Summer of all summers~

Aaaaaahhh~
Another spectacular day~
Gentle shower in the wee hours of the morning, cleared late morning and full warm sun with a gentle steady breeze. The humidity has broke and this day seems perfect.

A nice balance of work and play. I met up with one of my clients and her family to check out their wedding site and discuss wedding details over looking Moosehead Lake and Mt. Kineo. What a lovely wedding site it is, I LOVE Greenville. On the way home, I saw a moose and met up with dear friends for lunch at Spring Creek BBQ.

The farmer’s market and catering season is in full swing. Last evening, I catered a lovely 10 year anniversary party for the General Store Radio Show (http://www.welcomeradio.com) that was a blast and am getting ready for the Kneading Conference this Thursday and Friday. The Kneading Conference is one of my favorite events of the year. Fabulous workshop filled days covering everything to do with grain and baking in wood fired ovens. Wood fired ovens are on location, blazing away, with world renowned bakers pulling delights out of them all day for everyone to enjoy. I have the honor of preparing the meals for this fantastic event. Check them out at:
http://www.heartofmaine.org/kneading/

May everyone out there be enjoying their weekend~
Cheers~

Adventures of July~

Another whirlwind week at Fire Fly Farm. Bee swarms, a vehicle accident that has totaled the fire fly mobile but everyone walked away all right, thank goodness. The first pizza bake in the clay oven that went fabulously and surprise guests that enjoyed amazing pizza, pasta salad and lavender and rose ice cream.

Between dealing with insurance folks, finding another van and the usual crazed pace that July brings, I am exhausted. I don’t mind the physical exhaustion, the stress part I could do with out. But this too shall pass and summer is whirling by~ what a fabulous summer it is with the true weather of summer we are having!

The baby chicks are growing incredibly, they will be joining the other layers soon~

My kitchen is sloooooowly coming along. I would love to post photos but I dropped my camera for the last time it seems. I will have to go camera and telephone shopping when I get a vehicle. Funny how everything starts to go at once.

May you all be enjoying this fantastic weather and summer bounty the gardens and farmer’s markets are filled with~
Cheers~

Summer surprises

This week of incredibly hot, amazing weather is made for swimming, which I had a chance to do a fair amount. The days sweating it out in the field and kitchen were “walk in cooler dreaming…..”
I had a chance to help a little with Christa and Michael’s wedding. What Christa and Michael have done on their new farm in just a few months is incredible. I LOVE farm weddings anyway and Christa and Michael’s was simply magical, the two of them, the beautiful farm with spectacular views and their friends and family made the perfect day. They built a walk in cooler that I was running back and forth to and realized, I MUST build one immediately!! Thus the “walk in cooler dreaming~”

Today I had a swarm with my first hive. It is long story but from now on, I am trusting my own instinct on the swarm and not “the experts”. The first sight they swarmed to, I was certain I could recover them….the way they gathered seemed too good to be true. As we scrambled to get another hive body put together, the winds kicked up and in between checking upon them, they disappeared. We searched but nothing. I will look again tomorrow but am feeling very sad to have lost them. I have learned a couple lessons. It is important to ALWAYS have an extra hive body ready for such events.

I am falling asleep waiting for bread to bake, I guess it is time to keep moving!
I hope all are enjoying this most amazing weather and harvesting summer treats from gardens or visits to the farmer’s markets~

Coming back around to pie

Several years ago I purchased a pie kitchen. For two years, I “seasonally” made pies. 27 different flavors of pie to be had at all times by the slice or whole pie. I never understood the saying, “easy as pie” and really felt it was a misdirected statement. I dreaded making pie, it didn’t seem easy. Cake seemed easy, not pie. Perhaps it was the many types and flavors, perhaps the timing of this whole thing. This pie adventure wasn’t truly of my own creation, it was one of those opportunities that came my way and I thought, I can do that……

The shortened version is, I stopped the pie gig, took my equipment and installed it at home. I stopped making pies as best I could. I had pie requests that I felt I forced myself to fulfill. I had a deep case of pie burn~out. So now, about seven years later, as I am rolling out the pie crust, because after all, pie burn out or not, what baker doesn’t make pie?!!….I realize that am enjoying rolling out the crust and preparing the fruit I picked myself. The ritual of it all seems soothingly familiar. Instead of the dread, I feel the same joy as I do with everything else I bake. The words of the folks who enjoy my pie come to mind, bring a smile and as I relish in the texture of the crust I roll out, I realize that I have come around to pie. I still will not use the phrase, “easy as pie”, but I now know that I enjoy making it again and will make time for new pie inventions and creations…..

