Abigail Curtis

Homestead Reporter

A dairy cow chews on grain in a barn at Keene Dairy Farm Belfast on Tuesday. Karagen Stone recently received a fairly unusual certification. Stone has her certification to artificially inseminate cows.

Why this Belfast teen learned the fine art of inseminating dairy cows

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 20, 2017, at 7:29 a.m.
Karagen Stone, a three-sport athlete who doesn’t lack for confidence, said she’d like to tell other teenage girls that they shouldn’t limit their dreams based on what’s expected of them. “Girls can get dirty,” she said. “If there’s something you want to do, do it.”
Annie Stillwater Gray is the host of the General Store Variety Show in the studio of the Skowhegan-based radio station WXNZ.

Northern Exposure, Maine-style: Solon woman creates world for weekly radio show

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 15, 2017, at 11:44 a.m.
“I like people to feel like they’re escaping, when they come to the general store.”
Stephen DeGoosh and Brooke Isham talk in the living and dining area of their home. Forty years ago, a retired Air Force captain and his family built the bunker-like home on a stake of land in rural Sangerville and prepared for the worst. Now DeGoosh and Isham are staying true to the original plans of the home -- a large garden, a greenhouse -- but with transition and food sovereignty in mind instead of survivalism.

Bunker-style home built by survivalists the perfect fit for sustainable duo

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 13, 2017, at 6:19 a.m.
Instead of going it alone in an uncertain and possibly frightening future, they are working on building a community that can survive it together.

‘It’s like drawing with a hammer’: Maine blacksmith forges art on her anvil

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 11, 2017, at 7:21 a.m.
Over the years that she has been honing her craft, Max has continued to have fun. One of her most popular items stemmed from an experiment.
Community members gather at the Orono Community Garden.

Four tips to help you start a successful community garden

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 08, 2017, at 1:47 p.m.
Starting a community garden can be a terrific way to grow vegetables and help people in your neighborhood. But before you pick up a spade or seed catalog, it’s a good idea to keep a few pointers in mind.
Khris Flack is the program manager for Veggies For All, a Unity-based food bank farm that serves 25 towns.

Veggies For All marks decade of working to feed hungry people

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 08, 2017, at 8:21 a.m.
“For many of the people we serve, especially seniors, fresh vegetables are something that you don’t often get. I would say that it’s a win-win situation — the fresh vegetables are key.”
Unschooling has some things in common with homeschooling, but it’s certainly not identical, according to three local moms who are choosing to unschool their children. Homeschooled children often have a parent or other adult teach them subjects with the help of curriculum or lesson plans. “The idea is that we all inherently have interests and passions,” Sara Yasner of Clifton, the 44-year-old mother of three unschooled children, said. “It seems that in school there’s so much about the social aspect and fitting in. With unschooling, it really is about what their interests are.”

Why some Maine families are choosing an unschooled approach to education

By Abigail Curtis on Feb. 06, 2017, at 12:49 p.m.
“We tried several curriculums, and she just wasn’t that interested in it. She wanted to play. She wanted to create.”
Young farmer Everett Ottinger, who is diabetic, talks about being able to afford medicine and doctor visits thanks to the Affordable Care Act Thursday at his farm, Nettie Fox Farm, in Newburgh.

Why some Maine farmers do not want Obamacare repealed

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 31, 2017, at 6:17 a.m.
“The reason we didn’t have insurance before the [Affordable Care Act] was that we couldn’t afford it. I know it’s a controversial law, and there’s lots of people it doesn’t work for. But it saved my life, and it has kept our business afloat.”
Ken Lamson of New Beat Farm in Knox keeps busy in the winter with work that includes using his draft horses to do logging jobs.

How Maine farmers stay busy and make money in the winter

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 24, 2017, at 11:42 a.m.
Growing numbers of farmers are extending their farming season through winter farmers markets and tools such as high tunnel greenhouses, which can allow a four-season harvest — but even those who don’t stretch their season this way find other work to do.
Rose Zoller washes kale harvested in the main high-tunnel hoop house at Four Season Farm in Brooksville.

