Monday, January 25, 2016

Checking in, 2016

As 2015 was closing its doors forever, the boys and Prentice and I got to talking, over the course of many days, about highlights of the year. Joseph and Ben saw three otters and three water snakes in the same summer day. While hiking in Acadia, we came upon a convention of ravens.
We had wonderful times with family and friends. Our farming season was both successful and really fun. Prentice got a new guitar and played it almost daily. I danced a lot.

We did get sued. Prentice did blow out his knee. A family of foxes made off with many a chicken. There were family health events.
Those were the lowlights.

We didn't take many pictures. I notice that as I review the photo files. Actually, Prentice and I didn't take many photos. Ben took a LOT of photos. There are Lego scenes, slow-motion domino detonations, marble runs and lots of cats sleeping photos. This one cracked me up. We are a game playing bunch, so it shouldn't be surprising that someone felt the need to document the vintage Master Mind box. But still.


The major highlight of 2015 for all five of us was the chance to spend 6 months with our farm crew. Laura, Chris, Rose and Sam were here April-November. This picture was snapped on the last day of work. We look pretty happy. I felt very happy . . .and very grateful.

Since Prentice's knee surgery in December, I have been doing all the animal chores. Winters often find me out there as Prentice and I split up the rounds. But during the growing season, with the crew living on site, I seldom feed or water any animals but my own kin. So it has been a special treat to be the sole provider for all of our creatures all winter long. I do so love feeding other beings.

Each morning now, as I choose the haybales from the hayloft to drop down to the barn floor, I am washed with memories of stacking those bales back in July. Somehow the body's memory of stacking, the heat, the CLANG!CLANG! clatter of the hay elevator, really is triggered by handling the bales again. I wonder who stacked this one. I know that Laura probably dropped it from the wagon and that Joseph probably loaded it on the elevator. There were favorite stations for some of us. There is half a mountain of hay now. We have worked through a lot. I am halfway through the remembering, I guess.

The chickens are in their winter digs = one of the hoophouses. They line up against the north wall in the morning, waiting for the very southerly sun to rise. They know where it hits ground first. They wait there for it.

Up until last week, I had been picking spinach weekly for the Coop and The Lost Kitchen. This week looks warmer, so perhaps I will get out in that hoophouse again and make another harvest.

Prentice's father built these wood storage bins in November. They are filled with firewood/fodder for our wood boiler in the big heated greenhouse. Kind of like canning tomatoes for winter, these honies are capped and ready for spring.

Salvatore and Pepe are having a winter holiday, or more like working visit, to a friend's in Unity. With Prentice's knee mending this winter, there was no hope for getting them yoked up (they are waaaaay too strong and frisky for me!) and in the woodlot so we trailered them over the hill with the idea that they might come back better trained and that our friend would enjoy the time with them.

So many of you friends of our farm loved the ginger in CSA shares or at the Belfast Coop. We sold a large portion of the harvest to Crown o' Maine this fall. We haven't seen the final product but we hear they froze a huge amount and are selling it to restaurants and institutions.
Our friend Joanna took this picture of me as I gathered some fall kale. My face doesn't really show how happy I am to be knee deep in that bounty.
Ah yes, the new name. I won't write much about the lawsuit and settlement other than we are through it. It wasn't bad. We had some good, good people helping us figure it out. It was fun to gather ideas for new names. We waited and waited for the right name to come along. Prentice saw the word "trackside" and then thought "Villageside" and it was an instant "YES."

We like the word "side" and all the side-y words: bedside, oceanside, poolside, mountainside, sidle up, sideways, sidelong, and now, villageside.

You will see a re-worked label and logo this spring. Gotta repaint the driveway sign. That'll do it!

The view of Jordan Pond from Sargeant Mountain in Acadia. October. A hiking trip with the children has been our fall exhale for the past few years. I wonder what it is like today up there. Sunny and white and glorious, certainly.

And on a commercial note:
We tweaked our CSA a bit this year. Always trying to simplify. Sign ups are happening at this link.
And we have a good many radically well-raised (pastured and organically fed) chickens in the freezer if you want to buy one or a dozen, be in touch. They are $4.75/lb with most of them around 5lbs.

From here, the farm by the village in a town called Freedom, we send our best,
Polly and co.

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