There once was a medical writer/editor who worked really hard over a long career to explain diseases and treatments very, very clearly for the general public. Then she decided she’d rather NOT work til she dropped, so in 2008 Pamela J retired from NIH and took up gardening in a big way. Gardenblogging, too, though in her case it’s garden+nature+knitting+cats+whatever she’s reading, and so on, and I say good! I think blogs that are all gardening all the time can be boring – or so I concluded years ago, before I stopped reading them. (A shocking admission, I admit, but if you’re a gardenblogger, you probably know it’s true.)
But I do read the far-flung thoughts of my real (not virtual) friend of 30 years and recommend them to inquiring minds everywhere:
Yesterday I took these shots – of a modest group of plants that nevertheless look stunning in mid-January – as I was walking through my back yard and into the woods. First you see the boulder stairs that lead from my basement door down into my garden.
Then the two mosses above (names, anyone?) adorn the path through the woods. I've written before about this wonderful woodland that my property sits on the edge of, but continue to marvel over it – even after 25 years of walking through it. Yep, after living in eight different places around metro D.C., I found my spot and decided to stay put.
Totally off-topic, I have to give some link love to a blog called Cute Overload, especially this collection of sleeping cat photos. See, I keep up with politics and global warming and all that, and if it weren’t for a daily dose of adorable animals a girl could get downright grumpy.
For as long as anyone can remember, the wooded valley that my back yard is part of has been covered with English ivy. Not just on the forest floor but even up into the trees where it matures and produces berries, berries that are then spread far and wide by the birds. But then came another vine that – can it be? – managed to win the battle of primacy with the ivy – the five-leaf akebia. It now has a lock on the lowest, wettest parts of the valley.
Then suddenly the fastest spreading invasive plant EVER landed in our valley - the lovely garlic mustard. Its beauty (of sorts) is important to mention because when I’ve shown it to neighbors I’ve discovered that it’s been picked, brought indoors and admired! Oh well. Even if they removed it by its roots it wouldn’t slow the steady march of garlic mustard across the woodland floor.
It’s really no wonder this plant is so successful. It likes the sun, it likes the shade, it seems to like every damn location in North America.
So thank to Barbara Lucas and her pals in the Midwest for this video that goes a long way to showing exactly what mustard garlic looks like and then how to get rid of it. I think I’ll forward this to my neighborhood Yahoo group with the broad hint that we make ridding our valley of this one plant our New Year’s Resolution for the lovely woodland we share.
A tipping point has clearly been crossed because all of a sudden the need for sustainable fishing practices is everywhere. And not just at The Slow Cook, which I read religiously, despite my lack of interest in cooking. It’s also here,here and – oh, everywhere.
So I was primed to try the new Georgetown hot spot Hook, the first restaurant in D.C. that adheres strictly to sustainable fishing practices. Chef Barton Seaver, called a "visionary" in this Washington Post review, visits all his suppliers to make sure they’re not using such widespread practices as overfishing, collection techniques that destroy habitat, or farming with the use of antibiotics.
So how do sustainable fish taste? Like real food, the real meat of
creatures of the sea, but with a touch of Barton’s culinary magic. I’m no food critic but yum!
Each customer receives a wallet-sized brochure outlining in detail the fish to avoid and the fish to eat with impunity, a brochure brought to us with the help of Patagonia and the Blue Ocean Institute. (The brochure’s supposed to be on line here, but that link isn’t working at the moment.) And Earth Echo International is also involved somehow and my dinner companion was their secretary-treasurer, the charming Jan Cousteau, whom I’d met at the DC opening of "The Green" on the Sundance Channel.
So that’s what I was doing at a "glam new watering hole" that’s "swimming with the young and pretty." A little off my usual beat.
Photo of Jan Cousteau and Chef Barton Seaver, taken with a camera whose flash wasn’t working at that particular moment.