Country Willows Bed & Breakfast Inn

1313 Clay Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520
Innkeeper(s): Dan and Kara Burian
 

Smoke Detector Bird? 2 May 2014, 9:57 pm

Lately we've been perplexed by a morning sound that we were convinced was a distant smoke detector sounding, or an open refrigerator door warning, or some alarm trying to gain our attention. I was so convinced, in fact, that I've gotten out of bed and searched the house for fear that we would wake one of our slumbering guests! (Yes, Galen, I still think of you with every smoke detector I hear). But after hearing the pure, repetitive tones several mornings in a row it became obvious that this sound was coming from outside, and it was actually one of our many morning birds welcoming a new day at the inn, and maybe looking for a mate at the same time.

Recently, two of or guests solved the mystery for us...we think. After hearing my AMAZING whistle imitation of the sound, Diana and Jim Noviello astutely identified the sound as likely being an owl, and then Diana suggested that it may in fact be the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

 

Northern Saw-whet Owl

 

Click here to hear the Northern Saw-whet Owl's call

After hearing the audio file of the owl's call, I was convinced that this was the culprit that has sent me searching the house for dying 9-volt batteries.

Northern Saw-whet Owl enjoying and afternoon snooze

Northern Saw-whet Owls have several calls including one that sounds like a saw being sharpened against a whetstone, lending to its name. But the distinctive, pure tone, single pitch  "too-too-too" is thought to be its mating call. This call can be heard January through May, primarily in evergreen forest areas. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is one of the most common owls in forests across North America.

Many of our guests at Country Willows Inn enjoy bird watching, and Country Willows is a great place to spot a variety of birds right on our property or on the trails connected to our property. Two of our long time returning guests, Deborah Toobert and John Koenig, recently reported seeing the following birds on our property:

      Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon race)

      Black-capped chickadee

      Stellars jay

      Scrub jay

      Red-tailed hawk

      Ruby-crowned kinglet

      Anna’s hummingbird

      Spotted towhee

Another Northern Saw-whet Owl

And below are some photos that Jim Noviello shared with us that he took while visiting the Inn over Easter Weekend. As always, we can't thank Jim enough for sharing his incredible photos of Country Willows Inn.

(Click on any image to enlarge)

 

We would love to hear about your interesting birding adventures. Feel free to post a message below. Looking forward to seeing you at Country Willows Inn soon! 

 

 

Clark Terry 10 Apr 2014, 10:53 pm

I had the opportunity to attend a “Secret Screening” at the Ashland Independent Film Festival because one of our guests who was a filmmaker had a ticket he was unable to use. The film, which was kept a complete secret from viewers until the showing, was a documentary about jazz legend Clark Terry called “Keep on Keepin' On”. What a beautiful, inspiring film! Clark Terry, who was 90 years old at the start of the documentary, has been incredibly influential in the jazz world, influencing such greats as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. The film focused on Clark Terry's relationship with a young, emerging jazz professional named Justin Kauflin who is a blind pianist with incredible talent. Filmmaker Alan Hicks did an awesome job capturing the passion of Mr. Terry's life work as he mentors, encourages, and nurtures this young artist as he has done so many times in the past.

As supporters of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, we all know the importance of gently nurturing the emergence of truly great, new art.

New art is delicate, and so easily overlooked or snuffed out before it draws breath on its own.

In this film, Alan Hicks shares a glimpse of a true master giving of himself for the sake of his art, at times beyond what seems humanly possible due to personal obstacles and challenges. It inspires me to do the same in whatever small ways I can in my own world.

When I was studying pre-med in college before medical school, I had an organic chemistry professor named Roy Olofson. Dr. Olofson always took a few extra minutes to share with us a bit of personal history of each of the great chemists who impacted our lives in ways most of us would never know. At the end of the semester he explained why he did this, and his explanation was one of the things that influenced me the most of all his teaching. Dr. Olofson shared that in the world of chemistry, it's only other scientists who have the understanding and insight to truly appreciate the life changing impacts these chemists have had on our world. So it's the responsibility of the scientific community to honor their collegues for their contributions and sacrifices, in ways that the general public could never adequately offer.

And so it is with the arts. And in this case, with jazz.

One artist honoring another, because the masses are incapable of doing so on their own.

Alan Hicks' film empowered me to honor Clark Terry in a way I never could have on my own, and I feel like I have grown and have become a better person for it. I'm even a better musician for it...maybe not in talent, but certainly in depth and richness of musical experience.

Thank you Alan Hicks, for this moving, inspirational documentary about the great Clark Terry.