Winter farmers markets: It’s cold out, but farmers have this covered

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 24, 2017, at 11:42 a.m.
When it’s cold, grey and snowy outside, what could be better than farm-fresh produce? Maine is fortunate to have farms and farmers markets that provide vegetables to customers, even in the dead of winter.
John Gawler plays the washboard with his family, the Gawler Family Band, during the Belfast contra dance at American Legion Post No. 43 on Friday. The Gawler family are a "fun-loving, folk-singing, fiddle-playing family" that are truly an only-in-Maine music group. They are committed to farming and old-time activities such as contra dancing and music.

Gawler family helps Maine music traditions to thrive

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 19, 2017, at 7:42 a.m.
“Our energy comes from people in the audience. If they’re smiling by the end, it feeds me in a really incredible way. That’s what traditional music is all about. It’s the music of the people.”
Farmer Michael Hayden of Folklore Farm in Cherryfield helps students pick vegetables to take home on Thursday at his pop-up farm stand at Milbridge Elementary School in Milbridge.

How a Washington County farmer is working to fight hunger in Maine

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 18, 2017, at 6:29 a.m.
“Food insecurity is such a big issue in Washington County,” Wendy Harrington, the director of service programs at the mission’s Down East campus in Cherryfield, said.
Bangor artist Hannah Kreitzer of Hallowbone said that art is how she makes sense of things and is a language that co

Sense of wonder flows through Bangor artist’s creations

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 12, 2017, at 1 a.m.
She finds inspiration in archaeology, ancient history, ecology, music, scavenger animals and outer space.
Ashley Sorrentino (right) and her husband, Adam, work to gut their house after a devastating mid-December fire. They were not able to get homeowner's insurance because their sole source of heat was a woodstove.

Destructive house fire points out struggles in getting insurance with a wood stove

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 09, 2017, at 6:18 a.m.
Mainers love their woodstoves, but that doesn’t mean that insurance companies love them, too.
Nanne Kennedy walks through her pastures looking for her sheep to run them back to the barn for the evening at her farm in Washington, Maine, in this August 2016 file photo.

Calling all farmers for the 2017 USDA census of agriculture

By Abigail Curtis on Jan. 04, 2017, at 5:41 p.m.
Are you a farmer? If you are, even on a tiny scale, it’s a safe bet that the United States Department of Agriculture is looking for you.
Goldie, a backyard chicken and family pet that  lives in Orono, was brought inside her owners' house to stay warm during last week's bitterly cold weather.

Backyard chickens: Are they OK in the cold?

By Abigail Curtis on Dec. 30, 2016, at 6:37 a.m.
Although it may be a temptation to use a heat lamp, she and other poultry aficionados say it isn’t worth it.
John Palumbo, his wife Nyla Bravesnow and their three sons Jonah, 9, Ara, 4, and Kai, 2, at their home in Thorndike. John and Nyla gave up their hectic 9-to-5 schedule about a decade ago in exchange for a simpler lifestyle in Thorndike. The couple and their three young sons live in a 432-square-foot home on their 8-acre farm called Many Hands Farm.

Embracing the simple life on a Thorndike farm

By Abigail Curtis on Dec. 29, 2016, at 12:41 p.m.
In many ways the couple has applied permaculture principles to their lives and their finances as well as their farm. “It works really well. We just go with the flow. There’s not a lot of extra, but there keeps being enough.”
Polar plungers race down to Belfast Harbor on New Year's Day to jump into the frigid water.

What does it take to be a diehard polar plunger? Some brave Mainers tell all

By Abigail Curtis on Dec. 29, 2016, at 8:24 a.m.
“You go from the edge of death to feeling euphoric, and that’s the truth,” Dan Greeley of Belfast said.
Belfast police said they have started to organize mail, including Christmas cards, prescription drugs, packages and more, taken from hundreds of midcoast victims.

Midcoast pair accused of stealing hundreds of pieces of mail

By Abigail Curtis on Dec. 26, 2016, at 6:27 p.m.
On Christmas morning, a Belfast police officer caught two suspects charged them in connection with thefts of mail and packages.
Two Maine Warden Service aircraft are shown at Millinocket Municipal Airport on Monday. The aircraft were used in efforts to find three lost snowmobilers.

Three lost snowmobilers found after overnight search

By Abigail Curtis on Dec. 26, 2016, at 4:13 p.m.
More than a dozen game wardens and two warden service aircraft were involved in the search in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties.