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(winter hours M-F 10:00 - 6:00 - Sat & Sun 9:00 a.m. - 6p.m.)

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Suzy Verrier
North Creek Farm

Suzy's Thoughts

And here I will proffer forth some of the season's musings garnered from life on the farm. Without further words- the first.

Let me try to introduce ourselves ...

Before the website, we mailed forth at request only, a midwinter newsletter which was the sort of thing one would expect from a farm-bound cabin-crazy gardener. However, the USPS has rendered that option un-moneywise and so now the website.

Since the demise of the newsletter, I've been besieged with bemoanings missing the wintery prose and meanderings. Listen folks, this is difficult and I am trying. Before site, most all those in touch were familiar with the ambiance and uniqueness of this particular place - now instead someone say googling for rugosas tunes into NCF. No idea who really and where we are - just searching for a source and expecting some sort of professional slickdom. Apologies but that's not us here at NCF. And so, to those of you unfamiliar with a Maine micro-horticultural pursuit - we are out of the ordinary, rather impassioned and intolerably idealistic, but that just goes with the terroir.

Little Black Chick

I've a gardeners yen for a flock of banities to decorate and de-bug my gardens - that is without trampling and defoliating plants as full size chickens do. Been trying to realize this notion since creating these gardens years ago, and at this time I do have a fledgeling flock.

This current group began with a pair of buff, ball-shaped banites, supposedly rare South American breed and, yes, rare enough to not be found in Murray McMurray's catalog. For over a year, Little Hen made numerous attempts to hatch a clutch of chicks, sometimes sitting on only one egg for ridiculously long stretches of time. Eventually, to keep her from wasteing away, I'd toss the over-incubated eggs, only to have the poor dear repeat this hopeless chore. Finally, Mr. Little Buff got tired of his wife's diligence and deserted her and his freedom for the laying chicken's pen and life with larger ladies. Alone now, hapless Little Hen was not deterred from her fruitless mission.

However, this past September I introduced a handsome pair of Black Rosecomb banties. A dandy couple, feathered black as night with a glistening green irrdescence, red rose combs, white ear lobes and white toe nails! By November, Little Hen was again resolutely sitting on a nest of eggs in one cornerof the goat's hay manger. Somehow she managed to defend her nest from the goats who made habit of sleeping in thier manger at night.

I was somehat encouraged by the large number of eggs Miss Determination was incubating, figuring if only by law od averages she should at least finally hatch out something. One early December morning good news was brought that Little Hen had indeed hatched chicks!

AN 'OFF-COLOR' STORY (That has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gardening)

This past Labor Day- we, my daughter and friends were invited to a fireworks/birthday party in our quaint fishing village down here in 'the middle of nowhere,' Phippsburg. We walked in past an array of chilled beers and wine and a table full of cakes- and out onto the porches, gardens and docks over-looking the ocean with a full moon rising. Fireworks began and dazzled the guests, pastel hues lighting up faces uttering "oohs" and "aahs." After a bit my daughters guest from Los Angeles, A delightful Guatemalen lady, became very hungry as we had not bothered with supper before departing. Qui decided cake was the only anwser and headed for the refreshments. the cake table was ringed (or possibly gaurded by) a council of West Point elders. Qui selected her peice of cake and was about to rejoin her friends and the fireworks- when a chipper elderly gentleman inquired: "Wanta Faa-a-ak?"

Qui was mortified and momentarily paralyzed. Had she really heard what she thought she heard? The dapper gentleman repeated more percisely: "Wanta faa-a-a-a-k?"

Qui thought surely this can't be true and gazed about the table to the surrounding stoic faces. no reaction-absolutely no reaction! And with that she fled to rejoin her friends. Heart beating and finally reunited with her compatriots, Qui breathlessly repeated the events- only to be met with uproarious laughter.

"Oh Qui, he only wanted to know if you wanted a fork for your cake."


My Deaded Up Doggie

I can withstand just about any climatic condition except heat. Hot and I melt. Period.On this very atypical Maine day near to 95 F. I was entertaining a group of gardening /horticultural gurus. Once I'd greeted and seated these ladies to lunch, I realized that I'd neglected to take ancient west highland terrier - Thunder Jo - out to his pen in the shady glen. And so, I leashed up Jo and he and I bobbled forth across the lawn to his favorite napping place. Practically there Jo suddenly rolled over, all four feet in the air, long tongue hanging to one side and looking for all the world quite expired!

Heart (mine only apparently) beating and trying to assess this distressing situation .... My first reaction was; had any of the many out and about outdoor lunchtime patrons seen this rather inappropriate distraction?

Garden Friendly Chickens

For gardeners living on the 'fringes of civilization' who can contemplate keeping 'farm animals' - let me direct the following...

I am a bird person and my gardens exist first for plants, next birds and then perhaps people. I've long had chickens in and about the gardens, both intentionally and not so on purpose. I've never been very successful at keeping my laying hens and accompanying roosters penned - and loose, these larger chickens admittedly wreck havoc. A very frustrating form of 'under-your-nose' garden destruction (especially vegetable) which usually outweighs any perceptible benefit. Chase and scold them as one may, they are right back at it as soon as one is 5 steps beyond clobbering them. The nerve wracking cry "chickens are loose" is stuff for nightmares. Untold devoured seeds - scratched up, crooked and botched rows - uprooted and shredded new transplants - tattered mesclun - dust bath craters in the garden - and such ...