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Posted in Journal

Burning Out

Cooks & Poets

My first March in Maine. 

We purchased an old sheep farm last year, after a four year long search. When I finally arrived in January 2021, It felt like a smack in the face. I was worn out, defeated by the pandemics insane and stress­ful course and uncer­tainty. But none the less, here I stood on our new land, a dream come true. As I walked through the forests and fields for the first time, I witnessed the raw and fierce beauty stand­ing confi­dently all around me and the tall trees, whis­per­ing who do you think you are?”

And that’s what I am here to find out. 

The land is beau­ti­ful, rugged, fierce and wild. We are plan­ning to put it all into land conser­va­tion. Setting up a home in the exist­ing old hand built Cape, has prob­a­bly been the most chal­leng­ing thing in a long time. Just wood stoves, and plenty of time as things move at their own pace here in the wilder­ness during the winter. All the city ameni­ties stripped away, most busi­nesses are closed and seasonal, and there isn’t one conve­nience in a 30-mile radius. It’s just you, the land, Mother Nature, and the kindest neigh­bors you could imagine.

Nothing about this is famil­iar but some­where deep inside I feel connected to it all. When you realize you are out of your comfort zone and every­thing you thought you knew wasn’t enough, change becomes possible. 

Montville Maine
Local volun­teer fire­fight­ers and neigh­bors greeted me with kindness 

The cottage is hand-built and still strong. Its cedar shingle roof covered in moss but dry under­neath: plaster walls and wood beams, and low ceil­ings clad in heart pine. The house is on wood stove heating, and that was the first real chal­lenge to manage the stoves to keep the heat going amid some harsh weather and mud that surrounded the house. In March and April, it still drops below 30 degrees more or less.

The first couple of weeks, I second-guessed every choice I had made in my life, includ­ing this one. I was exhausted three weeks in and ready to give up. We haven’t moved our person­als up here yet, so the cottage is empty except for a few pieces I have placed in our kitchen. But the lone­li­ness has started to set in, missing my family and now approach­ing two months apart. I came with a plan, liter­ally on paper, like an archi­tect, which mostly involved a massive plant­ing of cut flowers, which the land is not ready for yet. It has been put aside because the raw beauty here is unde­ni­able. I think this place deserves to remain as natural as possi­ble. I will plant flowers, but this is a place of natural beauty. 

So I return to the kitchen, a place where I am the most comfort­able. Had an idea for an apple cake. I burnt the apples slightly for color and texture. It is very moist and perfectly sweet with apple. So delish.. look at those colors, just as rich as the flavor. 

Local Apple Cake
Burnt Apple Cake