Backup Heat and our Garden (Organic) is Growing

Broccoli Organic Garden Maine - Paris to Maine

House plans continue. Too slowly. Window placement remains elusive. We are almost there, we think. Trees are felled, the road is in, electricity connected and the house site is ready. There are now many other decisions to consider. We will heat with wood. We need a back up heat source. We would prefer not to use fossil fuels. We don’t have space for bulky systems on the main floor. We want something that fits with the ecologically correct way we imagine living. Thoughts? Ideas? All are welcome.

Artichoke & Marigolds Erica Berman

In the meantime, our organic  Maine garden is growing. We have planted many types of heirloom tomatoes, two types of kale (Tuscan Lacinto, Rainbow Lacinto) green (Jade Bush and Masai Bush) and wax beans (Golden Rocky Bush), sunflowers, peppers, basil, artichokes, dahlias, peas, turnips (Oasis), radishes (Green Meat), garlic, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots (Yaya, Scarlet Keeper), all sorts of salad greens, marigolds, lavender, strawberries and other assorted flowers.

Lettuce Organic Maine

We started late, we could have done more, but we feel proud of what we have. We have a fence, we are gaurding against the groundhog family sharing our land, and we are weeding and watering regularly. And in the midst of all this, I was able to escape to Sebago Lake for the weekend.

Canoe Sebago Lake Maine

Silly Gardening (Organic) in Maine

Tomatoes and Melon Erica Berman MaineTomato and melon seedlings in our guest bedroom

Gardening. Having never done it before, I am hooked but clueless. The seeds are so tiny and sweet. When I planted them they seemed so little and lonely that I sprinkled in friends; many. Things have started to grow and I now have mini forests of lettuce, kale. turnips, radishes and tomatoes.

Lettuce Maine Erica Berman 2014-06-02 17.47.18 copyLettuce in the garden

They are so cute and cozy, but some space making is needed I believe. I don’t want anyone to die. That said, I want some of these guys to survive. Aie.

Lettuce and turnips Maine Erica BermanLettuce and Turnips in the garden 

A Spring Weekend in Maine


 Bath Farmer's Market Flowers. Maine.Yesterday I was up early and on the road to Morris Farm in Wiscasset for the 8:30 opening of their annual plant sale. Despite the fact that I was there before 8:30, many were ahead of me. We all were there to snag choice seedlings and flowers. I managed to secure what I wanted (dahlias, anemones, artichokes, basil, heirloom tomatoes, lazy susans . . .), and some advice on planting all within 15 minutes. Plant sales are popular in Maine in the spring. One must be early and fast!

Goranson's farm Maine Erica Berman

Next stop, Goranson’s farm in Dresden (not before a roadside halt to snatch a huge bunch of wild lilacs for the house). In Maine lilacs are massive bushes, practically trees. For a short time they are everywhere smelling fabulous and looking lovely.  Not having any at home (we planted some on the land they are growing nicely but not flowering yet), and as they are one of my favorite flowers, I am obliged to stop and steal! French husband teases me, but honestly, there are SO many, I can’t imagine that anyone would mind sharing their excess and making me happy!

Hahn's End cheese Maine Erica Bermain

At Goranson’s it is self-serve. I bought  bunches of fresh asparagus, lavender and rosemary seedlings, organic eggs and potatoes and was on my way.

What I love about Maine is that shops leave their wares out when they are closed for the evening, people do not lock cars or houses, and local farmer’s leave their bounty for all, self serve.

Last stop, Bath farmer’s market for wonderful Hahn’s end cheese, tulips, homemade bread from Borealis bakery, and a fabulous ocean view while shopping.

The rest of the day was spent in the garden planting seedlings and flowers, preparing beds and fencing off from hungry animal invaders.

Garden Maine Erica Berman

Back home, I managed to cook my truly very first solo roast chicken (local, organic)  and potatoes (last time I had help from French husband and Mom).  I found a recipe where you stuff it with a quartered lemon, rosemary, and garlic cloves- delicious. Then, off to  a benefit concert for F.A.R.M.S at the local Baptist church with Putnam Smith, Heather Hardy and Caroline Cotter. So much talent. So many good causes. The day ended with beer and good company at the local pub.

Excavator claw Maine

Today on the schedule; finalizing window placement on our house, planting, rhubarb, horseradish, dahlias and rosemary, cooking my first pork roast  . . . ever (local, organic), making a quiche, and dining with over 20 of our friends at our house.  The chicken stock is simmering, the sun is shining and the bugs are not yet biting. Happy Sunday,

Road Started. Adventure Begins.


