Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waldo County!

I consider myself lucky.  Wasn't always the case.  I remember growing up in Belfast, ME as a young feller with his sights set on living "outta state" like many young people I knew.  I couldn't WAIT to make tracks for a big city.  I had it all planned out.  I was going to college, graduating and heading out.  New York?  California?  Yes please!  Anywhere but here!. Why?  I don't know.  I never knew, I was sure the "real world" was out there and I was going to grab it by the horns.  What changed?  LIFE.  I hit a wall and it slowed me down.  I realized I wasn't chasing some dream, but was actually running away.. I didn't know who I was and figured "out there" must have the answer.  I internalized.  I stopped looking to the horizon and started looking around and realized what I have been looking for all this time-it's all around me.  It's been here the whole time.   I discovered who I was and where I belong..  I'm very fortunate.  People spend their entire lives wondering and chasing and never truly find it.  You know.  That one passion that consumes you?

Well I found it, but more than that through all of this self evaluating I rediscovered a place.  Waldo County, ME.  A place where  people think local.  A place which supports local food, local craftsman, artists and farmers markets.  Open minded, hardworking- self reliant folks who by their nature seek good, clean and honest work.  It's inherent in the community.  If you want a community where locally based, self reliant agriculture is not only encourage but supported  it is Waldo County, Maine, U.S.A.  Absolute!

Take my hometown for instance, Belfast.  Cruise through town and look around.  It's local food, art and goods taking up store fronts.  Take a ride up into freedom or head into Unity, Montville.  Take the back roads through Searsmont, Morrill.  Head up to Brooks, Monroe or Winterport and open your eyes.  You see farm after farm.  Old or new.  You see new ones popping up and old ones hanging on.  If it's not a farm it seems almost everyone has a few chickens or a garden growing something.  Waldo County is deeply rooted in it's agricultural heritage.  I love it.  I love the land and attitude.

I grew up and experienced first hand the rural beauty of Waldo County.  The people, the culture.  It formed who I am today and I carry it with me wherever I go.  I wear it with pride like a New Yorker wears his accent. 

I've put a lot of thought into where I would like to buy land and make this farming dream happen.  Many things I've considered and thought about.  The answer is clear:

I'm going to feed people.  I'm going to farm.  Put my hands in the ground and plug in to the most supportive, locally minded- tight nit- community of people I know. When we sell the house and the last box is packed I will return to the green pastures, wood stands and tilled earth of Waldo County.  

I'm going home. 

On common ground

What a weekend!  Visited the Common Ground Fair Friday and Sunday.  The fair, located in Unity, ME, is a celebration of rural life featuring local agriculture, artistry and craftsmen all on display.   Three days of events and seminars on everything to do with sustainable living.  I had a blast and cannot wait until next year.  MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) puts on the fair every year and does a spectacular job with it's legions of generous volunteers.  For anyone interested in local sustainable agriculture this is a must attend event.

I spent a great deal of the two days just wondering the fairgrounds taking in all the local music, food, wares and many gardens MOFGA has set up on the grounds. I watched livestock demonstrations and toured the many barns and structures filled with all different types of animals.  One of the main reasons I did attend was for the draft animal seminars.  I am very interested in using draft animals someday on my own farm and found the draft animal basics and low impact logging with draft animals portions of the fair very helpful.  I enjoyed them very much.  I want to expand my knowledge of draft animals so I plan on taking MOFGA'S low impact logging course in November! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Fall is just about here.  Apples are coming on and I'm seeing local cider pop up everywhere.   Pumpkin stands are showing up on the side of the road.  My favorite time of the year.  Wood stove weather, the harvest, deer season and hard cider.  The last week has given us a taste of the chilly fall weather I absolutely love.  Standing on the deck breathing in the cool, crisp air at night while wearing my flannel and big socks makes me happy.  I love to watch the trees turn, eat frost kissed squash and witness all of that energy put forth in spring to breath life into everything slowly wind down.  Fall is the beautiful, vibrant, colorful transition to still winter slumber, when all of the animals are scurrying to prepare for the white winter wonderland just around the corner.  

The garden has pretty much run it's course.  Over the next couple weeks we'll take out what we can before the frost kills it, move the herbs inside and dry what we can.  I have the hoop house which will provide greens for us well into winter, but for the most part and the garden has done it's job.  I will keep my carrots and potatoes in the ground for awhile and harvest them as I need them over the next couple of months.  They will be accessible as long as I cover them with hay to keep the ground from freezing.  I harvested my last bit of potatoes last year on Thanksgiving day!  It was nice to have fresh potatoes to go with everything.  We had a good year for taters and should be well stocked, if put away, well into next year.