Friday, October 22, 2010

Linda and Sam Brown - Operating a B&B

I know, I'm supposed to have Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial today but since we visited Mountains to Prairies B&B I thought you'd like to meet Linda and Sam Brown, owners of the B&B, before I move on.

I asked Linda what it's like to run a B&B. Linda is also a writer and you'll love the way she describes their adventure.

What is it like to run a B&B? Without giving it a great deal of thought, I might say that it is much like dancing. Sam and I are partners in this ongoing dance, and when the harmonious music is heard by both of us, the dance is heavenly! However, occasionally one of us may step on the other's toes, or someone may bump into us...and so we take the necessary time - and steps - to readjust to the rhythm. Periodically, the music changes to a different tempo, which can be a bit jarring even when expected, and so again we readjust. More happiness, excitement, variety and adventure are added to the dance when younger dance students (granddaughters) join us. And so it goes—The broad and colorful spectrum of music moving us 'this way and that way' creates a fluid niche in time devoid of boredom. The dance hall fills up seasonally with visiting dancers, who add to the meaning and purpose of our dance, and who generally orchestrate the movements. In short...running a B&B is more like dancing than running.

Linda's Recipe for Wild Raspberry Jam

In summer of 2004, before life became quite so busy, Smiling Bear (a.k.a. Linda Brown, Innkeeper) submitted a fresh specimen of his Wild Raspberry Jam at the Central States Fair in Rapid City to be judged with other preserved goods. Much to his surprise, the humble jar of woodsy jam won a blue ribbon, and Best of Class . . . and, could this be? Best of Show! Smiling Bear had already jotted down the recipe, so he decided to take it to the fair and display it with the jam. Here it is...

Wild Raspberry Jam in 15 Easy Steps

1) First, you must show the raspberries where you are.
In fairy tales, they will smile and eagerly jump into your bucket.
By the way, you are in the woods somewhere.
2) Over your shoulder and on your knees:
a) Glance over your shoulder frequently while picking.
b) Pray you will not be pounced upon by a mountain lion.
3) While on your knees, lift branches and pick the big ones.
4) The big berries, not the big spiders.
5) And do not pick the bees either. Run from territorial bees. Come back later.
Two weeks later, or whenever the horsemint is gone.
6) While you are waiting, pick over yonder . . . but listen for rattlesnakes.
7) Keep the stinging nettle from your face.
Brush it away with a free hand.
On second thought, just step on it.
And on the thistles, too.
It is ok . . . Your shoes are tough . . . They have tripped you, right?
8) It is also ok, while confined to the bushes, to let your mind wander
and think grandiose things . . . Just do not hold your breath.
You need your breath for the next step.
9) Do deep knee bends for at least 1-3/4 hours for each batch of jam.
10) While on your knees again, thank God for no berry-munching bears out there.
(. . . with one exception, of course, yours truly.)
11) While on your feet, if something bites your ankle and you jump,
you did the right thing. You took your big foot off the house of those poor ants.
12) Pick like there is no tomorrow, because it might hail and take the crop.
Or worse, someone else might get them!
13) Pick some more, like crazy, because crazy is feeling familiar now,
and it is easy to do familiar things.
After three weeks of picking, though, you might get delirious and have thoughts.
. . . Like, What am I doing, I can get bigger ones at the store, already frozen!
Next, when another berry falls and misses your bucket cuz this is no fairy tale,
you will begin thinking of who you can call to come and get some of these berries.
In fact, you will probably be thinking out loud by then.
14) At that point, it is time to gel. So, gel out and enjoy the pleasant breeze.
Refocus on the perfectly scented scenery.
Watch the deer, the turkeys, birds and squirrels.
15) If the squirrel scolds you . . . move your berry bowl from under his tree.
And when the elk coughs . . .
That is it . . . the tongue-in-cheek recipe for Best of Show Wild Raspberry Jam.

The rest is history. For Smiling Bear, there is no place on earth closer to God than in a wild raspberry patch.

Thank you for sharing with us today. Readers, I hope you'll leave a comment for Linda and let us know if you use her recipe.
Thanks for Reading and Writing!


  1. LINDA--this was the most interesting recipe for jam--or jelly--I've ever seen. I went through many years of jelly-making--just because it was fun, and also because my mother picked bushels of wild Mustang grapes, cooked them down, strained the juice into empty, cleaned mild jugs, and yes, froze all the jugs. When we visited, we had to take a couple of jugs homes--and make beautiful clear grape jelly. My mother can't do anything anymore, but once she could do everything. Thanks, Linda--the bear, and Linda--my Texas friend. Celia

  2. Celia, you are very welcome. I must say, it was my great pleasure to have the opportunity of experiencing and then writing the recipe for Best of Show Wild Raspberry Jam. And it is also a great pleasure to read of someone else's experience with jam-making. Your mother is my kind of lady!! I do the same with my chokecherries, to preserve juice in the freezer for fresh-tasting jelly or syrup anytime.

    Thank you, Linda--my Texas friend, too--for featuring us on your wonderful blog! Sam is delighted, too! Linda--the (smiling) bear.

  3. Oops, Linda, this is Linda Brown again...I see that I did not spell our website url correctly and, consequently, the link heading my previous comment is broken. So, here it is again, in case any of your readers are interested in taking a peek! Thank you!

  4. I enjoyed both posts, Linda. The dance about B&B, and loved the recipe for jam. It makes sense! :)

  5. Okay, I'm definitely going to have to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing Linda!

  6. What a lovely way you have of putting things. Life with our our loved ones is definitely a dance. Smile. Loved the receipe.

  7. Miss Mae, Judith and Sandy...Thank you for reading about our B&B dance and wild jam recipe. Linda L. is sweet as jam for sharing about us with her readers!

    Since we do have more mountain lions in the Black Hills these days, I must admit that it helps my nerve to have Sam along with me in the woods. But don't be afraid to get on out there in your neck of the woods and into the bushes, because the hardest part really is just the getting out there.