The time off is nice

We have three days off. Full days. Kim will probably do some work during this time. She just loves to do the inn’s business. I do too. I like interacting with people and cooking.

Kim quilted last night. I watched SG-1. (4 episodes in a row.) She watched the remake of Shall We Dance. She said it was a good thing I didn’t watch it. I hate this spate of new remakes of foreign films. They’re not very good. The good thing about quilting is it doesn’t stain. It’s messy but she can do it in bed while watching or rather listening to a movie. Not everything, just the hand finishing work.

Anyway, we have people signing up for the fiber art workshops. Time to get moving people. We are open for enrollments for all 2006 workshops as of right now.

Lightening and Thunder


Well, a lightening strike somewhere close by wiped out our power for a few hours. Worse, it zapped our router and we had to reset the router, password and all.

Ah, the fun of being an innkeeper in a country, but wired, inn. 🙂 I love these summer rain storms. They were ever my favorite when I was a kid. We’d watch them from the garage or dance in the warm rain. What fun. Come and visit us and you’ll see.

Flowers Everywhere

The rain finally cleared up long enough for me to run wild at Storys – a fabulous local nursery. Yesterday I planted:

  • 3 rose bushes (Perfect Moment, Cabana, Radiant Perfume)
  • Red peony
  • High Bush Cranberry tree
  • 2 types of sage and 2 types of thyme
  • bunch of marigolds

Today, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll plant the rest of the perennials (about 2 dozen) and the 2 cherry trees. Then it will be time for another trip to Storys!

Lodging Guests

Well, it’s memorial day already and we have a ton of inn guests. That is, non workshop people here. It’s a fun and happy crowd. One foursome played Charade-esque games in the parlor before going out. Fun group. I think it was a music type game.

We had one young couple from the Netherlands and one that bought a run down farm as a summer get-away. We had one couple who wants to go to our local lighthouse in Athens. First I heard we had one. It surprised John, too. Plenty of fun people here for the weekend. Too many to write about.

Too bad the pool is not open. My oven has been giving me some problems. It isn’t as hot as it used to be. The newly calibrated ovens are a little cooler I think. It’ll take me a week to adjust.

Well, our next workshop will be Betsy Apgar-Smith, it’s a pastel workshop. That’ll be fun. So far, it’s all been fun. What a kick. How different from Silicon Valley.

Another fine workshop finishes and people leave

Boohoo. Well, off you go and I hope you all come back. It was a pleasure.

We have so many great painters that come to these workshops. Ziggy finally got oatmeal for dinner. He wanted it. He got it. We aim to please.

OK. So, less tomato, not a bad idea and maybe less peppers, though people love my stuffed peppers. What I am going to do is not have 3 days of tomato on the menu. So, I’ll cut that back. I’ll sub the tomato soup for maybe a borscht? We’ll see. I wont do 3 tomato days in a row, that’s for sure. 😉 People loved the mushroom apps. Maybe I’ll do more of those though this time without the portobellos. They are too big. The pumpkin soup, loved by guests, disliked by staff is going away as the warm weather settles in.

Next year will be Spanish food with Spanish derivatives, such as Mexican and New Mexican foods. Enjoy!

Enhance your experience


Help me help you to two helpings. 😉

Don’t forget to tell us if you have dietary restrictions before you come to the workshops. If you forget, please see us as soon as possible and we’ll see if we can do anything. After all, we’d like your experience to be a good one. However, don’t decide in the middle of when we are serving you that you want something else. We’ll try but you may not like it.

Don’t be afraid to tell me you just want chicken breast or oatmeal or whatever every night. If we have it, we’ll do it. If we don’t, we’ll tell you.

Having said that, we also have half portions and if you’re hungry after the meal, we often have enough for seconds. So, don’t feel shy. If you say nothing, we can’t do anything.

Chocolate Again?

Boy, the hardships. We had some leftover waffles with ice cream and chocolate sauce tonight. Good thing I have all those stairs to climb every day!

Speaking of sweet, Tish has planted a beautiful arrangement of flowers in the three huge hanging baskets for the front porch of the inn. Petunias, geraniums, varigated ivy, and some other wonderful stuff. I’ve seen pictures of her magnificent creations before and I can’t wait to see them in person this year. Maybe I’ll even have figured out how to post pictures in this blog by the time they are in full bloom.

