Field and Forest, by Richard Gast

Accessibility for gardening

Over the years, I've had the good fortune of knowing several devoted gardeners who, limited only by their imagination and resourcefulness, have crafted and tended remarkable gardens for years. They remain a constant source of inspiration.I've also worked with a number of dedicated direct care ...

Managing private forests for the long term

Over 60 percent of New York state is forested. And of the state's 18.6 million acres of forest, more than 80 percent is privately owned.Some of the forest owners I talk with have inherited land that has been in their family for generations. Others have more recently purchased their property for ...

Pruning apple trees

Apple trees (or any other fruit trees, for that matter), if they're going to produce quality fruit, require regular maintenance. Pruning is fundamental. We prune to improve structure, flowering and fruiting. And most commercial orchard owners will tell you that no other practice improves the ...

Take a sugarbush tour during Maple Weekend

It's mud season, although I prefer to think of the time of transition from winter to spring as maple syrup season.This is sap producing weather, and experienced maple producers, as well as beginners, are busy making maple syrup. Sap buckets can be seen hanging on aging roadside sugar maples, ...

Education offered for maple syrup season

Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are deciduous trees that mature in 30 to 40 years, generally growing to between 70 and 90 feet tall, but able to achieve heights in excess of 100 feet under optimum conditions. They are common throughout much of the northeastern United States and in several eastern ...

2016 sugaring season starts early

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information, 29 states, including every state east of the Mississippi River, set records for the warmest December in recorded history (dating back to 1895) in 2015.Nationally, December 2015 was 6 ...

Planning a vegetable garden? CCE can help

If you're someone who has been considering growing vegetables for yourself and your family, you should attend an upcoming Vegetable Garden Planning Workshop being offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County and the Paul Smith's College Visitors Interpretive Center.The event will ...

Protecting the Adirondacks

"Let us know that there is, somewhere in our state, a region not yet commercialized and citified, and to which people may repair who yearn for a restoration amid the vast silences of the eternal mountains and the primeval forests," said Louis Marshall (from an opinion piece that appeared in the ...

Feeding feathered friends

In summer and fall, most non-migratory songbirds feed primarily on insects and spiders. They supplement their diet with berries, seeds and other vegetation. But in winter, there are no insects, and the edible berries and vegetation that haven't been eaten become buried under the snow and packed ...

Boughs of holly

"Deck the halls (with boughs of holly)." It's a favorite Christmas carol and perhaps one of the best known, most often sung, and most widely recognized. The author is unknown but the song is generally believed to be American in origin; first published in 1881.The music, however, or should I say ...

Boughs of holly

Deck the halls (with boughs of holly). It's a favorite Christmas carol and perhaps one of the best known, most often sung, and most widely recognized. The author is unknown but the song is generally believed to be American in origin; first published in 1881.The music, however, or should I say ...

Dollars and sense

Buy local. It's much more than a feel-good slogan or here-today-gone-tomorrow topic currently trending on Facebook or Twitter. Let's face it, the choice we have as consumers this Christmas and throughout the year is to either support small, family-run businesses, as well as local artisans and ...

Telling the tale of the turkey

As we prepare for Thanksgiving feasting and holiday celebration, I'd like to take a few moments to reflect upon the American wild turkey, Melagris gallopavo (eastern forest subspecies silvestris, meaning of the forest), the largest ground nesting bird in North America.It is widely accepted that ...

Predicting winter weather

It's been a mild fall, so far. But it is November. Winter is coming. And while winter can be a very picturesque time of year and getting outdoors in winter can be a lot of fun, harsh winter weather can stop most of us ... well, cold.I'm frequently asked, "What will the winter be like, this ...

Puzzling over pumpkins

It's not at all surprising that as Halloween approaches I'm often asked, "What is a pumpkin?" or more specifically, "What's the difference between a pumpkin, a squash and a gourd?" or "Is a pumpkin a squash, a gourd or another type of vegetable?" After all, as a general rule, we carve pumpkins, ...

Is that an eagle?

"Is that an eagle?" my friend asked, motioning for me to look up from the open field where we were standing. High above us, directly overhead, a majestic, dark brown bird with an impressive wingspan was effortlessly gliding gracefully northward; floating on wings held perfectly still, until it ...

Harvesting firewood sustainably from a woodlot or forest

Whether taking firewood from small acreage for personal use, or managing larger tracts for firewood harvesting and sales, owners of well-managed woodlots know that the productivity of their land isn't measured in the wood that's harvested; it's measured in the amount of wood the land is able to ...

Multi-county agricultural plastic waste recycling effort gets under way

Until the 1990s, bulk forages and grain were stored in tower silos made of steel or concrete. In recent decades, however, plastic film has become a widely used alternative. And because of the storage and marketing options associated with plastic films, their use continues to grow.Many farmers ...

Corn — ’tis the season

As far as I'm concerned, farm stand sweet corn straight out of the field is as tasty a treat as it is an incredible value.Corn is a good source of carbohydrates and food energy, as well as vitamin A, minerals and protein. And an ear of cooked sweet corn contains only about 85 calories and one ...

Growing pumpkins for market

On the evening of Sept. 23, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County will offer a Pumpkin Production Workshop at 6 p.m. at Steen's Orchards in Brushton.All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.Please contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at 518-483-7403 for more information or ...