Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kitchen Supply: Juice Extractor

The Waring Juice Extractor had been added to the Beverages section in Kitchen Supply.

Like the popular Waring blender, this juice machine is powerful, simple to operate, made with durable commercial quality construction, and has a great warranty backing it up. The juicer has an extra wide feed tube and simple canister type juice collector as well as a simple on/off power switch.

Compact strainer, pulp collector, lid, and juice collector are all dishwasher-safe.

Beverages
Kitchen Supply

Saturday, February 27, 2010

See the Movie: Alice in Wonderland

Read the book, hear the soundtrack, play the game, download the video, view the trailer, or collect stuff prior to the March 5 release of the Disney motion picture, Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Open Air: Tonopah Farmers Market

This lively market features farm fresh local produce, baked goods and fine hand crafted products. Located in historic mining town of Tonopah, the market serves the Nye county and surrounding communities.

It will be held this year on Mondays, 4pm - dusk, July 5 - October 4, at the Pocket Park on Main Street in Tonopah, Nevada.
Tonopah Farmers Market
Open Air
Nevada Farmers Markets Directory

Open Air: Downtown Farmers Market

Downtown Farmers Market in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been awarded the Food and Wine Education Award from Salt Lake Magazine at its annual Dining Awards ceremony, held February 23.

Market director Kim Angeli-Selin thanked her hardworking staff, more than 200 dedicated vendors and the thousands of shoppers that support local vendors at the weekly market.

"As food educators, our message is simple—buy fresh, buy local and hug a farmer today.”

Source: Salt Lake Chamber Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Growth Spurts: Plant's Leaf Surface Affects Pesticide Applications

Ohio State University researchers have found that the surface makeup of a plant’s leaves – hairy or waxy or varying degrees of both – plays a huge role in the effectiveness of liquid pesticide applications.

“The ultimate goal is to get the most out of pesticides, to get the biggest bang for your buck – achieving maximum efficiency while promoting environmental sustainability,” said Erdal Ozkan, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer. “One way of doing that is make sure that the droplets hit the target, remain on the target and the pesticide active ingredients in droplets are taken up by the target.”

How that product is deposited is just as important as how much is being deposited, and knowing what kind of plant surface a grower is dealing with can help tremendously.

Ozkan and his colleagues studied the impact of liquid pesticide applications on waxy and hairy geranium leaves and found that hairy leaves captured and retained the droplets more effectively than waxy leaves. In addition, droplets deposited on hairy leaves covered more surface area as they evaporated and spread over the leaf more quickly, increasing plant uptake of the pesticide by 50 percent.

“Foliar uptake efficiency is affected by chemistry of the product applied, target surface characteristics, droplet size, evaporation time, and how much the surface area is wetted. Our objective was to investigate those parameters.”

Ozkan said that the “hairy” characteristic of the plant leaf is more effective than a smooth or waxy leaf because the hairs protect the droplets from rebounding and drifting and allows the droplets to spread out over a larger contact area.

“Hairy leaves are hydrophilic (water-loving) and so evaporation times are short, Waxy leaves are hydrophobic (water-hating) and so evaporation times are much longer for those droplets that do manage to remain on the leaf.”

In addition, researchers found that by adding a surfactant (a wetting agent that lowers the surface tension of a liquid) to the pesticide application mix, droplets cling better and are taken up by the plant much more readily.

“Adding a surfactant reduces the contact angle the droplet has with the leaf, making the droplet more stable and less likely to roll off. We found that in medium-sized droplets, the surfactant helped increase the contact area with the leaf by a faction of 2 for waxy leaves and a faction of 4 for hairy leaves.”

Ozkan said that the findings are useful for chemical companies who can recommend specific pesticide dosage and application methods when target surfaces are known to achieve maximum product benefit. For example, a farmer may only need to apply half of the application on surfaces with hydrophilic characteristics.

Source: Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Craft Supplies: Rainbow Faith Cross Craft Kits

Rainbow Faith Cross Craft Kits now available in Craft Supplies.

Designed for Vacation Bible School or other religious events, crafters glue foam pieces onto an 8 1/2" long and 6" wide cross to make a "Rainbow Faith" design. Glue is required for this kit.

A dozen cross craft kits are included in each package. Recommended for ages 6 years and up.

Outlet: SoundBlade Bluetooth Speaker

Altec Lansing inMotion SoundBlade Bluetooth Speaker/Speakerphone added to the Phones page in the Outlet.

