Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June, 2009

This years gardens are a whole new growing experience for me. For the past twenty-two years we had an herb farm where we raised/grew solely culinary and medicinal herbs, potted or field dug.  Herbs being relatively easy plants to grow, gorgeous on the eyes, tasty and seldom bothered by any pesky bugs or critters.

But here in seacoast Maine growing veggies and herbs has taken on a whole new meaning for me…and challenging would be an understatement.  Between the cool moist night air and visitors to my garden, it’s become a game of survival of the fittest and surely battle of wits!

The season began with the greatest display of cutworms, something I was unfamilar with having to eradicate.  So after replacing row after row of kales, chards and cukes I discovered cutworm collars.. any round obstacle or even wrapped newspapers placed around the tender seedling stalks will prevent these little buggers from finishing off anymore.  I now save all my empty yogurt containers.. they work like a charm.

And then there’s always this guy.. who always has this impish expression on his face, but so far so good.. no damage done ..yet!

Chatty the chipmonk

Chatty the chipmonk

I’m typically down in my garden by 5 am.  I like the quietness, the lighting for taking photographs and I get more of my task completed uninterupted earlier in the day.

GardenDeer2009 Then one early morn a few week ago I was visited by Bambi.. who apparently found out I had a choice patch of spring peas just getting ready to fruit..  arrgghh!

I guess spring pea blossoms are just too tempting for these docile critters to just let pass by.  CHOMP!!  She lopped off the tops of nearly the entire patch! 😦  Oddly enough though, she didn’t even sample my spinach?? But now I’ve had to erect wire cages in an attempt to keep them at bay. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I haven’t lost the entire crop.

Lopped off baby spring peas

Lopped off baby spring peas

Last week I arrived in the garden to a real eye opener!  Just entering one of my footpaths was a huge snapping turtle!!  I thought I was seeing things!  🙂

Make way for the turtles

Make way for the turtles

She went into my garden to lay her eggs, and had arrived sometime before I did because already four large holes had been dug up and then refilled in. Apparently the farm where I garden has been a natural nesting ground for these turtles for years, and each spring hundreds appear to bury their eggs in the sandy soil.   But now how was I to get her out of my garden??!  I proceeded to haul her up by her tail and remove her to the outskirts of the farm where I thought it would be the last I saw of her.  Not a half hour later there she was again heading back into my plot.  I snapped my cell phone camera shot to get this one of her, and though this pic doesn’t show it, she was approximately 24 inches across..  a biggun’ for sure, and at this venture a might livid with me that I would tackle her once again to get her the hell out of my garden! She did everything she could to try and latch onto my fingers.. so much so that I needed to bring in reinforcements to help me carry her off once again.  Since that day she has returned on at least five new occasions.. digging her  plots, depositing eggs and  burying them.  I’ve since found out that her eggs are already safely hidden somewhere in my garden, but haven’t located them just yet.  The return to the ‘nesting place’ over and over again digging ‘false holes’  is an attempt to fake out preditors that would snatch up those eggs in a heartbeat if found. Isn’t Mother Nature brilliant?  And now she has finally left the area.  Her task is finished.  She won’t even see her young hatch out 😦  Seems so sad.  And once they hatch out in 45 days or so..  it will be up to the young.. the survival of the fittest to make their way into the wild to fend and feed  for themselves.  Approximately 60% won’t survive.  I’m hoping to witness this event and catalog it with photos..  time will only tell.

Ms Snappy.. the persistent snapping turtle

Ms Snappy.. the persistent snapping turtle

It’s been an exciting growing season already for me, and with every new day more changes and visitors.  Most gardeners I know up in this neck of the woods have been struggling to deal with the wet conditions over these past two weeks, where we’ve broken rainfall records..but in my garden the slugs and snails are simply flourishing!  Yes, yet another new creature for me to learn about.  One thing’s for sure.. they aren’t too selective…  large leafed, delicious greens and cabbage are a prime target in my garden.  One day I have these gorgeous heads of cabbage and the next, poof.. half eaten leaves 😦

Healthy cabbage

Healthy cabbage


Slippery the slug

Slippery the slug

And my greens and lettuces too!! So, yesterday in the pouring rains I snuck up on these guys just to see  where they were hiding, and to put down some diatomaceous earth around the wounded veggies. That, and to see if I could talk them into a tall bottle of Corona beer, minus the lime wedges….the preferred beverage of garden slugs everywhere! Hopefully when I check the gardens tonite.. I’ll find gazoodles of these critters belly up in their beer!

