Saturday, May 29, 2010

Strawberries taste like strawberries!!

A few years ago I recieved some strawberry seeds in one of my *Easter baskets. I followed the instructions on the little pot but was not rewarded with much more than a sprout. I took it from the kitchen window to the garden and it withered away. To my surprise, vines started popping up and spreading throughout the garden and now - two years later - tons of berries are growing and ripening each day. I guess sometimes you just have to give time time.

*Yes, my mom and big sister still dutifully put together Easter baskets for me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bear in Baltimore!!


Police in Baltimore County said they have recieved calls about bear sightings in the Owings Mills area today. The bear (pictured) was last seen on Bond Avenue and Timbergrove Road and was also seen in the 900 block of Timber Run Road. Police advise anyone who sees the bear to hand over their picnic baskets and call 911 or Baltimore County Animal Control at 410-887-5961.


Apologies for not alerting everyone to the episode of 60 Minutes that discussed these chemicals on Sunday night. Watch it here:

Back to the serious stuff

Commercial Whaling. Ugh. What can we say?

Back in 1975, Greenpeace started the world's first-ever Save the Whales campaign that eventually led to the International Whaling Commission's decision to ban commercial whaling (1986 to be exact). Apparently President Obama's delegation to the IWC has decided to back a plan that would legitimize commercial whaling for the first time since that ban was passed more than 20 years ago.

The Greenpeace Activist Network is right on top of the issue and headed to Washington next week but they still need your support. Please take a few moments to sign this petition to keep whales safe and out of politics!!

While we're on the topic...

How poorly thought out was this ad campaign?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weed. It's what's for dinner.

Some of you may recall that around this time last year we talked about the superfood growing wild in our own backyard: weeds. Because weeds not only survive but flourish sans human aid, it is no surprise that they are naturally high in antioxidants and a great addition to your summer salads. Dandelion leaves tend to taste a tad bitter though so we figured it's about time to look into some other options. Check 'em out:

Chickweed: When cooked it tastes like spinach. When raw it tastes like corn.

Lamb's-Quarters: Consider it a mild spinach or chard substitute packed with calcium and fiber.

Purslane: Succulent, citrusy, tart, crisp and versitile. Toss it into any sauce or soup to pack a powerful punch of alpha-linolenic acid (a highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acid).

Japanese Knotweed: Most closely comparable to rhubarb. Rich in resveratol and vitamin C. Veteran greenies suggest eating the shoots.

*Note: Never eat any plant that you can't positively identify - especially if pregnant or nursing. Check out this guide for important tips regarding plant edibility and identification.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Local Treehuggers

Namaste, friends. We here at JustSaying have been in a state of speechlessness since the series finale events of LOST last night so all I've got this morning is this fun page on that encourages local treehuggers to submit photos. Hopefully this plug can help the page garner a few more pics and stories!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Countdown to Ice Cream Happy Hour

Mmmmmm.... Ice cream. I know a least two people who are counting down the minutes to some "tastes good and good for you" ice cream at Dominion Ice Cream this evening in Charles Village, but for those of you who aren't intrigued by the mere thought of spinach and sweet potato ice cream, perhaps you'd like to know about the latest and greatest creations from The Skinny Cow: Single Serving Cups.

Like the company's trademark (and delicious) ice cream sandwiches, the cups pack about 150 calories a pop (never more than 170 calories). Find your favorite flavor here.

Stephen Colbert on FDA Salt Regulation

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
FDA Salt Regulation - Lori Roman & Michael Jacobson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

"The Food Movement, Rising"

A new essay from Michael Pollan in The New York Review of Books takes a look at the food revolution taking place - whether it's completely recognized yet or not - here in America. Pollan discusses everything from Michelle Obama's efforts to food safety and industry and how books published in the past decade (by other faves like J.S. Foer, Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle, Joel Salatin, etc) along with growing support from national environmental and health organizations most definitely suggests a culture ripe and ready to get "beyond the barcode." 

If you take the time to go beyond JustSaying's summary and read the whole article just one time, let this be it. Find The Food Movement, Rising here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Local Bluebird Teaches Squirrel Sharing and Patience

Finale Fare

Fellow LOSTies at CheapHealthyGood are answering the big question surfing the interwebs this week: What should I serve at my LOST Finale party this Sunday?

CHG's answer: "We at CHG aim to please, sweet LOST fans. Here are a few Island entrees, appetizers, and Sayid dishes (say it out loud) for your viewing pleasure. We promise, they won’t make you want to Hurley."

