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  • Published Articles - Solar Power - North Country News
    apple tree and behind some young asian pear trees It s complete with a dressing room and shower stall hot and cold water taps in the opposite order just to be a little different and watercress transplanted into the greywater system The ambience is tremendous but the simplicity of the science behind the operation is even more tantalizing With this system upgrade we now have two batch heaters harnessing the sun s sunny ness to be sure we dirty farmers and our cleaner guests can achieve a par excellence for hygiene upon exiting the experience The batch heaters mind you are comprised of retired refrigerator tanks black paint old water heaters and a pane of glass Peruse the junk heap and you too can solar power your Saturday night bath To be clear the black paint covers the inside of the fridge box creating a heat trap for the sun s rays The water heater is set inside with the appropriate plumbing running to and from the tank A glass pane over the top seals the deal and the heat Curious Come on over and check it out Beyond heating water we also make extensive use of our solar cookers during these long summer days While the sun ovens as they re called can function most of the year if the sun is out well let s say March through October for best results these long hot days with the sun high in the sky definitely improves their capacity for quick and effective cooking Again it is a fairly simple science that can solar power your next meal You can build it yourself or purchase a pre made model A box lined with reflective material operates as the oven while a plexi glass cover creates the greenhouse effect for the

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/solarpower.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Local Goods Guide 2011 - North Country News
    season of fresh produce Oh the flavors the lushness the beauty of summer Fleeting and fantastic these are the months to savor the richness of local products Fortunately our area is rich with local producers From a plethora of fruits and vegetables to eggs dairy meat and baked goods local farmers provide quite an array of goods to our region And on June 4th join us to celebrate this remarkable selection at the 2011 Pemi Baker Local Food Fare Held at Prospect Hall on the Plymouth State University Campus 10am 3pm this community event will be the season s foremost opportunity to meet area farmers and sample some of their tastiest morsels And not only that the crew at D Acres will be handing out the fifth edition of the Pemi Baker Local Goods Guide D Acres began publishing a local food guide in 2007 the beginning steps to cultivating a thriving local food network Since then we ve expanded the guide each year now totaling 42 farmers New to 2011 we ve included 31 local crafters artisans and pre loved second hand retail shops The guide also includes a map pinpointing farms studios galleries and shops listed in the publication as well as information on summer and winter farmer s markets throughout the Pemi Baker region Stop by the Local Food Fare June 4th to pick up your free copy Why such excitement over local foods Well for one we at D Acres are remarkably interested in food Everyone needs to eat and the better the food the better the health and the well being of both people and land Local food specifically increases individuals connection to a region and its landscape while decreasing dependency on national and international systems of production and distribution Furthermore strengthening local food networks

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/localgoodsguide2011.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Compost - North Country News
    happening all around us Maintaining compost piles is simply a means of harnessing the nutrients in various waste products then using the natural breakdown of organic matter to our benefit Compost becomes soil plant food that then becomes human food Turning compost is part and parcel of planning ahead for your next dinner gathering So it was to this task that we turned our attention Here at D Acres we have a handful of disparate compost piles that have accumulated over the fall and winter months Some are small needing the addition of more material to successfully become a steaming pile of compost rather than lumpy conglomerations of odds and ends detritus harboring the last of the snow and ice beneath their loads Some however loom large These blue ribbon piles are full of microbial action Wisps of steam rising from the piles zenith are modest indicators of internal decomposition If we want to talk science compost can be understood in terms of two elements carbon and nitrogen In layman s speak this is the brown and the green Regardless of linguistic preferences a healthy compost pile should offer a robust mix of woody materials woodchips straw old hay dry grass clippings woody debris and fresh matter food scraps weeds manure fresh grass clippings In combination with oxygen introduced into the pile through frequent turning a hot active microbial environment is fostered essentially cooking the pile s contents Decomposition happens fairly rapidly in this manner providing quality soil for use in the gardens within a season or two And this process is essential Finished compost releases nutrients slowly over time preventing soil from becoming depleted and helping to ensure plant health Compost therefore is a key component to a healthy garden system So back to that looming compost pile Are

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/compost.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Mud Season - North Country News
    stock and the care of peas and potatoes is looming as I write these words In the midst of recovering our green thumbs however is a final week of soot covered digits That is to say more sugaring The taps have been pulled but stock piled sap is demanding a last hurrah of early mornings and smoky hours beside the evaporator And the real frenzy is in the search for wood Having burned through all the softwood stacked in and around the sugar shack the next best option has proven to be bundles of slab wood piled in our lower lot So predictably last week found us cutting and hauling said wood to where we needed it most Our relief at not having to carry armfuls over slushy snow waned slightly as our wheelbarrows stalled in muddy tracks Impromptu drainage trenches diverting water across our path only upped the ante Swampy suction against our boots was a constant reminder that April showers bring boosted calf muscles as well as May flowers I jest and even as we worked our way through the muddy glop I had to smile The smell of dirt was pungent and had my senses primed crocus buds reaching out of the sodden ground to grow into what we know they will become my memory of trilliums and sensitive ferns coloring the otherwise very brown ground With my grip tight around the wheelbarrow s worn handles it occurred to me now granted I was a bit tired sooty and yes preoccupied with the next day s plan that somehow this pushing of a wheelbarrow through mud could be a microcosm of so many endeavors that we pursue here at D Acres Fostering the well being of our community holding on the skills traditions of our past trying