Slippery little devils

Slippery little devils


Corona! Preferred by Garden Slugs everywhere

Corona! Preferred by Garden Slugs everywhere

So now that the corn is germinating, though it won’t be ‘knee high by the Fourth of July’.. they tell me I can count on yet another visitor soon to my garden.. Rocky the raccoon or Gatsby the golpher!!  Yikes! Till next thyme.. happy gardening!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Monhegan Island Harbor

Monhegan Island Harbor

About fifteen miles off the Maine coast, rising from the sea you’ll find in the middle of our very blue ocean Monhegan Island.  A throw back in time.  This isolated island is a tourist destination and artists colony during our summer months but inhabited only by a few brave souls during the rest of the year.  With it’s quiet solitude and remarkable cliffs and splendid walking trails, this little piece of Maine is a visitor and artists paradise.

Monhegan Main St

Monhegan Main St

Monhegan Cliffs

Monhegan Cliffs

Cliffs of Monhegan

Cliffs of Monhegan

Each June we head out to view the spectacular wildflower display of lupines.  In spite of weeks of rains, we weren’t disappointed.  If you’ve never seen lupines in bloom, it’s pretty awesome–you can come around the corner on a country road in June to suddenly see acres of fields filled with fuscias, pinks, perriwinkle and blue stalks reaching toward the skies.

Lupine Wildflower Field

Lupine Wildflower Field

Monhegan Lupines

Monhegan Lupines

Monhegan Lupines

Monhegan Lupines

Monhegan Lupines

Monhegan Lupines

Read Full Post »

Spring lambs were a common occurance on our farm and Tillie was one of our best Mama’s.  Here she’s taking a snooze with her newest offspring.. Mayflower.

Tillie with young Mayflower

Tillie with young Mayflower

Read Full Post »

Cheesecake peeking out from the hay manger to have her pic taken.. she’s usually pretty shy.

Nubian goat-- 'Cheesecake'

Nubian goat-- 'Cheesecake'

Read Full Post »

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of fresh veggies.

Farm fresh organic chives

Farm fresh organic chives

Read Full Post »

As I was harvesting my calendula petals early this morning I thought I’d add it to the blog today.  Stunning color this year that will be infused and used later in my healing balm. … the ‘Humble Pot’.  And I’ll set some flower heads aside that will go into our garden salad this evening.

calendula (pot marigold) blossom

calendula (pot marigold) blossom

Calendula officianalis also known as ‘Pot Marigold’ is one of my favorites in the herb garden.. for not only their showy colorful appeal & addition to any garden.. but medicinal, cosmetic, culinary & dyeing benefits.

Yes, this humble plant has been an inspiration of herbalists and gardeners for centuries. Named for it’s ability to bloom every month of the year, Calendula comes from the latin, ‘Calends’ or ‘New Moon’ and since the calendula flower head follows the sun.. it’s also known as ‘summer sundial’.

The flower itself means ‘winning grace’ in the language of flowers and you’ll get no argument from me here, with colorful hues from pale yellow to bright deep oranges.. but the sweet calendula has been valued as a ‘wellness herb’ for centuries. Some marvel at it’s ability to soothe pain and prevent scarring. It’s also an excellent antiseptic, thereby preventing infections. Calendula is commonly used to soothe skin and reduce inflammation. Additionally it is good for small children to help alleviate skin disorders and diaper rashes. The dried flower heads are used to flavor soups & stews, added to the dye pot for some marvelous earthy golds & yellows, or added to a natural healing balm.

The flower petals are the most resourseful part of this very versatile & lovely plant and contain the highest concentrates of healing resins.

Many know that I am a soapmaker and formulator of herbal balms and healing salves.  I often include this wonderful little herb in my formulations.  I’m always so amazed when a client tells me how well their problem or sensitive skin is doing after  using this useful product especially if used on chapped or very dry skin.  There isn’t much else that is so beautiful as a bottle of calendula petals infusing in lovely oils in the dead of winter, catching the little bit of sunshine we see here in New England… reminiscent of our summer gardens.  Do plant some in your summer garden. You won’t be sorry.

Read Full Post »

Out for bass on  a misty morning aboard Captain Satch’s India Marie.

Gone fishin

Gone fishin

Read Full Post »