A Midsummer Vermont Dream

We have been having an incredible year at the B&B. We have been able to host some wonderful guests from near and far, and still manage to squeeze in a trip to Montreal and take a weekend off for some time with our family. Getting over the border to Montreal is always a fun little excursion for us. Only about 2 hours from our door, we spent a weekend in Old Town walking around cobblestone streets and enjoying some great poutine. If you're visiting us on your way to or from (or just making a day trip of it) we'd love to hear from you! We are always looking for good recommendations we can enjoy, and pass on to other guests. 

First trip North of the border!

First trip North of the border!

 

A lot has happened in the month since our last blog post! The weather has warmed up significantly and the ground has dried out. With the extra blast of heat (well, Vermont heat) our dahlias are just exploding with color!

Dahlias in the sunshine!

Dahlias in the sunshine!

We planted 45 tubers on the bank of the pond and cannot wait to see what colors each one brings. See, last winter I labeled the color and type of each tuber, but those labels wore off, so we will have a nice little surprise as each one blooms. Our hydrangeas are in full bloom splashing vibrant shades of blue and white; and guests who sit on the porch can look out and be treated to a 40 foot long planting bed full of zinnias and sunflowers, now in full bloom.

Dahlia and Vermont Bed and Breakfast at Russell Young Farm

Dahlia and Vermont Bed and Breakfast at Russell Young Farm

We have hosted two family yoga classes, which is a nice way to meet the neighbors and offer a community benefit. The wee ones are excited to put their feet in the grass and parents enjoy taking photos and engaging with each other. It’s been a treat! This weekend we will have a yoga class geared for adults. If you’re in the area, pop by for a stretch!

The location for Yoga on the Lawn!

The location for Yoga on the Lawn!

 

The little fruit orchard we planted this spring is doing well. The oldest of the trees, the plum tree, is already setting fruit and a few plums have been ripening to a perfect reddish bronze color. Unfortunately, the deer have figured this out and are scooping up all the fruit before we can get to it! One project that has moved up to the top of my to-do list is setting up an electric fence around the orchard. We also have several blueberry bushes that are beginning to set fruit for the first time as well as a black currant bush that is just loaded with tart little berries. It has become a lovely family adventure to take a walk around the property and enjoy bursts of flavors at each little bush. Guests who venture around the pond can now stop and have a little snack as they explore!

Fresh blueberries and currants from the bushes around the pond at our Bed and Breakfast!

Fresh blueberries and currants from the bushes around the pond at our Bed and Breakfast!

We are basking in the glory of full summer and invite you to join us!

-Carin & Luke McCarthy

Special Events! Free Family Yoga - July 9th and August 6th

For a long time I’ve been thinking about how we can provide a community space for our friends and neighbors! This summer, we will be offering a few special events including Family yoga!

On Sunday July 9th and August 6th, we will be hosting a free family yoga class designed for pre-crawlers through new-walkers. We invite community members to bring their little people for an outdoor yoga class. Hope for sunny weather, as it will be weather-dependent.

We will have a few available but please bring a mat and blanket, if you can. We also encourage you to bring any protective layers or products that will help you to feel comfortable enjoying the lawn in the afternoon.  Please help us spread the word! We hope to see you there and look forward to meeting our newest neighbors!

-Carin McCarthy

Visit Vermont this Summer: a Highlight of Some of our Favorite Attractions

Summer is such a great time to be in Vermont. Even for those of us who love winter and enjoy adventures in the snow, the change of seasons is a welcome thing in the Green Mountains. Looking forward to the next few months, there is so much to see and do that makes a Vermont getaway worthwhile - and so memorable.

For the Foodies and Outdoor Adventurers, there is an abundance of fresh, local food that you can enjoy. Some of our favorite activities include attending the Waitsfield farmer’s market, ranked one of the top 5 Farmer's Markets in New England by Yankee Magazine, to pick up delicious treats to fill a picnic basket and take a hike, or go tubing down the Mad River.

Bartlett's Falls, a favorite swimming hole in Bristol, VT. Photo: Boston Globe

Bartlett's Falls, a favorite swimming hole in Bristol, VT. Photo: Boston Globe

There are so many great day hikes in our area. My favorite hikes are within an hour of our Bed and Breakfast, and include a few hours of moderate hiking, ending with a picturesque view of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Some of these hikes are even located near our favorite breweries and vineyards, so you can pick up a growler and enjoy a sunset hike!

Another great way to enjoy the season is to visit some of the local pick-your-own farms and orchards. Nearby, we have blueberries, strawberries, cherries and apple orchards where you can spend a sunny afternoon enjoying the scents and sounds of summer while you pick fruit to eat fresh or use for ingredients to make a delicious pie or breakfast treat! We grow our own strawberries and blueberries at the B&B, so we are excited for a good growing season!)

If you’re interested in cultural events, there are so events coming up! The Discover Jazz Festival takes over Burlington in early June, with world-class musicians and performers filling the venues across town. Higher Ground brings top-line musicians to perform live in their venue, at the waterfront, and at Shelburne Museum. Check their calendar early to reserve tickets to one of the upcoming shows!

The Church Street Marketplace statue of Big Joe Burrell, photo credit: All About Jazz

The Church Street Marketplace statue of Big Joe Burrell, photo credit: All About Jazz

The Church Street Marketplace comes alive the summer, with restaurant seating spilling out into the pedestrian marketplace. It really is a celebration of the season of sunshine! There are other annual celebrations that take place in the summer, like the weekly Farmer’s Market, Kids Day and Festival of Fools (Circus Arts), to name a few.

photo: Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

photo: Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

 

Shelburne Farms hosts the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival every year in July, and I can’t think of a better setting to enjoy local food and learn about the rich history of Vermont agriculture. Some of the world's best cheese is made in Vermont, and you'll know what makes it special when you see the beautiful landscape and hardworking people who make it.

One of my favorite things to do in go out on a sunset sail with the Whistlingman, on Lake Champlain. Sailing towards the Adirondacks, you look back at Burlington as it sits glowing in the evening sun, with the beautiful Green Mountains in the background. You can pack a picnic on the boat, which has a capacity for 12 people. It’s a perfect way to enjoy an evening. When you land on the docks at dusk, you can walk up to the Church Street marketplace and enjoy some of the best bars and restaurants in the area.

Sunset cruise, photo: The Whistling man

Sunset cruise, photo: The Whistling man

If you’re needing a getaway this summer, there’s no better place than Vermont. Some of our guests don’t ever leave the property – they enjoy a leisurely breakfast, have coffee on the porch, read by the pond, stroll around the property or practice yoga with a view! We love it here and we are so happy when our guests enjoy themselves, either by exploring the nearby attractions or settling in for a quiet weekend retreat at our B&B. Summer is the perfect time to visit Vermont and make the most of the local food, beer and wine, outdoor adventures, and cultural events. We hope you will come and see for yourself!

