Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Whet your appetite

Another Common Ground Fair comes and goes leaving me smiling, dreaming and planning already for the next growing season. Here's what I know from just a few hours in paradise (a/k/a Unity, Maine):

Tamarack balm heals. Ray Reitze – author, teacher, naturalist, Master Maine guide – passed some around at his talk "Plants & Trees for Herbal Medicine". A few hours later my sore cracked finger was cured. Really. His balm recipe was shared but requires waiting until the sap rises in February. Anyone know where I can get some now?

Good Karma Farm's Hippy Hippy Shake is a very good soap but Citrus Clove Clay is certainly THE BEST. Ran out of cash before I saw their gorgeous yarn.

Bette Davis Eyes (worst song of the 80s?) now might just be the greatest song ever...but ONLY if the Toughcats are covering it.

Compost is garden gold. Raised beds deliver more food in less space with less work. This from the master, Ed Smith. After Smith's talk I purchased his Vegetable Gardener's Bible (LOVE IT) and scored a free copy of MaryJanesFarm (thanks, Lyman's Farm Store!). Santa, I want a broad fork and some manure for Christmas, pleeeeeeeeeease.

Apparently I'm growing a medicine chest in my backyard. Berry trend du jour: Elderberry. There are claims that even Dr. Oz (of Oprah fame) is recommending it for warding off colds and flu.

Toki Cards are my kryptonite. Every year I buy more and every year people ask me where I got their cute birthday card. How could anyone resist "Squirrel Tea Party"?
Composting toilets are a great old idea. I want one and I want a root cellar. Not necessarily in that order, or near each other. Talks on how to construct both were offered.

If you need an old reliable for your seed garlic Harry Brown's Pink Musical Garlic is the one.

I probably shouldn't raise livestock, although I threaten it every spring – the garden needs the manure. Visiting the animal fairgrounds fed that yen enough for now.

Better festival food than this does not exist. Fried shiitake mushrooms...NOT greasy, just crispy. Umami mia, they were tasty! Onto a Maple's Cardamom Ginger Milkshake – even better than I remembered, like drinking a chai cloud. Heaping platters of fresh potato crisps doused in Sewall's organic cider vinegar. (In a spray bottle. Neat!) Tried to hit Maple's one last time – Spiced Pumpkin was calling to me – but the line was about 30 deep ALL AFTERNOON LONG. No worries, my true favorite was waiting just beyond the Pine Gate – Woody, I.M.H.O., outshines all ice cream makers anywhere else in Maine. Tiger Tongues all around please! (If you have to ask then you better try him next year.)

Not enough time in the day or in the weekend. There's always next year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Show girls

If a picture is worth a thousand words then one look at Endless Summer Dahlia Farm is worth a thousand pictures. Located just a few miles down the road from Birchwood Motel, you'd think I'd have paid Endless Summer a visit by now. Put this on your list for your next trip to Camden. Late summer/early fall is the best time to catch the surreally spectacular showy blooms in all colors, shapes and sizes.

ok, not worth a thousand words – camera still out of commission

Wander past hundreds (thousands?) of the most incredible blooms, all clearly labeled. Clipboards and forms are on hand should you care to place an order for bulbs.

Fall approaches and there just isn't enough color left in our gardens and pots save our begonias and the one sweet pink dahlia bulb gifted to me last spring. If I can put away the begonias each fall, what's a few more dahlia bulbs? Next fall's colorful payoff will be worth the effort. Now where's that order form?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gone fishin'

from the archives -- camera still broken!
The day or two of quiet that always happens right before Labor Day marks the intensity of summer passing. Quick! Time to throw up the NO VACANCY shingle and play before the fall season kicks off.
This year's destination – Reid State Park – one of our fave beach spots just a little over an hour drive from Birchwood Motel. Choose mellow lagoon swimming among the tidal pools or crashing waves on open ocean sandy beaches.
Finish up the afternoon at the Five Islands dock in Georgetown with some Annabelle's ice cream. Great ice cream not included this ranks one of the sweetest harbors in Maine.
Get a better visual and peek at the latest post from my favorite Maine blogger.
Home for a quick shower and then dinner at the new place in Camden – Long Grain. OH. MY. GOODNESS. A tasty fresh change-of-pace at a very fair price. Sharing our steamed dumplings, spring rolls, pork noodles, kimchi, spicy greens with tofu while drinking some cold beer from French & Brawn (it's BYOB until mid-September) made the day complete. Ah, summer.