Hard Bargain News: Newsletter of the Alice Ferguson Foundation
Vol. XXXII, No. 5                                                                                                    November 2012
In This Issue
Fall is Here!
Thankful at AFF
The Season of Thanksgiving
More than One Way of Giving
Go Trash Free for the Holidays (And EVERY Day!)
Giving Thanks for the Small Things in Life
Hard Bargain Farm Pumpkin Pie
Membership Event 
Join us for the Holiday Open House, December 9, from 4 - 6 p.m. at the Farmhouse.

Quick Links
The Alice Ferguson Foundation's mission is to connect people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship and advocacy.


The Gift of Gratitude
Author William Arthur Ward once said "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." As the mother of two young girls, this is definitely a time of year that gifts are an ever present topic in our house. There's the anticipation of the holiday season and all that it holds, but as my husband and I try to instill in our children, the greatest gift is actually the joy of giving to others. At the Alice Ferguson Foundation we experience daily the joy of giving students the gift of a connection to nature, whether at our Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center or in our regional National Parks through our Bridging the Watershed partnership. And the gift of a trash-free Potomac Watershed is one we seek every day through our work to clean up the river and the communities that surround it.

Fall at the farm.  Photo: Doris Sharp

Jean-Michel Cousteau picking up trash on the HBF Shoreline.  Photo: Lori ArguellesWe are also gifted with gratitude as you will see in our short video Thankful at AFF. And we too have much to be grateful for including the inspiration provided by our recent Trash Summit keynote speaker, Jean-Michel Cousteau. This world-renowned ocean explorer traveled 'upstream' to spend time sharing his experiences and perspectives on the solutions to the pervasive problem of trash-and even collecting some of it along the shores of the Potomac! His inspiring words help motivate us to continue tackling this tough challenge. Read more about how you can do your part to contribute to the gift of a trash-free watershed.

Learn more about the ways in which you can express your gratitude
and give the gift of a life-changing connection to nature by supporting the Alice Ferguson Foundation.  

Gratefully yours, 

Lori Arguelles 
Executive Director
Alice Ferguson Foundation
Fall is Here!
By Eileen WattsGoat and chickens.  Photo: Bill Townsend

Fall on the Farm is always a welcome time! The heat of summer is gone, hay is in the barn, and shorter days are offering all of us more rest. The cattle are no longer bothered by flies and some recent rains have made the grass they are eating lush and very inviting, unlike last summer's parched and crispy fare.  Just seeing the herd after grazing, lying down in the shade ruminating, eyes half closed, is a picture of pure contentment.


Unfortunately, less daylight causes laying hens to slow down in egg production. It makes sense to think more about reproduction (which egg laying is all about) in the spring. For a short period at the peak of summer almost every hen was laying an egg a day. But that requires a lot of physical nutrients and energy--they can't keep up that pace and have earned a rest. So, until next spring, we will have to be content with fewer eggs. Isn't it true (at least our not-so-long-ago ancestors thought so) that cold-weather breakfasts should turn to hot oatmeal instead. The same for vegetables-sweet potatoes are definitely in, say good bye to those garden-fresh tomatoes!

Orders for our grass-fed beef are still coming in, as well as gratifying endorsements for its great flavor and tenderness. We are extending the deadline for accepting orders for quarters or halves to Nov. 20. Contact [email protected]


Fall is also about color! This fall is particularly beautiful, giving pleasure to all visitors, making us happy to be outdoors. The diverse mixture of trees, shrubs, and vines is producing an endless array of colors, nature's own complete palette!

Thankful at AFF


View Thankful at AFF Video
Thankful at AFF



The Season of Thanksgiving
by Ann Bodling


The Children's Garden in fall.  Photo: Bill Townsend Autumn has come to the Children's Garden. The woodlands surrounding the site are ablaze; ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets have returned and search for tiny insects among the aging tomato vines; monarch butterflies who grew up on our tropical milkweed have headed south to Mexico; the warm weather crops are winding down and the cool weather crops are thriving.

For a gardener, this time of year is a respite from the hard work of summer and we are glad the heat and drought are over. Now we are enjoying the work of autumn, the work of removing spent plants, adding compost and cover crops to their beds, and tucking in the soil for winter. We are not quite ready to begin planning for next year yet. There is too much to enjoy, still, every time we lift our heads and take a look around.


We are thankful for the students who come to Hard Bargain Farm and that they have such a garden to work and learn in. Over the last few months we have had students taste and harvest tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and each class takes back to school a bag of produce they have harvested from our land. We hope that eating the work of their own hands will further their understanding of how food is grown and the labor involved. And we hope that some of them catch a vision of the joy and promise that a garden provides. 

More Than One Way of Giving


Fall color at the Lodge.  Photo:Doris Sharp

The Alice Ferguson Foundation has been a gift to children, animals, staff members, gardeners, lovers of history, Oktoberfest beer drinkers, and many others for almost 60 years. Has the Foundation been a gift to you? See if one of these ideas could be your way to give back to AFF this holiday season.