This speakerphone is designed to untether you from your cell phone, letting you take a call or listen to music in comfort. Requires no cables. Setup is easy.

Equipped with two custom-built 2.5-inch full-range speakers. Voice-activated dialing available from several feet away.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Farm Fresh: World's Worst Sales Pitches

While millions of its vehicles are being recalled because of malfunctioning brake systems and faulty accelerators, Toyota continues broadcasting its Moving Forward ad campaign. Many have suggested changing the slogan to..

"Moving Forward, like it or not!"
or
"Moving Forward at 120 mph!"

World's Worst Sales Pitches
Farm Fresh!
Heard a Good One?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gamesmanship: Glory of Heracles Excels in Battles

Writing for McClatchy Newspapers, Justin Hoeger reviews this Nintendo DS game set in ancient Greece, an peculiar setting for a Japanese role-playing game.

The fifth in a series that until now have only been released in Japan, Glory of Heracles follows the tried and true structure of a traveler's quest.

"The battle system is a treat," Hoeger points out. "It seems a lot like the combat from the older Suikoden games, with fast-paced attacks, lots of reactive and complementary abilities, and a quick progression that, for the most part, keeps individual fights from dragging on."

Rural Delivery: Solar Reflections

by Michael Hofferber, Copyright © 1994. All rights reserved.

"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." Ecclesiastes 7

The pines and aspen stands look black in the half-light of dawn. A thick white frost blankets the windshield. My truck's V-8 is reluctant to turn over; it would rather be left alone this cold morning, I think.

I let the engine idle, sending up white plumes of exhaust in the chilled air, as I wait for the windshield to defrost.

In the meantime, the sun crests the hills to the east and its rays scatter into the valley. They filter through the limbs of trees and fall against the windshield. And before the fossil fuels burning in the V-8 can warm the cab, solar heat has done the job. My view ahead has cleared.

Fifteen minutes since sunrise and already the chill is broken and the frosted trees are dripping dew. In that time the sun has spilled as much energy on this Earth as we humans will consume all year.

In fact, if all the Earth's fuels -- petroleum, wood, coal, etc. -- were lumped together and burned at the rate the sun emits energy they would last, at best, four days.

What a bounteous source of power, this sun! Would that I could pry open my truck's gas cap and pump it in: fill it up with light, please!

The promise of solar enerey has been homilized since I was in grade school. By now, 1994, we imagined we'd be driving solar cars and flying in solar planes. Photovoltaic cells were going to make conventional fuels obsolete.

The photovoltaic cell, a miraculous chip of treated silicon, was supposed to give rise to the solar age. Expose it to sunlight and its electrons go crazy, forming an electrical current.

There has been some solar progress. Rooftop water heaters are no longer uncommon and passive solar construction is a design prerequisite in some areas.

Idaho Power leased its first photovoltaic (PV) system to a remote ranch south of Twin Falls last summer and it is now supplying energy for stock watering pumps and household appliances.

Today we have solar-powered calculators and clocks and outdoor lighting systems. Sales of PV chips have increased dramatically in recent years and their price is less than half of what it was in 1980. Even so, the cost of solar power is still several times more expensive than hydropower or fossil fuels.

Which explains, as I shift into gear and turn down the visor against the solar glare, why this truck still drives on gasoline.

Rural Delivery
Photo: Frost-Covered White Birch Trees with the Sun Rising Behind by Raymond Gehman
Energy Farming: Solar

Organic Golden Flax Seed from Fargo, North Dakota

Organic Golden Flax Seed now available from Fargo, North Dakota

This 100% natural organic golden flax seed is pre-ground cold milled. Sold in a 40-ounce container. Keeps for up to 22 months.

Cold Milled means the flax seed that has been ground under cold temperatures to preserve the integrity of the Omega 3.

Flax
Nuts and Grains
add your flax to the Buy Direct Directory

Solar Power Pagoda Lamp from Phoenix, Arizona

Solar Power Pagoda Lamp now available from Phoenix, Arizona.

Ancient beauty meets modern technology in this graceful solar pagoda lamp! Exactly resembling a sand-cast temple lantern, the lattice cage of this ceramic garden light features a super-bright bulb for bright nighttime illumination.

Solar panel on top uses sunlight to charge the lantern - no plugs or cords required. Measures 6 5/8" diameter x 8 1/2" high.

