July 10 2015
Volume 21 Issue 14
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Issue of The Seed Piece:
Deboulie Pond From Top of Fire Lookout. With hay in and
the crops looking good - and mostly under control – there’s now a
chance to take a short breather. Our just-turned-21-year-old
son, Caleb, is using this opportunity to take a break
from farming and repairing equipment to head with his friends
for their annual camping trip to Deboulie
Pond (a ‘pond’ anywhere but in Maine is called a
‘lake’) within the 21,871-acre Deboulie Maine Public Reserved Land,
owned by the people of the State of Maine. Deboulie is sixty miles
northwest of Wood Prairie Farm, most of the way towards the wild Allagash
Below, Caleb and Zack Sargent – best friends since
Kindergarten at the Bridgewater Grammar School – stand by Caleb’s
proudest accomplishment as a diesel mechanic, his F350 crewcab pickup.
Caleb re-built this older truck from scratch - from tailpipe to front
bumper – completely rebuilding the turbo-charged diesel engine,
replacing a great many parts and giving it a brand new paint
job. The heavy truck gets a very respectable 18 mpg. The
truck is so tall you almost need a step ladder to climb into the cab…
Crops here – like our new crop of
Certified Seed potatoes are looking
good. After a wet Spring, it has turned dry and either we get
rain soon or we’ll start to irrigate.
Remember that cold New England
winter? Apparently, it was extremely hard on overwintering
Colorado Potato Beetles. So far this year in Aroostook
County, CPB populations are extraordinarily low. What is the
CPB pressure on potatoes this year where you live?
Hope you are enjoying these long warm
days of Summer.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Click here for the
Wood Prairie Farm Home Page.
Packed & Bound for
Deboullie Pond. Work done, Caleb (right) and Zack are
ready to roll.
Bald Mountain in Early Spring.
Greenlaw Pond is the frozen lake in the foreground.
Bald Mountain From Devastation.
In Maine’s North Woods, about 16 miles SSE of Deboulie Pond,
lies Bald Mountain. Bald Mountain is paper
company land owned by the large and powerful multinational corporation,
J.D. Irving, based in New Brunswick, Canada.
At unimaginable risk to the pristine
Fish River watershed - the waters, fish, wildlife and environment,
Irving wants to create a jaw-dropping 600-acre
open-pit metal – copper, gold, zinc - mine on Bald Mountain.
The proposed open-pit mine concept is totally unacceptable given the
high sulfide and arsenic content of Maine ore in combination with
Maine’s wet and cold climate. Contamination of pristine waters by
sulfuric acid and arsenic would be unavoidable and catastrophic.
The only way Irving would be permitted
to build this mine is to first
weaken existing Maine mining law. This past
legislative session, Irving – again – backed by renewed pressure from
Governor LePage’s misnamed Department of Environmental Protection,
tried to weaken Maine’s mining regulations – this time with yet another
Last February, dodging
snowstorms, Jim, and his friend, Randell Agrella
of Abundant Acres, in Fort Fairfield, travelled the 225 miles to
Augusta to testify in opposition to weakening mining regs in
Maine. The hearing room was brimming over with concerned
citizens from all across the State who came to testify. Virtually every independent
citizen offered their testimony in opposition to the Irving proposal.
There were ten or twelve of us who made
the long journey down from Aroostook County. Without exception, every
Aroostook citizen testified against weakening Maine’s mining regs.
Below is the testimony Jim prepared for
of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources,
Jim Gerritsen. My family and I grow Maine Certified Seed
Potatoes in Aroostook County. I’m here today to testify in
opposition to LD 146. We are adamantly opposed to the
weakening of Maine’s mining regulations.
We have farmed for 39 years in the unorganized territory of Central
Aroostook County. Our isolated seed farm is located 40 miles
Southeast of Bald Mountain. In our 36 square mile township –
Township D, Range 2 – there are just eight residents: six are in our
In the summer, after planting is done, and the black flies are thick,
it’s become a tradition for our sons to go camping. Where do they
go? They go camping in Maine’s Deboullie Public Reserve –
right next door to Bald Mountain. They go with their friends
from Bridgewater, Blaine, Mars Hill and Monticello.
