Free Range Versus Pasture Raised Eggs

Like This!

At Cedar House Inn we care about animal welfare and eating healthy eggs. Our breakfast ingredients contain organic milk, pasture raised eggs and seasonal veggies from our permaculture garden.

Many do not know that there is a big difference between free range and pasture raised eggs. We only use pasture raised eggs at the inn unless they are not available from the local farmer. Then we purchase free range organic at the grocery store.

Free range chickens (as defined by the USDA) have access to the outside but have no requirements on how much time they must spend outdoors. They also do not have any requirements for the size of the roaming area. Producers of free range eggs can label their eggs “free range”  even if all they do is leave a little door open in their giant chicken houses. Often chickens do not  go outside since they have not learned that behaviour. If they go outside there is often no bare dirt to scratch in or bugs to eat.

Pasture raised chickens stay outside and eat all kinds of seeds, green plants, insects, worms along with grain or mash. They have a hen-house with nesting boxes for egg laying and are free to come and go. They tend to be happier chickens and lay more nutritious eggs.

If you have the option for healthy eggs, pasture raised chicken eggs are the preferred choice for nutrition and animal welfare.

For more information about our organic breakfast at the inn visit breakfast.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Hiking the Appalachian Trail- Slackpacking

Like This!

Many guests who stay at our inn take day hikes on the Appalachian Trail. The trail starts at Amicalola Falls State Park which is about 40 minutes from the inn by car. A five-mile hike is required before reaching the official starting point of the trail. While you are at the park enjoy the falls as well.

North of the inn are two locations where the trail crosses the main highway. These areas are closer to Cedar House Inn. One is Woody Gap which has parking available. Park in the right parking lot and hike to Preacher’s Rock.  At Blood Mountain the trail also crosses the road. Mountain Crossing, a store with hiking supplies and gifts, is located near the road and trail area. Blood Mountain is the highest part of Lumpkin County and the trail is more strenuous. Many guests like to hike to the trail shelter.

A couple of weeks ago we had guests from Colorado who spent the week at our inn. The purpose of their trip was to hike the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. They were not considered thru hikers but slack packers. Each morning they had breakfast at the inn and dropped their car off near where they would finish their trail hike that day. The Hiker Hostel would meet them at their car and shuttle them to the trail area where they were beginning the day hike. They hiked most of the Georgia portion of the trail using this method. Each evening they came back to the inn for a hot shower, Mary Beth’s cookies and chai tea.

Benefits of slack packing are many. No roughing  it on the trail carrying a heavy backpack in all kinds of weather. No freeze-dried dinners or oatmeal breakfasts. No sleeping on the hard ground. A unique way of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Book a room or yurt with us and try hiking the Appalachian Trail using slack packing. The Hiker Hostel is no longer in business but there are other parties that can pick you up and take you to your car. We have some names or you can check with Uber.

For more information about our inn visit Cedar House Inn & Yurts.

Building Permaculture Swales to Conserve Water

Like This!

We built a permaculture swale above the vegetable garden and blueberry bush area to capture the rain to prevent runoff and conserve the water for future use. Swales have been proven to retain water by forcing the rainwater into the Earth down to the impervious layer of soil. The water then travels under the surface and provides plant roots with needed irrigation. Such water can travel great distances and be stored for extended periods of time. Swales conserve valuable rainwater that normally runs down slopes and eventually ends up in driveways and storm sewers. They also help reduce evaporation of rainwater.

We built a  permaculture swale above the garden to capture water running down the hill from the north end of the property. The swale is approximately one foot deep and 16 inches wide. Swale depth can vary depending on slope of hill and soil type. For example we made the swale shallower but wider in areas with rock closer to the surface which made digging more difficult. The swale at the top of the hill provides water for the peach trees, blueberry bushes and concord grapes. Decomposed leaves are placed in the swale to help retain water. Wheat straw covers the leaves and swale berm to prohibit erosion.

Another smaller permaculture swale was dug at the bottom of the hill using the same technique. This swale catches additional water for the vegetable garden. We are considering the addition of strawberries on the berm portion of this swale since they have deep roots and will help stabilize the berm. Not to mention fresh strawberries in the future.

Additional swales will be built on the property in the future.

To see a video of our swales visit video.

Geoff Lawton is a renowned permaculturist and did a great video on how swales work. Visit his video by clicking how swales work.

For more information about what we have done at the inn for swales visit permaculture.

2010 Video Update of Permaculture Vegetable Garden

Like This!