Give the gift of membership. Shower your family, relatives, and friends with the gift of membership in the AFF family. They will enjoy members-only events at the Farm, receive Hard Bargain News, get discounts on the performing arts series "Concert in the Woods" and "Theater in the Woods" at our amphitheater in the summer, be recognized in the annual report, and will feel connected to our mission and those whom we serve.


Respond generously to our year-end appeal for financial support. We are honored to have you as a member; we also ask that you consider an additional gift to further support our programs. As we approach our 60th birthday as a non-profit organization, we hope to secure another fun-filled, wonder-full, and fulfilling three-score years. Your support will sustain us.


Search/shop/dine now and raise a penny! Sign up to support the Alice Ferguson Foundation through Goodsearch, an internet search engine. Every search yields a penny, and those add up! Shop for holiday gifts with Goodshop and up to 30% of your purchase will be donated to us. Take a break from the kitchen and dine out with GoodDining and earn 6% back for AFF.


Purchase gifts from a 1% for the Planet member company.  These companies give 1% of their profits to environmental charities, including AFF. You can search participating companies here


Support our working farm. Prepare delicious holiday meals by purchasing grass-fed beef and free range chicken and eggs. The proceeds go back into farm upkeep and our educational programs.


Make us social media superstars. "Like" us on Facebook; visit our website for the latest about our programs and events; and follow our blog. You could even be a guest blogger! Contact Alena Rosen ([email protected]) if you're interested. We'd love to hear your stories about and see your photos of Hard Bargain Farm, your efforts to be trash-free and otherwise sustainable, your adventures in nature, your eco-heroes, watershed ecology tidbits...share with the community!

Go Trash Free for the Holidays (And EVERY Day!)


The holidays are rapidly approaching. Will yours be trash-free? Get inspired with these ideas:


Reduce Food Waste:

  • Plan ahead and be realistic about portions. Go shopping in your pantry before going to the store.

  • Save and savor your leftovers by turning them into new delicious meals or freeze them. Reuse food scraps: citrus rinds can be used for teas, baths, or even as cleaners. Vegetable scraps, turkey innards and bones can be turned into delicious broth.

  • Donate leftovers to local food charities.

  • Start a vermiculture bin and invite worms to spend the holiday season with you eating your food scraps.

Reduce Trash:

  • Skip the packaged food and prepare from scratch. It will taste better, reduce waste, be healthier, and you'll get bragging rights.

  • Save the containers your food comes in and use them for leftovers or to send food home with your guests.

  • Use reusable table settings, including cloth napkins, dishes, glass- and silverware. If you don't have enough, consider renting tableware or borrowing from friends and neighbors.

  • Consider alternative gift ideas: giving services, donating in honor of your loved ones, or purchasing products made from reused or recycled materials.

  • Use reusable wrapping, such as pillow cases, shawls, or sturdy ribbon, for your presents.

Reduce Litter:

  • Don't overfill your outdoor trash and recycling bins, making sure the lids are securely closed.

  • Join AFF for our December cleanup or visit our Trash Network to find other local cleanups and trash-related events.

Going trash-free for the holidays is a great start; however, this should be done not only on the holidays but every day.Recently we brought together 225 stakeholders from throughout the region for our 7th Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit for celebration, learning, and planning what can be done each and every day to keep the Potomac trash-free. Learn more at http://trashsummit.org.


Giving Thanks for the Small Things in Life

By Chris Ordiway


Alice and Edith's Father

As Thanksgiving approaches and we all begin to look forward to a holiday weekend and early Christmas deals it's important to take a minute to remember the things for which we should be thankful. Reading through Edith Lowe's journal (Edith is Alice Ferguson's sister) we discovered how their parents would celebrate payday. Edith added her own thoughts and memories to her Father's earlier journal so this would be a reference to about 1876 when they lived in Washington, D.C. Enjoy Edith's memories as you recall your own thankful moments. 


"When Father was put on furlough, a practice not uncommon in those days whenever the government was short of money, Father rented two rooms on K St., N.E. Mother said it was the happiest time of her life. Here they began their housekeeping. Every month when Father received his meager pay, he would buy a box of sardines and a bottle of olives, and they would have a feast, economizing cheerfully for the rest of the month, making light of the necessary hardships and working happily together in the care of the children, Mary and Edith, and the work of their little two-room apartment."

Hard Bargain Farm Pumpkin Pie


In celebration of Thanksgiving we would like to share a Hard Bargain Farm pie recipe with you:


Pumpkins and gourds.  Photo: Bill Townsend

1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

teaspoon nutmeg

teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 can (1 pound) pumpkin

Sour cream topping (see below)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl blend cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add remaining ingredients except topping; beat until smooth. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Cover edge with a 2- to 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately spread top of pie with sour cream topping. Cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled.


Sour Cream Topping: Blend cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and teaspoon vanilla.