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Field and Forest, by Richard Gast

Caring for Valentine’s Day cut flowers

February is generally the coldest month of the year, the heart of winter, a time that finds many of us patiently waiting, if not longing, for spring. Perhaps that’s why the preferred gift for a cold, wintry Valentine’s Day is a fresh bouquet of colorful, fragrant cut flowers. Valentine’s ...

Ruffed grouse — a close (and very unusual) encounter

Close encounters with wildlife have always fascinated me. But the behavior of wild animals can be, at best, difficult to understand and, at times, totally unpredictable. I once grappled with a robin who returned year after year, only to spend the entire summer flying into my office window in ...

Beekeeping workshop in Bloomingdale

Whether you’re considering starting your own apiary, need to brush up on your bee and beekeeping knowledge, or just curious about what’s involved, join Cornell Cooperative Extension and Hex and Hop Brewery for an “Improve your Beekeeping Knowledge” Workshop. The workshop, which is ...

Get into winter — on snowshoes

Winter’s here. It’s the season of snowmen, snowballs, snow forts, snow sculptures, sledding, tobogganing, tubing, ice skating, ice fishing, ice climbing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. I’ve heard it said, “If you ...

Origins and history of Christmas trees

As far as I’m concerned, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a beautifully decorated, real Christmas tree. Real trees have a stately presence and rich, fragrant aroma that awakens the senses, bringing the forest into the home and warmly welcoming everyone that enters. The Christmas ...

Tisquantum: A Native American Horticulturalist Rescues the Pilgrims

Part 2: The Plymouth colony   A Pawtuxet Wampanoag Indian named Tisquantum may very well have been the first American ambassador. His story begins during the summer of 1605, when British sailors under the command of Captain George Weymouth, who had been commissioned by colonial ...

Tisquantum: the Native American horticulturalist who rescued the Pilgrims

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” These are the words of H.A. (Henry Allen) Ironside, a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, member of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and one of the most ...

Growing berries in the North Country

On Saturday Nov. 9, you’ll have an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of home garden and small scale berry production, when Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County and Bonesteel’s Gardening Center, in North Bangor welcome retired CCE regional horticulture specialist Amy Ivy ...

Seriously supersized prize-winning pumpkins

Growing giant pumpkins may be a lot like baseball. After all, both are traditional, competitive sports that require hard work, determination, discipline, attentiveness, patience, and the ability to anticipate. Both continue to grow in appreciation; not just in this country, but ...

It’s apple season

There’s little in life more pleasing than biting into a crisp, juicy, slightly sweet, slightly tart, fresh-off-the-tree apple. And what could be healthier? Apples contain vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, pectin, fiber and no cholesterol. They can be eaten fresh, baked or stewed; ...

A good year for monarch butterflies

If you’ve noticed a lot of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) lately, you’re not alone. From my own observations and from what people have been telling me, this summer appears to have been a very successful one for them, at least in this part of the Northeast. Monarchs have four ...

Coyotes — friend or foe?

Have you ever heard the sound of coyotes (Canis latrans) baying at night? The call of a solitary wanderer? The yipping and howling of a young family moving swiftly through the forest? A chorus of voices raised in song for miles around? And if you have heard them, have you ever seen ...

A small victory for bird conservation

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the use of feathers in women’s hats was all the rage. To meet fashion industry demand for their elegant plumage, several North American bird species (e.g. egrets, herons) were hunted to near-extinction. To safeguard migrating birds from ...

4-H youth, families ready for county fair

4-H is one of the leading youth organizations in North America and almost certainly the most recognized of all the programs delivered by Cooperative Extension. Encompassing a community of 100 land-grant universities across the United States, the 4-H national network of 500,000 volunteers ...

Knee high by the Fourth of July?

As we get together with family and friends to celebrate Independence Day, 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 Fourth of July.” The saying appears to have roots in the Farmer’s ...

Are there cougars in the Adirondacks?

Before the 19th century, cougars were abundant across the American continent. In fact, the cougar was the most widely distributed land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They were found in forests from tropical to boreal, from Chile to the Canadian Yukon. A lion living in the Arizona desert ...

It’s hummingbird season

I’ve always been fascinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), the only hummingbird species to regularly breed in eastern North America. They’re small hummingbirds with slender, slightly curved, black bills, fairly short wings that don’t reach all the way to their ...