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Living Off the Land in Maine, Even in Winter

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It was early February, when the 10-hour day returns here on the 44th parallel, and Barbara Damrosch could see it in the brighter green leaves of her tatsoi and spinach growing in the unheated greenhouse attached to the house she shares with her husband, Eliot Coleman, at Four Season Farm.

Mr. Coleman, 73, began farming here on Cape Rosier, a rocky peninsula in Penobscot Bay, in 1968, on 60 acres of forested land he bought from Scott and Helen Nearing for $33 an acre.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," said Mr. Coleman, who is a wiry 5-foot-8 and can still swing himself into his apple trees like a boy. "I can't tell you how much I owe them."

The Nearings, socialists and free thinkers who built their first house out of stone with their own hands and started growing their food at the foot of Stratton Mountain in southern Vermont during the Depression, inspired young Mr. Coleman and other back-to-the-landers with their 1954 book, "Living the Good Life."

IT was early February, when the 10-hour day returns here on the 44th parallel, and Barbara Damrosch could see it in the brighter green leaves of her tatsoi and spinach growing in the unheated greenhouse attached to the house she shares with her husband, Eliot Coleman, at Four Season Farm.

Mr. Coleman, 73, began farming here on Cape Rosier, a rocky peninsula in Penobscot Bay, in 1968, on 60 acres of forested land he bought from Scott and Helen Nearing for $33 an acre.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," said Mr. Coleman, who is a wiry 5-foot-8 and can still swing himself into his apple trees like a boy. "I can't tell you how much I owe them."

The Nearings, socialists and free thinkers who built their first house out of stone with their own hands and started growing their food at the foot of Stratton Mountain in southern Vermont during the Depression, inspired young Mr. Coleman and other back-to-the-landers with their 1954 book, "Living the Good Life." 



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