April 30th, 2021
Volume 30 Issue 5
In This Issue of The
Wood Prairie Seed
Time Left for Planting Everywhere!
Mail Delivery, Stacyville, Maine. Circa 1894.
Beginning in 1890, the Post Office creed, “Neither
snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these
couriers from the swift completion of their appointed
rounds” was extended to a part of the vast Maine
wilderness. The new coverage extended to the area
located east of what was to become Maine’s
200,000-acre Baxter State Park and the now
five-year-old Katahdin Woods and Waters National
Monument 70 miles southwest of our farm. This story is
shared by local historian Eric Hendrickson.
|"How important were these locations in
the wilderness? It may be hard to believe
but there was daily mail delivered to the
Hunt Farm and Lunksoos by 1890 and to City
Camp deep in the heart of the Wassataquoik
Valley. It was delivered by horse and wagon.
The trip would start in Stacyville moving
onto Tracy Farm at the entrance to the
wilderness then on to Hunt Farm and
Lunksoos. At Lunksoos they would ford the
river and follow the road constructed in
1841 up along the edge of the Wassataquoik
Stream to City Camp located near Russell
Pond. City Camp was the main depot for the
upper valley. The mail was delivered by
wagon pulled by one horse. The wagon had to
be light enough to allow the driver to lift
it when it got stuck or had to go over a
large boulder. The photo was taken by Lucius
Merrill dated September 31, 1894 the only
problem is that September only has 30 days."
Here on Wood Prairie Family
Farm that same Post Office System still handles the
majority of our parcels. Winter is shifting over to
Spring, the farming season lies just ahead and we
remain busy shipping orders daily all across the
United States. All across the USA there is still
lots of time left for planting a garden. Right
on target we experienced the beginning of the winding
from our peak shipping season ten days ago. However,
we do continue to ship our Seed Potatoes steadily
until the 4th of July. We are now caught up and
provide very fast turnaround on new orders.
We continue to have
excellent supplies of most varieties of all Organic
Seeds including Organic
Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, Organic
Vegetable Seed, Organic
Herb Seed, Organic
Flower Seed and Organic Cover
We have placed some top-selling Special items On-Sale.
Do enjoy these savings and all the best with this
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Offer: Welcome to Our Wood Prairie Sale!
|Wood Prairie Family
Getting Ready for
Next Winter on Wood Prairie Family Farm. In Maine, before one
Winter ends we start getting ready for the next one.
In this photo taken right before mud season we brought in a
load of 8.2 cords of 'second-growth' (small diameter logs)
‘tree length’ hardwood firewood logs. The logs are
being carefully and masterfully unloaded from a 'pulp
truck' outfitted with its own hydraulic grapple loader.
Out-of-view and working the loader, perched in a seat high
atop the truck cab, is independent owner-operator Joe Ledger
of North Amity. In Maine, a cord (128 cubic feet
'tightly stacked' or 4'x4'x8') of wood is also legally and
practically defined as 5000 pounds of wood. So the
truck stop weigh scale ticket indicated this load in fact
weighed 41,000#. We’ll cut up and split this pile of
firewood and it will last us a couple of Winters.
Loading Potatoes Headed Southbound. When
you’re in Maine virtually everything outbound is headed
south. Here, Caleb loads a pallet of organic potatoes
onto New England-based LTL ('Less than a truckload') common
carrier 'Ross Express.' Skilled at logistics and execution,
'Ross' promises overnight delivery throughout New England
which is quite the feat since Northern Maine is a full ten
hour's drive time from Connecticut. The labor
situation was tight in New England before Covid and remains
tight now. 'Ross' finds itself short on both truck
drivers and warehouse workers. Help Wanted ads have
elicited scant response despite starting wages of
$20+/hour. Another LTL trucking company we loaded the
day prior had just hired a new driver the day after he
graduated from driving school. Gone are the days of
being able to demand one-year's driving experience as a
hiring prerequisite for truckers. Unfortunately, this new
hire backed his big truck into a parked car on his second
day of work. That mishap allowed him the opportunity
to seek gainful employment elsewhere.
