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Wolfe's Neck Farm expands DIY series in Freeport

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Wolfe's Neck Farm expands DIY series in Freeport

FREEPORT — The Wolfe's Neck Farm Do-It-Yourself series was so popular last year, it has returned with additional classes for beginners and advanced learners.

People can make their own bread, scarves, socks, jams and cheese, and can learn about gardening, composting and maple sugaring.

Liz Brownlee, the farm's interim education coordinator, said the response was so great last year, people were turned away from some classes.

"Bread making and cheese making were big hits – 17 people came to the first class – so we decided to continue offering what is popular and expand the program a bit," she said. "Now we have more advanced classes and a few new activities."

Brownlee said this year's classes will include advanced knitting and canning, bird identification and family nature walks.

A new two-class series on maple sugaring will teach attendees to identify trees, to collect sap and make it into syrup. The instructor, Brunswick resident Josh Frances, said he is excited to share his hobby with the public.

"I make syrup every year, and think it is interesting," he said. "Unfortunately, there is no formal instruction for it because it is often passed down through families. If I can show one or two people how to do this, and get them excited about it, I will consider myself successful."

Freeport resident Liz Johnson will teach the knitting classes for beginners and advanced students. She will teach basics skills as well as the more advanced skill of knitting socks.

Three master gardeners Brett Thompson, Jim Masse, and Tim Bate will teach a three-part series starting Thursdays in February.

"These guys know a little bit of everything, and can teach many gardening skills," Brownlee said. "The class is called Gardening 101 and will cover everything from planting and transplanting to identifying beneficial and harmful weeds and pests and creating garden plans."

The birding class will be taught by the Merrymeeting Audubon Chapter President Ted Allen. The winter birding class for beginners will cover bird migration patterns, bird identification and winter survival.

Master preservers Beth Richardson and Kate McCarty will teach the basic and advanced canning classes, and Portland resident Julia Comerford will teach the jam and jelly classes and bread and cheese classes.

Brownlee said the classes are designed for adults, and costs vary depending on the topic. Most start at $10, and there is a barter and work-trade option available. All money collected goes to helping keep the farm alive and vibrant, she said.

"With the economy the way it is, interest in local food and self sustaining practices such as gardening and composting makes these classes a huge success," Brownlee said. "There are a lot of people who want a chance to connect with the natural world, and this is one way we can give adults the opportunity to grow, learn and connect with others."

To register for the classes, contact Brownlee at 865-4363 or lbrownlee@wolfesneckfarm.org.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net