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Taming the Beast

Our Beast of DestructionOur Beast of DestructionThere's nothing like adding a LARGE puppy to your home to make you question your sanity! I'm a DIY kind of gal, but admitted defeat and began a 10 week dog training class in Easton. I chose Dan's Elite Dog Training with professional trainer Dan Salb. The reason: Dan GUARANTEE'S your dog will be reliable for recall, sit-stay, down-stay, stand and more - even OFF-LEASH!

The first class was humans only - we have to be trained before the dogs. We were impressed by a past graduate of the class, who stayed next to his "person" even though a motorcycle revved nearby and a squirrel caught his eye. We all wanted this dog!

Gardeners: The Dangers of Non-Organic Compost and Straw!

Alert! An herbicide called aminopyralid, released by DowAgroscience in 2005, does not decompose readily and may remain in treated straw and well-rotted manure. The perennial weed killer is aggressively marketed and has been used on thousands of acres of North American fields. Putting tainted manure, compost or straw on your garden may kill plants such as tomatoes, lettuce and beans.

This isn’t Dow’s first environmental nightmare; they were linked to destroying home gardens in 2001 due to their product clopyralid – which is still sold as Confront. Our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to be turning a blind eye to these dangerous chemicals.

Indeed, in spite of research showing that aminopyralid remains in the soil for years, the new products were fast-tracked by EPA through the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative. Apparently, by showing that the new generations of poisons are LESS toxic, regardless of amount, the product bypasses most of the scientific data required to win EPA approval.

Be very careful about putting tainted material on your garden. IF the EPA doesn’t care about potentially destroying our healthy, nutritious gardens – we must look out for ourselves. This is the time to ask probing questions – not to blindly accept a salesman’s assurances that “of course this stuff is safe – no problem!”

The Gardener's Abundance

Chickens are tough!

One Tough ChickenOne Tough ChickenIt has started getting cold here on the shore. (Not as cold as Tok, Alaska, -78F last I heard) It has been getting down into the 20s at night and, of course, we are concerned for the newest members of our family.

This is our first winter with chickens and I have been having nightmares about getting up one morning and finding 8 chicken-sicles hanging upside down from the perch in their chicken coop. Guess what, chickens are a lot tougher than they appear.

My Winter Garden

The Winter Garden: Strawberry, asparagus and tomato patchThe Winter Garden: Strawberry, asparagus and tomato patch

by Polly Irons

I visited my garden today, the first time in over a week. I was not looking forward to seeing the perennial grasses popping up all over the vegetable and flower beds. To my surprise the grass, I believe it to be Kentucky blue grass, is throughout all the beds and is forming a nice turf in all the wrong places. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Oh, well, it will wait until spring."

The weeks prior I had spent endless hours pulling and hoeing the grass. With the cool damp weather upon us, hoeing would not kill it. It resprouted everywhere I hoed it to. With the grass barely one quarter inch high, pulling was like plucking your eyebrows with your fingers.

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The Snake Whisperer

Snake!Snake!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

You know you’ve adapted to life in the country when you step off of your back porch and onto a small snake – and your heart continues to beat! In fact, after the initial gasp of surprise, you turn it into a learning experience and call the kids out to see – then carry the snake out to the field, in the hopes that the rye grass will protect the poor baby from predators! Maybe it's not the country life - maybe it's me. I have a history with snakes. 

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