Suggestions range from the oh-so-obvious Shephard’s Pie to a pleasant but ultimately depressing Sun Jin Fizz to unfortunately nutty E-Clairs for dessert. The "punnerific" copy accompanying these dishes falls short of any actual recipes but nonetheless, we at JustSaying appreciate CHG's creativity. Here's a few of our faves:

Miles to Go Before I Dip: At first, you won’t understand the function of this sharp, rather disagreeable onion dip. But it’s served in a bowl where you can see the ghosts of other onion dips, so that’s cool.

Juliomelet: This capable, attractive dish will quickly become your favorite meal, until it’s inexplicably sucked down a mineshaft. Then it will become someone else’s favorite dish on the show right after this one.Readers and fanatics are updating with additional ideas and giggles. Join the fun here.

If you're truly seeking recipes, Robert Irvine did an episode of Dinner Impossible in which he cooked local, sustainable fare for the Oceanic Six and some dudes with cameras who mysteriously landed on the island. Find his recipes for Rabbit Stew, Swordfish Mofongo, Beet Salad and Mussel Salad here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The city of Baltimore came to a halt this morning to help a mother duck and her 11 little mallards make safe passage to the Inner Harbor. A.Mazing. The Baltimore Sun reports:

"It's not clear where the mama duck had been nesting. But she and her family were already headed south on Market Place, just north of Lombard Street — a major westbound thoroughfare."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seven Principles of a Climate-Friendly Diet

Just stumbled upon this great article from Anna Lappe summarizing methods for a climate-friendly diet expanded upon in her latest book Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork. Following in the footsteps of food luminaries like Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle, Lappe suggests:

1.) Reach for Real Food
2.) Put Plants on Your Plate
3.) Don't Panic, Go Organic
4.) Lean Towards Local
5.) Finish Your Peas, The Ice Caps Are Melting
6.) Send Packaging Packing
7.) Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Kitchen! 

Way to go, Hunt's!!

Hunt's, a ConAgra Foods brand, recently announced that they have removed high fructose corn syrup from each and every ketchup product. In their first recipe tweak in 40 years, Hunt's 100% Natural Ketchup is now made with only five simple ingredients: tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, salt and seasoning. Newswire reports:

"In direct response to consumer demand, Hunt's is pleased to offer ketchup sweetened with sugar and containing only five simple ingredients," said Ryan Toreson, Hunt's Ketchup brand manager. "Parents are looking for wholesome meals and ingredients they recognize—and the taste of Hunt's ketchup is something both kids and adults love. Even with the new recipe, we have maintained the same great tangy, sweet taste that Hunt's has always had and that consumers tell us they prefer."

The 100% Natural Ketchup began rolling out to major markets nationwide in mid-April and consumers can expect to find product on shelves everywhere by mid-May.

If the simplicity of ketchup ingredients has got you thinking, "Hmm... I could totally make my own ketchup!" check out, a site decicated to collecting ketchup recipes from around the world. Here are a few popular ones:

Low Sodium Ketchup Recipe
Picante Ketchup Recipe
Fog City Diner's Ketchup Recipe

(Thnx Lisa A. and Alissa)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Add to cart"

MP tweeted about the new tomato variety named after him last week and I've been meaning to link readers up to it ever since so... here you go! Pollan wasn't quite sure how to take the tomato title honor because of, well, the following description:

‘Michael Pollan’ is an odd shaped mutant! (The tomato that is.) Egg shaped fruits are yellow with green stripes & some have little “nubbins” on the ends. Related to ‘Green Zebra’ but with a milder taste & a good amount of sweetness. Very popular in taste tests. Plus the bloom on this variety is reported to be quite showy. Nice! Named after the amazing author & teacher - whose books we highly recommend. ‘Michael Pollan’ is possibly susceptible to Blossom End Rot so make sure & water him evenly to prevent this from occurring. The tomato that is!

Find the tomato and other great seeds at Annie's Annuals and Perennials.

Stealing or Saving?

An incident was reported near the clover this morning regarding a few stunning, double variety, Sarah Bernhardt, sugar pink peonies. Some call it theft, others call it heroic. Here's the defendent's side of the story:

"Earlier this morning I was walking my little dog along our usual morning route which, during the month of May, includes the block upon which a few homeowners happen to also be peony growers. As usual we stopped to smell the peonies (which are really on the most public part of this particular property) and - gasp - I realized that the thunderstorm last night had taken quite a toll on these fantastic peonies! And even worse, the stems were not attended nor supported so the bulbs were weighed down heavily with rain water. It was criminal really. So I did what any good neighbor would do and proceeded to shake the rain out of the top-heavy flowers and do my best to support the stems with the resources immediately available. Unfortunately, for some flowers it was just too late. The stems had already cracked and split. After a quick survey of the home I determined that this particular house had been vacant for at least twelve hours. Realizing that I was the only person with the courage to take these broken flowers and put them deep in water to live out the rest of their days in comfort in a vase in my house - I ripped the small shred of stem still connected. I couldn't stand to see them suffer like this."

