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Book Review: The Miraculous Fever Tree-the Cure that changed the world

27 May

 

“Absorbing and SUPERBLY researched” with my emphasis on superbly.  I agree with Miranda Seymour!  Rocco is an award winning investigative journalist.  Her interest in medicine began with her grandparents in Africa in the 1920s.  They were blessed to get quinine tablets made locally because cinchona seeds/trees from Peru had been planted there decades earlier.

World history over four centuries is told from

  1.  Tragic loss of life due to malaria in Europe, Africa, Panama, South America, Middle East, India and Asia.
  2. The cure identified by Jesuits in Peru in the 1600s as quinine (so bitter tasting, people thought they were being poisoned) written documentation in early 1630s.
  3. Theories challenged!  Treatment changed!  (Malaria DNA dates back to 5th century.)
  4. Rocco accessed original records from 1624 and more periods…exquisite documentation, details that enrich readers with life, times, goals, accomplishments of key figures.
  5. “Tree of Fevers” published in 1713 in Madrid
  6. The narrative fully immerses the reader wars, exploration, building the Panama Canal, challenges of exporting seeds and cinchona tree to other continents to save thousands of lives globally.

Enjoy reading!

 

 

Walk this way

30 Apr

Planting purple wave petunias concludes five days freshening flower beds

with seven cubic yards of hardwood fine mulch.

Stay at home!  2020

Spring Gardening or…

9 Apr

what are they?

 

Spoiler alert:  Amazon sells them.  (That is how I discovered the name.)

I have been in garden centers often over the years and never saw one.  I acquired them from an estate a couple of years ago.    They are:

rotary tillers (with a broom type handle)

Applied testing:  It does a nice job freshening up last year’s mulch and also works well mixing homemade compost with clay type soil.

 

Acorns: Spring planting

11 Mar

We removed dozens of trees @ Owl Creek in 2019…Some had been dead for a long time…  Some were volunteers too close to driveways or barn…Some were contortions of trees…bent, split, broken.  Several logging projects in the past 50 years harvested hard woods…walnut, maple and oak trees.  Our understanding is that oak seedlings are difficult to locate.

 

To get 2020 spring plants off to a bigger start, I gathered acorns from the backyard.  Mostly green, squirrels had not run off with them.

“How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns” Shelly Wigglesworth Oct 16, 2018, published in New England Today, Living

How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns

I like the idea of refrigerating with peat and barley in a sealed container over winter.

Shelly recommended discarding acorns with pin holes.  They are made by “inch” worms exiting the hull.  I believe the worms enter under the cap.  After checking closely and drying  about two weeks, I discarded 20 acorns of the 60+ I had gathered from our backyard.

Here we “grow” again…today March 11, 2020…

Responding to the loss oak seedlings ruined by squirrels going for the meat of the acorn…I have turn the table!  Using a small cage to keep wild life out and protect future tree…rather than keep animals IN.  45 acorns in peat pots.

Hmmmm…what yield will we have?

 

 

Winter Gardening

7 Jan

Winter gardening means trimming dried perennials and raking leaves.  That is…until my neighbor gave me an amaryllis bulb kit.  Delightful!  (The kit includes one bulb, glass jar and growing medium.)

Jan 6 (Ephiphany)

Makes cents!

18 Nov

“Regenerative agriculture claims that the solution doesn’t lie in new technology or mass machinery. It may be right in front of us: livestock.”

Check out this article from the Huffington Post:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meat-save-planet-regenerative-farming_l_5d261f7ae4b0583e482b0192?guccounter=1

 

Check out this article from Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group:

https://www.ssawg.org/ssawg-blawg/2019/8/15/the-impossible-pasture

“We have this huge planetary food system enhanced by synthetic fertilizers and chemicals, but there are ways to balance that out now, and that’s through raising animals in balance with the ecosystem’s restoration. Nothing else can do what a cow or sheep or buffalo can do.”

– Jack Algiere, farm director at Stone Barns for Food and Agriculture

 

 

Can You See Me?

11 Nov

Thanksgiving last year, at Nina Bay Farm, the herd of Black Angus cattle sold at auction.  The rest of the herd of burros found a new home.  The surrounding fields are leased for cattle grazing.

These burros are what remain of the herd.  I call the two on the right Jack and Jill.  Jack is two weeks old.  Jill is five months old (born June 1 and is featured in the top photo).

…..around back

Before

Seven trees shading the porch:  Removed.

The make over for the landscape will be honeysuckle free and feature natural “rocky top” ledges and outcrop.  Do you see it?  An artifact:  brick barbecue.  We plan to have wild flowers popping up in spring.  Like these:

Work in Progress!  Low maintenance perennials featuring iris (state flower of TN) and day lilies, plus peonies, hostas and hollies.

For more Nina Bay Farm photos select the tab at the top of the page.

 

Acorns

10 Sep

We removed dozens of trees @ Owl Creek this year…Some had been dead for a long time…  Some were volunteers too close to driveways or barn…Some were contortions of trees…bent, split, broken.  Several logging projects in the past 50 years harvested hard woods…walnut, maple and oak trees.  Our understanding is that oak seedlings are difficult to locate.

Our recent experience:  Squirrels/Ground Squirrels consider fresh sprouting acorns hors d’oeuvres.  Half of what I transplanted to containers were uprooted to eat the meat of the acorn.  (Redbud, tulip and cedar trees were undisturbed.)  I rescued these seedlings by moving them to the screened porch.

 

To get 2020 spring plants off to a bigger start, I gathered acorns from the backyard.  Mostly green, squirrels had not run off with them.

“How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns” Shelly Wigglesworth Oct 16, 2018, published in New England Today, Living

How to Grow Oak Trees from Acorns

I like the idea of refrigerating with peat and barley in a sealed container over winter.

Shelly recommended discarding acorns with pin holes.  They are made by “inch” worms exiting the hull.  I believe the worms enter under the cap.  After checking closely and drying  about two weeks, I discarded 20 acorns of the 60+ I had gathered from our backyard.

Here we “grow” again…

 

 

This corner of the yard

15 Aug

has been reserved for compost of tree, shrub and yard debris for years.  The black compost bin in the background hasn’t stayed together even with a “zip tie” fix.  Time to shop!

Found on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085O6NXQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The cylinder in the foreground has an open bottom.  It was unrolled and secured with three plastic pieces that work like a key and lock inserted in slots.  The size is adjustable.  It is possible to expand the circumference an additional two feet.  Also, I could go smaller.

Last summer between kitchen, garden and yard waste, we yielded about 200 pounds of compost which we used at our remote garden site (future post).  We are on track with another 200 pounds…Eight  repurposed  cat  litter  buckets  filled (20 pounds each).  Two  more  to  go!

Book Review: The History of Bees, A Novel

2 Jul

My interest in bee keeping is shown on the Beehaven@OwlCreek tab above.

I struggled with this book.  I also appreciate the story.  Well over half way thru the book, I felt that I was reading multiple Twitter feeds.  Some characters lived in the 1800s, some in the present and some in the future.  The author does bring it together in the end.  If I had first read the Reading Group Guide on page 340 of my digital version, I would not have been so frustrated.

The contents include valuable information about commercial hives and the highly productive, delicate life cycle of bees.