I’ve being itching to do a little spending at that nursery myself, but have been busy working on the daily operations and also putting the brochures for the Winter Workshops and the Art Quilt Workshops together. I have deadlines that can’t be ignored even if I’d rather be gardening.

I just got an advance copy of Quilting Arts magazine with our first ad for the Art Quilt Workshops. Woohoo! But this means I really need to get that brochure to the printer now!



Well, I served the kebops, some with chicken and some with the tender loin, and it was loved by all.

The only problem was that one of my ovens went poof. I had the oven guy in and he took it apart and cleaned it out and replaced many parts, the pilot light tube, the themo couple and because he was working on those parts, the door switch fell apart and he even fixed the blowers for the convection and showed me how to light the pilot light. We HAD HOT PLATES. Or at least warm.

I think I need to change from the pumpkin soup. Kim is starting to rebel, along with the staff. They are getting too much pumpkin soup with olive bread crouton and white truffle oil. I always make sure I have at least one serving left over for Kim and me and most of the time I have two or even three.

I put less salt in it this time. That was a mistake. I think it needs more chicken stock and more milk, like the first time I made it. This was more pumpkin.

I plan on making a cold cherry soup this summer. So, get that pumpkin soup while the weather is cold. 😉

I showed some of our photograph collection to two nice guests. They enjoyed it. Kim wont let me put all of the photograph collection downstairs because she feels, and I concede she has a good point, that it’s about painting and art quilts. So, OK. Maybe we should consider photography workshops.

Inn Secret III

Well, I give people a choice, beef or chicken? They love the choice and are happy to be able to choose because some people don’t eat beef and forgot to tell us, plus they get a nice variety.

Let me tell you a little secret. Chicken costs less. So, don’t think you’re putting me out by telling me you don’t want the Filet Mignon, so good you can cut it with your tongue. You aren’t. You are saving me money. Thanks. Plus, it is easy.

Salmon redux


I served the salmon. The main difference tonight was that I added zucchinii to the artichoke dish and I also added soy to the salad dressing. All in all, I had 2 people ask for 1/2 serving but nothing came back, especially with the fruit dessert. Nice.

Painters’ Week


Well, this is a great group of people. They’re low key and fun to be with. Some radical painters here and some not so radical. But all of them are having a good time.

Tish and Eliot are here and they brought their son Woody. I remeasured Woody against the height cart in the office. He’s grown a 1/4 inch since ’02.

I got some special requests. Easy ones. Some people don’t want sausage in the Italian peppers so I’m going to do my special chicken and rice ones. Light on the spice.

Well, a perfect beginning to a relaxing, knock, knock, week.

Day Off???


Painters’ week is a student/teacher/whoever get together to paint and have fun.

While it’s nice having guests, it’s also good to have a night off. We have two guests only and they are in the carriage house and cottage so it is almost like having a night off. They’re very nice guests. Two people for painters’ week and the anniversary couple.

This means we get the main inn just about to ourselves. Well, painters’ week begins tomorrow. First though, I have to go to NJ to do my Shinto Muso-ryu.

So cute


The guests asked Kim to sit at table with them. So, she did and we served her, too. She had to get up to help me prep and also to cut the lemon meringue pie. But it was sweet of them to ask her to do that.

Mary gave up 1/2 of her sole for Kim. Nice gesture. You guys are the best.

They loved the sole + 20 years


So, the last dinner of this 5 day workshop and I served my famous sole almondine. They loved it. And the best part was that this was the 20th anniversary of a couple that came here 20 years ago. They wanted the dinner, just like 20 years ago, and to stay in a nice room, they got the cottage, and just have a great time. So, we put them in with the artists and it was fun.

The best part was that Kim made her Mom’s Lemon meringue pie, the favorite of Tony, the fellow whose anniversary it was. Life can’t get better.



I must tell this in its entirety. What an adventure in innkeeping. One of our guests, Jean, a lovely woman, heard a pumping noise in the night and had trouble sleeping. Who wouldn’t? I know I would.

At first Kim thought it was the sump pump and was going to go under the carriage house using the new bilco doors and the digging and widening of the carriage house studio crawl space. The closet, you see, the other access to underneath, is filled.

