Sunday, July 25, 2010


After doing a post on the Shakers of Canterbury, I thought it only proper that I do one on the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake. The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community is located high on a hill in New Gloucester, Maine. The Community was founded in 1783 by Shaker Missionaries. In less than a year's time nearly 200 people gathered together on what was a small farm with five families. On April 19, 1794 those residing there made an oral covenant with each other to consecrate their all to God. Sabbathday Lake was referred to as "the least of Mother Ann Lee's children in the East", it was the smallest and the poorest of the Eastern Shaker Communities. Today the Community is the only active Shaker Community, with three members. The Community consists of 18 buildings located on 1,800 acres of land.

The Community maintains a tree farm, apple orchard, vegetable garden, commercial herb garden, hay fields, a flock of sheep, pigs, Scottish Highland cattle, cats and dogs can be found there. Other occupations include manufactoring of fancy goods, basket making, weaving, printing, and small woodenware.
The first Saturday in December the Shaker Community and friends hold a Holiday Fair. They offer baked goods which include Rosemary biscuits, fruit cake baked in a can (I personally am not a fan of fruit cake, however this cake is delicious.) The food goods line is usually out the door and around the corner before the fair has even opened. Knit socks, mittens, maple syrup, homemade cheese, books, herbs, rose water, wreaths and more. However, beware there are no BROOMS! You have to travel to Canterbury for a broom. This holiday season put the Shaker Holiday Fair on your list of events to attend, it is well worth it. Today, I'm off to the Island to deliver the broom!


On a beautiful knoll in Merrimack County New Hampshire, you will find Canterbury Shaker Village. Canterbury Village was established in 1792 when the followers of founder Mother Ann Lee formed their seventh community, which remained prominent for 200 years. The village has operated as a museum since 1992 when the last Shaker Sister in residence, Ethel Hudson passed away.
At It's height in the 1850's, 300 people lived and worked in over 100 buildings on the 3,000 acres at Canterbury Shaker Village.
The religious group known today as the Shakers was formed in 18th-century England when dissidents from various religions formed a society known as the "Shaking Quakers" or "Shakers" because of their use of "wild" dance in worship. The Shakers immigrated to the US in 1774 and eventually established 19 self contained communities from Maine to Kentucky. Canterbury is one of the oldest. No photography is allowed in the buildings at Canterbury Village however, standing in the doorway I took this photo of the Kitchen Apothecary. It is not hard to imagine the wonderful fragrance of herbs drying and the Sisters sorting, storing, and packaging seeds.
A very large airy room, with drying racks, and storage located behind the gated doorway.
Many of the herbs were stored in canning jars, pictured is the machine that gave the jars their water bath heated by the wood fired oven.

The Bee House....
The gardens...

Sister Hudson before her death had to give her permission for this barn to be rebuilt. Her one condition specified that the barn and shed be an exact replica.
DH and I took a 75 minute walking tour with a small group of people. Yesterday was overcast however, hot and humid. I spent most of my time in the gardens. Below is a photo of a vegetable garden.

and herbs....

and more....

This village contains the only intact, first generation Meeting House built in 1792 and the Dwelling House in 1793.

Not only are the Shaker's known for their "perfect chair", baskets, oval boxes, but the flat broom, common clothespin, first packaged garden seeds, threshing machine, pea sheller, apple parer and corer and a revolving oven. At Canterbury Village the Shakers invented a use for the stationary steam engine- that washed, spun, dried and ironed clothes. (My husband's personal favorite.)
Canterbury has a lot to offer, each time we return we learn something new. Did I mention it's the place to purchase the perfect broom? Mine has held up well for twelve years and yes, Mom I am bringing you home one. ~Hands to work hearts to God~ Mother Ann Lee.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Yesterday began as a beautiful summer day, a perfect day to spend time at the family camp. Friends and I packed a picnic and headed to Hancock Pond. We enjoyed the morning swimming and paddling around in the kayak. The lake water was warm, a slight breeze to the air, most enjoyable. Around three o'clock the sky began to cloud and appeared rather "odd." We decided to gather our things and head for home. At four o'clock, I walked through the door being greeted by Winslow Homer and decided to start a load of laundry. When I returned from the basement the rain had begun in earnest and in no time at all a good "old fashioned summer thunder storm" rolled in. Winslow Homer promptly jumped in my lap, out went the electricity. The Heavens opened, darkness came and torrential rains began. The girls were out in their pen along with the two little ones, Fern and Pheobe. I knew the older hens would head inside, but not so sure about the younger ones. Eventually there was a window of opportunity and I quickly ran to the coop, scooped the little ones out of the water and safely got them settled inside. When I returned to the house the electricity was on and I heard the weather man instructing people to "head" to their basements, three funnel clouds and been detected in our area. Had I heard that correctly? "Tornado" "Maine" I had visions of Winslow Homer and I spinning off to Oz. The situation went from bad to worse, a barn collapsed, then another -trapping prized dairy cows, wires landing on houses, people trapped inside, trees snapped like toothpicks, flooded roads, hail. "Hello" this is Maine, not Oklahoma. By nine o'clock it was all over, the damage done. Today as I ventured out, the destruction was apparent everywhere, roads closed, detours, trees on houses, a swath made through corn fields. However, the most significant sight of all was neighbor helping neighbor and here at Dog Trot Farm, not a blade of grass was out of place ( just a few soggy hens.) Yup, I do believe in angels, how about you?

