spotted wing drosophila on flower


No, it’s not Single, White Divorcee. It’s Spotted Wing Drosophila (aka Drosophila suzukii), and it’s the enemy of berry lovers everywhere.

SWD is a fruit fly from Asia, first detected in California in 2008.  2008 doesn’t seem that long ago to me, but this little fly is no laggard.

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elderflowers close up - white with yellow stamens

Elderflower Eruption

The elderberry bushes are now flowering outrageously. What a month ago resembled small florets of broccoli have developed into 6” wide umbels of creamy white bloom. These blooms will roll out in waves over the next month or so, transforming our humble field of bushes into an ever changing floral ocean. 

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spring garlic in hand, with roots and dirt

Spring Garlic

Spring brings some fleeting culinary pleasures such as rhubarb, asparagus, and violets. Among them we count spring garlic, which we have been enjoying these past few weeks. Their mild garlic flavor is a great accompaniment to meat or rich vegetarian entrees, or a nice addition to your morning omelet.

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Rare Catbird Sighting

I’ve never been much of a bird watcher. Birds are great and all, but I never put the effort into learning them beyond the common robin or chickadee.

It’s difficult; they’re small, far away, and move quickly. So it was with some excitement that I heard an unusual birdcall the other day.

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Rural Action

I recently completed Rural Action’s Whole Farm Planning and Mentoring program. What a fantastic experience! For eight weeks I got to hear first hand from experienced farmers and entrepreneurs.

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Chainsaw Chatter

They say that people who express gratitude are, statistically, happier than those who don’t. So let me invest in my own joy by telling you just how profoundly grateful I am for the electric start power tool

It may seem an odd thing to be grateful for, but it came to me this past Saturday as we ably felled 9 pine trees within a span of 3 hours.

As you may recall, this clearing is being done on advice of a forester, to open up space for oak, persimmon and other trees that have wildlife benefit…

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Meet your neighbor, glyphosate

Recently, while shopping at Kroger, I noticed a new-to-me offering in the dried bean section: mayocoba beans. I grabbed a bag, excited to try a new flavor and texture, then I swung by the library to pick up a book I had requested. 

I almost hadn’t requested this book because it’s title “Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying our Heath and the Environment” feels alarmist to me. And I really don’t need to feel more alarmed than I already do.

However, I had been seeking informa…

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Your yard and transcendence

The elderberry bushes will need to be pruned soon, but I want the cold to settle in and make sure the plants are fully dormant first. Then we'll cut them close to the ground so they grow strong canes with enough room between them for air to flow, which reduces disease and pests. 

In the meantime, I am tempted to linger in front of the wood stove reading the news.

This week I was intrigued by Cara Buckley’s article featuring Bill Jacobs, an ecologist who promotes including native plants in our …

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Musings on beans

Been thinking lately about beans. Not sure why. Does stuff like that happen to you too? One random thing showing up over and over again until you pay attention. 

Bean Thing One

First it was the giant glass jar of dried red beans I unearthed while cleaning out the pantry. 

They had been saved from the garden, at least 8 seasons ago, possibly longer. 😂  Of course, I hadn’t labelled them, but memory suggests that they were “true red cranberry beans”. And if you are a reader of seed catalogs, you…

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