Winter Eclipse

I would love to hear how many folks out there were able to view the solstice eve’s eclipse. I tried. I set my alarm for 1am to catch the beginning. I am in Michigan for the holly~daze with family so I quietly bundled up, but Momma with her bionic ears met me at the door, she knew what I was up to….I went out to the crisp night, in the crunchy snow and watched thin clouds pass over a brilliant full moon that the eclipse hadn’t yet started to touch. I stayed out bathing in the full moonlight until the cold made me think I could give it a bit of time as I warm up. I set my alarm again for 2am, in case I fell asleep. I was watching the most amazing full moon eclipse, the darkness was floating over the full moon that was blazing, as I watched, my whole family arrived to join me, my sister, Maks and Vladimir arrived from Germany, my brother was suddenly beside us days early, my cousin Kolene and her family and my folks all stood beside me as we gaped at the eclipse swallowing the full moon. Then, my alarm went off, as I groped for the alarm in my disorientation, I couldn’t believe that I was INSIDE and had yet to go out and view the eclipse that my dream so vividly lead me to believe I HAD seen. I bundled up once again. Sadly, the skies were completely shroud in clouds that were so thick, only a blur of light was visable where the moon had shown full less than an hour before.

I have had the amazing fortune to see a full moon eclipse I believe 1993. I was floating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with three other adventures…..we were camping out, I think it was the first week of December, snow was falling on the canyon wall, I slept out with just my sleeping bag. The four of us canyon floaters were sitting at the campfire, howling at the full moon and suddenly, a dark shadow crept over the fullness of the moon. Being on the river for a month, we had no idea…..it was a full eclipse that made this trip of a life time all the more magical.
Happy Winter Solstice!!

Winter’s Great Embrace

Winter is here in Maine. The ground is covered with several inches of snow, the temperatures are plummeting to the single digits for the next few days, holiday carols are at full tilt and the Salvation Army bell ringers outside the shops. Me, I have been in denial of where we are on the seasonal calendar. I can’t quite understand why since I enjoy the holiday spirit. I haven’t yet adjusted into winter mode altho I am excited to bust out my cross country skies tomorrow. Time is just traveling too fast, I haven’t had time to psychologically catch up. Embrace it I must or it too will fly wistfully past.

Appleton Creamery had their annual two day Holiday Market that I was grateful to again be invited to vend. This year it was at the Sweetgrass winery and distillery. They have a beautiful copper distiller that produces their brandy, rum and award winning gin. They have very special wines also. It was a fabulous time.

Last evening I was invited to join my dear farmer friend Matt Gerald at Nostrano in Bar Harbor. It was an Italian feast of localvore delight. All I can say is it was one of the best meals I have ever experienced. Matt’s friends made it all the more special. Nine of us sitting around our private table, sharing wine, stories, laughter and amazing food…..nothing is more perfect than this. I have been wanting to attend this special supper club since I first heard about it two years ago. We booked this date several months ago. Of course, it was the date of the first major storm we have had this season. I called in the morning….no snow date, it is still as scheduled. So I headed off, giving myself plenty of time in my new/used all wheel drive van. My all wheel drive somehow mysteriously disabled (my “message center” alerted me of this just a couple miles down the road) and my ABS light came on. Then, my wiper fluid ran out. It was a white knuckle 2 1/2 hour drive that I was in desperate need of a shoulder massage but I made it to Matt’s in time. As I drove up his drive, I saw another vehicle. It was Isabella and Danielle. I thought they may need a ride….stuck? No, there was a large tree down in the driveway. Matt arrived with his chainsaw and we hauled the tree out of the way so we could all get to our much awaited dining experience. Yes, just another day in Maine.
I stayed over on the coast (not about to drive again until the roads had cleared) and had time to stroll thru Matt’s heated greenhouses this morning, grazing on all the fresh greens and edible flowers in his greenhouse as I listened to the lovely music he has playing for his plants. Maybe that is why they taste so extraordinary. Matt had an inversion table and shoulder stand device also in the greenhouse. I did both and I have never felt lighter. As I hung completely upside down by just my ankles I felt something snap in my abdomen. It was strange but whatever it was enabled me to feel like I was standing taller when back on my feet. I now LOVE the inversion table.

I made it back home in time to bid another dear friend Bon Voyage as they leave for St. Croix for a four month work assignment. They are saving a stand by ticket for me to come visit them. How lucky is that?! I think March may be the perfect time to take advantage of such a gift of tropical paradise…..

Winter farmer’s markets are going full tilt. I will be in Belfast this Friday 9am~1pm at the Aubuchon Hardware Greenhouse. Not only will I have my baked goodies there, I will be doing a hula hoop workshop. Come on down and decorate your hoop and hoop for health. An absolute blast….
Saturday’s winter market is in Orono, 9am~12 in the municipal parking lot behind Pat’s Pizza.
I hope to see you there and you will be surprised at all you can still find at the farmer’s market all winter long.
May your holiday preparations be joyful~
Cheers!

