Gone again


Singing the praises of my 2009 apprentices! Seems like they, like the lost summer, only just arrived, and now it’s time to go. Somewhere toward the end of August, that faraway look creeps into their eyes, and while we are focusing on the rootcellar, woodshed, and freezer, they are checking on airline tickets or winter rents.
I can’t get through the summer without them, and it will be tough this winter when they’ve departed. They are like children that I’ve raised and am sending out into the world. Hope they come back to visit. Hope they send postcards!

Holes


Wow. The summer flew by, taking with it some new adventures, and leaving behind some holes, literal and figurative.
We had lots of help this summer, with all Fiona’s friends she brought home from college. Our first lesson was that it’s a challenge to keep so many people busy and on task. Our second lesson is that teenagers need a lot of direction and lack focus! But we had a lot of good times gathered around our new picnic table, and got many things done around the farm that needed doing. Thanks to Steve, Jeremy, and Dylan, we got the firewood in, fixed the holes in fences and floors, moved a mountain of manure and built a deck on the cabin. Claire excelled at middle management and delegating tasks, customer relations at market, and packing cheese. Everyone loved the goats. We didn’t finish fixing the porch, and the holes haven’t been filled in.
They were exhausting while they were here, but I miss them all! Holes in my heart.

Butter Trials

My apprentice Jessie and I have been talking all week about the components that would go into a truly local Thanksgiving. I’ve realized that butter is one area that I need to Get Real Get Maine in… so we’ve been conducting butter trials all week. We found some at the Coop that’s made in Brooks, not too far away, as well as Kate’s butter from Old Orchard Beach. But our biggest triumph of the week is that we made butter on Friday! It was so easy — we bought two quarts of cream, put it in a gallon jar to ripen at room temp for the day, added a touch of MM starter at the beginning. When we got home from market, we took turns shaking the jar, wondering how long it would take, and all of a sudden, there was butter!!! We got 5 8-oz tubs out of two quarts of cream when we were all done. I don’t think it was exactly a pound, as it felt lighter than that, and the butter seemed slightly whipped. But the bottom line is that we did it, it was fun, it was delicious, and now we can wow our families with butter at Thanksgiving!

Now I just need to find those Maine nuts to replace the pecan pie….. I need a recipe for a nut pie with either sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds?

Goodbye, Summer!

Goodbye, summer! Goodbye super-apprentice, Louella! Goodbye daughter Fiona, off to college! Goodbye summer customers at farmers’ markets. Goodbye warm nights and owls hooting and crickets chirping and Perseid meteorshowers.

Goodbye flies in the barn, and goodbye summer traffic!

Welcome crisp fall mornings, red maple leaves, geese flying. Welcome pumpkins, apples, squash, cranberries, turkey. Welcome Orion in the early morning sky.