From the humble Farmer

A friend took a picture of me while I was speaking at the Common Ground Fair and posted it on my Facebook page. A woman friend wrote beneath the picture: “I did notice that his suspenders were not centered.”

Does this not raise an interesting question? Centered on what?

When I looked at the picture I also noticed that my suspenders were not centered but that was the second thing I noticed.

The first thing I noticed was that my shirt sleeves were too long. You can see from the picture that I had pulled them up so people could see that I have hands. I have three blue shirts and I wore one for each of the three Common Ground Fair days and on Saturday my sleeves drove me crazy because when I dropped my hands my shirt sleeves slid down to the tips of my fingers. It is very uncomfortable to stand before an audience and speak while wearing a shirt that has sleeves that are four inches too long.

Last night, as I was moving toward our bed I mentioned that my Saturday shirt was made for a gorilla and that I could understand why you always saw pictures of the old time card-players wearing rubber garters on their arms to hold up the cuffs on their shirt sleeves. Whereupon, my wife, Marsha, the Almost-Perfect Woman, patiently explained that all of my shirts are the same size.

Is there any sense to argue with a woman? I had worn the shirts and I knew that two shirts fit and that one had long sleeves. I didn’t need to look at any little tag inside the collar.

You can well believe that by Sunday night the Saturday and Friday shirts were already washed, pressed, and back in the closet so, although I was so tired I could barely stand, I staggered over to the closet and dragged out the two clean shirts, and presented Marsha with all three for her inspection. What do you think my wife said after she read the printed proof that, for perhaps the first time in our marriage, I was right?

She said, “Well, you could have rolled them up.”

— The humble Farmer



Fair observations

Washington resident Norman Casas was also at the fair, along with three of his sons, working in the Maine Stone Workers Guild area. The stone workers’ informal presence at Common Ground goes back to the 1970s, when the fair was held at Litchfield. In 1981, the fair moved to the Windsor Fairgrounds, and four years later a loosely knit group called Norman Casas and Friends began demonstrated wall building, carving and other stone arts to fairgoers.

In 1996, Casas and about a dozen others formed the Maine Stone Workers Guild. Today the guild has 37 professional members. In addition to Norman, Jesse and Owen Casas, Midcoast members include, Joe and Shlomit Auciello, Jamie and Joshua Carle, Patrick Manley and Bob Williams. While not a guild member, Josiah Casas joined his father and brothers, and other guild members in showing some of the 60,000 visitors to the 2011 fair how stones are split, dressed and sculpted.

Midcoast farmers were also present in large numbers, including Andrea and Allan Smith, of Brae Maple Farm in Union; Eleesha Tonken, of Harvest Hill Farm, in Hope; and David Smith, of Sparky’s Apiaries, in Hope.

Deb Soule, of Avena Botanicals in Rockport, was there, too, as were Caitlin Hunter, of the Maine Cheese Guild in Appleton; Pike Bartlett, of Maine Garden Products, in Friendship; Nanney Kennedy, of Seacolor’s, and The Maine Blanket in Washington; Robert Sewall and Mia Mantello, of Sewall Orchard, in Lincolnville; Kim Scheimreif, of Shepherds and Such Homesteading Farm, in Waldoboro, all in the Agricultural Products area.

The crafts area was host to Susan Sherman of Crafts Capestries, in Appleton; J. Kevin White, Photographs of Hope; Peter Jones, of Mountain Street Pottery in Camden; Ed Slawson and Virginia Dejewska Slawson ,of Playing With Fire! Glassworks and Gallery in Rockland; and Wendy Waugaman, of WLW Designs, in Port Clyde.

In addition, Sam Smith and Liz Hanlon of E&S Smith & May, in West Rockport, and William Huntington of Hope Spinnery were on site, as was Bernard Zike of Warren, demonstrating seat weaving in the Folk Arts area.

Hungry fairgoers found Mike Mayo of 4M Productions inThomaston; Angela and Fred Fagin, of Jyang-Lee Kitchens in Coopers Mills; Susanne Ward, of Rock City Coffee Roasters in Rockland; Linda Leigh, of Country Bumpkins in Washington; Chuck, Seren and Nancy Huus, of Finest Fried Maine Seafood, in Union; David, Cameron, Don and Dylan Gardner, of Maine Falafel Company, in Washington; Richard Morgan of Morgan’s Mills, in Union; and Greg aArsen, of Tuva Bakery in Lincolnville Center.

Wesley Danie,l of Medomak Valley Farm, in Washington joined Mike Sproul, of Sproul Farms in Waldoboro, demonstrating the fine points of livestock management, while Penelope Olson, of Appleton, led the Wednesday Spinners in showing how yarn is made from fleece.

Finally, visitors to the fair’s Maine Marketplace found Rain Desjardins, of All-Star Hoops & Sticks in Camden; Cindy and Erik Laustsen, of Danica Candleworks in Rockland; Stacey Rossiter, of Devine Homemade Collection in Union; Greg Marley, of Mushrooms For Health in Rockland; Jamie Doubleday, of Mystic Woodworks in Warren; and Pat Garrett, of Wood and Wave Woodworking in Spruce Head, all of whom took their products to the fair.