Delights of the Garlic Scape~

Fire Fly Farm has a BOUNTY of garlic scapes so they find themselves in every thing we eat this time of year. Garlic scapes are the seed pod the garlic send up and when you cut them, they are delicious to eat. Especially when they are are early and tender. I blend them for pesto with olive oil, a little pine nut or walnut, sea salt, nice fresh feta from the farmer’s market and toss with fresh pasta. I steam them or roast them, chop them up to add to eggs, hummus, well, everything!. Because of their curly cue wildness, garlic scapes make fun garnish and even bracelets to wear for the farmer’s market!

The deep bee hive supers I ordered have arrived. David and I put them and the frames together and my first hive now has two hive bodies!! Happy busy bees. I also ordered a new bee jacket with zipper attached veil that is divine. I was having trouble with my other set up and now fully understand the expression, “she has a bee in her bonnet”.

The red squirrels are becoming a huge nuisance. Every year I have to remove a few, so am off to find the live trap. They start by robbing the chicken treats and then spend their time on my window screen watching me bake, screaming and whipping their tails, wanting to help themselves to what I am creating and I am certain, it is just a matter of time that they will find a way in the house. Already this morning they snuck into the van while we were packing it up with baked goods for the market. Darn squirrels.

I will be curing the wood fired oven for several hours today. Jeff Dec, my mentor extraordinaire, has shared with me that I am just a few more curing fires away from PIZZA!!!! I am VERY excited!

I hope you all are enjoying this most amazing weekend and many delights from your gardens or local farmer’s market~

Summertime!

Well, it is officially Summer and what a summer indeed!! We know how to appreciate each and every gloriously beautiful day after last year’s rainy summer……

It has been a wild week of great highs and stressful lows…..I realized something the other day, while I joke about really running off to join the circus someday, I don’t need to. My life IS a circus. The circus is always in town at Fire Fly Farm. Circus’s are a blast, but they also can be very exhausting.

SOOOOO, the fabulous highlight of this week: THE CLAY OVEN CRACK IS REPAIRED!!!!!! And a lovely six inch insulation layer we finished also. It looks fantastic and I am once again thrilled beyond words about the progress.
The lows of the week mostly come from how stressful building projects can be. I won’t go into the gory details, they are too painful to relive. I am still hoping it will all be good in the end……it has been sloooooow~and darn right agonizing. But this week will be a new week~
Having this new kitchen will not come too soon, I cannot wait to spread out. Funny how creativity can be suppressed when one’s space is so cramped. I am ready to soar in my new kitchen!!!!
Have a fantastic weekend everyone~

Ground Breaking!

Yesterday, June 16, 2010 ground breaking was done for the new catering kitchen. I am excited and exhausted. Funny how so much excitement can be exhausting…..it was a loaded day, builders, tractors, new hive delivered, straw pick up, working with new apprentices, and baking, whew. Every time I am in my kitchen baking, all I can think about is how wonderful it will be in the **new** kitchen. I get so excited about just the vision of it, I have to suppress it since I get so beside myself and spin out. It really feels like it will happen now, not just my dream.

I now have three lovely apprentices. They are fantastic and all get along fabulously. They are all staying for various periods of time here at Fire Fly Farm. I feel so fortunate. With their help, things are getting all caught up so we can soon work on the wood fired clay oven again!!!! Hopefully we will be able to finish the crack repairs and insulation layer Tuesday…..

