Down East!

Picture 1412Once we hit the month of July, the nursery hours change just slightly. Instead of having only Mondays off, we begin having both Sunday and Mondays off. The nursery continues to bustle with activity throughout the rest of the week. We’re still potting new plants for the sales area, and the gardens…….well, there’s always work to be done there! Just before we turned the page on the calendar, I had said to my friend Sally, “we haven’t really taken an adventure in the Teardrop yet this summer”. The Teardrop trailer is a sweet little camping trailer Sally bought several years ago, outfitted it with all the accoutrements for traveling, and has become our mode of travel when we steal away on one of our adventures. ( before I go on, don’t feel bad for Rick who stayed home tending the farm, he and our boy Noah had their own plans for a couple of days off! ).

Sally's Teardrop trailer dubbed "the Rolling Scone"

Sally’s Teardrop trailer dubbed “the Rolling Scone”

So off we went, pulling the adorable teardrop behind us, heading Down East for some camping and picnics. The great thing about these little Teardrops is how easily they are to travel with. Unlike a big camping rig ( that just wouldn’t be our style), you can pull the Teardrop over at any ol’ place and set up for an amazing picnic lunch with a spectacular view. Of course, Sally and I have this adventure thing pretty well licked. Packed neatly into the camper are several old canvas camping chairs and tables, a small grill, pots and pans and skillets, everything one needs to make a cup of hot tea ( trusty Jet Boil), tin plates and cups and salad bowls, and a cooler full of carefully selected goodies. Our first stop? Prospect Harbor. Time for lunch. We pull over, set up, and start cooking. This time we even had a pair of park rangers drive by ( slowly) before coming back a third time and pulling in. Uh oh, we’re getting kicked out of our little scenic overlook. Nope, not the case. They were just so intrigued with the little Teardrop they had to come and check it out. Once they saw our lunch, they knew we had this adventure thing pretty well figured out. Lunch? Freshly grilled herbed foccachi ( we kept this in a bucket rising as we traveled), fresh local crabmeat, smoked salmon, seared sea scallops, homemade pesto, grilled summer squash and sliced tomatoes ( hauled from the garden) fresh mozzarella, Greek olives, and marinated artichokes. Oh, and tea. And a spectacular view of prospect Harbor. Not too shabby!Picture 1403Picture 1413
After lunch we continued on to Eastport. There we camped overnight, ate lobster, corn, and coleslaw, and then spent the evening watching a whale surfacing. The next day we cruised around Eastport, talked at great length with an amazing Eastport couple who drive around in a 1947 1 ton Woody bus, own their own Woody teardrop trailer, and live in the most spectacular tree house ever.
1947 Dodge 1 ton Woody bus

1947 Dodge 1 ton Woody bus

The best part was that they invited us over to actually tour the tree house. Let’s see? After we get the studio built…..hmm…..tree house? This could quickly go on a list! Perhaps a better project for Noah. Our Peter Pan son who I can most definitely see living in a tree house!Picture 1425Picture 1426Picture 1429Picture 1461
Just what I needed for a mid summer break. Time away with my dear friend, cruising the coast with the amazing teardrop, cooking up awesome food, and laughing a ton. Perfect!
At home, Rick and Noah spent their own “boy” time eating food that I probably don’t want to know about and having their own local adventure. I suspect this included a fishing rod.
Tuesday? We’re all well rested and happy to tackle our day. It’s always great to take a little time and relax. What should we do for our month of August adventure? Hmm.


A few days ago I was working in the kitchen, blanching heads and heads of broccoli. Rick came through the door and asked me to come outside. A dear customer ( that would be you, Alice!) had something for me, something she made. Alice reads the blog and loved the story of our raven friends that visit the sheep in late February or March. You can visit this post to read about the ravens and the sheep. Alice is a very accomplished and creative rug hooker. This is the delightful gift she brought to me…..oh my! A hand hooked rug depicting the story between sheep and ravens. I was stunned! Well, this rug sampler has become a prized piece of work in our home. It will sit on the table so that we can enjoy it over and over again. It will remind us of Alice’s generosity and talent, and her thoughts to capture our raven /sheep story in wool. How appropriate. Thank you, Alice….the little rug is precious and a delight, truly!Picture 1373
It is a bit true that a part of my everyday is spent indoors processing the vegetables that come in. Tomatoes are beginning to pour in along with the broccoli, green beans, and peas. Oh yes, no shortage of squash either. Zucchini, anyone? The show stopping meal this week was this tomato pie. It’s a favorite here in the house, one that Noah would order on a weekly basis. If your tomatoes are ripe and you want to make something really special, try this tomato cheddar pie. Ooh la la! Picture 1371

It’s Not All About Summer

Picture 1361Picture 1355Picture 1363Picture 1365Picture 1368Among everything else, it’s time to start getting our winter wood in. An enormous oak tree fell recently, bringing an ash and a maple down with it. It won’t actually be firewood for this season, it will need a good year of drying time. But there we were, on a humid July afternoon, bucking it up and hauling it into the woodshed. Firewood is like money in the bank. Maybe even better. I know that the full woodshed means a toasty warm house. Whoo hoo! With three woodstoves doing the job of heating the house, we count on having about 7 cords of wood stacked. This doesn’t include the wood we burn in the wood cook stove, tack on another cord or so for that. You can see why we’re starting with our wood gathering now! There is always a feeling of relief and satisfaction when the wood is all in, and the barn is full with a winter’s worth of hay. Two chores that we are always glad to have behind us once the snow starts falling. So, here we are, mid July and on our ‘day off ‘ mind you, cutting firewood. What do you do as a reward for this effort? A refreshing jump in the lake!

