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A Rich Spot Of Earth July 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, Nature.
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The first 150 donors to contribute $25 or more to EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) by tomorrow, July 31st, will receive this jewel of a book:

 A Rich Spot of Earth is packed with nearly 200 rich, full color images of Thomas Jefferson’s famous gardens at Monticello. Between the images Peter Hatch, Monticello’s master gardener, shares his experiences raising Jefferson’s favorite fruits, vegetables, and flowers over 3 decades—including how climate change has negatively impacted the health of the gardens.

From Amazon:

“Peter Hatch’s vibrant and enthusiastic passion for preserving Thomas Jefferson’s farming legacy at Monticello reminds us all of the time-tested continuity and historical root of this kind of agriculture.”—Alice Waters  (Alice Waters)

“In this fascinating book, Peter Hatch wonderfully weaves together his deep understanding of Monticello’s soil with his scholarly knowledge of Jefferson’s legacy as a gardener.”—Andrea Wulf, author of Founding Gardeners (Andrea Wulf 2011-10-20)

“Peter Hatch is the ultimate authority on America’s ultimate vegetable garden. Learn all about the genius of the place. Hatch’s fascinating account will enrich your garden and your life.”—Amy P. Goldman, Chair of the Board, Seed Savers Exchange (Amy P. Goldman 2011-10-20)

“Peter Hatch brings the horticultural legacy of Thomas Jefferson to life. A Rich Spot of Earth affords us a clear and compelling view into the revolutionary thinking of Jefferson, illuminating for the reader his approach to food, diversity, democracy, and freedom – making the genius of Jefferson, perhaps, as relevant today as at any other time in American history.”—P. Allen Smith, author of The Garden Home Series (P. Allen Smith 2011-10-25)

“Elegantly produced and artfully augmented by stunning, evocative photographs of the estate and the bounty it produces, Hatch’s homage establishes Jefferson as the clear forefather of modern organic and sustainable garden movements.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist (Carol Haggas Booklist)

Anticipating healthy living advice that would be extolled two centuries later, Jefferson wrote, “I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that . . . as a condiment for the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

To learn more:  Environmental Defense Fund ~ Claim Your Book Today!

Life On The River July 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Travel & Leisure.
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Last Wednesday, we attended a lecture, Life On The River, featuring alligators, turtles, and Great Blue Herons.


Before the presentation, BFF and I wandered through Palmetto Historic Park ~ a recreated village of buildings dating from the late 1800’s, each moved to the site when faced with demolition by “firing squad.”


The buildings (post office, cottage, school, and church) gather in a congenial circle, alongside the Palmetto Library and the Agricultural Museum.


The post office, built in 1880, still operates one day a year (on its anniversary) for people who want to mail letters with its historic post mark.


The one room schoolhouse started life as the first kindergarten in town.


The Agricultural Museum, a barn in its past life, sits ‘neath swaying pines, content in its reincarnation.


Except when breezes refuse to stir, leaving trees and windpump still.


The Museum outlines the history of the citrus, farming, and fishing industries in Florida with photos, tools, boats, and antique trucks.


Seeing the following diorama caused my imagination to take flight:

Henny Penny (after hearing the Farmer say something about “a chicken in every pot”) becomes a stowaway and makes a clean getaway en route to market.


Later, spotted crossing the road by paparazzi, Henny becomes flustered by the question, “Hey, Chicken!  Why did you cross the road?”

Chicken-Little-PosterInstead of reading the News Release prepared using her alias Chicken Little, Henny mumbles, “To get to the other side!” before darting away, like a chicken without a head, while screaming at the top of her lungs:

“The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”

Everyone believed her  . . . except the Boy Who Cried Wolf (voiced by Arnold Schwarzenegger):

“Been dere.  Done dat.”

In the meantime, this little piggy stayed home, living high on the hog and making a complete pig of himself.

Instead of accepting Henny Penny’s invitation to “go on the lam,” Mr. Piggy ended life as a ham.


And a rasher of bacon.  Smoked, not fried.   (“I’m S~M~O~K~I~N~G!”)

Okay . . . back to Life On The River.

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Did you know that alligators snap snapping turtle shells in half as easily as we scarf down tacos?  Or that turtles reciprocate by eating baby gators like sushi?

Kids absorbed those juicy tids and squishy bits amid great grins and giggles.

After presenters spoon-fed a few more morsels of knowledge into eager upturned faces, the kids split into teams for the Great Blue Heron Relay Race.

Frowns of concentration alternated with peals of laughter as they took turns fishing for lunch ~ while walking on tip-toes and picking up snakes, fish, and turtles with “chopstick” beaks.


Let me clarify that sentence . . . rubber snakes, plastic fish, and paper turtles.

Aah . . . that’s better!