You’re an artist?

•July 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

For five days at the cabin earlier this month, I watched Kevin make watercolors of trout, using a calendar as reference. I loved watching the fish change each day. It is such a peaceful process, and with the ever-present sound of the creek rumbling below, it’s meditative. And though I’ve been watching him paint and draw for some 30 years, I never get tired of it.

painting fish 1

trout painting

It’s funny to watch how the general public responds to artists.

The number one response upon finding out that a person is an artist is this:

“Oh, you’re an artist??? I can’t draw ANYTHING!”

They usually go on and on about it, denigrating any ability or talent they might have.

And I wonder….

Do they say that to their chiropractor? Plumber? Accountant? Landscape architect? Broker? Dentist?

Come on.

But we know that the difference with art is that we all once were artists. As children, we all knew how to create and easily identified with that. But it doesn’t take long for mother culture to grab us and shake it out.

Unfortunate. How wonderful would the world be if more people considered their creative thoughts as art? We know that creativity is part of being human – we all spark creative thoughts all day long without trying.

I think I’ll work on staying comfortable with the idea that I’m an artist, too.

trout2

painting on porch

devil’s guts

•July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

…is just one of the folk names for the invasive dodder (cuscuta) – a parasitic plant that is slinking up and down local marshes. These are in Claiborne’s marsh, and just look like trouble. That’s probably why they also call it pulldown, strangleweed and witch’s hair.

The good news is that there’s a plan afoot to find funding for restoration of this critically important marsh. Stay tuned on that. If you see this kind of plant and can reach it, it wouldn’t hurt to grab it (especially before it produces seed) and try to pull as much of it off the host plant as you can. What a tangled mess it weaves.

 

#local for lunch

•July 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Finally! During the past few weeks, our only lonely crab pot yielded an occasional soft crab (think they slip in there to hide) and Kevin immediately took those out fishing, turning one crab into several rockfish or a pile of perch. The fish heads and tails and innards go back into the crab pot, and the cycle starts again.

I was delighted to find 3 fat hard crabs in the pot this morning, so – hey, that’s what’s for lunch on this perfect July Friday afternoon. Old Bay, a knife, and a board for cleaning – all set up on the porch. Nice!

Thank you, Maryland Blue Crabs, Harris Creek, Choptank River, Chesapeake Bay!

crabs for lunch

walk to Kool Kup?

•July 23, 2014 • 1 Comment

It may have been over ten years ago when the Kool Kup was sold and renamed ‘Melody’s Kold Kup,’ but it’ll always be the ‘Kool Kup’ to us.

It’s not really about the food or the ice cream. It’s totally about the walk and the fact that there’s somewhere to walk to, when we’re hanging out at the cabin on Fishing Creek near Orangeville, PA. Every drop of water in this creek finds its way to the Chesapeake Bay, eventually, if not evaporated…or drunk by a deer, or splashed up on the rocks by kayakers, or accidentally swallowed by a swimmer, or taken up by tree roots, or, or, or…

We’ve been taking this walk for 24 years, which makes it that much more fun, that much more delicious, and that much more meaningful, on Fishing Creek. Plus, they understand exactly how much KG likes the extra malt in his chocolate malt with extra malt. Simple pleasures.

Come on along for this one. Sunday, July 20th, 2014.

walking to kool kup

walking

kool kup

zip at koolkup

cabin from lane

#Sultana at dusk

•July 22, 2014 • 2 Comments

Looming large over the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the schooner Sultana was spied in St. Michaels harbor last week. Sultana offers hands-on education programs about Bay heritage and the environment to thousands of kids and adults each year.

sultana 2014

bow fishing for ‘doubleheads’

•July 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We watched a boat of bow fishermen yesterday on the Miles River – fishing for “doubleheads” – cow nosed rays. We didn’t see any action, but we did see a lot of rays out on the water.