Today I am preparing for the bake off for markets~
Friday: Belfast’s Main Street Festival Farmer’s Market 9am~1pm on Main Street
Saturday: Skowhegan Farmer’s Market 9am~1pm, you can meet all three of my lovely apprentices here
Saturday: Orono Farmer’s Market 8am~1pm, I will be in Orono
Sunday: Bar Harbor Farmer’s Market 9am~Noon, my lovely apprentices will be here

Speaking of Farmer’s Markets….last Saturday I, with the help of my lovely apprentices, held a hula hoop workshop with the kids and customers. What a BLAST!! I want to offer this to all my markets now. Skowhegan Farmer’s Market is doing a fitness/nutrition series that each marketer is sponsoring a Saturday. We at Fire Fly Farm put together a bunch of various sized hoops and had colorful tape for folks and children to decorate their own hoop. Then for the fun part, hooping all market with the fabulous live music that is happening each Saturday! Come join the fun!!
See you at the markets~

Website snafu

Thank you all for checking out my website.  At the moment, this is all you will see.  My website extraordinaire friends are working it out and it will be remedied shortly.   If you cannot access it, please try again Monday to check out the photos of Fire Fly Farm!

Thank you and please try again~

Memorable Memorial Day

So I have gotten my bees and am thrilled.  One nuc and another to be ready very soon.  I drove very carefully home with a buzzing hive of bees in the back of my van.  Boy do they ever have a sweet tooth.  I am feeding them a sugary syrup I make up for them every day until they have enough food built up for themselves.  They are slowing down on the syrup now but they were going thru four pounds a day for a couple weeks there.  Their little leg satchels are loaded with bright yellow pollen as they roll back into the hive.  All is well in the bee kingdom it seems.

The demolition of the packing shed is complete as of today.  Whew!  Construction on the new kitchen starts MONDAY!!!!!  I am so excited that I could just burst!!  I will be ready beyond words to spread out.  I am down to half the space and half the ovens so as you can imagine, bake days have been interesting……

I have a new lovely apprentice, Laura.  She is fantastic and as I shared with her the other day how happy I am and how comfortable I am around her and how much I appreciate her being here, Laura said she felt the same.  She said being here is better than she ever imagined!   I am relieved.  It makes me happy when others are as happy here as I am.

Laura’s first day, Memorial Day, was a huge adventure.  I told her every day wasn’t quite like this…..thank goodness.  It is a loooooong story but the short version is we worked on salvage wood reclamation,  forest fire suppression (with the assistance of the fire department) and a manure treasure hunt together.  Then, finally, we were able to do some work in the fields transplanting before the rains came the following day.   We enjoyed a fabulous feast of market and Fire Fly Farm cuisine at the end of the wild day.  She is still here.  I am grateful.

Catch up~

Geez, so much has happened since my last post.  Wish I had more time to update the ole blog….

The Beltaine celebration was fabulous as always and I think each year is better than ever.  My wonderful neighbors came this time and other new faces which always makes the whole party!  The perfect day for me is to have my friends together laughing, sharing food and having a great time.

The next week had challenges but they are over, thank goodness.  The highlights were losing my apprentice and cracking my clay oven.  My help leaving was best for us both in the end, we both knew.  The oven cracking broke my heart.  I realize I have to ask more specifics when someone advices, “go ahead and make a big fire, using wood stove sized wood”  Me being the one who just dug an asparagus bed for 50 crowns and ended up planting 125 in that dug trench…..so needless to say, I made a ripping fire and later heard a bang, ran to the stove seeing smoke billowing out from everywhere.  It is moments like this that I turn off, go numb, telling myself to keep moving, no time for a melt down and when ready, go for plan B.  I am ready to tackle the oven again, but won’t have time until next week.

This week has been incredible, I feel I am back on track and ready for my  season.  I am lining up more help, getting in my groove and getting loads done.  The demo of the addition is coming along great, I have a lovely hive of bees and more coming in a couple weeks.  The fields are mostly planted, greenhouse is cranking out the yummy greens, I am trying to shuffle my baking schedule around to be sustainable and life is good.

My life lessons are to live in the moment, have patience and to keep breathing~  as another spectacular birthday was celebrated last week, I made my toast to this!

Cheers everyone!