In This Issue of The
Wood Prairie Seed Piece:
|This edition of the Seed
Piece may be
found in our Wood Prairie
Seed Piece Archives.
Monhegan Island, Maine. Circa 1945.
John Faulkingham was the
lighthouse keeper at Monhegan Island Lighthouse from
1945-1951. In this painting, the children of Mr.
Faulkingham, and his wife, Eve, are bringing home a
Last Summer we spent a
picture-perfect day hiking on Monhegan Island after
having taken the ferry out from the Midcoast Maine
town of New Harbor. It’s a 45-minute ferry ride out to
Monhegan. The island has a land area of 4.5 square
miles and is home to 64 year-round-residents. There
are some inns and restaurants on the island so an
overnight stay is something you might want to consider
if you are planning a trip to Maine.
Away from the Coast, the
rest of Maine has once again become snow country. And
another storm is slated to hit Maine again right
Wherever you are, we hope
you will be able to spend a nice, quiet Holiday with
family and friends.
Stay safe and stay warm!
Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
Wood Prairie Family Farm
Tales. Great Expectations. Bridgewater, Maine.
Snow at Night.
In Maine Towns, snow plow
drivers rise and get to work in the wee hours so that
their first pass at plowing snow will be completed by
the time most of their early working neighbors need to
head out on the roads. Plow trucks are outfitted with
tire chains and two-way radios. The truck above has a
Straight Blade Plow on the front, and a Wing Plow
attached on the right side. The dump bodies are filled
with a mixture of sand & some salt added so the
sand won’t freeze into a solid clump. The heavy weight
from the sand adds substantially to road traction. By
having two plow trucks in a Town, when one gets stuck
on the ice, the other one can first load up at the
Town Sand Shed and then come to the rescue deploying a
stout tow chain.
as we might there is just no pleasing some people.
Now, it’s a fact, Northern
Maine gets a big pile of snow every Winter. It used
to be eerily predictable that we’d get our first
serious snowfall during the week of Thanksgiving.
That first real snow which would come and stay awhile
And because Mainers have to
keep on working right through the Winter, there’s a
stubborn need to move that snow out of the way. Since
necessity is the mother of invention, some smart
feller came along and invented the snowplow. Now
he could attach the plow to the front of his truck,
drink coffee and move a whole lot of snow.
In the years ever since, Maine
has assembled for itself a formidable fleet of many,
many, many thousands of operating snow plows.
Farmers and loggers connect plows to their pickups. The
State of Maine has huge dump trucks with sanding
dispensers outfitted with big plows to keep Maine
highways open. Even every small Maine Town has a couple
of hefty snowplows each, mounted onto big dump trucks in
order to keep local roads open, so that life can carry
on pretty much the same as Summer.
Come midwinter during a heavy
snow year the hardened snowbanks, created by snowplows
clearing the deposits from many storms, will grow so
large and so tall that there’s eventually no room left
for any additional snow. So, in a well-outfitted
Town like our Town of Bridgewater, this becomes the
time of year to “wing back” the snow.
‘Winging-back’ snowbanks is accomplished by the use of a
rugged ‘Wing Plow’ attached to the right side of a heavy
plow truck. Winging-back is a two-man job wherever there
are houses and mailboxes to avoid hitting. The plow
truck driver needs a partner who can tend the hydraulic
Wing controls and deftly pull back to safety the wing
whenever a tree or mailbox comes into range.
Back in the eighties, Tom was
Road Commissioner and he drove the newest plow truck. Hoot
was Tom’s hired hand and he drove the second Town
plow. This day, working as a team, Hoot sat
perched in the passenger seat of Tom’s truck, operating
the valves and winging back the snow and when necessary
pulling back the Wing to the truck side to avoid mayhem.
The day was going well. They
hadn’t obliterated any hidden mail boxes and they
hadn’t stove up the Wing against a tree or power pole.
