Monday, October 26, 2009

Apple Pressing Correction!

The last e-musings said that Wagbo is seeking a $5 donation per gallon of apple cider. This is incorrect--we're actually looking for a donation of $5 per family! (Makes quite a difference, huh?)

We also thought it would be helpful to mention the approximate apple to cider ratio. On average, it takes about one bushel of apples to make 2 gallons of apple cider. This will help you determine about how many apples to bring, as well as how many containers to bring. The other information pertaining to apple pressing is correct.

Also, please don't bring apples that have been laying on the ground, as they accumulate dirt and bacteria. If you shake the tree and pick them up, that's okay. (As long as they don't land in deer poop!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wagbo Farm Through the Seasons

While our frosts are getting harder and flocks of migrating birds are heading south, the colors of autumn are getting more intense by the minute. There are few places in Northwest Michigan where this is more dramatic than the Jordan River Valley. Wagbo is fortunate to have some of the best eastern views of the valley – its lowland scarlet Red Maples, rolling golds of Beech-Sugar Maple forests, deep green of sentinel White Pines and the dark oaken mound of Mt. Bliss looming on the horizon. Hiking the Wagbo property is especially rewarding this time of year when it is cool enough to not worry about overheating and yet warm enough for leisurely picnics.

A wonderful time for bird-watching, one passer-through that is common in the fields near the barn at the moment is the White-Crowned Sparrow. These handsome, not-so-shy little birds are visiting Wagbo as a convenient rest-stop on their great journey from the tundra to as far south as central Mexico. Come out and see them while they’re still here! There’s no need for registration, trail fee or even a ‘heads-up’: our trails are always open to visitors.Red-Tailed Hawks and the occasional Northern Harrier have been visiting lately, hunting the fields and a Bobcat was recently spotted near the campground. Almost nightly, once the stars begin to awake, a chaotic symphony of Coyotes can be heard joyously celebrating something known only to them, and the mournful call of the Barred Owl can be heard to the south. As November rolls around we expect to see more Porcupines as they search for mates. This is the best and easiest time to see these normally inconspicuous animals and catch them in the act of their dramatic courtship displays! All in all, this is a great time to get out and visit the Wagbo Farm and there is always something interesting happening here beyond the programming. You just have to look for yourself…

First Friday Potluck

Join us at the Wagbo farmhouse for food, fun, and good company. Next month's First Friday Potluck will be held on November 6th. Dinner starts at 6 pm. Bring a dish to pass if you can; but feel free to join us with or without one. Drinks and table service are provided by Wagbo.

Then stick around after dinner for the program. At 7:00 PM Ellen Addinton will present Making Peace in a Hostile World- A view of indigenous peoples search for peace in Columbia and Venezuela. Ellen, a resident of Ellsworth, MI and long time peace activist has travelled and worked extensively in a number of Central American countries. Much of her work has focused on the struggles of women in the Central American peace effort. Don't miss this amazing presentation!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Press Your Apples!

Got Apples? Come to the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center in East Jordan on Sunday, November 1st, 1:00 to 4:00 PM to press them into delicious Cider! Bring your own apples to grind and press. Bring your own jugs to fill for a suggested donation of $5 per family. Community Apple Pressing has been a rural tradition for centuries. Keep this family-fun autumn pastime alive and well in Northern Michigan!

Wagbo will provide an apple grinder and press for all your cider needs! We hope to rent a large, electric grinder and manual press from a local orchard. If this doesn't work out, however, there will still be a manual grinder and press supplied. If you haven't tried apple cidering, come out and share the experience! You'll never have such delicious cider as your own fresh-pressed stuff.

The Wagbo Farm is located 3 miles south of East Jordan at 5745 N. M66. 1-4pm. Call 231-536-0333 for more details.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fungi and Fermentation

Fungi and Fermentation was a great success! Despite the cold and rain, approximately 60 people showed up to the skill swap--all in good spirits and excited to learn. Here's the front yard all packed full of cars:There were so many different classes offered that day, that it isn't possible to fit pictures of them all on this entry. But here are some highlights:

This is Julie Hurd showing off her samples of wool yarn dyed with wildharvested mushrooms. Her knowledge of this subject was very impressive, and the colors the mushrooms created were beautiful! It was great to see all the wonderful dyes that can be created from fungi growing right in your backyard.

Amanda Kik teaching cheesemaking. You had to really squeeze in to get a good look at this one! In this class, Amanda taught everyone how to make queso blanco, also called vinegar cheese. It's a fairly simple process, but the outcome is delicious. Everyone was inspired to go home and make some of their own!

Here is Mark Meier teaching sauerkraut preparation. His methods were quite impressive, as he brought his own hand-made shredder to and wooden stomper to process the cabbage! He also brought along some samples of vegetables he'd fermented. The delicious taste is enough to inspire anyone to ferment their own veggies.

Another happy participant! How can you be sad with all the delicious wine, beer, mead, cider, and fermented foods to sample? Thanks so much to all the instructors for making this event possible! Also thanks to ISLAND, all our wonderful volunteers, and the following sponsor:

with support from the following: Krios Consulting, Higher Grounds Coffee, Lubrecht and Cramer Ltd., Field and Forest Products, Pleasanton Bakery, Tandem Ciders, Right Brain Brewery, Leelanau Cultured Veggies, Black Star Farms, Frasure Farms, Sunra Farms, Shetler Dairy, Turtle Kitchen, Morel Mania, FUNGI Magazine and Mushroom the Journal.

To see more pictures, please visit ISLAND's Facebook page or Wagbo's Shutterfly account.