Friday, May 27, 2011

Local Food Finds

For Mother's Day Maine Man and the kids gave me a book titled

Bringing Food Home ~The Maine Example

by Merry Stetson Hall

I meet the author of that book a few years back at a conference about local food co-ops. I overheard her speak of this book she was writing and I thought to myself...sounds like something I'd like to read. Funny thing is MM never knew anything about me meeting her or the book she was writing. So almost every night before the lights go out I read a few pages. I LOVE IT more then I ever thought I would. Someday I may even share some tid bits from the book here. It has inspired me to be a faithful supporter of our local farmers markets regularly despite the fact that we produce a good deal of foods right here. In effort to encourage others to "know there farmer" and make more of a conscious effort to buy local I will share my weekly local food finds here throughout the summer along with a random photo or two. (Boy that was a long sentence....hopefully my grammar teacher is not one of my

This weeks finds:

1 lb of asparagus ( I picked a 1 pound from our gardens but I needed another to make that that tasty soup I keep talking about for my farmer friend)

bay leave plant

dill seedlings ( I neglected to start any yet and it is by far one of my favorite herbs)

2 lbs of haddock

P.S I apoligize for the abnormal spacing in this post and some of the other posts. Not sure what is going on with blogger lately. Anyone else having issues?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Green Goodness

Our first pickings of Asparagus EVER!
I must say fresh asparagus has moved right up to one of my favorites.

We haven't had large quantities but enough for a side dish.

Besides the asparagus soup I made and wrote about a few posts back we have mostly enjoyed it baked lightly. Drizzle with olive oil, a dash of sea salt, sprinkled with cheese baked for several minutes.
Simply Amazing!

Other garden goods we are eating so far this season....bok choy, spinach, beet greens, chives, lots of lettuce, and rhubarb.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kennebec Organics Soil review

Recently Kennebec Organics supplied me with a sample of their NEW potting soil/seed starter for an Achorn Farm review. It was amazingly light and fluffy with a rich mahogany color. It looked good enough to eat. Not really but you get the picture.

For years I've used the commercially available over the counter Pro Mix. I figured if it was good enough for the professional gardener it should certainly should work for us.

With this in mind I set out on a head to head comparison between the big box stores and a new local business.

My initial expectation was that I would find a 10- 20% measurable difference between the two soils. However, to my surprise the results were far greater then I expected. The Kennebec Organic soil on the LEFT grew twice the size of the Promix which is on the right. I will be interested to see if this equates to twice the yield at harvest time. But more important than the numbers, healthy vigorous plants produce more nutritionally dense food which is one of the main reasons we garden.

These bell peppers were grown side by side using the same seed tray, water, and light exposure. I know which seed starter we will be using from now on.
Remember... plant SMARTER not HARDER with Kennebec Organics!

Currently this product is available at Visions on KMD in Oakland, ME (465-8200)

~Maine Man

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Farmgirl Home

Home is where my rocker sits,

Home is where my needles knits,

Home is where my heart gives,

Home is where my true loves lives,

Home is where I rake leaves,

Home is where I clean the eaves,

Home is where I make pies and cakes,

Home is where my squash bakes,

Home is laundry on the line,

Home is a pretty clock keeping time,

Home is where and old, wooden box

Hides feathers and cards and special rocks,

Home is where I hang my coat and tack,

Home always says, "Welcome Back,"

Home is "Matilda" in the barn,

Home is a kitten playing with yarn,

Home is where the pantry stores,

Pickles and jam and so much more,

Home is daisies, lettuce, and beets

Home is a freezer filled with meat,

Home watches over my many loves,

Photos, heirlooms, and a wooden dove,

Home is where I close my eyes,

And pray for rain or sunny skies,

Home is where my chickens scratch,

Home is where their babies hatch,

Home looks over stacks of hay,

Harvested now, 'twas grass in May,

Home is where stars shine down,

upon my house and me in my gown,

Home is where I keep myself,

Until I leave this earthy shelf.

Home is Heaven will better be,

But for now, my home here is a haven for me.

This came from this months issue of "Mary Jane Farm" magazine written by Sherry Jespersen

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED it and had to share it! Maine Man, the kids, and I are EXTREME homebodies so I could relate to that poem on many levels. There is truly is NO place like home!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pure Insanity! least that is what I was thinking when I showed up at my last Bee Keeping class.

In the doom and gloom of winter I thought it would be interesting to learn more about these brilliant little creatures so I signed up for a class through adult education. GLAD I did because I had absolutely NO idea how COMPLEX honey bees were. There was 4 classroom lectures and 2 days you could attend work in the field.

When I got out of my car I had not yet dressed in the proper bee keeping attire so I had to walk by this madness. I contemplated loading back up and heading home but I came to my senses.

See that big BEE she is the Queen....without her your in BIG trouble. I was amazed at how easily our instructor could find her in the hive.

He had just received a shipment from Georgia hence all the madness pictured above.

If my hive is built by June (my farmer friend is building it for me...spoiled I know) I will pick up my first Nuke (mini hive w/ a queen) next month. I have everything else I need except a smoker and the hive tool I think.

