Sparse Harvest

  Here’s the bounty from the garden fig tree this year:   Granted, it’s not from the generous old tree we had for fifteen years, the one that didn’t make it through a transplant followed by a harsh cold snap a couple of years ago. The fig newbie managed a decent harvest last year; probably…

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Deficit Day

According to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), today marks the point at which “humanity‚Äôs demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” They call it Overshoot Day. Most of the analogies I see in the press use financial lingo and banking talk to describe this…

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Varietals of Choice

Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a lot of articles and blog posts questioning whether organic food is really worth the generally higher cost of the products to the consumer, i.e. whether organic food offers significant health benefits for the person eating it that justify spending more. The question itself represents part of…

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Field Clocks

There’s something reassuring in the routine of sowing and harvest. It’s not just the crucial aspect of food security. It’s one way we, as humans, keep time. A vast clock that we make every year anew. It’s blazing hot here, and as I wrote yesterday, the local farmers are using the heatwave to cut, dry…

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A Whisky Woman and a Spring Cordial

I finally bottled a batch of elderflower cordial yesterday, after letting the brew steep for a couple of days and then rest in the fridge until I got around to cooking it up. One of the bottles I used – I’d actually saved it for use as a cordial bottle – reminded me of a…

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Shady Ladies and Elderflower Cordial

A small herd of new cattle appeared along my running path a few weeks ago, several cows and a single bull. All of them have thick, dark red hair that tufts up in waves like a field of wheat in the wind. And within a short time, there were small calves. They graze in a…

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The Spoils of the Day

Sometimes the constant presence of natural beauty can lead to a certain forgetfulness of the visual bounty all around. We’ve lived near Lake Geneva for a long time, and while I revel in the views of mountain and lake, I don’t always appreciate just how lovely the area can be. Fortunately, friend, writer and local…

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Telling the Bees

Many cultures have customs relating to bees, animals that have long been highly valued, if little understood. After all, bees work hard all year, they pollinate many of our favorite foods and enable agriculture, they provide honey, and they don’t ask for much except to be left to toil in peace. I found out today…

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Flavor Assumptions

I walked out of the house this bright morning and found a small blossom on the rosemary bush near our entrance, the first one of spring. We moved in almost twenty years ago, and the plant was massive and gnarled, even back then. According to the neighbors at the farm next door, the rosemary bush…

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