Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
February 2011

I’m a selfish person with a giving nature.

Today got me thinking about giving. And taking.  Maybe I’ve been listening to too many country songs.  My conclusion, at 4:30 p.m., is that both giving and taking live within us all – the yin and yang of our soul.

Countless people throughout history have demonstrated this inner battle. Bambi for one.  So cute, and a giver of love and innocence.  But also selfish.  Oh, feel bad for me, a forest fire destroyed my happy home.  Be my friend because I have no family.

Paula Deen gives the world delicious foods, but selfishly fills them with addicting butter and flour, making us come back for more and more. Where would she be without her drug of choice, refined white sugar? Princess Diana committed her life to helping those less fortunate, and then died.  Selflessly denying us any opportunity to see her implode like the good ole’ Duchess of York.  (P.S. RIP People’s Princess!)

A bed and breakfast follows this same theme.  Or any service industry offering for that matter.  We give an “experience” but it comes at a price.  Mind you, here at Orchard House, it’s at a competitive price that offers both farm style and modern comfort.  And we do give plenty of animals lovely places to live out their lives free from the hassle of cancelled pensions or rising prescription drug costs.  That’s selfless.

And as I continue to learn how to give more than I take, I feel confident declaring that should Bambi have wondered into my orchard, he would have found a lovely place to live.  And I would serve him a Twinkie Pie and Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge Candy every night on a commemorative Princess of Wales Wedgwood plate!

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Scones. Glorious scones.

I have made the scone.  BACON and DATE scones!  And they are delicious! Serve them with some gorgeous butter and magic will happen.  The recipe follows from Bon Appetit:

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces thick-cut bacon slices
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • Raw sugar
  • ingredient info

    Raw sugar, which is sometimes called turbinado or demerara sugar, is available at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores.

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until cooked through but still tender and not crisp, turning occasionally. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; cool. Pour bacon drippings from skillet into small heatproof bowl and reserve.
  • Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Coarsely chop cooled bacon. Add bacon and dates to flour mixture; toss to coat. Coarsely grate butter into flour mixture. Using fork, stir in butter. Add buttermilk; stir until large moist clumps form. Using hands, knead mixture briefly in bowl until dough forms.
  • Transfer dough to floured work surface. Pat into 8-inch round. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer scones to sheet. Cover and chill scones 2 hours. Brush with reserved bacon drippings. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
  • Bake scones until golden brown and tester inserted into center of scones comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cool completely; store airtight at room temperature.

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Got sheep?

Yes, yes I do.  Thanks for asking.  They arrived yesterday.  Officially known as “PoBoy Forneys Chocolate” and “Lambz Own Holly,” Napoleon and Josephine are settling in nicely.  The llamas aren’t so happy.

Napoleon is nice.  He comes over to be scratched and is pretty mellow. Josephine?  Oh Josephine!  She chases the llamas.  When she wants them out of the way, the move.  Nay, they run. It’s fun to watch.  And somehow, they’re all able to avoid the chickens that get caught in the middle!

Happily, Josephine is supposedly pregnant.  We need to have that confirmed.  If she is, that means lambs in April!  Just in time for Easter.  Maybe I can dye them pink and yellow for my Easter nativity.  Cuteness is sure to ensue!  Let’s just hope I don’t have to help with the birthing.  That could be messy.  For all of us involved.  I’ll start training the llamas for their roles as midwives immediately.

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Tired.

I’m sleepy.  As tired as Whitney Houston’s nose after 11 p.m. on a Friday night.  As sleepy as a dwarf living with six other ornery homosexuals.  And as wiped out as Lindsey Lohan’s credit rating.  With guests coming this weekend and our opening fast approaching – with a full house for the weekend – the Farm Style-Modern Comfort is taking its toll.

Animals take time.  I’ve cleaned up a lot of poop today.  Snow melts.  It reveals things.  Things aren’t frozen any more.  It’s warm out.  WARM!  T-shirt weather.  The warmth is nice.  I also went to the DMV today.  I waited 5 minutes.  I love small town Ohio.  I also cleaned.  And cleaned some more.  This house is looking great!  My mantels are a little tacky at the moment – remember: fussy, finished!

And so it’s a short night.  Bob Evans went to training.  Cooked, and ate, a WONDERFUL breakfast prospect, and am currently watching my TiVo’ed American Idol.  By the by, I like the chubby kid, the red-headed 15 year-old fro, and the new guy who scatted better than Ms. Kitty.  Oh, and the kid with the bass.  Although I love me some crazy too!  And with that, adieu.  I’ve got bathrooms to finish, furniture to buy, and countless items to be dusted tomorrow.  But never fear, I’m a housekeeping/farming/decorating monster and will devour it all in time.  With some cheerios and chocolate Silk.

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What I did today.

I’ve had a crazy day.  Not in a horrible way, mind you, but in an odd way.  And in lieu of any “special” topic of the day, below is my itinerary for February 15, 2011…

- Wake up.  This has happened every day for 31 years and looking to continue.  God willing!

- Take the dogs out for their morning bathroom break, feed the llamas and chickens, and make sure all is well in the pasture.

- Feed the dogs and the cats.  Oh, and take my vitamins.  I love those chewable vitamin C orange slices!

- Work on the Barbizon Room after responding to e-mails.

- Head out to the barn to unload twenty 40-lb bags of soil to mitigate the flood occurring under the llamas unclipped toes.  Rake some manure, and ensure the llamas aren’t eating the chicken food.  Also, unload bags of llama food and re-locate all chicken food to the barn.

- At noon, drive to Home Depot (a daily trip) to match some khaki paint on a bookshelf, and to grab some other much needed items.  Also stop at Walmart (don’t hate me), Meijers, and Tractor Supply Company.

- Whoops, forgot to feed the rabbits this morning!  That’s a first.  And hopefully not a new daily occurrence!  Feed the rabbits.

- Back to painting the Barbizon Room.

- Back to the llamas, emptying the remaining soil bags and unloading some lime to help stop the leaks.

- Back to the Barbizon Room – bed making, beautification, and all-around room making.  UGH.  Still not done.

- Dinner for the dogs and cats.  And the chickens.  The llamas kicked over, and then ate, the food given to the chickens earlier.

- Breakfast testing for dinner.  Tonight, eh.  Cook and clean up the dishes.

- Polyurethane the living room and dining room floors.  Second, and last, coat.  Drinking straight from the champagne bottle at this point.  Finish a row of floor, have a few sippies, burp into my air mask.  Sexy.

-  Show the boss my work.  Seek his approval.  Receive some favorable reviews.

- And now, sitting on the couch, watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, blogging.  Drinking red wine.  Hooked on the Franzia challenge.

- What’s next?  Gotta send out some work e-mails…after deciding on an e-mail format.

I know this all sounds so incredible.  Oh, and also mixed throughout the day, calling to get my hot water heater working…finally hot water after 10 days!  Getting a vet to come out on Monday – time for the llama de-worming AND the new sheep will be here.  It’s an odd life.  From decorating a room, hanging expensive artwork, to cleaning up llama droppings.  It’s crazy but I love it.  And get your fanny over to Orchard House and I’ll throw some delicious, yet unique, multi-tasking your way.  If you want.  But you know you want it!

P.S.  We’re filled for President’s Day weekend.  Glorious friends coming to visit.  And our opening weekend?  We’re full!!!!  And with people we don’t know!  Call the glam squad, we need some fabulousness ASAP.  (And don’t worry, I’m already here!)

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