April 6, 2012

Oh, Chipotle! As if I didn't like you enough, already!

What a clever film short.

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April 2, 2012

Grizzly Justice

IMG_2902.jpgThis article is a really interesting and in-depth look at the justice system applied to grizzlies in Yellowstone after several instances of bears attacking humans.

The Wapiti sow, even with her two cubs, seem to have stepped beyond what is "natural" behavior for a grizzly bear. But then, some argue that attacking humans is part of the traditional grizzly behavior, if we think back long enough ago.

I found the author's description of walking in the woods near the crime scene reminiscent of when I hiked around in lion country in Africa. It gives you a real sense of your vulnerabilities. Something most people today have lost, and only perhaps experience during a mugging or other traumatic event.

Posted by sorsha at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 19, 2011

The Garden is Sleeping but Dreaming of Spring...


Although we've shoveled six times in the last few days and put half a dozen miles on our snowshoes, it's time to turn our attention to planning this year's garden. There's little more exciting than brewing a cup of hot tea and curling up with the seed catalogs to pick what we'll grow come spring. This year's choices come from White Flower Farm, Johnny's and High Mowing Organic Seeds. Some of last year's seeds that we carried over were also supplied by personal seed saving and seed potatoes as well as seeds from Seeds of Change and Seed Savers Exchange.

Some of this year's selections include:


  • Marvel of Venice Pole Beans - Yellow Italian-style heirloom. Full of flavor, the 8-9" pods are 3/4" wide and are borne on vigorous vines. This white-seeded variety is remarkably early (earlier than the black-seeded variety with the same name).
  • Royal Burgundy Bush Bean (Organic) - Gorgeous deep purple color, 5" stringless pods with green interiors. Widely adapted to growing well in cool conditions. Lovely plants with purple veins tend to be large. Great market display when mixed with yellow wax and green beans, purple color fades to green when cooked. Showed greatest resistance to white mold among bush beans in our trials, and has tested virus resistance. Light brown seed. (Phaseaolus vulgaris)
  • Sugar Snap Pea (Organic) - The king of snap peas... Sugar Snap is by far the sweetest, making it well worth the wait. 1979 AAS winner has set the standard for snap pea flavor since. Towering 6-7' vines give way to a long harvest window of 3" pods, bearing twice the amount of most varieties.(Pisum sativum). Days to maturity:67 Days; Disease resistances:Fusarium Wilt
  • Mini Purplette Onion (Organic) - Spring onion grown for its early shafts and mini bulbs with a distinctive purple and white coloring. Bunch for scallions or wait and harvest as pearl onions when they reach the size of a golf ball. Known for its delicate, sweet onion flavor. Color turns pink when cooked. (Allium cepa). Days to maturity:65 days
  • Rosa Bianca Eggplant (Organic) - HEIRLOOM A lovely Sicilian variety with light pink-lavender fruits streaked with colors of creamy white and violet. Mild, creamy taste with no bitterness and very low number of seeds. Does best in areas with warm nights and can be lower yielding in extreme northern areas.(Solanum melongena). Days to maturity:73 days
  • French Breakfast Radish (Organic) - HEIRLOOM An oblong, blunt-tipped radish, half red on top and white on the bottom. Has a healthy radish spiciness and quality. Can become pithy if harvested late. Average 2" long.(Raphanus sativus). Days to maturity:26 days
  • Dragon Carrot (Organic) - Shane is sick of my Thumbelina carrots and asked for something "more substantial". Vibrant purple skin reveals a bright orange interior with a unique yellow core. Dragon is a Danvers-type carrot with wide shoulders and a tapered tip. Roots are full-sized at 7-8" long and very hardy. Dragon has been improved from a USDA specimen by master breeder John Navazio and has an equivalent lycopene content to tomatoes. Many carrot aficionados prefer Dragon's yellow core and spicy yet sweet flavor to that of Cosmic Purple. (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Days to maturity:85 days
  • Purple Haze Carrots - Bright purple 2006 All-America Selections winner. Combines purple skin color with sweet flavor. 7-8" tapered roots with large, healthy tops. Skin is dark purple with a bright orange interior. Cooking will cause the color to fade.

Greens (Micro or otherwise)