-Carin McCarthy

Verdant Vermont: The Growing Season Begins!

It's been a little over a month since our last blog post and things have been happening fast around here! As we mentioned, we have started our own little fruit orchard in one of our fields. So far we have 5 Peach trees and 4 Pear trees planted, and we have 2 Plum trees sitting in the driveway waiting for the yard to dry out a little so we can drive over it without making a mess of the lawn. Eventually we will get a 3rd Plum tree to make the orchard a little more symmetrical, but that may wait until next year. Hopefully if all goes well in the next few years we will be whipping up some peach cobbler or plum preserves... or perhaps some Perry? (Pear Cider.) We are excited to add new fruits to the breakfast menu at our B&B and serve local fruits that we have grown on the property! Food is better when it's so fresh you can still taste the sunshine!

Our new plum trees, making their way to the orchard!

Our new plum trees, making their way to the orchard!

Seedlings, safe and warm inside!

Seedlings, safe and warm inside!

The little seedlings we started a few months ago are itching to get into the garden. Admittedly, I started them too early. Last year, by this time, things were dry and pretty warm. This year things are still a little too soggy, and the nighttime temperatures are still dipping a little too low to get them out. (Chilly nights make for great sleeping weather!) But that's OK, they are perfectly cozy in the little greenhouse with all of their friends. Eventually the peppers and tomatoes will be placed in the garden under the gardening hoops you can see in the picture below. Then a white fabric gets stretched over the hoops and secured. This will keep the plants warm, and protected from the elements while they get settled in and grow roots. 

The greenhouse plays a key role in keeping our plants safe and warm in the early season!

The greenhouse plays a key role in keeping our plants safe and warm in the early season!



While we grow 100% of our vegetables from seed, space in the house, as well as time commitments on the part of yours truly, prevents us from growing everything from seed. While we still grow a fair amount of flowers from seed, including zinnias, sunflowers, and petunias; and divide and overwinter our dahlias every year, there are some things we rely on local greenhouses to provide. This last weekend we were visiting family down in the Lebanon, NH area and stopped by one of our favorite nurseries, Edgewater Farm. We picked up some basil and mint for the wonderful breakfasts we will be serving up, and we also picked up some impatients for the flower pots on the front porch. I also snuck some creeping phlox and delphinium into the shopping cart for around the pond.  I can't resist flowers!

We prepare the soil with compost, then overlay it with ground cover to keep the weeds down without using chemicals. The hoops are covered with fabric to provide shelter to young plants in the early season.

We prepare the soil with compost, then overlay it with ground cover to keep the weeds down without using chemicals. The hoops are covered with fabric to provide shelter to young plants in the early season.

Over the next few weeks all of this will be going into the ground and the property will start showing it's true colors. I can't wait!

-Luke McCarthy

Spring in Vermont: Starting Seeds and Boiling Maple Sap

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Spring is my second favorite season in Vermont. And it's a very close second. There is so much going on here at the farm in late March and early April! The landscape is coming to life, and we are getting busy with preparation for yet another successful season at our Bed and Breakfast. 

Example of early preparation of the garden, at the start of the growing season 2016

Example of early preparation of the garden, at the start of the growing season 2016

We try to be fairly self-sufficient at the B&B. We have our own flock of chickens and ducks for eggs, we make our own maple syrup, and we try to grow most of our own fruits and veggies we use around the bed and breakfast. Back in mid-February we had a good run of weather to collect maple sap, which we boiled down into a few gallons of syrup. Right around the same time I started a whole bunch of pepper and tomato seeds. This is pretty early to be starting any kind of seed in Vermont, but as you'll read later on we start early because we take some precautions in order to set plants out a little earlier than normal. (Normal for our mountainous area is right around Memorial Day.) Anyway, after we boiled some sap and started some seeds, mother nature had a good laugh at us and it turned cold and snowy again. The sap stopped flowing and I questioned my sanity starting so many seeds early. 

Collecting maple sap from the trees

Collecting maple sap from the trees


Then, at the end March, we saw Robins so heavy with eggs they could barely fly, and those that had already laid their eggs were busy searching for food to feed their hatchlings. Spring had officially arrived at the B&B!

By now the temperature swings are perfect for maple sap collection and those seeds I planted in mid-February are about 6 inches tall. We keep them under a combination of LED and fluorescent lights near one of the baseboard radiators to keep some heat in and they love it. They will soon outgrow their 4 inch pots, as well as require more light than we can give them indoors.

Indoor seed starter station

Indoor seed starter station

Just today I went out and shook the cobwebs out of our little 6 foot by 6 foot greenhouse. In another week or so all of the large seedlings will move out to the greenhouse where they will enjoy 80 degree days and a small electric heater will keep them at around 50 degrees at night. With almost two months until our official "plant out" date, how can we keep them in pots for that long you ask? Well, as soon as the ground thaws out a bit in the garden we will go out and cover it with black fabric, and then cover a few areas with row cover, or a mini hoop-house. This will heat up the soil where plants like melons, peppers and tomatoes are planted; and it will also provide up to 7 degrees of frost protection at night for the seedlings. With this system, we can plant up to two weeks earlier than normal Vermont gardens. 

Greenhouse grow space

Greenhouse grow space

I will collect some sap today, and then tomorrow I'll take down all of our taps and buckets until next year. Taking the buckets off the trees is always bittersweet for me; while i love the process of collecting and boiling, by the time they are ready to come off I'm usually ready to move on to other things. Tending to the garden, planting the annual flower beds, regular maintenance, and this year we are planting an orchard with peaches, pears, and plums which should all be arriving in early May! Stay tuned for more on that later.

-Luke

The Best Times to Book a Visit to Vermont

In Vermont, there’s something for everyone and planning your visit at the right time of year can make a world of difference as to how you experience your getaway. Planning your trip during the shoulder ‘in-between’ seasons can provide a more intimate experience of Vermont’s area attractions. Now is the perfect time to start planning your Vermont vacation.

Late winter is a sweet time of year to experience Vermont. Whether you’re getting first tracks on Vermont’s many ski and snowboard trails or visiting apres-ski events at the many breweries and local-food sourced restaurants, it’s a great time to visit.  For those interested in history, culture and craft hobbies, visiting Vermont in February or March, during the Maple sugar season, is a sweet and memorable experience. Many farms open up their “sugar shacks” for maple syrup tastings. There are plenty of birds to watch at the birdfeeders. With nights below freezing and sunny, warmer days, maple season is a nice time to spend the day snowshoeing, touring maple production, and sampling some of the local cheese purveyors.  