They were making good progress opening up first one
side, then working back the other side, of our modest
All of a sudden, up ahead they
spied something odd sitting atop the snowbank. At first
they couldn’t make out what it was. Then, as they got up
close they had their aha moment and Tom promptly hit the
brakes. Somehow, someway, there was a brand new
six-pack of Beer sitting on top of that undisturbed,
pristine snowbank. Tom set the parking brake on
the idling truck, climbed down out of the cab, strided
over to the snowbank and retrieved the fortuitous
treasure trove. Clambering back into the truck, Tom
handed the six-pack over to Hoot for his inspection.
Hoot surveyed the six-pack and
then set it down on the floor between the seats. Then
they got back to work winging back the snow. And for the
rest of that afternoon crotchety Hoot groused to a
captive Tom conveying very candidly his abiding
dissatisfaction that the six-pack had only
contained 12-ounce cans. And not the 16-ounce Tall Boys
that by rights he most definitely would have preferred.
Caleb, Jim & Megan
Recipes: Christmas Cranberry Sauce.
1 T vegetable or sunflower oil
1 large Organic
Amber onion, cut into medium dice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 12 oz bag fresh or thawed frozen cranberries,
1 c granulated sugar
In a 10 inch straight-sided saute
pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the onions, cloves, a pinch of salt and a grind or two
of pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the onions are golden-brown and very
soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to
medium high, and cook the onions, stirring often, until deep
caramel-brown, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the cranberries, sugar, a pinch
of salt and 1/2 c water and bring to a simmer over
medium-high heat. Simmer for 1 minute, then cover, turn off
heat and let cool to room temperature.
This wonderful sauce may be
prepared up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
Family Farm Photos.
Driving Road Grader One Last Time.
Weeks ago the ground froze over and the snow fell.
We thought Winter had come. Then after awhile, warm rains
returned which melted our snow and thawed out the ground.
This turn of events gave Caleb and Justin one last window
to extend a bit further our underground irrigation
mainline project. Then they put that project to bed for
the year. The very final step was smoothing over Caleb
& Lizzi’s dug up front yard. The irrigation line
trench had been filled back in and a deep layer of
gravel spread on top. As seen in this photo, Caleb
then took our old-timer 1950s Caterpillar Road Grader to
put a crown onto the driveway. He finished the job by
dark. Then the ground froze over hard that night and has
remained frozen ever since. The storm bringing us snow
from the Great Lakes will get Northern Maine looking again
like Winter in no time.
Last Fall Hike Up
Aroostook County’s Haystack Mountain. It’s
not common for Northern Maine to be snow free in
mid-December. With the ground frozen hard we took
advantage of the opportunity to make the short, steep
climb up to the top of the former ancient volcano known
as Haystack Mountain. On a cold, windy day we had
the mountain to ourselves and as always, it offered a
beautiful panoramic 360-degree view up on the top.
The North Maine Woods lay to the north and west.
Katahdin was visible to the southwest. Number Nine
Mountain could be seen to the south. Potato fields and
farmer woodlots off to the east going far into Canada.
In this photo, Megan is making her way up the rocky
stair steps which trail builders have laid utilizing the
plentiful nearby rocks.
Maine’s Warm Fall
Allowed Flowers to Bloom Far into October.
In Maine it pays to keep one eye on the calendar.
The longer a mild Indian Summer lasts, the more likely
that fine weather will come to a screeching halt. In
this shot taken well into October, both the Organic
and the Organic
were displaying their rugged
hardiness and were still thriving. What snow we came to
receive around Thanksgiving was not to last. However,
this is Maine and it is December.
The snow is now
back once again. Year in, year out, Northern Maine is
one of the spots in the Lower 48 States most likely to
have snow cover every Christmas.
Quick Links to
Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
Wood Prairie Family Farm
49 Kinney Road
Bridgewater, Maine 04735
(207) 429 - 9765 / 207
(429) - 9682
Certified Organic From Farm to Mailbox