Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Ready Because Here They Come!

A day or three off from work......  Just in time and Thank Goodness!

Just in time for me to make sure and show my family how much I adore them.  The summer buzz is just on the horizon for our Northwestern Michigan communities and businesses.  This is the time of year for us to be our most excellent and practice extreme hospitality.  To shine and share all the beauty that makes our piece of terrain here so special.  We have trimmed our hedges, raked the beaches, and started to harvest the first fruits of our labor in the gardens and berry patches.  The expectant masses are on their way, to taste and experience and create postcard memories that will be their reminder to return again and again.

Are you ready?

 I have been practicing for these moments my whole life.  My rehearsals have consisted of many different mediums, yet each experience is vital to my ability to be successful in meeting the expectations awaiting my attention.

"Togetherness" -seems to be a very important thing lately- though I don't know when it ever wasn't really important.  I am always looking forward to the people of my life.  Of course the original crew like my family and forever friends, my time with them is priceless.   The new releases have been amazing too- like those people who I have just met, my newest friends- You are all great!

Additionally I am gathering some lovely acquaintances on a daily morning basis when I work at the Inn at Blackstar.  The guests that attend breakfast are some of the most lovely people I have ever met.  They are always so gracious and kind- truly thankful for the work that the entire staff performs to meet their highest expectations.  I have received hugs and enormous compliments for some of my breakfast creations recently.  Sometimes I don't know what to say, especially when someone tells me it was "the best breakfast of their entire life" and then takes my picture to complete the memory.  Another guest told me recently that up until this particular breakfast he "hated quiche."  That was until he ate the one I prepared, he totally subscribed to the clean plate club!  Yay!

Of course it isn't always a home run with everyone, but that is OK.  I've had a few guests who just don't want what we are serving, but that is really a rare occasion.  I know I still have a lot to learn and thankfully I have some wonderful teachers to guide me through it all.  Everyone I work with is so supportive and perceptive.  I am also spending some time practicing at home.  It kind of feels nerdy sometimes, but I think that if I am going to be the best that I need the practice.  Even though the guest list changes just about on a daily basis, I can't make the same entree every day.  I have a few plates I am comfortable with now, but I want to do more.  I want to push the standards and really wow people!

This coming weekend involves some different events for us too.  These are always fun because it involves a totally different set-up and skills inventory.  I am super impressed with the menus that the Chef puts together.  They are really superior in all the important components- and I think that anyone who books an event at The Inn will not be disappointed.  I learn so much with these events, its an overall  amazing experience!

I have three social events outside of work in the next three days-  Every night we'll be out on the town- wining and dining and spending time with our favorite family and friends.  Hopefully meeting new friends too!

Sweeter Song CSA deliveries start this week, actually tomorrow!  

The gardens at our own Stellar View Farm are in full bloom, and the chicks and ducklings are growing fast!  Farm Markets are open and strawberries beckon us to their fields to be picked.

This is how it is for those of us who embrace the social effects of the summer sunshine.  I have been looking forward to this time all year long- Its finally here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How to Divert

Well I should be on my way to dreamland.  I have to get up early for work at Blackstar tomorrow morning- but I can't stop thinking about the chocolate chips in my pantry. I am sitting here at the kitchen table trying to think of all the ways I could avoid digging my digits into the giant "Sam's Club" sized bag of chocolaty deliciousness.  I am not sure if I will be able to resist much longer.


I need a distraction so I guess I will trek out to the chicken coop to start.  Its 9pm and this is just one of the many nightly chores around Stellar View Farm that need my attention.  Its getting dark finally which means my egg laying girls have finally put themselves to bed on their roosting perches.  I could go and spend an hour watching the new baby chicks and ducklings too.  Since their arrival less than a week ago we have all been enamored with their presence.  They are so busy with their miniature hourly missions of eating, drinking sleeping, playing and pooping.  I love to watch them though, and get lost in their curiosities.  Everything is new to them in their explorations.

Now that our first flock is almost one year old we are much more relaxed with this second batch of fledglings.  Its kind of like how Tod and I were with our kids.  Riley, our second born boy was allowed to cry in his crib just a little longer, he maybe experienced far less diaper changes than his older sister (We changed Lauren even when she was still dry) and was dressing himself way before his sister ever attempted that benchmark on her own.  What I mean to say is that with Riley we didn't hover as much as we did with our first born Lauren.  It is not to say that he got any less love or attention, but we learned that his threshold and tolerance for care did not require us to knit pick every little detail of his activity and needs. I have learned that the new baby chicks don't need to have hourly temperature checks (young chicks require a heat lamp and constant warmth in the 90 degree range for the first few weeks)  Its much easier for me to see now that they are just fine as long as they have the essentials.

Ah, now see I have diverted myself this evening and by keeping busy with other tasks I completely forgot about the chocolate goodness I was craving so much like a total addict.  I even accomplished setting the rest of the tomato cages out on the garden tonight and inspected all the new growth of the veggie sprouts that have been soaking up the sunshine we have experienced over the past few days.  If this is all it takes to keep me out of the sweets I think that I shall get quite a bit done this summer.  Seeing that my food loving tendencies almost always involve some sort of sweetness.  It really would have been no big deal for me to scoop a handful of those morsels out to savor and enjoy, but then I wouldn't be able to use then in my plans for cookies and no-bakes this coming weekend.  Now on to more diversion tactics and thoughts....

The kids have just over a week of school left, I am full swing into my job at Blackstar, and our Farm is really starting to come together thanks mostly to a hard working hubby and daddy named Tod.  There are so many things to look forward to with summer just moments away.  The landscape of my home will be transforming into a food lover's paradise over the next few weeks and months.  I can hardly wait to tell you my stories of my excitement to be living a dream come true.  I am a true believer in an ability to achieve your dreams.  Every single experience I have had up until this point in my life may not seem like it is all tied into my passions for food and becoming a mama, a chef, a teacher and a motivator, but I can clearly see now why I had to live through the good, the bad and the ugly to be prepared for where I am today, and to be successful too.

Its this awareness that helps me through every new decision and task that I face.  Its a lot easier to sort through all the opportunities and know which ones are going to give me the results and happiness I am looking for.  I am doing exactly what I always dreamed I could and would do.  I am thankful for all the love and support from family and friends.  I can really feel it and that gives me a strong foundation to follow through with 100% determination in all I aim to achieve.  Even deciding to stay out of the chocolate chips tonight and having the ability to redirect myself and sustain some sort of will power comes from understanding that eating them will not give me the results I am looking for.   Whether it be needing my clothing to still fit tomorrow or for the cookies that I know I want to make to celebrate among family and friends.  It will taste so much better to eat them among friends anyways!