Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Reason to Live and a Reason To Grow

To Trust.  

Life happens and it's good.  Updating you all on what has been going on.There has been a lot on my mind and I am finally writing some things down to you. 
First, to recap a bit.  Craig was back home from working in Afghanistan and we took some time for a vacation. The end of the vacation we went to Maine.  Staying in the woods at Foxgreen Farm was too short and just as much fun as ever.

To Hope.

The Sea Buckthorn field was mowed releasing the plants from the overgrown grass. They are doing very well.  After one year, nearly every one of them is growing.  The ones I mistakenly cut with the sickle bar mower are growing from their base, as I predicted.  The other plants- serviceberry, plum, apple, pear, peach, cherry, elderberry, and hazelnut are all doing well too!  All of these plants were planted last year and, like the old saying goes, first year they sleep, second year they creep, and third year they leap. That seems to be what is happening.  The plants are healthy and the growth is strong but not leaping quite yet.  The plants are smiling at us and we are smiling right back at them!

To Care.

Craig has gone back to Afghanistan.  Every night after he left and every day since I am so glad we had the time together and with our families.  I know we'll always be what is in our heart.  Stay safe buddy!  

We recently received a letter and I would like to share.  The Seaberry experiment is gradually expanding and the letters and response is a good way to show you the ways it is moving. (edited)

Hello Craig, 
Boy am I happy to discover this little green gem in Maine! I love your attitude and ideas man! I'd like to come out for the remainder of warm season at the very least, I just have some questions for you.. First off my name is Al, I'm 34, single male. Been living the suburban life in southern California for the last 20 years and I am just itching to get out of here and into a rural Eco village setting where so can live true to my inherent values (earth care, people care, fair share) in harmony with nature and like minded neighbors. I am not religious, maybe spiritual.. Deep thinker, writer, musician, artist.. And I just love permaculture more than anything. 

So please get in touch with me to discuss moving me out to your Eco village. I know I will be a great asset to the group. I don't know how I feel about the winters there, but perhaps I'll "warm up" to the idea ha 

Hi Al,
Tom here. Craig is back in Afghanistan.  I try my best to convince him to stay home each time he is back in the States, but so far, no luck :(,  That is selfish on my part, he does some great work over there and certainly there are many people who have a better life because of him.  I know he saw your post but I don't think he has responded to you, so I will try.
First, you are right, it is a gem.  So much potential and the permaculture experience is very attractive and definitely trending upward.  There are so many good reasons and they range from just living more economically, to providing local food for the local population, to a very real and essential component of national security.  What's that last one, you might say?  We have seen all over the world both man-made and natural events which have disrupted normal supply lines.  We believe this country, in particular, is very vulnerable to those supply disruptions since so much of our food is centralized and factory farmed.  Kinda scary that as little as a three day disruption in the supply chain would result in empty supermarket shelves.   Then what?  Could be an ugly scenario.  
So where are we now?  Well we are still working hard to get thing rolling faster and faster.  There are so many t's to cross and i's to dot.  Insurance, community buildings, etc and these things take some time and money.  Honestly between the two of us the investment has been well over six figures and that's a good thing. There is still more to do to get the basics or foundation of the project solid.  For example, after 14 years of paying insurance premiums and never filing a claim, the insurance company has declined to renew.  We are working on getting another one and we will.  The first community building is getting a roof soon and that is going to be a huge boost to the project.  If you haven't read through a bunch of posts on the blog, I encourage you to do so.  At minimum, you'll get a better sense of what's there and our focus on what we call Agro-Ecology and Seabuckthorn farming.  By no means is the intent to box in the future possibilities to what has been worked on so far.  The sky is the limit and a dynamic, integrated, and diverse farm and especially community of friends, of farming, and of fun.  
Thanks Al and the very best to you. ---Tom

Thursday, July 3, 2014

When I'm Dreaming Yes I know I'm Gonna Dream

The sailing adventure is over for now.  We had the time to enjoy nature, family and each other all while having some of the best adventures we could not have anticipated or planned.
This weekend I will be able to get back to the farm in Maine and I will update you all on the progress of the sea buckthorn orchard out there in the wilderness.   Hopefully soon we will be able to focus more intently and share even more.

In the meantime I have found a few articles which may be of interest.  Most are rather scientific but I encourage you to skim them and see what some of the scientists around the world have been interested in.  Research into the minutia of every aspect of Hippophae rhamoides is widespread and growing.  If you are reading this blog that must not surprise you.  Photos and updates of the orchard to be posted very soon.  Thanks for reading.

Click the titles below for the full text of the articles.........

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Update to the Sailing Adventure of Fartbox and Sea Buckthorn Sailing

An update to everyone here at Foxgreen Farms. The sailing trip was cut a bit short but we are still on the water. Sailing from Block Island to the Cape Cod canal we lost the rudder while the wind was at our back under full sail. Some quick action bringing the sails down to prevent the boat from being blown over (no steering) and we were safe. Even so we were dead in the water. Engine worked but useless without steerage. With life vests on and help from the Coast Guard and Safe Sea we were towed about 7 miles back into shore and are now moored back in Newport RI. Luckily we have some wonderful friends there to help and the sailing will continue local to Newport over the next week. This has been the best time of my life even with the setbacks. The #1 great thing is being with my best buddy during these experiences and his children will be joining us shortly. For those of you who might be expecting updates on Agro-Ecology and Sea Buckthorn, they will resume shortly


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Seabuckthorn and the Seven Seas -

A short note to followers of the blog.  Craig and I are embarking on a dream-come-true adventure and will be sailing a 30 foot sailboat for the next few weeks.  So for a short time any seed orders will be filled in the first week of July.
Craig at the helm
Also I am going to post, hopefully some interesting photos etc of our trip in the Atlantic waters of New England.
Jametown Bay Rhode Island

Monday, June 9, 2014

50% off Sale Ends Tomorrow

Almost over! 50% off Sale 
Send us a message through FACEBOOK and we will invoice you the 50% off price. Easy!

