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Photo Tour of The Good Life Center: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Forest Farm in Harborside, Maine

Care and artistry are worth the trouble. They can be a satisfaction to the practitioner and a joy to all beholders.

-Helen Nearing

***

In early August of last year I visited Forest Farm with my family on a special trip to Maine, and it was one of the top highlights of the entire trip. What a special place; I didn’t want to leave. Forest Farm was the entirely hand-built homestead of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of many books including the classics Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World and its sequel Continuing the Good Life: Half a Century of Homesteading. (Still relevant! The value of old books… see previous post.) My copy of Living the Good Life came down to me via my dad, from his mother many years ago. Growing up, his family would take beloved summer vacations to isolated Harborside, Maine and they would hear about the “commie” Nearings who lived nearby. Helen and Scott’s door was always open to those interested in observing, helping, and learning, and Forest Farm still welcomes visitors as The Good Life Center, carrying on the Nearings’ tradition of sharing and showing.

I took many photos! Are you ready for a visit?

***

Driving to The Good Life Center through tiny Harborside:

Arriving at the Nearings’ driveway. It was a peaceful, hot, still, muggy afternoon here.

It was very quiet; bees buzzing, small waves lapping the shore in the cove across the street. A few other visitors sifted through while we were there. You just park and amble in. Very laid back, you’re welcome to wander and stay as long as you like, soaking it all in.

This is the caretakers’ cottage over the summer:

Helen and Scott’s beautiful hand-built stone house:

 

Here is a photo of Helen doing the stonework:

Let’s go in. Here’s their kitchen — an airy, light-filled, feel-good space:

Those were the beautiful bowls and spoons they used.

Here are their mugs:

Here’s their kitchen as it was:

Helen and Scott on the right:

Now we walk into the living room, with a cozy wood-burning stove, book shelves lining the walls, and a wonderful view of the surrounding forest and out to their cove:

Here’s more of the house; this area is used as the little bookshop now. Visitors aren’t allowed upstairs to the bedroom but you can peek up the stairwell:

Here’s their original sign:

Let’s go out to the garden and greenhouse now. There’s a little apple orchard in the protected area between the house and the walled garden:

Here’s that lovely walled vegetable garden:

Behind the greenhouse:

Overlooking the walled garden toward the house and greenhouse:

Compost piles on the left, outside the garden:

The rest of the land is forested. There are some walking trails you can take through tall trees, ferns, tall grasses, and dappled shade.

Here’s their cove across the street:

And here’s the mission statement of The Good Life Center:

That concludes our visit to Forest Farm. I hope you enjoyed it!

***

Just up the road is Four Season Farm, owned by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch — names you might recognize if you’re a gardener. The land was once part of the Nearings’.

*****

Catching up: Late Summer into Autumn

Lindsey The Herbangardener, (c) The Herbangardener

Your eyes do not deceive you my friends! Yes I am finally updating my blog.

February of 2016! And I haven’t even shown you the rest of last year’s garden. There’s much to tell you about since we last chatted back in July, but first things first and this post will be for catching up with the rest of the season. Last summer’s garden is a distant memory already and these pictures remind me that it was a pretty good year although at this point I can’t even quite remember the details of it. Right – oh, I know. I remember I was impressed actually with how well things did considering the long-lasting, cool spring we had paired with a few pelting hailstorms, each one progressively more damaging, leaving leaves and stems hanging by threads. All that hard work, seed starting, transplanting, and coddling, shredded! It was a Great Year for roofing companies, let’s just say. I think I may have already talked about the hail — I bet I did, this is sounding familiar. No matter; it was a surprisingly satisfying year with a solid harvest in general and more tomatoes than expected. Then again when you set your expectations to ZERO, a number of things do tend to look surprisingly good! (Do you smell a life lesson too?)

The pictures really do look luscious don’t they? The beauty of this garden absolutely fed me and kept me grounded when I needed to block life out for a while and put my bare feet on the earth and my hands in the soil, or relax with a cup of tea and admire my living, growing, changing, edible creation.

