November 16, 2008

Freezing So We Can Enjoy the Thaw

The wind is getting colder and the sheep have been growing winter fleece like chia pets the last few weeks –the chance of an Indian Summer has surely past. The last trees to lose their leaves here (the oaks and the big silver maple in the dooryard) have done so two weeks early this year. I’m not sure if this means we should brace for a strong start to winter or see the glass half full and hope for spring two weeks earlier. Our woodstove is working well so I’ll put that one away for hindsight consideration next year.
We have been trucking along here at the farm with some fun projects like sandblasting and painting Tom Settlemire’s old sheep trailer and beginning the process of fencing several of the fields. The latter project we were able to take on with the help of a cost-share grant from the Land for Maine’s Future Program. These new fences have been on our wish list for a few years now. Having permanent barriers to protect our flocks from traffic, predators and their own mischief will allow us to safely and easily move sheep all over the farm, increasing our grazing potential. The hope is to bring many of the open hayfields along Pleasant Hill back into fertile production through grazing and fertility inputs. Much of the new fence line will also enclose our vegetable fields making it possible to really work the sheep and their fertility into the production rotation.
Thanks for all of your membership deposits.  We are working with new software so we can produce efficient payment confirmation for you – we’ll get there soon.  There have also been quite a few new members enrolling which is always exciting this far ahead of springtime. As always the faster we can sign everyone up the less we have to worry about come the farm season. We hope to start promoting the CSA through brochures around town in the weeks to come. Those of you who are past members continue to be our best marketers as stories passed by word of mouth are always the truest explanation of what happens here each summer when some farmers and some families come together to make a piece of land into a community.
Here are a few things coming up that Maura and I thought you all might be interested in…
•    “Assessing Genetic Engineering: Empowering Students to Navigate in a Complex World” is the title of a lecture by Craig Holdrege to be held at Bowdoin College’s Searles Science Building, Room 315, at 7:30 p.m. on November 18.  The lecture, sponsored by Merriconeag Waldorf School, is free and open to the public. “Preparing students to meet the complexities of modern life requires educators to foster careful observation, thoughtful consideration of different perspectives,
discerning judgment and sensitive action,” explains Holdrege, a Waldorf high school biology teacher for 21 years. Currently the director of the New York-
based Nature Institute, Holdrege will use the topic of genetic engineering to illustrate the importance of a discovery-based, holistic approach to science education.
•    Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program is holding a “Sharing the Bounty” Auction November 22, 2008 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Frontier Café, 14 Maine St.  Fort Andross Brunswick. MCHPP served more than 26,000 hot meals in 2007 in addition to a food pantry that supports almost 1000 Midcoast families in need. We have donated Crystal Spring produce for the past five years to MCHPP and have been consistently amazed with the care and efficiency of this organization, which run by a group of over 200 volunteers and only eight paid staff. Please support their vital work this fall, especially with the uncertain times ahead. Learn more about the organization and this event at  their website: http://www.mchpp.org/new.html
•    The Brunswick Winter Farmer’s Market is up and running at Granite Farm (93 Casco Road) every Saturday from 9am until noon. Many of the vendors you know from the Saturday Market are here selling produce, bread, meat and cheese in abundance. Take Pleasant Hill west out of Brunswick and go left on Casco for ¼ mile.

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