Friday, January 29, 2010

If you don't like the weather......

And so much for warmth....awful out there....horrible winds and 5 degrees.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Night feeding

It is amazingly beautiful out there tonight.
I love to feed in the dark. I have three horses who live outside in a run in shed. They have the freedom to come in and out at will. They are furry and delighted to see me at feeding time in the winter. I whistle and they greet me in the darkness with soft grunts and fluttering nostrils...occasionally neighing to make me hurry. A childhood dream, I'm still amazed that they live here with me.
Sometimes when the days are really short I have to 'feel around' in the dark to find their food tubs. I can hear them and feel their closeness but I can't see them at all. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my Paint's white markings but sometimes it's too dark even for that. Not the smartest thing I suppose but I know them so well and they know the routine so well that I don't worry.
I just stand there and listen to them eating and smell the smells of horses and grain and fresh hay.
Tonight the moon is huge and it's warm for January. A little snow has made the pastures much less icy for their feet and mine. It's like daylight out there with long shadows. I can hear the ocean and hear them eating and I feel like I can stay with them for a while.
I do.
Then I take a lovely walk around the pond and look back at the house all lit up and warm.
A gift in January.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Contrasts

Winter is not an easy time of year in New England. Other than the temporary beauty of newly fallen snow it is a hard time, and while we try to capture this beauty in photographs here at The Farm it seems worth mentioning the opposite side of the coin when it comes to our off-season. A look out the door of the house shows a sparse and hard view of the nursery. It is cold and windy, the rain of a few nights ago having washed off a lot of the snow, but leaving the reminder of more snowfall to come. Things are overturned, covered and muted.

Our oldest greenhouse (recently renovated with radiant heat and new walls) is a welcome retreat from the cold in these winter months. Its so green, humid and hot inside it not only feels like another season but another continent entirely, one much closer to the equator. Depending on who's inside you'll hear anything from country to classical to books on tape. Water drips from the supports, adding to the sweat you'll probably start to accumulate the minute you walk inside in your winter coat.
Everyone should be so lucky as to have a place this hot, green, peaceful and beautiful to remind them of spring and summer to come, but for those of you far from a public greenhouse: enjoy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


One of our favorite aspects of the array of plants in our greenhouse are the textures of their foliage.

The beautiful subtlety of the plants in our greenhouses becomes more intense the closer one looks.

Click on any of these images for an even closer look at what so many people never have the chance or never take the time to examine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Story To Tell

My father used to hang onto the straps in the subways of New York. He commuted most days of his life on the Long Island Railroad and then the subways to Wall Street. I know how it was because I did the same thing for a while as well. Above our heads, on banners, were ads for cigarettes, mouthwashes, whatever.Very often they used some bucolic scene with distant snow covered mountains and fresh clean pine woods on pristine glistening lakes. Far from the smells and sounds of a New York subway, it gave him peace in his mind for a little while. He told me that he would pretend to be in a boat in that lake, or sitting on a rock looking out at the mountains. I, of course, pretended to be riding the horse in the cigarette ads.

I don't take for granted one minute of living where I do. It is because of my family that I came to love Maine. It is because of my father, with his love of nature and my mother, with her love of gardening.
When I first saw this farm, I was desperate to live here and take care of it. I rented it for very little money from a man who was thinking of burning it down as a firefighter exercise. I begged him not to do that and he finally agreed. I always remember him asking me, "How much courage do you have?'

We needed a lot. Through the years we have replaced almost every part of this house. The field grew right up to the door, there was no heat, no water, broken windows, falling down porches and ......I loved it. We were lucky enough to buy this farm about 11 years ago. Shortly after that we opened the nursery here at Blackrock.

This farm has a story to tell. I hope that you will follow along a bit through this blog. Maybe find a little time during your commute to take part in the life of a farm. Come and visit when you have time and inclination and just close your eyes and breath in the ocean air and wonderful smells of a Maine Farm.