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Friday, July 24, 2009

Contemplating Compost

I thought of titling this: A Shameless Plug for the Naturemill Composter. As part of our Community Garden grant through Healthy Acadia and MDI YMCA, we purchased an indoor composter. I did a lot of research before hand. This HAD to be too good to be true. An indoor composter that took kitchen scraps, including meat and dairy, only used $0.50 worth of electricity a month, and spit out fresh compost every two weeks. Nah. Couldn't be. But then I read reviews and consumer responses. Barring a little occasional jamming, apparently this wasn't a hoax. So, I put in for one when I wrote the garden grant. Since school was ending when we received the Naturemill, I brought it home with us to read the guide and try it out. In went the first batch of soil (to add the beneficial microbes) from my garden, compostable materials like tea leaves, greens and bread, saw dust, and baking soda (an alkalyzer that cuts down on smell and acidity).
The thing turns on its own, rotating with a low whirring noise every few hours. We keep it under the cabinet and barely notice the noise.

And, two weeks later. No kidding. This is truly what came out. It's amazing stuff, really. No bad smells, great color and texture, no recognizable 'chunks'. I think I will have to take a photo of my long term composter bins out back for a comparison. They are currently filled with straw and three years after installation, I can't say that there's a lot of this rich looking earth coming out!

The Secret Life of Teachers: Part III

I wish I could say that I can build houses, or put in windows and doors, or shingle. I suppose I COULD do those things, but let's just say I'm not naturally gifted like my husband when it comes to such endeavors. Instead, I grow things. A no-brainer, I know, but I love it. Perhaps it's because it IS such a no-brainer that I love it so much, since I'm so cerebral by nature. Digging in the dirt helps me balance out, and I really believe the research that shows how gardening helps reduce stress. I'm not much for manicures, anyway!

Peas are delicious this year. Sugar snap all the way, baby. Sauteed lightly with some fresh garlic from the garden...a real hit with my guys.

Umm, are potatoes supposed to look like this? I'm a little startled by the growth. Preeeetty sure I overdid it on this front. But my mom was digging around down there and pulled out my first red skinned variety, so they're producing despite the forest I've created.

I can't WAIT until I get this corn. It's a tricolor sweet variety. I've never had any luck with corn because of raccoons who seem to sense the day you plan to pick and strip everything clean the night before. My measley little rows might not be 'thigh high by July' but I think I might just have corn this year.

Oh...I just have to say....I do paint. I painted the kitchen, the new addition wall, and all the outside trim. Again, a talentless feat, but I'm not a total wash!

The Secret Life of Teachers: Part II

If you ever find yourself wondering what teachers do with all their leisure time in the summer...They work. Many have jobs in the summer to supplement their income. Though we do not have official 'jobs', this is what my husband, Doug, does. He renovates. Intensely. What you can't see in these pictures are the ten days of shoring up the house that he did since the previous owner was apparently not very forward thinking and built the addition on bare ground (with no weatherproofing or footings of any kind...nice, huh?).

This is Doug with his brother, Michael, who has been staying with us for a month. Michael has been an invaluable help. He is strong as an ox, has great attention to detail, and doesn't let Diabetes or Down Syndrome stop him from fully engaging in everything life has to offer (well, perhaps not cheesecake....)

When I come outside and see what my husband has done to beautify and overall better our house and the surrounding land and barn, it really brings tears to my eyes.'s like a brand new house...and that's saying a lot since it was built 150 years ago.

See those windows? Those french doors? Yeah, he rebuilt both walls and put those in. The french doors he redid twice. Helps to be a little on the anal side when it comes to installing french doors, apparently. It also helps to have a house that was built in the 1900's with actual 2 x 4's following a distict pattern, but hey!
He did this front part in a day. And no, I don't rent him out...he's all mine!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Secret Life of Teachers

Sooo, I can't help myself. Have to send a little update. The secret life of teachers is that they have none. I jokes. As school let out, we headed to Baxter State Park with two friends and their twin boys. Backpacking up to Chimney Pond, fording 'Dry Creek', the guys summitting Baxter Peak in 60 mph winds and driving rain...quite an adventure. I, ahem, was tucked nicely next to the woodstove in the bunkhouse, chatting with my friend Tiff. I'll have to post some pics of the trip later. But for today, here's what Doug, his dad and brother finished during their two day visit to Frenchboro. The handpump is in. NOT THAT IT IS NEEDED! The garden AKA the duck pond has been saturated with rain for weeks. Wet, wet and more wet. Sigh, I suppose it's better than drought. Hope everyone is having a terrific summer!