Final days of November

The day after thanksgiving…..I believe there is always so much to be grateful for. Where to begin is the only question. Living my dream and having the support of my friends and family sizes it up pretty well. Without support of family and friends to share it all with, it would mean nothing to me. This holiday, I am fortunate enough to be with family. My sister, her beautiful son and husband. All together, the rooms filled with laughter and joy. I tear up to just witness it, let alone be a part….
Gratitude is mine.

Full Fledged Fall

Aaaaahh~ November, the depths of Autumn. Most of the leaves are on the ground, and the rains are here. Several inches of it and water in the basement. I have live trapped my stray barn cat, had him snipped and he has taken being inside with a warm embrace. HE won’t even go out in this weather! He is a darling, ole Oscar.

So it is official. I am not going tree planting at all this year. It may mean a more stressful time of it financially but I am truly enjoying being home. Friends, food, playing with and taking in all that I work hard for is a fabulous thing and I have never been happier. I love my farm and home. I love Maine winter and am thrilled to fully enjoy it this year. Having time to do the things I have always wanted is amazing also. I was invited to join my friend on her annual family wine making weekend. Third generation wine making family. What a riot!! Pressing grapes, bottling wine from oak barrels, the real deal, and what fantastic wine!! The best I have ever tasted from the United States.

Now that I am staying home, I am planting the greenhouse with hardy greens and going to begin my learning curve of baking in my wood fired clay oven. Time to whip up new goodies for all the loyal customers that continue to shop thru the winter at the Farmer’s Markets. Fire Fly Farm’s Enchanted Kitchen will be doing several winter farmer’s markets: Fridays in Belfast at Aubuchon Hardware on Rt. 1 from 9am~1pm (until the week before christmas), Saturdays in Orono’s municipal parking lot. Every Saturday this month 8am~1pm, then the second and fourth Saturday starting in December, hours being 9am~Noon until the end of April (then the summer schedule will start up again). Bar Harbor is starting a winter market also the first and third Saturdays 10am~1pm at the Bar Harbor Cellar Winery on Rt 3. I attended the opening Saturday and it was a blast. Inside a lovely renovated Barn at Sweet Pea Farm.
So just because there is snow on the ground, you can still get your farm fresh goodness thru the winter months of Maine at your year round farmer’s market and winter CSA share farms!

May you keep warm and eat wonderfully~

Season’s Fold

I love love love October and Autumn. I really enjoy all the seasons but the thrill of October is brilliant. Foliage blazing, crisp air, the smell of the fields, so sweet and pungent. When the days are sunny I feel I have to be out in it since winter is coming. Putting the wood and food up is a labour of love, I think of all who will enjoy it and this reality warms me. Offering food is what I do and am happy it is something I can give since it is so important.
All the ovens going, baking, drying, roasting….reaping what I sow and putting up the bounty. Pure joy.

As the garlic is planted, food dug and stored and fields wrapped up, this time of year offers the window of opportunity to *play*, be social with friends and share meals together. THIS is the best. With the early dark, it feels luxurious to catch up on sleeeeep and reading. I am starting to feel like I am not yet 100 years old and a tad bit rested, it may take a few more days…..I will relish every moment. I have decided that I must take the time to enjoy all that has happened this year. It has been a whirlwind, a wonderful but wild one and to step back and out to truly enjoy all that has been accomplished is what I need to do, let it sink in and celebrate it. It is so easy to keep working hard and not stop. I love to work hard, it makes me feel content but stopping is amazing also. Time to indulge my secret lazy side.

The new kitchen is fantastic. This winter I am looking forward to playing in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and becoming efficient in this large space. I remember a friend asking me when looking at this farm, “it is so big and there is only you, why do you want such a large home?” I replied that I had huge plans. My lovely Fire Fly Farm has been everything I dreamed of. The loyal support of my customers that come rain or shine to the Farmer’s Markets has made this all possible. These moments of true community are what make all the difference. I am full of gratitude~
May you all be enjoying this most spectacular Autumn~

Post Common Ground Country Fair and Farmer’s Markets

It is one week after the annual Common Ground Country Fair, a one of a kind Maine event, it is hard to describe the Common Ground Fair. It is a complete DIY festival, I wish every region had one. All Maine, all organic. Workshops on how to build or craft anything and everything, how to be truly in tune with the land, farming sustainably and seeing a life style of self sufficiency. This event is always the third weekend after Labor Day weekend. I could go on and on about how fabulous the fair and MOFGA is, you can check out the website:
http://www.mofga.org/TheFair/tabid/135/Default.aspx

Being back at my regular schedule of Farmer’s market this weekend is like a festival also. I feel rich in fabulous food trades with all my favorite farmer friends. Missing just one week makes me miss everyone. This community of farmer’s coming together, creating/growing their amazing goods, then packing it all up at wee hours of the morning, driving to a vacant parking lot to set up a complete shop and transform this open lot into a festival of colorful and incredible variety of vegetables, dairy, award winning cheeses, wool, baked goods of all kinds, flowers, fresh meats of all sorts, smoked, cured meats too, seafood and poultry. Every farmer spends multiple hours making this open air market happen. Then at the end of the market, pack it all up and voyage home.

Some folks believe they can do anything. Farmers really can, I undoubtably believe this. After a farmer’s market of sharing stories and crazy adventures of the week on the farm, I am proud to call myself a farmer, to be a smaller version of what these great folks, our farmers, are all about.

Come out to your local farmer’s market. Experience the true spirit of community and how you can be a localvore~~yes, even in Maine.

Autumn in Maine~

I guess it is terrible when my LAST blog post was~~ I cannot believe it is September and now here it is October and the same thought is in my head…..

October is one of my favorite months. I LOVE Autumn. Cool breezy, sunny days with brilliant foliage blazing and the signs of a time very soon when things will slooooow way down. At this moment, this thought of a slower pace is very comforting. Time to read, write, do yoga, create…..PLAY!!!! Now it is the time to scurry around with the squirrels, packing away my winter stash of the beautiful food I have grown, prepping the fields for winter and planting the garlic. The greenhouse is still going strong and is filled with plants offering freshness late into the fall and early winter. With these crisper days, one can muster the energy necessary to prepare for Maine winter. Even if in a state of exhaustion. It is exciting, the change of a season. Especially one so fabulously dramatic as Autumn in Maine. The strong winds are taking the rustling leaves from the trees all around. May you enjoy this Maine Autumn to it’s fullest. It is really a spectacular one~

Tomatoes, squash, corn and raspberries….oh MY!

September already…..this is hard to wrap my head around, not that there is a lot of time to contemplate this at the moment.

The last wedding of the season I catered was a wonderful event on the top of Indian Hill in Greenville overlooking Mt. Kineo and Moosehead Lake. Such a lovely family and my staff was out of this world fantastic~

Now I am baking for my markets as well as gathering LOADS of bins of food that needs to be put up for the winter. What an amazing growing season and since I have not had irrigation, I am feeling very fortunate indeed to be swimming in such a variety of fruit and vegetables. Next week will be the real push to get this all processed. And to be able to do it all in my *new* kitchen!! A grand space and clean up is a breeze~
Happy Feasting~

August~

As August comes to a close far too quickly, I want to fully embrace all that has taken place. Time passes in a whoosh yet so much happens. Things that I am truly grateful for and huge events that I want to let soak in and give the attention they deserve. This sometimes seems hard to do as deadlines of the height of summer never take a pause, not even for a moment as we try and live in the moment.

August holds amazing highlights for me and Fire Fly Farm. An incredible schedule (in one ten day stretch, we did seven markets and two weddings), an amazingly spectacular kitchen that I can now work in that is what I always dreamed of (a studio of a working area), the beginning of my little stonehenge magical space, a fabulous new/used van that wonderful friends I met treeplanting last fall found for me, and the departure of my apprentices. And of course, the feasting of fresh food that August offers. Delights of all kinds to be picked just before preparation, the food brilliantly vibrant with color and flavor beyond anything else one could imagine. Life is grand in August. I feel blessed. And exhausted, but it is good. Better than good actually, it is amazing and that feeling of true amazement and gratitude for dreams coming true is what I am taking a moment to be grateful for and to really let it all sink in. This is it. This is my life, it is happening, it is all real and I have never been more happy.

I raise my glass of homemade wine to a toast for your dreams to come true~
Cheers!

Whirlwind~

The summer is flying past~
A marvelous one it is!! The weather has been stunning, the markets bustling and loads of catering events for us here at Fire Fly Farm. The kitchen is coming along and the gas is scheduled to be hooked up FRIDAY!! Oven moving TODAY!! Excitement and a bit of feeling anxious regarding moving the ovens, but all is good.

The catering events have been fabulous. Lovely weddings with great folks and spectacular locations and the Kneading Conference was INCREDIBLE. I could go on and on…..but must get on to my baking schedule. I wanted to drop a quick line and will hopefully find time to write more soon.

We are eating every type of fresh vegetable from the gardens these days and able to supply most of our catering events as well. I LOVE this time of year~

My lovely apprentices are leaving in a couple weeks to go back to school. I hate to even think about it, I will miss them so~

OH! The Perseids peak August 12~14 AND there has been Aurora sightings…..look to the stars~
Cheers!