Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Original Green Gardener

Happy 100 Birthday Anniversary, A. Richard Kuhrt (alias,Dad), born June 19, 1907

When you were born, who could have imagined a blog that could be written in the comfort of one's home or backyard and appear instantaneously around the world. You would have loved it because you were always forward thinking. In addition to your love for nature, you were a techno geek--the first of your friends to own a wireless (radio), a "wire" recorder, a television, and a Polaroid "Land" camera. You carried no prejudice. You treated everyone with respect no matter what race, religion or class.

Your garden and lawn were your pride and joy. You made your own compost. You loved using your push mower. You hated the noise of power mowers and only as you got older gave into an electric mower. You refused to use pesticides. Instead you would hand pick the weeds or get me and all the neighborhood kids out in the yard to pick dandelions for a penny a piece or a nickle if we got the whole root. We would fill up bushel basket after bushel basket--raking in the money and then riding our bikes to Angies to buy baseball cards and candy.

You were way ahead of your time and taught me well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Endangered Species?

Are the 17-year periodical cicadas endangered? Looking at the photo above, one may think, no way. But my non-scienctific observations make me wonder. Having lived in the same location in 2007 as I did for the 1990 invasion, I have observed a smaller number of cicadas. I remember the 1990 cicada's were so thick on the screens of our porch that we could hardly see out. I also remember it being almost impossible to go for a walk or sit outside because of swarms of the 1990 cicada's flying at my face. According to various reports, certain areas, including the nearby outdoor Ravinia Music Festival grounds, have not experienced the expected onslaught of the Brood. As an organic gardener, I am concerned. I am wondering if the huge amount of pesticides that have been put into the ground in the name of keeping lawns "green" and weed-free are claiming lives of many of these amazing critters. I hope not, I hope they will return in all their glory in 2024.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bad Dog

Frightened red eye cicadas are taking over my house. They arrive on a wing and a prayer-- hitching a ride on whomever enters. Unlike their constantly roaring outdoor counterparts, these indoor bugs speak in stops and starts, screeching in fear of their unknown surroundings. It's a race between my black lab and I to see if they will be returned to nature or become a gourmet dog treat. The lab usually wins. Bad dog.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Radishes Everywhere

Having never been a big fan of radishes, but hearing that they are quick and easy to grow…I threw a packet of radish seeds into my organic vegetable garden a few weeks ago and now, low and behold, I am experiencing a radish population explosion. What to do?

My first question as I began pulling the attractive redheads from the ground was, “What about the leaves—are they edible or are they poisonous like the leaves of rhubarb?”

Upon research, I learned more than I needed to know about radishes and their leaves. Not unlike, many other vegetables and herbs I discovered that radishes have been used in traditional Oriental medicine for centuries.

Radishes have been used to help remove hardened accumulations in the intestines as well as reduce phlegm.

Radishes contain xylogen, which helps in breaking down cancerous cells.

And yes, radish leaves are edible and contain valuable nutrients including calcium, riboflavin and carotene. The leaves actually have more calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin C and protein than the radish itself.

With this fountain of new knowledge, I felt compelled to find a way to eat my radishes. A quick web search presented me with lots of radish recipes some of which I will be sampling and adapting.

One recipe that sounded interesting, and kept reappearing in various guises around the web, was for Radish Leaf Soup. The soup recipes mostly combine onions, radish leaves, potatoes, water and other seasonings. Another way I think I could eat radishes is to slice them paper thin and serve them on a baguette with goat cheese. If I discover or create a recipe that will make this so-so vegetable climb to my favorites list I will pass it on. If anyone cares to share a recipe, please email me. Thanks, gg