Low-Carb Spaghetti Pasta from Carrington, North Dakota

Low-Carb Spaghetti Pasta now available from Carrington, North Dakota

A typical 2-oounce serving of regular pasta is 42g carbs, but this pasta has only 5g digestible carbs. At the same time, it offers 5 grams of fiber - twice the fiber of regular pasta.

Naturally free of cholesterol and saturated fats, this pasta also contains zero grams of trans fat. It tastes great and has an authentic texture.

Pasta
Specialty Foods and Beverages
add your pasta to the Buy Direct Directory

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black Olives from northwestern Turkey

Black Olives now available from northwestern Turkey.

Northwestern Turkey is a region renowned for its great olives, considered as essential part of the healthy Mediterranean diet that has been proven to reduce heart disease and cancer and significantly increase the average life span.

These black olives are preserved in salt and olive oil. They come packed in a special plastic tray to seal in freshness and flavor.

Hazelnuts direct from the grower in Monmouth, Oregon

Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, available direct from the grower in Monmouth, Oregon.

The mild Mediterranean-like climate of Oregon's Willamette Valley makes the state the only American producer of hazelnuts, locally called filberts. Hazelnuts are a low carb, high fiber, high protein food packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which is why the FDA claims that regular consumption of tree nuts may prevent heart disease.

These hazelnuts are available from family run orchard in a variety of sizes and styles: raw, dry roasted, seasoned (zesty picante or hickory), and salted. Covered nuts are made with gourmet quality chocolate, marionberry, mint, chocolatecherry, chocolatecoffee, and chocolatebanana coverings.

Oregon Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts
Nuts and Grains
add your hazelnuts to the Buy Direct Directory

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stove-Top Popcorn Popper for Kettle Korn

Stove-Top Popcorn Popper now available on the Kettle Korn page in Specialty Foods.

Makes wonderful kettle korn as well as popcorn.

Kettle korn, or kettle corn, is basically popcorn with a little sugar added to grains of unpopped popcorn and oil. The secret to preparing it successfully is to keep the mixture moving as it warms up so the sugar does not burn.

With this popper, add a half rounded cup of popcorn and a third of a cup of brown sugar to hot oil and move from side to side while cranking.

This stainless steel popper has a 6-quart capacity beneath a domed, vented lid.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Farm Fresh: Say It With Flowers

Be careful giving flowers. The choice of bouquet could convey more than you intend.

Presenting your lover with primroses the opening of one's heart and the dawning of true love, but offer snapdragons and the message is plain: "go away!"

Gamesmanship: Bioshock 2

HollywoodChicago.com reports that Bioshock2, sequel to the wildly succressful Bioshock, is "a title that often feels overly familiar. It’s impossible not to wish that the developers had tried something a little different instead of something that a few message board denizens have called Bioshock DLC...

"Bioshock 2 feels enough like a repeat that it’s going to upset some players looking for a brave new section of the world of Rapture. It’s understandable that the developers of one of the most acclaimed games of all time were wary to stray too far from the path that took them to success in the first instance but it is a bit disappointing."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Farmer's Market Online Today

Welcome to Farmer's Market Online, the world's oldest and largest continuing online marketplace for producers selling their handmade, custom crafted, home grown and farm raised goods direct to consumers worldwide.

On Wednesday, February 17 there were 3,210 unique visitors at Farmer’s Market Online making 18,105 page hits.

Top Shopper Destinations:
1. Rabbit
2. Pickles
3. Beef
4. Cutting Boards
5. Books
6. Pomegranas
7. Air Plants
8. Cactus
9. Passion Fruit
10. Furniture

Unlike other online marketplaces, vendors in this market receive 100 percent of the purchase price for every item sold. There are no sales reports to file and no commissions to pay. Every transaction is strictly between the consumer and the vendor.

Shoppers communicate with and deal directly with the producer, giving them the opportunity to know who is making or growing the goods and how they are being produced.

To join Farmer's Market Online as a vendor, either
lease a Booth or register for a basic Listing on the Buy Direct Directory

Rural Delivery: What The Snow Reveals

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

Snow conceals, but it can also betray.

Consider the tracks of mice, or wolves, or lynx -- so rarely seen. But here in the frozen dawn the secrets of their passage are plain to see, recorded like marks on a blank page.

You can read how the hare bounded from the forest cover, paused briefly to listen and stare intently (at what?), then was off again. And you can follow the tracks of a lone elk that staggered back and forth across the hillside, searching some remembered comfort before collapsing beneath the weight of hunger or disease, or both.