Collecting maple sap, to reduce into syrup

Collecting maple sap, to reduce into syrup

 

Plan your visit for the start of the growing season and you may find that you have a private B&B getaway. Visiting in early May, you’ll experience everything in full bloom. The countryside will be filled with the scent of blossoming trees and flowers. On many farms, baby animals will be venturing out to pasture and kicking up their hooves and feet for the first time. Many farms have events to meet baby lambs and goats. A visit to small-town hardware stores and you can see fluffy little yellow chicks, ducklings and goslings, heading to area farms. What could be cuter?

Apple blossoms, alongside the barn

Apple blossoms, alongside the barn

Late August through mid-September is a great time to experience the bountiful Vermont foodie scene, as farmers are harvesting their crops and producing craft treats with local ingredients. The swimming holes are still open, while not being too crowded for a dip in a mountain stream. As a visitor, you can experience all of the verdant landscapes of the Green Mountain state before the foliage season peaks and restaurants fill with tourists. Don’t forget to check the local concert listings, as there are many outdoor music festivals that showcase world-class musicians in a beautiful setting.

Bartlett's Falls, in Bristol

Bartlett's Falls, in Bristol

 

Beer and wine flow all year long, and the weeks between foliage season and the first snow is the perfect time to plan a relaxing getaway in Vermont.  “Stick season”, as the period after the leaves fall off the trees is called, is a great time to pick up a growler of local beer and hike the Green Mountains to enjoy the clear view and crisp air. After adventuring outside, many of our guests enjoy cozying up by the fire and reading a book or playing games.  

The nearby Appalachian Gap, photo credit: Lindsay Dahlheimer

The nearby Appalachian Gap, photo credit: Lindsay Dahlheimer

 

No matter the season, you’re bound to find something to suit your interests so don’t delay in planning your Vermont getaway. If you have questions about planning your trip, take a look at a few of our favorite spots or feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to give you an insider’s view to guide your travel plans.

-Carin McCarthy

Making the Most of Winter

If you've been following our instagram or facebook pages, you've probably seen a picture of our pond with a dock on the side opposite the house. The dock has provided great entertainment to many friends and guests. We've had people fishing off of it (with no luck) jumping off of it (no diving please!) and we are still trying to convince our dog to take a splash off of it. But one thing has become clear: the dock is tired. It's seen many seasons in the sun and it needs a little love.

The dock construction project

The dock construction project

 

Nobody is really sure how old it is but we have some pictures dating back about 30 years and the dock is in them, so it's safe to say it's been well loved. In the intervening years the snow and rain has taken it's toll on the lumber, fasteners aren't fastened anymore, and a ladder that used to be fixed to the side fell off long ago. We figured it was time to breathe new life into it, and get it back to it's full glory. 

We figured the easiest way to work on the dock would be to wait until the ice froze solid enough to get out and walk on it, using it as a scaffold of sorts. Sure enough, just before Christmas the ice was pretty thick and I ventured out with a sledge hammer and had the old dock in pieces within a few minutes. Unfortunately, then the weather stopped cooperating. It rained, it got warm, and the ice was no longer suitable to work on. 



Eventually, after a nice long freeze, we were able to get back out and rebuild the dock off of the existing pillars. As with every building project I embark on, I have an idea in my head, and some rough drawings on paper, but I never stay committed to any one design. Our old dock consisted of two long beams that sat on top (mostly) of the pillars, and then some decking was fastened to the beams. Over time, the connection between the beams and the pillars failed and the whole thing was pretty much just floating. We decided to build the new dock six inches closer to the water, and place the beams adjacent to, instead of on top of, the pillars. We reasoned this would give us something extra to fasten the beams to and make the whole thing a little more stable. 

After bolting some supportive cross beams to the pillars, we erected 24 foot long beams on those supports and then fastened bracing in between to make everything square and rigid. After that it was simply a matter of fastening down the decking boards. We have not fully completed the decking because once the ground thaws we'll need to go out and work on the footings for the dock on the bank, but otherwise all it need is a few lounge chairs and someone to jump off it!

-Luke McCarthy

B&B Winter Projects: Preparing for Summer Flowers

Dahlias make great bouquets at our B&B's breakfast table.

Dahlias make great bouquets at our B&B's breakfast table.

We love to grow flowers to put on the breakfast table or in our B&B's guest rooms. Even in the dead of Vermont winter, we are starting seeds or planning the flowers to plant in the seasonal garden beds. It takes some love and care to keep the gardens in line.

During our last post we mentioned that our Dahlia tubers that we placed into storage this winter began to mold a little and were generally not doing well. We are going to devote an entire post to Dahlias because not only do they add a huge burst of color to the Bed and Breakfast property every summer, but this flower in particular holds a special place in our hearts. 

Dahlias, to be made into bouquets at the B&B.

Dahlias, to be made into bouquets at the B&B.

Dahlias run the gambit from small, 1 inch diameter flowers on short stems; to flowers the size of dinner plates on massive stalks that need stakes driven into the ground in order to support their weighty heads. Whichever type of Dahlia you choose, they run the rainbow spectrum in color and eye popping appeal. This is why they line the banks of our pond and adorn the nightstands of our guestrooms when they are in season. Dahlias do, however, have one major drawback for Vermont growers. 

Dahlias 

Dahlias 

Native to Mexico, Dahlias are closely related to the Zinnia and Sunflower. Needless to say, they are a very tender annual and do not handle cold very well. While Zinnias and Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed each year, the Dahlia's root system is a group of meaty tubers that take time to become established. Therefore it isn't as easy as throwing a bunch of seeds in the ground each spring. Dahlia tubers can be purchased from any mail order seed catalogue, or even purchased at your local hardware store; but if you live in a climate such as ours, and you want to save your favorite Dahlia plants from one year to the next, certain precautions need to be taken so they can thrive in a Vermont garden.

Dahlias, ready for the guest rooms!

Dahlias, ready for the guest rooms!

At the first signs of frost their hearty stalks turn black with winter chill and they begin to die off. Before that frost reaches the ground, we snip off the blackened stalk and use a pitchfork to loosen up the soil around the mass of tubers. Once we can extract the tubers from the ground we rinse the mass off with water and set them out to dry for several days. The reason we had some mold popping up on our crop this year was twofold: I was impatient and didn't let them dry enough before putting the tubers into storage; and the storage container I placed them in did not have enough ventilation holes. 

Dahlia tubers, being prepared for winter storage

Dahlia tubers, being prepared for winter storage

Dahlias adorn the Blue Spruce Room bedside table.

Dahlias adorn the Blue Spruce Room bedside table.

Since there is a good 6-7 month stretch from killing frost to spring planting, these Dahlia tubers actually spend most of their life in storage, which means we need to be very careful about how and where they are stored. In years past I've placed them all in a cardboard box, separated by thin layers of newspaper, and placed them in the basement. This works well for many but here at the B&B our basement stays a little too warm. Ideally, they should be in storage conditions similar to a root cellar. Chilly, but never frosty. To meet these special conditions, our Dahlia tubers get stored in our garage for winter. I wanted to upgrade from the cardboard box to something more substantial this year, so we went out and got two large plastic totes to store everything in. Since Dahlias need to breathe, I drilled a few holes around the sides and top of the totes, and stored them just like I always had: with just a few pieces of newspaper in between them. 