All these young men live and work in Maine’s outdoors. They
would be here testifying against LD 146 with me here today except that
they are back home working: shipping potatoes, moving snow and grooming
trails for the local Mars Hill snowmobile club. Those boys
know every road and sled trail between here and Bald Mountain.
Our children were born in the Unorganized Territory. They’ve
been raised with a land ethic. They know the most important
work they can do is make the land better for their children, just as my
wife and I have done for them. Their choice to live in Maine
is a quality of life issue. They like the woods and the
So you, as members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee -
and we as Maine farmers – we share a common responsibility.
It’s all of our jobs to protect Maine’s land and make sure it continues
as an undiminished asset for future generations to work and enjoy.
That’s why we oppose LD 146. Weakening existing mining
regulations is bad policy. It will hurt everyone in
Maine. Our priority must always be protecting Maine’s
environment. To be successful - and to continue to be a great
place to live and a great State to visit - Maine must maintain very
strict limits on groundwater pollution.
Because of high sulfur and arsenic levels, unearthing Maine’s sulfide
deposits by mining is a predictable catastrophe waiting to
happen. Maine’s increasingly wet climate – as documented by
the National Weather Service - increases the likelihood of disaster
from acid mine drainage. Every Mainer should be alarmed when
a company from out-of-state exerts pressure on weakening the
regulations which insure protection of Maine’s environment.
Maine taxpayers can not afford another corporate bailout like the
Callahan Mine in Brooksville. The recent Mt Polly mine
disaster in British Columbia illustrates that modern mining remains
flawed and environmental costs are high and
The Maine Legislature acted correctly last year when it overwhelmingly
defeated this same proposal. I urge your Committee to lead by
example and defeat LD 146.
There was great debate and many
Committee work sessions. In the end, the legislature finally voted down
this new attempt to weaken Maine’s mining regulations. So
Northern Maine’s Bald Mountain has dodged yet another bullet as sense
won out over greed.
here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Cover Crop Seed.
Knife and Tool Sharpener.
A farmer’s knife takes a lot of daily abuse and
each use conspires to dull the blade. And a dull tool is
dangerous as one foolishly substitutes brute force for the designed
effectiveness that only a sharp blade can properly provide.
Our American-Made ‘All
in 1’ Knife & Tool Sharpener is just
what the doctor ordered.
This week we were spreading manure and with this job, invariably, the
new-fangled plastic baling twine - which found its way into the manure
- tightly wraps itself around the ‘beaters’ on the back end of our
tractor-powered International Harvester (IH) 530 Manure
Spreader. We’ve found a very sharp knife (after experimenting
with, among other things, a Sawz-All and an acetylene torch) is the
best way to cut up and allow this manure-laden woven-twine-blanket to
be forcibly extracted. I’ve learned to keep an ‘All in 1’ Knife & Tool
Sharpener right in my back pocket. That way -
every minute or so - I can touch up the blade with two or three quick
sharpening-strokes and keep that blade razor sharp.
The ‘All in
1’ Knife & Tool Sharpener is very well-designed
and works great for both knives
and tools like pruning snips and lopping shears.
Once you use one, you will wonder how you ever got along without it!
Here’s your chance to get a FREE
‘All in 1’ Knife & Tool Sharpener (value $14.95)
on your next order where the goods total $60 or more. Please
use Promo Code WPF466.
Offer may not be combined with other offers. Your order and FREE ‘All in 1’ Knife &
Tool Sharpener must ship by 8/31/15. Offer Expires
11:59p.m., Monday, July 13, so please hurry!
Here for our Wood Prairie Farm Organic Tools & Supplies Section.
Knife and Tool Sharpener. Working to overcome dullness in
on Aid to Nepal From Maine.
Back in a May, Wood Prairie Seed
Piece, we shared the story of our friend, Mainer Jeff Kaley performing
great grass roots work to help earthquake survivors in Nepal.