  • Mizuna (Organic micro-green) - Fell in love with this last summer from our CSA. Similar to Kyona with narrower leaves.
  • Dancine Butterhead/Boston Lettuce (Organic) - Baby butterhead for greenhouse or outdoor production. Small, dense, heads mature just bigger than a baseball and are perfect for making 1-2 salads. Has performed well in New England and on the Pacific Coast. Suitable for outdoor or indoor production. Resistant to DM races 1-25 and Nasovia ribisnigri aphid.
  • Kweik Lettuce (Organic) - A "kweik"-heading, medium sized, lime-green butter type especially suited to cool season crops or unheated winter greenhouse culture. It has a strong tendency to bolt in the long days of summer. Kweik has shown field resistance to downy mildew, tip burn, and Sclerotinia stem rot.(Lactuca sativa) Days to maturity:50 days full size; Disease resistances:Downy Mildew, Tip Burn, Lettuce Drop
  • Optima Lettuce (Organic) - Dark green butterhead for spring production. Optima is a thick-leaved "Nancy" type, consistently producing perfect, large, dense heads. Its velvety texture and creamy flavor are sure to be a hit in every salad. Shows field resistance to downy mildew, lettuce mosaic virus and bolting.(Lactuca sativa). Days to maturity:52 days full size. Disease resistances:Black Rot, Tip Burn, MTO-10
  • Improved Rainbow Mix Chard (Organic) - This year, it's personal, deer herd. Don't eat my #$#% chard. Ok? An improved mix of red, pink, white, yellow, orange and striped colors with thin stems and savoyed leaves. Multiple colors result from a single variety ensuring uniform plant habit and leaf structure. Upright habit makes for clean production and easy harvesting. Color intensity is not well defined early on; mostly pink, red and white at baby stage. (Beta vulgaris var cicla). Days to maturity:30 days baby leaf, 60 full size
  • Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach (Organic) - HEIRLOOM A long loved old-time favorite and one of the more outstanding open-pollinated varieties available. Leaves are savoyed, long and narrow with a glossy, dark green color. Developed by Dan Landreth in the late 1880s.(Spinacia oleracea). Days to maturity:42 days
  • Rouge d'Hiver Romaine (Organic) - French heirloom. Rouge D'Hiver is an old variety resurrected by now-defunct Le Marche Seeds. Leaves tinted with medium-red. Good taste. Popular for baby leaf, with good regrowth. Tolerant to cold, but avoid hot weather. Days to Maturity or Bloom: 28 baby, 58 full size


  • Genovese Basil (Organic) - Traditional Italian basil. Authentic flavor and appearance. Tall and relatively slow to bolt with large, dark green leaves about 3" long. Ht. 24-30". 68 days to harvest.
  • Amethyst Improved Basil - The darkest purple basil we've seen. Nice, thick, turned-down leaves like the classic Genovese. This almost-black basil is a real stunner. Ht. 16-20". 60 days to harvest.
  • Cilantro, cilantro, cilantro
  • Tons of overwintered parsley, sage, oregano, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, etc. I will likely break down as always and get a rosemary plant or start some cuttings from friends come spring since I cannot seem to keep it alive over the winter no matter what I try.

Tubers, Sets, etc.

  • 'Holland Red' shallots - delivers the mellow, quintessential shallot flavor in a fat, round bulb. It's an extraordinarily productive variety and an excellent keeper. The skin is coppery red and peels easily, while the flesh is a beautiful reddish purple.
  • 'Pikant' shallots - Large, sound bulbs with mahogany skin and a reddish interior. High yielding and long storing.
  • Organic potatoes - Organically grown seed potato varieties including 'Adirondack Blue' - Deep purple skin with solid purple flesh. Suitable for all styles of cooking. Blue color remains after cooking. Tubers are a darker, more consistent color than All Blue, which this variety replaced.
  • Sweet potato - Going to try a few New England-friendly sweet potatoes with the 'Beauregard'. One of the most popular sweet potato varieties. Dark red-orange skin with moist, sweet, orange flesh. Quick maturing and well adapted to difficult growing conditions. High percentage of usable roots. Excellent choice for cool season areas.
  • More types of fingerling potatoes - Organically grown seed potato varieties include 'La Ratte', 'Austrian Crescent', 'French Fingerling', 'Red Thumb', 'Rose Finn Apple', and 'Russian Banana'.
  • 'Early Italian Purple' Garlic - produces big, solid heads with whitish purple skin wrapped around 7-9 cloves. It's a softneck variety, the best type to use for braiding.

Edible Flowers

  • Dwarf Jewel Nasturtium (Organic) - Shane's favorite flower! Brilliant red, orange, salmon, and yellow flowers are boldly displayed upon bushes of thick, green, round leaves. Makes a beautiful border plant. The peppery-tasting edible flowers are exquisite when stuffed with cream cheese or added to salads for color. Direct seed 1" deep and thin to a final spacing of 16". Can be started as transplants 4-5 weeks before planting date. Annual. 3,200 seeds/oz. (Trapaeolum majus). Days to maturity:60 days
  • Nasturtium Mix (Organic) - Tried to order these last year but they had some issue at the supplier. Trying again this year! A mix of yellow, orange, rose and crimson flowers on trailing plants. Edible flowers and foliage are a gourmet treat reminiscent of peppery watercress in flavor. Long, trailing plants are perfect for hanging baskets, containers or in the garden. Lily pad-like leaves are just as attractive as the bright flowers. Plants will climb if tied to supports but prefer to hang. Vines can reach 10' long. 200 seeds/oz(Trapaeolum majus). Days to maturity:60 days

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