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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Thank goodness for the Farmers' Market

I bought a butternut squash and a pound of zucchini at the Farmers' Market. But why? I planted both varieties in my garden!

The only squash in my garden is a hybrid. Imagine it: green, but in the shape of a butternut squash. My dilemma: what should we call this? Zutternut? Butterzuch? Zhuccernut? Oh, well, I guess I'll see what it looks and tastes like before I decide. I might end up calling it compost.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not a natural flower

Wisconsinites like to say that there are two seasons: winter and road construction. We're currently in the latter season. The evidence is everywhere. In fact, road construction barricades have their own names in this part of the country.

See these? We call them Schneider Eggs.

Without Schneider eggs, where would the big orange trucks come from?

Last week I heard a bus driver refer to the orange markers as "Wisconsin's State Flower." Ooh, ooh, here's a bouquet growing in -- gravel?

I see these flowers spread out when they're allowed to grow in grass.

If the big orange cones are Wisconsin's State Flower, what are these?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Pickles! We have pickles!

Here you go, a quick look at the result of Tuesday's recipe. Let's see: one jar is open and in the refrigerator, one jar went to my brother's house, one jar is on its way to my mom's...

I think I need to make a second batch. Works for me! Tastier than store-bought, and less expensive, too. Need I mention it's my favorite kitchen towel? Nah. You knew that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Farmers' Market Days

Saturdays are Market Days - Farmers' Market, that is. I reserve Saturday mornings for going to the market and buying whatever is in season. I reserve the afternoons for prepping and freezing or even canning. Here's a taste.

Berries! From left to right: sweet Bing cherries, blueberries & raspberries. The blue and red mixed when I dropped the bag as I tried to fit one more purchase in my big blue bag on wheels.

The first chore of Market Day this week: sort the mixed up berries. I nibbled quite a few. After this, I rinsed all three kinds of fruit and pitted the cherries. The blueberries are now in the freezer; the cherries and raspberries will be eaten by Tuesday.

Here's the rest! From left to right, again: sweet corn, asparagus (the last of the season!), garlic, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and lots of pickling cucumbers. You can tell I had a goal - pickles. The batch of fresh dill was on the deck; I bought it at the mid-week market on Wednesday.

I offered before and after for the berries: here's the After shot of the dill pickle spears. It was a busy night, but totally worthwhile. Some time in the winter, we'll appreciate the spoils of the summer. We won't have to buy store pickles, a money savings. These will taste so much richer, too -- being made from locally grown ingredients and made in my own kitchen.

Now that's a Market Day I can enjoy from start to finish.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Nuf Said!

Dear GSO Readers,

I recently went into my local feed store because I was entirely out of my regular organic/Non-GMO/no-soy feed for my poultry.  I have to tell you I was so totally caught off guard by the owners total lack of knowledge and even defense on the subject of Genetically Engineered feed that I even had myself wondering if this was a lost battle.  That was until I got back in the truck with my kids and my fifteen year old son said "Mom, I could tell you were getting really mad; and I understand your point.  I just don't think I can explain it".

That is when I realized that I am so passionate about this movement and how it has affected the growth of our children (really, did girls used to have boobs and bums that size?) that I have a hard time coming up with the proper words.  So, although I promised my regular readers a different post for next time, I read some wonderful news online today that really brings my point home; and PLEASE take the time to read the entire article; you don't want to miss paragraphs like this:

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto's patented materials were the trespassers at fault.


But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose "frankencrops" are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Just like the title, "Nuf Said!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Signs of a Gardener

You may be a gardener at heart if:

  • There's dirt under your nails.
Dirt? Is that all? I either have dirt under my nails or fingers stained with cherries, strawberries, or thumbs that are green from shelling peas or - you get the picture.
  • You think of soil as a foundation, the stable ingredient in creating a garden space.
After ten years of composting - okay, twelve plus - the soil in my first garden bed is rich and dark and drains well. The new garden is still heavy with clay, but improving a little every year. It needs a little decomposing TLC.
  • You have a specific pair of shoes for the garden.
I have a pair of crocs. I can get them wet or muddy and I don't care.
  • Watering is relaxing, not stressful.
Filling a watering can from a rain barrel or setting up a soaker hose takes time, and it's a good use of time. My mind wanders, my shoulders relax, and any stress headache goes away.
  • You welcome rain or sunshine.
Rain provides a good soaking to the plants and fills the rain barrels for later. Sunshine invites stems and branches to reach for the sky and grow to their full potential.
  • You talk to the plants.
"Geez, beans, I gave you a nice set of climbing equipment. Why do you insist on attaching to the fencing? It'll just put you within range of the bunnies and other furry critters who might nibble, and then... here. I'll show you." Meanwhile, I'm wrapping the bean vines around the supports I just put in and hoping they get the idea. And maybe hoping the neighbors didn't hear me.
  • You talk to critters who might turn up near your precious plants.
Hey, rabbit, how did you get in there? What do you think you're doing, relaxing in my lettuce?

I only came up with seven. Can you make this a top ten list, readers? Add your signs of a true gardener by commenting.