Friday, March 9, 2012

Dive- A Documentary About Food Waste

This is an eye-opening documentary about food waste in America and one man's campaign to help stem that waste and locate others who are doing the same. The film is long  (48 min) for a you tube video but is not too long as it moves along at an interesting clip. I watched it in 2 sessions, just pausing and coming back when I had more time.
As I watched this video, I kept thinking about all the ways we saved food when I was growing up. I remember peeling wrinkled Irish potatoes with sprouts in late winter-the ones we had grown in our own garden for our own use. We used them all, breaking off the sprouts, cutting out the rots (there was both a wet and a dry kind of rot), and peeling away the green skins of some that had gotten too much light. They were some trouble to peel, unlike their smooth plump skinned relatives from the store, but they were ours and had been grown and harvested by our own sweat. Those potatoes were also without one ingredient that worries us now. They lacked the poisons that are used by commercial growers to ensure perfect potatoes, more than half of which will be thrown into the landfill.
The preservation technique was easy. After the potatoes were dug, they were placed in a dark shed , spread out on the floor so that no potato touched its neighbor. A light coat of lime was spread over them as a preservative.About once a week someone, usually me, checked the potatoes and threw out the ones that were beginning to rot. It was easy to tell which ones were bad as they had wet spots under and around them. Also they smelled, and you know how bad that is! I guess the lime kept the rodents at bay, because I do not remember any significant loss from mice or insects.
When they were washed, peeled, and cooked, they were the same as potatoes the world over. They were wonderful, a staple of life. Even the wrinkled ones had the same flavor, maybe a little sweeter.
In January I planted a few potatoes myself. They are just breaking the ground now and my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Signs in Early March

I made a tour of the yard yesterday because it seemed like things had moved into the "jump" mode that best describes spring for me.  Many times I have decided to catalog plants as they wake up from winter, but every time, the cataloging gets out of hand too quickly, and I give up, unable to keep up. March 2 was a hot day, at least 80 degrees, and we'd had lots of rain. These 2 factors, combined with the almost total lack of winter this year, set a jump situation at an early date. Matters not that yesterday itself was cool (60 degrees or so). Here is what I saw:

There are still a good many daffodils blooming, mostly whites or white and yellow, and the Narcissus have started to come in. I wish I had kept the names of all the different ones I have , but....
This is a dwarf Azalea growing in full sun. It does bloom early, but it seems like it just popped out overnight.
This is Pink Ruffles. Only a few flowers are open now, but it is one of my very favorites in full bloom.
This is the same dogwood that I posted  just a few days ago. This one is near the house and gets a bit of heat off the bricks, which probably explains why it is ahead of the other dogwoods in the yard. The others are still tight little balls. (Or at least they were yesterday).
The buds of the native Azaleas are all really swelling. This is an orange or yellow. I can't remember which color.
The last picture is a blueberry, already in bloom. OK, get ready squirrels and birds. We will soon be trying to scoop each other over the fruits of this plant!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time for White Daffodils

The white and lighter yellow daffodils always follow the standard bright yellow dafs , at least at my house. Many of them are also starting to fade. I look forward to seeing what the subtraction of the giant red oak will do to this section of my yard. The daffodils seem unaffected. I have planted a white oak to replace the red that fell, but it will be many years before  it gets to be real tree size. This area of the yard is going to be getting more sun. It may improve the health of the shrubs that are planted there ( in the background)..

Friday, March 2, 2012

Species Amaryllis

These are blooming in my greenhouse right now. They bloom every year about this time, with little to no help from me. I started with 2 or 3 small bulbs 15 years ago, and in spite of my haphazard care they have grown and multiplied so that they now use about 5 feet of bench space in the greenhouse. The bloom stalks typically have 2 flowers, no more. The bulbs bloom when they are quite small, never reaching the gargantuan size of hybrid Amaryllis. The bulbs themselves multiply very fast. I have tried to transplant some outside at different times, but have not ever had one return or bloom. I guess they do not like cold weather. Once I got on a campaign to find out what the scientific name of these beauties is, but never made much progress. The closest I ever got was a term called torch lily and that seemed like it was a blanket term for most Amaryllis. So if you can get me closer to the real name, please contact me.

News Flash! Someone has contacted me with a name that I think at long last, is the correct one: Hippeastrum puniceum. The pictures and description fit and I am so pleased with this information. Thank you, Joe. A USDA plant distribution map shows this plant as growing in Louisiana , by introduction.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Forsythia Shines Through February

This Forsythia has been shining all through February. It seems to have gradually gotten brighter as the days pass. It has been a bright spot in a pretty dull landscape. But now that I look at this picture, I see there is a lot of color. Greens and rich browns everywhere. What if I lived in a place with real winter!!
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