Monday, January 13, 2014

Introducing...Jessica Burns, our new housekeeper!

After an exhaustive search via craigslist and having conducted many interviews, we are so pleased to have found Jessica Burns to take charge of the housekeeping duties at the B&F.  Also the head grower at the George Jones Memorial Farm, she really impressed us with her flexibility and enthusiasm.  We, on the other hand, are looking forward to spending more time doing things to add value to the B&B in terms of trying new recipes, doing maintenance and improvement projects, and expanding our guest offerings in amenities, recommendations, etc.  We plan to start making buckeye candies again!  We will also be able to devote more time to the product side of the business.  Hopefully this will be a win-win for all of us.

Welcome, Jessica!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bread and Butter

After searching for a year or more, we finally subscribed to an Ohio "herd share" in order to be able to have raw milk (thank you, Paula and Kim!).  We now own a small portion of the cows on Log Cabin Farm run by the Yoders in Apple Creek from whom we get milk, cream, and yogourt.

We mainly wanted the milk so that we could make cultured butter after reading about it in a NY Times article.  We left our first gallon of milk out on the counter overnight to let the cream rise to the top, then realized that the cream had already been skimmed off.  Oops.  Milk turned a little sour,  not so good for drinking but just fine for making bread, and it led us to discover a fantastic and ridiculously fast and easy soda bread recipe in our "Forgotten Skills" cookbook.

The following week we ordered a pint of cream.  It was unbelievably thick and luscious, so much so that when we made butter, there was absolutely no buttermilk and no kneading required.  It was delicious.

We ordered another pint this week but this cream was a little more liquidy (is that a word?).  We put it in the food processor and "churned" it for maybe 3 minutes.  Voila! a big lump of butter in a puddle of buttermilk.  We kneaded the butter to get all the milk out, which took about 10 minutes.

It was fun to do by hand but it's easy to see why butter paddles might be useful.  Unfortunately, we forgot to add salt so we had to knead it a second time.

In the end, we had a crusty but light-crumbed soda bread, about a pound of the best-tasting butter ever, and a small glass of buttermilk.  What a breakfast!

Next stop:  an antique store to find butter molds!  But note the pretty butter dish that we recently inherited from Dominique's mother.

Improvements:  a tad less salt.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Big Freeze

Yesterday Cleveland experienced its coldest Jan. 7 since 1884 - minus 11 degrees.  Frozen water everywhere:
frozen reservoir
azalea icicles

Sunny at the reservoir
At least someone likes the cold.

Here at the Buckeye and the Frog it's been 30 hours and counting with no running water.  We had a small trickle when we got up yesterday morning and, had we any sense at all, we would have kept the faucets open.  Unfortunately, we didn't, and soon after the water stopped.  We are literally melting snow to be able to flush the toilets and give water to the chickens and Sunny. 
We almost fought over a cup of water slowly being formed in our Brita from ice cubes.  This morning I felt like a homeless person, plotting my route downtown to include the library in order to wash my hands!  Maybe the worst problem is the pile of dishes mounting in the sink.

Of course, it could have been worse:  it could have happened last week when our kids were still here; we could be having guests; and my mom could live somewhere other than around the corner where we will be heading later for showers and probably some buckets of water.  Still, this is no fun at all.

The plumber has been called - twice - and with luck will make his way to us today.