Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What a fabulous turnout for Easter Sunday! Well over 150 plates, and the crew really came together for Farm Feast, everyone was fed in under 10 minutes, where else can you find that kind of service? Next Farm Feast is May 3rd. Join us for a Bird Walk at 6:15 a.m.!

Farm Feast Breakfast Crew! (not pictured: Bree - photographer)
And Pizza and a Movie was pretty great too! We watched American Nomads (available online here). The narrator really pulls you into the story, and tells a tale of the variety of nomadic lifestyles across all age groups.

University of NH
Plymouth State University
The farm tours have been a great success over the past two weeks and a wide variety of visitors are also checking it out. Did you know that true sustainability starts with a paradigm shift in the way we think, and the actions we take? It's great to foster and seed the young with new ideas and thoughts that they can take and hopefully engage in growing and developing.

We had the opportunity to create an 80s box out of the Clothing Swap!!  80s Era Dance Party in the works! There was a lot of action at this year's Clothing Swap, the fashion show was an added bonus! Thanks Burt for modeling for us!

Our babies in the solarium are growing up, so quickly too! We've been moving plants out to the greenhouse this past week, taking care to keep them covered as they harden up for the next phase.  Spring really has sprung! The ground is thawing, the chickens are laying well over a dozen a day, the ponds are filling and the pussy willows are peeking!

Check out this video! Farmer Rich and Resident James presided over "Mustgo Kraut" making on Volunteer Day in March, I mentioned it last week, enjoy the show!

The Red House Renovation is going along at a great pace! The floors and walls have been treated with Vermont Natural Coatings water-based poly. We are ready to rock the night this Saturday at the Book Release Party with DJ Skar!

We'll be utilizing this space as part of the Hostel this summer - shared sleeping space, BYOBedding!
You know Spring has officially arrived when the climbers start pouring in! The Hostel at D Acres also has private rooms and field camping! Have you thought about a get-a-way yet this summer? Click here for more info on our accommodations!


Have you tried growing them? No? It's unbelievably simple!

Step One: Find a jar
Step Two: Fill it 1/4 of the way with what you want to sprout. We do Mung Beans, Lentils, and Quinoa! Cover with cheese cloth.
Step Three: Fill with water and leave alone for 12 hours
Step Four: Drain and rinse, and set it up so it drains like this
Step Five: Rinse morning and night, set up out of the sun, and continue draining until you see sprouts
Four-six days later - healthy delicious sprouts ready to eat!

What's coming up?

Celebration of the Book! - April 18th dance the night away with music from Jazz Pianist Mike Puleo (6-9) and DJ Skar from 9 - ?
Embroidery with Jen Alba 4/18, 25 and May 2
Potluck and Open Mic 4/24
Bird Walk and Farm Feast May 3rd
Hello! From the Winter Crew 2015 - Ben, James, Sonia, Bree & Josh

PS: Have you purchased your copy of The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm yet? Here's the link!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yes to APRIL!! Welcome Spring! 

The last week of March was a productive and successful week! 

Pot Luck brought a young group of regulars from PSU and Lauren Hurley (a great musician!), check her out here!
Proctor Academy stopped by for a tour of the Farm, and we hosted a group from Colby-Sawyer College as well! 

They had a blast (as you can see!), and I walked the tour for the first time since I've been here. Very informative, Josh is very passionate about giving young minds an option to think outside the box. For example: explaining to the group about the viability of a huge root cellar to keep food cold and in turn pump cool air throughout the facilities, instead of using fossil fuel to cool rooms to 60 degrees and placing foods in refrigerators. That, to me, is an interesting, viable and thoughtful initiative just waiting for the right person to hear it and run with it. 
The 20 year old Kiwi!
Pruning Fruit Trees = happy healthy trees!

And the Garden Grows

Watching the snow melt and the seeds grow has been quite the blessing, giving everyone here the bright happy feelings of spring right around the corner! Pruning is well underway.

Bree having a BLAST!
Project Renovating Red House
The red house is moving along at a steady pace. The shiplap walls are installed, the floor is down and sanding is underway. Painting is next on the tasks to be completed.

Savory Woodstove Meatballs

Resident James testing his super savory meatballs!
1 lb ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage 
1 cup bread crumbs
6 cloves of garlic
1 egg
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon parsley 
1 tablespoon rosemary 

2 large onions diced
Braggs Raw Aminos (to taste)
Brown sugar, maple syrup or unsweetened applesauce (to taste)

2 tablespoons oil

Mix all contents together in large mixing bowl.

