Julia's Child, published by Plume/Penguin, is a book about organic food, and growing food, and feeding food to small wiggly people who don't always appreciate it.  This blog celebrates those same things, but also green living. And coffee.  And sometimes wine with little bubbles in it.


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The War Against the Japanese Beetles

This is a Japanese Beetle, pictured on my rose bush.  Destroying my rose bush.  Let's not mince words.  I'm the enemy of the Japanese Beetle.  When the first few arrive, I put on my tough, rubberized gardening gloves and carry around a tub of soapy water.  I pluck the beetles off and toss them in.

The soap bubbles serve two purposes--the soap breaks the water's surface tension, so the beetle cannot simply float to the side and escape.  Secondly, the foam hides the beetle's struggle from me, and I don't feel quite so bad about being the instrument of death.

I took a class this weekend at the wonderful Cedar Circle (Organic) Farm in Thetford, VT.  They use a little hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove beetles.  Their other trick is to spray--every couple of years--a nematode around the base of the most affected plants.  They do this in late summer or early fall, after the beetles have already laid their eggs in the soil.  The nematodes, which are tiny worm organisms, will prey on the beetle eggs, and they'll never hatch in the spring.  I'm going to have to investigate.


Life is a Half Cup of Cherries

Go ahead and chuckle if you wish.  My first sour cherry harvest fills half of a generous latte cup.  But I couldn't be happier.  These aren't wimpy, grocery store cherries.  These are the sour stuff of pies, like the ones grown in Michigan where I grew up.

My husband is allergic to stone fruits, the poor man.  And my children will eat anything, so if I want to have any cherries, I have to make sure they don't sound attractive.  "Hey kid. Want a sour cherry?  No?" More for me.

One of the reasons we moved from our beloved New York City to the Vermont / New Hampshire border was for the pleasure of growing some of our food.  My husband planted the cherry tree (and forty or so of its fruity cousins) for me last year.  The trees are infants, so I got only a handful last year, and my little tree should give me a couple of pints this year.  Some day, I'm told, we'll be up to our ears in apples, plums, pears, blueberries, etc.  

What I take away from this experiment is this: we are obviously never moving again.  Watching my husband dig all those holes, haul truck loads of manure around our property in a wheelbarrow, patiently water every tree during their toddler years... I'd have to pry him off this property with a pitchfork.

Hopefully, I won't want to.

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