Monday, July 19, 2010


When my brother and sister in-law purchased a second home on the Island (a "fixer upper"), I and others who shall remain nameless thought they were down right crazy. Oh what a hovel of a house it was, the former owners actually had their chickens residing inside with them (no I am not getting any ideas). The house was in pretty tough shape to say the least, however Kris and Jo had a vision. The property over looks a harbor and then the Atlantic Ocean for as far as the eye can see. The best part of their transaction was that this cat came with the house: Rubble Kitty. Rubble who came out of a hovel of a house. What a wonderful cat he was and what a wonderful life he was given. You see my brother and his wife bought a third house, this time in Florida. Another hovel, turned "Country Living" picture perfect. Rubble the Island cat adapted to Southern living and Raymond their newly adopted puppy. But age waits for no one, and last evening after a long happy life Rubble Kitty passed away at home on his bed. Rubble your family here in Maine will miss you. Kris and Jo we are thinking of you both and sending much love.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Sometimes the unexpected can be a good thing. Today I said goodbye to my old friend, a friend that has served me well for the past eight years. Oh how I loved my little buggy, my Jetta- she was peppy, faithful, reliable. Winslow Homer loved her too. He enjoyed the fact in winter his seat would heat and keep him warm. Well, lately it had became clear that I was in need of some form of larger vehicle. Pine chips, feed, scratch, groceries and Winslow Homer take up quite a bit of space. So today while DH and I were off on one of our day trips I said "hey, lets just stop at the SUBARU dealership and look." Key word "look" (In my heart I felt like a traitor, a real Benedict Arnold). I have always had a Volkswagen, I am one of those girls who loves the way their engine sounds, and nothing sounds better to me than a Volkswagen engine. For a year I have been secretly carrying this brochure around with me. The Subaru Outback certainly seemed to fit the bill, it met all my and Winslow Homer's requirements. Needless to say the "quick look" at the dealership turned into an unexpected all day affair. At the end of the day I left my baby with the dealership. I hope she finds a good home and someone to love her as much as I have.
So now I have my new farm vehicle a 2011 Outback, what a lucky farm girl I am (all I need now is a trailer hitch)
and Winslow Homer, he's happy to know that it came with heated seats!
And me- well, I'll learn to appreciate the sound of my new engine.

Friday, July 16, 2010


FLOWERS "As I work among my flowers,
I find myself talking to them,
and remonstrating with them,
and adoring them, as if they
were human beings. Much laughter
I provoke among my friends
by doing so, but that is of
no consequence. We are on such good
terms my flowers and I."
~Celia Thaxter~

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Look what I discovered at Borders yesterday, Country Home Magazine! Nope you're not seeing things, it's true. I could have done the "happy dance" right then and there. Now the bad news is it comes with a hefty price tag of $12.99, yup you read that correctly. Country Home was one of my favorite magazines and I have missed it dearly. Usually I borrow my magazines from the library or when I do decide to purchase one I look through it before handing over my hand earned money. Not this time, I wanted to be surprised. I wanted to sit in my favorite chair with lemonade in hand (I have become addicted to Newman's Lemonade) and slowly peruse it from cover to cover. Well, the suspense was getting to me so I quickly scanned through it this morning (am not so sure it was worth such a hefty price) the magazine is nice and thick with lots of wonderful photos and decorating ideas. This issue reads "late summer 2010" and on the inside states "watch for the next issue in September". Could Country Home be returning as a quarterly magazine? I guess we will just have to wait and see. For now I say "welcome back old friend "I have missed you and I am sure I'm not alone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