Once the mixture is well incorporated, roll into balls about the size of a half dollar coin (approx. 2 tablespoons). Fry in oil just enough to brown edges, then transfer meatballs into a dutch oven or medium sized saucepan.  
Fry diced onions in the residual oil and fat in the same frying pan used to brown the meatballs.  Adding aminos and sweetener until the sauce starts to caramelize slightly.  
Combine meatballs and sautéed onions in saucepan.
Cook on stovetop or woodstove, cook until your sauce develops a syrup consistency, then try out a meatball!
*to spice things up, add hot peppers *you can’t beat fresh ingredients, support local farms like us and feature your own garden in your meal.

Farmer Rich Kreating Kraut! (see what I did there?)
And, on Volunteer Day, Farmer Rich taught a mini "off the cuff" workshop on Kraut Making! Keep your eyes open for a video to be posted. I didn't realize that Kraut was just cabbage that can be augmented with veggies and sometimes fruit hanging out together in their own juices, which are being drawn out with sea salt! That's it, wicked easy, wicked nutritious and wicked delicious! Totally different than any kraut you find at the local grocery store.

Events for April: This coming Saturday at 7 p.m. we'll have our monthly Full Moon Walk (no snow shoes needed this time!) 

Farm Feast Breakfast on Easter: Why cook when you can come to a great place, meet awesome people, enjoy delicious food, and learn about D Acres too? Tour starts at 1 p.m.

Clothing Swap will be happening on Sunday too. The garage will be open, and filled with a great pile of "Stuff" that we want you to have!

Pizza and a Movie on Friday, April 10th - always delicious, always inspiring, and always a fun time! What are we showing you ask… hmmm

April 15th is also the deadline to take Jen Alba's Embroidery Workshop, scheduled for April 18th, 25th and May 2nd! She does amazing work, and you'll learn how to create 3 beautiful pieces!

The sunrises are epic here at the farm!
April 18th Super Awesome Book Release Celebration and Dance Party! Come experience joy and fellowship, don't forget your dancing shoes! Jazz Pianist and DJ is scheduled! Have you purchased a copy of it yet? It's a great read! 

April 24th Potluck and Open Mic - Who's bringing what? Who's making noise? Always fun, always a surprise, and always a great time to hang out at D Acres! What shall we make? 

April 25th we'll be at PSU's Earth Jam with a table! Stop by and say Hi! We'd love to see you!

And that's all Folks! Catch ya next week! Make your days Glorious! 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

D Acres Weekly Update ~ March 24, 2015

Welcome to the new weekly update D Acres Blog.

March has been a very c-c-c-cold month! Based on what's happening here at the farm, we'd say we are about 2 weeks behind in our gardening world! 

The solarium that we built last year has been put to great use, so much better than gearing up for spring in the basement! We've planted a wide variety of plants including Micro-greens for harvest in the next couple of months. Did you know about that? I didn't! Those kale seeds, arugula, mizuna, spinach and leaf lettuce and mustard green that are left over from last year (or buy some now!) can be planted and harvested within 4-6 weeks. We strive to eat as locally and as sustainably as possible, and this gives us that opportunity. Instead of hitting the grocery store to purchase organic greens from California, we've been growing them for the past 3 months and enjoying them on a regular basis. The solarium is steadily being filled with more and more infant greens, it's like a huge nursery of baby plants being tended to lovingly by our residents and awesome volunteers who love to get their hands dirty!

Pruning of our fruit trees has commenced, on warmer days. The apples, pears, plums and Kiwis are receiving much needed trims for gorgeous fruiting this growing season. As a side note, I have to admit, I had no idea Kiwi's could grow here (they seem tropical to me). The kiwi that is getting a trim is an unruly mass of gorgeous vines! It's 20 years old and bears sweet delicious kiwis by the pound! Nearby is a baby kiwi just waiting to be treated lovingly and encouraged to be a good, well trained and pruned youngster! 

Attending the Master Gardener Symposium this past Saturday was a great success. There was well over 100 people in attendance. Having the opportunity to listen to a great group of speakers and learn about school gardens, community gardens, beneficial predatoriod insects, and the favorites of long time gardener Roger Swain of "The Victory Garden" show was eye opening. I walked away with much more knowledge than I had walked in with, including the 6 truly native edible plants (do you know what they are?)

