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August 30th, 2011

Cooking with kids: Peach maple yogurt pops

mgtaylor60by MaryGrace Taylor—

Despite whether your kids have already gone back to school or are still gearing up for the first day, the weather and farmers market offerings still say summer. Your family can beat the heat and make the most of late-August peaches with these fruity, easy-to-make pops—you can stick the molds in the freezer in the morning and have a cool, creamy snack ready by afternoon. And if your family has a dog, feel free to feed her one of these icy treats, too (sans stick, of course!).

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Peach Maple Yogurt pops

Prep time: 5 minutes
Freeze time: 6 hours

You’ll need:
1 cup plain, low fat yogurt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large peaches
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
Pinch salt
8 3-ounce ice pop molds or 8 paper cups and 8 craft sticks

1. On a cutting board, cut the peaches into thick slices and let your child remove the pit. (Be sure to keep the skins on the peaches: They’ll leave pretty pink flecks throughout the pops.) Add the peaches to a blender.

2. Have your child measure the yogurt and maple syrup and add to the blender. Add the ginger and salt and blend until completely smooth.

3. Help your child pour the pop mixture evenly into the molds or paper cups and freeze for at least 6 hours. (If using paper cups, insert the craft sticks after the cups have been in the freezer for 30 minutes.) Remove the pops from the molds or peel off the paper cups and serve.

Makes 8 pops
Per pop: Calories 71, fat 1 g, protein 2 g, carbohydrates 16 g, fiber 1 g


Marygrace Taylor is the staff writer and recipe developer for KIWI Magazine. She lives and cooks in Austin, Texas, with her husband and dog, Charlie.

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August 26th, 2011

Tulipomania is an Understatement

Keriann&Jeroen-100by Keriann Sloat Koeman—

As autumn slowly approaches, the sun continues to kiss my shoulders with 90-degree days here in Brightwood, Virginia. I am ruminating over what my spring garden will look like in April. How will I use late blooming tulips to extend the color in the garden? Where will I plant the naturalizing botanicals like Lady Jane and Turkastanica so they won’t be disturbed? What color combinations will I choose? I feel like a mad scientist as a smile creeps across my face and warmth spreads in my chest. This is really exciting! Only 2 months to go till planting time.

Lady Jane

Lady Jane

Since marrying Jeroen Koeman (aka The Tulip Man) almost two years ago, my life has been taken over by a flower I thought was common, but have since discovered it’s so much more. I’ve learned more about the tulip—its history, its plight with pests and fire blight, its tendency to drive people mad—than I ever could have imagined.

guestblog-tulip-turkestanica

Turkestanica

The summer has barely started to fade away and yet there is the ever-so-slight promise of fall. We’ve had a few days in the 80s and finally we’re able to open windows in the evening to let in a cool breeze. It’s on one of these evenings that I find myself here on the porch, feet up, making sketches of the spring garden, while beautiful little gold finches eat the sunflowers that were beaten to the ground by last week’s rain, and cicadas sing louder than my neighbor’s lawn mower. While the common, infamous, and seductive tulip fills my mind.



Keriann S. Koeman is the Vice President & Co-Founder of EcoTulips—The only supplier of organic tulip bulbs in the US!

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August 12th, 2011

Teebonacci Playhouse in the Garden

paigepluckett60x60by Paige Puckett—

One of my fondest childhood memories is visiting my second-grade teacher’s home. There was a greenhouse, beautiful gardens and paths, and a network of cobblestone trenches through the woods. I remember her saying her father had created them for her as a small child, and I don’t know if the trenches served a functional purpose other than a child’s whimsy.

teebonacci

I love the concept of secret passageways leading to grand adventures. When we lived in downtown Chattanooga before moving to the country, my brother and I once tied string up between trees to make our own paths through a vacant lot next to our house. In creating the new garden this past spring, I wanted to capture the spirit of childhood exploration for my small boys. This led to a vine tunnel, winding paths, and a bean teepee.

The quarter-teepee, dubbed  “teebonacci” because of the rough Fibonacci spiral of the poles, is the boys’ garden house. I oriented the poles to face southeast, assuming the bean vines would appreciate the sun and maximize the shade for the little ones. It stands next to the garden fence in the corner where moonflowers are working their way up 4-foot posts and leftover tomato transplants grow just outside the garden where they fight for their existence despite our friendly neighborhood deer.

Now that the bean teepee is nearly fully covered in vines, the boys have started taking more interest in it. However, the vines have migrated around toward the north side, nearly closing off the triangular entrance to their hideaway. Thankfully, a wooden ladder I picked up at the flea market this spring (a gentleman was using it to display his clothes for sale) is the perfect solution for giving them just enough of a tunnel into their house while holding the unruly vines at bay. Sometimes, when the boys are napping, I’ll crawl in there too just to look around and smile.


Paige Puckett and her husband Joe, both in Land and Water Engineering fields, grew up with hands-on experience helping parents and grandparents in vegetable gardens and creating wild adventures in their expansive backyards and nearby creeks at their respective country homes in Tennessee and North Carolina. Now that they have two boys of their own, they try to engage them in the outdoors despite the obvious confines of downtown living in Raleigh, NC. Paige shares their lessons learned, garden projects and photos at her Love Sown blog.