I decided that the quick fix, was the turn off the sump pump. I did and voila, the noise was still there. ?? Then we decided that it must be a heater on somewhere.

Well, I turned off heater units and finally turned off the one marked room 16. That turned off the noise. However, it also turned off the plugs in Jean’s room. We found this out the following day.

So, I went underneath the carriage house using the bilco doors. The new ones that Kim and I put in. What fun. The rocks down there are a bit sharp. The gravel is new. Drainage. And I did have to belly crawl some feet but eventually I could sit. It’s dry down there, because of the new sump pump, and nice.

While down there I WoooOOOOoooOOOOooOOOoo and then denied it, of course. Coming back up, I couldn’t help but do a couple of Mwahahahahahahas. It did feel like coming up from the depths.

What was the trouble? It was the fan between parts of the building. I turned it off with a switch in the overfilled closet that’s the other access to the crawl space. Problem solved. It must have gotten turned on by accident. Who knows?


Tonight I served my famous Italian Breaded Chicken with Risotto, that Kim made, a nice tomato dish and my famous artichoke heart and lima bean cassarolesque side dish. (Dang. We forgot the parsley.)

I topped this off with Tish’s famous strawberry cheese cake, which I changed a bit. I added Creme de Framboise and Grand Marnier to the strawberry sauce, made it loser and used it to pool around the cheese cake. I also served a decorated cake rather than a plain one and I made the slices as small as possible, by request. (And they still thought the slices were too big.) And by accident, I served it way too cold. Sigh. But it came out great. Like an ice creamesque cake. (I also once served my cookies, which I premake as I do a couple of my desserts, frozen. They loved that too.)

However, my poor workshop students are getting a little too stuffed. I have tried to keep the portions down, and 50% are cleaning their plates, another 25% are eating most and only a small portion are returning their plates with a little on it. So, I’m batting around 800.

The other workshops I have stuffed them and they were all groaning but when I went light, they didn’t like that. So, I guess we’ll just have to eventually strike the right balance.

Kim and I finally got a full dinner. I’m not used to actually eating dinner. I do feel stuffed but Kim and I usually don’t eat at all during the day. I have to look after her or she’ll just eat a glass of Cheerios. Groan. 😉

Kim did a great job with the slide presentation. We will now have about 39 workshops. Winter, Fiber, and Summer. 🙂

Dang. We have only 9 for dinner, people leaving early, sniff. Probably all still full from last night. 😉 We’re very sorry to see them go.


Well, Spot is getting more needy. He likes being outside on the back porch if I am working in the kitchen but I am doing that less because the prep is getting faster and shorter.

The other day I had two prep girls show up, schedule misshap, and we got the whole thing done in a matter of no time. So, I’m not spending as much time in the kitchen though I think the food is getting better. The stracoto came our great.

Sigh. Well, we have to enjoy his company while we can.

Uh oh, Spot’s eyes are lighting up:WOoFf

Workshops are filling up

We don’t have all that much space left. Margaret Martin’s workshop just filled. So, now we can only wait list people. But don’t fear, there’s always a chance that you’ll get in.

We are taking reservations during this workshop season for next year. So, don’t delay. Next year will be filling up too. Also, don’t forget, we have the Winter Workshop program. And also, please don’t forget that the Fiber Art Workshops are filling up too.

Kim, my beloved, is out like a light

She’s exhausted. She’s been working hard and loving every minute of it. This workshop has been wonderful, a treat. She helped me plate. Did 1/2 of the dishes when our dish washer didn’t show. (I did the other half.) Finished the Winter Workshop Brochure. Finished the Fiber and Quilt Art Brochure. Whew!

I posed today. Paul Leveille did a great portrait of me in about 31/2 hours in pastel. It’s terrific. Don’t worry. I’ll put it up on the site. And also in the blog. Kim’s too. It’s fun and exciting to have another portrait and such a great one. Paul is a terrific painter.

Len, one of the students, invited me up with Paul and Moggy, another student, for sherry. Very nice. Now I have to go to bed. Tired. Posing was easy. But this has been a full day. A good day but still a very full day. Even with a 2 hour nap, I feel the need to sleep. 🙂 Night, night. Wish you were here.