Creating our Herbal Tea has got to be one of my favorite things that I've done so far! Measuring, processing and blending twelve herbs into gallon jars, knowing how delicious and healthy it is, is an extremely satisfying experience! 

This past Kid's Day "Get Painty" with Veggie Art Girl Stacey Lucas was a fabulous success! Over 18 kids created beautiful paintings of spring flowers. Wicked happy to announce that this event will be occurring every month, Stacey is a phenomenal artistic instructor and the kids just LOVE her!

~ Peace!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wintertime Collage at D Acres of New Hampshire

The ducks have a new wintertime pond this year--providing fresh water even during freezing temperatures.  Ducks love to preen and splash, and they love nesting into the fluffy snow too!
The piglets don't mind the cooler temperatures or snow.  As long as they have dry bedding to nestle into at all times of the day. They simply grow a little extra fuzz to protect their tough skin.
Josh (left) and Scott (right) are sorting through the compost waste generated by local restraunts, Plymouth State University dining hall, and Hanaford supermarket. All of this is usable food that the pigs enjoy daily.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Making More Dirt

The poplar leaves are falling, convincing the birch to follow suit, and the sugar maples are showing off their brilliant reds and golden hues. The evening breeze is reliably cool, and the mornings are laden with dew. The autumnal night is arriving quicker and quicker; the days, shortened, are filled with the hurry for winter. Even as the end of this growing season is suddenly, rapidly in sight, the preparations for the next one are in front of us. Compost. In these cool mornings, the steam from our scattered compost piles is easily visible, a wispy indication of the powerful, perpetual decomposition process transpiring within each mound of compost. Each pile is full of microbial action. Having been turned through the summer, our compost is active and alive. If we want to talk science, compost can be understood in terms of two elements: carbon and nitrogen. In layman’s speak, this is the “brown” and the “green.” Regardless of linguistic preferences, a healthy compost pile should offer a robust mix of woody materials (woodchips, straw, old hay, dry grass clippings, woody debris) and fresh matter (food scraps, weeds, manure, fresh grass clippings). In combination with oxygen introduced into the pile through frequent turning, a hot, active microbial environment is fostered, essentially “cooking” the pile’s contents. Decomposition happens fairly rapidly in this manner, providing quality soil for use in the gardens within a season or two. Which is exactly what we are preparing ourselves to go. As our garden beds are harvested from and weeded out this fall, a fresh layer of finished compost will be added, introducing new organic matter and increasing the fertility of the garden bed. This process is essential. Finished compost releases nutrients slowly over time, preventing soil from becoming depleted and helping to ensure plant health. But that’s not all. Some of our younger compost piles will sit over winter, awaiting use in late spring and early summer. Our spring planting of potatoes, in particular, is an event in which we incorporate significant quantities of organic matter into an agricutlural area. More importantly that that, however, is the sifting of compost this fall in preparation for our early spring starts. Between now and the freeze, we will sift compost from our best-looking piles, eliminating any woody chunks and woodchips that remain, then storing this within large drums in our basement. This will provide us with great quality dirt as we start seeds indoors in February and March, a time when compost piles outside our still frozen and unusable. Compost, therefore, is an integral, essential component in the health and longevity of our garden system. Rich, dark dirt: generating and promoting this essential fertility is our task at hand. ~Beth as published in North Country News

