1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Construction Under Way on First Custom Built Bed and Breakfast in Chattanooga! ! Opening 2017

Construction Under Way on First Custom Built Bed and Breakfast in Chattanooga! !  Opening 2017

After many years of dreaming and planning, St Francis Cottage has broken ground and almost finished with the framing stage of construction.  Projected to open in early 2017, this "built from the ground up" bed and breakfast in Chattanooga will be home to seven bedrooms, a large comfortable, inviting common area, a wrap around porch, a large covered rear porch and deck, many beautiful gardens, a small event space, a fully equipped conference room, and, of course, scrumptious, hearty breakfast fare.

St Francis Cottage Scraping land for initial foundation layout
 Clearing land for foundation layout

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It’s a Miracle . . . GOGI Berries Bushes are blooming and producing fruit!

Well, we think it's a miracle.

We’ve been experimenting to see if GOGI Berries, also known as the wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) would grow in Tennessee since they are native to China.  We were skeptical about any significant progress since we’ve been experiencing extreme drought conditions this summer. 
Gogi berry bush in bloom in the garden at St Francis Cottage
Thankfully, we had a couple of good rainfalls this past week, and we couldn’t contain ourselves upon inspecting our gardens after work on Thursday.  The delicate branches are full of beautiful purple blossoms, and there’s a speck of red, indicating the growth of our first gogi berry! 
First gogi berries in the garden at St Francis Cottage Chattanooga Tennessee
They are a nutritious super fruit, full of antioxidants, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber, and we look forward to cultivating our seven bushes into bountiful berry harvests and sharing them with our guests, who will dare to try them. Gogis have an interesting flavor with an herbal aftertaste, but oh so good for you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Natural Cleaners Vol 1: Laundry Detergent

At St. Francis Cottage, we will be using natural cleaners and laundry detergent, so I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you.  The first is a DIY laundry detergent recipe we use that my sister-in-law, Michelle Caporali, from Richmond, Virginia, gave me.  

LAUNDRY DETERGENT (makes 5 gallons)
4 cups HOT water
2 4 oz. bars castile soap (I use Kirk’s Original Coco Castile from Vitacost)
1 cup Borax
1 ½ cups washing soda
Place hot water in sauce pan and add grated soap bars (I purchased a grater from the Dollar Store that I use only for making detergent.) Heat water on medium heat and stir until the soap has completely dissolved.
Fill a five-gallon bucket half full with HOT water from faucet.  Add dissolved soap mixture, washing soda and Borax.  Stir until everything is dissolved and add more HOT water until bucket is full.  COVER the bucket, and it will take about two days for the mixture to gel. 

Summer Garden Goodness!

After harvesting pounds of organically-grown Natchez and Apache blackberries in June, we’re now transitioning into the July blueberry season, so that means hours of picking from our 40 bushes.  We can’t wait to share them with you next summer through a variety of recipes we’ve been collecting, from blueberry bars and muffins to pancakes, syrup and jam.  

Nancy Braud with the first thornless blackberries from the garden at St Francis Cottage
We’ve had great success this summer growing White Cherry Organic Tomatoes from seeds purchased from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, which are as sweet as candy!  We’re also enjoying our harvest from Johnny’s Alexandria (F1) seeds, a Mid-East Hybrid Specialty Zucchini Squash that’s absolutely scrumptious, and their Dunja (F1) Organic Hybrid Zucchini.  We made loaves of zucchini bread for our son Michael’s road trip, who recently visited from Berkeley, California.  Eating from the garden during these hot summer months is such a special treat!