Let the planting begin…

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

First load of plants delivered by Equinox Valley Nursery

Setting plants in place

Setting plants in place

After first day of planting

After first day of planting


We have garden beds!

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

Yoshio and Jimmy removing sod

Bye bye 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

Outline of our new gardens

And So Begins April at Ormsby Hill…

April 4th, 2014


Welcoming you, and welcoming spring to Ormsby Hill

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.


Ormsby Hill Baked Omelet

March 25th, 2014
Ormsby Hill Baked Omelet

Ormsby Hill Baked Omelet

Ormsby Hill Baked Omelet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy dish for one or a crowd.
Recipe type: Breakfast
: American
Serves: 2
  • ½ cup grated zucchini
  • ½ cup grated Cabot cheddar cheese
  • About 10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp herbs de Provence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 grinds of fresh pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Chopped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray two oven proof casserole dishes (capacity at least 5 oz) with cooking spray and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Squeeze the grated zucchini to remove as much moisture as possible. Divide between the two dishes.
  4. Divide the cheddar cheese and tomatoes between the dishes.
  5. Place the eggs, cream, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper in a blender. Pulse 4 or 5 times until eggs are frothy.
  6. Pour egg mixture into casserole dishes.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and chives.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, until tops are puffy and browned.
  9. Serve hot.

Raspberry Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

March 23rd, 2014
Raspberry Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

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.
Refrigerate overnight.

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

Snow, Please Go Away

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

Parking lot glacier obstructs new garden site

WOW – Women’s Outdoor Weekend

March 18th, 2014


Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce is getting creative and serious about endorsing the diverse activities in our area. The first annual Women’s Outdoor Weekend, May 15-17, is a shout out to women of all ages. You don’t have to be an athlete, or an outdoors woman to participate. Just come with your sense of adventure, and be prepared for luxurious lodging, fine dining, and Land Rover shuttle service to your chosen activities.

Activities include fly fishing, clay target shooting, Land Rover driving training, and hiking. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights you will stay at our inn, The Barrows House, or the Reluctant Panther. You will dine at the finest restaurants in town.

Honestly, if we weren’t lodging hosts, I would sign up for this weekend as an opportunity to try things I would never attempt on my own, or with Yoshio. I can’t remember the last time I did fun, challenging stuff with a bunch of women, and I’ve never had a weekend where all the logistics were taken care of and I just had to show up. That, to me, is a real luxury.

To reserve your spot call 802-362-6313 or go to wowvermontweekend.com.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cake

March 14th, 2014
Vegan breakfast everyone can enjoy

Vegan breakfast everyone can enjoy

This is a nice breakfast option if our guests are vegan, or can’t eat eggs and/or dairy.

Ormsby Hill Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cake

Serves 8

½ cup canola oil
½ cup applesauce
1 cup evaporated cane juice
4 ripe, bananas, pureed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 can coconut milk
1 cup almond (or soy) milk
6 cups rolled oats (not quick cook)
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sliced almonds
More sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except the oats, blueberries, almonds in a blender and pulse until mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the wet ingredients with the oats. Gently mix in the almonds and blueberries
Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with evaporated cane juice if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove oatmeal from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Not Stymied by the Storm

February 14th, 2014
It stopped snowing at twilight

It stopped snowing at twilight

Hooray for our guests! Braving blizzard conditions, guests are arriving for their Valentine getaway in Vermont. May you be rewarded with more love, joy, and romance than you could possibly imagine.

Valentine Treats

February 13th, 2014
Romantic snack from New England Hot Fudge Company

Romantic snack from New England Hot Fudge Company

I am not a sucker for chocolate, but I can’t stop thinking about the rich, luscious, silky goodness in a jar of New England Hot Fudge (www.newenglandhotfudge.com). Especially when it is paired with small pretzel logs, that are just the right size for dipping and double dipping.

Look for the special Valentine treat in your room this weekend only!