Timberwolf Creek Blog

Fresh + Local = Supper

I stopped at a roadside stand in Georgia this week, and picked up some of the sweetest peaches, ever. The vidalia onions were enormous and irresistible, so those went into my market bag, too. I’ve been eating the peaches all week, but the onions were waiting for today…

Wednesday means the Waynesville Farmer’s Market is open!  So, Wednesday afternoon found me making a quick stop at the King Harvest Farm stand for tomatoes (eaten immediately) and yellow beans (asking Terry King about the difference, she said, “They’re yellow.”) and fingerling potatoes.

Today, the full-on market was in swing, so I buzzed down there and bought scallops (Hillbilly Shrimp Market) and rainbow chard (and I’m so sorry I didn’t get the name of Justin’s farm) among other things, and headed home with my haul.

First, the bacon.  I rendered the grease from just a couple pieces of bacon, in a cast iron pan.  I set aside a tablespoon of the drippings, and then deep-fried the potatoes and beans.  (If you’ve never tried flash fried beans – I don’t care what color they are – do yourself a favor.  It’s lovely.)

Then it was time to quickly saute the chard and onions in the remaining bacon grease.

I deglazed the pan with a bit of white wine and set it aside as a sauce for the scallops.  Then it was time for these babies: I added a fat pat of butter and the reserved bacon grease to the center of the pan and let them do their thing.

Meanwhile, my dish is ready!  On a bed of sauteed chard and onions, topped with lightly salted fingerlings and flash fried yellow beans, I crumbled a slice of bacon on the top for good measure.

Then it was time to add the scallops and drizzle with that phenomenal sauce…

And voila’!  So fresh, local produce, and I know there’s one last peach in the kitchen for dessert, later.  I’ve poured myself a glass of the pinot grigio I used to deglaze the pan (hey, that insures it will pair nicely, hmmm?) and it’s time to dig in.

I was keeping a friend posted all throughout this adventure, and was asked later if they came out well.

I’m going with yes.

 

Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market

This particular Saturday morning at the market was special: I was meeting up with a bride. Ron & Cheryl were married here last November, and now (because I’m insanely lucky) they are also my part-time neighbors. Our schedules have kept us like ships passing in the night, and I’m always arriving in Maggie Valley just as Cheryl is leaving, and vice versa. Today was the magical day. “See you at 10!”

I have a friend who tells me when I’m dressing ‘too old’ and so I’ve been working on that.  Still.  Today, I fired off a picture to another buddy and said, “Hey, look!  I’m dressing up like a twelve year old and going to the farmer’s market.”

But wait, I have this really cool bag…

He pronounced me farmers-markety and therefore qualified to leave the house, and off I went.

The Waynesville Farmer’s Market is awesome.  It’s certainly not the largest market I’ve ever been to (it might even be the smallest) but the faces are friendly, the farmers are sincerely interested in knowing what you would like to have, how you’re going to use their produce, and are passionate about what they do.  Frankly, I think you’d have to be passionate about farming to do it – it’s not going to make them millionaires.  The payoff has to be more than monetary, to make folks work that diligently and consistently.  Lordy, I just have to sleep in, now and then.  These folks really know their stuff.

I especially enjoy following Terry King on facebook – she and her hubby have King Harvest Farm – because she posts about what’s growing and what’s not, and what to expect at the market each week.  It’s fun to follow along, and it’s awfully nice to know what to plan for on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.  And I do like her twisty sense of humor.  Her post earlier this week still has me laughing:

Open pollinated = Poodle.
Hybrid = Poodle + Labrador = Labradoodle
GMO = Poodle + Salamander = DNA manipulation

Bah hahahahaha I want to see the illustrations!!  Terry, yer killin’ me!  Shop here, folks, for nonGMO and nonSaladoodle (because seriously, who wants doodle in their salad) produce.  King Harvest Farm at the Waynesville Historic Farmer’s Market on Wednesday afternoons 3:30-6:30 –right handy for those of us who find shopping on Saturday mornings a challenge– and the main market on Saturdays 8-noon.  This is not to say the rest of the folks at the market are not stellar, this is just the one whose name I know.  Plus I like their stuff.  A lot.

So.  Today.  First the social stuff – CHERYL!!!!  YAY!!!

