Friday, August 26, 2016

Whirlwind Week: If It's Friday It Must Be the Farm

We caught the ferry with two minutes to spare.
Headed to an island in the middle of Penobscot Bay, halfway up the coast of Maine.
On board were residents, renters, recreationalists (with bikes, canoes and handmade wooden kayaks), and lunatics like me who agreed to join their partners for a sailing trip in rocky and foggy Maine, preceded by work on a farm.
Huh???? Yup. You heard me correctly. Work on a farm. Whew, what a whirlwind schedule! So much to do and learn. Why settle for ordinary, boring vacations?
You see, the ferry was merely the third leg in a complicated journey from Capitol Hill to Bucks' Harbor Marina where we will board the sailboat. The fourth leg: exploring and exploiting the abbreviated growing season on an island in the Maine woods.
Islesboro boasts some elegant mansions: classic New England "summer cottages," mostly deserted now that Labor Day is nigh. Flowers and bay windows. Wraparound porches with comfortable rocking chairs. Acres of manicured lawns.
We drove right on by. Stopped instead at an ancient wooden farmhouse with barn, woodshed, greenhouse, chicken coops, threadbare carpets and peeling wallpaper. Here, there are no gardeners or greenskeepers, and the work continues in every season. 
August is time for bringing n the summer harvest before autumn ushers in New England frost. Our itinerary this week includes picking, planting winter crops, canning and cooking, alongside farmer Sandy and her companion Toby.
Also endless weeding, hoeing, cutting--and washing lots and lots of dishes.
Yesterday I sliced cucumbers and canned dill pickles while Pope weeded the garden, fed the chickens, and cut down overgrowth.
Today I picked beans, spinach, and squash; whipped up scrambled eggs; and served a salad of freshly picked lettuce, spinach, arugula, nasturtiums, and peaches, with a dressing made from lemon and leftover pickle brine. Hostess Sandy completed the repast with stuffed, baked pattypan squash.
Hungry, you say? Sorry, too late. In the midst of an abundant and demanding harvest, the meals are filling, delicious, and over in a flash. 

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