Uncanny Fruits, Autumn Foraging & Chocolate Bundt Cake — Gather Victoria

From quince, medlar to barberry, I love to forage for the odd fruits which abound this time of year. The following recipe for this intensely moist almost pudding-like bundt, however,  is filled with two strange-looking fruits I’ve not cooked much with before. It’s adapted from the Chocolate Cherry Samhain Bundt I just posted on Gather…

Uncanny Fruits , Autumn Foraging & Chocolate Bundt Cake — Gather Victoria

Holiday Herbal Cocktail Party

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Debbie Boutelier

Join Debbie Boutelier for a new webinaron Thursday, October 20th, at 1 pm Eastern. See below for details!

Bourbon mint teaFall and winter are the perfect “thyme” to enjoy some new seasonal herbal libations. As we move away from the oppressive heat of summer with our icy and light drinks enjoyed by the pool or lakeside, we can curate our offerings with the stronger, more flavorful herbs. Herbal cocktails and mocktails continue to be very popular and have the perfect flavor profile for wowing our guests as we entertain for the holidays.

Throughout the ages, herbs have been added to drinks because they aided digestion; they were fortifying for the seasons; they lifted one’s mood; and they smelled and tasted absolutely amazing! Crafting a flavorful cocktail to offer your guests is easy and a lot of fun. Using your creativity and a few good herbal tricks, you can…

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Improve Your Tree Identification Skills This Autumn

Years ago, I didn’t have much of an appreciation for the months of October and November. 

Becoming a devout student of trees changed that.

In my early days of tree identification, I placed too much emphasis on the spring and summer seasons.  Everything was lively and green, I reasoned.  What more did I need?

As time went on, I inevitably ran into problems whose solutions would only be found in the autumn season. 

I remember seeing an oak in the summer season whose leaves contained deep sinuses.  Scarlet oak and pin oak were two candidates, but my beginner’s mind required more information.  Once autumn arrived, I easily identified the tree based on its acorns.  (Scarlet oak acorns contain concentric rings.)

I also remember seeing an ash tree but being unable to determine its exact identity.  Once autumn arrived, I easily identified the tree based on its color.  (White ash foliage turns yellow to purplish; green ash foliage turns yellowish-brown.)

I could share more examples of how the autumn season provided answers to my most pressing questions.  Suffice to say, I now rank the months of October and November as among the most important for honing tree identification skills.

To help you hone your tree identification skills this autumn season, I am opening up registration for my online course next week.

Trees In All Seasons is a four-season online video course designed to help you successfully identify over 100 trees in every season — spring, summer, fall, and winter.

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 75 exclusive videos that lay the groundwork for successful tree identification.  If you are interested in identifying trees but are finding it difficult to learn through field guides and apps, consider enrolling as a student in Trees In All Seasons.  

Please note:  Trees In All Seasons will be open for registration for one week only from Monday, October 17th to Monday, October 24th.  Upon registration, you have immediate access to all course content and you can watch the videos at your own pace.

To register for Trees In All Seasons, mark your calendar for Monday, October 17th and visit this link.

All additional information (including course structure, outline, and cost) will be posted on Monday.

I look forward to seeing you then!
— Adam Haritan

To Squash Or Not To Squash: Musings On Invasive Species

Lanternfly
The devil was on one shoulder.  An angel on the other. Both were telling me how to proceed, but I couldn’t decipher which voice belonged to which entity. “Cut the bag open,” one voice instructed.” Leave it alone,” said the other. Apparently, my former sense of good and evil was blurred.  Who was the devil, and who was the angel? It all started when I was driving on a backcountry road in Pennsylvania.  I encountered a stand of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) whose trunks were adorned with plastic contraptions. “Spotted lanternfly traps,” I thought to myself. Curious to see how effective the contraptions were, I pulled over.  The traps were constructed 5 feet from the bases of the trees.  Each trap was clearly occupied.  I decided to take a closer look. The first trap held dozens of spiders and beetles — some of them alive, many of them dead.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap equaled exactly zero. I then checked trap number two.  Like the first trap, this one also held dozens of spiders and beetles.  The number of spotted lanternflies within this trap also equaled exactly zero. Every trap was like this.  None contained a single spotted lanternfly.  All imprisoned spiders and beetles. Thinking what my role in all of this should be, I soon found myself accompanied by two supernatural advisors — one on each shoulder. Cut the bags open?  Or walk away?  Cutting them open — or at least permanently disabling the traps — would release the living insects and ensure that no more would perish.  Doing so, however, would benefit spotted lanternflies — insects that are deemed invasive and destructive in North America.  What was the right thing to do? Questions on the topic of invasive species weren’t new to me.  They had materialized before.  What was right?  What was wrong?  What was good?  What was bad?  Who belonged?  Who didn’t? After much pondering over the years, I’ve come to realize that questions will always be plentiful.  In a brand new video, I ask several questions on the fascinating topic of invasive species.  Few of these questions have simple answers, but all are deeply considered. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts, you can watch the video here. Thank you for your support.
— Adam Haritan