The ways of man, too, are easy to chart on this white blanket: the parallel lines of a skier, the wide cut of a snowmobile, the tread-marked furrows of a vehicle that slid off course and had to be excavated from the roadside (all is quiet now, but in the brown creases the groaning echoes and the smell of diesel lingers).

Footprints, as well, are captured in this white frame. I remember the prints leading away from my home in the early hours well before sunrise and how I followed them with a flashlight down the street to my empty wallet, new fallen in the snow, and further on to a dumpster in which my camera bag, emptied too, had been tossed.

The tracks went on into a parking lot where the chaos of traffic and the kerfuffle of other lives obscured the path of their escape.

Perhaps this explains why an unbroken spread of snow that coats the valley floor to a depth of several feet, that climbs halfway up the tallest pines and buries the smaller shrubs and saplings, obscuring rocks and roads and fencelines and even the river's flow, is such a welcome sight. How it comforts and inspires!

In the sparkling brilliance of a midsummer sun, is this not the beau ideal of virtue? Of purity? Of peace and justice?

Isn't this the higher purpose to which we aspire, a place of beauty and sweetness and exhilirating perfection unblemished by the tracks of misery and starvation, of mistakes and struggles, of thievery and loss?

Isn't this why we welcome the snow that makes it all right again?

Leather Handbag with jean design from Saratoga, California

Genuine Leather Handbag with a unique jean design now available from Saratoga, California.

Handmade from tanned cowhide, this handbag uses a top zipper closure, two fancy zipper-pulls from both ends, a smoothly metal clip on the middle top with a special pattern leather cover. It has one inside pocket with a smooth zipper closure.

The handle, measuring 9 inches, is real leather. Handbag's measurements are 14" long by 7.5" wide and 7" high.

Bags, Totes, Purses and Accessories
Handmade Crafts
add your handbags, totes, purses and other accessories to the Buy Direct Directory

Irish Flag Jacket for St. Patrick's Day

Irish Flag Jacket with Hand Cut Applique Shamrock available just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Made from nylon flag bunting, this unique bomber-style jacket has a generous cut. The White, Orange and Green sections are seperately cut and sewn together to form the jacket. The Shamrock is sewn onto the jacket's white body. The patterns on the front of the jacket are repeated on the back.

Jackets and Coats
St. Patrick's Day
Clothin
add your jackets and coats to the Buy Direct Directory

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paprika now available from Alpharetta, Georgia

Hungarian Paprika now available from the spice blender in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Fresh ground for unbeatable flavor, this spice in sold in a 1 cup (5.1 ounces) bag.

Paprika combines Well With Allspice, Caraway, Cardamom, Garlic, Ginger, Oregano, Parsley, Pepper, Rosemary, Thyme, and Turmeric.

Spices and Seasonings
Specialty Foods and Beverages
add your spices and seasonings to the Buy Direct Directory

Purim Gift Baskets in The Gift Shop

Purim Gift Baskets are now available in The Gift Shop.

Purim, which begins February 27, is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar, commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from a plot to annihilate them.

This Purim Mishloach Manot, in a metallic planter, is overstuffed with delectable Purim delights, including honey roasted nuts, creamy egozi chocolates, butter and cream candies, crispy wafers, sugar coated nuts, Swiss fruit candies, halva and a duo of oven-fresh hamantaschen.

Purim
Gift Baskets
The Gift Shop
add your gift basket to The Gift Shop

Ceramic Wall Plaques from South Ryegate, Vermont.

Whimsical Ceramic Wall Plaques now available from South Ryegate, Vermont.

Each handcrafted plaque is individually made of high fire glazed stoneware in blues, greys, and greens. Plaques are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. A blue weatherproof hanger included.

Ceramics
Handmade Crafts
add your ceramics to the Buy Direct Directory

Book Stall Review: Power Up

Power Up:
Unleash Your Natural Energy, Revitalize Your Health, and Feel 10 Years Younger
by Woodson Merrell
Simon and Schuster, 2009

A fusion of Eastern and Western medicine and philosophies, this book by physician Woodson Merrell addresses the common problem of low energy levels in the body with practical holistic steps for improvement.

The book begins with a detailed discussion of six ways to reclaim vitality through food, exercise, detoxification, rest, spirituality and the right mental attitude.