Paris to Maine - Road begins Erica BermanIt is cold and rainy here in Maine. The road was to start, finally, yesterday. The call came early from our excavator T.P. that one of the machines was broken and pieces were needed, from Portland. Luckily, all is well today and the work has begun, finally! The machine is huge, the dirt pile high,the hole for electricity deep and the destruction impressive. It will all grow back I am assured.

Paris to Maine Road digging - Erica Berman

I will try to remain calm. One day, we will have a house. I think.

Planting, Our Road, Farmer’s Market and My First Roasted Chicken

Galettes 2014-05-23 10.24.43 copy

Today, early morning, we planted, finally, our tomato, pepper and hot pepper seedlings. In the house. We don’t have a greenhouse but are working on a makeshift one. We hope to get them in there as soon as we build it. Umm, soon, really. For now, they reside in the guest bedroom. We will love and water them and make sure they get lots of sun, when available.

Seedlings 2014-05-23 10.33.45 copy
The news of the afternoon was that the road will start Tuesday. The day after Memorial Day. Confirmation has come from our excavator T.P. that, despite the team’s continued flu outbreak, work will begin. Our electrician D.O. confirmed that he is ready to start shortly thereafter adding in the wiring needed for the house and fiber optics along our 1500 feet of road. We are in the thick of contracts and easements with the telephone and electric companies. We were told, today, that we need to have a land line installed in order to have the fiber optic line. State regulations?! We are investigating and hope to avoid this as our land line went the way of the fax. Far away, as in gone.
Today was  also the second week at the Damariscotta, my local, farmer’s market. I happily bought tomato, cucumber, broccoli and brussel sprout seedlings from Morning Dew Farm along with fresh kale, arugula and spinach for dinner.
And I was thrilled to find the first asparagus of the season at Goranson’s farm stand along with lovely potatoes and salad and much more.
Asparagus May 23, 2014
I feel blessed to have this wonderful market so close to home. Each week I am impressed by the  bounty of maine. From honey, maple syrup, meat, bread, eggs and fish to milk, yogurt, cheese, salt, fruit, flowers and veggies we are fortunate indeed.
I love moving through the seasons at the market from asparagus and ramps, to peas and strawberries and then on to tomatoes, corn, apples and brussel sprouts . . .  it’s all delicious. And tonight I roasted my first chicken, (local and organic) ever. With local potatoes and help on timing and temperature from my Mom.
Go Maine.

Daffodils, No Road, Hanging Turkeys, Maine Musings and Maybe a House

Daffodils in MaineWhat little hopes we had of our road work starting early this week were dashed when the phone rang Monday afternoon and our excavator T.P. informed me that half of his crew called in sick with the flu. Oh no!
He did promise me we would start Thursday or Friday if everyone was better. Our plumber D.O., says he is available. This is encouraging.
Luckily, my spirits were lifted by the amazing array of daffodils on my friend Knight’s property in Bremen, Maine. He invited us to a risotto, salad and sausage dinner and allowed me to pick as many daffodils as I could. I greedily picked a bucket full. They are now decorating all corners of my house as my cats happily attempt to eat and destroy them.  They are gorgeous. Each one different, delicate and delicious.
Our builder M.L., when prompted, mentioned he is pretty sure they can fit us into their schedule. That is, of course, after the road, electricity and cable project is completed. Encouraging? Not sure!
Dahlias at the gas station
Driving in Appleton, Maine yesterday, we came across turkeys hanging in the wind and dahlias for sale at the local gas station (along with bud light, organic mulch, gummy bears, homemade trail mix and cookies and the list goes on).
Aie. Maine. I do love you, and all of your idiosyncrasies, and I am trying to be patient with you.
Turkeys Maine

An Organic Garden, and Maybe a Road, in Maine


Erica Berman Paris to MaineOur garden May 17, 2014. Maine. Organic.

May 19. It’s cool. Not the normal  warmth of Maine in May. Everything is late this year. The winter was cold. Nevertheless, yesterday, we took the plunge and started planting our garden. We planted tuscan lacinto kale, scarlet keeper and yaya carrots, jade bush green beans, haricot verts, provider beans, mesclun greens, organic salad mix, watercress, 3 kinds of tomatillos, iona petit pois, oasis turnips, and green meat radishes. All organic. And this is just the beginning.

Kale Seeds Erica Berman Maine

Tuscan Lacinto Kale Seeds

The strawberries, given to us from the garden of our dear friend Paul,  are in flower, rhubarb and garlic are growing, and the lilacs replanted from our friend Caeil’s house are coming up nicely. We will now plant some tomato, eggplant, melon, watermelon and squash seedlings to start inside and hope it is not too late. We plan to plant much as soon as it is a bit warmer. I have my Morning Dew Farm basil, thyme, mint, and parsley waiting in pots and my sunflower bed ready to go. And, our road just might begin in a few days. If so, the house building adventure begins!

Tools of the Maine Organic Garden