A Gal From Texas Comes To Maine

Howdy from Texas! My name is Anna Guillory and I’m a WWOOF volunteer (what’s WWOOF? Check that out here!) who has spent the last ten days at Fernwood Nursery with my lovely, lovely hosts, Denise and Rick. I recently graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Art Education. I wanted to take the time to WWOOF the summer before starting a job teaching high school art and I decided that Fernwood was the right fit. I first heard about WWOOFing from my cousin at the disinterested age of 14 and never thought I’d be doing it now. Through school, I became interested in learning about sustainable living and organic gardening and I was making artwork centered around these ideas. I thought WWOOFing would be a good way for me to inform myself as an artist, as well as bringing back some insights to my future classroom and students. Increasing one’s knowledge of gardening, the biology of plants, and how things grow, etc. can often give us a much better understanding of how we look at things in the world. My WWOOF experience has helped accomplish this and being here at Fernwood has inspired me to look at things in the natural world more closely. I found Fernwood Nursery back in March when their WWOOF site had posted that they were looking for volunteers. Being an artist, I was really interested in how Denise works with her sheep. Fibers and textiles are something I have always wanted to learn more about, and I was equally interested in the farm and nursery aspect. It was a win-win! I’ve heard beautiful things about Maine, and wanted to see another part of the States. All that being said, it has blown me away! Aside from my interests in coming to learn and experience farming, it has been an incredibly healing place for me to be before beginning a new season of life after college. Working with Denise and Rick and learning from them, as well as just being on their property, has grounded me and been a rejuvenating experience. I had almost thought I wasn’t going to be able to come to Maine but Denise and Rick were flexible with my change in dates, and have proven to be ever too generous with my needs. I’m glad to know they will always be people I can count on and available to me. Denise asked if I would write 10 things I’ve learned during my stay. If you do the math right, that’s one thing a day, but I know there are many more things I could list and I am certain I will only continue to build upon them after returning to my life in Texas.There are also some photos included of some great outings and projects, so enjoy!

Ten things:

1.Ephemeral plants bloom in early spring and often go dormant in the late summer months ( this I did not know!!)

2.How to make a hyper-tufa vessel ( I’ll be carrying a mini hyper-tufa vessel home with me, yee ha!)

3.Weeds can be edible ( like purslane and lamb’s quarters and chickweed!!) and super good for you!!

4.How to make Beet and Fruit Kvass ( yum, yum, thank you, wise woman, Liz!!)

5.How to make lemon balm pesto with freshly picked garlic scapes

6.Felting with wool from Denise’s Blue Face Leicester sheep

7.Skirting a fleece

8.The importance of seed saving ! (oh my, how very, very important! I watched this while at Fernwood, SEED: The Untold Story)

9.What a hula-hoe is and how to use it ( and boy did I use it!)

10.Not all flying things ( bugs) are harmful, only some. (and only if you develop a phobia and run like the dickens to escape them)<

In addition, while here in Maine, I also traveled to Rogues Bluff with a Teardrop trailer, hiked a local trail (Haystack mountain) and picked wild blueberries, learned to shingle an outbuilding on the farm, learned some plant propagation techniques, harvested vegetables and herbs, and had the pleasure of mingling with some of the local community and to discover how welcoming and friendly Maine people are!
Now back to Texas where I’ll be certainly pondering all the wonderful experiences and things I learned during my time in Maine. My wish is to call upon all of the valuable lessons learned from my WWOOF experience and to apply them as best and often as I can in my life back in Texas. Have a great summer, my Maine friends!

A trip Downeast for a picnic with the teardrop trailer!

A super yummy picnic, that is!!

A hike up Haystack just a mile from Fernwood!

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.

Who Are These Women And What Are They Doing?

Picture 964It’s Sally and LIz and they’re building hypertufas! Our hypertufa class here at Fernwood went really well. The first part of the morning we enjoyed tea and scones while gathered around the vintage Teardrop trailer. Rick gave a brief introduction on hypertufa and its uses, and then we got to work. Everyone seemed to really enjoy making their planter and learning some simple techniques for building them. Great fun!.Picture 972 Our next hypertufa class will be Saturday, July 26th from 10:00 -12:00. If you would like to learn how to build a hypertufa, you can call the nursery or email us at fernwoodnursery@fairpoint . Here are some photos of the day!Picture 970Picture 960Picture 963