Field and Forest, by Richard Gast

Intense caterpillars

They hang around on finely spun strands of silky string, blue-black caterpillars parachuting ever so slowly to earth, landing in yards, crawling around on decks and porches — even finding their way into homes. Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me about them. Some have ...

Foraging for wild food and medicinal plants

If you go... --- What: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County’s Wild Edibles and Medicinal History Workshop When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26 Where: 4H Camp Overlook; Beach Road, Mountain View. How much: $85 includes all materials and lunch - Reduced ...

Understanding the importance of wild pollinators to orchard crop viability

If you’re like me, you enjoy the beauty of colorful flowers and love eating fresh fruits and vegetables. You recognize that many of the medicines and supplements we use come from plants. And you realize that the astounding diversity of ornamental, food and medicinal plants that we grow or ...

Moles and voles and yards with holes

It’s spring. Days are getting longer. The weather’s getting warmer. The sun is sitting higher in the sky. And, as I write this, the persistent snow in my yard is finally giving way to bare ground. This is the time of year when the consumer horticulture season really begins in earnest at ...

Cornell researchers advance industrial hemp as New York agricultural crop

As farmers across the state get ready for the 2018 growing season, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is preparing to oversee a second year of industrial hemp field trials across New York state. Cornell has been ...

Phenology and the potential implications of climate change

How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the flow of maple sap? The first crocuses coming up through the snow? Ice out on local lakes? The arrival of the first red-winged blackbirds? The clamor of peepers? Apple trees and/or lilacs blooming? Meriam-Webster defines phenology, which is ...

Extremes in weather can profoundly affect maple syrup production

Northern New Yorkers are definitely not strangers to cold winter weather. But most of us would rather have not had to deal with the brutally relentless cold that gripped much of the nation during December and January. According to data from the Southeast Regional Climate Center, cities ...

Maple confections — A sweet gift for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. The day when, more than at any other time of the year, people declare feelings of romantic interest, love, and adoration for one another. This is most-often done with a card. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged in the US, this year; 2.6 billion ...

Community supported agriculture

In this age of global markets and marketing, more often than not, the food we eat is grown on large industrial farms, then shipped across the country, from Central or South America or overseas to huge distribution centers where it’s sorted, packaged, processed and then trucked to chain ...

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 ...

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 ...

(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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

‘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 ...

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 ...

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 ...