Holy cow omigosh we are adorable, aren’t we?  I have yet to master the whole selfie thing.  So…. I stole this one from my bride (thank you, Cheryl).  We stopped by King Harvest Farm (naturally) and then made our way down the row and behold!  Another friend!  I haven’t seen Monica in a year.  She’s selling her free range eggs at the market, so there’s yet another good reason to head that way on a Saturday morning.  And here’s our merry band…

But we had more merrymaking a.k.a. shopping to do.  We found a delightful new vendor, the goat lady.  Right out of Cold Mountain.  (Ok not.  She is unlikely to harm her goats, which she says are like a herd of 160 pound great danes.)  Her business is Wholly Goats Soaps & Such -the name just tickles me- and you’ll find her at the Saturday market, as well.  All her soaps are made with goat’s milk from her very own goats, and nonGMO oils (no doodle in your salad there either, folks) and I am gaga over the Amazon Lily & Rain fragrance.  There was a good bit of discussion about just what’s in there (lemon, grass, pine) but if you hug me in the next few weeks, that’s the scent you’ll notice.  Yummy.

We wandered about and enjoyed the booths and chatting with vendors.  Ron was in his element, talking organic fertilizer (his business and his passion) with all these farmers.

And Cheryl and I were shopping away.  I was very excited to find Three Graces Dairy represented!  You can bet my Netflix binging tonight will include the lovely manchego style cheese from Three Graces, and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio which is presently chilling in my fridge.

The steamy hot weather had us checking out Waynesville Soda Jerks and I’m here to tell you, that blueberry basil soda is awesome.  And the perfect thing for a summer day.  I’ll be doing THAT again.

I also picked up some rainbow chard to go with the yellow beans and fingerling potatoes from King Harvest earlier this week.

Me:  Hey, Terry, what’s the difference between these yellow beans and regular green beans?
Terry:  They’re yellow.
Haha, maybe it’s like British humor, and you really had to be there.  Trust me.  It was funny.

And some scallops.  Because – yes yes yes I know, I’m in the mountains, but people, listen: the Waynesville Farmer’s Market is THE place around here to buy seafood!  They’re bringing it in fresh from the coast.  Seriously like outa the water fresh.  And I got these fellas to take pity on me (now that I’m cooking for one) and just sell me three absolutely perfectly fresh and lovely scallops.  More to come on that.

This fellow, from Betsy’s Farm, had an enormous bag of basil, just for me.  I love that he has just the one head of garlic left.  Betting that basket was full this morning!

All in all, a pretty good turnout at the market.  I am so glad that I remembered my shopping bag this time.  I’m generally awful about that, so today I had a real sense of accomplishment, with all my yummies in my bag, arms full, ready to return home.  Looks like I’m not the only one.  There were some shoppers out there!

Next up…. a post about that amazing meal.  Y’all drive safe.  🙂

 

Savoring the Sweet Life

It seems that nowadays everybody (including yours truly) posts everything on facebook. While that’s loads of fun, it does mean that I’ve been blogging there instead of here. I apologize for the hiatus… but if you’re on facebook, join me there! There’s a business page, for Timberwolf Creek, and I have my personal page under my own name for political rants, travel posts, and pictures of my grandkids. And my dog. And my ridiculously handsome husband. So it goes.

Meanwhile, I grabbed this photo in the morning and it just sums up All Things Wonderful about living on this beautiful mountain. Moss and ivy climbing up the side of an enormous tree, ferns underfoot alongside the tumbling stream, an understory of great rhododendron, promising white bouquets in another couple of weeks… It all combines to make a cool, green, quiet space, for retreat, reflection, renewal. You can *breathe* here.

ivy and moss on tree

 

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The Weather is the Groom’s Job

The groom did an amazing job with the weather, for yesterday’s wedding.

I awoke to pouring rain, and trudged through the deluge to collect cake and flowers over in Waynesville. On my way back, windshield wipers just keeping up with the downpour, I noticed an opening in the dark clouds – a perfect circle of blue with white puffy clouds, as if the Artist had decided to paint over the storm. Of course, it was directly over the Creek House, where the ceremony was scheduled. What’s more, it maintained that tiny bit of sunshine right through the wedding.

And although I do delegate responsibility for the weather to the groom, we both offered up a prayer yesterday morning, which was clearly answered. So, thanks, Josh. Thanks, God. Nice work.

 

Today is the perfect day to appreciate October’s Bright Blue Weather.

Timberwolf Creek in October

Timberwolf Creek in October

 
October’s Bright Blue Weather
by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

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The Creek House kitchen

I have been remiss.  With eleventy bazillion photos of the Creek House all over this website and also www.maggievalleycottage.com, I didn’t realize I skipped pictures of my hands-down favorite place to be – in the kitchen!

