Category Archives: Beyond the wedding

Our local food dinner

We did it! We cooked and served a meal made mostly from ingredients we grew, raised or made from scratch ourselves. We made way too much food, but no one seemed to mind taking leftovers home the next day. It was such an incredible weekend! The weather was perfect, the people wonderful and fun, my husband amazing…

Andy & I during our wedding ceremony

It’s weird to be on the other side of a weekend that we have spent many months preparing for. We’re back home and back to work for a week before heading out on our honeymoon in southern Utah. Then we’ll have to find a new project to take on – maybe getting our new land ready to build and farm on!

Andy asked me several times throughout the weekend, “Was it worth it?” Were all the hours of preparation worth it for one meal? I always said yes, absolutely.

We cooked our wedding dinner with friends and family in a summer camp kitchen

The meal provided more than just pleasure and sustenance for our guests, it was a learning experience for us as well. We gained confidence in our growing skills, since this was by far the biggest garden either of us had tended on our own. It gave us hope that anything is possible.

It was also a test of our relationship. There was stress and there were decisions to make together. We realized that the way we approach projects is quite different. I like to think things through before starting and have a plan for exactly what will happen. When we have to stray from the plan, it stresses me out. Andy, however, likes to figure things out as he goes along, and he is more flexible when something doesn’t go as planned.

Butternut squash destined for soup

“We’ll figure it out,” he said numerous times this summer. “But I want to figure it out now,” I would reply. We struggled at times and got grumpy with each other, but we’ve developed some new techniques for dealing with stress and for combining our different styles of approaching tasks. Once we let go of needing to be right, we realized that it’s better for us to be different. When you combine us, we think ahead and we’re flexible.

Kim roasted endless trays of chicken and potatoes

It’s hard to describe the weekend because for me it all went by so quickly. On Friday we gathered in the kitchen of the summer camp we rented out for the weekend. Friends and family washed, chopped, mixed, baked and boiled. We filled the walk-in cooler with trays of roast chicken and potatoes, salads, squash soup, veggie sticks, hummus, chopped watermelon and cantaloupe and more.

I can’t do Saturday justice by explaining the sequence of events. It was an emotional and incredibly wonderful day. And the food was delicious and abundant.

Max designed the image we had printed on aprons we gave away to our cooks as gifts

To be honest, I find it remarkable that we pulled this off. Neither of us have ever done any catering before, but we decided to make a meal for 90, and it worked out. I’ve been thinking lately about how neither of us are scared to take on projects, even if we don’t know how we’re going to accomplish them. I’m so grateful for this trait, which I can probably thank my parents for. Through their words and actions, they have infused me with a feeling that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

I guess this blog is done, now that our local food wedding is finished. However, I plan to start a new blog that Andy has named, Living From Scratch. We do so much from scratch – cut our own firewood, make tomato sauce and pickles and ketchup, boil maple sap into syrup, bake bread, smoke bacon, make cheese, brew beer…. We enjoy providing for ourselves, and we’re able to live a lifestyle less tied to our income. We still need money, of course, but since we have a low consumer footprint, we are able to put away money even on very modest salaries. Check back for a link to the new blog.

If you want all the recipes we used for our wedding dinner, I plan to post them sometime soon.

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A decision that will impact the rest of our lives

Most days a new piece of land comes on the market and I get an email about it. We open these emails excitedly, hoping for the perfect parcel at a reasonable price. We have particular needs and wants for this piece of land, as we want it to be both our home and our business for many years to come.

There are many qualities included in our perfect piece of land. First of all, we want soil types that are good for growing fruits and vegetables. We use Web Soil Survey, which is a service of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. On this website, you can trace out an area anywhere in the country and find out what soil types are present. It being Maine, there are many parcels that are too rocky or too wet to be any good for growing vegetables. We’d also like to have some fields, at least enough to get started, though we are willing to clear forest.

Then there’s the location. We want to be fairly close to our families, who live in Central Maine. We want to be close enough to farmers markets and customers so we can conveniently sell our products. We’re looking for a small town with a sense of community, where we can become part of the town, get to know our neighbors and feel welcomed. Looking ahead to having children some day, we also want a town with a good school system. That’s a lot to ask of a town.

There are also little perks that get us excited about certain pieces of property. For Andy, it’s sugar maples and quiet dirt roads. For me it’s water, whether it be a stream, pond or lake. We don’t expect to be able to afford lakefront property, but something close to a lake would be wonderful.

There’s the question of a house too. We have lots of ideas about what we’d like our house to be, namely energy efficient and built with natural materials. We have been considering buying an existing house, and we’ve looked at some, but none are what we’re looking for. We’ve realized lately that, if we can afford it, we’d really rather have our house built for us so it’s just what we want.

With all of these criteria in mind, we’ve visited at least 37 properties this year. Some have come close to being what we want, but we haven’t found the perfect place to settle down together. We get discouraged sometimes, looking at parcel after parcel after getting excited by the listing. On one hand, we just want to buy something and start creating the home we want. But we also want to wait until a piece of property feels just right. When should we give in on some of our desires? What should we compromise on?