Dahlia storage

Dahlia storage

After two weeks I went to check on them and lo and behold: MOLD! I knew right away what had happened. In the short time that they had been in storage, the extra moisture in the tubers came out and the few holes and sparse packing material were not enough to wick away the moisture. We were able to save them just in time! They all came out, got sprayed with 1:10 bleach solution, sat under a fan for a week, and we re-packed them for a long winter’s nap. This time I drilled many more holes in the containers and used a bag of pine shavings to pack in between the tubers. You want your packing material to pull extra moisture away from the tubers, but not pull TOO much moisture away from them. So now they sit in our garage. I make a point of checking them every other week to make sure they are still doing well; and waiting for their chance to be planted and enjoyed by our guests for another season.

-Luke McCarthy

Lucky Ducks! (Take two)

We love providing fresh food to our Bed and Breakfast guests, so this year we decided to raise ducks and chickens. In May we picked up three day old ducks that we had ordered in the spring from our local hardware store. When we put in our order we were not able to specify whether we wanted male or female ducks, we were only able to order a "straight run." Since we only wanted females for egg production we hedged our bets and ordered three ducks, hoping for at least one female who would produce eggs for our breakfast menu.

Duck eggs are particularly rich and good for baking. In addition to being larger than a chicken egg, ducks lay their eggs all year round, while chickens tend to slow down in the winter months. It takes a few months for either bird to develop to adolescence and start laying. We were hopeful that the cute little ducklings would turn into a brood of layers so we could make delicious breakfast breads and muffins!

Zucchini Apple Bread, made fresh from the farm!

Zucchini Apple Bread, made fresh from the farm!

As the weeks passed our little ducklings got their voice and started speaking to us. Not a distinct quack, but a shallow raspy honk almost. From everything I had read this was a telltale sign that we had males. Hoping for at least one female we waited a few more weeks for their full feathers to come in to find out exactly what we had. Sure enough, as their full feathers came in we saw a distinct curled feather on each of their tails. We had three drakes. No eggs would be coming our way.

The little ones, on their their arrival day!

The little ones, on their their arrival day!

After doing a little research I found out that when customers order from hatcheries, hatcheries fill the order for females or males first, then they fill the "straight run" orders after. Since a lot of customers are in it for the eggs, the female ducks get ordered first which leaves the straight run orders largely male. Since the local hardware store only fills orders for straight run ducks, I knew we would be in the same situation next spring if we ordered more. So, in early September I made a bold choice and special ordered four female ducks from a hatchery.

Taking a field trip to meet the neighbors!

Taking a field trip to meet the neighbors!

Our four female Pekin ducklings shipped from Metzer Farms on September 6th, and they showed up at our Post Office on the 8th first thing in the morning. It's only been a few weeks but I can already hear a difference in their voices from the males. They are nearly fully feathered now and can go out and join their mates on a full time basis.

Enjoying the grass and pool on a sunny day!

Enjoying the grass and pool on a sunny day!

We started out by housing them in the shed under a heat lamp with some supervised time with the other ducks and chickens. Now they have full run of the coop but are still finding their way around. They haven’t yet figured out how to climb back up the ladder to their house, so every night we collect them by hand and make sure that they are tucked in, cozy and warm under the heat lamp in their house. As the nights get colder, it’s a bit of race to see how quickly their full feathers come in.

The little ones enjoy the heated lamp at night, while their mates prefer to sleep outside under the stars.

The little ones enjoy the heated lamp at night, while their mates prefer to sleep outside under the stars.

The little ones are getting along well with the chickens and other ducks. We’re hoping they will figure out how to climb the ramp into their house on their own but until then, we’ll continue to make sure they are cozy and warm before we turn in for the night. 

-Luke McCarthy

Local Food, Beer, and Art: VT Festivals and Events Round Up!

September is such an exciting time to visit Vermont. Not only are the gardens and restaurants teaming with artisanal fresh fruits and veggies from the harvest season, but the bite in the air reminds locals that winter is coming. The leaves are starting to change, the sky is clear and the air is crisp. With this, it’s a great time to visit and attend some of Vermont’s many festivals and celebrations.

Foliage season at our Bed and Breakfast www.StayVTbandb.com 

Foliage season at our Bed and Breakfast www.StayVTbandb.com 

If you’re planning a trip to the Green Mountains, consider coordinating your getaway so you can attend one of the upcoming events:

The South End Art Hop – September 9-11th

Bringing together local artists, innovators, and great local food and beer, the South End Art Hop showcases the exciting development of Burlington’s Pine Street corridor. This award-winning event brings visitors and locals to explore the Southern part of the city on foot, exploring galleries and live performances with over 500 participating artists at over 100 locations. 

Open Streets BTV – September 10th

Stroll, bike or roll on through Burlington’s Old North End on this day dedicated to actively exploring the northern sections of Burlington. Activities for kids of all ages!  

Grand Point North – September 17-18th

Every year for the past six years, Grace Potter & Higher Ground Music have put on a concert series along the shore of Lake Champlain. With new performers filling the stage every year, it’s an annual treat to hear great music in such a beautiful setting.  Children under 12 enter for free. Their parents enjoy local brews and mountain views while rocking out to timeless music.

Tickets will be available online at highergroundmusic.com, by phone at 802-652-0777 or in person at the Higher Ground Box Office, 1214 Williston Rd., S. Burlington

American Flatbread Oktoberfest – September 21

This wood-fired flatbread joint offers up local, seasonal fare and brews their own Zero Gravity beer, as well as showcasing a wide variety of bottles and draughts from around the world. On September 21st, the restaurant will spin the globe to offer traditional German Style Music, Beer and Food. 

SIPtember Fest – September 23-24th

Enjoy local beer, food, music and a great vibe at Mad River Glen. Over 24 brewers will be featured and tickets are limited, so be sure to get ‘em if you can. 

Sam Mazzas’s Harvest Festival – October 1-2nd

Did we mention, it’s pumpkin spice season? Take a Hay Ride to our Pumpkin Patch to Pick Your Own. Enjoy Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Donuts, Pumpkin Fudge, our own Apple Pies & Cider. Children will enjoy Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Fall Games, Kids Bouncy Castle & Corn Maze.

Stowe Foliage Arts Festival – Oct 7-9th

With Fall foliage popping across the Green Mountains, what better to do than take a drive through the scenic byways and enjoy the art scene in Stowe! 200 juried artisans exhibit and sell a wide range of contemporary and traditional craft work as well as original Art, photography, sculpture, and specialty food products. There is a fabulous food court serving a wide range of localvore items: Organic wood fired pizza, grass fed burgers, lobster rolls, soups and salads, sweet potato fries, local apple cider, tacos, pulled pork and all the trimmings, grilled cheese Paninis, and so forth. In addition the Vermont Beer Cheese and Sausage tent returns for the fourth year. A dozen Vermont beers will be served along with Vermont cheese and sausages. Yum!

Vermont International Film Festival – October 21

Film lovers flock to Vermont for the 10-day Vermont International Film Festival. Featuring film projects from around the world, it’s a great opportunity to explore new cultures and enjoy the arts, both near and far. 

We hope you'll come and enjoy the best that Vermont has to offer. Let us know if you have questions about planning your trip. We're happy to make our guests feel at home while they explore our beautiful backyard and all of the cultural and culinary offerings of the season.

-Carin McCarthy

A Sweeter Apple: Farm Fresh Food at the B&B

A Sweeter Apple: Farm Fresh Food at the B&B

Once Stout starts visiting the apple trees we know ripe fruit isn't far behind. So this morning I am looking up new Apple breakfast recipes we can try, and find some really good ones for our guests. So not only will our fall guests get some great apple products served up but they can enjoy a walk around the property and pick their own fresh apples while enjoying the fall foliage and views of the mountains. If our guests are really lucky, Stout might even show you her secret tree.

Green Thumbs Up & Super Local Food!

Green Thumbs Up & Super Local Food!

We've been enjoying fresh from the garden lettuce, peas, carrots and broccoli. In the next few weeks we will have tomatoes ripening, and all of the squashes will be the right size for picking. We will also pull up the garlic and begin drying it out.  Now, it's time to craft some new breakfast menu ideas with all of our fresh fruits and veggies!

Summer time and the living is easy!

Summer is in full swing!

We’ve had such an amazing start to the summer season! Vermont is greener than green and our garden is flourishing!  We are enjoying fresh fruits and veggies from the garden and planning B&B menus to share with our guests. In the next few weeks, we expect to have melons and some veggies ready to work into the menu.

The view from our front porch at Vermont Bed and Breakfast at Russell Young Farm

The view from our front porch at Vermont Bed and Breakfast at Russell Young Farm

Updates from the farm:

Our strawberry towers have blossomed and born their first fruit! I’ve never tasted a juicier, more flavorful strawberry. We’re excited to share these delicious treats as part of our menu of breakfast offerings.

Fresh, beautiful homegrown strawberries! 

Fresh, beautiful homegrown strawberries! 

We planted blueberry and currant bushes, as well as a peach tree. While these won’t fruit for a few years, we’re excited to envision our guests walking the B&B property and enjoying a delicious tour of Vermont’s truly local foods.

Our brood is doing well. The chicks have grown into chickens! They are still figuring out their gangly bodies and exploring the lawn with great interest.  We are anticipating that they will be laying fresh eggs for the B&B by foliage season.  In the meantime, they are really funny. They spend most of the day stealing food from the ducks and keeping cool by rolling in the dirt. In the evening, they snuggle into the coop and – while they have spacious sleeping quarters – they all try to squeeze into one little nesting box together. It’s really funny to see. They have made us understand the term “all cooped up” in a new way.  They all appear to be female, so thankfully there hasn’t been any crowing or early morning wake up calls.

We had a funny story with the ducks. A few weeks ago, our neighbors approached us because they had found a little duckling that had been abandoned. Naturally, we took it in and tried to raise it with our ducks. It looked a little bit like a Wood duck, but we weren’t sure. It was a few weeks younger than the others, and they weren’t getting along so we had to keep them separate from the Pekins. After a few weeks of continued struggle, we started comparing images of the birds we suspected it might be. As it turns out, the little Wood duck was actually a Canadian goose! Our little "ugly duckling" seemed a little lonely with the ducks and chickens, which makes sense now. It had started presenting a little differently than the others, so we got curious and realized its true identity. Canadian Geese are federally protected, so we have re-homed it at a local rehabilitation center, where it was quickly adopted and warmly taken in by a true Mama goose.

Canada Goose & babies

Canada Goose & babies

The real ducks love to swim! They have their adult feathers now, and they spend much of the day jumping in and out of the water and then shaking their tail feathers, literally. While we have provided them with a little swimming pool, they sometimes take a refreshing dip in their drinking water.  One of the ducks is smarter than the others, and has figured out how to access the ramp to their coop with ease, so it always enjoys the freshest food and water. The others will figure it out soon enough, we hope!  It should be just a few months before they are also laying fresh eggs that we can use to make fresh baked goods for the B&B. Duck eggs are bigger and richer, so they are great for baking.

Our peonies are still popping in the garden and filling our guest rooms with aromatic scents of summer!  We have also planted a number of dahlias and other flowers for cutting along the edge of the pond. I’m excited to see them sprouting up and adding color to the landscape.

Dahlias, adorning the bedside table of the Blue Spruce Room

Dahlias, adorning the bedside table of the Blue Spruce Room

So! Sorry for the long-overdue update. We are busy enjoying the best of summer in Vermont and invite you join us.

-Carin McCarthy

Local Food Comes Home to Roost!

Spring has sprung on the farm! We’re busily planting our garden with fresh fruits, flowers and veggies to share with our guests at the Bed and Breakfast. With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, we’re seeing real changes in the landscape. The trees are blossoming and the mountain view is changing colors every day. It’s really a beautiful place to be!

The garden is filling out!

The garden is filling out!

Vermont is a great place for foodies to visit! With nearby farmers markets, breweries and vineyards, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

We’re trying to source as much of our food locally as possible. In addition to growing our own strawberries and melons, this year, we’re excited to have a few new additions to our farm. We are raising little baby chicks and ducklings, who are really showing off their photogenic qualities and charming us with their cuteness every day. As they get older, they will begin to lay eggs.

The ducklings, on their first field trip!

The ducklings, on their first field trip!

As you’ve seen in our earlier posts, Luke has built the ducks and chickens beautiful little coops where they can stay warm and cozy. We’ve fenced an area of the lawn so that they can explore the beautiful Vermont outdoors and stay safe from nearby wildlife who might like to add local meat to their menu. With mountains, fields and water all around, we are confident that these little birds have the best view in Vermont.

The chicken coop, while under construction.

The chicken coop, while under construction.

Our hope is that by the late summer we’ll be able to feed our Bed and Breakfast guests a menu of items that include farm fresh eggs. We love making French toast, quiche, baked goods, and fluffy scrambled eggs, and we’re excited to share the fresh flavors of our farm with our guests.

We’re raising a few different breeds, as I mentioned in an earlier post, and I’m excited to see the rainbow of different egg colors. Chickens lay one or two eggs a day during the sunny season, and their production slows down a bit in the winter as they are conserving energy.

The ducks had a swim lesson and were naturals!

The ducks had a swim lesson and were naturals!

