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And…..I’m Back, Sort Of…

October 12th, 2016

You may wonder where I’ve been the past week, I haven’t been posting because life got a little crazy and I simply haven’t had time or been home enough to do it. If you follow my facebook page or my Instagram account you’ve seen that I’ve been jetting back and forth to Ohio. The main reason I’ve been busy is because my mom has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, she’s been told she has a few months to a year of life left.  In the coming months I’ll be spending lots of time traveling back and forth to Ohio to help my parents settle things and get things in order. I still have loads of photos of lovely gardens from Sweden I’m going to work on posting, as well as all the crazy that happens here at the farm.
I only had a few days in Maine before I headed off to Cincinnati the following weekend for my annual reunion with my college girlfriends. My trip home was very eventful and because of a big mess with United airlines. It took me 24 hours to get back home from Ohio (crazy since I can drive in half the time). It’s a rather crazy string of events, because they forgot to schedule a crew for our flight, it was cancelled at 10 pm on Sunday night. After spending an hour in the line waiting for a customer service rep, I was told “We can’t get you to Portland tomorrow. Where do you want to go?”. I must admit that heading off to Mexico seemed like a good option at the time, but my responsibilities won and I decided it would be easiest for me to find a way back to Maine if I caught a flight to Boston the following morning. From Boston I took a bus to Portland, then a taxi to the Portland airport to get my car, then finally I drove home. It was quite a crazy couple of days, and needless to say, every time I fly United I say “never again”, this time it’s really NEVER AGAIN. I must say, I’m lucky that I can fly Southwest when I head to Cleveland to visit my family, I’ve always had great experiences with them, even with the occasional delay.

Homegrown Figs

October 3rd, 2016

Many years ago I purchased a ‘Hardy Chicago’ fig, since then I’ve been enjoying homegrown figs every fall. These figs live in pots in the basement during the winter and spend their summers outside. This year I planted a few in the ground to see if they’d survive the winter in our zone. I plan on mulching them heavily. Just in case they don’t survive, I have one that I will be overwintering in the basement.  Last year, I added a new fig plant to my collection, a Fig ‘Petite Negra’ (Ficus carica). I was amazed when it produced around 10 figs this year, it stands only 20 inches tall or so.
This plant lives in my basement during the winter and on the back porch in the summer. The back porch gets the afternoon sun and gets pretty hot, the average temperature out there on a summer day is 95. This seems to be the perfect place for this little fig. The fruit is sweet and delicious, just like a fig should be. Now that I have found the perfect place for figs, I think I’ll be getting some ‘Black Mission’ figs to add to my collection. There’s nothing better than homegrown figs.

Do you like fresh figs?

Friday Favorite: Compost Treasures

September 30th, 2016

It’s always a happy find when you come across something that shouldn’t be in the compost pile. On Sunday I came across a fork. I’ve been known to find all sorts of things in the compost pile, knives, wood spoons, serving spoons, lids, etc.

What sorts of things have you found in your compost pile?

Stocking the Pantry

September 29th, 2016

This time of year the pantry, root cellar, and freezer start to fill up once again. I always am amazed by how full the freezer gets, I think I’ll never be able to eat all the vegetables tucked away inside. Then, come March, I’m thankful that I spent the effort to freeze all the garden bounty. For the most part, the vegetables I freeze last us until spring greens are available from the garden once again. While I do buy a few vegetables here and there throughout the winter months, the majority of it comes from the freezer.
One of the things I’m most thankful for in the winter: onions. I grow loads of alliums: leeks, onions, shallots, potato onions, and scallions. Having a full year’s supply of onions in the pantry is a wonderful feeling. Most of them get put into baskets and are stored in an unheated bedroom upstairs, but I can’t resist making a few braids to hang in the pantry off the kitchen. Every time I come and go they bring a smile to my face.

What’s your favorite item to grow for storing?

Harvesting Popcorn

September 28th, 2016

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is harvesting the popcorn. While you’re supposed to let it dry on the stalks, there’s rain in the forecast and I don’t want it to mold. Plus we’ve had a pesky raccoon that’s been getting in and eating a few bits off of each ear, ruining about a third of our crop so far.
I grew four different varieties of popcorn this year, hoping for a four color mix. The black popcorn outperformed them all and did beautifully. Amazingly, it was also the least favorite for the raccoons. You can bet I’ll be growing this variety again in the future! Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks, we love making it the old fashioned way in a big pot on the stove with lots of ghee.

Are you a lover of popcorn?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.