The Dutch Door Diva

Richard is a dichotomy.  Pippi  is both procrastinator, and perfectionist.  When I first met him, we’d planned, because of our mutual love of renovating, decorating and wood-working, to do a series of fixer-uppers and flip them. We did ONE.  And I had to take a year-long break in Scotland to force the final stages out of him at that!  We DO, as you can see on Rural Revivals’ Renos. web-site ( still harbour hopes of designing and re-doing small country spaces as a part-time hobby, but for the most part we are just concentrating on Blue Belldon Farm.  This is because Richard takes 3 times the amount of time needed to do any job/project.  Mind you, when they are done, they are done very, very well…

The same can be said for the Dutch Door. Since looking to rent a property in Burnsall Bridge when I first taught in England in 1997, I have harboured dreams of having a Dutch Door in my kitchen the top of which can be thrown open to the rolling meadows and daisy-butterfly summer morns.  Perhaps it even goes back further, to when I was 13 and my grandfather McKenzie and I built a small, red,  two-stall stable for my pony. He had Dutch doors on it, but with the “X”s  facing IN, to  which I always objected, as that wasn’t what it looked like in any photos I saw of horses looking over their stable doors! They were made out of quite flimsy plywood, too, and as I progressed from pony to horse, they used to get kicked off in the long cold winters when my poor beasties were bored to death.



When I had my own riding stable in the Ottawa Valley, from 1988-1996, I made sure we had the “X”s facing OUT  and that they were a lot stronger to hold the horses in, and the bad weather OUT!  They were lovely:

a-stable-life            Goldcreek Farm’s Overture with me, age 26. Behind, the “Dutch” stable doors.

Then, I moved to England to teach high school. It was in inner city Leeds, and I knew I’d need to live in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales to compensate for that, so I looked at 3 places to rent about an hour’s bus-ride out. One was in the gorgeous Burnsall Bridge, to which I’ve since returned many, many times .  The cottage had a little blue stable door in its kitchen and that was in 1997, and I’ve dreamed of having one ever since!


So now, at Blue Belldon, the  Dutch Door Dream begins.  I imagined, even by Richard’s m.o. and standards, it would take about 10 days. I mean, it’s only a DOOR, for Gosh sakes!  ………It’s been just over 6 weeks.

If you’re interested in the whole process (ie: you or someone you know will make you one), click on each photo to read caption. Otherwise, continue scrolling down!

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This is the finished inside of the Dutch door, which I stained to go with the pine wainscotting, then distressed to make it look older and more worn. NO varnish or shellac! It’s not eco-friendly, and the shiny look certainly doesn’t help anything look ‘old’!
Richard shows off the hardware we purchased online. It’s hammered steel, and while he had trouble figuring out the bolts and latch, it works a treat now!
Finally, after 6 long weeks, the DIVA finally has her Dutch Door! Love it, and the front porch is truly my favourite place to sit on the whole property!
In case you’ve forgotten, this is the glorious view from that front porch!
So easy to just throw open the top half for a breather from canning/preserving/baking/cooking, if I like, or to grab some herbs from the herb garden (see prior posting of the way I recycled some of our kitchen drawers on the front porch for this).
Richard enjoys a well-earned rest on the front porch whilst I beam happily from within. The long wait has been worth it!



Blue Belldon Borage Bites

Delicious!  All fresh and organic too!

Can’t believe I just sat down to eat the very first things from our property – a great way to end a super Sunday!  Finally got down the hill to meet Martha Oullette of Martha’s Place, a darling little antique shop a stone’s throw from our front door here at the farm.  I bought the cute little New Brunswick-made pottery creamer from her,  (needed a small one, because the big one is more like a jug!) as well as two jars of her own clover honey from this stunning valley.  Then I came back to see if our wild strawberries were ready to harvest yet, because though I checked about 4 days ago, Martha advised that they were indeed ready. And sure enough!  I also picked some borage I planted a month ago, and while our own salad greens aren’t ready yet, some from last year’s garden has grown enticingly, and thus – here’s the meal:

Meal tonight: Lettuce cress, Wild strawberries and Borage all from this property – Borage makes great iced tea which I also flavoured with the strawberries as well.  The addition of the cheese curds is a tease for Richard who loves them – and they are local from the area as well! Can’t wait ’til we have our own dairy goat so EVERYTHING in the bowl comes from Blue Belldon Farm, though!

Outside the window are the raised beds for the more-shaded salad greens.  I made these out of more kitchen drawers when renovating the kitchen.  The house offers that area shade up until about 2:00 p.m., so I think we’ll have some tasty treats there eventually.  Everyone is saying what a late start it’s been for gardens this year, though, with two weeks of cold and rain after the initial end-of-May heat wave… the poor seeds haven’t known what was up!  But I loved sitting on my front porch tonight with my dog at my feet, and an amazing mountain vista in front of me, hulling the tiny berries in my lap… as so many Appalachian women before me have sat and done for at least 2 centuries!  Delightful!

Have tried to clean up the front porch a bit, although the door has been blocked until Richard makes me my much-dreamt-of Dutch door.  But this is where Smitty and I sat to  hull the berries…  Reckon mebbe a oughter get me a pipe now, though?