How quickly the enjoyment of a beautiful summer day, working in the garden can turn ugly so quickly. All it takes is a group cackle from a bunch of hens that make you instantly jump to your feet and fly around the yard wondering what in the world is going on. When you get a glimpse of a big bushy tail, feathers laying on the ground your heart skips a beat. Adrenaline kicks in and you're off on the now too familiar run (Along with trusty side kick Winslow Homer). Once again the fox has struck and yes, once again Gladys is the victim. The fox had her by the back and had the gall to stop and look at me while lugging her off across the field. Be still my heart. I kept mentally repeating to Gladys "remember to play dead" It seemed like forever before I had located the rest of the girls and wrangled them to their pen. Winslow and I did the mandatory walk around the fields and through the gravel pit located next door. No luck (I have made a vow to myself, a predator may get away with killing my hens, but they will never be eaten, never). So with sadness in my heart I returned to the pen making sure everyone else was okay. I gave them a treat of blueberries and me a glass of lemonade (If I had vodka in the house I would have had me a big old swig). An hour or so later I was just about to slip my feet into my Muck Boots, when low and behold there was Gladys sitting on the porch.
Yup, my girl had once again made it back, no bite marks, no blood, no worse for wear. No "hospital lodging" required.
My girl Gladys has used up two of her nine lives, two too many. I am so thankful that "up there somewhere" she has a guardian angel. I do believe in angels, thank you Grammy Lile you do make a believer out of me and Gladys believes too. Now all you chicken keepers out there groom your chickens to play dead, it works- just ask Gladys!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


What's been happening here at Dog Trot Farm? Well, me trying to maintain my and my girl's health and sanity. Ours is a continuing battle with heat and humidity, one of which I am ready to be done with. (I am sure many of you feel the same way too.) I can handle the heat, but the darn humidity, nope don't like it much. A proper Southern Lady I would not make. When I experienced my first summer here in the country I quickly learned my neighbors kept their doors and windows closed, pulled their shades and buttoned up their now dark homes for the day. UGH.... Growing up on an Island I was accustomed to open windows and doors with a cool sometimes cold salty Southerly breeze blowing in. After 28 years of "darkening" the house it is a custom I still find foreign, but indeed necessary. This Fourth of July was the hottest I can recall in years and last Tuesday as I drove through down town the thermometer registered 106 degrees. Needless to say my hens do not do well in these hot conditions. Heat and humidity can do in a chicken in no time at all, precautions need to be taken. I keep the girls well hydrated changing their water frequently. I offer lots of juicy fruits and greens (instead of corn scratch) and mist them and their run when warranted. So far this has worked well. During hot weather chickens pant and walk around with their wings slightly "ajar". When tail feathers begin to droop and combs and wattles become pale, you know your girls are showing signs of trouble. I am always cautious when such symptoms occur. Lets just say I've concocted a nice "blueberry smoothie" to help maintain their health and well being.

With the weather such as it is I have been letting the girls forage through the herb garden. It is somewhat cooler there, and the plus side when they eventually wander out they are scented with lemon balm, lavender and mint, nothing better than a good smelling chicken, and I don't mean a "roasting" chicken. Get your mind out of the oven.
The flower gardens are thriving and since I removed all my roses (sign) the Japanese beetle population has dwindled. Yippee....
The old fashioned Day lilies bow, surrendering to the heat and humidity.
The Irish Eyes are smiling....
This Blanket flower provides a nice "pop" to the perennial bed.

Delphinium and Heliotrope....

Daises..... I really like the shade of this orange cone flower.... doesn't it just give ya such a happy feeling.
And last but not least a handful of strawberries....yup, just a handful.
How is your garden growing?

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Happy 4th of July from my house to yours. As I promised .....

drumroll, please......
The winner is- KIM of Millie's Mats. Congratulations Kim, please e-mail me with your address and a package could be on it's way tomorrow. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to offer tips and advice.
Have a great day!