We filmed a short video in 2010 showing the progress made on the permaculture garden area using sheet mulching technique. We also cleared the hill above the garden of the pine trees and planted peaches and blueberries that will provide breakfast ingredients in the future. The pine trees were used to make a living fence to keep out larger animals and to provide a habitat for birds.

For more information about our inn and the permaculture elements we have incorporated visit permaculture.

Permaculture Gardening at Cedar House Inn

Like This!

Our property at Cedar House Inn is not known for good soil for growing flowers or gardening. We have planted over 250 trees andgardening using sheet mulching shrubs since we purchased the property and struggled with digging each hole. First we have a very thin layer of top soil, then hard clay and finally a rock layer. To have a viable garden we have no choice but to haul in or make our own dirt.

Rather than hauling in dump truck loads of top soil I decided to make dirt the way mother nature intended. Down by the yurts we have a forest of trees and layers of leaves under the trees that have accumulated for many years. Raking back some of the leaves you notice decomposition of the organic matter. Worms, insects and fungi are all doing their part in breaking down the leaves. Could I use a similar process to make good dirt in areas where only rock and clay exists? I read about Permaculture (sheet mulching) and Lasagna Gardening that explains just how I can do that.

Last Fall I identified where I wanted the vegetable garden to be. I then took large sheets of cardboard and placed them on the ground as a weed barrier. The cardboard decomposes over time like the layers of leaves in the woods. After watering the cardboard sheets I hauled many loads of leaves to place over the cardboard. Next I added wheat straw, then more leaves. This created a “lasagna like” layer. Some beds were covered with black plastic to help the composting process. When my wife had vegetable scraps I dug a hole in the bed and bury the scraps. I also buried rotted wood to add other microbes and insects to assist in the composting process.

One bed has a worm tower that I made. The tower is a 5 gallon plastic bucket with holes the size of a pencil that I drilled. We add vegetable scraps and red wiggler worms to eat the scraps and make worm castings and tea.

I have read that by Spring if the organic matter is not fully decomposed that is fine. I can dig a hole in the garden for the plant, add some top soil in the hole and plant. This type of gardening also requires no weeding which I like.

We are looking forward to growing vegetables using this simple permaculture gardening method. Be on the look out for more posts about how our garden grows once planting season arrives.

The main problem we have now is that our trees have grown so well that we have too much shade for some vegetables to be productive.

For more information on our inn using permaculture visit Cedar House Inn.

Electricity From Used Vegetable Oil?


Several years ago I read about the problems restaurants faced with the disposal of used vegetable oil from cooking. If you have ever parked behind a fast food eatery you may have noticed a dumpster area for trash disposal as well as a container for storing used vegetable oil. The area is often tucked away behind the building to prevent the public from seeing and smelling the waste. Restaurants pay companies to haul away the solid and liquid waste.

I also learned many years ago that the diesel engine was invented by Adolf Diesel to run on peanut oil to help farmers with an affordable fuel source. Most diesel fuel now is petroleum based. Individuals can still run their diesel vehicles on vegetable oil by using a Grease Car type system or by converting the vegetable oil to biodiesel which requires a process and equipment using chemicals. I have always wanted to convert my VW diesel to veggie oil. Imagine free fuel that is also good for the environment and your exhaust smells like french fries.

Recently I have been thinking about generating electricity with used vegetable oil from restaurants using a diesel generator. I was surprised to see that a company has developed such a product for restaurants to generate electricity and hot water from used oil. The unit even filters the waste oil prior to using it to generate electricity and hot water. The product is called the Vegawatt Power System. For more information visit web site.

We do not use  used vegetable oil at our inn to power the structures or heat water but we do utilize many eco-friendly methods.

Inn Wins Best in the South Award 2009


We are pleased to announce that our inn has won the 2009-2010 award from BedandBreakfast.com for “Best in the South Award”. Ten inns were chosen from the south.

BedandBreakfast.com, the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide, announced the winners of its fifth annual web-based awards program for B&Bs and inns. Since launching the BedandBreakfast.com reviews program almost three years ago, inn goers have submitted nearly 85,000 B&B reviews. The selection criteria for the Best of BedandBreakfast.com Awards included both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the independently posted reviews on BedandBreakfast.com.

The Best of BedandBreakfast.com Award winners are not ranked but are listed alphabetically by state or country within each category. Themes and categories reflect prevalent comments from each winner’s reviews.

