Eliot and me


A Real Olde Tyme Country Fair

Eighteenth century essayist and poet Charles Lamb wrote, “Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less.” I agree and disagree. You can always revisit a space, but time, it keeps moving; there’s no grasping on to it.

I was reminded of Lamb’s musing on a recent visit to Maine. There were two reasons for the visit, the first being to attend and give a couple of presentations at the Common Ground Fair, organized and on the grounds of the Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association (mofga.org). I highly recommend a trip to the Fair, which is always held around the third week in September.Mofga demo garden

This is not your usual country fair. For one thing, you won’t find bright lights and noisy rides there;  the Fair closes down at the end of each day. What you will find at the Fair is a wide array of Maine grown and Maine produced food, wool and woolen goods, wooden bowls and spoons, and numerous other items. Also many workshops and demonstrations of scything, spinning wool, blacksmithing, and other rural skills, and live music and plenty of livestock.

A Mere Half Century

I haven’t forgotten about Charles Lamb. His musings speak into the second part of my visit, which was to Four Season Farm, home, along with his wife Barbara Damrosch, of farmer, author, and a leading proponent of organic farming, Eliot Coleman. Read more

Large, potted figs


Not a Hot, Dry Desert, but No Matter

Today’s cool temperatures, along with this overcast sky that’s periodically sneezing raindrops, doesn’t conjure up weather we usually associate with fig harvest. Still, I just returned from the greenhouse with near overflowing handfuls of dead ripe figs.Bowl of figs

This harvest does highlight one of the many characteristics of figs that makes it possible to grow them in cold climates. The particular characteristic, in this case, is the plant’s rather unique way of bearing fruit. Read more

Uncovering frosted tomatoes


The Worst?!

Every year, when I tell my longtime friend Vicki, “This year is the best garden year ever,” she smiles and rolls her eyes in a friendly way. But it’s true: Another year of gardening experience, better varieties to grow (Picnic Orange pepper of last year is now on my must-grow list); improved weed management (tarping added to my list); better pest control (the dreaded spotted wing drosophila on blueberries); etc.

Picnic orange pepper

Picnic orange pepper

This year, Vicki was surprised when I finished my annual sentence with “the worst year ever.”

She, of course, asked why. I spared her, but will not spare you, all the gruesome details, as far as I can determine. Read more