Well, I sat for my portrait or rather for a demonstration. Paul demo’ed how to create a pastel portrait using me. It came out fantastic. I should have also sat for the oil portrait. Kim is going to sit for the watercolor. I wonder what type of watercolor he’ll be doing. This should be great.

I sat for 25 mins with 10 mins breaks. Then we had cookies, ones I made, and when I sat again, he forgot to turn on the clock. So, I wound up sitting for an hour. I was glad to do it. I’d rather site for 1 hour straight then break it up in 25 min increments.

Now I have to get it framed. He doesn’t use fixative because it’d change the values but that means I have to ask Stanley Maltzman. He’s one of our pastel artists and a good friend.

It’ll be going up. Kim’s too. This’ll be our second Hudson River Valley Art Workshops artist to go up on the walls. Stanley was the first.



Not only has Kim been helping me plate but she also has been helping me prep as well as doing all sorts of other work. My wife is amazing and has a great attitude and I love her.

Agog with Google

Well, truly we had a great dinner. I wowed them with my dessert, waffles with black cherry ice cream and chocolate sauce. I had a shishkabab on top of brown rice. You could cut the meat with a fork. I was supposed to get uniform 2 inch squares but guess what, I didn’t. However, the quality of the meat was outstanding. It was filet mignon. Very nice. I also served a version of Tish’s tomato alphabet soup. I left out the alphabets. I don’t like them. I added some chipotle peppers and extra carrots and a few more spices such as salt. I used the stock we created together. I still have a few more quarts of it left. Nice. The bread was Persian flat bread, naturally.

This crowd is easy to please and a delight to have in our house.

OK. OK. Yes, we now have google ads up. I’m excited about that. It’s kind of fun. I also liked the links. They are perfect for this site and on top of that, they are useful.

The Staff

I haven’t said much about our staff. Well, Vera, who will be retiring, boohoo, is our head housekeeper and does a great job. It’ll sadden us to see her retire but she deserves it.

Gail is another housekeeper and helped us move in. She’s terrific and I can count on her. Christine, and oh, there are too many for me. Kim will have to single them out. A terrific bunch.

John, our head waiter, is a great waiter. It’s all about his people for him. He calls all the women Miss First-Name and all the name Mr. First-Name. Sometimes he calls Paul Leveille Mr. Pablo or Mr. Paulo or something like that. He can easily handle 14 people on his own. I got John his very own, monogramed wait tuxedo style apron. He loved it. It says “Head Waiter” on it below his first and last name.

James, who one only calls James, is our dishwasher. This is his last year. When he is done with the floor, it is polished clean and you could eat off of it. James, or Jimbo, as I sometimes call him by mistake (only his dad can call him that) is fun, has a wry sense of humor and is diligent.

Kris, Jame’s Mom, is a waitress. She’s very good at it. John loves to have her wait with him. She teaches at the High School. We all like her.

Vanessa, a waitress, is quiet but shows up on time and is just a peach. She dish washes as well.

Lee Ann is a waitress and she’s also been prep chef and has been dish washing. Unfortunately, her internship and her school work have been making her attendance spotty. I hope this evens out later. She’s a good waitress and a very good prep chef.

Our newest recruit, Heather, a waitress and dishwasher as well as prep help, is a ball of energy and dynamite. This is her last year too. Off to collage with the lot except Vanessa and Lee Ann will be in the area.

Then there is Kimberly. She’s been doing as much as we do and always with a smile. She’s terrific. I think I have a post or two on her already so that’s all I’ll say for now.


Before the workshop season, Kim was losing weight. Now that I’m cooking, I’m losing weight too. I think it’s a combination of

1. Not eating. Kim and I shared an extra dinner last night and some nights we don’t eat at all or catch a bight of something, a piece of bread.

2. Going up and down the stairs all the time. I know I’m not getting much exercise at all other than up and down the stairs.

It isn’t stress unless that stress is mostly good. During one workshop I didn’t sleep that well but last night I slept like a log and I still woke up a pound lighter.