The second half of the book includes a 21-day guide to maximizing the body's energy-generating capacity. For each day, there are meal plans with recipes, meditations, suggested activities, workouts, and discussions about concepts underlying Merrell's plan.

In a chapter entitled "Power Rest: How to Recharge Your Battery," Merrel offers the following behavioral therapy protocol for getting good sleep:
• Go to bed only when sleepy.
• Get out of bed if you haven't fallen asleep in 20 minutes.
• Curtail all nonsleep acitvities in bed -- watching TV, eating, planning or problem solving.
• Arise at the same time every morning.
• Avoid daytime napping.
• Don't get attached to unreal expectations about getting a perfect sleep every night.
• Do not blame insomnia for all daytime problems.
• Do not imagine all the bad things that will happen after a poor night's sleep.

Book Stall
Power Up
The Book Stall Reviews Archive
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Market Watch: Corn and Soybean Projections

In its February report, USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board revised projections of 2009-10 marketing year corn and soybean exports.

U.S. corn exports for the current marketing year are projected at 2 billion bushels - 50 million below the January projection, but 142 million above the very low level of a year ago. The projection is 437 million bushels below the record exports established in the 2007-08 marketing year.

From Sept. 1, 2009, through Feb. 4, USDA reported corn export inspections of 694 million bushels, 14 million more than the previous year. From September through December 2009, Census Bureau exports exceeded export inspections by 51 million bushels.

"Last year, Census Bureau estimates through February exceeded inspections by 35 million bushels," said University of Illinois economist Darrel Good. "If the 51-million-bushel margin has been maintained since December this year, cumulative exports are about 30 million larger than those of a year ago.

"To reach the USDA projection of 2 billion bushels for the year, weekly shipments need to average about 42.2 million bushels from now through August. To date, exports have averaged only 33.2 million bushels per week."

As of Feb. 4, USDA reported 469 million bushels of corn have been sold for export, but not yet shipped. Unshipped sales a year earlier totaled only 373 million bushels. Export commitments, or shipments plus sales, are currently near 1.21 billion bushels.

According to Good, weekly sales now need to average about 26.6 million bushels per week in order for commitments to reach 2 billion bushels. For the four weeks ending Feb. 4, sales averaged 41.1 million bushels.

"The pace of outstanding export sales is encouraging, but the pace of shipments will have to accelerate substantially to reach the projection of 2 billion bushels."

U.S. soybean exports during the current marketing year are projected at 1.4 billion bushels, 25 million bushels above the January projection and 117 million bushels above the record exports of a year ago. From September 2009 through Feb. 4, USDA reported export inspections of 978 million bushels, 262 million above the cumulative total of a year ago.

From September through December 2009, Census Bureau soybean export estimates exceeded inspections by 15 million bushels. Through February 2009, Census Bureau estimates exceeded inspections by 42 million bushels.

"If the 15-million-bushel difference between the Census Bureau and inspections estimates has been maintained since December, current exports exceed those of a year ago by 235 million bushels,. To reach the USDA projection of 1.4 billion bushels for the year, weekly shipments need to average 13.7 million bushels per week from now through August 2010. To date, exports have averaged 44.3 million bushels per week."

As of Feb. 4, USDA reported 313 million bushels of soybeans have been sold for export, but not yet shipped. The total of those outstanding sales was 222 million bushels a year ago.

Source: Darrel Good, 217-333-4716, d-good@illinois.edu

Monday, February 15, 2010

Open Air: Lakes Region Farmers' Market

Lakes Region Farmers' Market is looking for new vendors.

We are looking for more vegetable producers, bakers, cheese producers, specialty food producers, seafood and will consider others.

For 2010, we will be open on Saturdays 8am - 1pm starting May 1 and going through October 16.

For more information email: webmaster@lrfm.org

Open Air Market Profile: Isanti Family Farmer's Market






Market Profile: Isanti Family Farmer's Market in Isanti, Minnesota

This is a new market in 2010 that will feature a variety of fresh food vendors, artisans and local acoustic musicians.

Held Saturdays, 9am - 1pm April 10- October 30, 2010, at 17 Main St. W. in Isanti, Minnesota. An inclement weather location has been established at 600 1st Ave. N.

