Turkey Tracks: Golden Brook Farm

Turkey Tracks:  May 20, 2013

Golden Brook Farm

Old friend and former neighbor Gina Caceci visited last weekend, and I think we talked nonstop for three days.  It was so good to see her.

One of the things we did was to go up Howe Hill to Golden Brook Farm to get some spring greens–which are filling Susan McBride Richmond’s hoop houses now.

These spring greens are the best spring tonic I know.

Susan and her husband Chris added two more BIG hoop houses this year, and no one is more delighted than me.  I have so loved watching Susan and Chris, little by little, work on their house, their barns, and their land.  Truly, Golden Brook Farm is a real farm, selling beautiful produce, eggs, and seasonal turkeys.

Here are two of the four hoop houses.  Eliot Coleman of Maine pioneered the ability to grow food year round in Maine’s winter in these hoop houses.  That book is, I think, FOUR SEASONS GARDENING.  You can’t sprout seed in the darkest winter months, but you can plant fall crops and harvest and eat them all winter long–with the help of interior coverings.  The back hoop house is the newest one and was installed just a few weeks ago.

Golden Brook Farm hoop houses

Here’s what the inside of a working hoop house can look like.

Inside Susan's Hoop House

Look at this lush planting of pea shoots–a favorite spring green in Maine:

Hoop House Planting bed 1

Or, this one–a kind of cabbage:

Hoop House Planting Bed 2

Here’s Susan herself.

Susan McBride Richmond

One day last summer I walked into one of these hoop houses that was filled with ripe tomatoes, basil, and other herbs.  I have remembered the rich heady smell for all this past long winter.  Warmed ripe tomatoes, basil, and herbs…  What a treat.

I planted Sun Gold cherry tomatoes myself and augmented with cherry tomatoes from Susan’s crop.  I cut them in half and dry them and have them all winter for salads or just to eat.  They’re so sweet they taste like chewy candy.

Think what you might be able to do in YOUR yard with even a much smaller hoop house.  They come in all sizes, and some are on sliders so they can be moved to new dirt while the old dirt recovers.  You can often find used ones.

Here’s a picture of the back side of the forsythia hedge that lines the road outside the farm.  It’s spectacular, even from the back side.  Forsythia in Maine lasts for weeks and glows against the sky or with the light on it.  We know spring has truly come when the forsythia blooms.

Forsythia Hedge

Interesting Information: Is Vitamin Water Healthy?

Interesting Information:  May 20, 2013

Is Vitamin Water Healthy?

My niece Nancy Howser Gardner is passionately interested in healthy food and healthy practices, and it’s been really fun to watch her growing in her knowledge and in her conviction about what is best for her family.

She posted a web site about a month ago that listed and compared unhealthy drinks.  I tried to find it again and turned over lots of lists of “ten unhealthy drinks,” but not the one Nan posted.

I wasn’t surprised by the cream-based chocolate/coffee drinks.

I was surprised by three others, however.

The list said that 36 grams of sugar is a desirable daily limit of sugar.

VITAMIN WATER, touted as a healthy drink, has 32 grams of sugar.  One drink.

SoBe Green Tea has 51 grams!!!

And Minute Maid Lemonade has 67.5 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 16 sugar cubes.

I wonder if the sugar form is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

And what kind of vitamins are in the water?  Likely they are synthetic, cheap versions of what you should be getting from your food.

Takeaway:  If the food industry is telling you they’ve made something for you to eat or drink that is a healthy choice, send up the red warning flags and start reading the label.

Turkey Tracks: Rainy Day!

Turkey Tracks:  May 20, 2013

Rainy Day!

Finally, a rainy day!

My apologies for not posting sooner, but I have been OUTSIDE for days in this glorious spring, putting the garden back into order.

I’ve been in a planting frenzy, actually, and have really needed this rainy day.  With the generous and kind help of David Hannan, many tasks have been completed:  putting up the chicken fence and the vegetable garden fence, bringing out all the outdoor furniture from the top of the garage, putting away the boarding walk, rebuilding the rock wall on the drive where the snow plow folks couldn’t see where the rocks were, bringing out all of the container pots (I think there are at least 25) and filling them with dirt and planting them, mulching, mowing, weeding, pruning, edging, seeding, and planting a now-shady bed with shade plants and, in the sunny part, an herb garden that I hope will be more permanent.

Electrician David Dodge came and fixed the back outdoor plug and installed a new plug at the front door–which will make mowing with an electric mower and a LONG cord much easier.  And once he showed me how to take out the prong-plug expensive halogen bulbs in an under-the-counter kitchen light, I got new bulbs and replaced them.  I’m afraid I had to touch the bulbs though–the oils from your fingers can make them blow–but they were too tiny and slippery to grip and get into the two out of four right holes.   Anyway, right now, it’s working.

I’ll take pictures soon.  Meanwhile, here’s how the green scrappy quilt is coming along.  I’ve been quilting in the late afternoon through the early evening, and that’s been so relaxing.  This quilt is a green copy of Bonnie Hunter’s “Blue Ridge Beauty,” in her book LEADERS AND ENDERS.   I’m calling my version “Camden Hills Beauty,” and right now, the trees on the Camden Hills are so fluffy and are so many greens that I know this quilt is well-named.  The block is a traditional Jacob’s Ladder block, but I love Bonnie’s method of combining color with neutrals.  I used light greens, but Bonnie uses true “neutrals” in her quilts and just mixes them all up.  I LOVE this quilt!

Camden Hills Beauty top taking shape

Here’s a close-up of some of the blocks.  You can see I’ve mixed in some color–bits of pink and orange.  I like the way they are working in the quilt.

Camden Hills Beauty blocks

I started sewing together rows in the last few days–and realized I need 14 rows, not 12!!!  So, it’s back to piecing more blocks.  But that’s ok as I’m really enjoying this project.  AND, my green stash is diminishing, diminishing–which is a lovely feeling of usefulness.

At night, in front of the tv, I’ve been appliqueing the “Green Turtles” quilt turtles for new granddaughter Cyanna.  I am on the eighth turtle–of nine.  So as soon as I get the Camden Hills quilt off the design wall, up will go the Green Turtles.  You can see some of the blocks on the left side of the first picture.

The 14 rows will mean the quilt will have the DARK line predominant, which is better visually I think.