Now that the weather is perfect and the nights are mild and breezy, we are nearly ready to move the chicks and ducklings outside to their new home. They are currently housed in one of our little barns and enjoying the added comfort of a heat lamp until their full feathers come in. It should just be a few more weeks until they are ready for the great outdoors.  We are excited to see how they like their new accommodations!

-Carin McCarthy

So Fresh and So Green!

Spring has sprung in Vermont and we are excitedly readying the Bed and Breakfast for travelers to visit and enjoy the sights and sounds of our property this summer and fall. We had a very mild winter and spring, so we are already starting our garden with great success.

Along the pond, we have planted some new fruit trees that will start to bear fruit in the next few years. We are excited to grow our own fresh blueberries and currants that we can serve to our guests for breakfast. Guests will also be able to stroll along outside and taste these treats as they explore the Bed and Breakfast.  In addition to shrubs and plants, our chicks and ducklings have arrived, so we’ll soon have fresh farm raised eggs on the menu soon too!  (I’ll give a full update soon, but trust me when I tell you that they are adorable!)

"We believe there is nothing like biting into fruits and veggies that are so fresh they are still warm from the sun..."

One of the great things about visiting Vermont is being able to really get a sense of the flavors of the land. With so many local providers and sustainable farmers, there are delicious ways to tour the Green Mountains and explore the seasons while supporting local businesses. We believe there is nothing like biting into fruits and veggies that are so fresh they are still warm from the sun, and we aim to serve our guests at the Bed and Breakfast fresh, flavorful and seasonally appropriate dishes.

We have a 30x30’ garden (pictured above) that sits on the eastern side of the house. Every morning, the sun rises over the Green Mountains with its first rays hitting the garden and keeping it in sunlight through most of the afternoon and early evening. Because of the short growing season in Vermont, we started a lot of seeds indoors this year and built some raised beds to improve water drainage in the garden.

Gardening in early spring is always a little risky, especially in the mountains of Vermont, where the temperatures can drop low at night. (We think this makes for perfect sleeping conditions!) To protect our plants, we have covered some rows of the garden in straw to insulate them on a particularly cold night but really, this year is shaping up to be an incredible gardening season. We have had perfect temperatures so far and night time temperatures are holding above freezing. We have had some rain, enough to fill the rain barrels but so far not too many May showers.

 

Because we love to serve our guests fresh flavors of Vermont, we have planted fruits and veggies all over the place here at the B&B. There are some melon seeds that have sprouted inside under lights where they will stay until the weather warms up some more. We have our small greenhouse full of some habanero, jalapeno, and bell pepper seedlings and a few of the many heirloom tomato plants. In order to prepare them for the outdoor elements, we keep some plants on a rolling cart in the garage to stay warm at night and take them out daily to enjoy the sunshine.

The garlic we planted last October is coming up nicely, and last month we planted lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots. We also have some kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli already planted. Normally our last frost date is somewhere around Memorial Day but we are keeping our eyes on the forecast daily. If conditions look good we will plant a few things under row covers to get a jump on the growing season. 

 

For those of you who read the strawberry tower blog, the strawberries are doing great! The towers have big and lush foliage popping out of every square inch of the pipe. It shouldn't be more than a few weeks before we start seeing small flowers emerge where the juicy red fruits will grow. We add a little bit of fertilizer that is specifically designed for hydroponic strawberries so they get all the nutrients they need. It seems to be working!  We’re excited to serve our guests fresh strawberries from our garden.

With all the veggies pretty much squared away, it's time to turn our attention to our flowers! 

-Luke & Carin McCarthy

DIY Project: Growing Hydroponic Strawberry Towers at the B&B

We go through a lot of fruit here at our Bed and Breakfast, from strawberries and blueberries on the side of our (soon to be) world famous French toast, to just having a bowl out at all times for guests to enjoy. Since we try to be as self-sustaining as possible, we are taking steps this spring to have some fresh, home-grown fruit this summer. We have some blueberry plants that will be planted in the coming weeks, and we are experimenting with growing our own strawberries using vertical planters. 

With all the veggies, flowers and fruits that we have planned for the garden this year there isn't going to be a lot of extra space left over. We already have to find a different spot outside of the garden for a few odds and ends like butternut squash and corn that need a little more room. We were determined though, to find space for strawberries because we love them!  With these space restrictions we started looking at vertical planters. After doing some research, we discovered that strawberries grow pretty well in hydroponic systems. Since we typically grow lettuce and other odds and ends through the winter inside hydroponically, we figured we'd give it a shot. 

After some on-the-fly engineering and design, we came up with the towers you see below. I'm mostly happy with the way they turned out but next year there are a few things I’ll change - which I’ll get to in a minute. 

DIY Vertical Strawberry Towers

DIY Vertical Strawberry Towers

To build them, we took a 4 inch PVC drain pipe and cut it in half, then drilled circular holes large enough for the strawberry root to fit though, about an inch across, in four columns up the side of the pipe in a staggered pattern. Be sure to measure out where the lid will sit once the pipe is seated in the bucket, and stop drilling your holes just above that. Then below that "lid line" we drilled a series of smaller holes down the pipe to allow water to flow back into the bucket. The bottom of the pipe is capped with a 4" cap and screwed into the pipe, so that when the season is over we can pull the whole thing out of the bucket without everything coming out the bottom! 

Now to the water pump. The whole premise of this system is that water is pumped to the top, and allowed to trickle down through the pipes, hitting each root as it flows down the tower. You need a good pump – I suggest a Baby Bear pump. Not too strong, not too weak, but just right. You'll need your pump to be able to push a column of water up at least 4 feet (the height of the tower) but you don't want it so strong that it overwhelms the system and overflows. We went with a 400 gallon per hour pump that claimed 300 gallons per hour with a 4 foot lift. After running the system it seems a bit less than that which is fine. 

You've got a few options here. You could plumb your two "tower buckets" together and have a third bucket as a reservoir with the pump in it, and then run your water line to a T fitting then to the tops of each tower; or opt for less clutter and get two pumps, placing one in each bucket, and run the waterline inside the pipes. This is the method we selected. After determining the length of hose needed to reach the top, we drilled a hole below the lid line that was as big as the waterline and fished the waterline through the hole and up the pipe. We then connected it to the pump in the bucket, put some water in it, and made sure we had a good flow rate to the top. 

The Pump & Water System

The Pump & Water System

To keep the pipe upright, we filled the bucket with a bag of crushed rock. Make sure to wash the rock first to keep dirt out of the system. Also be sure to fill the inside of the pipe with rock up to the lid line. The reason for this is we used perlite as our growing medium. Perlite floats and as such, it would be almost impossible to get a good base of perlite under the water line. Once you get above the water line with rock, start adding the perlite. Once you hit an opening, add the strawberry plants. Keep adding perlite and plants until you reach the top of the tower. 

