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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.  http://www.fartboxcoffee.com/  or click the logo on the top right of this page.  Craig and I thank you.  

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