Friday, February 25, 2011

New Web Series: Foodies

The new series from the creative mind of Japhy Grant will begin mocking self-proclaimed "culinary enthusiasts" on March 9th. Too funny. Read all about it on Eater.

And the award for 'Greatest Place on Earth' goes to...

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

No, I haven't been there. But I have been on their website all afternoon and having read several Sanctuary Stories, I can say with certainty that every heart beating in their corner of Angel Canyon is made of pure gold.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring March of the Stink Bugs!

These last few days of warm weather have been lovely, but for many Marylanders the warm sunshine has brought an increase in brown marmorated stink bug sightings along with it. And the more we see, the stranger the places they tend to pop up. My sister came upon one resting confidently under the shampoo cap during a morning shower. I've heard stories of 'em hitchhiking on vehicles for hours, crawling into beds, and surviving spin cycles - but perhaps the most heebie-jeebie inducing is mentioned in a recent post by Frank Roylance, aptly titled "they're baaaack." Breakfast, anyone?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Upcoming Events

Looking to get your learn on? Here are a few local happenings from the Just Saying calendar. We wish we could attend them all but there are simply too many to choose from! If you are able to attend one or more of them and interested in doing a guest post, please shoot us an email.

  • Beekeeping for Beginners: Every Saturday in March at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. Visit for more information.
  • Mycorrhizal Fungi:  Hidden Friends of Plants, Lecture by Roger Tai Koide: March 8th at the The Vollmer Center Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, Maryland. Details here.
  • Arborist Certification Course: March 8-10th at the City of Frederick Municipal Annex Building in Frederick, Maryland. Register here.
  • Tree Care Symposium: March 10th at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. Visit for more information.
  • Interactive Cooking Class at Crow Farm with Robbie Jester: Featuring products grown on the farm or locally. Crow Farm is in Kennedyville, Maryland. More information here.
  • Institute of Applied Agriculture Open House: March 31st at Jull Hall, University of Maryland, College Park. Learn more here.
  • NACUBO Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference: April 3-5 at the Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College. Register here.
  • MAC-ISA Tree Climbing Championships: April 9th at the Knights of Columbus in Arlington, Virginia. Register here. (I will not be competing but if you have the climbing experience, go for it!)
  • Marion Nestle's 'The Hungry Mind' Lecture Series: April 4th at the University of Maryland Campus Center. Open to the public. More info here.
  • Introduction to Nature Photography: April 21st - May 3rd at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. Visit for pricing, schedule and further information.
  • Maryland Day: April 30th at the University of Maryland, College Park. More information here.
  • Spring Tea featuring Maryland Massey of Maryland's Herb Basket: May 15th at Crow Farm in Kennedyville, Maryland. More information here.
  • Richmond Rose Society Show:  May 28-29th at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. Details here.

Craving Fresh?

Anyone else itching for spring and fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies? We're almost there, folks. Almost there. In the meantime, Treehugger put up a nice slide show of fresh, in-season vegetables the East Coasters should be eating right now. We'll just list 'em for you:

Brussels Sprouts

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Red, White and Blueberries"

“One thing I’ve noticed about agriculture is that you become a creator rather than a destroyer.”
- Mike Hanes, 34, Former Marine, Veteran for Sustainable Agriculture

Just Saying has received more than a dozen reader emails about Patricia Leigh Brown's New York Times article: Helping Soldiers Trade Their Swords for Plows. If you haven't read it, we urge you to do so. And if we haven't responded to your email individually, please know that we deeply appreciate and admire the sentiment as well as the multiple battlefield-to-farm transition programs popping up nationwide.

In short, Brown's article highlights the need for strength, vigor and commitment in farming and the potential for finding it in veterans seeking employment and, well... peace. Colin Archipley, a decorated Marine Corps infantry sergeant turned organic farmer who developed Archi's Acres with his wife, works with Camp Pendleton's transition assistance program teaching planting and irrigating as well as business plan preparation. The University of Nebraska's College of Technical Agriculture is now offering a new program for veterans called: Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots.

Many soldiers are accustomed to working outdoors, find comfort in doing so, and come from rural backgrounds to begin with. Everything about this movement warms my heart yet nothing I am writing today is doing it justice. Perhaps my time would be better spent lobbying for such a program at the University of Maryland and yours would be better spent with the New York Times article.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Love 'em or hate 'em, they are great for the Chesapeake

I highly recommend that our readers spend a few minutes with Charles Cohen's recent article in Urbanite about the state of oyster farming in Maryland waters: Betting on the Half Shell.

Earlier in the week, I attended a lecture on the ecological and industry benefits of oyster economics given by Dr. Douglas W. Lipton, Associate Professor and Program Leader of Sea Grant and Sea Grant Extension Programs at the University of Maryland, and when I came across Cohen's article, which covered a large share of the topics he touched upon, I wondered if he wasn't in that classroom as well.

Here are some highlights:
  • The Chesapeake Bay oyster (Crassostrea virginica) population is declining for several reasons including the usual suspects like over-fishing, habitat destruction, poor water quality and sediment run-off, as well as two diseases harmful only to oysters (i.e. not harmful to humans): Dermo and MSX.
  • While Dermo (Perkinsus marinus) is a native pathogen, MSX is not and was brought in with pacific, non-native oysters.
  • Restoration is important not only for your palette and the net income of watermen and profits to processors and related industries, but for water quality improvements, increased fishing benefits, and even waterfront property values.
  • What is being done to aid in this restoration? Repletion. Basically, the state subsidizes the movement of baby oysters from one place - where they will grow slowly - to another place where the survivors of the move will flourish fast, clear up some of that murky water, and later be harvested. While this process seems to aid the waterman and the water, it is quite expensive and perhaps only justifiable if the oyster biomass is raised to near or above the level that provides maximum ecological benefits.

For more information, check out the video about oyster aquaculture below and tune in to: The Marc Steiner Show, WEAA 88.9 FM, on February 24th, 2011.