Filling the Fedex Truck at Wood Prairie.
Caleb's sister, Amy, while helping out in the packing room,
took this photo this Spring. Here, Jeremy, our Fedex Ground
driver for the past couple of years cheerfully and reliably
transfers parcels from our loading dock onto his truck. These
packages are scanned and entered into an efficient,
water-tight logistics system. Parcels will
arrive at the New England Fedex sort hub outside Hartford CT
- almost 500 miles away - by first light the next
morning. Halfway through this Spring the regional
Fedex manager began to send in a second truck so Fedex could
better handle the weight of our outbound organic Maine
Certified Seed Potato parcels.
The Winds Pick Up in Northern Maine.
After a few decades of the doldrums, recent Marches have
re-emerged as the windy-season. Blowing snow and
whiteout conditions have characterized Marches of
late. These events include rare but occasional
closures of north/south U.S. Route 1 in Bridgewater due to
strong westerly winds following snowstorms which has caused
zero visibility and multiple vehicle accidents. There
was one recent day the winds blew particularly strong all
day long. It blew hard enough in the
afternoon to topple a sound 15" Poplar tree eastward from
our woodlot, effectively blocking Kinney Road. In this
shot, Caleb is working with our New Holland skidsteer
loader to saw up into firewood and clear the fallen
tree. Thirty-five years ago a friend was limbing a
tree sans hardhat. His chainsaw kicked back gashing his
forehead. The doctor said another quarter-inch and he would
have been finished. He began wearing a hardhat - with a hard
bill - when chain sawing. Learning from our friend's
experience, so did we. Plus Kevlar saw chaps.
April Snow Leaves As Fast As It Comes.
Unlike western Massachusetts and New Hampshire’s White
Mountains - which got 8" of snow from last week’s storm - we
received just a few inches and that quickly melted even
though the temperatures hovered in the 30s for several
days. The birds are now singing, frogs are croaking,
grass is greening pastures and those are sure signs of
Spring. Fields and forest covered with snow
did not freeze up here this past Winter and that sped
along Spring drying. The lack of ground frost in combination
with earlier warm temperatures leaves us well ahead of where
we normally are and this year qualifies as an early
Spring. This photo is looking southeast from the yard
towards our cow 'tarp barn.' Caleb is on a mission to move
something or other with our massive old-timer Michigan
Northern Maine’s Last Snowfall of the Year?
It's a very rare April when we don't get snow.
Will last week's two-inch accumulation represent Winter's
end? On the other hand, we thought as much last year
with a 14" snowfall on April 10 and another 8" on the
22nd. But then after the calendar page turned we were
a bit surprised to receive a final 10" snow on May
9. Here, Amy finds her Ford Ranger pickup truck
coated with last week's snowfall. Amy opted for the
colorful 'Maine Agriculture’ License Plates.
Established in 2007, this Maine opt-in program dedicates $10
annually from each vehicle registration into a special fund
which promotes Agriculture-in-the-Classroom education.
Thanks to this fund, half of Maine's 180,000 school kids
every year receive lessons teaching them about the
importance of agriculture in the State of Maine and beyond.
Dreary Day for Spring Cleanup on Wood Prairie Family
Farm. Scrap metal prices have
been in the gutter for the past six years so there hasn't
been much incentive to haul metal junk to the scrap yard.
While the USA struggled through the Great Recession in 2008,
much of the rest of the world was still booming,
especially China. With high demand scrap prices back
then were 3x where they are today. Metal junk and
broken equipment tend to accumulate on a farm and this was
the Spring to clean up. So recently on a gray
and dreary day hovering in the low 30s - alternating between
big fat snowflakes and cold rain - Caleb loaded up our
trailer with the first of two 4-ton loads of scrap metal for
recyclers. Meanwhile. one-year-old Australian Shepherd
‘Oakley’ demonstrates he has successfully trained local
humans to throw sticks. He has finally authenticated
that while slow-witted we are at least good for something.
Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox