We had a great day today outside enjoying life at home. Wayne got the raised garden beds ready for the tomatoes and mowed while I pruned and trimmed the hedges and shrubs. We had the kind of glorious weather every Mainer dreams about all winter.
Up until two years ago I had hired “lawn care” companies to “treat” my yard with fertilizers, herbicides, aeration and reseeding. For about $400 a season the grass had many dead spots and would turn brown in the summer despite watering it. When I’d contact the companies to ask why I was told that the grass had gone dormant for the summer. I went through three different companies over eight years. Besides being expensive, harmful to the environment, beneficial insects and wildlife it was making our yard look worse! I told Wayne last spring we would cease paying and spraying and came up with a plan to save money and the living things:
Early in July I finally found a charming weathered hand-painted concrete set of the Seven Dwarfs at an antique & collectible shop in Cornish for $45 that costs around $900 new when painted. Those who have been following my blog for a while know I adore vintage kitschy garden statues of animals and gnomes. Since it’s not unusual for people to call me “Snow White” when I tell them about my yard pets I wanted to complete the cast of characters. I also figured they would make terrific props for chipmunk photo sessions. Tailor, however, did not agree! Check out the little linked video for her reaction. A couple of days later, she disappeared!
Wayne has been working six days a week for the past couple of weeks, so a three day weekend gave him more time….to work on our organic vegetable garden! I selected our annuals and living accents. Here’s how it all came together:
I’ve previously mentioned on my blog that I once lived down the road from a lovely (now defunct) small family-owned dairy with very happy-looking cows. I enjoyed gazing out at them as they grazed on grass. Sometimes when they were close to the fence by the road I would talk to them. (No one else was around.) This image of dairy cows stuck with me and was a model of everything that industrial factory farming is not. However, it wasn’t until a local news story came out about Peace Ridge Sanctuary that provides a forever home and care for formerly abused and neglected farm animals that I learned that veal production is the “byproduct” of dairy farming. Cows give birth to both bull calves and heifers, but only the female calves will go on to produce milk. So what happens to the baby bull calves, and does buying organic or from a small farm make a difference in their fate?
Two years ago in the early spring I blogged about buying beautiful pullet eggs (shown above) from a local organic farm in my town. Off-season we’ve been buying “Certified Humane” Nellie’s “Free Range” eggs. I decided to Google Nellie’s just now and am so disheartened to see this report about the cruel conditions of the chickens. I will never purchase Nellie’s eggs or trust the “Certified Humane” label on eggs again! (Update: check out this link “American Humane Scam” featuring Bob Barker!) It can be so hard to make informed food choices when we can’t even trust the “certification” labels! All the more reason to buy from trustworthy sources when the trustworthiness can be verified by you. Of course if you can realistically, affordably and humanely raise your own, that is ideal!
Wayne recently started a new job so our New England autumnal honeymoon is relegated to the weekends. I wanted to surprise him with something special after work. I knew he was dreading dinner somewhat because I was going to make the farmer’s market kale as a side dish. He hates kale but promised he’d give it a try, and only if I “cooked the **** out of it” and added loads of butter. What I didn’t tell him was that I was setting a special autumn themed table in the sunroom and serving rib eye steak and deep dish apple pie along with said sad kale.
We aren’t going on a traditional honeymoon. In lieu of traveling someplace for a week or so we’re enjoying fall in New England which is living our dream. Today we went apple picking at an organic orchard in Hiram, ate at a new-to-us airport diner in Limington and explored antique shops in Cornish.
I have extraordinary news! Buster is back!!! After a week’s disappearance he emerged from his burrow, came running to me when I called him and is acting like it’s just another day! Also, one of Chippie’s offspring, Sunny, returned…without a tail! But she is acting like it’s no big deal and she has made her home in our woods. I felt a release after I published yesterday’s post, and now I feel so much gratitude for the gifts in front of me, like our first WATERMELON!
Yes. And just as messy: Home grown tomato and mayo sandwiches! Here’s my recipe: