Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dark Skies, Swirling Winds

Saturday is over already and it almost seems as if my list got longer today instead of shorter. I tried to stimulate a little interest in going to the St Johnsbury Farmer's Market but in the end I went by myself. It's a good market, rain or shine, and I enjoy it. I took an umbrella and a jacket but I made it through two trips back to the truck without feeling a single raindrop.

This time of year I like to be sure to get some corn as you never know when a hard frost will sneak up and end the harvest. I really like Silver Queen but ended up with something from a box marked "White". The farmer said he was from the top of a hill in Danville and the corn was special. He slid an extra ear into the bag and when I left I think we were both happy.

I wanted a nice bag of spinach for our salads and I knew I'd find some creamy tasting leaves at one of the organic growers stands. As the man tallied my lettuce, Brussels Sprouts, green pepper and pound of spinach, he threw in another pound of spinach. The e-coli problem with bagged spinach from California messed things up and although people want spinach, they have a mindset that it's tainted. I gave my regrets as well as my thanks and headed for the baker that Alex likes. I knew I had to buy him a couple dill-onion pretzels and a loaf of Ciabatta bread. I was lucky to wait for the 3 ladies in line in front of me and still grab the last Ciabatta.

I bought tomatoes from two different vendors and then looked for the lady who I have been buying tiny bok choy from. She wasn't there. As I headed out, I said hello to Dianne Gadapee from Danville. Dianne sells maple syrup, maple sugar, maple cream, maple granola and sometimes a fine maple bread. I've had all her products and they are exceptional. The whole family helps out during sugaring season and Dianne keeps things going. If you are interested in making a purchase but can't make the market, call Dianne at 802-684-3323 or e-mail at

On my way to the truck I passed a man selling Shaker boxes. These are the oval shaped wooden boxes made from various veneers. I picked a maple box for $10 and headed home. The price seemed too low for the quality of the product which was superior. Farmers markets are great fun and the prices are not to be challenged.

When I got back to Marshfield and entered our drive I noticed the colors of various sedums here and there. They have been selling well but they remain an understated, underused autumn flower. We have had Autmn Joy, Vera Jameson, Neon, Matrona, Purple Emporer and Angelina this year. Blackjack, pictured above, just came out last week. We picked it up at McSherry's in Conway, NH on our way back from Maine. Its dark black-brown foliage make it a standout. Mix some sedums of various heights with some different rudbeckias and a couple cimicifugas, and sneezeweed in the back and you'll have autmn color that your neighbors will ask about. Sometimes the price makes folks buy a pot of this or a pot of that but if you spring for two or three of one variety, the affect of the mass is an eyecatcher. Try it and you'll see what I mean.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where some rain is falling, the wind is swirling and the summer has been nice!

George Africa

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