Now, this is not a dream house magazine spread designer gourmet kitchen.  Far from it.  It isn’t snazzy.  But it makes you feel so *welcome*.  It’s a cook-in-your-socks kind of kitchen.  And after making breakfast in here for the past eighteen years (how in the world did that much time fly by?!) I confess that I never want to spend any time in another drywall ho-hum boring kitchen.  I love my mismatched cabinets, hardwood floors, low ceiling beams covered in mugs.  The hooks are horseshoe nails fashioned into cup hooks for me by a blacksmith, back when we had one of those in Maggie Valley.

There are treasures in every corner, and little odd places to tuck in another bit here, another bit there.  I’ve filled it with things I love to use, and it’s an easy place to work.

So this week, when a very nice lady asked for kitchen pictures, I was stunned to find out that in my many tens of thousands of pictures on my computer, I couldn’t find any of the kitchen!  That’s because… wait for it… guess what: when I’m in the kitchen, I’m COOKING, not taking pictures haha!

Without further ado, voila: The Kitchen…

 

Picnic Lunch in the Great Smoky Mountains

At last!  Something special for our hikers.

Our Picnic Package always includes the basket – so that you can take it with you on your travels. We’ve just gotten in our newest edition of baskets: a backpack! These things are SO COOL! The body of the backpack is insulated, and when you unzip the outside section, voila: dishes and utensils.

We think the slip pocket is ideally suited for a trail map…

Take your picnic into the mountains to enjoy in the high country of Western North Carolina. We’ll provide you with directions to some wonderful spots for a picnic –choose from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the historic Cataloochee Valley, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or right here at Timberwolf Creek alongside the stream.

Enjoy freshly baked bread (sandwich filled to order) and fruit and cheese and veggies and olives and sweets and beverages and the list goes on… There’s usually a pie in there somewhere… Nothing like finding a whole entire pie in the bottom of your picnic basket 🙂 and of course all the implements you’ll need to enjoy that pie, and the rest of your picnic.

But wait, you’re not a hiker?  No worries.  The backpacks lend themselves to all sorts of outings.  The insulated compartment keeps everything nice, so you can take this on your road trip and have lunch along the way (some of the highway rest areas have really beautiful picnic areas) instead of just hitting another fast food drive through window.  Or tuck a book into the front pocket, pack snacks and head for the park.  Do you bring your lunch to work?  Take turns with a friend, and blow them away when you arrive with this one, filled with your favorite pasta salad and fresh cut fruit and bakery delights.  And by all means, surprise your sweetheart with a walk in the mountains, a special bottle of wine, exquisite cheese and crunchy goodies.  What a great way to propose…

Picnics at Timberwolf Creek are packed in a picnic basket/backpack for you to keep. Everything you need for a marvelous lunch in the fine country air.

And of course, you can always just use it as a backpack.

 

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The WNC Cheese Trail – an artisnal delight

North Carolina has an abundance of artisnal cheesemakers, and we have two within an hour’s drive that you can easily visit during your stay with us.  Out past Cherokee, is Yellow Branch Farm.  They have both cheese and pottery tours (feel free to bring me a piece with that exquisite blue glaze).  And stop on the way back to tube down Deep Creek in Bryson City, or take the seven-mile loop hike and see the waterfalls.

Heading east past Asheville, you can tour both Looking Glass Creamery (makers of my all-time favorite chocolate lab cheese) and, if you’re feeling adventurous, continue out to Hickory Nut Gap Farm for you-pick berries and apples to perfect your tailgate picnic.  Of course, there are a bazillion little spots to recommend in nearby Asheville, but that’s a post for another day.

WNC Cheese Trail

Not looking for a day trip, but still want all that fabulous artisnal cheese?  No problem!  Pop over to Waynesville (ten minutes away) and head down to the Montgomery Street Market for lots and lots of locally made yummies, in addition to all that cheese.

Or just laze away an afternoon upstairs at the Frog’s Leap Public House, with a lovely glass of wine, and a small-plate of local cheese.  They usually have four or five… and I usually tell them to put everything on a platter and bring it to me…  Now *that* is a fabulous lunch!

 

Squirt guns, and their use

Never let it be said that we can’t use humor to end an argument.

