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Field and Forest, by Richard Gast

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 ...

Exploring hemp production in New York

“American farmers are promised a new cash crop ... that will not compete with other American products ... (and) will provide thousands of jobs for American workers ...” “Hemp ... has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ...

American robins — harbingers of spring

“The early bird catches the worm.” It’s an old adage that most likely refers to the American robin (Turdus Migratorius). This year, I first saw robins in late March, right around the time that maple sap started running. As I write this, they’re still showing up, almost daily, apparently ...

Exploring the history of maple syrup

I don’t think there’s a more magnificent forest tree or more glorious shade tree than the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The deciduous tree, which matures in 30-50 years, generally grows to between 70 and 90 feet tall, with a crown that turns a brilliant, fiery yellow, orange, or red at ...

Sugarhouse/sugarbush tours during Maple Weekends

Spring is almost here. At least, according to the calendar. And, although I realize that winter isn’t nearly ready to completely relinquish its hold on the earth, the days are getting longer and the frigid arctic conditions that have put the resolve of even some of the most winter-loving ...

Birds of a feather

Birds of a feather flock together. It’s a metaphor dating back to the 16th century; used even then in alluding to people with similar interests, motivation, loyalties or like minds. It’s also a straightforward reference to the fact that birds congregate with others of their own species. So, ...

Coming to terms with solar energy development

Perhaps the most significant energy question in the North Country in the coming year will be the potential long-term advantages and/or disadvantages of advancing industrial-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project development in the region. Solar power represents a significant opportunity for ...