The autumn holiday weekend is upon us — happy Indigenous People’s Day! This is Maine’s third year of celebrating it as such. On Sunday, Oct. 10, an event nearest and dearest to my heart, is Maine’s very first Maine Fiber Trails and Tours. While I am not participating in the tour itself, all you knitters and folks t.hat like to visit fuzzy critters should definitely check out the participants at this website: realmaine.com/agritourism/maine-fiber-farm-tours.

And if you like cheese, be sure to find your nearest farm for Maine Open Creamery Day. https://mainecheeseguild.org/?page_id=5145

Maine pesticide collection

It’s time to go dig out those weird chemical containers hidden behind the brush mower and unused ladders, and turn them into a pesticide collection point. This program is organized by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Board of Pesticides Control. There will be four sites holding collections, located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. You must register in advance.

To participate, obtain an Obsolete Pesticide Inventory Form from this weblink: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/documents2/obsoletes/obsolete-inventory-form-fillable_8-11.pdf.

Or, call the BPC at 287-2731 to have one sent to you. BPC staff will contact you two weeks prior to the collection to inform you of your local collection date and location. Travel directions with a map, transport instructions, and two copies of shipping papers will be mailed to you.

For questions and more information: Maine Board of Pesticides Control, 287-2731, thinkfirstspraylast.org.

Waldo County Farm Boxes

As I took my dogs for a walk this past Monday, I noticed that the Jackson Food Pantry line was rather longer that it had been in a while. Perhaps this was due to a reduction in benefits as of Sept. I thought I’d share the info below for those in the community who might not qualify for the Food Pantry, but could still use their “bounty.”

The Farm Box 2021 Pilot serves people at 100%-189% of the federal poverty level, a population that is often ineligible for federal hunger-relief through food pantry services. It is a collaboration involving Waldo County Bounty, Daybreak Growers Alliance, and Belfast Soup Kitchen. The soup kitchen does not ask for qualifying information. If you are in need, the soup kitchen will help you. Launched on Sept. 7, the Farm Box Pilot will run for three months. The boxes are available to residents across Waldo County, not only those living in Belfast. To reserve a box, residents may email info@belfastsoupkitchen.org, call 338-4845, or send the soup kitchen a message via its Facebook page.

FMI: https://waldocountybounty.me/farm-box-2021-pilot.

Planning Board

The next Planning Board meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 26. The Planning Board process to update the Comprehensive Plan is underway. One of the key components of this is public participation. What is your vision for your town? How do you envision the town of Jackson 10, 15 or 20 years from now? Specifically, what does your desired future community character look like in terms of economic development, natural and cultural resource conservation, transportation systems, land use patterns, and our role in the region? Feel free to jot down notes, write an email to the Town Office, or come to the next Planning Board meeting to share your thoughts and ideas.

Maine history nugget

Though we have many hand spinners and knitters of wool in our local communities these days, our modern local fiber farmers are not surrounded by the extensive network of sheep farmers and mills that existed in the 1800s. If you’d like to visit a working wool mill, dating from, and continuously running since, 1821, please head out to Bartlett Yarns in Harmony. Call ahead for a tour of the very loud machinery in all its glory. Their 1940s Johnson and Wales spinning mule is the last remaining such spinner in the U.S.

“In 1880, there were ninety-three woolen mills in Maine, employing 1,716 males over the age of sixteen, 1,109 females over fifteen, and 270 children. Wages totaled $1,044,606. Domestic wool used totaled nearly 8 million pounds, as compared with just over 1 million pounds of foreign wool.”

As an example of the scope of work being done in Maine woolen mills, in 1883, the Moosehead woolen mill at East Wilton had “1,400 spindles, employed forty-five hands, and had a yearly production of 550,000 yards of colored flannels. In 1886, it consumed 120,000 of wool.” Clearly any number of children working in the mills was unacceptable, thank goodness for labor laws and public education for all! — A Day’s Work: A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs 1860-1920, Part I by W. H. Bunting, p. 178.