The Wood Prairie Seed Piece
            Organic News and Commentary
               Friday, October 20th 2017
                     Volume 25 Issue 16


 In This Issue of The Wood Prairie Seed Piece:

 Maine Tales.                       B & A Railroad.                 Houlton, Maine Circa 1893.

 "The B & A Railroad Reaches Houlton!"

     Reprint of an article from the Aroostook Times, December 16, 1893:

     "At 1pm, on Saturday, the 16th, the track of the great Bangor and Aroostook Railroad reached Houlton, and a locomotive in charge of General Manager Cram entered the town in the midst of a blinding snow storm.  The occasion was one of great rejoicing, and notwithstanding the cold and disagreeable weather, was celebrated by the ringing of church bells, the firing of cannon and the blowing of steam whistles.

     There was a large crowd of persons assembled at the station to welcome the first train to arrive, which was drawn by the new locomotive, No. 16.  Houlton is now connected with the rest of the country by the direct line over its own soil, and our people have reason to rejoice at the railroad facilities they are to have in the future, largely due to the persistent and untiring labors of General Manager Cram and President Burleigh, who have accomplished so much toward bringing the much desired railroad into this country.  Now, “On to Caribou,” is the watchword.

     Cheer after cheer greeted the new and long looked for arrival of the first train into Houlton of the B & A Railroad.  The shrill whistle of the locomotive responded immediately, as though it were glad to meet so many of our citizens on its first appearance in our town.

     It was a fine spectacle to see No. 16, the last engine received by the B & A Railway company, standing there in front of the depot and the crowd surrounding it as though it had performed some heroic deed, and to hear it puffing and panting, as though to announce the fact that it had been triumphant in
overcoming all obstacles and had, at last, been successful in reaching Houlton.

     Everyone felt like shaking hands with each of the workmen 
and congratulating them upon the excellent progress made
during the past few months.

      This road is being built so that it will be perfect in every particular.

     The passenger cars of this line are fitted with all modern conveniences and all of the rolling stock will be of the very best obtainable, while the rails
are the heaviest and best that have, as yet, been introduced into our State.

     No expense has been spared in the construction of the road, to make it perfectly safe and first class in every respect, yet all attention has been directed towards obtaining the greatest speed in transit.

     The distance already covered by the road from Brownville to Houlton is 94 1/2 miles, 144 from Bangor.  This will not only be a more pleasant but a far shorter route for travel from Aroostook to the sister towns of our State, than heretofore enjoyed.

     It has been interesting to watch the proceedings of the track layers.  A crew first would clean the way for the sleepers, then would follow a crew who would pick out and lay the sleepers, at proper distances apart, while behind them and on either side of the track would be the track layers, who would pick up rails, 30 feet long and weighing 70 pounds to the yard, as though they were mere pieces of wood and with a shout, rush forward with them dropping them into the required place, when a few spikes would be driven just a sufficient to hold the rail in place, and away they would go with the next one, which would be disposed of in a similar manner, scarcely allowing time for the spikers to complete their work, before the engine and cars would run forward to supply more rails to the track layers leaving the further completion of the work to the care of still another crew who would bolt the rails together and drive more spikes rendering the road comparatively safe for the loaded trains which would follow with still more rails.  Everything has been done with despatch, and yet not the slightest necessity has been overlooked. The buildings at the yards in this town, have been completed and ready for the reception of the trains for sometime, and even the buildings show the marked completeness which is distinguished in every portion of the work undertaken by the B & A RR CCo.

     The depot is a model of neatness and convenience, being finished very attractively on the inside entirely in native woods. 
     Of course, as in almost every such great undertaking, hindrances have been encountered, but, on the whole, the progress of the work has been satisfactory and much credit is due to the enterprising manner in which the officials of the road have entered upon the construction of this “finest railroad in Maine.” Hurrah for the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad!"

 Caleb, Jim & Megan Gerritsen & Family
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 Bridgewater, Maine
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Aroostook County Children Picking Potatoes. Photo by documentary photographer Jack Delano, September 1940.

Don't Miss This Exhaustive Potato Chronology.

     Written by Richard E. Tucker in September 2013, his Potato Chronology is a fascinating historical resource for every one of us interested in the humble spud.

     Mr. Tucker’s family has long been involved in potatoes and his content has a New York bent.  It’s scholarly use of heavy footnoting adds to its research value and yet the work remains interesting and eminently readable.

“A Potato Chronology is an attempt at a history of potatoes in what is perhaps a new way to do history. It is a simple listing of facts and factoids about potatoes arranged in the manner of an historical timeline limited to one line per entry. Information is constantly being gleaned from primary and secondary sources, including web-
based sources.  Citations are included for all entries so that those interested can conduct further research on their own…

Cultivation of crops begins in Nanchoc Valley of northern Peru
8000 BP
Aymar á Indians of Peru and Bolivia harvest early forms of potato tubers
8000 BP
Aymar á Indians of the Titicaca Plateau, Peru and Bolivia, cultivate 200 varieties of potato
2500 BC”

This obvious labor of love is a welcome discovery and we think deserves a place on every Farmer’s Bookshelf.  Thank you, Mr. Tucker.

Caleb, Jim & Megan

Click Here for our Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.
Notable Quotes: Albert Einstein on Questioning.

Recipe: Banana Carrot Cake.

2 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
3/4 c finely chopped walnuts
4 oz unsalted butter
1/2 c dried dates, seeded and finely chopped
3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 1/2 c grated carrots (about 3 medium)
handful of raisins
handful of coconut flakes
1/2 c plain yogurt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5x3 or 8x8 cake pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit. In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Whisk in the yogurt and eggs. Add the flour mixture, raisins and coconut flakes and stir until everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 - 60 minutes (depending on pan used) or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake. Remove from oven and let cool. Frost with your favorite icing if desired.


Banana Carrot Cake.
Photo by Angela Wotton.

 Caleb & Jim & Megan Gerritsen
 Wood Prairie Family Farm
 49 Kinney Road
 Bridgewater, Maine 04735
 (207) 429 - 9765 Certified Organic, From Farm to Mailbox