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Walking the New Labyrinth in the Woods

Intrigued by a short news item I saw that a new labyrinth was being built off the public walking trails at Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick, I had to go see for myself.  “A labyrinth is not a maze,” it stated.  So, if not a maze, then what is it?
labyrinth 002 Located just off the Garden Trail near the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, the labyrinth, a joint project between the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and the First Parish Church (UCC) in Brunswick, spans a clearing of about 50 feet and is made of cobblestone and natural mulch. It was built in honor of Susan Fitzgerald, a long time member of both the land trust and the First Parish Church.
labyrinth labyrinth Though there are a number of styles, the Brunswick labyrinth is a 7-circuit Chartres-style labyrinth. The ancient labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in Chartres, France, just southwest of Paris, built around 1200, is one of the most famous labyrinths in the world and serves as a destination for religious pilgrimage.  labyrinth labyrinth According to the Labyrinth Society, a group that tracks and studies labyrinths around the world, they are often confused with mazes. But the two are different.  A labyrinth has one continuous path, while a maze offers the traveler many choices along the way.  A labyrinth has one entrance and exit, while a maze may have many.  Mazes can be difficult to navigate, while labyrinths are easy. Mazes are designed to puzzle and confuse; labyrinths encourage mindful relaxation, or religious reflection.  Still, it’s easy to understand how the two can be mistaken for one another.

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The Labyrinth in the Woods in Brunswick is not the only labyrinth in Maine. There are at least a dozen in public and private places across the state, and hundreds, if not thousands, more across the country and throughout the world. (For a complete list, check out the online Labyrinth Locator. )

Although it is positioned on the edge of a public trail overlooking the community garden and several housing complexes, the Crystal Spring Farm labyrinth feels very private, surrounded by tall pines and having just three natural stone benches at the center.

And,  it takes longer to walk than you might think.

If You Go:

The Labyrinth in the Woods is located off Maurice Drive in Brunswick. Plenty of parking is available, near the trail head, located near the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. There is no fee.

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Saving Summer Geraniums

This year, I finally got fed up with buying new geraniums and decided to overwinter mine.  As tender perennials, geraniums will not last long in our zone 5b winter.  So, the choices  are few: you can let them die and simply purchase new plants in the spring; you can bring them inside and grow them as houseplants during the colder months; or you can remove them from their soil, cut them back hard, and store the roots in a cool, dark place and replant them in the spring.

My goal is simple. I have a pink ivy geranium that I enjoyed in the summer and it has continued to bloom into the fall. I’d just like to see if I can get more of that happiness through the winter.

To do this, I first made sure that I chose plants that were free of insects or disease; in other words, good specimens. I took them out of their terracotta pots, cleaned them of most dirt, trimmed the roots some, and re-potted them in some nice stone pots I got cheaply at the Goodwill.  I trimmed the plants of dead leaves and spent flowers, and cut them back sharply, like a good haircut. I could not resist cutting the flowers, so I left them for now, but will eventually cut those long stems back.  geranium 006 With my Felco pruners,  I trimmed and trimmed and trimmed. geranium 013 And into fresh new potting soil the geraniums went, ready for a new season, albeit a much colder one.  Later this winter, I might also cut some leaves from my overwintering geraniums and try growing them in a special medium. The little babies that should result will likely produce more than the original “mother” plant.  In the meantime, I will enjoy more blooms come January and February. Hopefully. We’ll just have to wait and see. geranium 026 I’ve got the perfect spot for these girls: upstairs in a walk-in closet in the bedroom. It just so happens to have a roll out window, which will provide ample sunlight, and cool temperatures. Perfect. A little bit of summer tucked away in my closet.
Color Stress Away with Coling Books at Interweave

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Recipe: Old Fashioned Crab Apple Jelly

So, you have an abundance of crab apples and don’t know what to do with them? Here’s a recipe adapted from the 1959 Farm Journal Country Cookbook.  With a hint of vanilla, this jelly is delicious, sweet and fragrant.
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Crab Apple Jelly

5 lbs. crab apples

8 c. water


1 tsp. vanilla

  • Remove stem and blossom ends from washed crab apples, cut in halves and place in large kettle. (Red fruit makes the most colorful jelly.) Add water and cook until fruit is very soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Strain mixture through jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Do not force the juice through bag, as this will cause the jelly to become cloudy.
  • Measure juice. You should have about 7 cups, but this is not always easy to gauge, since all crab apples are different. Stir in 3/4 c. sugar for every cup of juice. Bring to a boil quickly and cook rapidly until jelling point is reached.
  • Skim off foam, stir in vanilla and pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ head space.  Process for 5 minutes. Makes about 4 half pints, but amount can be more or less, depending on  variety and juiciness of crab apples.

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