27 March 2011

I love Maine, cornbread, and peanut butter.

Just finished making some cornbread.  Butter, honey, and cornbread are a winning combination in my book.  I will also be trying a no-knead bread recipe that was published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times a few years ago.  Apparently it has spread in popularity amongst people who include baking bread in their repertoire of things they like to create.  Knowing conditions in the yurt, the yeast won’t rise because it’s too cold most of the time and the stove is mostly too hot.  My bread is consequently hit or miss in terms of quality.  My appetite, however, will not be deterred by doughy bread.
In other news, apparently things are not going well in Japan with their nuclear power plant.  I still don’t know what to make of nuclear power, but every source of energy has its positives and negatives.  One way to look at it is that nuclear power is willing to accept the risk of immediate damage while continuing to burn fossil fuels is putting off the risk to our health and environment to future generations.  What selfish little capitalists we are!  Of course this is one view and there are many others; the point I guess I’m trying to make is that the world is complicated place and in my own selfish way, I’m happy living in the bubble of the local farm world.  Despite all this, Wiscasset has a dismantled nuclear power plant called the Maine Yankee and therefore also has spent fuel nearby.  C’est la vie…
This Saturday I went to another Richard’s forge near Brunswick to try my hand at blacksmithing.  You’d be surprised how easily your arms get tired from hammering hot metal.  It requires finesse, accuracy, and power at the same time, the proper amounts of which constitute the word “technique.”  I managed to emulate a model of a round hook that Richard made with decent accuracy.  It’ll be fun trying to make useful, nice looking, tasteful pieces of metal out of iron/steel rods.  One day I hope to make my own knife as well.  Although it is fun and pretty cool to make things out of metal, I do have intentions of using the skill to work metal in my future as a farmer.  There are always things that need repair around the typical farm and the more you can do on your own, the more resources you can divert and stretch for use elsewhere on the farm.
Farm activity update
Status report: Normal
Weather: Good for maple sugaring (warm days, below freezing nights).  I went to a few farms to participate in Maple Sugar Sunday, an event taking place on farms all over Maine that draw sap from Maple Sugar trees (think Canadian flag).  It takes 40 gallons of sap to create what we call maple syrup.  None of that fake, high fructose corn syrup Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth crap.  It was a totally sweet event…pun intended.
Wind: Windy
Sun: Raising its angle in the northern sky so that each day we are receiving more solar radiation, thus warming this part of the world.  Oh, yeah the Spring Equinox just occurred last Sunday, marking the day that the sun’s most direct radiation occurs at the equator, creating equal days and nights at said equator.
Horses: Logged on Wednesday and Friday with them.  I will truly miss logging once it gets beyond muddy here.  However, that also means we will soon be able to have the horses work the ground, starting with discing and harrowing.
Seedlings: The onions just started showing their delicate, green shoots on Friday, a week after we planted them.  Excitement is abound in the greenhouse!  This is just the beginning of an over three month process of growth that will result in the beautiful, tasty bulbs that ubiquitously color our plates in an endless number of prepared dishes.  The thought just makes you think how amazing it is that an object the size of a pinhead, which is alive by the way, can grow into an edible, spicy, crunchy, sweet, baseball-sized onion.  Truly an unceasingly amazing process shaped by evolution.

That’s all my sleepy body’s got for tonight.  I bid you all a happy spring with opportunities and growth (but not unchecked) aplenty!


  1. Hi Rich,
    Life is hard. Your work is hard but meaningful. I hope you are enjoying your work as much as it sounds like you do.
    I support your efforts
    Uncle Bob

  2. Hey Rich,

    This is only tangentially related to your blog, inasmuch as it involves farming and NYC. My midwife, Brenda (lives over in Limington), posted this on Facebook: I am hosting a young man (wwoof.com) from the Nederlands this spring for a couple of weeks. He is looking for a couch in or near NYC to stay may16-31. He will work for his room and board and he would be grateful for a couple of nights here and there.

    I thought you might have connections!

    See you soon, Wallace is craving a Ruth playdate!

  3. Appreciate the support Uncle Bobby. You should come visit during the summer and you can come work hard too!

    Sarah, I will ask around. Feel free to remind me in a week or so as I tend to forget to do things related to the internet other than e-mail/this blog. E-mail me at rhlee13@gmail.com. I will ask some friends and see what's available. Feels like I haven't seen you guys in a while! Stop by soon!