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Jan 25

Welcome to 2014

It’s cold - minus 13 Celsius when I woke up, balmy compared to the minus 40 of a few days ago. It’s snowing lightly, the village a smudge on the horizon that periodically fades out of view, and then it’s a blank, the bare trees etched against a white landscape. My bird friends bring the prospect to life – almost 30 Mourning Doves, around 20 Goldfinches, a pair of Blue Jays, two pairs of Juncos, a few Chickadees, a Downy Woodpecker. The numbers and composition of the little flock have remained constant all winter, with an occasional appearance by a passing Chipping Sparrow or Grackle.Read more
Oct 17

Let Black Walnuts season before cracking and eating

I’d process the Black Walnuts today but the car’s at the mechanic’s. So it will have to wait until tomorrow. I always look forward to this time of year, when I can use the car as a tool.

But first, let’s deal with some misconceptions about Black Walnuts. Most stem from the fact that people want to eat them before they’re ready, when they’re really tough to crack and haven’t achieved a full maturity of flavour. Black Walnuts should season for at least three months; a year is better.

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Oct 6

Your leaves are an invaluable resource

Don’t throw those leaves away – they can be turned into leaf mould, a wonderfully fragrant woodsy material that results when you have kept your leaves for two or three years.

Leaf mould contains trace minerals that have been pulled from deep in the ground by long tree roots, it improves the structure and moisture retention of the soil, and it promotes the growth of organisms like micorrhizal fungi that plants need to take up nutrients.

What a waste to put such a valuable resource out on the curb!
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