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3/28/2009 08:48:00 PM

Destructive Insect Series - The Cabbage Leaf Miner

An import from Europe, this moth devastates more than its share of Brassicaceae. The adult lays eggs on the bottom of the leaves in a silk cocoon. Once ready, the miner emerges and then feasts on the leaf it was born on.

They appear in June or July and lay eggs on the tender young leaves and once again in September when the plants are more mature. The first round is more destructive than the second as the plants are not as mature. The result is a weakened and sickly plant.

They thrive in hot dry weather which enables them to multiply rapidly so one way to help deter this pest is to spray your plants with water. There are two species of spiders and a species of ichneumon fly, some wasps and birds that destroy them. And they also respond to chemical treatments (pyrethrum). The best way to control them is to practice good permaculture to attract predators.

3/23/2009 09:42:00 PM


Even though I'm not going to have a huge garden this year, I am, however, going to participate in the creation of a small one. We are going to grow Golden Nugget tomatoes, Roma sauce tomatoes, Black Plum, White Currant, and Heinz 1439.

I got everything started to night and 5 little cups filled with soil and seed are seated in the kitchen window waiting for sprouts. We'll know next week if any of them fail us!

3/22/2009 03:32:00 PM


One of my favorite things is a cherry lime-ade. I just adore the drink and we make them all throughout the summer. I found a couple of recipes for home made cherry syrup.

2 lb Sugar
2 c Water -- up to 3 cups
1 lb Sour cherries
1/4 ts Vanilla

Use only a porcelain or enamel pan. Boil the sugar and water together for
15 to 20 minutes. Add the sour cherries and boil again gently another 20 to
30 minutes or until the syrup thickens. Strain the liquid into a bowl
through a cheesecloth, squeezing the cherries to extract all of the liquid.
Add the vanilla extract. Bottle.

Dried sour cherries may be used instead of fresh ones. They should be
soaked in cold water 6 hours or longer.

Will kept at room temperature as long as the bottle is sealed. Refrigerate
after opening.

Can be used as a topping for ice cream, mousses, bavarians or frozen

To serve syrups, add a Tbsp to two to a glass, fill with cold or sparkling
water and ice.

MAKES: 1 bottle


6 1/2 lbs fresh sour cherries, stemmed and pitted or 4 1/2 lbs pitted unsweetened frozen sour cherries
11 cups sugar
5 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 6 limes)


Puree the cherries in a blender or food processor in small batches. Run juice through a fine sieve, pressing hard to extract all the juice.

In a large saucepan, mix cherry juice with sugar, water and lime juice and bring to a boil, stirring consistently, until sugar dissolves.

Cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes, skimming off the foam that rises to the top with a slotted spoon.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring and skimming, until syrupy, about 1 hour.

Strain the syrup into jars and let cool completely before storing.

3/19/2009 09:20:00 PM


It is amazing to me, the turning of the seasons. Watching how the natural world progresses. When I was younger, I abhorred the fact that I had to spend so much time at work doing something that seemed so senseless as collecting more numbers for a bank account no matter what it was that I was collecting, selling or creating. It wasn't tangible to me. I never felt a sense of accomplishment. When I made mention of this once, and only once, an older woman chuckled at me and said that my job paid for my house, food, car and everything else. I was gently admonished, but it filled me with a since of pity because of the dependency I had on someone else to help me do what I needed to do. I accepted it, began a career and have been unhappy with it. While I know that I will never be able to get away from a need for employment because I will have to have money no matter how frugal, no matter how self sufficient and reliable I am, it doesn't mean that I have to slave to the system.

Spring is coming and all winter I have despaired over the fact that I will have no garden this year as I am moving north shortly. My family is already there, our lives are in a storage unit and I am stuck here until the end of my assignment staying with good friends. The closer my move comes, the more entertaining the ideas of what I will do to the property when I get there. While I have sat and pondered this while pouring through seed catalogs and looked endlessly at the species of orchard trees I will purchase, I can't help but be excited that I will get to do all of this and prepare for the first actually planting that I will get to do next year. The sting of having to spend most of my time in the service of someone else doesn't seem so difficult to bear when I weigh it against how much I'll not have to spend because I'm busy growing, making it and just doing the home chores myself.

I have taken my initiative from such people as Patti Moreno, Rhonda Hetzel, Fred Dunn, Gayla Trail, and so many more and I hope you can, too!

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