The defendent has asked not to be identified in this story for fear of retaliation.

"What if they were to steal MY peonies, you ask?!? Apples to oranges. Ours are supported, nurtured and reside on the side of the fence that is clearly not community property. Impossible comparison."

Her dog has also asked to be "left out of the whole thing." He apparently refused participation in the events.

"I tried to get [dog] to carry the flowers because I was afraid someone was watching. If they had a camera phone and snapped a shot of [dog] carrying the wounded flowers, folks would think it was cute, 'Awww look at the little mail dog - he has flowers this time - precious' but noooooo he was too busy peeing on trees."

What do y'all think?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Clover Peonies Finally Bloom!!

In case you haven't seen it...

Check out (at least virtually) Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the Seed Cathedral is the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Like all seed banks, its mission is to keep a living archive of the planet's wildly diverse plant life, protecting against worst-case scenario extensions or invasive species disruptions. The scape surrounding the cathedral is meant to represent wrapping paper - like the opening of a gift.

I want, To go. To there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dangerous (and Secret) Chemicals in Popular Perfumes

Laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and analyzed by Environmental Working Group revealed 38 secret chemicals - including the oh-so-sketchy diethyl phthalate, a chemical linked to abnormal development of reproductive organs and sperm damage - in 17 name brand fragrance products. The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Here's an infographic showing secret chemicals in some popular ones:

And according to the EWG, "This complex mix of clandestine compounds in popular colognes and perfumes makes it impossible for consumers to make informed decisions about the products they consider buying," so if you are fond of scented procucts I highly recommend visiting EWG Not So Sexy to learn about the regulations and lack thereof in the frangrance sector.

Peak Farmers Market Season Has Begun

Don't miss out on the scrumdiddlyumptious seasonal produce coming to a freeway underpass or parking lot near you. The Washington Post has updated their interactive farmers market locator so you needn't travel far for fresh, local produce. And as always, we here at JustSaying love a reason to post Barbara Kingsolver's Vegetannual, "an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one growing season a cornucopia of all the different vegetable products we can harvest."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sorry Sista'

....Om nom nom... But this bench ain't big enough for the both of us...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Former Chesapeake Bay Scientist Weighs in on the Chesapeake Watershed

Kent Mountford, an estuarine ecologist, environmental historian and former Chesapeake Bay Program Scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, blames a booming bay area population, lack of resources and a lack of restoration enforcement for irreversible damages to coastal Maryland. The Annapolis Capitol reports:

"...One of Mountford's accomplishments was helping to fight for a ban against phosphates in commercial detergents. The result in the Potomac River and ultimately in the bay was "quite dramatic," he said.

He also helped implement a monitoring program for the Potomac River.

Because of that experience and his connection with the bay, the EPA hired him in 1984 to coordinate the monitoring program for the bay.

"We really believed that we could save the Chesapeake Bay," he said. "From the people, there was so much hope and energy, and this was when I was joining EPA, and I thought, 'Oh this is just great, you're on the leading edge of something which has a world focus.' "

People from all over the world were coming to see the kind of new work being done on the bay, he said. But now that's changed.

"I'm afraid … the whole program and all of the dreams we had have been buried in bureaucracy and the inability to deliver," Mountford said. "The Obama administration sort of gave a real firm charge to the EPA to come on, get it together, let's clean up the Chesapeake Bay. But the resources, the muscle is not there."

Mountford doesn't believe there has ever been any serious enforcement aimed at restoring the bay, even today. He said that people keep violating law after law, and that the consequences are never that serious..."

Salati and Tommy, Interspecies Besties

Entirely unrelated to the traditional topics of JustSaying but too darn adorable to pass up! The Daily Mail reports:

It's a role reversal not commonly seen, but then the cat chasing this dog is a little larger than most. Salati, a ten-month-old leopard, and her best friend, golden retriever Tommy, like nothing more than to run amok before settling down for a friendly cuddle. The odd couple were reared together at Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria in South Africa.
Animal wrangler Richard Brooker, 23, raised Salati and takes her and family dog Tommy for their daily exercise together. Each morning, he walks them on his family's 1,850-acre estate and then lets them run free to their hearts' content. He said: 'Wherever you see one the other is right behind. They are inseparable and both have lots of energy so they get the exercise they both need together."