Day one down

I served Salmon, my signature Maple Salmon. It came off perfectly. I also served my Peppers Provencal. The person who requested no fish loved it. She could only eat ONE. Only ONE. I also served Saffron Rice with broccoli and some of the stuffing for the Peppers P. on the side. Even the person I served the alternative menu to love it. I served two peppers because the last workshop thought that one pepper was not enough. For this workshop, one pepper was more than enough. Unfortunately she’s allergic to seafood.

We missed one person who didn’t want salmon, though I wished she had tried it. Even people who don’t like salmon LOVE my Maple Salmon. Sigh. I served her a nice fried egg on saffron rice with a touch of, oooh, wait for it, white truffle oil. The same we use on the pumpkin soup. She loved it.

I also served my wonderful fruit medley. I got an ovation for the fruit medley. And it has almost no fat. I put a couple of almonds, sliced, on it. That was the whole of the fat. My fruit medley is much more than fruit. It is fruit dreaming it is a rich dessert when rather it is fruit that is a heavenly dessert.

This workshop is going well. The people are lovely and Paul Leveille is wonderful. He’s very personable and a nice guy all around. He is loved by the staff as well. I will be posing in my chef’s outfit. Kim is out there posing now because Kimberly is working in the kitchen.

Wish me luck. Being a model is NOT easy.

The people in this workshop are fun and lovely. This is the reason we bought this inn and expanded the workshops. This workshop, with these easy going people, is my happy thought. Thanks.

Well, another fine workshop done

Learned a few things and made some friends and some new converts to the tradition.

Happy trails. Now we have a back to back workshop with Paul Leveille. I have to sit on Tuesday. That means I will prep most of what I need, minus say the bread, on Monday.

I need to get more bacon and sausage. Yowza. Luckily I have tons of freezer space.

Well, that was interesting

I’ve been serving big heavy meals. The last workshop thought that they were too heavy. I had one lady say that women like to eat less. So, on the last night of this workshop, I served a great lighter meal:

Italian tomato salad
Peppers provencal with some carrots and some broccoli, just a little broccoli because most people don’t like it.
Bread sticks
Fruit medley that everyone loved last workshop.

Well, people, if you think that you are not getting enough food, then ask for seconds. It’s that simple. Usually, I have seconds. And if you like heavier meals, well, ask for a second. We aim to please. We usally have it. If we don’t have it, we will tell you. We try to plan pretty close to the bone because we are serving high quality and expensive food here.

Famous, almost.

We had another reporter show up to interview us. Her magazine is Upstate House. She asked us what it was like moving to Greenville from California.

Kim thinks it is vastly different. She never liked California. I don’t think it’s that big a change. Sure, we have to drive 2 hours if we want to go to a NYC restaurant, such as March or some other NYC place, but Greenville and Freehold, the next town over, has great restaurants, including our own.

She didn’t bring a camera crew. Next time, bring your camera crew. 😉 After all, we did move from California, had one of the biggest construction projects in Greenville, probably ever, or at least for the last quarter century, and are very colorful dressers. ’nuff said.

And then there was salmon… again…

Well, they loved my food. I served the salmon again. And when I mean again, I mean that I served it for this workshop as well. Different people, different teacher, different everything.

I had to do two special desserts. One for Phyllis who could not have the mousse, eggs, and so I made her a macchiato, which is a take off on Thomas Keller’s coffee and donuts but in an espresso cup, nice, ’nuff said. The other was for Samantha, a lovely 17 year old who is taking the workshop. She doesn’t eat much and didn’t want the chocolate raspberry mousse. So, I made her a nice strawberry dessert, just strawberries, artfully arranged, with a hint of whipped cream. Next time I’ll put mint and make it bigger and serve it as a regular dessert. It was simple and she ate it up. Just three strawberries. If I had more espresso cups, I’d do the macchiato for everyone. I’d like to get ones like the ones they use at, gasp, sorry Chip, Starbucks. %-} (blush)

What did we have, John, our head waiter, James our faithful dishwasher, Kim and me? Chicken with that lovely porcini and shitaki gravy.

James is in the kitchen washing up. Go to, James.



Sysco came and dumped 72 lbs of chuck roast, shoulder cut, in my lap, plus 10 lbs of kebop meat, not to mention 10 lbs of chicken breasts. This combined with the veggies, lots of fresh veggies filled my refrigerator. To top this off, Lyann, my high school prep chef and prep dishwasher, called in sick.

