planting left, my dream garden is a reality.
Special, special thanks to Equinox Valley Nursery (www.equinoxvalleynursery.com), located just south of the inn, for their amazing support in providing all the plants for this garden within our budget. They have very big hearts! Also, Jim Colvin, a local lawn care business owner, shared my vision for this field, starting with the labyrinth. He is an expert at working the land and we are happy he is part of the Ormsby Hill family. Yoshio, Christine, Amanda, and Nicole have spent hours planting. I am so grateful for everyone’s help.
First load of plants delivered by Equinox Valley Nursery
Setting plants in place
After first day of planting
April 28th, 2014
The weather has finally cooperated and we began creation of the new gardens. Jimmy and Yoshio worked the sod cutter to remove the turf.
Yoshio and Jimmy removing sod
Bye bye sod
After some minor clean up of the edges and remaining turf, some tilling, a planting plan, plants, water access, and our hand crafted arbor, we will have a young garden for your pleasure.
Outline of our new gardens
April 4th, 2014
Welcoming you, and welcoming spring to Ormsby Hill
April is a pivotal month in Northern New England. We are so ready for a new season, we catalog all the changes just to make sure it’s true: snow is melting, robins are back, days are longer, the sun IS warmer, check, check, check. Optimism is on the rise. Weather related small talk is happy; no one grumbles about warmer days.
It’s a good thing we are energized because there is a lot of work setting things straight after this damaging winter. Fence posts are tilting crazily, if still standing; gravel from the driveway is now part of the lawn, and our plants are frozen in the earth. We need to get ready in April so we can burst into outdoor living in May, and the glory months of summer and fall.
That’s what’s happening at Ormsby Hill this month. Wishing you all the joy and anticipation I am feeling right now.
March 23rd, 2014
Raspberry Goat Cheese Bread Pudding
Serves: 8 Preparation time: 30 mins, plus overnight in fridge. Cooking time: 50 mins Difficulty: Easy – for beginners
1 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
5 large eggs (use 1 for topping)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 oz goat cheese softened
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 jars Santa Cruz organic seedless red raspberry fruit spread (approx 14 oz)
For Raspberry Sauce
1 pint fresh raspberries
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
Spread bread cubes evenly in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
In a blender, combine 4 eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour this evenly over the bread cubes.
Push bread into milk and egg mixture with a spatula for several minutes to help absorb liquid and make a firm base for the toppings.
In a medium bowl, place goat cheese, mascarpone, 1 remaining egg, and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until the cheese is the consistency of cake frosting.
Spread the cheese, like frosting, evenly over the bread.
Spread the jam over the cheese.
Cover with plastic wrap. Use toothpicks to keep the plastic from clinging to the jam.
To make the raspberry sauce, combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat until the raspberries are broken down, approx 6-7 minutes. Cool slightly. Pour into a blender and puree until sauce has thickened. Pour through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use. This may be frozen for several months.
Take bread pudding out of fridge and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 50 minutes, until cheese around the edges is lightly browned. Let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Serve with a drizzle of raspberry sauce
March 20th, 2014
The snow in southern Vermont has been around long enough. Today is the first day of SPRING! It’s time to measure for my new garden and and mentally place plants here and there (fun stuff). It’s time to order additional seed for the wildflower labyrinth (more fun). It’s time to call Jimmy to remind him he promised to help me remove sod, and prepare the new planting beds (not fun, but necessary). It’s time to call Craig at Equinox Valley Nursery to schedule the installation of irrigation for the new garden (not fun, worthy of procrastination). So why am I not doing any of that? The field is still buried under a foot of snow, and a glacier blocks my entry.
Parking lot glacier obstructs new garden site