Jeff’s lifelong connection to Nepal goes back to his stint there in the
1960s as a Peace Corps worker. Over the ensuing five decades
Jeff has cultivated and maintained friendships among the good people of
Nepal, traveling there with regularity and offering aid where needed.
The devastating series of strong
earthquakes began in April and the extent of massive inflicted damage
and suffering is difficult to imagine. Jeff is using his
network of trusted Nepali friends to provide aid directly to those in
American dollars go a long way in
Nepal. To date $7000 has been collected and sent to help out
people in Nepal. Even $5 will make a difference. If
you would like to send a donation via Paypal the steps are
Jim & Megan
Donate To Help Nepal
on Paypal, Click on the Send Money
Choose dollar amount
Click I'm sending money to family or friends.
Survivors in Nepal Receive Our Help. American dollars go a
long way in Nepal.
Weight in Gold. Rare Shop Manuals from Mike Becker.
Source for Hard-to-Find Farm Equipment Manuals.
As family farmers it is rare for us
to buy any equipment which is brand new. And by our
experience only about once every five-ten years does a purchase of used
farm equipment actually come with a manual.
In our most lucid moments we realize that Step 2 after buying a
piece of equipment should be to secure whatever specific equipment
manuals we can lay our hands on. Typical manual options
Manuals, Shop Manuals and Parts Manuals.
The specific information contained in a manual – especially when you
are broken down and under pressure – make manuals worth their weight in
But where does one source farm equipment manuals?
E-Bay is an obvious option but one that is always a roll of the dice
and one that can eat up a lot of time in searching.
source is a good fellow we know in Wisconsin – Mike Becker –
who has created a home-based business out of collecting-and-selling
farm equipment manuals. Mike’s prices are modest and he mails
the manuals out quickly.
We are always amazed by the depth of Mike’s
collection. Mike is old school and honest. He works
by telephone. If you need a manual, give him a call.
19438 County Hwy X
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Here For Our Wood Prairie Farm Essential
Ginger Oat Squares.
2 c chopped rhubarb
3 thin slices of fresh ginger
1 c sugar
1 c water
Combine the rhubarb, fresh ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan and
bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the
rhubarb has softened and is falling apart, about 15 minutes. Strain
into a bowl pressing on the rhubarb and ginger to release the juices.
Pour the strained rhubarb-ginger syrup into a bottle or jar and
refrigerate. (Save the syrup and use as sauce over ice cream or mix
with seltzer for a refreshing drink) Allow the rhubarb pulp to cool.
Remove and discard the sliced ginger.
Preheat oven to 350 F
1 c rolled oats
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
Combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, brown sugar,
walnuts, and butter in a bowl. Work with your fingers to a crumbly
Butter a 9x9 square baking dish. Pour 3/4 of the oat mixture into the
dish and press firmly to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread the
rhubarb pulp over this and then top with the remaining 1/4 of the oat
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and then slice into squares.
Delicious summer treat.
Photo by Angela Wotton.
Conditions. Our Mailbox: Ideal
Storage Conditions and Biological Activation.
can I store the seeds before planting? Do you have Jerusalem Artichoke
seeds? How long will they store?
Sorry but we don't offer Jerusalem
Potatoes will store a long time
beginning at harvest if kept at a fairly moist and dark 38ºF. As the
storage season lengthens dormancy will wane and unless ideal storage
conditions are maintained the tubers will begin to break dormancy and
sprout. For best results - as a general rule - I would plant seed
potatoes you get from us within 3 weeks of receipt.
reports about phosphorous for several years. For some strange reason,
government sources have backtracked to now say that we have no threat
of using up all the phosphorous. I haven't bothered reading anything
about it in the past couple years assuming that my compost needs to
make available phosphorous.
not aware of a shift in government stance. My impression is Phosphorus
supply and geographical location of sources is an increasing
challenge. That said, a promising frontier is
biological activation of a farm's soil to unlock and convert existing
phosphorus to a plant-available form via biological systems. These
techniques include use of Buckwheat
Cover Crops and mycorrhizal fungi, both of which we use on
Wood Prairie Farm.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
& Megan Gerritsen
Certified Organic, Direct from the Farm