I had to get James, my high school dishwasher, to come in 2 hours early. Ouch. Good man, that James. I also had to hire Heather, a very industrious and sweet high school girl to cover for Lyann.

I roped Kim into prepping for me. She has enough to do without have to prep as well. Well, that’s the life of an innkeeper.

BTW, kebop is the way you’d say it in Turkish. Just to let you know, unless you put an ending on it making it kebob.

First Night Second Workshop Down


Well, the instructor, Phyllis said that she had heard from a student in the last workshops that the food was fantastic. What can I say?

Given the restrictions that I must labor under, what can I say?

Anyway, I had fun making gluten free bread, it was tasty if somewhat odd. The gluten free cookies that I made are going to rock! The dough was wonderful.

I served up my famous rice pudding. It’s a baked and somewhat drier pudding than the custardy kind and very good, I think. I made one without eggs that I thought was the better of the two.

So, this workshop I have one gluten and egg free guest and two vegetarians. I’m tired. It’s been an easy if somewhat long day.

I tell you, this is fun, easy but fun.

In the Swim


This afternoon I discovered our first swimming pool guest – a turtle! I don’t think he found it to his liking – probably too cold — as he was trying to find a way out.

I fished him out and pointed him in the direction of the creek.


I’m being told that I Must blog.

I have no time for blogging. I spend way too much time in front of the computer already, so when I have a little time for myself I don’t want to spend it sitting in front of the computer! Hurrrumph.

I’ve been busy today preparing my script for the slide show presentation of next year’s workshops which I’ll have to present by myself for the first time! Yikes. I have to make sure I have notes on all of the artists.

I also sent out more contracts to artists for 2007 and 2008.

Next project is finishing off the winter workshop brochure and the fiber art workshop brochure.

Gluten Free

Well, did my first batch of gluten free cookies. They tasted great. I could taste a little of the bean flower but I like sweet bean desserts such as halo-halo, a Filipino dessert.

Spot found me, he’d been sleeping in the TV room upstairs. Gotta go. I told Kim to blog more, I hope she does.

Greenville of the rocks

Yesterday, I moved a ton or two of rocks and then moved 10 tons of “topsoil”, more like fill, to fill in the small ditch that putting in our underground water system caused. 10 tons of dirt barely covered it. I also put straw out, at $8 a square bale, for esthetics reasons. It’s damp and rainy enough not to actually need it or watering but I also didn’t want the dirt blowing around and I like the look of the straw. I also used the straw, old straw that we laid down previously, to fill in the ditch. The ditch is going to settle, I know this, so we built it up a bit to give it settling room.

Tom, the husband of one of our housekeeping staff, helped me quite a bit. I shoveled and he wheelbarrowed and raked. When we’d gotten through most of the dirt, about 8 tons, we switched. Tom is an excellent raker. We used two barrows. The funny thing was that since we started from the rear, I had to shovel faster and faster to keep up. It was kind of I-Love-Lucy-esque.

Today, I have to create a bunch of cookies and freeze them. Eliot and Kim found out that if you flattened the cookies, I freeze them in a balls, that they cook better and faster. I’m going to preflatten them.

This coming workshop I have two vegetarians and one gluten intolerant. So, I’ll make gluten free cookies. I am ready for this. I have a vegetarian menu and I can make glutton free breads and cookies.

May I don’t have a full staff because High School is still in. We have a bunch of wonderful High School kids that work hard and know what they are doing. They’re wonderful. This business is hectic. Perhaps not has crazy as trying to get a late release out the door, but it has its moments.

I have noticed that we’re not getting comments on the blog. I hope everyone who reads this finds this entertaining.

See you on the other side of the workshop. 😉

Elvis has left the building

Well, the Previous Owners have left, never to return in two weeks. 😉 (Yes, they’ll be back for our first Painters Week. Actually, the painters weeks are not on the schedule. This one is right after the Paul Leveille workshop.)

The reason I call them the Previous Owners is that’s what Tish calls the Stevens girls.

Well, we’ll miss them and we wish they’d stayed an extra night but now they’re out in the wide world doing wide world stuff and we wish them wide luck.

Onward, people! Onward.