Christmas Feast

“The North Wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, and will will poor robin do then, poor thing?  She’ll go into the barn, keep herself warm and hide her head under her wing, poor thing!” Although this British nursery rhyme refers to the European robin, a member of the flycatcher family, I couldn’t help but think of it when I opened our front door this morning in a raging snowstorm.

Not all American robins migrate to warm climes in the winter and fruit is a natural part of their year-round diet. With whiteout conditions on this Christmas Day 2017, dozens of robins found sustenance where they could… even braved our presence to devour winterberries on our front porch arrangement. These branches were thick with berries yesterday on Christmas Eve. Tonight the branches are almost bare. It makes us happy to provide a holiday gift they needed on this icy and cold day.

Robins

robin

robin.

As always, the crabapple tree proved to be a lifesaver for dozens of robins. The birds will eat almost continuously during the day to store up as much fat reserves to survive the frigid nights of our New England winter.

crabapple.

crabapple

 

Temperatures are due to plummet to negative number in New England in the nights ahead and the frigid temperatures will create a challenge for the robins and for all birds. We’ll continue supplement nature’s food with a variety of seeds and nuts, adding fruit to what we scatter on the ground, and provide a heated birdbath for drinking water. Best of luck to our feathered friends!

NH Snow

Merry Christmas to all!

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food….

We’ve been waiting for the Wentworth Greenhouses to kick off the Winter Farmers’ Market because we were in the market for fresh cut Brussels sprouts for our Thanksgiving table. The Thanksgiving menu has been planned. We’ve pre-ordered our turkey, our Edwards Virginia ham is on the way, and now we need our vegetables. We’ve come to the right place……

I was startled by the first person I encountered as I crossed the parking lot. He was a jolly old fella who laughed when I asked for his photo. The Christmas Season was definitely not on my mind today…. but, hey, St. Nick must celebrate Thanksgiving, too.  He had a big bag of produce that he carefully loaded into his sleigh…. errr….trunk.

Farmers’ Markets are still somewhat new to me. At the entrance, I surveyed the marketplace. The scene reminded me a little of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The area was packed with hustle, bustle, buying and selling, but there was a big difference here. There were no agitated, impatient, loud folks in this room. Shoppers of all ages, adults and children, sampled wares, stood patiently in line, mingled, laughed and chatted with the growers. Sights, earthy aromas, and textures permeated the throughout. Everyone was having fun.

No, I did not sample the raw goat milk but I couldn’t pass up the goat milk soap!

The sign with the pastas listed such amazing flavors as herb pappardelle, spinach fettuccine, garlic scapes linguine, lemon basil linguine, potato chives casarecci, squid ink spaghettini and more. I would like to sample them all.

So after mingling, sampling, buying, connecting with the growers and admiring their wares for over an hour, we purchased our fresh Brussels sprouts and made our way to the car.  Thank you to Wentworth Greenhouses and Seacoast Eat Local for providing fresh from the farms for local folks and a day’s entertainment…. of foods, crafts and rooms full of festive Christmas plants and adornments. I swooned over the glorious winterberry (Ilex verticillata), my favorite holiday trimming.