Yellowhorn Plants - 

6-12", Grown one year as a seedling and one year as a transplant in field. Bareroot shipped. Free Shipping 50% discount off of regular price on --Total 10 plants- price including shipping $45.00

Siberian Pea Shrub - 

6-12", Grown Two years as a seedling and one year as a transplant in field. Bareroot shipped.- - Total Price - 10 plants- including shipping $62.00

Monday, June 2, 2014

Be Happy! Eat Sea Buckthorn

Be Happy, Eat Sea Buckthon, Russian Scientists Say

Russian chemists have developed a method for extracting high concentrations of the "happiness hormone" serotonin from the sea buckthorn plant, the tranches of which are usually discarded debris during its harvest.

"The bark of sea buckthorn contains lots of serotonin--a thousand times more than bananas or chocolate--but the problem is that sea buckthorn bark is not as much fun to chew as a banana or chocolate." said Oleg Lomovsky, the deputy research director at the Institute of Solid State and Mechanical Chemistry in Novosibirsk.

While serotonin is popularly known as a "happiness hormone", it can also be used as a natural preservative to keep flowers or leafy vegetables fresh for up to three to five times longer, Lomovsky said.

Artificially produced serotonin is too expensive to be used to keep salad greens fresh, but its natural counterpart derived from sea buckthorn would be cheaper and safer for human health.

Interesting?  Yes.  I couldn't verify the specific researcher or study but here is a very interesting one done in Romania in 2007.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Now our Dreams are Coming True

Sea Buckthorn Orchard in Maine

Lupines before budding taken same time as other photos
Exactly a year ago about 500 genetically diverse (propagated from seed) were planted in Seboeis Plantation Maine.  The plants were 2 years old at the time they were set into the field.  They did well last summer and experienced one of the coldest, snowiest winters in years here in Maine.  The field of plants had over 5 feet of snow at times.  This could have been a plus to protect the plants from winter desiccation and moose browse.  It also could have increased the amount of branch dieback and rodent damage under the snow. There is evidence of all of this but overall, things are good.  There are a few seemingly dead plants, not many.  They may do ok afterall sprouting from the base, some are doing just that.  I have about 25 healed in from last year and can fill in where some have given up to the ghost.
some good growth here with winter branch die back

I have some pruning to do

Notice in these pictures the variation of thorn types

This picture and the next are of the same plant.  There is damage from either moose or rodents on the bark.  the plant is dead above the damage

Same plant with vigorous sprouts below the animal damage

A few of the plants are flowering.  Here is a male flowering.
Female Sea Buckthorn blooming in Maine field.

More spring growth, looking healthy

Again, different thorn morphology between different genetic makeups

Looking carefully for female flowers, haven't seen any yet.  May not happen this year. 

Future Sea Buckthorn tea leaves this year?

Other plants at Foxgreen Farm:

The ongoing goal Craig and I have here in the wilds of Maine is a vibrant agro-ecolological farm.  This is so important to us and we think, the world.  There is a growing movement to decentralize food and fuel production, returning it to a self or community sufficiency model.  One where perennial food production is the foundation for the future.  Economics and community play a role.  Relying on huge annual crop production with its massive input of fertilizers and pesticides is a mining operation and has limits.  Failure of that model would be catastrophic so attempts at alternatives, even in our own small, individual way is important.  More and more of these efforts are happening.   They are as variable as nature itself.  I recently read about some farms which are helping veterans be farmers.  Here in Maine and across the country many veterans coming home are from rural areas and the environment of the farm is a good one.  Especially if the longest wars in US history have created an uncomfortable paradigm, creating challenges to becoming comfortable being home again.  Oh yes, some of the other plants......
The apple trees are doing excellent, not damaged by browsing animals

Moose seem to like pears trees the best :-(  This may not make it.

Plums doing ok

A couple of the Saskatoon Berries are blooming.

There were 100 of these planted last year.  Most survived

Craig at Foxgreen Farm - Soon to be returning from Afghanistan. 
Me before the black flies carried me off. :-)
As, I think most farmers know, diversification is important to survival.  Craig, while working in Afghanistan (I don't know how he does it all) has started a fantastic coffee company.  So we are working on that together too.  It has been a huge success among the men and women serving over there.  Good coffee together with some good humor is a magic combination in a dangerous place.  US sales have been pretty good too.  The soldiers have been sending coffee to friends and and family here back home.
Ok, Fartbox may not be the most conventional name for a coffee company, but it is memorable.  The sailing theme may be a mystery to you but that will change soon too.  Support the farm, and keep the coffee coming to as many soldiers as possible in Afghanistan.  or click the logo on the top right of this page.  Craig and I thank you.  

About Us

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Craig and Tom have become soul-mates of sorts and will be engaged for a long time connecting the wilderness, ourselves, and others in a new pre-oil agroecology. We promise, as we build this newer way of living, to experiment and explore, share and invite, smile and embrace, and support each other, the land, and we invite you to come along with us. Good people, gardens, nature, wilderness, exploration, sailing and art are all #1 with us. "If you want to sing out, sing out. If you want to be free, be free." Learn something new everyday and life is good.