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Stray Kernels – Pondering Plastic

I once stood on the shore of a Philippine island and gaped with dismay at hundreds of plastic bags washed ashore and bobbing gently in the waves. I remember that as I ponder the movement to ban single-use plastics. Grocery bags. Water bottles. Straws. If you pay attention for even a ...read more

Green Thumb – Beautiful Hibiscus

I need a bumper sticker with this phrase: “I brake for hibiscus.” I saw a plant last summer with flowers so big they looked like pink dinner plates hanging on a bush. Who could drive by without stopping to look? If you’ve never seen flowers this big, you might think it’s ...read more

Around the Farm – Critical Year for GDUs

Getting seed in the ground is only the beginning of the battle to growing a good crop. Farmers didn’t stand a chance against the monsoonariffic (yeah, I made it up) wrath of Mother Nature this spring. But now the looming thought that incessantly occupies farmers’ minds is weather – or ...read more

Stray Kernels – Hidden Objective

The graduate course syllabus for the Summer Ag Institute includes the following phrases within its Student Learning Objectives: “Recognize the importance of agriculture in our society…” “Collect relevant materials…” “Develop lesson opportunities…” “…integrate agriscience into existing curriculum.” The full objectives are comprised of many more words (86, to be exact), written in what I think ...read more

Green Thumb – Garden Warriors at Work

Before the high tech world of smartphones, iPads, Kindles and Play Stations, there was another world to explore. This fascinating place in which I grew up was called nature. Early in the morning, neighborhood kids would gather and prepare to explore the nearby fields, ponds and woods in search of interesting ...read more

Around the Farm – Our Front Porch

Maybe it’s part of getting older, but I seem to be extra sentimental these days. And summertime, well, it seems to be the perfect season to reflect on old memories and create new ones, too. Let me explain. I love our porch. LOVE it. But, I’ve got to say, our front porch ...read more

Stray Kernels – The Things We Treasure

When you receive a greeting card or note from a friend or relative, what do you do with it? Are you the kind of person who reads it, thanks the giver for the sentiment, and then discretely places it in the recycling bin within a day or so? Or are ...read more

Green Thumb – Tomato Trials & Tribulations

I like to grow different tomato varieties, but I also like to find the top of my kitchen counter at harvest time. That is why I usually grow just four plants. Last summer I had 17.  Some of them were candidates for the compost pile, like the four-pack of desiccated ‘Jet ...read more

Around the Farm – A Spring that Un-Sprung Farmers

Every year around mid-April farmers start itching to get their fields planted, but ideal conditions must exist in order to do so. A wise man once told my father that if he goes out to a field, drops his drawers, sits on the dirt and doesn’t have the urge to jump ...read more

Stray Kernels – Responsibility: Opportunity or Burden

Earlier this year, my husband traveled out of state for several days for a family emergency. This complicated my already-shaky morning routine. We usually split the tasks of taking care of two dogs and making sure our kindergartner is ready for the school bus. So the first morning he was ...read more