Jaysen Guthmueller writes:

"As our name indicates, we are going to have a huge focus on family and the community. We have added some weekly features that to the best of our knowledge have never been seen before at a Farmer's Market. One of these uniques features and staying true to our objective of giving back to the community, the Isanti Family Farmers Market will donate one booth space per market day on a rotating basis to our local non-profit and community groups to raise funds or to build awareness for their respective organization. Call 763-444-8515 X3 to reserve your spot.

"Another foundation of our market is the many youth activities that we have planned. We will have weekly fun as well as educational activities such as a Bluebird House building week, a Wood Duck house building week and a day where we teach kids how to grow plants starting with seeds for just a few examples.

"The market is designed so that while the parents are busy shopping they can keep an eye on their children by simply turning to the Community area in the middle of the market. So keep an eye on our calendar to plan for upcoming events! (All market volunteers will undergo background checks to address child safety concerns.)

"We will have different weekly "themes" such as "Health & Wellness", "Canning & Preserving the Harvest", "Planting & Growing", for a few examples. Businesses that have products or services that support these weekly themes can rent a booth space for the week for only $25.00. This concept will allow local businesses to showcase their offerings at the same time support our community.

"You can also expect the familiar market features such as local naturally grown fresh produce. A variety of fresh food vendors, artisans as well as local acoustic musicians sharing their musical talents. If you know of anyone that falls into one of these categories, please have them contact us to apply to join the market.

"Last but not least, we would like to thank our very generous sponsors and supporters for without their support, this unique community oriented Farmer's Market would not be possible. So, please support our sponsors and also spread the word to help ensure the success of this wonderful community event!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tesla Purple Energy Plates available in Health & Beauty.

Tesla Purple Energy Plates now available in Health & Beauty.

Attributed to scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, who called these plates "carriers of free energy," Tesla Purple Energy Plates are believed to be antennas for cosmic energy (tachyons) which create a harmonizing field and may thereby affect body and soul positively.

Tesla Purple Energy Plates may clean food and water on an energetic level and promote plants in their growth and proliferation. Some folks use them to support themselves and their pets in physical healing (e.g. headaches, cuts, wounds, fractures etc.). Others carry them around in order to raise their vibratory frequency or regenerate themselves from the influences of EMF/EMF (cell phones etc.)

Tesla Purple Energy Plates
Health & Beauty
add your health or beauty product to the Buy Direct Directory

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Stall Review: The Treehouse Book

The Treehouse Book
by Candida Collins
Skyhorse Publishing, 2009

English writer Candida Collins profiles 23 of the most modern and elaborate treehouses in the world in this celebration of imaginative arbor arhcitecture.

The book begins with a brief history of treehouses, beginning with early humans in tropical forests and extending to contemporary structures built for strictly recreational purposes.

"Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 A.D.) described how the extravagant Emporer Caligula "held a banquet in a tree... in a dining room large enough to hold fifteen guests and the necessary servants." The treehouse was built into a huge plane tree at his estate in Velitrae, and his leafy dining experience included entertainment by acrobats and jugglers."

The treehouses featured in this book were all designed and constructed by a family-owned company called Blue Forest in southeast England. Treehouses profiled include:

* A Tudor Gothic treehouse on the grounds of one of Ireland's most historic country houses.
* A family-size treehouse perched like a birdhouse in the branches of evergreens near Lake Garda in Italy.
* A James Bond-style high-tech hideaway for children on a private estate in Athens, Greece.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Growth Spurts: New USDA Rules Strengthen Organic Standards for Pasture and Livestock

After over 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the United States who produce organic milk are celebrating the release of strict new USDA regulations that establish distinct benchmarks requiring the grazing and pasturing of dairy cows and other livestock.

Many hope that the new rule will put an end to the abuses that have flooded the organic market with suspect milk from a handful of mega-dairies generally confining thousands of animals in feed lots and barns.

The issue has been a lightning rod for controversy in the organic community. At least five times during the last decade, the National Organic Standards Board – a key USDA advisory panel made-up of industry stakeholders – passed guidance or recommended regulatory changes clarifying the requirement that dairy cows and other ruminants must be allowed to exhibit their native behavior and consume a meaningful amount of their feed from grazing on pastures.

New rulemaking had been delayed by the Bush administration, using a myriad of tactics, some of which are being scrutinized in an ongoing investigation by the USDA’s office of Inspector General.

The USDA has announced that they will begin this month hosting a series of workshops around the country with the nation’s 50+ organic certification agencies and other industry stakeholders. The sessions are intended to clearly define the meaning and intent of the new rule so that certifiers, who conduct annual farm inspections and review organic system management plans, will understand what the regulations require from farmers and only approve management practices that strictly conform to it.

