Saturday, May 31, 2014


Our pigs have arrived!

Two Old spots and one Old spotxTamworth cross. Colin from Hog Wild Farm delivered them in the back of his pick-up truck while he and his family were on their way to a wedding at nearby Glynwood Farm. They are tinier than we expected!... only having been weaned from their mama for 2 days. Right now they're a bit scared of us, but offering them whey and food scraps is allowing us to get close enough to give them a scratch behind the ears.

The dominant Old spotxTamworth cross gave us a scare last night in the middle of our 6-course fundraiser dinner for Hudson Valley Seed. As Jason was closing up the animals for the night, just as it was dark, he heard some small grunting near the chicken coop. Strange. The pig pen is not next to the chicken coop. So he moved the flashlight to just under the brush and found our little piglet strolling around, not in its hut, but outside of the electric fence and about 300 feet from home. Jason came down to our dinner and recruited 3 friends. The other guests heard the sounds of people running through the woods, breaking branches, falling, sometimes a pig squeal and saw flashlights bopping around in the woods. As I came out with the dessert course of hot rhubarb crumble topped with communaly-whipped cream we heard a final squeal and then some cheers. Hurrah! They got him... he was spooked and ran right into the arms of our friend, Dutch. Now that's a farm experience.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eating leek greens

Most recipes and the French have always called for the "white and pale green parts" of the leeks only. But then what do you do with those leek greens? Please cook with them! You can chop them up and cook them as you would onions. They add green to your dishes. They are great with eggs, in risottos, on pizzas, in soups and many other meals that start off with the classic carrot, celery and onion sweat (in place of the onions). If you have a juicer, you can also juice the greens and use them as a base to a delicious salad dressing or marinade. Just another step to reducing food waste...

Enjoying flowers for more than their beauty

Yellow kale flowers
We can all agree that flowers are beautiful, but many of us don't know that they can also be delicious.

When a vegetable plant flowers, wanting to "go to seed," the tiny flowers are a delicious garnish to salads, soups, potatoes, eggs or anything else. Scallion and leek flowers taste oniony and add a teeny-tiny crunch. Arugula flowers are peppery. Kale an other brassica flowers are spicy and mistardy.

So don't throw them away or pass them by! Enjoy them on your next meal.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Making minds meet

On May 3rd we convened a group of friends on a Saturday to discuss daunting issues related to the sustainability of our ecology, our economy and our health.

We started from the premise that we all accepted the idea that the way the great majority of us currently live is unsustainable, and that continuing on the same course without deep change will leave a world behind for the next generation that is increasingly unhealthy, unhappy, unequal, and unable to sustain a growing human population. 

We have become impatient waiting for scientific or political consensus on the exact degree to which we are in trouble, and believe together we must begin the work of envisioning a more sustainable and joyful way of life at both the individual and societal levels.  
And so we turned to our friends to join in this work. 

With just one day planned for talks, we invited a small group of people across different disciplines to talk about where they and their worlds fit into these issues. With representatives from the fields of research, environment, public health, law, social justice, media and journalism, food and agriculture, landscape architecture, planning, design, art and culture, and politics, we sat together with family and engaged in serious dialogue for eight hours. Each talk was inspiring, imformative and eye-opening, some even revolutionary. (see the speakers and topics below.)

Now that we've met, exchanged ideas, gotten the ball rolling, we have to keep the momentum up. We can't let these ideas fizzle in the summer heat. So we'll start acting and reporting back on some of our progress.

~ ~ ~

Inaugural convening of "Meeting of Minds"
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Abrupt climate change or abrupt societal transformation? Which comes first?
Radley Horton, Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University

Reversing the reversing trend in life expectancy: Corporate and cultural responsibilities in promoting the public’s health
Jocelyn Apicello, Farmer, Longhaul Farm | Educator, William Paterson University and Bard College Prison Initiative

The opportunities and limitations of ethical consumption
Dahni-El Giles, Attorney | Social entrepreneur

The reality of making a living in the sustainable food system
Pablo Elliott, Farmer, Marble House Project

Walking the mundane - towards a productive urban landscape
David Seiter, Principal, Future Green Studio

News organizations today and the shift towards sustainable communications
Ned Rauch, Environment Reporter, The Journal News

Art & social activism: From the farm to Sao Paolo
Cannon Hersey, Artist | Organizer

Undamming the mass movement: Exploring barriers to sustainability progress at the government, community, and individual levels
Jason Angell, Farmer, Longhaul Farm | Advocate

Monday, May 12, 2014

The chickens and the crows: A love story

I can't begin to explain the wonder I feel when I think about the relationship that is going on between our chickens and the crows.

Let me back up a bit... we live in hawk country. I mean HAWK country. Herds of them, flying overhead, sitting in our red pines, swooping right down into our backyard to pick-up a field mouse (you should see Seneca's impression of this). And worst of all: attacking our chickens. They just do it for sport... spot them, swoop down on them, pin them, and peck them enough to kill, but not enough to enjoy a meal. It's cruel, but nature.

And the strangest part about these hawks praying on our laying hens is the wild crows' reactions. When a hawk perches itself on a low branch, just above our chicken coop, ready to take any bird oblivious enough to be taken (i.e., any of them), a pack of crows starts cawing. Loudly. And they begin to dart at the hawk, not scaring it, just annoying it enough because the chickens scramble to the underbrush and the hawk has now to deal with 3 to 4 screaming crows in its face. We even see the crows chasing the hawk in thy sky, mid-flight, darting at it as it glides away. And now whenever I hear screaming crows, I throw Seneca on my back, slip on some boots and run outside to make sure our layers are ok.

I am not quite sure why those crows protect our chickens. But here's my theory: the crows love our compost piles, we love our chickens, so the crows protect our birds. And now we love the crows, too.