The Tavern- Old Salem, North Carolina

There are days that we decide we need to hang up the muck boots and get away for a few hours. There is a small, historical town about forty-five minutes from where we live in North Carolina. It is called Old-Salem, it is on the outskirts of the more famous Winston-Salem. This beautiful town is filled with old buildings, carriage rides, secret gardens, amazing history, and a lovely restaurant called, "The Tavern."
While this city has many treasures, and I could write for days about it, this post is about one of my favorite restaurants that is tucked away in the heart of Salem. 
The building was constructed in 1816, and the decor, is styled after the Moravian family who originally lived in the Tavern. The old fashioned wooden tables are set with pewter plates,  and there are fireplaces in every room. The staff is also dressed in traditional Moravian attire, and the windows look out onto the streets of Salem, where you see people dressed in period clothing walking around. You can even enjoy a candlelight dinner if you prefer. 

The food is just as good as it looks, and comes from locally farmed goods. For starters, a beautiful basket of biscuits and pumpkin muffins comes out warm with homemade apple butter. The soup is a rich, German beer and cheese soup, and is served with pretzel croutons. I am stuck on the chicken pie, and I always seem to order that. It is warm and creamy, served with homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. Finally, no visit is complete without at least one of their desserts. I couldn't decide......so.......
The first one is a warm gingerbread with a lemon ice cream, and the second is a pumpkin, sweet potato tart with cafe latte ice cream. 

What can I say, except you need to add this to your restaurant bucket list! Thank you for indulging me as we escaped for just a few hours, and then hurried home to allow our flock to free-range a bit before we locked them up for the evening. 

Saving a Cool Crop Garden from a Sudden Heat Wave

Well, you all know that we spent last Friday and Sunday preparing our cool season garden. A not so wonderful aspect of living in the south is the surprise 90 degree days we had on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

So, in an effort to save the garden from broiling in this unexpected heat, we rigged a roof! I had an extremely large tarp that was brown on one side and silver on the other. The silver side makes a perfect reflective surface to help radiate the sun and heat away from my tender, newly-planted, lettuce babies! I secured the tarp to the posts with zip-ties, to make sure it didn't come crashing down during the day. In addition to this, I watered it morning and evening, both days to attempt to help the plants combat the temperatures.

The good news is that it worked out perfectly, and the garden survived. We are thankful that the cooler temperatures have returned though.

Amending Garden Soil for a Cool Season Crop

This past weekend was spent preparing our garden for a cool crop. On Friday, we had a special visit from Good Dirt! Al, Suzy, and Sophie came over, and brought us soil conditioner to help us improve the quality of our garden soil, and hopefully, improve the harvest. Al analyzed the soil, and then showed us the best way to work the soil conditioner into our existing base. Adding this soil conditioner will improve the porosity of the soil. Your garden needs to breathe. Notice the difference in soil color in the below photos.
(Plus, I really enjoyed using their hand digger to help work the soil.)

Porosity refers to the air space in between two particles. Tightly packed soil is harder to grow a healthy garden in, and the addition of organic material into the garden helps it be able to absorb water and nutrients better. Good dirt uses a product known as the 'BogBit.' "BogBits are a by-product of peat moss harvesting. They are semi-petrified wood that has been embedded in bogs for thousands of years. And, because they don't decompose, they provide the permanent porosity or airspace in the soil for roots to thrive and water and nutrients to move through."

In addition to this, Good Dirt has organic plant food made into it, so your first dose of a high-quality food is immediately feeding your new plants when you begin. I feel that the addition of this in a raised bed is even more important. This same bed has been planted with tomatoes, beans, squash, and zucchini all summer. A constant garden can really drain the nutrients from the soil. After they left, we got busy. We went to the farmer's market and purchased several varieties of lettuce to start our cool season garden. Generally speaking, a cool season garden is planted with vegetables that thrive in temperatures at least 15 degrees cooler than average. In the south, we can possible maintain this garden well into December or later depending on how cold it gets. When we got home, we got our hands dirty, mixing the rest of the soil conditioner into the other beds. Then we began planting, and we realized something very important! We bought too much!!!! Stay tuned to see what we did with the extras.  But here is a look at what is in our garden at the moment! We can never have too much lettuce because we can eat it, the poultry love it, and so do the rabbits! There will be no waste whatsoever. We are going to be adding some more, but this was a good place to start.

Fluffy Layers GIVEAWAY

Our friend, Tara from Fluffy Layers, wants to give-a-way one of her kitchen sets to one of our readers! This set is so pretty, and incorporates all types of farm animals! There is something for everyone! Her collections are beautiful and constantly expanding! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! 

This give-a-way includes an apron, kitchen towel set, and oven mitts! We received a set in the mail last week, and had fun using them this past weekend! This stunning set is valued at $60.00, and we are giving one set away to a lucky reader! 

All you have to do is enter the give-a-way below. Each person can have up to 15 entries into the give-a-way, but there is only mandatory category. You must comment on the blog post to enter, this gets you one entry. The give-a-way section is below the photo and you can register with either your email or facebook account. It is easy, and you can stop right there. However.....

After that, if you would like additional entries, you can follow both our pages on Facebook for an additional 5 entries, and follow both of our pages on Instagram for another 5 entries!
(If you already follow us, make sure to just register, you are already qualified!)

 Give-a-way ends Sunday!

However, if you just can't wait, you can purchase it here!

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