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August 2nd, 2011

Why Are Young, Educated Americans Going Back To The Farm?

Hnelson-60

by Nelson Harvey—
I am a 25-year-old college graduate with a degree from a fairly prestigious eastern university, and I pull weeds for a living. At first blush, you might think I’m overqualified, and after four hours of weeding the squash beds, when the stiffness begins to set in, that’s what I start to believe, too. In fact, nothing in college prepared me for this. My only credentials are the past two summers, spent learning by doing: planting, thinning, trellising, fertilizing, tilling, harvesting, washing, packing and, of course, weeding.

nelsonharvey

I am a farm intern, and to me, the only thing more remarkable than the fact that I have spent much of the past three summers happily stooping over vegetable rows (I am 6’4’’) is that I am not alone. Across the country, college students and graduates like myself, many with little or no farming background, have been flocking to small farms in droves, shacking up in old farmhouses, trailers and tents, and working for free or for peanuts, all in exchange for a little instruction in the fine art of running a farm.

“It’s almost like a third education after college,” said Kelly Coffman, 30, a second-year apprentice at Rain Crow Farm in Paonia, CO. Coffman studied at Prescott College in Arizona and Naropa University in Boulder, CO, and worked in the California state park system and as a kindergarten teacher, before deciding to work on farms. “When you have [a liberal arts] education, you get to a point where you realize wait, I need to have a more basic fundamental education about being human. Food, water, shelter…these things are important,” she said.

Although their numbers are hard to pin down, odds are that if you’re reading this, you probably know someone who has followed such a path. John English, website manager for the National Agriculture Information Service farm internship bulletin board, a job clearinghouse, said through a spokesperson that postings there have jumped by around 500 per year for the last 5 years, as more small farms spring up and seek the cheap and eager labor that interns provide.  “If you talk to any really good farmer they’ll tell you that they’ve had a doubling and tripling of their applicant pool over the last few years,” said Severine Von Tscharner Fleming, an upstate New York farmer, activist and the director of the new film The Greenhorns, which profiles young farmers across the country and explores their motivations. In 2009, Fleming helped found the National Young Farmers Coalition, an advocacy group for those whose taste of farm life has enticed them to take up farming as a profession.

Farming is relentless: it saddles you with endless chores, pins you in one place, and works you to the bone. For much of the 20th century, most Americans tried to escape such a life by fleeing to the city, all of which begs the obvious question: Why would we want to go back to the farm?

Read the rest of the article at turnstylenews.com.


Nelson Harvey is a print and radio journalist whose reporting on environmental and political issues has been published in a wide range of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including The American Prospect, Alternet, Greenopia.com, The Wild Green Yonder, the Heritage Radio Network, and Farmstory.org. He currently lives in northern Vermont.

Used by permission from the author.

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August 2nd, 2011

Saving Seeds

paigepluckett60x60by Paige Puckett—
In the spring, I invent reasons to go to home-improvement stores so I can slip a couple of seed packets into the cart, hoping I don’t get in trouble with my husband. He’s not stingy; he just knows I have a shoebox full of seed packets already. However, one of my goals of applying permaculture principles to our small kitchen garden means it isn’t enough for me to start from seed; I want to buy those seeds only once. Extreme? Maybe. Fun? Yes. I have been saving tomato and flower seeds for several years now, and last year I started saving lettuce seeds, too
.cosmos-seed-head-paige

The lettuce was bitter from the getgo this spring (I probably should have tasted it before donating several bags to the Food Shuttle), so I pulled most out to compost, leaving only a couple heads of each kind to keep growing. Those remaining heads have finally flowered just in time for fall planting. This week, I had my preschooler help me pluck the flowers that had already “poofed” and we scattered them in a newly turned-over section of the garden. Most of his seeds were lifted by the breeze and landed on the path, but he loved participating and explaining what he was learning. The way he phrases it is, “Those seeds want to become plants, right?” He’s learning right along with me.

poofed-lettuce-seed-head-paige

The trick to saving flower and lettuce seeds is making sure they have time to fully develop. This was our first year to grow cosmos, and I’ve been deadheading it all summer to keep the blossoms coming. I knew at some point I had to let it go to seed so I could enjoy the plant next year. I didn’t know what to expect, so I kept plucking off seedheads and opening them to see if they were ready. This evening, I discovered that it is quite obvious when they are ready. They poof, just like the lettuce!


Paige Puckett and her husband Joe, both in Land and Water Engineering fields, grew up with hands-on experience helping parents and grandparents in vegetable gardens and creating wild adventures in their expansive backyards and nearby creeks at their respective country homes in Tennessee and North Carolina. Now that they have two boys of their own, they try to engage them in the outdoors despite the obvious confines of downtown living in Raleigh, NC. Paige shares their lessons learned, garden projects and photos at her Love Sown blog.

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