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rows of Basil

The basil is so big it’s almost hard to see. These once little plants are vigorously pushing aside tomatoes and overpowering cucumber vines as the heat of the hoop house fills them with an abundance of solar supercharge. Delicate herbs are not what you would find upon entering this greenhouse, but rather hefty plants in overwhelming quantity. It is certainly not an overly onerous problem to have. Of the hundred-plus basil plants in this particular locale, some were easily up to my chest in height, and threatening to flower beyond usefulness. Luckily, Plymouth State University freshman orientation service projects coincided with an ideal synchronicity. It was therefore with an enthusiastic posse of fresh area residents that I headed to the upper hoop house this past weekend, scissors and bushel baskets in tow. My cohorts were quick studies, and after a few tutorials about plant care and harvest techniques, we were moving down the rows, harvesting long limbs laden with pungent basil. Rather than harvesting single basil leaves, we were harvesting individual branches, cutting them down to where new growth was evidenced. This eliminated the immediate threat of flowering, and would encourage the plant to grow in a bushy habit, generating multiply basil branches where previously there had only been one. Our baskets quickly filled up with only a fraction of the harvesting completed. The act of stuffing (gently of course), piling, and heaping basil in a delicate balancing act ensued until the plants had all been sufficiently pruned. With our aromatic bounty in tow, we traipsed back to the D Acres Community Building: our work was only half done. These herbs, you see, were destined to be dried in the loft of our Red Barn. Once crisp to the touch they will be stored in glass jars, then used to flavor our meals throughout the winter as well as sold as culinary spices. To get to this end product, however, requires the tedious work of bundling and tying the freshly harvested basil into long strands that can be hung from the barn rafters. Thus we gathered round the table, and – four or five stalks to a bundle – slowly tied the basil with twine, forming long strands of sweet smelling herbs. In an excellent group effort, this was completed with good humors still in tact, and gracefully hung from nails affixed in the barn’s beams. With a week of two of decent weather, this basil will soon be dry. The processing will then ensue in reverse, stripping the crispy leaves from the stalks and storing it for the winter. Imagine the meals it will enhance! A taste of summer to last all year long, how excellent is that. ~Beth as published in North Country News

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Intern Frank's First Week!

I’m not sure what I expected my first week at D Acres to be like. I was attracted to the experience for many reasons, but the fundamental reason was an attempt to reconnect myself to our land base and to learn tools to build a more sustainable community. I am a fourth year medical student at Boston University and I have essentially been living in cities for my entire life. While I love being out in nature, it is usually in some sort of recreational setting. Over the past few years, I have become more cognizant of my ignorance of such simple necessities as food and where my food comes from. I found that I had hit a theoretical wall where I had learned what I could through books and discussions, but that I needed to learn first-hand about my basic necessities and the connection to sustainability. I started my stay on a Monday. I was somewhat familiar with the schedule and layout of the place from the readings online and my work-day experience in July. We started with a great lunch of heated leftovers (fresher and tastier than anything I would get in Boston!) and I picked out my own tree house. The tree house option was a nice surprise, because I had prepared myself for six weeks of sleeping in a tent. I chose the Lighthouse, an excellent example of alternative building using recycled materials. It even has two floors and my own Buddha statue. We had the Monday meeting during the afternoon, where I learned more about the day-to-day goings of the homestead and signed up for my tasks for the week. We had a relaxing afternoon, excellent dinner by Bill and Betty, and then got myself settled and ready for the work week. The work week goes from Tuesday-Thursday, although there is always work being done during the rest of the week. I volunteered to help harvest on Tuesday morning. My first time ever picking blueberries and green beans! It was interesting about the work, and I’ve noticed this through many of the different chores I’ve been given. It starts off as this exciting and new thing. Maybe what people feel when they go apple picking? It’s something new to pick berries or get your hands in the dirt. It’ll be a great story to tell back home. And then after the first hour, your back starts to hurt, the sun gets hot, your mind starts to get impatient, or whatever little inconvenience arises. The work stops becoming new and exciting and it becomes work. Having worked in manual labor in the past, I was not new to the experience, but it always amazes me when it happens. Personally, I begin to question why I’m doing what it is I’m doing. It happens to me when I spend an entire sunny weekend studying in the library, or I miss birthday parties because I’m stuck in the hospital. On the farm, it brings into question the larger issue of what I think they are trying to accomplish, which is to remove the convenience of what many of us in “modern” society have come to expect. It is easy to walk into Whole Foods and buy a quart of organically grown blueberries. You can then go home and eat as many as you want But how much harder is it to be mindless about food when your back hurts because of the time you spent gathering that food? One of the big lessons I learned in the first week is that to work towards a more sustainable life means sacrifice and work, but that when the work is geared towards providing healthy and safe food, or a way of living that is kinder to the environment , there can be no change without getting your hands dirty. With the focus on community and communal living, you’re not alone in your struggles. Everyone works and you work to support everyone else, otherwise no one eats. Overall, it’s been a great experience as I learn to garden, work with farm animals, compost, cook, live communally, and many other things I’ve never been exposed to. There is a learning curve as I sometimes struggle to learn alternative ways of doing simple tasks (i.e. having to ask how to make tea without the pre-packaged tea bags), but I’m excited to continue learning and working towards the common goal.