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/mudseason.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Earth Day - North Country News
    percentage of calendars does that one actually make it No money is owed no threats of cotton ball stuffed chocolates or buckets of water above your doorway color the day s activities no one is dieing nor rising nor fingering ashes to your brow No not this day Just a little compassion is all that is requested if you can spare the thought and the moment for the ground we walk on the water we drink the air we breathe That s all Or is it For just one day each year April 22 blue green globes and swirling clouds are all the rage Re duce re use re cycle is annually rejuvenated as the popular mantra composting tree planting are temporarily accepted as buzzwords bandied about without a second thought Yet all this gusto and emotion is just for one day What about the other 364 Please don t be taken aback by my questions I m just wondering Air Water Dirt without these elements we would not survive yet this basic biology is routinely overlooked So what about trying to sustain the energy and momentum that is drummed up each April 22 and grow a year round ethic The difficulty it strikes me is in the scale Earth Day can quickly become a celebration fraught with global issues and overtones I mean how do you reasonably honor an entity with a 24 901 55mile girth without getting a bit well big for your britches There is a certain glamour to international places events and environmental tragedies for they are potent in their overwhelming nature and scope And yet it is difficult to live at this heightened level of global awareness If we are to act with Earth Day in mind all year round I think it must exhibited

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/earthday.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Maple Sugaring - North Country News
    character Getting off to a quick hot start is key and I best be sure my sleepy eyes and groggy hands don t deter the process I start with barely ten gallons of sap atop the stove and have it boiling within fifteen minutes I use a four pan system the back two being warming trays the front being the intermediate step and the middle pan ultimately being the finishing pan Using a ladle and a strainer I ll move eighty gallons of sap across the stove over the next fifteen hours The result will be two gallons of dark sweet smoky maple syrup Between beginning and end nonetheless is a rhythm of constant motion I maintain that if there s time to sit then the process is not progressing sufficiently efficiently Therefore it is amongst sweet smelling steam and smoke that burns the eyes that a confined dance is choreographed I filter transfer and add sap as thankfully these watched pots do boil The empty buckets gradually stack up twenty gallons forty gallons sixty gallons eighty Around this work I split wood hence the hatchet feeding the fire frequently and stockpiling wood for the nighttime hours In every spare moment I drink water I ll guzzle two to three gallons each boil day hence the jug While that minimizes the headache I still leave the shack desiccated and weary not to mention the inhaled soot that renders me sounding like a struggling asthmatic The stick of butter I d like to clarify is not some personal endurance trick Rather it is the 911 call of sugaring emergencies At some point usually first occurring in late morning the sugar content of the final pan will gain that critical ratio when over intense heat it wants to boil over While still

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/maplesugaring.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Winter Diet - North Country News
    made it this far and a whole crate full of garlic scapes continues to commandeer the freezer s left hand side And that s not all Just the other day pitter patter down the steps Regina descended her arms full of long pie pumpkins The black and fuzzy blotches were visible from across the room Her plea echoed the unfortunate state of affairs as the suffering squashes rolled lopsidedly on the counter Ai how can we not have this happen How long do we have before the fifty or so remaining winter squash and pumpkins meet the same fate This is our S O S save our squash We need to feed more food to more people This is mind you a first rate problem to have We are cultivating more food than ever before here at D Acres and the next season looks to be all the more productive With new greenhouse space to extend the growing season soil that is more fertile and rich with each year established techniques methods and committed staff whose skills experience improve with the seasons the prospects are certainly not dire We don t however eat more just because we raise more This is where we need you Come out to food events Join us for a potluck We can turn our stored delights into such a myriad of platters and dishes Kale is easily tucked into much no one quibbles over raspberries garlic scapes are the jackpot of flavor and the squash varieties my oh my delicata acorn hubbard kobucha red kuri baby blue and all manner of pumpkins the dinner options are stupendous not to mention all the other vegetables we grow and preserve in less daunting proportions But listen we need visitors with whom we can share the abundance Pick

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/winterdiet.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Ducks - North Country News
    and outrageous statement to say that that springtime is coming There are however the usual suspects that accompany this annual statement groundhogs and their shadows sugar buckets which also cast shadows brief thaws and the icy aftermath the days lengthening by perceptible increments And here at D Acres we have another gauge to add to the list Duck eggs Mmm hmmm With our Indian Runners having taken their first swim on our backyard pond this past July we ve been looking forward to this particular milestone in our breakfast diet for some months now It s a welcome treat and though our chickens continue as the backbone of our egg production the duck eggs are a pleasant present for the palate Large creamy and full of flavor they have sufficiently quenched at least temporarily our interest in roast duck meat Granted there has been a bit more sun a bit more warmth a bit more daylight and whether it s that or just coincidence well in some quadratic formula of animal instinct and optimal timing all of the above translates to eggs Excellent How many have we had at this point A dozen or two Gathering just two eggs a day we ve got to wonder if it s one over achieving duck leading the pack or are they each taking turns in a delicate sharing of the task Perhaps it s just one wacky bird with cabin fever jumping the gun on spring and insisting that this cold and blustery end of the month is propitious timing Rhetorical questions merely that gladly can be set aside as we tend to the practicalities of the situation Nesting boxes breeding possibilities an expanded enclosure now s the time to make our plan for once the snow has gone we must be

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/ducks.html (2016-05-01)
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