Pig Roast this Saturday, September 7th, 2013!!!  Be there or be hungry.

 

Returning from a week with Ada in the other real world (Philadelphia­, Washington DC, and Chapel Hill, NC and their respective airports) has been refreshing in more ways than one.  Maine is refreshingly cool and breezy compared to the southland—even at its sunniest and muggiest, Maine just doesn’t have a chance against the Carolina Piedmont.  Our farm is also refreshingly un-fashion-forward—I did my best to look respectable in the civilized world, but I did stop short of mini-dresses and four-inch heels.  I might have looked normal in the airport but I didn’t think I would find much use for them once I got home.  Perhaps best of all, at North Branch Farm our food and water is so refreshingly, deliciously good.  I was hankering for a burger during a 4 ½ hour layover in the DC airport but thankfully held for our Devon burger.  I have never yet posted a photo of a meal I’ve eaten but there have been a few photo-worthy menus in the last couple of days, such as:

 

Last night:

Pork shoulder roasted with carrots, onions and sage

Butterhead salad with roast beets, toasted pecans, shaved cucumbers and feta-herb dressing

Crispy oven fries with barbecue ketchup

Fresh melon, grapes and blueberries

 

Or yesterday’s snack:

Honeycomb fresh out of the hive

 

Or two nights ago’s dinner:

Pesto cheeseburger on a slab of giant pineapple tomato

Home-fermented dill pickles

Buttery sautéed carrots

Blueberries, pecans, and maple syrup over sour cream

 

Sometimes it seems like we eat the same things over and over and over…but shoot, are they good.

 

Bee update:  Yesterday our local beeman, Lohman Gardiner, came to the farm to check on his hives, and Seth and I watched while he worked and were awed by his skill.  The bees are doing well, but I think Lohman is doing even better.  With no bee suit and a faulty smoker, he opened the hives, banged the bees off the inner lids (against the hive itself, no less), scraped the comb off the inner lids for us to eat, took off two boxes of honey, pulled frames out of the hive bodies, and used a noisy backpack leaf blower to blast the worker bees out of the boxes of honey he was taking home.  He claimed to have gotten four or five stings but had no swelling to show for it.  He also checked on our hive with Seth and said it’s doing really well and added a super—he thinks our bees will fill it up with buckwheat honey from our 1+ acre of buckwheat cover crop, which is flowering right now.

 

Happy Birthday, Emma, and so long!

Our friend Emma has been working with us for the month of August and just turned nineteen.  Happy birthday to you!  She’s also leaving tomorrow to head home to Amherst, MA, and will be missed.  Emma did long hours of budgrafting assistance while Ada and I were traveling and has also been a hero of the green bean freezing process and a willing picture book reader and sand pile companion for Minh, Lân and Ada.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your hard work, and best wishes for your gap year adventures!

 

Cow update:  Our sweet mama cows are still squirting out the milk at 7:00am, seven days a week.  The calves are weaned and enjoying fresh pasture while mowing the farm down, one electronet-bounded pasture at a time.

 

Horse update: New horse on the farm!!!  His name is either Beau or Bo; I don’t know, and the two names give such a different impression in writing: beautiful, or dumb.  He seems to be some of both, but to give him the benefit of the doubt we’ll call him Beau.  He’s a black Percheron, white star under the forelock, nineteen hands (that’s two hands or eight inches taller than April and May), and the price was right: free to a good home.  Unfortunately he has not been trained as a draft horse, only under the saddle, and while he doesn’t seem malicious he is a little bit wild.  I guess he’s a bit of a fixer-upper.  April and May plowed a quarter acre yesterday with Seth in addition to harrowing with the spring-tooth and the disc.  After discovering that we have garlic bloat nematode and that we’ve probably spread it through our fields via the garlic crop debris that decomposed in our aged manure pile, we’ve decided to start a new garlic plot across the road that we can hopefully keep bloat nematode-free.

 

Poultry update:  Fifty-some-odd meat birds are safely in the freezer, and eighteen layer pullets are contentedly free of their two rooster roommates.

Hope we see you next weekend at the Pig Roast, rain or shine!

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