Come. See the beauty winter creates. Icy circles float near the shore at the sand dunes on our magical Island.
Thank you, Amy & Josh for staying with us again this December, treasuring the wonder of winter, and sharing this magical picture with us.
As the gardeners at Homestead, Russell and I have the privilege and joy growing fresh veggies, herbs and other garden delights, like edible flowers, for the Hotel Washington Restaurant. Since spring we’ve been supplying the hotel with fresh greens for dinner salads and now our harvest has grown to include a multitude of other delicious and fresh veggies, including the swiss chard featured in the cavatelli and turnips in the fettuccine this week.
In addition our harvest includes:
● butterhead lettuce
● purple, orange and white satin carrots
● purple bell peppers called, The Islander
● garlic scapes
● calendula flowers
● and a few of our first red tomatoes!
This year it’s not only our gardens that have grown. We are happy to announce that we’ve spun off our own independent LLC called Hoot Blossom Farm. We’ve ventured into cut flowers and bouquets. And we’ve also started a collaboration with the other farmers on the Island including Island Harvest, Island Edibles and Sweet Mountain Farm to have a farmers’ markets every Saturday morning and Wednesday afternoon at Gathering Ground.
We hope to see you around at the Hotel or the Homestead or the farmers’ market!
Alessandra and Russell
A remarkable transformation occurred this summer as well when Russell and Alessandra Rolffs arrived at the Homestead. Through spirit, hard work, skill, and determination this couple turned a field into a bountiful garden of fresh, healthy produce: purple basil and cabbage, watermelon radishes, baby carrots, micro greens, lettuces, edible flowers, and on and on…
I’m grateful beyond words – THANK YOU!
Mari Anderson, who has been my swim partner for many years, started it. It became our goal for the summer: Swim the Death’s Door Crossing.
Created an intention
Rallied me as a partner
Organized practices designed by our swim coach, Mike Daley
Swam in pool when possible
Swam in lake by July
Imagined I could do it
Never backed down
Go for it – August 26, 1016
I got the call that Friday morning. “The weather looks good for this afternoon,” Mari said. “Let’s meet at noon; our support crew is able to go.”
NOW – after a summer of wondering, practicing, worrying.
NOW it is. Time to go. I experienced a rush of excitement, calm, and resignation.
Charlie (Vernon), Mari and I would be joined by Bruce McClaren, Bonnie Burnham, Valerie Fons, Josh Ervin, Fritz Damler, Alison Vernon & son Gary. Each of these supporters gave hours to us – for our safety and for our success.On our behalf, they also crossed Death’s Door.
Seeing them as I regularly popped my head out of the water encouraged me. Even though they were always just out of reach, in boats and kayaks they led us on and helped us to stay the course.
I relied on my body to keep going – stroke after stroke.
I lost myself in the color of the water – green all the way across.
I glimpsed shining white ferries looming in the distance and generously giving us wide berth.
I tasted gasoline and experienced waves that disoriented me. But what anchored me to the intention was a yellow kayak in front of me and a knowing that I could do this for three hours If I stayed present focusing on strokes and breath.
When I now reflect back on that afternoon almost two weeks ago, what stands out is a body memory of paused time while a tempo trainer under my pink cap beeped every 1.4 seconds.
The crossing still lives in my body although my mind has difficulty grasping the event… sort of like a dream I have had but then doubt it in the light of day. What I can say to myself, however, is that it took my swimming partner to have an intention and belief in me and friends to support our swim. We all did this crossing together.
Stepping out onto Washington Island at Ham & Char’s home was deeply satisfying. But success in pursuing this idea happened when we took our first strokes leaving land at North Port.
And my own personal success actually occurred just a few weeks before when we decided to really “Go for It” as a trio. It was then that I let my fear and doubt be won over by the excitement of what is possible. And the rest is gratitude for a body that is still strong and willing.
– Jeannie Kokes
A chilly breeze greeted us this morning as my granddaughter Abby and I headed to the Hotel to say goodbye to our overnight guests: a couple celebrating an anniversary and a Siever’s devotee accompanied by her husband.
Our interns from Beloit College – Sarai and Melina – had prepared delicious chocolate cinnamon pancakes with bacon and a garnish of strawberries and orange slices, served with refreshing Slow Pokes kefir.
Then Abby and I were off to the Homestead to help faithful gardeners Alessandra and Russell Rolffs cut and pack produce for Chef Mike’s busy week ahead.
Here’s a list of our haul!
4 pounds arugula
1 1/2 pounds of basil and another half-pound of amazing iridescent opal basil
Rapini florets that also fill the table vases with delightful yellow
25 heads of butter lettuce
20 baby cucumbers
And…a little bag of edible flowers that Abby carried in her lap as we travelled back to the Hotel to present the gifts of the Homestead. So wonderful to know that in just a few hours from now others will enjoy this bounty, as I have enjoyed another magical day on the Island.
Gratefully, Jeannie Kokes
As I write, Chef Mike snips baby radish sprouts brought to the Hotel’s kitchen this morning by our Homestead gardeners. And the baby radishes are ready to harvest – they will be delicious in the field greens salad tonight.
Another offering these days is gathered in the woods surrounding the farm. Ramps are wild leeks growing in moist woodlands that uniquely blend the flavor of onion and garlic. Potato Ramp Soup and Smoked Salmon with Ramp Pesto are featured on our early summer menu. And as the ramps fade, dandelion pesto takes over for a very different, but just as delicious, taste experience.
Such a sweet moment, this fleeting time between winter’s cold and summer’s heat, when wild asparagus and ramps grow and rhubarb stalks flower.
Whether harvested wild or grown in our own gardens, we delight in bringing nature into our kitchen and onto your plate, and look forward to seeing you in the restaurant very soon!
– Jeannie Kokes
354 Range Line Road
Washington Island, WI 54246
info (at) hotelwashingtonandstudio.com