Prairie Seed Piece
May 4th, 2018
27 Issue 9
Issue of The Wood
From Snow to Mud.
First Muddy Boots Since
snow lasted late this year but when it finally melted it sure went
fast. All of a sudden the snow is gone and apparently so are
our frosty nights. As the last field snow melted we had
planned on frost seeding clover and grass into our ten-acre field of Winter
, which we planted on last year’s potato
ground immediately after the completion of harvest in early
October. To frost seed a winter grain, one gets up early in
the morning and travels with a light tractor across the field spinning
on the seed while the ground is still frozen and solid.
This quirky year
we’re having to hoof it, which amounts to good exercise and is getting
us in shape to climb Katahdin again come July. 95% of the Rye
field is dry enough to support a human walking across it.
That remaining 5% is still water-saturated low spots which not only
don’t support a farmer but by the obvious recent tracks hasn’t been
supporting deer or moose either. We are definitely in muddy
boot season now. We could be on the ground for the first time
ten days from now.
Megan Gerritsen & Family
Prairie Family Farm
Roaring Prestile Stream.
Water level is normally six feet below bridge.
Meduxnekeag River. Wet suits for trouble ahead!
|Maine Tales. Caleb’s
Wild Kayak Trips. Meduxnekeag River, Maine. Circa
With a vast Winter snow pack which
piled up deep, stayed late and then went quickly, Northern Maine
streams and rivers have been running at full capacity and then
some. Two weeks ago, in our last Wood Prairie Seed Piece,
we reported we had virtually no open field ground as of April
20. Then, the next week we had some mild days joined by heavy
show-melting rains. By Thursday, April 26, fields were
suddenly three-quarters bare of snow and area waterways were cresting
The stream which
flows through our woodlot feeds into the South Branch of Whitney Brook
and that stream has been running very full. The North Branch
– a mile north of our farm - joins up with the South Branch southwest
of Bridgewater village and passes through town as ‘Whitney
Brook.’ That Thursday, a wild and fast Whitney Brook crested
in the village just a foot below the bridge on US. Route
1. Whitney was so high it had temporarily swallowed
up the nearby Fire Pond at the beginning of Bootfoot Road, adjacent to
the bridge and the Town Office. Twenty-four hours later,
Whitney Brook had dropped down two feet from its peak.
Prestile Stream, a
bigger watershed which drains northeast Bridgewater and much of Blaine,
Mars Hill and Easton townships, joins up with Whitney Brook near the
USA/Canada border at the newly fortified Bridgewater Border
crossing. From there, the Prestile crosses into Canada and
joins up with the St. John River which eventually flows into the Bay of
Fundy at the city of St. John, New Brunswick.
Caleb took the first
video of the roaring Prestile Stream (0:15) in
Robinsons on Thursday April 26 at peak flow. Robinsons is a
small potato farming village within the Town of Blaine, eight miles
from Wood Prairie Family Farm. For most of the year the water
flows gently over the concrete dam. Caleb and his adventurous
friends had to put in their kayaks downstream of the bridge in the
video because in their kayaks they couldn’t fit under the
bridge. Normally it takes two hours to kayak downstream from
the Robinsons dam to the bridge by the Border. This time
around the same trip in high & fast water took thirty minutes.
On Saturday, April
28, the boys went kayaking down the Meduxnekeag River after additional
heavy rains Friday night. The Meduxnekeag is the next
watershed south of our Whitney Brook watershed. The
Meduxnekeag River is also the location of a major regional canoe race
scheduled for the first Saturday in May, after the high water flow has
settled down some. The route the boys took overlapped about
two-thirds with the Meduxnekeag canoe race route.
As you will see in this bracing second
video – taken with a Go-Pro-helmet-camera mounted atop Caleb’s head as
they kayaked the choppy Meduxnekeag (2:04) – the
boys hit rough water and soon all kayaks had
the river water was frigid, in the mid-to-low 30sF. Within
ten seconds of immersion, even with thigh-length wetsuits on, it was
difficult for them to keep limbs functioning. They had to
swim out of the current, hold tight onto their paddles and submerged
kayaks and then claw their way back onto solid ground. The
river was deep enough that they never touched bottom.
In the end, no worse for wear and young
and resilient, the boys warmed up, got back into their kayaks and
completed their river run as planned. Today, we heard on the
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio that there is flooding
going on now downstream on the St. John River between Fredericton and
St. John. One resident who was interviewed
characterized this week as the worst flooding he has experienced in 40
years of living along the St. John River.
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All-Blue. Fun old-time heirloom potato great for Potato
|Beautiful Potato Diversity.
|Notable Quotes: Edmund Burke
2 1/2 lbs parsnips,
peeled, cut into 3x1/2 strips
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
1 large garlic
3 T olive oil
, freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Preheat oven to 450 F. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil
on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to
coat. Spread in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over.
Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender
and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from
rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp
cumin over. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Megan & Angie
Roasted Parsnip Fries.
by Angela Wotton.
|Wood Prairie Farm Quick
Caleb & Jim
& Megan Gerritsen
Prairie Family Farm
429 - 9765
Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox