Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tree on the River #ThursdayTreeLove

Our winter in the Southern Tier of upstate New York has been up and down, up and down.

We had a record high yesterday - 69 F officially (20.5C), breaking the old record of 61 (16C).

Over the weekend, ice broke up on the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, New York.

Today, it was gone, completely, along with all our snow.

But that is all a memory now.  Winter, ice and snow are expected back.  The temperature is 34 F (1C).  It will be snowing soon.

Yet, the tree endures, and awaits the secret signal that will tell it to awaken, to bloom, and to grow leaves once again.

I can't wait.

Join Parul and other bloggers for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Winter Wonders - I'm Not Fooled

 It is 50 degrees F right now (10 C), and supposed to get to a record high today around 70 (20 C).

But I'm not fooled.  Tonight and tomorrow the forecast is freezing rain turning to snow, with three to five inches (up to 13 cm) expected.  Now, that's more like normal.

To get us into the mood:

These pictures were taken by my "guest photographer" the first week of February.

Snow on the ground is normal this time of year where I live in the Southern Tier of New York State.


One day, spring will be here for good.  But not yet.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another Year for Greasy Beans?


I wrote this blog post as I was thinking about what to grow in the 2014 gardening season.  I didn't order these beans, and it's probably just as well, because some animal kept eating our beans.  We had an almost complete failure of our beans in 2014.  But the last two years, we've had good luck with our beans.

We are shrinking our garden this year, but will always make room for beans.  So, today, a repeat of this 2014 post:

Greasy Beans in Upstate New York?

It is time to order our seeds for our 2014 community garden. We garden in the Binghamton area of upstate New York.

We look through catalogs, and ponder, and know that this year's garden will be the best ever.  There will be no drought, no rotting from too much rain, no insect pests, and no critter damage.  Everything we plant will come up, will flourish, and we will harvest record yields of everything.

Sure.

You must be an optimist in order to garden.

And, your heart must beat faster when you see something new.  Will you try it out?

Two Septembers ago, we visited Asheville, North Carolina and had the opportunity to visit several local farmer's markets - or, as they call them there, tailgate markets. (Unlike New Yorkers, North Carolinians reserve the term "farmers markets" for markets held in permanent structures).
North Asheville Tailgate Market, 2012
Even if there isn't a tailgate in sight, tailgate markets they are. 

In a North Carolina market, you will find products and produce you won't find in any upstate New York market.  That's part of the fun of travel.

Some vendors were selling something called a greasy bean.  We saw them for sale, but because we had no cooking facilities in the B&B where we were staying, we couldn't try them.  What they are is a pole green bean, without the tight fuzz you find on the pod of the typical green bean.  This gives them a shiny, or "greasy" appearance.  We were told they had excellent eating qualities, and that they were a bean grown in certain areas of the southeast, including Kentucky, and western North Carolina.

I must have signed up for this catalog somewhere when visiting Asheville, because the last two winters I have received an Asheville seed catalog called Sow True.

Last year, we didn't buy very much mail order,but this year, I decided we needed to support some of the smaller, non GMO catalogs.

So I opened up the Sow True catalog and what did I see:  Greasy beans.

The world of beans is fascinating: there are so many kinds to choose from. We've lived in several parts of the United States over the years, and have tried some of these varieties (when we lived in Kansas, we grew dried beans and in Arkansas, we grew yard long beans and crowder peas. ) But here in upstate New York, we do have a shorter growing season (perhaps 150 days) than Asheville (I would estimate between 185 and 195 days).  So, our first question was:  will these greasy beans even grow here?

We don't know. Some greasy beans, for example, have been grown in the Pacific Northwest with varying degrees of success.  But greasy beans here?  I've never seen them in any farmers market, not that I've been to every one in this area.

Again, I don't know if they will succeed.  But my heart says we should try.  Why not? Isn't experimentation part of learning?  What do we have to lose but some space in our community garden? And, if we succeed, we have a food unavailable locally at any price.

Have any of my readers tried to grow greasy beans outside of their normal Appalachian range?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Themes of Champions #MusicMovesMe


The Winter Olympics are being broadcast this week.  In their second week, I got to wondering - the theme used in United States broadcasts has been the same for so long.  Who wrote it, anyway?

It turns out there is more than one Olympic theme, and it isn't the same all over the world.  In the United States, actually, there are two different ones.

Smithsonian Magazine had a wonderful article on the Olympic Themes.
This is NBC Networks' Olympics Theme Song in the United States.

But this is not original music.  This music comes from a composition called "Bugler's Dream" composed by French composer  Léo Arnaud.  This is the original.
This Olympic Fanfare and Theme was composed by John Williams for the 1984 Summer Games, which were held in the United States.  These two compositions have become intertwined, with some claiming Williams "stole" Armaud's piece, and many Americans thinking that Williams wrote the Olympic theme.  Ah, complications of life.

But, wait, there's more music in store for you.  The CBC (Canada) has some of the most beautiful Olympic openings to their broadcasts.  This is the one from Rio in 2016.

"We are the Champions" by Queen, has become a standard in United States sports stadium.

There is one final song, which I understand parts of the world use as their Olympic "theme" - but you'll have to wait until next week to hear it.

And now, a little about Music Moves Me (aka "4M").

The Head 4M'er is XmasDolly.  Her co-4Mers are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   And last but certainly not least, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.

Will you join us today with some music?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Snow on the Water

Earlier this week we had had a spell of warm weather.

The ice on the river was breaking up on the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, New York.

Today, we woke up to about an inch of snow on the ground.  It's a wonderful opportunity to see who has visited overnight.

It will get above freezing today, so most of this should melt. But, in addition to snow on the river, there is snow on the evergreen.
Snow on the rhodie.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sustainable Saturday-Macarons Microgreens and Mushrooms

The farmers market in Binghamton, New York, February 17.

Macarons.  I am not a skilled baker and I would never attempt these.  These are the best ones I've ever had and someone is in for a treat tomorrow (if I remember to bring them!)

Here's a cake the same bakery baked.

Of course, a farmers market has to have produce.

We have a local mushroom grower, and his mushrooms are fantastic.


Microgreens, grown at a local business incubator in downtown Binghamton, New York.

Because of various situations, we've not been to the farmers market since New Years Eve (when we discovered they were closed).  We missed them.

Does your area have a winter market (assuming it is winter where you live?)

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Sky'sValentine #SkywatchFriday

February, for all its bad weather, can also give us a gift - the gift of a breathtaking sunrise and sunset.

Imagine taking an early morning walk, and seeing this.

Or this.

And, at the end of the day, seeing this.
And this.

This was nature's way of saying "Happy Valentine's Day" a day early, on February 13.

If you like these pictures, why not visit Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky at #SkywatchFriday?