Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weekly Weather Update

The hot weather keeps getting hotter! I had a touch of heat exhaustion at the Common Ground Fair as the temp. reached 82F under a clear sky. It was rather brutal, heat-wise. And, now look at how the predicted temps. are even hotter than a few days ago!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekly Maine Foliage Report # 2

News from Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry:
Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reaches peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s progression of color will start occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions mid-to-late October.
“We have had summer-like weather leading up to the beginning of the fall foliage season; however, we’re still on track for a typical season. As our weather takes a more seasonal turn, colors will start moving toward peak conditions in early to mid-October,” according to Gale Ross, fall foliage spokesperson.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Common Ground Fair

Gonna go to the Common Ground Fair this weekend. But, I am already dreading the heat as it will be at least 84 F in Unity, Maine, under a cloudless sky. I start to wilt when the outdoor temp. rises above 72F.

Too Hot!

This is definitely not the kind of weather we should be seeing in late September! We went apple picking last weekend and the apples were still green (although with 1/2 cup of sugar they made great applesauce.) We need some cooler days and nights for the apples to put some more sugar on;-) Needless to say, we won't go apple picking for another couple of weeks...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's an Apple Pickin' kind of day!

I went to the annual Maine Project Learning Tree fundraiser on Thursday night. The silent auction item that I coveted, and won, was the McIntosh Apple Tree U-Pick at Hazel Hill Orchard.
Today, we hightailed it to Hazel Hill Orchard to pick our first bushel of McIntosh apples. Gee... who knew how big a bushel was? Tony weighed them and this bushel is about 38 pounds!
Luckily, we brought neighbor Carla along so that she could partake in our apple frenzy;-)
Drew came up with the idea of playing William Tell, so I had to balance an apple on my head so that it could be shot off; luckily Drew forgot his dart gun;-)
Do you know the difference between Cortland and McIntosh apples by sight? Both are shown above. Which is which?
Cortland apples are striped and are more squat than Macintosh apples. They tend to ripen from late-September to mid-October.
McIntosh apples do not have stripes and sit more spherically than Cortlands. They tend to ripen from mid-September to mid-October.
And, here is Drew's first batch of applesauce. He left the peels on and followed Tony's suggestion of putting a couple of inches of water into the bottom of the pot. Then, Drew cut up 4 pounds of apples and added a few pounds at first. Then, he cooked it down, stirring occasionally. Over time, he added the next two pounds and continued to cook the apples until they were sauce-like. There are still some chunks in the sauce along with the skins. After the cooking was complete we found that the applesauce was a bit too tart, so he had to add about 1/2 cup of sugar to it. Finally, Drew added 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice. Yumster!  Canning seems like too much trouble so we are going to freeze the applesauce in one gallon ziploc bags.

Now, all we have to do is cook the other 21 pounds of apples (5 more batches of applesauce) before we go back to the orchard to pick the next 3/4 bushel or so that is left on the tree. In about 3 weeks, we'll go back for the apples on the Cortland tree that we also adopted. It will be fun to compare the flavor of the two apples. 

Geez... I think we are going to have to buy a chest freezer for all the applesauce!

Tony still has a few more trees for adoption. Visit his Facebook page. His address is Hazel Hill Orchard, 59 S. Livermore Rd., Turner, ME.

Click this link for the Maine State Pomological Society to see when different varieties of apples ripen.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weekly Maine Foliage Reports have begun

Oh, say it ain't so! We are heading slowly toward the winter season. Leaves are changing on maple trees which are being dappled with red patches here and there. I saw one tree this morning that had red leaves toward the trunk and green leaves on the most distal parts of branches. The Maine Foliage Reports occur each Wednesday, and I will update you as they occur. Here is the first one for this season.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Higgins Corner Community Solar Farm

There are 171 solar panels in this community solar farm, which is located about 4 miles away from us on Fisher Rd. Awesome! There are 9 families who have invested in this for their electricity. Here is a Revision Energy article about Community Solar Farms. There are lots of people whose location is just not right for putting solar on their rooftops, so investing in these solar farms is a perfect solution for becoming less dependent on oil and gas.
This is a Revision Energy installation. They are a local Maine company and very progressive. Check out their article on the Higgins Corner Community Solar Farm.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Camp Connor on Lower Range Pond

Yesterday, my team of students went to Camp Connor for some team building on our 2nd day of school. It was such a beautiful location on Lower Range Pond, in Poland, Maine. The temp. rose to 63F with a stiff breeze. 
While our students played all kinds of games, I decided to try my hand at a bit of hula hooping before the energetic game of tic-tac-toe began. Fun! Make sure you get outside and enjoy the nature of Maine this weekend!