Pictured above is "Jen the local" who follows and sometimes comments here on my blog. She spoke up at the last class when she saw me grabbing my camera. SO glad she did! It was SO nice to meet someone that reads about our wacky life!

In my simplistic terminology this picture shows a baby bee being born. In bee keepers terms
which is a language of its own, this is a brood or worker bee emerging from cell in the brood chamber. Having ABSOLUTELY NO experience with bees the glossary of my book became my best friend in this class. The other bees help them hatch....isn't that COOL?

I was fully suited, some were not. Just a hood, yikes! One guy had a rope from the front of his hood down between his legs attached to his belt hoop on the back. I SO wanted to take a picture but I did not want to be a menace...LOL! I felt great comfort wearing FULL a suit with out entrances. At this point I was wondering if there were bees on my back like his? Better not knowing I think.

Great Class!

Now we will see if I can put some of what I learned into practice.

Big decisions....what color to paint the hive?

I think Pink! ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bad to the Bone!

Last Sunday, Mother's Day Bob FINALLY met his maker. He was the farm bully and everyone feared him except Maine Man. Bob didn't mess with MM very often, only tangled with him on rare occasions. His near death experiences reminded him to stay clear of MM. However he picked on everyone else and I was his #1 target, he made me cry on more than one occassion. So basically if you planned on being within 8 feet of him you'd best have a weapon although that did not always stop him. Really... he has attacked me with a pitch fork in hand. He's picked on the kids, both my parents knocking my mom to the ground and he once left a spur in my already injured father's leg. We gave him away once with fair warning and by the end of the summer he returned. As of lately he had become more aggressive running rapidly from afar unexpectedly and I had ENOUGH! That morning I awoken to Flower Girl screaming "Boooooooob". She was out picking fresh eggs to cook me breakfast in bed. Country Boy came up to my room and I said "kill him". With no resistance CB went out and did the deed. They skinned him and he & all the fixings were in the crock pot by 9 am. After all day simmering he was tough as heck. I feed out what meat I could pull off the bones to the dogs. I'm sure our Boxer, Rona took great pleasure in eating Bob because she often fell victim of his violent attacks. The broth I saved for soup stock. Tonight I cooked up a DELICIOUS Asparagus Bisque and the rest I froze. The recipe came from this Bed & Breakfast web site for anybody that is interested. (under lunch then soups). Some of the asparagus came from our garden (first time ever!!) and since I did not have enough some was store bought :)
It has taken a little getting use to not being guarded in the farm yard but it has been a pleasure!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Foraging for Food

The last weekend of April the kids and I headed out for our 2nd annual fiddlehead picking adventure. I was the only excited one, they protested a bit but being the "mean" mom I am I made them come along. For anyone that is interested in learning more about identifying them click here and read my post from last year. Some fiddleheads had already passed by and some were not up yet but I was able to gather approximately 5 lbs. Within minutes of arriving to our destination the kids had stripped down to their swim suits and were up stream hooting and hollering. Rough life they have.... with a wicked "mean mom" you see;)

I picked and they played.

They even had time to make a little habitat for "froggy junior".

On the way back out of the woods the kids did help picking a bit.

Either way I was content just being out there in the warm air.

Sometimes it is the little things we do that we often take for granted.

FYI: Anyone who left comments for FG's birthday post they were removed because blogger was having some issues.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy Birthday

I mentioned I wouldn't be posting this week but then I remembered my baby girl had a birthday and I couldn't miss out on my traditional birthday post. Thanks to technology I was able to schedule this ahead. Wishing Flower Girl a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. We LOVE you more than words can express but I'll try...

BECAUSE you are....

F un

L oving

O utgoing

W ity

E xciteable

R elentless

G iving

I maginative

R eliable

L ovely

This years song is My Girl by Tim McGraw


Sunday, May 8, 2011

So much to say....

.....So little time. I have been taking lots of pictures and have several posts I've been scheming in my busy little mind. Planting Christmas trees, fiddle heading, a soil review by Maine Man, the demise of our mean a$$ rooster, super easy goat milk cheese I've made not once but twice, a cook book I'm currently obsessed with, my last bee class, asparagus and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately it will have to wait a bit. I hope to be posting by next weekend. We will see how my recovery goes with what I hope to be a final procedure to cure my ailing neck. Send some good vibes my way...HAPPY WEEK to All!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scenes from the Green House

All Maine Man's hard work is paying off.

These pictures were taken over a week ago.

This week we ate our first greens of the season, 2 weeks later then last year.

The kids and I only planted 2 flats and MM has done the rest.

He's the green thumb in this family! You grow it and I'll cook it is my motto ;)
SO thankful for all the fresh greens. All winter I have been buying them at the local natural food store and it is not cheap.....something like $9.99 a pound....yikes!
Bok Choy is one of MM's favorite. The best way I like it is in an Asian Salad but we do eat it often is toss salads.
Would love to hear your favorite way of eating it!


Garlic....notice the chicken is on the outside of the fence. They've been free ranging since last fall but they are soon to be cooped up. They are VERY destructive to the gardens. MM has a a small garden started so far but he has it fenced in.