Posts by Miz Kathleen, The Innkeeper

Gracehill Bed and Breakfast located in a Firewise TN community!

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Gracehill Bed and Breakfast located in a Firewise TN community!

A long but fruitful journey…  Today Little Round Top Subdivision in Townsend, TN, home to  Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, and the community of Laurel Valley were designated the 19th and 20th certified Firewise communities in the State of TN since 2002 by the National Fire Protection Agency.

Committee Members from left Gayle Bustin, Bruce Carrington- Chairman, Leon Knoz- Firewise Coordinator, Ed DeWhitt, Nathan Waters- Dept of Forestry, and Kathleen Janke.

Committee Members from left Gayle Bustin, Bruce Carrington- Chairman, Leon Konz- Firewise Coordinator, Ed DeWhitt, Nathan Waters- Dept of Forestry, and Kathleen Janke.

Nine years ago, I was invited to an all-day seminar by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, for people who live “On the Edge…,” adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  That was my first introduction to Firewise TN and Leon Konz, the Firewise Coordinator and a man of infinite patience.   About a 100 people showed up, some civilians, mostly volunteer firemen, national park employees and other assorted official types.  The presentation opened my eyes to the potential fire hazards of building in the boondocks, er I mean the forest!  I wished I had taken the course before I built Gracehill.  Or before I arranged to have the back part of the subdivision road paved with no place for a fire truck to turn around, or about a dozen other good ideas, like why build a wooden fence and attach it to the side of your wood home? Talk about a long fuse saying, “Over here, burn me, burn me!”

Don Stallions- Chief of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, Lance Coleman- Director of Blount County Emergency Management, Gayle Bustin, Darren Baily- Dept of Forestry, Bruce Carrington, Ed Dewhitt, Kathleen Janke, Ed Mitchell- Blount County Mayor.

From the left, Don Stallions- Chief of the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department, Lance Coleman- Director of Blount County Emergency Management, Gayle Bustin, Darren Baily- Dept of Forestry, Bruce Carrington, Ed DeWhitt, Kathleen Janke, and Ed Mitchell- Blount County Mayor.

The up-shot was I came home and made some changes including cleaning out underbrush and removing scraggly pine trees with proximity to the B&B.  The nice aspect of that was it opened it up to a more park like setting, instead of an impenetrable wall of green in the summer.  A few months later, Leon contacted me and I held a Firewise meeting here with some neighbors. A few of us went through a Firewise assessment of our homes.  But even with the prospect of grant money hanging in the balance, we fell well short of the official designation.  It was a lot of work!  I mean hundreds of hours.  Then we woke to the reality of the Gatlinburg fires in 2016, and all of a sudden things took on a new perspective.

With great neighbors, the work didn’t seem so bad after all, but I have to admit I was most happy just hosting meetings and baking cookies.  Made a few phone calls along with Gayle Bustin, but Edward DeWhitt and our chairman, Bruce Carrington, accepted the brunt of the work and had the tenacity to get it done.  The recognition ceremony was today, and I have to admit I felt we accomplished something good.

We have lots of ideas for the grant money and for the future, but first on the list, are three items for 2018.  We bought a portable pump that can be thrown into our three acre pond that will pump water out into a huge collapsible pool.  The Townsend Volunteer Fire Department will carry those items on their truck, and it will save a 30 minute round trip back to town to refill the tankers.  Over the next three years, Bruce will also become a shepherd for forty days each summer and fall.  We have a five acre patch of kudzu that will be enclosed with an electric fence and powered with solar panels, new home to fifty goats and one guard dog.  Bye-bye kudzu, which is extremely flammable.

I have met a lot of great people along the way, and want to say thank you to all the men who showed up for our meetings and held our hands through this process.  It was always informative and usually fun.  Not quite sure which category this falls into, but imagine a group of us standing around our three acre pond discussing where we go if the community is engulfed in flames.  I was for building a little pier from the side of the road that would hang over the pond so my 90 year old mother and I could jump in without having to wade through the underbrush with Mom’s walker.  Says Nathan Waters, the Department of Forestry, “You two along with every snake and bear this end of the county.”  Not being a spoil sport, he had a couple of other ideas.  Gets you thinking anyway.  cheers, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

For more information about the Firewise USA program, please contact Nathan Waters at 865-776-2111 and visit www.BurnSafeTN.org

