Back in Appleton for Spring, Maine style!

FYI I actually posted this entry about 2 weeks ago and it has mysteriously disappeared! Did anyone see it or know where it might have gone? I was just sitting here all ready to post another entry with some great travel adventures and recipes when I logged on and saw my last post had vanished!! Well, you live and you learn, or maybe not! Here is "this old post" as I remember it. :-)

Rosie at Sunrise on the Ridge after a late Spring snow storm
Its been a long winter here in Maine and we are all ready for Spring which comes way too late in the year for this little snowbird. My ideal Spring starts with occasional 70 degree temperatures all Winter long and the mercury creeping up into the 80s during March. Having recently returned from a glorious Spring down south, we are back up in Maine where temps are barely making it to the 60s. Its cold, wet and there was still snow on the ground after the April Fool's Day dumping.

But don't let me fool you readers into the thought that I don't love where I live, its really quite the opposite. Upon my return to our home I was reminded of many things which give us reason to call Appleton, Maine our home.

The Street Where We Live

Jim & Linda eat from their garden all Winter!
Lovely salad greens, kale and spina
One of the very first days after our return I was walking Rosie on the Ridge Rd. You can see for miles in many directions on the top of our ridge and the road runs its way right at the very crest. I happened upon our neighbor Jim who was tending to his garden. We had a bit of a chat and I learned that Jim & his partner Linda

(long-time gardeners) have been eating from their garden all winter long! Jim invited me over to have a look at the many lettuces, kale and spinach some of which have survived since last Fall, which is a miracle given the winter we had this past year. Jim and Linda use a couple of different techniques involving cold frames and plastic sheeting to keep them eating some fresh greens all through the dark of the Maine winter. Needless to say, I was impressed. We haven't even thought about our gardens yet and I'm still buying my greens and every other veggie at the grocery store! I have a lot to learn about sustainable living in Maine!

Jim's horse "Zeb"
Jim (as with most New Englanders) has worn many hats in his lifetime including inspecting the catch on commercial fishing vessels, and most recently, in sustainable forestry as a logger who uses draft horses to remove trees rather than the "clear cut" method. We often see Jim training his horses on the Ridge Road, another reason why we love it here! These photos of Jim and his horse "Zeb" were taken just a few weeks ago, in Spring, notice no leaves on the trees yet, not even close! For more info on logging with horses, click here.

Daffodils Naturalize all around
We've been home for nearly a month now and slowly, slowly you can see the signs of Spring. Daffodils have naturalized and bloom everywhere on our Ridge and the chickadees are not the only birds at our feeders! Recently we have seen a pair of Eastern or Rufous-sided Towhees and many Goldfinches. To learn more about a Towhee, click here.
We had better get busy with our gardens! I can't wait to be sampling the lettuces and other veggies grown by us! But just to be sure we have all that Maine Summer produce offers, we have a share in one of our local CSA's.  I'll be posting recipes for the produce we harvest as it comes in, along with some for the more interesting veggies the CSA is sure to provide.
For more info on CSA's click here.

Today's recipes are for salad dressing. I find that many people are challenged to come up with a dressing which contains no oil. Here are two of my favorites.  One by Mary McDougall of McDougall's Health and Medical Center and the other by Susan V from Fat Free Vegan. (hey, why re-invent the wheel??) You will love both of these informative websites and blogs as well as the delicious recipes they offer! For links click here and here.

by Mary McDougall

Servings:  makes 1 ½ cups
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Chilling Time:  2 hours
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup water
1  12.3 ounce package firm lite silken tofu
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Place the cilantro, garlic and 1/8 cup of the water in a food processor.  Process until blended.  Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. 
HINT:  Add more water if necessary to make this easy to pour over salads.  To make this less cilantro flavored, use half parsley and half cilantro.

Ridiculously Easy Vegan Buttermilk Salad Dressing
by Susan Voisin
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
1/2 cup plain soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 - 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (start with 1 tbsp. and add more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash or Mr. Spice House
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small clove garlic
1 green olive
1/2 teaspoon chia seed (optional, for thickness)
salt (to taste)
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and additional seasonings to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Stir before serving.
Servings: 4


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