Our Recent Days

Picture 1351There is quite a range of activity here at the nursery right now. Every day food is being brought in to be processed…..canned, pickled, or frozen. We’ve just harvested our first large crop of broccoli to be put into the freezer. Kale, chard, and snow peas are going in along with it. The summer squash and green beans are producing faster than we can pick them. Herbs and foraged plants are being collected for tea, or tinctures, and salves.

drying chamomile blossoms

drying chamomile blossoms

Chamomile blossoms are set aside to dry, and St. John’s Wort flowers have been picked to make a tincture with. Our WWOOFer Hannah has been enjoying our foraging excursions, she is quickly learning the botanical names of plants here at the nursery and the ones we collect from the fields and woods to make tinctures and salves with. I think she likes learning about the medicinal uses of the plants we grow and collect.
Adlumia fungosa

Adlumia fungosa

Corydalis lutea

Corydalis lutea

Myrrhis odorata ' Sweet Cicely'

Myrrhis odorata
‘ Sweet Cicely’

Rick has been collecting seed from the display beds, and plants like Adlumia fungosa, Corydalis lutea, and Myrrhis odorata are being potted up and put into the sales area. Picture 1341The sheep are being moved every two weeks or so for rotational grazing methods.Hannah has been spending a bit of time picking through this spring’s fleeces readying them for the next step…..washing.
And then there is the weeding, mowing, and daily maintenance around the place. We continue to advance on the studio project, the second floor being nailed in place soon. Boy, oh boy, our days are full! We do love every bit of it though and feel thankful for this good life we live. And as I’ve mentioned before, there’s always plenty of food!
Lunch.....homemade pizza with zucchini, garlic scape pesto, fresh tomato, and olives

Lunch…..homemade pizza with zucchini, garlic scape pesto, fresh tomato, and olives

Picture 1308Picture 1311Not sure what we’re more happy to see….the lovely blooms that grace the gardens, or the pollinators that are so busy collecting pollen and nectar. We have noticed a drop in our pollinating friends between last year and this season. It is worrisome. We are so glad to see them buzzing about and furiously working over the poppies ( and all the other blooms) in the gardens. We are fortunate that the majority of the plants, trees, and shrubs that we grow are natives, and this helps the native pollinator population.
Being at that ‘mid-point’ of summer we too have been working furiously. The gardens are always in need of attention…. we are harvesting, weeding, and continuing to amend the soil as needed. We have a lovely new WWOOFer named Hannah, who has been helping to keep things ship shape. Many hands make light work as they say. We can always use several pairs!
She is enjoying the work and the abundance of fresh vegetables that are coming into the house. One thing for sure, if you WWOOF at the nursery, you’re sure to eat well. Hard to believe that it is almost half way through the month of July! Here are just a couple of recent photos from the display gardens. Picture 1322Picture 1316 And, we’ll leave you with this……

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Utilizing Everything We can

Picture 1296Where have we been? No blog post for several days? Well, things are moving along here at Fernwood, fast and furious you might say. We did get a day off ( Monday) to do some hiking. More on this adventure later, along with pictures. We’ll share the location and the wonderful gal that hiked along with us once we get all the pictures together.
The gardens here are providing us with a bounty. Fresh vegetables with every meal, and then the surplus being preserved for winter. This week we made jars and jars of garlic scape pesto. How do we make it? Here’s the recipe:
20 or so garlic scapes
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup almonds ( or another nut you prefer)
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt to taste.
Put all of the ingredients into the food processor or blender with steel blade. Puree until fairly smooth, maybe a bit chunky if you like it that way. Season to taste with salt.
This will also freeze well. We love it on pizza, on pasta, and drizzled onto freshly steamed vegetables.
Picture 1288Picture 1291Picture 1289We have also been mining the soil from the chicken’s run. After letting layers and layers of chicken poop, straw, bedding hay, and leaves, to decompose, it has become a nutrient rich soil source. Throughout the year we will spread the chicken’s outdoor run with organic matter ( of the above mentioned minus the poop, they provide that themselves). A year or so later we begin excavating it to spread on the display beds and into the vegetable gardens. The chickens love when we start digging up their yard. Lots and lots of earthworms and beetles surface for them to dine on. They love rooting through the newly turned earth. After we’ve gathered enough to spread on the garden beds, we begin the process all over again. Even our weeds from the garden go into the chicken run. The chickens will feast on the green shoots and seeds and the rest will compost into the soil. We’re always trying to utilize everything here that we grow or produce. From grass clippings to garlic scapes, they all find their way into something useful.



The display beds and the nursery are bringing us a feast for the eyes. Pure delight. These flowers are from one of the many Sempervivums we grow. Lovely, I think. We hope the summer is going well for all, that your gardens are providing wonderful blooms and foliage, that the vegetable gardens are producing delicious fresh food , and that you too are finding a moment to sneak away and enjoy these summer days. Picture 1286