 

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Cereal- Vegan Pecan Granola w Dried Fruit

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Recipes | Comments Off on Cereal- Vegan Pecan Granola w Dried Fruit

Vegan Pecan and Dried Fruit Homemade Granola

Vegan Pecan and Dried Fruit Homemade Granola

Pecan Granola with Dried Fruit
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cereal
Serves: 10 cups
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
I've tried many granola recipes, including adding white or dark chocolate chips, or a recipe similar to this but using coconut oil, dried flake coconut, almonds and different dried fruit. I particularly like this one as some folks have a real aversion to coconut (invokes strong feelings in two of my friends) and some don't want to munch on chocolate with their breakfast. Better as a dry evening snack. At any rate, as with any granola recipe, don't leave out the oil, it really changes the texture, hand chop your nuts, pack it tight on the rimmed baking sheet before baking and lastly, I like storing my dried fruit in a separate Tupperware from the granola itself. Sprinkle it on before you eat each morning. Keeps the cereal crunchier.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ C maple syrup
  • ⅓ C packed light brown sugar
  • 4 t of vanilla extract
  • ½ t of salt
  • ½ c vegetable oil (I like canola)
  • 5 C old fashion rolled oats
  • 2 C coarse chopped pecans
  • 2 C dried fruit (I use Craisins and chopped up dried Apricots, but you could use dried cherries, dates, figs, blue berries, what ever you have a hankering for.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Stir together syrup, brown sugar, salt and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in oil.
  4. Add oatmeal and pecans and stir until coated.
  5. Place on a parchment lined lipped cookie sheet. Press down firmly.
  6. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  7. Let cool completely, at least an hour before placing in an airtight container.
  8. I keep the cut up dried fruit in a separate container and add to the bowl each morning.

 

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A Breakfast for Champions, Vegan that Is!

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in At The Inn, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Breakfast for Champions, Vegan that Is!

Vegan Stir Fry with Quinoa & Brown Rice and Black Chia Seeds

Vegan Stir Fry with Quinoa and Brown Rice and Black Chia Seeds

One Version of a Vegan Salad

One Version of a Vegan Salad

There is nothing “senior” about geriatric doctor and vegan, Kai, who visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring for four days of serious hiking. Perhaps he noted a hint of anxiety in my voice after I asked my standard question upon a guest reserving a room, “Do you have any food allergies or dislikes?” He responded he was a vegan. The first morning after breakfast he said, “Now that wasn’t so hard was it?” I laughed.

I have had a number of vegans over the years and certainly a lot of vegetarians, gluten free, lactose intolerant guests and just about every diet under the sun. One guest was on an elimination diet and by the time she stayed with me she was up to 23 food items she could combine! We managed and it was fun. For me anyway, not so sure how thrilled she was being in it for the long haul. I think every three days she could add one more food item.

So let’s talk food. It’s 50% of the title bed and breakfast. Why do folks come here? I think actually for the scenery more than the bed, and the breakfast of course, so maybe we should be called Gracehill’s Sunrise and Breakfast… Hmm. When I opened 17 years ago I started keeping track of what I served guests and tried to never repeat a menu any time they visited. The first time that became problematic was one Thanksgiving when four repeat guests were here for their 16-20 days and another couple was pushing 40 some combined days. After working on menus for two hours I finally called them and asked for one favorite dish I had made in the past

Vegan Homemade Granola with Dried Fruit served and Almond Milk with a Fresh Fruit Plate with Fruit

Vegan Homemade Granola with Dried Fruit and Almond Milk served with a Fresh Fruit Plate

for each of them. Was still able to come up with four new entrees over a four day period that none of the six of them had eaten before. One, Pumpkin Pancakes, went on to win second place in an international breakfast recipe contest.

Kai urged me to take photos of the dishes I prepared for him. Being in need of a geriatric doctor myself, I’m glad I did. Helps to remember what I made plus I can email photos to a future vegan guest and ask them what appeals to them. Two of my favorite magazines are Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. I ordered their (America’s Test Kitchen) “Vegan for Everybody,” “Gluten-Free Cookbook,” and “Bread Illustrated” this morning. I’m looking forward to adding a few vegan and gluten free recipes to my morning repertoire. Bon Appetit!