For the top we took two 4" PCV caps and used PVC cement to glue them together. We then drilled a hole in the middle the exact diameter of the waterline and pushed the waterline through. We put the cap on the pipe and turned the pump on. The upside down cap starts filling with water and at that point just grab a small drill bit and go to town. Drill enough holes so the cap doesn't fill up and overflow. 

Drainage holes for the water system.

Drainage holes for the water system.

There you have it! In theory the system will work but I’ll check back with you in a month or so and let you know how it did! Since water and perlite don't have much in the way of nutritional value we will need to start adding nutrients to the water soon. Oh, and as for the things I would do differently: next year I won’t be using perlite as a medium. It's messy, it gets everywhere when you are filling the tower, and water has a tendency to create little rivers in it and those rivers always come out the holes. Next year we will switch to a hydroton medium. There’s always something to learn when you’re active on the farm!

- Luke McCarthy

Sustainable Green Mountains: DIY Farm Projects and Compost Systems at the B&B

We care a great deal about our environmental footprint and we try to keep a pretty low impact here at the B&B. Our electric source is solar, we hope to switch to a wood heating source soon, and we have always taken our recycling pretty seriously.

We are happy to share a greener experience with our guests who visit from around the world and want to see why the Green Mountains are extra special.

Vermont recently passed a mandatory recycling rule where, starting last summer, the disposal of recyclables was banned. Beginning in the summer of this year the disposal of leaf and yard debris will be banned; and 4 years from now the disposal of any food scraps will no longer be permitted. Go Vermont! We love that sustainability is a shared value in here.

The view of the Green Mountains from the front porch of our Vermont Bed and Breakfast

The view of the Green Mountains from the front porch of our Vermont Bed and Breakfast

We're proud to say we have also been recycling our food waste since day one. When we opened the B&B, the first (well, almost first) order of business was to build a compost bin near the garden to hold all the leaves, sticks, extra food, and garden waste. Let’s face it, while we serve up some pretty delicious breakfasts, serving up all those meals has a tendency to produce a lot of extra scraps. We like to think that the extra bites of French toast or eggs left behind on a plate can be cycled back into our garden and help us to feed our guests next year.

Our compost bins includes 3 compartments, which show "No vacancy" when they fill up!

Our compost bins includes 3 compartments, which show "No vacancy" when they fill up!

Here are some details about our DIY compost system:

Our main compost bin consists of three compartments, side by side. The two outer bins are 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep by 4 feet tall, and the center one is 4 feet wide by three feet deep by 4 feet tall. (The only reason for this different dimension is because lumber does not come in 9 foot lengths, so to avoid cutting extra material I made the overall length 10 feet!) The main framing is 2x4's and the whole thing is wrapped in 1/2 inch construction mesh. To keep the mesh in place, and to keep the sides from bowing out too I added some decking boards. To build the front I screwed a small spacer to the face of the 2x4 supports and then screwed a wider flat piece of wood to that, leaving a channel, then cut 1x6 stock to fit in the channel. The whole thing it topped off with 2x4 frame covered in polycarbonate panels, which was intended to track heat and keep it warmer so the decomposition process happens faster. If I were to do it all over again I may have left off the cover or had it open in another direction. In high velocity winds it acts like a sail and tries to rip off the bin. I've had to put a few latches on it to keep it down. Plus, with no rain getting to the pile, you have to be good about adding extra water to your compost. With every project, I learn something!

With the overall size of the bins and the way you access them, by pulling out all the front panels, it's somewhat difficult to turn the pile on a regular basis. For this reason we've been treating it as a "no turn" system. We fill one compartment at a time and then let it sit. After it’s had some time to decompose, we get in there once in a while and flip it, but overall we leave it alone. The first bin (all the way to the right) was filled up in roughly late September or early October, (at the height of the foliage season and our busiest period of guest visitors and leftover pancakes). Once the first bin was full, we closed it up started filling up the middle bin. There has been a definite change the compost process, and we’ve noticed how much it has slowed down over the winter. We’re hoping that when we get in there to turn it this spring, after it thaws, it will be ready to spread on the garden and replenish the soil. With our second bin filling up quickly we are ready to get going with projects in the garden!

Wire mesh protects the pile from furry guests and visitors who might want a midnight snack. The front slats slide out from the top, so we can turn the piles and spread it on the garden.

Wire mesh protects the pile from furry guests and visitors who might want a midnight snack. The front slats slide out from the top, so we can turn the piles and spread it on the garden.

 

This year, we’re going to start another type of composting project, utilizing the power and unique talents of worms. That's right, the little red squiggly guys you usually find on the end of fish hooks. They are super-efficient processors and they produce a sort of gold-quality fertilizer that can be turned into the garden to improve the soil.  One pound of worms can eat a half a pound of food scraps in 24 hours. By comparison, if we threw a pound of food scraps in our main compost it'd take several months to break down.

Here's an example of the type of container we'll set up for the worm digester (source: Working Worms).

Here's an example of the type of container we'll set up for the worm digester (source: Working Worms).

 

The addition of the worm farm changes our game, especially through the cold winter months at the B&B, when the outdoor compost bins slow down. Now, with the addition of the worm processing system, we have a back-up plan that will improve our compost recycling rates significantly! Plus, feeding the worms some of the food scraps will help us to strike a better balance, helping us to maintain an optimum ratio of food and plant material in the main compost bin. (Right now we are heavy on food scraps and light on "green stuff," meaning sticks, leaves, vegetation, etc.)  We are excited to see how these two systems can support each other and help us to produce high quality fruits, veggies and flowers in our garden that we can share with guests at the B&B.

Art by Anne Gedes

Art by Anne Gedes

The worm compost “worm casting” byproduct is coveted amongst gardeners, so we’re looking forward to building it into our recycling efforts on the farm. We are happy to welcome these little guys to the family. The only challenge is that ordering a pound of worms means we’ll be starting out with about 1,000 worms... what will we name them all!?

-Luke McCarthy

Serving up Fresh VT Maple Syrup from the B&B: Small Batch DIY Production

A quick trip into town yesterday made one thing blatantly obvious: Spring is coming and sugaring season is upon us! On the way to Bristol, it seemed like every other pickup truck had a 300 gallon tank in the back with Vermont Maple sap sloshing around as they shuttled the sweet stuff from the tree stands to their boiling location. The mountains around us have a faint fog of wood smoke mixed with the sweet aroma of sap steam as it reduces to Maple syrup.

Making sap while the sun shines!

The more intense producers around here have 2,000+ gallon sap tanks sitting at the bottom of their hillside tree stands and will come around daily with their transport vehicles and ferry the sap off to be produced. Then again, when you run 13,000 taps as one producer near us does, you need fairly large storage tanks! As humble beginners, we run a few less than that. 

