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Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for September 19th, 2011

Turkey Tracks: September Update

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Turkey Tracks:  September 19, 2011

September Update

The garden is winding down, and our nights have been really cool lately.  We’ve been sleeping under TWO extra coverings.

The dehydrator has been running for most of the month.  This year, as I’ve already written, I’ve been drying our Sun Gold cherry tomatoes–planted for just that reason.  But, I’ve also been drying extra cucumbers and zucchini, and that’s been a really great project.  In other years,extra cukes would have to be pickled or lost.  And, I grated and froze zucchini, which wasn’t ideal as the grated zukes get bitter and very limp.  I really LOVE these dried cuke and zuke slices.  They can be used like crackers with dip, and I think they might reconstitute in soups or, in the case if the cukes, in some garlic and mint-spiced yogurt.   Corinne loved them all when she was here.

Here’s what they look like:

I harvested the dried beans I planted this year.  I only planted about 10 seeds as I thought they would climb.  They didn’t; they were more like a bush bean.  I  did not get a lot of beans actually.  Here’s what they look like:

One would have to plant a LOT of seeds to make this effort worthwhile.  I don’t understand about the color variation–but the dark brown beans look perfectly healthy…???

I walked past the blue baskets where we grew potatoes all summer one day a few weeks back and wondered if I could reseed them with some fall greens.  I topped off each with some compost from our bins and reseeded with radish, summer lettuce, spinach, and winter lettuce .  I did the same with the cold frame, which we dragged out from its summer storage and put back into the garden–well away from the snowplow’s path.

Here’s what the blue baskets looked like about 10 days ago.  You should see how lush they are now, and the cold frame is even lusher:

I didn’t expect to get this double use out of this project, so this has been fun.  Also, if we get a really cold night, I can throw a tarp over these baskets.

We’ve had the house trim painted–after seven years, it was time.  (Can’t believe we’re living in our eighth year in Maine!)  We used Greg Black’s Accent Painting, from Lincolnville, and are really pleased with his work.  (Greg had some of Rose’s meat chickens, so we met him the day we slaughtered chickens in early summer.)  The trim is all sparkly white now, mold has been scraped off part of the house where we get more rain drainage, and the upper deck and lower porch ceiling have been painted.  While the crew painted, John replaced back deck step boards that were rotting.  Didn’t he do a nice job?

Now he’s trying to solve the front door rain protection problem.  That door sits beneath the upper deck, and unless you put something, like a plywood board, on the upper deck, when it rains you get soaked at our front door.  We’re looking into some sort of plexi-glass solution–hung from or attached to the bottom of the upper porch.

The light has changed up here.  This back deck doesn’t really get morning sun any more.  So, soon we’ll be putting the deck wicker away for the year.  And, all the pots are dying pack now.   It’s ok though, as I’m ready to move inside to quilt intensely.

I love the changing seasons in Maine.

Turkey Tracks: Our Winter Turkeys

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Turkey Tracks:  September 19, 2011

Our Winter Turkeys

Susan McBride Richmond and Chris Richmond live just up the hill from us, at Golden Brook Farm.  They have three children and are a source of ongoing inspiration.  Together they have put up three hoop houses, two of them large; have a large flock of chickens and sell eggs; and are presently raising some turkeys for winter eating.  We will get two of the turkeys around Thanksgiving.  Since we’ll be in Charleston, SC, for the holiday, we’ll have our turkeys for winter eating.

They are bronze-breasted heritage turkeys, and here’s what they look like now:

Turkeys are very social and will talk to you as long as you stand by a fence and speak to them:

This time will be the third that Susan and Chris have raised turkeys for us.  They have all been delicious!

And, last spring we got a lot of fresh wonderful greens from Susan’s second hoop house.   The third hoop house which is up and beginning to be planted will be icing on the cake for us since Susan will have greens this winter as well.  How cool is that!!

I wrote about Golden Brook Farm last fall when Susan and Chris hosted a potluck lunch and cider pressing.  This year they have purchased a cider press, and the event will be the weekend of Oct. 1st.  This year I’m bringing my camera!

Written by louisaenright

September 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information: Elderberries

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Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information:  September 19, 2011


When we first moved to Maine, we were fairly focused on keeping trees from growing in the rock wall that buttresses our hill–between the front yard and the tiny meadow below the house.  We kept cutting back this one tree, which had roots deep into the wall and refused to die.

Some years later, Margaret Rauenhorst told me how beneficial elderberries were.  She makes elderberry jam, tinctures, and wine from them.  One day early last spring she made a gorgeous pie with the berries she’d frozen last fall that she shared with us.  Margaret and Ronald have a lot of the bushes on their property and are planting more.   Other friends also set about collecting the berries in the fall, Steve and Barb Melchiskey for instance.

While with Margaret one day last fall, I bought an elderberry tree and planted it on the slope next to our driveway.  Elderberries like wet feet apparently.  It’s thriving, bloomed this spring, and I was able to get about 1 cup of berries from it this year.

Not long after, I realized–from seeing the leaves on our purchased elderberry–that the pesky tree on the wall was also an elderberry.  So, we left it alone I collected those berries as well.  Here they are in my kitchen sink–ready to be picked off their stems and frozen:

Here’s what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says about elderberries in GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME:

“Black elderberry is a small tree, which grows pretty much everywhere from cold to very warm climates.  In spring it bears clusters of tiny whitish flowers, which at the end of the summer turn into small juicy black berries.  Medicinal properties of this plant have been appreciated for centuries.  Its flowers, berries, leaves and bark were traditionally used for treating colds, pneumonia, flu, sore throat, hay fever, wounds, eye infections and many other ailments….Black elderberry has strong immune-stimulating properties and it is one of the most powerful anti-viral remedies known to man….You do not have to be an experienced herbalist to use this plant….From the end of summer/beginning of autumn make it your bedtime routine to take 1-2 tablespoons [for family of four] of berries out of the freezer and leave them at room temperature to defrost over night.  In the morning juice them together with pineapple, carrot or any other fruit and vegetables you planned to use.  If you do it every day or every other day throughout the cold season your family will not have any colds.”

Dr. McBride goes on to say that for one person 1 teaspoon of the berries daily is a good dose.

Here in Maine we can buy Avena herbs elderberry tincture, and I always keep it on hand.  And, I keep an elderberry tea on hand as well.  At the first sign of anything going wrong, I start using the tincture and drinking the tea.  Knock on wood, but I can’t remember when I had a cold last.