Potato of the Year!

POTATO OF THE YEAR!

(c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Potato harvest (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossom, (c) The Herbangardener

Early Silver Line melon, (c) The Herbangardener

‘Early Silver Line’ Melon – they were seedy and not very sweet, strange texture, not that tasty.

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini harvest, (c) The Herbangardener

Preparing zucchini parmesan, (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glories, (c) The Herbangardener

Geranium (pelargonium), (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries

Pureed elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Elderberry Fluff (cooked & pureed elderberries) – I love it

At the clinic, (c) The Herbangardener

Heart in a basil leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Green Zebra open pollinated tomato, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden Greek salad, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat in the basket, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomatoes heavy on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Verbena, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumbers on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Green cabbage, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple wood bundle, (c) The Herbangardener

Freshly cut ash wood, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glory, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Red Kuri winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting potatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Autumn in the garden, (c) The Herbangardener

*****

Height of the MidSummer

In my garden, (c) The Herbangardener

~

A completely bearable, beautiful wet summer we have had so far! Since we’ve had no need to turn on the sprinkler system yet, last night was the first time this year that I dragged a hose out and watered a dry patch of lawn. Believe me when I say, this is unheard-of! After a late Spring warmup and some dismaying hail storms early on that defoliated or bruised much of the garden, things are finally looking pretty nice.

Summer clouds (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini leaves, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato flowers, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumber spiral, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Pruning fire blight off the apple tree.

Unless you prune during the winter, pruning utensil blades must be wiped off with rubbing alcohol between Each And Every Cut.

This is half of what came off:

Pruning apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

~

On her quincea├▒era:

(c) The Herbangardener

~

Squash flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage flower and bee, (c) The Herbangardener

Morning glory flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Summer garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown garlic, (c) The Herbangardener

Backyard garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Zukes and cukes, (c) The Herbangardener

~

This tiny being – a wee chickadee – quietly completed its circle of life within the safe boundaries of our backyard.

Chickadee, (c) The Herbangardener

And to dust we shall return, (c) The Herbangardener

We must honor our fellow Earthly travelers.

Tiny grave, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Daisy, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Out and about for the joy of it, soaking in Summertime at a beautiful nature space, with my Mom. It was really a special day. Our eyes were even treated to male and female Cedar Waxwings, as well as male and female American Goldfinches. And many, many irresistible baby bunnies!!

(c) The Herbangardener

Bee hives, (c) The Herbangardener

Pond, (c) The Herbangardener

111

(c) The Herbangardener

Water lilies, (c) The Herbangardener

Stream, (c) The Herbangardener

American Goldfinch, (c) The Herbangardener

Baby bunny, (c) The Herbangardener

***

Lingering Spring and a Touch of Summer

Oriental poppy orange, (c) The Herbangardener

***

~I hope this finds you all well~

Just some photos for today.

We are busy here; isn’t that the way of the world though! The to-do list never seems to shorten does it…

I’ll post more of an update in the coming weeks but for now, enjoy this most glorious time of year with a tour through the garden… pausing to pet the Kitty of course… and maybe you’d like a few strawberries too, still warm from the morning sun, and a cold fizzy glass of homebrew kombucha? (I’ve finally upped production, brewing it by the 3-gallon-full these days and I’m thinking of going to 4!)

Greetings from a wet, chilly Colorado night,

~Lindsey

***

(c) The Herbangardener

Purple lily of the valley, (c) The Herbangardener

Mousing, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry,, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat feet (c) The Herbangardener

Star of Persia, (c) The Herbangardener

Maple leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Fern, (c) The Herbangardener

Celebration Song iris, (c) The Herbangardener

Homebrew kombucha, (c) The Herbangardener

Kombucha day, (c) The Herbangardener

Green lawn, (c) The Herbangardener

Johnny Jump Ups, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden strawberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Seedlings, (c) The Herbangardener

Walls o water, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato plant (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Orange oriental poppy, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

*****

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