I recently posted this on facebook, “Serious advice for the ladies: If you share an office area with your sweetheart, as I do, get a pretty little dish and sit it by your mousepad. Now, get an itty bitty squirt gun and keep it filled. When he pops off with something he *knows* he shouldn’t have said, well… It’s just so satisfying, and you don’t have to say a word. Special note to the fellas: only the women are allowed to be armed. Got it? Good.”

squirt gun

The result was interesting, if predictable: eleven women immediately ‘liked’ it.  When I mentioned that I hadn’t seen any men doing the same, one man began a conversation that naturally ended with men having bigger-better squirt guns.  I’d just like to point out that it didn’t happen that way at my house, because my husband is (a) remarkably tolerant, and (b) has a well-developed sense of humor and (b.1) self-preservation.

Squirt guns are actually in stock, here.  So are bubbles, tiny race cars, magic tricks, and other dollar store toys. You’d think we have small children or young grandchildren nearby.  We have neither.  What we do have are lots of honeymooners and folks having romantic getaways, who want to take a picnic basket out into the mountains for an al fresco meal in the sunshine.  The baskets are filled with sandwiches, chips, fruit, cheese, olives, drinks, and usually a pie.  And toys.  Always toys.

Typically, that is a pair of squirt guns.  Now, I used to put just one in there.  Filled, of course! In a Zip-lock bag.  And then one day, it occurred to me that once the water was gone, game over! So, I started including two.

In a transcendental moment of BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious*) I realized how much more fun it would be to just fill one squirt gun.  The game then becomes one party squirting while the other rushes to figure out how to fill his (ok ok ‘his’ because you know the girl is smart enough to get the full one).  Once he’s got his filled, she’s about empty, and the roles reverse.  Bam!  The game goes on until someone surrenders.  Given that this is a romantic getaway, surrenders are likely accompanied by kisses.  Now *that* is a great picnic.

Voila.  True love, abetted by squirt guns.  Who knew.

 

*BFO is a term I learned from Jeremy Robinson, former editor, innkeeper, and self-proclaimed curmudgeon

 

Larkspur… even the name is romantic

Today’s bride requested a bouquet of purple and green. I thought to myself, “Purple and green? How in the world am I going to make that pretty?” Then she asked for a head wreath.

Ummmm, no. I know, I know, all the answers are supposed to be yes. It wasn’t easy to tell a bride no, but I wasn’t comfortable trying something so artistic, and I worried she would be disappointed. Her biggest concern was that she would bring a head wreath and it would clash with the bouquet. So. I told her to bring it. And early in the morning, when the dew was still on the moss, we walked the grounds and chose her ceremony site. She showed me her wreath – beautiful! It was green, wrapped in floral tape, and had two white silk roses, or ranunculus, and bits of silvery lavender heather woven around it. Now here was something I could work with.

None of the fuchsia pinks and red violet or mauve so many people call ” lavender” but the real thing. She wanted purple. The purple you expect in a box of eight crayons. But she wanted it toned down a bit, with that silvery gray. I was on a quest.

At the florist, my big plans came to an abrupt halt. “White hydrangea, for the center of the bouquet?” Nope. Mothers Day was last Sunday. Fresh out. Ok, white chrysanthemums? No way. Same reason. “How about just white roses, then? I’ll need them anyway. I’ll figure something out.” Certainly not, was the snappy response. (I didn’t say snippy, because I’m being polite, here, folks.) Raised eyebrows and a superior tone, words carefully clipped so as to insure I would absorb each one: It. Is. Graduation. Weekend. Ev-Er-Y-One. Wants. White. Rose. Corsages.  Gee whiz, lady, I shoulda realized. Not having school-aged children any more, I had actually let that important piece of information slip right by me. (And hey. I didn’t get a white rose corsage for graduation. And -blush- neither did my mother. I’m such a cretin.) Humbled, I threw myself on her mercy and begged, “Can you help? What may I have? The bride wants purple,” and I stopped myself before saying, “and green,” because leaves are green and I didn’t want to push my luck.

In the end, I left with deep purple statice, light purple stock, white alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), eucalyptus, ferns, and a bundle of deliciously silvered purple larkspur… the exact shade of the heather in the bride’s wreath. The silvery green of the eucalyptus picked it up perfectly. But what tickled me most was the pair of roses. Not precisely white, they had been cast aside by the florist as unacceptable for her corsages. She said, offhandedly, “Oh, you could take those,” with a little wave. “They aren’t really white. They are a pale pastel green.” My life rocks.

 

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