While it is a work in progress, our stone walkways are evolving happily for all complements of our resident Stonemason. We have new railings on the two stairways that were added last year. Daniel is diligently working on the stairs to the sidewalk now. Here is a little video of Daniel setting the last big stone (other than two more stairs) with the bobcat. Our Stratford bed and breakfast will soon have two stairways for our guests. The part where Daniel launches out of the bobcat is rather amusing–small space, tall man exits.Read More
While they are tiny and easily missed amidst the unmelted snow in the yard, here is a shot of our first courageous flowers of spring 2015.
Be sure to check the Festival website special savings tab to find out about deals on senior tickets, Sunday’s on sale, and two for one Tuesday and Thursdays. Here is the link:
There is a huge emphasis on local farms in Ontario and we are surrounded by farms here in Stratford. Thanks to the Beacon Herald article on local farming, we found a local free run natural egg supplier for our Stratford Bed and Breakfasts in 2015, with a few fresh harvested herbs to accompany the eggs. This year we are delighted to be serving eggs from Lynn River Farms to all B&B guests. Here is a link to their website, for the curious.
“About Our Farm
My Grandparents had a small farm just outside of Stratford where my Grandma always had a magnificent garden. They had cows, some horses, a small acreage of land and lived what seemed to me a simpler life. My husband and I purchased this land in June 2009 with efforts to fix up the house built around 1836, bring back life inside the barn and in hopes to also try and live a simpler life. We believe in farming as naturally as possible, all our animals have access to outdoors, fresh air and sunshine. We use 100% certified organic seeds. Although we have chosen not be ‘certified’ organic we follow all organic principles and do not use any chemical fertilizers or synthetic pesticides.
*Sweet corn grown using conventional methods (non GMO).”
They will be opening a new farm stand this year, so guests heading East when they leave Stratford can stop by to buy Lynn River Farm produce and eggs on their way home!Read More
Bed and Breakfast Recipe
Gluten Free Flour and Chocolate Chip Brownie
Since Daniel is gluten intolerant, most of what I bake is gluten free. A number of guests have asked for my flour recipe and I thought it might be best to post it here:
Gluten Free Flour
3 cups rice flour, white or brown works
1 cup potato starch, NOT flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon Xanthan gum (do not leave this out–you will have a sticky mess baking without it!)
I use this in most regular cookies and quick breads, not just gluten free recipes. If it is a rather “wet” recipe, then I sometimes combine it with some oat flour to stiffen up the dough. I hope this helps others to use their favourite old recipes in a gluten free way! It works for oatmeal, peanut butter, ginger…. you get the idea.
I have yet to try it with yeast bread, as I find gluten free yeast breads to be just a bit icky, so I have no delusions that I might do it better!
Gluten Free Brownies (using above flour)
Oven at 350 degrees, butter bottom of 8 inch square glass pan
In sauce pan, melt 2 stick butter or margerine and 5 oz unsweetened chocolate, unless using cocoa powder
add 2 cups sugar
plus 2 cups cocoa powder (if not using chocolate above)
Mix well, add 4 eggs
Add 1 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cups chocolate chips (reduce flour to 1 cup if not using chips)
Bake for 30-35 minutes and let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares.
Ok, the cold has settled in to remind us we are, indeed in Canada. It turns out that Centigrade and Fahrenheit converge around -44 and we are at that point, with the wind chill, here in Stratford. The snow banks are 3 feet high and our kitchen renovations are just about finished, with the addition of a spice cabinet in the wall that holds…. wait for it…..over 100 spices. All are filed alphabetically and finally in one cupboard that awaits the right trim to surround it.
Daniel built new headboards for the Citrine Room over the last few days, as the ones we had were a bit wimpy for a king sized bed/twin beds. Next I will cover them with foam and our upholsterer will make slip covers. Then we will add new drapes to the Citrine and Rose Quartz Rooms, as well as new room darkening shades.
I love the cheery kitchen with the green cupboards that stay ever so much cleaner than the old varnished ones did. Recipe books abound as I vet new ideas for this year’s breakfast menu. Expect creative fruit ideas this year. I welcome any ideas from others as well.
Hope all are staying warm as all the Eastern Seaboard and inland a bit seem to be in a deep freeze–the perfect time to pour another cup of tea and settle in with a good cookbook!
Renovations have been a race to the finish and Daniel a real trouper, so thorough and so determined that it will all be just right! He busily screwed down ALL the floor boards on the second floor to eliminate all squeaks–test it when you visit!
The Moonstone Room bathroom is very active in process, with the shower set and the tilers to arrive in 1 1/2 weeks. Of course the entry hall ceiling had to be removed to allow for the new plumbing. Kelley found a beautiful pair of glass and bronze dragon hanging lamps for the entry ceilings at Toronto’s Sam the Chandelier Man’s place. Kelley also found a lovely hand woven European tapestry place and two very different tapestries to go in the Citrine Room and the Moonstone Room. Yet more art!
Happily, the Rose Quartz and Citrine rooms and washrooms are quite ready for guests and the Moonstone should be ready by mid-April, with all the little finishing touches.
Kelley still struggles with the website bits, occasionally deleting a page, then reinstating it…ooops. One pesky sample photo refuses to leave from the Citrine Room pics–one day it will be gone! More photos will follow in April when we have all the bits working at once! There is table saw in the dining room, tool piles in the Rose Quartz, and some hallway carpet has been removed–a construction zone, for now. The beginning of April brings new carpet upstairs and on the stairs–more floorboards for Daniel to tackle.
Now the online booking system has been selected and will soon be available on the website, thank heavens.
In between, we entertain friends, wander the area and gaze at our 4 foot snowbanks in the front yard. It may be much more relaxing to have guests?Read More
Holidays at the B&B were filled with family, friends, and snow! A few pictures here of the freshly painted downstairs rooms in their holiday best. Reservations for the upcoming season are clicking along, as early birds organize their summer holidays. Meanwhile, the new washroom installation begins in January, as does wallpaper removal in the Moonstone Room. If you want to see Daniel’s handywork, the newly renovated washroom for the Rose Quartz Room is available when you click on Rose Quartz under Rooms tab.