 

 

Ashland Independent Film Festival 31 Mar 2014, 9:20 pm

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is five days of the highest quality independent film in this historic town the Washington Post called "a dream you'll never want to leave."  Every Spring, Southern Oregon is buzzing with the excitement of the AIFF.  Over 7000 film lovers gather at the historic art-deco Varsity Theatre in downtown to watch over 80 films in five days. Filmmakers of the documentaries, features and shorts from around the world come to engage with the audience after each screening and at the festival’s Opening Night Bash and Award Celebration parties with local wine, beer and gourmet food. Special guests have included Helen Hunt, Albert Maysles, Bruce Campbell and more. The film festival is one of the reasons Ashland is included in the popular travel guide A Thousand Places to See Before You Die.

Join us at Country Willows Inn for the Film Festival April 3rd through April 7th, 2014, and chat with some of the filmmakers who will be staying with us at the inn!

 

New Country Willows Inn Video! 28 Sep 2013, 9:36 pm

At last! We are excited to share our new Country Willows Inn video with you.  We've been working on our new video all summer and feel like it really captures so much of what makes Country Willows so special.  Please click and enjoy!

Country Willows Inn Video, Ashland Oregon
 
 

 

So...What are capers, anyway? 23 Aug 2013, 1:58 pm

Have you ever wondered where capers come from, or even what they are? Capers are a wonderful addition to so many foods. At the inn, we use them in our potato-caper omelets to add a fresh tangy flavor. Capers are a common ingredient in mediterranean dishes and Italian dishes such as chicken piccata. They're also used in salads and sauces, and are a key ingredient in tartar sauce.  Capers have also found their way in to the occasional martini!

Capers are actually the immature flower buds of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa.  The buds are harvested prior to flowering and are usually sun-dried, then pickled in a vinegar brine, or sometimes with wine.  They are typically packaged in brine solution or in salt.  Don't forget to rinse them under running water before use or they'll be way too salty!

If the buds are left to flower, they produce a fruit called the caper berry, which is larger and bears some resemblance to an olive.  Caper berries, which are less salty than the caper buds, are usually eaten as snacks or added to salads.

Capers are categorized and sold by their size, with the smallest size being the most desirable coming from the south of France.  Larger capers are stronger in flavor and less aromatic.  Sizes include non-pareil (0-7 mm), surfines (7-8 mm), capucines (8-9 mm), capotes (9-11 mm), fines (11-13 mm), and grusas (larger than 13 mm).

Interestingly, unripe nasturtium seeds can be used as a substitute for capers when they're pickled since they have a very similar texture and flavor.

Well, there you have it!  I'm sure you'll remember us the next time you're on Jeopardy! and Alex says, "It's the unopened flower bud that's sun-dried, pickled, and brined that lends a distinctive piquant flavor to foods and sauces."  You'll press your clicker confidently and answer, "What are capers, Alex".

 

 

2013 Daedalus Project 20 Aug 2013, 8:57 pm

This past weekend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival celebrated their annual Daedalus Project.  The Daedalus Project has grown tremendously over the years.  In addition to the Play Reading and the Variety Show, this year's offering included two new events, the Daedalus Film Fest and The Wings of Daedalus.  The Daedalus Film Fest, presented in conjunction with the Ashland Independent Film Festival, featured several films examining the global HIV/AIDS crisis.  The Wings of Daedalus is an artistic project that created a set of wings that was made with origami feathers, and into every feather was folded a name, a prayer, a reflection, a benediction.

Since its inception, the Daedalus Project has raised over $1.3 million to help end the spread of HIV/AIDS.  The Daedalus Project also provides an opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate the courage and strength of so many who's lives have been impacted by this disease.

   

In Greek Mythology, Daedalus was known as a skillful craftsman and inventor.  The painting above by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) and the painting to the right by Joseph Marie Vien (1716-1809) show Daedalus and his son Icarus preparing for escape from imprisonment using the wings Daedalus fabricated from feathers held together at the midpoint with string and held at the bases by wax.  During their escape, Icarus flew too close to the sun despite his father's warning against doing so.  The sun melted the wax on the bases of the feathers and Icarus fell to his death in the sea.

There are lots of ways to support the Daedalus Project, including participating in the silent auction or purchasing photographs, art, and OSF memorabilia, all donated to help support the event.  You can also buy goodies at the afternoon bake sale.  And, of course, you can purchase tickets to a variety of shows including the Daedalus Film Fest, or the Play Reading and Variety Show, both performed by OSF company actors.  Lots of fun!

 

 

 

Welcome To Our New Website! 19 Aug 2013, 11:22 pm

 

Welcome to our new Country Willows Inn Website!  We've been working for quite some time building the new website, and we are really pleased with how it has turned out.  Please check out our pages...there's lots of new photographs, and we'll be adding more photos soon.  We'll be using our new blog to keep you up to date with activities and interesting things around Ashland and at the Inn.  We hope to see you again soon, thanks for visiting!