Specifically, the new rules require that dairy cows and other ruminants be out on pasture for the entire growing season, but for not less than 120 days. It also requires that the animals receive at least 30% of their feed, or dry matter intake (DMI), from pasturing. In addition, organic livestock will be required to have access to the outdoors year-round with the exception of temporary confinement due to mitigating and documentable environmental or health considerations.

National Organic Program (NOP) – Access to Pasture (Livestock)
Final rule with request for comments.
Namebrand Organic Dairy Products Scorecard

Source: The Cornucopia Institute

Good Weight: Free Sample

Free Sample: Emergen-C® Vitamin Drink Mix

The foundation of Emergen-C is built on seven mineral ascorbates: potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, chromium and zinc. These mineral ascorbates provide the human body with 1,000 mg of vital, life-sustaining Vitamin C in a non-acidic, stomach-friendly formula.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Made in the USA.

Visit the Sample Link page, click on Free Samples and fill out the online form to get your free sample of Emergen-C.

Good Weight: Free Samples

Free Sample: Beyond Bodi Heat

Beyond Bodi Heat® is an air activated, odorless, non-medicated, adhesive, twelve-hour gentle heat patch.Bodi Heat is a new solution for back pain, stiff neck/shoulder, aching joints, and getting rid of the chills.

Follow the free sample link and complete a brief questionnaire to receive sample in 8-10 weeks.

Sample Link
Beyond Bodi Heat
Good Weight
Free Samples

Open Air: Hemet Farmers Market

This is a year-round certified open air market featuring produce, honey, eggs, baked goos, oils, salsa, flowers, plants, hand crafted items and a food court.

Held on Saturdays -- 9am - 3pm winter, 8am - 1pm, summer and spring behind the Hemet Public Library at Harvard and Latham Streets in the downtown historic section of Hemet, California.

Open Air
Hemet Farmers Market
California Farmers Markets Directory
add or update your market

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Corral: Ride Western

Now available in The Corral: Ride Western

This book by Louis Taylor offers the most comprehensive treatment of Western riding available, and is suited to both beginners and advanced horsemen. It will also increase the fun of the spectator at rodeos and horse shows, because it helps him understand what he's looking at and see things he was neveraware of before.

The author gives a concise history of the development of Western horsemanship over the past four and a half centuries, from the early conquistadors through the era of the working cowboy with his special needs, to today with its emphasis on riding for sport.

The Corral
Ride Western
Guidebooks and How-To Titles

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Craft Supplies: Beeswax Candle Sheets

100% Beeswax Candle Sheets now available in Craft Supplies.

These full size beeswax honeycomb sheets measure 16 1/2" x 8" and are sold in a group of 20 sheets in a single color: Ivory, Buttercup, Natural or Gold.

Twelve yards of #1/0 square braid cotton wick is included with each sheet.

Beeswax candles burn cleaner and longer with less smoke than paraffin candles.

Indigo Dyed Halter Dress from Santa Ana, El Salvador

Indigo Dyed Halter Dress now available from Santa Ana, El Salvador.

This halter dress has been hand knotted and hand dyed by artisans at Alma de Anil Studio in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

The dress is 100% cotton and perfect to wear as a summer dress or for a casual occasion. It has been hand dyed with a natural Indigo dye extrated from fresh leafs of Jiquilite on the farm in Santa Ana following ancient Mayan techniques and earth-friendly processes.

Equipped with a side zipper, the dress ties comfortably behind the neck. Machine washable.

Open Air: Saucon Valley Farmers' Market

Market Profile: Saucon Valley Farmers' Market in Hellertown, Pennsylvania

This is seasonal "producer-only" open air market featuring produce, herbs, flowers, honey, plants, coffee, baked breads & cakes, poultry, meat, cheese, soaps, breakfast & lunch served and weekly entertainment.

To be held Sundays, 9am - 1pm, May 2 - November 21, 2010, at Water Street Park on Water Street in Hellertown, Pennsylvania.

Saucon Valley Farmers' Market
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Home Made: Quick Quilts on a Sewing Machine

After hearing and reading about the grandmothers who were making marvelous quilts for all of their grandchildren, I wanted to do the same. I wanted to do it quickly and easily, inasmuch as I had other things to do as well.