To see all the winners visit www.bedandbreakfast.com

For more information about our inn visit Cedar House Inn and Yurts.

Biking is Big in Dahlonega


The North Georgia mountains around Dahlonega have been a long time favorite of tourists who want to enjoy beautiful mountains. In the past several years the area has also become a favorite among road and mountain bicyclists. Dahlonega biking is a big thing!

Over the last six and a half years we have been open as a bed and breakfast inn we have seen first hand the popularity of these beautiful mountains with bicycle riders. Often we see them slowly climbing up the mountain in front of the inn on US 19.

There have been cyclocross races scheduled at Montaluce Vineyards in the past. Cyclocross bikes are a cross between a road and mountain bike. The races typically require riders to complete a course with off and on road as well as areas where the rider gets off the bike and carries it. It can be exciting to watch.

We also have seen a resurgence in interest in the mountain biking scene. Nimblewheel gap is a favorite. The Fools Gold 100 and 50 mile mountain bike races are held during some summers.

In September we have the 6 Gap Century ride across the mountains. Many riders participate in the event. Its a favorite Dahlonega biking event.

In past years we have also been host to a leg of the Tour de Georgia road bike race. Lance Armstrong has ridden in front of the inn a couple of times. The race was cancelled several years ago due to funding. Many of our guests returned every year for the event. The downtown finish line area is always festive and exiting. We hope it returns in the future.

There is a new web site that covers Dahlonega biking in the North Georgia mountains. Upcoming races and rides are also featured. Visit Dahlonega Cycling for more information.

If you would like to stay at our inn and ride your bike up through the mountains check out our web site.

Corn Maze’s Near Dahlonega

Fall is just around the corner in the North Georgia mountains. Come stay with us and attend one of the nearby corn maze’s.

Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze

Fall fun officially started Labor Day Weekend for Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Visit the 12-acre corn maze located in Dawsonville, Ga this fall for some southern fun. More than 40,000 visitors are expected to crisscross through the cornstalks this year.

Rates for Activities Per Person*
Corn Maze $9
Hayride (nights: includes bonfire & marshmallows!) $5
Value Combo: Corn Maze & Hayride $12
Corn Cannon (3 shots) $1
Haunted Maze (includes Corn Maze) $12
Value Combo: Haunted Maze & Hayride $15

September:

Open Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays, 4 to 10 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

October:

Sundays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Haunted Maze starts at Dark, last ticket sold at 10 p.m.
Haunted Maze is only open on:
Oct. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent.

November 1 through 22th
Fridays, 4 to 10 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit www.uncleshucks.com for more details.

Hillbilly Cornmaze

OPEN SEPTEMBER 14 – NOVEMBER 16

GENERAL ADMISSION HOURS
Open Friday:6 – 10pm Saturday:10am – 10pm Sunday:10am- 6pm
ADMISSION $10.00

From Atlanta go North on 19/400 to
Dahlonega. At stop light (just past
McDonalds) go left on truck route
South/West US9/US52 to
Dawsonville/Elljay. 1.5 miles
on the right across from Trammel Tire

HAUNTED CORN FIELD
OPEN Friday and Saturday
9 – 12 midnight
in October

274 Radio Road
Dahlonega, Georgia
706-867-0940 Fax 706-867-0087
email: info@hillbillycornmaze.com
WWW.HILLBILLYCORNMAZE.COM

Wine in a Plastic Bottle

Since our inn is located in the North Georgia wine country our guests have the opportunity of tasting many different types of wine produced in the area. All the wines are bottled or packaged in the traditional glass wine bottle that we recycle at the recycling center or use for our wine bottle trees. We learned about wine in a plastic bottle.

An article that mentioned a California winery that is using one liter plastic (PET #1) bottles to help the environment. The wine is called Fog Mountain. The wine is also organic. What would wine snobs think about wine in a plastic bottle?

The advantages of the plastic wine bottle:

• 33% more wine – two extra glasses – than a standard 750ml bottle
• 60% smaller carbon footprint
• Less energy to produce, ship and recycle
• 100% recyclable since the plastic is a number 1.
• 7 recycled Fog Mountain wine bottles can produce 1 extra-large t-shirt
• lightweight & shatterproof, no broken glass
• Perfect for picnics, barbecues, camping and life-on-the-go

Maybe one day we will see wineries in our area put wine in a plastic bottle.

Our North Georgia wines are in glass bottles like traditional wine. If you would like to visit our wineries we would love you to stay with us. For more information on the North Georgia wine region visit wineries.