Field and Forest, by Richard Gast

Will the extreme winter cold wipe out ticks?

I’ve been asked on four different occasions recently, how tick populations will be impacted by the December/January below-zero cold. Some of those asking had heard reports, apparently claiming that tick populations would be decimated, if not eradicated, by the prolonged period of ...

Hops on the vine
(Photo provided)

From farm to pint

There’s an old Irish toast: to long life and a merry one, a quick death and an easy one, a pretty girl and an honest one, a cold beer and another one! If you’re like me, you brought in the new year by raising a glass of frothy-delicious craft beer from a small, independent craft brewery (or ...

North American bull caribou
(Photo provided — National Park Service)

(Flying) reindeer and climate

I recall years ago two young boys having a conversation: “There’s no such thing as Santa Claus,” the older boy insisted. But the younger boy wasn’t buying it. Come Christmas Eve, he was going to stay up all night, just to catch a glimpse of old Santa and his legendary sleigh full of ...

Christmas tree plantation 
(Photo provided by Elizabeth Lamb, senior extension associate —Ornamentals Program; 
New York State Integrated Pest Management)

Buy local Christmas trees — support local growers

Christmas trees can be seen everywhere during the holiday season. And, because of this, we often think of Christmas tree farming as a seasonal business, which it certainly isn’t. To be successful, year-round management and maintenance are needed. And the work is often labor-intensive, and/or ...

Young beech trees retain their leaves throughout the winter months.
(Photo provided by Richard Gast)

Marcescence — an ecological mystery

We’re blessed to live in an area that offers some of the most beautiful fall foliage found anywhere in the world. And this fall proved to be one of the most remarkably enduring that I’ve ever experienced: The maples, birches, poplars, oaks and beeches created a landscape literally exploding ...

Worker bees with their queen
(Photo provided — Aaron Englander, Cornell Small Farms Program)

‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ offered

If you go... --- What: “Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping” workshop When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9 Where: Kitchen Conference Room; Franklin County Courthouse; 355 West Main St.; Malone How much: $5 More info: Pre-registration is required by today; Nov. 8 by calling ...

An odd sight — a pumpkin sits impaled atop Cornell University'’s McGraw Tower on Oct. 8, 1997.
(Photo provided by Cornell University)

The Great Pumpkin Prank — a piece of Cornell history

McGraw Hall, Cornell University’s first building, is certainly the most recognizable symbol of the university and arguably one of the state’s most iconic buildings. Built in 1891, it is named for Jennie McGraw, a close family friend of university co-founder, Ezra Cornell. McGraw Hall’s ...

A customer makes her selections at a local vegetable grower’s farm stand at the Adirondack Harvest Festival in Westport.
(Photo provided)

Support local agriculture: Get to know Adirondack Harvest

Earlier this month, I attended the Adirondack Harvest Festival at the Essex County Fairgrounds and adjoining Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Westport. The family-oriented event had something for everyone and proved to be a marvelous opportunity to see the diversity of small ...

Cornell U. has long history of protecting fisheries

In my last column, I wrote about the impacts of acid rain — the result of burning fossil fuels — on Adirondack lakes and streams. But, did you know that Cornell University has been a leader in efforts to safeguard natural fisheries within the Adirondacks and to protect them from the ...

Acid rain still impacting Adirondack Lakes, forest

In a recent newsletter from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, she mentioned visiting the facilities of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation to discuss strategies for measuring and combating acid rain in the Adirondacks. Although acid rain remains an important topic of study and discussion, the ...

Hemlock woolly adelgid
(Photo provided — New York State Department of 
Environmental Conservation)

Hemlock woolly adelgid — forest landowners take note

Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are one of the most beautiful conifers found in northern New York forests. It can take up to 300 years for them to reach mature heights of up to 70 feet and diameters of up to 3 feet. They commonly live for 500 years and can live for 800 years or longer. ...

A seedless Concord-type table grape developed by Cornell University grape breeders
(Photo provided — Bruce Reisch; CALS)

Cornell University Breeding Program introduces new Concord-like grape variety

The Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has a long and productive history as an institution known for successfully introducing novel plant varieties with cold tolerance and improved disease and insect resistance.Their grape-breeding program, centered at CU’s New York ...

Knee-high by the Fourth of July

As we celebrate the birth of our nation by getting together with family and friends for parties, parades and fireworks, an old farming adage comes to mind; one that has been used for generations to help benchmark the progress of corn crops — knee-high by the 4th of July. Although I ...

Farmers markets open for the 2017 season

The tradition of farmers markets can be traced back to ancient times. We can find accounts of 5,000-year-old Egyptian marketplaces along the Nile, where farmers would barter their fresh produce. Perhaps this is one reason that Ancient Egyptian civilization was so successful. For millennia, ...

Eating seasonally, locally

We’re living in an age of global markets, with almost all of us buying our food from chain supermarkets, convenient stores and fast food outlets. We rarely think about where our food comes from or how it was grown or processed. More often than not, the food we eat is grown on large ...

More annual precipitation is coming in heavy downpours. The Northeast leads the country with a 74 percent increase from 1958 to 2010.
(Image provided — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via the 
Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University)

North Country farmers and gardeners adjust to climate change, part 2

Much of what I know about gardening or have learned about farming is based on established practices (standards, rules, conventional norms) having to do with climate. Climate has always dictated which crops (and varieties) we can grow, which livestock we can rear, when to plant seeds or ...

North Country farmers and gardeners are adjusting to climate change (part one)

“Society is facing huge problems with a changing climate, and it’s important to remind representatives that their actions not only affect Americans and the world today, but these actions can have long-lasting implications for future generations.” These are the words of an 18-year-old ...

“The Annunciation” by Paolo de Matteis, 1712,
Saint Louis Art Museum
(Photo provided)

The flowers of Easter

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” —An excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 6:28-29 The Easter season is a time of profound religious ...