My first sewing-machine quilt was made by putting three layers of flannel on the back of a piece of ready-quilted fabric which had a light, knitted backing. I sewed around the printed patchwork designs on the fabric with a straight stitch. One daughter, Sally, said it was "Great!"

That encouraged me, and as time went on, and more grandchildren arrived, I made a variety of quilts.

In the winter of 1977, I volunteered to teach Sewing Machine Quilting in Community Education. From this experience I learned that every Zig Zag sewing machine will quilt easily and quickly.

With this background, I determined to put into a book, the "How to" of making Quick Quilts on Your Own Sewing Machine.

French Country Square Butcher's Block in Handcrafted and Custom-made Cutting Boards

French Country Square Butcher's Block now available in Handcrafted and Custom-made Cutting Boards

The perfect palette for creating culinary art, this classic butcher block table provides plenty of space and just the right height for precise food preparation.

Beautifully constructed with a solid 3-inch edge-grain domestic hardwood top and a handsome oil finish, you can turn any kitchen into a chef's kitchen. Measures 24" x 24" x 33-1/2"

Tomorrow's Featured Musician: Garrick Ohlsson

Garrick Ohlsson is an American classical music pianist. He was the first American to win first prize in the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, in 1970. He also won first prize at the Busoni Competition in Italy and the Montreal Piano Competition in Canada.

Ohlsson is noted for his masterful performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire.

Bites: Tart Cherries Protect Against Heart Disease, Diabetes

Eating lots of tart cherries on a daily basis may help protect against heart disease and diabetes, according to a study conducted at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center

The animal study showed rats fed tart cherry powder had low levels of inflammation, body fat, weight gain and blood cholesterol.

Rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet didn't gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn�t receive cherries. And their blood showed much lower levels of molecules that indicate the kind of inflammation that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than the other rats.

The results were seen in both lean and obese rats that were bred to have a predisposition to obesity and insulin resistance.

Source: University of Michigan Health System

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coffee direct from the roaster in Port Chester, New York

Coffee now available direct from the roaster in Port Chester, New York.

These coffees come from a factory that features state of the art roasting, grinding and packaging methods.

A full line of single estate grown coffees and blends, including Kenya AA, Costa Rican, and Brazil Santos are fresh roasted for vending and food service clients, as well as private label. Packaging is available in 1 oz. to 16 oz., 2 lb., 5 lb. and 25 lb. bulk sizes, whole bean or ground.

Coffee
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Medjool Dates from Los Angles, California.

Medjool Dates now available from Los Angles, California.

High in potassium, fiber and antioxidants, Medjool dates are amongst the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. They are sweet juicy and extremely healthy.

These dates come from a certified organic farm that uses no pesticides or preservatives.

Magazine Stand: PETA Animal Times

PETA Animal Times has been added to the Animals section of the Magazine Stand.

Reporting on a wide variety of animal rights issues from their treatment in laboratories to how they are treated in factory farms, this magazine is packed with articles for animal lovers, as well as resources for finding animal-friendly products and recipes.

Animal Magazines
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Preserved Lemons now available on the Lemons page.

Preserved lemons are a common, though often unrecognized, flavor in Moroccan cooking where they are known as "hamad muraqqad" and sold loose in the souks.

This classic Moroccan ingredient lends a unique flavor to a host of Moroccan dishes such as couscous, lamb and vegetables tagines, recipes for chicken and fish, and all manner of salads.

These preserved lemons are cured and packed in a mild brine solution, which transforms the once bitter lemon rind into a completely different ingredient, one that you will find both enticing and indispensable, and not just for Moroccan cuisine. Try slicing preserved lemons thinly and tucking them into a fragrant stew or lentil dish, bake with fish or lamb or toss in a fresh vegetable salad. A twist of preserved lemon rind will make for one incredible martini.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Outlet: Camcorder and Audio Accessories

Canon VIXIA HF20 added to Cameras page on Outlet along with audio accessories for adding quality audio to videos.

Equipped with a 15x HD Video Lens with SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer, 3.89-megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, and Cano's DIGIC DV III Image Processor, the camcorder records up to 12 hours of HD video to a 32GB internal Flash drive, and offers the option of recording directly to removable SDHC memory cards.

Also added to the Cameras page are a Compact Audio Adapter designed designed to attach balanced or unbalanced type microphones to any camcorder with a MIC jack, and the Azden WMS-PRO Wireless Microphone System.