Friday, May 1, 2015

Greenhouse Groovin'

Yep, we made a little video to promote our upcoming Seedling Sale Days. One take. 59 seconds of goofery. That is all you get for this year!!
(Technical note: I cannot seem to get the full video to load to this blog page. So just click on the link and that will take you to our public facebook page where you can see it.)

See if you can spot the product placement for Vermont Compost Company, an "I biked to the [Common Ground] Fair!" sticker and American Farmland Trust's "It isn't farmland without farmers" bumper sticker. And yes, that is real dirt on the stereo. I think it spent some time on the concrete slab.

The seedlings look great. We can't wait for the on farm sale days where we get to see so many of our gardening friends and neighbors.
May 9, 16, 23 and 30 right here at Village Farm
8 am-12 pm

Hope to see you soon! Like tomorrow at the orchard planting party?!?!?

Polly and co.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Though this picture was taken last Spring, we are not far from this degree of green. Just a few more weeks, I would guess.

Back in late March, I (Polly) took the boys on a road trip to Vermont. Abe asked if they would have different fruit available there. Ben asked if he should pack his shorts and crocs. No, no and no, boys. Vermont certainly was no respite from the late, cold and windy Spring we had in Maine, but it was a break from the ordinary days here at home. We had a blast visiting friends.

We stayed in Richmond with a family that had recently returned from a 8 month trip to Bolivia. Wow, did we soak up the stories and pictures and admired their Bolivian duds that they wore home as they left all their American clothes there with new friends.

One concept that I think of often as I plug away at all of the farm tasks that have me working a desk job, by myself, is the Bolivian word for work party: minga.

Our Vermont hosts spoke of the townspeople in Samaipata getting together regularly to do a job that benefited the community or just one household. They would call a minga, gather and get a job done. Together.

So won't you come by this weekend for a community effort right here in Freedom? Our dear friends, Rebecca and Matt Stauffer are planting an heirloom apple orchard in our eastern pasture.

Orchard Planting Party

Saturday, May 1 (and possibly Sunday May 2)

9am-4pm. Lunch provided. Bring a shovel and a bucket.
We hope to see you! 
And I have a list of VF news pieces that need sharing here on this blog, so stay tuned!
Best wishes from all of us, Polly and co.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Community Muscles

If there is such a thing as high summer, then mustn't there be a high winter? This week feels like it. With two whopper snowstorms behind us and another one before us, we Village Farmers are knee deep in seed catalogs and crop planning spreadsheets between plowing and shoveling events.

The barnyard report is blissfully uneventful. The cows grunch-grunch their hay in a most satisfying way and the hens are happily ensconced in their hoophouse turned chicken house. That is about it. Well, I guess we did find out this week, in a most embarrassing way, that Miss Meow, a recent addition to the barnyard menagerie, is actually a male. Oh well, leave it to the farmers to skip looking for the identifying parts.

There was a solid turnout Thursday night at a community meeting here in Freedom. I don't get out much, as they say, but as the children were off for a weekend with their grandparents, it was a pleasure to sit with other Freedomites for a few hours of mid-winter scheming. The scheming at hand was regarding a building that the Historical Society acquired this past fall. The Society paid back taxes to the town to take ownership of "Keen Hall," the yellow house on the western edge of our village. Most people remember it as the principal's house. Clayton Larrabee remembers taking his senior finals in it in the 50's. 

Chris Glass, an expert on historical preservation was in attendance and he spoke eloquently to the value, both economic and cultural, of historical preservation of significant buildings. He brought some drawings of possible renovation scenarios for the 18x36 original building, the 18x18 original ell and also recommended that the existing, decrepit garage be torn down.

The Historical Society asked for ideas from the gathered citizens. There were words of encouragement and support and, of course, words of doubt.

Not everyone agreed that this building was a worthy project but in the speaking and listening, a few key misconceptions were cleared up.
1. This is not a town project. There will be no additional tax burden to Freedom residents. This is a project of a newly incorporated 501(c)3 non-profit (The Freedom Community Historical Society).
2. Though non-profits do not pay taxes to the town, some choose to give a "payment in lieu of taxes" to acknowledge the use of town services and the fact that a property in town is no longer on the tax rolls.

What I witnessed was a room full of people who were interested enough in the project to leave their woodstoves and comfy chairs and show up to a meeting. I heard people speaking up in support and others speaking up in dissent. To me, this all adds up to the good news that people care. And since change comes only through our active participation in our places, our towns, our waterways, I think that those who want to work together should work together.
Working together builds our community muscles.
And working together feels good.
There are certainly many ways to improve and give back to our town. (Cleaning up falling down houses was one that came up quite a few times last night.) Through the initiative of the Historical Society, the one before us last eve was a "bold," (to quote Mr. Freedom General) suggestion that instead of tearing down an eyesore, we fix it up. This house stands at the western gateway to our village. The questions on the table were "Does this part of our history have a future? Should we work together to save it?"

I do hope so. I look forward to lending my hands to its restoration but mostly I look forward to having a project to work on with my neighbors.

Want to get involved? Next meeting of the Freedom Historical Society is Wednesday, Feb 11 at the Town Office Annex. 7pm.
With all our best, The Village Farmers

Saturday, January 24, 2015


It seems to be the appropriate time of year to write about wood.
Wood. (Singular or plural? I love this word.)
Sugar Maple bark.
We burn it all day long in our home stove. We build with it: benches for the new greenhouse, a pine floor for my studio, a pencil holder for Prentice's birthday (shhh! Don't tell! It is Benny's secret project!). We think about it and plan it into our future: what part of the woodlot next year's firewood will come from, how much wood our new greenhouse will need to grow rockin' good seedlings, what trees we will grow out for FEDCO Trees. And we dream about it: I want to plant raspberry canes, American Plum seedlings, more elderberries, build a grape arbor and  on and on.

We just got an email from a beginning farmer in Vermont who is starting a medicinal forest orchard. I tell you, I love to grow vegetables but my heart sings when I think of a "medicinal forest orchard." Wow. I want to plant one, too! Let me on that train!

This farmer was seeking rootstock for an elderberry variety that we "introduced" a few years ago. I say "introduce" as that is plant world lingo for bringing a new variety into the world--of commerce, yes, but also because they are plants, I think of it as spreading the genetic material. In this case, an old variety, probably a chance seedling gets to become a "new" variety. Anyways, enough with the "quotation marks!" We took cuttings, propagated them, grew them out here in our nursery, dug them and sold the young plants to FEDCO Trees. I, quite literally, grew up under this elder. It is the elderberry that grows from the place where my parents' 200 year old barn and the earth meet. It grows from the foundation, it seems, but I know it's roots are in the earth. We called it 'Meadowview' after my parents' farm.
Some cuttings of cornus rugosa.
Before I can commit to sending elderberry wood or young plants to this inspiring, forward thinking farmer in Vermont, we shall have to wait and see how many cuttings I can humanely take from my parents' planting this spring. We have established our own 'Meadowview' elderberry orchard here at Village Farm but the plants are still too small to take cuttings. And somehow, without that barn looming overhead and those granite foundation stones, I am somehow in doubt that it will be the same variety.

A sculpture carved into a stump in Belfast, Maine. Photo by Joseph.

Perhaps you will plant a tree this spring. Perhaps I will, too!
More, soon. A new website is on its way.
All the best from here,
Polly and co.