Harnessing the Energy of Exercise

Have you ever been at your local fitness facility with your uncharged iPod and looked around at all the people alongside you on treadmills and bikes and got to thinking: "How strange is this? I mean, really... all the electricity required to run these machines and all this human energy gone to waste? There's got to be some room for greenprovement here, no?"

Well I have. All the time actually. And apparently the masterminds behind a new system at the Copenhagen Crowne Plaza Hotel have too. They've connected exercise bikes to a generator that harnesses approximately 10 watt-hours of electricity per 15 minute ride. Not only to the riders get some cardio and a little reduction in their carbon footprint - the hotel even offers a meal voucher in exchange for their efforts. Read more about the system here.

So how much longer until all gyms are powered by generators charged by patrons' exercise? And why stop at buildings? How about electronics? Researchers at MIT are leading the pack in this technology. Meet the Copenhagen Wheel:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This just in. And essential.

The Howard County Economic Development Authority just announced the release of From My Backyard to Our Bay, a residential guide to help citizens in Howard and Montgomery counties improve our local environment and watersheds.

The guide, available for download here, offers tips for "living in harmony with the Chesapeake Bay. It provides ideas for how you can contribute to the health of your local watershed, maintain an environmentally friendly lawn, and manage storm-water runoff, wells, and septic systems--all in ways that will reduce the flow of nutrients and sediment into the bay."

As many of you are aware, excess nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment encourage the growth of algae that can be toxic to marine life - think Dead Zones - so it is essential that we learn how to care for and manage agricultural practices in our own communities and backyards as to not effect the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. It's as simple as proper waste disposal, cleaning up after pets, controlling weeds, and managing your water and energy use.

This guide, although focused on the Chesapeake Bay region, is applicable far beyond the borders of these two counties. Pages and pages of valuable information in here, folks.

(Thnx, Singleton. Big time. This is fantastic.)

Which recreational drug is the greenest?

"Let's say I were the type of person who would go to a party where an assortment of recreational drugs were being used. Would it matter, so far as the environment goes, which one I took?"

Don't look at me! I didn't ask the question (this decade). One of Slate's Green Lantern readers did. And the answer, not surprisingly, is marijuana. The lantern determined each recreational drug's earthly impact based on where the raw materials come from, the ways in which they're harvested or synthesized, and the yield per square meter of land use. About half of the United States marijuana supply is grown domestically and while there are of course environmental downsides, like the fact that "at least half of the world's yearly crop of 50,000 metric tons is cultivated in subtropical Mexico, including protected areas in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental," marijuana is far greener than ecstasy, crystal meth and cocaine. The US DEA estimates that 2.4 million hectares of South American rainforests have been cleared by coca growers in the Andes over the last 20 years. And speaking of rain forest destruction, ecstasy is made from sassafras oil - which is derived mostly from endangered rainforest trees in Southeat Asia and Brazil. From the article:

In 2008, the U.K.-based Flora and Fauna International helped law enforcement confiscate 33 tons of [sassafras] oil distilled by criminal gangs from more than 8,000 chopped-down trees at the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. (That's enough to make 245 million Ecstasy tablets.) Meanwhile, crystal meth in the U.S. market comes from the chemicals... which are either extracted from an Asian grass or brewed in a frothy vat of molasses. China and India account for half the world's supply, according to the U.S. State Department's 2010 Narcotics Control Strategy Report, and most of the stuff that lands on our shores was likely shipped from halfway around the globe. Big-time meth chefs in the United States and Mexico purchase the raw material from domestic pill makers or middlemen, while smaller players may purchase cold medicines from pharmacy shelves. The facilities that actually cook up the street drug are also running a dirty business: In California's Central Valley, law enforcement estimates between 4 million and 7 million pounds of lab waste were poured into canals and on properties between 2000 and 2004. The people who have to clean it up wear Haz-Mat suits.

JustSaying does not support any illegal drug use be them green, white, liquid, pill or however else they reach people these days. If you are interested in reading more about this topic find the full text on Slate. Having said that, I'm heading over to to clear the footprint my extracurricular college activites.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Planet 100

Check out this great news source for the short attention span that we just discovered on Planet Green. It's called The Planet 100 and features Sarah Backhouse and friends delivering the top eco news of the day in 100 seconds or less (and with a British accent). Digg it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


As we are all aware, the recent oil spill has devestated birds and marine mammals along the Louisiana coast. If you'd like to help, find opportunities here.

Opinions on fast food toy ban

Just received this video from Daniel over at Newsy:

Love the comment from the Milwakee Journal Sentinal blogger, "We all know that in their natural state, children clamor for celery sticks. Back before the Happy Meal, in the healthy 1960s, most children being taken to McDonalds ordered the lentil soup."