Vegan Oatmeal with Almond Milk

Vegan Oatmeal with Almond Milk

PS Here is the recipe for the Granola pictured on the left.  I like mine plain with pecans.  My mother takes hers with Craisins and dried apricots.  I keep the dried fruit in a separate container and she throws a handful on top when the granola is in her cereal bowl.  I think it keeps the granola crunchier and we can eat it endless ways.  Everyone in your household could have a different bowl or bag of dried fruit they can add at their pleasure.

mizkathleen @ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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Soup – Borsch

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Recipes | Comments Off on Soup – Borsch

Borsch

Cup of Borsch Soup, Chilled or Warmed

Borsch

Borsch

 

 

Soup- Borsch
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cans whole beets with the liquid, grated
  • 1 jar of Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets with the liquid, grated
  • ½ onion chopped very fine or grated
  • 4 peeled carrots, grated
  • ½ gallon of pork stock or some other stock (can use vegetable stock for vegetarian.)
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 packet of Borsch Soup mix (optional) Adamba Imports International, Brooklyn NY 11237 or Ukrainian Borsch Soup (product of Poland 1.25 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional:
  • Add 1 C. Sour Cream to pot
  • Boiled eggs
  • Cabbage
  • Meat from stock like pork short ribs
Instructions
  1. Add carrots to the stock and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the beets, onion and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. Don’t cook too long or the color of the beets will fade.
  4. Add the juice from a half of a squeezed lemon.
  5. My aunt, Stephanie Fiedler, from the Ukraine, says if the stock is seasoned right you don’t need the packet of soup mix, but she used it in ours and I loved it.
  6. She also added the sour cream.
  7. I garnished my bowl(s!) with more sour cream.

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Shakespeare Festival, Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off on Shakespeare Festival, Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library

Presenter Bill Gathergood at the Shakespeare Festival in 2014 with the lovely Bianca, our resident shrew Katerina and their father, otherwise known as from left to right Vickie Mueller, Charles Tippitt and Carolyn King.

Presenter Bill Gathergood at the Shakespeare Festival in 2014 with the lovely Bianca, our resident shrew Katerina and their father, otherwise known as from left to right Vickie Mueller, Charles Tippitt and Carolyn King.

The Friends of the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library in Townsend, TN, a group who helps support one of two public Blount County Libraries, have scored another successful event on March 19, 2016 with their third annual Shakespeare Festival.

After presenting THE TAMING OF THE SHREW in 2014 and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING in 2015, Bill Gathergood presented A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM this year.

The comedy, which was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.  Gathergood, a Shakespeare enthusiast who has taught the Bard for several decades to classes in the U.S. and Russia, brings Shakespeare to life even to those who find the playwright “difficult.”

The members who attended the event, which is held at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, are eager to volunteer for the roles that Gathergood lays out for the play.  After all, who could resist playing Titania, the Queen of the fairies, an Athenian Duke or the mischievous Puck who has magical power over mortals?

Besides learning about a Shakespeare play, those in attendance found about the theater in various parts of the world as well as during Shakespeare’s time.  Gathergood explained that audiences could get quite rowdy and those sitting in the pit were very close to the actors on stage.

Judy Krueger, who chaired the committee that planned this year’s Festival, had this to say: “Since our little Townsend Library here in Blount County is temporarily closed because of structural problems to the building, there are many individuals in the area who want to keep the Library’s programs alive.  Offering a Shakespeare play to the community is not only a cultural opportunity but it lets the community know that the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library is still a viable force.  We particularly appreciate the efforts of the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in offering a venue to help us make the Shakespeare Festival happen each year.  We’ll be having the Festival again in 2017 although a date has not yet been set.”

Two other activities sponsored by the Friends of the Library are already in the planning stages for this year.  Both events will be held at the Heritage Center.  On October 7, 2016 the Friends will host a storytellers’ festival.  This will be the first time that the group will be involved in this activity which has been held for several years at the Center.

On November 5, 2016 the second annual Handcrafters’ Showcase, which features locally made craft items for sale, will be held.  This latter event was so popular that there have been requests to schedule it again.

Meanwhile, the Library Board is working towards getting the necessary repairs made to the building which is leased from the Tuckaleechee Utility Board.  Then the Mary E. Tippitt Memorial Library can open its doors again.  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

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