These fishermen might be the only predators for the rays since the shark population decreased. Rays are voracious eaters and feed mainly on shellfish and oysters. Their black fins rise out of the water as they swim, and they’re easily mistaken for sharks. Here’s a little more information about the rays.

bowfishing

 

More than a barn lost at Pot Pie Farm

•July 12, 2014 • 5 Comments

The barn at Pot Pie Farm burned to the ground some ten days ago.

pot pie barn burning

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I started – and stopped – this post a hundred times since. Ach…

Nobody was in the barn when it went; comfort, but not enough, to the people that knew it and loved it. The Yonkers and their family are heartbroken, as is Carol Bean, who earns her income from working that small organic farm, and her husband who’s worked every inch of it. The Beggins family, who raised their daughters there, are deeply saddened.

Hundreds of people are struck by this loss. Neighbors, friends, the FRESHFARM community.

See, the barn at Pot Pie Farm was more than an old historic barn. It was the heart of that place. Its identity was so strong, it was almost a person.

We lost a friend.

The barn was a meeting place, common ground, where many of us in this rural neck go in good  times and in bad, in winter, spring, summer and fall to experience local foods. Annual November bonfires, spring planting, summer picnics, St. Michaels FRESHFARM market fundraisers, pig roasts, egg packing and the home of Carol’s CSA. Thursdays, CSA shareholders trickle in and out, arriving to share the bounty (and now the loss) of the small operation.

How many times did that barn hold us in our dark days, and buoy us in our delights? A meeting place, yes, and a place of possibility, a neutral ground, a place in the fresh air where everyone felt connected to nature, to the Bay, to the fertile ground, to local food.

How many fantastic conversations were had in there – every subject in the world covered, sitting at a table cutting microgreens, or relaxing with foodie magazines, or at potluck dinners, meeting new friends and neighbors? Recipe sharing, pickle and jam making, watermelon and tomato juicing and that fabulous green garlic radish butter making – all whirled together in a whooshing memory of place.

That place embodied a solid sense of place unlike any other place I know.

Chickens, clucking in and out. Barn swallows, swooping to their nests in the rafters. Mia the dog, sound asleep, then trotting fast to hurl herself at your thighs in greeting. The luxurious apartment on the second floor with the best view ever. That well equipped kitchen, where we’d chop and chat and cook and create. That long bench and side tables, filled with every kind of deliciousness over countless potluck suppers. The photos lining the walls of the stairway, of the old farmer walking his livestock down the long lane, of the barn decades ago, and the people inhabiting the farm over time. Our local history was captured in those wooden boards.

I recall laughing, sweating, working, eating, reading, playing and weeping there. I never did play ping pong, but I certainly helped load and unload that table countless times – with pies, eggs, pots and flowers, hot dishes and cold.

The place was an equalizer. Everyone belonged there.

The best place EVER to read seed catalogs…to commiserate…to busy oneself away from one’s own problems…

Ach, the old corncrib, home to generations of baby chicks and ducks.

Ay, the shed, packed with all the implements needed to operate an acreage – tractors, mowers, the golfcart to schlepp chicken feed, the farm van and a happy place for turkeys too.

Vey, the end of an era.

A friend, gone forever.

Yes, something will be rebuilt and things can be replaced, eventually. But the hot summer sun continues to beat down on those plants in the garden and the chickens need water and food twice a day. The farm life goes on, without it. And Carol Bean is rustling up replacement-everything to keep things going. She’s working to find new ways to process and handle the garden’s bounty until something new is built. As if running an organic garden and CSA isn’t hard enough already…

No surprise, the community is stepping up. Today at the St. Michaels farmers market, more than 40 people signed up to help in some unknown way in future weeks. Wallets and hearts are opening to support these people who have fed us, supported us, taught us and gave so much. Maybe there will be some fundraisers, or barn raisings or whatever. But it’s going to take  a long while before things are fully operational again. There is much work to be done – things re-configured, re-thought, rebuilt, re-imagined. A new era, I suppose, is in the works.

Yet those weeds keep growing, and tomatoes are ripening and things need harvested. And oh, look, it’s time to feed the chickens again. But the golf cart is gone and the tools and buckets and hoses all melted and every single damn thing is hard now. Every single thing. It’s one thing to try to eek out a living operating an organic market garden in good times. It’s quite another thing to do it in times like this.

Ay.

So much love to our friends who have sustained this loss – may the better times that are surely ahead help wipe away today’s pain.

<Want to help? Pot Pie Farm, PO Box 7, Wittman, MD 21676>

 

 

 
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