Vermont has an interesting history of cultivation of its forests and farmland that we see hints of even today. When white settlers first arrived, the land was mostly heavily forested. Land clearing proceeded and sheep herding and wool production became the mainstay of Vermont settlers. By the 1840’s, Addison County (where we have our Bed and Breakfast) was the leading wool producing area in the United States (Agriculture in Vermont). Many of the towns nearby still show their history, with mill buildings set along the river ways that once powered their fabric production. During the second half of the 19th century, sheep farming began to decline and was gradually eclipsed by the dairy industry. (What Ceres Might Say) For the places that aren't farm land, the northern climate and abundance of Maple trees makes Vermont a perfect location for syrup production.

Maple sap collectors, the old fashioned way.

 

As recently as 20 years ago, our property and all the acreage around us was used primarily for farm land. The land was clear cut and used to graze dairy cows and support other farm operations, which opened up beautiful views to the mountains along all sides of our Bed and Breakfast. Since the farmers sold their cows, the trees and forests have started to fill in but we still have an amazing view of the Green Mountains.

As a Vermont Bed and Breakfast, we serve up a lot of Maple syrup to our guests. A weekend getaway in Vermont isn't complete without a breakfast menu item with that maple sweetness cultivated across the hills of Vermont. We’re now in the process of planning and cultivating our land to support our goals for the future and for our BandB. We would like to make all of our own sap but given the fact that it takes 30 years for a Sugar Maple tree to be old enough to tap, the pickins are slim for working the trees. We have planted some new saplings and hope to be producing more and more over the years.

Our Mobile Sap Collector

This year we have about 15 taps going which, as of yesterday, have given us about 15 gallons of sap. We have the capacity for about 30 more taps but because of the historical land clearing, our maple trees are so spread out we really haven’t discovered a good way of collecting the sap yet. (Don't worry, I've been looking at ATV's and Tractors... that problem will be fixed soon!) So for now, we are perfectly content sticking with tapping just the couple of trees close to the house and using our little 50 gallon mobile collection tank set up. 

Reducing the sap to syrup!


Given the fact that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, the 7 gallons of sap I boiled last night yielded just a few cups. We’ll need to make some time over the next few days to boil all 15 gallons. Boiling 7 gallons from last night took the better part of 6 hours to reduce in our little turkey fryer. We’re still learning and perfecting our set up. If everyone around us is working with thousands of gallons, and we are only working with tens of gallons, does that make our Syrup artisan? I like to think so... It just tastes better local!

DIY Small Batch Maple Syrup

-Luke McCarthy

Planning for Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs

Spring is coming, which means it's almost time for the baby birds to arrive at our local hardware store!  We are excited to be raising a roost, so we put our order in early. We picked out some of the best layers they had to offer. They will arrive just after hatching and we'll raise them by hand and heat lamp until they are ready to go outside and move into their new coop! 

Here's a desciption of the hens (and ducks) who will be living on the farm and contributing to the fresh breakfast menu items we offer at the B&B!

Rhode Island Red Hen

Rhode Island Reds - This is one of the most famous and all time popular breeds of truly American chickens. Developed in the early part of this century in the state of the same name, they have maintained their reputation as a dual purpose fowl through the years. Outstanding for production qualities, they have led the contests for brown egg layers time after time. No other heavy breed lays more or better eggs than the Rhode Island Reds. Our "production" strain is keeping up the fine reputation of this old favorite. Baby chicks are a rusty red color and the mature birds are a variety of mahogany red. (Murray McMurray Hatchery, The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters)

Golden Laced Wyandotte Hen

Golden Laced Wyandottes - The “ancestors” of Golden Laced Wyandottes originated in Wisconsin and were called Winnebagoes. By 1880 they received their present-day name. This variety is a beautiful combination of rich golden bay laced with lustrous greenish black. The general feather pattern is very similar to the Silver Laced Wyandottes. A beautiful bird for exhibition. (Murray McMurray Hatchery, The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters)

Silver Laced Wyandottes 

Silver Laced Wyandottes - The Silver Laced is the original Wyandotte and the other varieties were developed from it later with crosses on other breeds. It is an outstanding example of American poultry breeding ingenuity and is one of the most beautiful breeds we offer. It is colorful, hardy, and productive. The broad feathered, smooth fitting plumage is sharply marked. The general appearance is silvery white and lustrous greenish black as each feather is edged in a contrasting color. The close-fitting rose comb and good body size are valuable assets for winter laying. Cold weather doesn't seem to bother them at all as their hardiness and vigor keep them laying straight through the winter. They lay a nicely shaped, good sized egg, varying from light to rich brown and will set some. This is another excellent variety for exhibition. Baby chicks vary from almost black to light silvery gray and many have contrasting light and dark stripes on the back. (Murray McMurray Hatchery, The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters)

Araucanas Hen

Araucanas - This unusual breed gets in name from the Indian tribe of Chile where they were first discovered.  Our chicks have some Araucana and some Ameraucana blood mixed and consequently are not for show but are beautiful chickens known for their ability to lay colored eggs of shades varying from turquoise to deep olive to shades of brown.  Each bird will typically lay a different shade of colored egg that will amaze your friends and make a wonderful "show and tell" type project for school.  Adults are of medium size with pea combs and our breeding stock are selected for their ability to produce colored eggs.  They exhibit a wonderful combination of colors and color patterns and 10 or 20 of these birds will make an absolutely beautiful laying flock that is extremely hardy and will be the talk of the town.  Baby chicks come in all colors, plain and fancy, just like the adults.  This is a unique breed and great fun to have when the colored eggs start coming.  (Murray McMurray Hatchery, The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters)

Golden Cornets Hen

Golden Cornets - The Comet has been widely acclaimed in all areas of the world where brown eggs are preferred. The reason is simple. The Comet pullet is easily one of the finest brown egg layers available today. They mature early and lay eggs of excellent size and quality. She is an extremely quiet bird, that seems to be able to withstand the colder, non-insulated, laying houses of the small flock owner, better than most breeds. The Comet is a buff sex-link strain. The chicks may be sexed by color, pullets red-roosters white. When mature, the  Comet pullet is golden red in color, but has some white showing through in her neck and back. (Mt. Healthy Hatcheries)

Pekin Duck

Pekin Ducks - Originating in China in ancient times, White Pekins were brought to the Western World in the middle 1800’s. Their fine meat quality and egg laying ability quickly made them the first choice of American duck growers. Both the male and female are creamy white in color, yellow skinned, and very large breasted. The males carry a fall weight of 10 to 11 pounds and the females weigh 8 to 9 pounds. They are the easiest domestic ducks to pick and prepare for eating. (Murray McMurray Hatchery, The World’s Rare Breed Poultry Headquarters)

We look forward to sharing updates about our little brood's progress. We expect them to arrive in early May. It will take a little while for them to adjust and be ready to lay fresh eggs but we'll be happy to prepare some new breakfast recipes with eggs to keep the farm flavors fresh and local. 

- Luke & Carin McCarthy