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Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer's here! :-D






















It's finally really and truly summer at the Elkhorn Inn- & it has even stopped raining! :-D

We've had a wonderful spring so far, with lots of great Railfan guests from places as far away as Florida & England (they love the "Pokey" in the UK, too!), & this weekend brought a return visit from our Favorite Trout Fishermen! (For them it was a "slow weekend on Elkhorn Creek"- only 30 some-odd trout between the 3 of them!) They came with the makings of their famous "Beach Grog", & after Chef Dan's dinner of Fresh Herb-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, we all sat outside in the cool of the evening drinking Beach Grog, watching the trains, & yakking- a most pleasant way to spend then evening! Last week Dan and I made 3 1/2 quarts(!) of oregano pesto from the summer's first harvest (oregano being something that grows Really Well in southern WV...), and smeared on thin slices of toasted Italian bread, and served with chunks of Parmesan and a glass of dry, white wine, it makes a Fiiiiiiiiine appetizer!
The other great thing that's happened is that the Elkhorn Inn "officially" became a Destination Inn- we've had several guests who stated that came to stay with us ONLY because they'd heard about Chef Dan's wonderful dinners! I am SO proud of him I could bust! :-D
I haven't posted in awhile... basically because Duty (a.k.a. FEMA) Called, & I spent 3 weeks in Tallahassee, FL writing Community Relations reports for the flood disaster response operation. And while I spent three weeks basically eating one, endless plastic tray of Chicken Caesar Salad during and after 12 hour days on the computer, (followed by diligently running on the hotel treadmill in an effort to lose the $#!&%$! weight I put on 2 years ago on another FEMA disaster operation...), Dan was at the Elkhorn Inn taking care of guests and making them fabulous gourmet dinners... When I left for FL all the slacks I took with me were Dan's 32 inch pants :-P But I was a Very Good Little Dieter on this operation, (for once...), & by then end of my three weeks, (stress being good for me, apparently...), I was down to 130 lbs & wearing size 8 WOMEN'S slacks I'd bought @the Tallahassee Goodwill... & 130 lbs. is where I'm still stuck! :-( As you may recall from earlier posts, I am a hard-core devotee of thrift shops, & so instead of hitting the mall like a "normal" person might, I used the Garmin GPS Dan got me for Hanukkah to locate the nearest Goodwill to the office (right next to La Fiesta, a really nice little Mexican restaurant!), & overstuffed my suitcase with a complete summer wardrobe of Ann Taylor & Talbot's separates! I got to stay at the Hilton Gardens Inn in Tallahassee which has a great staff & was a Great place to come 'home' to each evening, and together we compiled a list of great restaurants in Tal I was hoping to get to (such as Chez Pierre) to do foodie "research" for Chef Dan, but I never had a chance! (Gotta go back...) :-( On our Sundays off, however, my coworkers & I did get to enjoy a bit of Florida (besides Goodwill!): we drove down to Panama City one day to sit for a few hours on the beach & eat some great oysters, & back in Tallahassee we found an excellent Cuban restaurant & went to Gill's Tavern several times for live music, whisky, & yummy crab cakes! Mother's Day happened while I was in Florida, and the Puppies (Tiger & Lady) got together with Dan & sent me (bless their little hearts), a gift box: a wonderful card, a lovely watch, some cute clothes, high heels, a carton of cigs, & a bottle of Bushmill's! Do I have good kids, or what???!!!





Who WAS the starlet who arrived @the Elkhorn Inn in a stretch???


One of the most wonderful things I got to do in Tallahassee was get to see a doctor who agreed to take a simple diagnostic skin test (unlike any of the doctors I go to in West Virginia who literally and categorically REFUSE to perform simple blood or skin tests), and thus learned I had yet another antibiotic-resistant staph infection. I mention this because given that I have had such infections in the past (and that a misdiagnosed e-coli skin infection became blood poisoning and nearly killed me in 2006), it continues to stun me that NOT ONE doctor I have seen in WV will agree to perform basic skin-swab or blood tests, so I literally have to leave the state (usually for Virginia, but in this case Florida) to have such tests done, and receive appropriate treatment. This, in a word, is NUTS. It's also criminal negligence.
While I was taking sulfa drugs, basking in the relatively dry warmth of a Tallahassee spring punctuated daily by the afternoon thundershower-from-hell, and listening to the locals regale me with stories of T's mind-numbing summer humidity, and my co-workers were fending off the rattlesnakes & water moccasins in Santa Rosa County, West Virginia was having yet another flood... and Federal Disaster Declaration. Dan pumped a few inches of water from our basement, but Landgraff, WV, where the Elkhorn Inn is, was fortunately spared; Logan and Man, however, were hard hit, and several hundred homes were destroyed; the picturesque waterfalls trickling down the mountain onto Route 52 turned into life-threatening torrents gushing across the highway, washing away roads, & creating mudslides! When I got home we had an Inn full of guests, but it was still raining like mad; the day of the Bramwell "Coal Baron Mansion" Open House we temporarily lost both power and water! But basically The minute I got back, rain or no rain, Dan & I had to finish planting the veggie garden, and we managed to get in a "field" of red and golden sweet corn, as well as tomatoes, the Tabasco pepper seeds I brought back from Louisiana, & all sorts of exotic peppers (I got tons of really cool seeds for things like Israeli Star of David Okra, Tree Tomatoes, Jamaican Hot Chocolate, Passilla Bajo, and Fezher Ozon Hungarian Paprika peppers from Trade Winds Fruit), onions, garlic, squash, pumpkins, melons, & herbs. I stuck all different kinds of basil & peppers in amongst the flowers (what is now trendily being referred to as "edible landscaping"!), sunflowers, beans, & peas everywhere I thought they might grow, & we planted two "bags" of potatoes, as well as red geraniums across the front of the Inn where we have the "spring tulip show" in April... Assuming we now get some serious sun, I have high hopes for "Kibbutz Elkhorn Inn" this summer!
The other fun thing we got to do once I got home was go to Gary Bowling's House Of Art in Bluefield for their Saturday Blues Night Out with C& S Railroad & Nat Reese! (There's a GREAT video of it on our Facebook page, so please become a "Facebook Fan" of the Elkhorn Inn! There's "railfan" videos & great trout fishing photos posted, too!) I can't Begin to tell you what a GREAT place Gary Bowling's House of Art is! We've waited 7 YEARS for a place like this, never really believing it'd ever exist- & here it is! Great music, great art, a fun place to eat, have a glass of wine or beer and hang out, and a truly great place to send our guests!
Father's Day (or as we call it at the Elkhorn Inn "DogFather's Day") was yesterday, and The Puppies got together and decided to get DogFather Dan a 3-month membership in wine.com's "Wines of the World"- what smart dogs! Yes, it was a rather extravagant present, but hey- he's our meal ticket! :-)
July 4th weekend we're having a Wing Ding at the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre in celebration of my "Big 5-0", with Alan Johnston & South 52 (and hopefully Alan's daughter, Stacy Grubb, who just cut her first album in Nashville!), playing again at our Theatre, and so at the moment we're trying to get Way too much done in Way too little time... I am also back to drinking 5 cups of Green Tea each day, still trying to diet off the last 15 lbs...
But the mountains are green, the orange and white lilies are in bloom, we're harvesting oregano out the wazoo, there's little bunches of grapes on our vines, the hummers are fighting at our feeders & the swallow babies are chirping from their nest on our porch, &, (to top it all), Dan made me Chicken Piccata the other night w/lemon, butter, capers, & white whine- & so all is right with My world! Trust all's right with your world, too! :-)